April 10, 2009 (La Mesa) – La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club celebrated its 25th anniversary with a celebration last week that included cake, a potluck dinner, recognition of key members and presentation by Councilwoman Marti Emerald’s chief of staff, Xema Jacobson. Special honorees included the club’s founding members, Claude Cassirer, a Holocaust survivor, and his wife, Beverly (photo).
Songs written by Beverly specially for the occasion were sung by an enthusiastic crowd of over 100 members and guests. Club president Linda Armacost thanked members for helping to “turn La Mesa blue,” noting that the city now has more registered Democrats than Republicans, and thanked precinct walkers for helping to turn the conservative tide that has long dominated the region. Emerald was slated to speak but was ill with pneumonia, so Jacobson pinch-hit. She revealed that Emerald’s staff of nine “reduced our salaries and gave by $50,000 to the City” to help ease the city’s budget crisis.
“We’re going to take the cuts like everybody else.” Emerald and staff have also been hosting a series of community meetings to obtain public input. The newly elected Councilmember chairs two committees, including a committee on Public Safety and Neighborhood Services. “We have fire stations so nasty and old that they can’t be renovated,” said Jacobson. One station is receiving nearly three times the calls it was designed to handle; another has dirty water running directly into a sewer.
She called for a regional plan “so when the fires come, we are prepared.” She added, “We also have to save parks and recreation and get more for residents out of developers,” noting parking and traffic issues created by some new developments. Emerald, a Democrat and former TV “Troubleshooter” consumer reporter, has pledged to present positive solutions as well as transparency. “We’re giving you open government,” noted Jacobson, adding that Emerald publishes a calendar of everyone she meets with on her website. The City expects to received about $23 million in stimulus funds, she revealed, noting that the funds will first be funneled through the state. “We want to use it for the interchange at I-8 and I-15.”
For the future, the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club aims to grow its “Go Team” of Democratic precinct walkers and expand voter registration efforts with a goal toward bringing more East County communities into the Democratic column by the 2010 elections.