By Miriam Raftery
"I've been a Republican for 35 years and I became a Democrat in January," La
Mesa Councilmember David Allan told a crowd of approximately 350 people at
the East County Uniting for Change picnic on Sunday at Harry Griffith Park
in La Mesa.
Sponsored by the La Mesa-Foothills, East County and Santee Democratic Clubs,
the event took on the fervor of a revival meeting as an array of Democratic
candidates for local and national offices urged voters to unite for change
"Let me tell you about the state. It's broken," said Allen, a former
firefighter and past president of San Miguel Firefighters. He noted that California
has had two consecutive years of deficits in excess of $7 billion, then added, “The
federal government is going to have a deficit over $400 billion…Being
a local politician is the toughest job, because we've got to deal with problems
created by the state and feds." Allan called for change at higher
levels of government, adding, "Our government has forgotten what it's
about, which is to serve the people."
Other speakers included Congressional candidate Mike Lumpkin, Assembly candidates
Ray Lutz and Marty Block, San Diego City Council candidate Marti Emerald, Lemon
Grove Council candidate George Gastil, Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College
District board candidate Mary Kay Rosinski, El Cajon Council candidate John
Martz, Obama campaign spokesman Greg Bolian, and local party officials.
|Supporters rally behind Ray Lutz, 77th Assembly District
Lutz chided his opponent, Republican Assemblyman Joel Anderson, for supporting
a tax "sloophole" to benefit yacht owners at a time when state services
are being slashed.
"How many marinas are in the 77th Assembly District?” the East
County candidate asked, adding that Anderson wants to eliminate 117 boards
and commissions including many that oversee corporations. "He wants
to keep the tax rigging in place," said Lutz, an electrical engineer and
citizen activist who led efforts to stop private military contractor Blackwater
Worldwide from building a training camp in East County.
He pledged to oppose all special interests that seek to privatize public services. He
also vowed to fight waste, fraud and abuse, fix tax inequities, support healthcare
reform, back conversion to a green economy and oppose Sunrise PowerLink.
|Mike Lumpkin, former Navy Seal Commander, seeks to recapture the
52nd Congressional District seat for Democrats.
Lumpkin, a former Navy Seal commander, headed the Joint Special Operations
Task Force in the Arabian Peninsula for Operation Iraqi Freedom and later served
as Congressional liaison for the U.S. Special Forces Command. He is running
against Duncan D. Hunter, son of retiring Congressman Duncan Hunter.
“At stake in the November election is the future of our country, the
future of our economy, the future of our armed services and our world standing,” said
Lumpkin, who drew cheers when he urged listeners to “come together and
take our country back.” He stressed the importance of improving schools,
creating jobs, and investing in alternative energy. Lumpkin announced
recent endorsements by Hilary Clinton, General Wesley Clark and Senator Jim
Marty Block, Democratic candidate for the 78th Assembly District, is running
for an open seat vacated by Assemblywoman Shirley Horton due to term limits. President
of the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees, he also served
as president of the County Board of Education and dean of San Diego State University’s
College of Education.
“The California Nurses Association supports me because I support universal
healthcare,” said Block, who predicted that someday “we’ll
look back and not believe we didn’t have healthcare for all of our seniors,
families and children.”
Noting that he won his primary race by less than two votes per precinct, Block
emphasized the importance of volunteers to help get out the vote for the November
election. That point was also stressed by Democratic Go! Team leaders, who
noted that around a third of all voters cast votes for president while leaving
other offices blank.
|Teacher Mary Kay Rosinski, candidate for the Grossmont Cuyamaca College
Board, pledges to implement recommendations of the San Diego Grand Jury,
which found ethical violations by the board.
Marti Emerald, former Channel 10 Troubleshooter/reporter and candidate for
San Diego City Council’s 7th district, called for a need to “grow
our economy and create jobs to allow people to buy homes and raise families
with dignity.” She stressed the need for open government and accountability
as well as jump-starting the economy.
John Martes, candidate for the El Cajon City Council, criticized the current
Council for offering sweetheart deals on land to “developer buddies”,
citing several specific examples. “How can you trust these guys?” he
asked. Martes also called for coordination of traffic lights to avoid excessive
idling time and cut motorists’ fuel consumption.
“Lemon Grove is a little city with big dreams,” said George Gastil,
member of the Lemon Grove School Board and candidate for Lemon Grove City Council. He
emphasized the need for safe neighborhoods, community vision and providing
more opportunities for young people.
Mary Kay Rosinski, a teacher running for
the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College Board, pledged to restore accountability
and assure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely in a district where the San
Diego County Grand Jury has found ethical violations.
The event featured jazzy beach folk rock music by local artist Charlie Imes
and his band, including the song “Worst Presnadent Ever”, a humorous
jab featuring a George W. Bush impersonator from Imes’ new album, On
An Island. http://cdbaby.com/cd/charlieimes
East County has long been considered a Republican strong hold and has significantly
more registered Republicans than Democrats. Republicans have also heavily
outspent Democratic candidates in recent races here. However, Democratic
leaders expressed confidence that they will achieve victories in November.
|David Allan, a firefighting professional and public safety advocate, seeks
re-election to the La Mesa City Council.
leaders revealed that new voter registrations in East County are running ten
to one Democratic over Republican. La Mesa recently shifted to a Democratic
majority, as have several other San Diego County communities.
Democratic leaders believe that massive voter registration and get-out-the-vote
drives, along with the national trend of decline-to-state voters tilting toward
Democratic candidates, will fuel victories in East County this year.
In addition, the Obama campaign has recruited hundreds of precinct captains
county-wide, including many in East County. “They asked us to call
100,000 people in one weekend. We called 200,000,” said Greg Bolian,
spokesperson for the Obama campaign in San Diego County.
Go! Team leader Arlene Howe described how she used to rely on recommendations
of friends to vote, but now realizes the importance of voters learning first-hand
what candidates stand for after seeing America embroiled in a pre-emptive war,
economic woes, and losing respect of world allies. “Now San Diego
is embroiled in scandal and is going bust,” she added. “This
isn’t my country.”
Linda Armacost, president of La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club, was pleased
by the event’s turn-out. “Look at all these progressives in East
County,” she exclaimed, urging people of all parties to join together
to restore American integrity.