Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Local LGBT Leaders Join HRC to Announce Endorsement of Scott Peters for Congress 

SAN DIEGO – San Diego LGBT leaders joined the The Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization – today to announce their endorsement of Rep. Scott Peters for re-election to the U.S. House in California’s 52nd district. Peters has a stellar record on LGBT equality and has been steadfast in his support of marriage equality in California and across the country.

"Scott Peters has proved himself to be a leader and a strong advocate for equality," said Fred Sainz, HRC Vice President for Communications. "As the nation moves rapidly to embrace full LGBT equality, Scott’s voice on Capitol Hill will echo those of his fair-minded constituents and Americans across the country."

"I've been proud to work alongside HRC for years in the fight for full equal rights for everyone," Peters said. "My father fought for racial equality during the civil rights movement when I was young, and I'm proud to continue that legacy at the forefront of the battle for full LGBT equality, the most important civil rights issue of our time."

In San Diego, members of HRC San Diego were joined by City Council President Todd Gloria, former State Senator Christine Kehoe, and Stampp Corbin, former Co-Chair of the 2008 Obama for America presidential campaign's National LGBT Leadership Council, and National Board of Directors emeritus for the Human Rights Campaign, 1995-2003, and other community leaders.

"Scott Peters has demonstrated throughout his career the ability to achieve bipartisan progress and the courage to speak out for equal rights," said Council President Gloria. "He has the deeply-held sense of justice and commitment to full equality that San Diegans can count on to move our country closer to achieving the civil rights victory of our generation."

Scott Peters "is a long-time true supporter of full equality for LGBT San Diegans," said former Senator Christine Kehoe, who was the city's first openly gay elected official. "And more than that, he's able to work with all parties to get things done, to move things forward, to avoid gridlock, and to be a strong representative for the people of his congressional district, for our city, and for our state."

"Scott Peters has always been on the side of justice equality and fundamental fairness for all Americans," said Tanner Songer, political co-chair of HRC San Diego, echoing the endorsement of the national organization. "The greatest challenges lie ahead of us, and we can't continue our momentum without allies like Scott on our side."

"For the LGBT community, the choice could not be more clear: One political party that supports our equality and one that doesn't," emphasized Corbin. "So when you cast your vote in November, as I will with all my heart, that vote should be for Congressman Scott Peters' reelection."

County Supervisor Dave Roberts also issued an endorsement statement, saying:

"Congressman Scott Peters deserves the support of the LGBT community. He has been a stalwart supporter of equality. Congressman Peters works hard for all San Diego County residents. It is important to me that elected officials work together, regardless of party affiliation. We agree that the citizens and our region come first."

Peters is a strong supporter of LGBT equality, including marriage equality. He is a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) which would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in its entirety. He also is also a cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the Safe Schools Improvement Act, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act and other key legislation.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Speaker John A. Pérez Creates Select Committee on Women in the Workplace, Names Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez as Chair

SACRAMENTO — (Tuesday, April 8, 2014) – California State Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez today announced the creation of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace and named Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) as its chair.

“I have formed the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace with the expectation that it will address the whole range of issues from wages to working conditions and everything in between,” said Speaker Pérez (D-Los Angeles). “I have asked Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez to lead this important effort. She is a talented and thoughtful advocate for California’s women, and I am confident she will put forward innovative and insightful suggestions on ways we can close the gap and ensure every woman in California earns a fair wage for the work she does.”

Speaker Pérez made the announcement on Equal Pay Day, part of an ongoing national campaign to increase awareness about pay inequality for working women.

“Equal Pay Day is our annual reminder that more and more families are relying on women to be breadwinners and that our economy works best when we acknowledge and accommodate the realities working women face,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). “As a single working mother myself, I face this reality every day and I am very excited to work with my colleagues to seek solutions that break down barriers to employment, accommodate women’s roles in their families as well as their jobs, and bring a greater dose of equity to the workplace.”

The Select Committee on Women in the Workplace will focus on challenges faced by women in the workforce including the changing role of women in society, how to ensure pay equity and opportunity for women, the health and well-being of women in the workplace, and the impact on family life.

The members of the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace are:

Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland)
Assemblymember Nora Campos (D-San Jose)
Assemblymember Brian Dahle (R- Bieber)
Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens)
Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D-West Covina)
Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael)
Assemblymember Henry Perea (D-Fresno)
Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton)
Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Los Angeles)
Assemblymember Marie Waldron (R-Escondido)

 Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Reaffirms Support for Captive Orca Welfare and Safety Act

A.B. 2140, Which Would End Captive Orca Performances, Will Be Considered by Gonzalez and Committee Colleagues Tuesday

SACRAMENTO – (Monday, April 7, 2014) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) made the following statement about Assembly Bill 2140 (Bloom) in anticipation of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife’s consideration of the bill on Tuesday morning:

“Upon learning a few weeks ago that Assemblyman Bloom would be authoring Assembly Bill 2140, I told the media that I was inclined to support his proposal. Since then, I have studied the issue carefully and consulted with many experts involved in the debate – including representatives from SeaWorld and independent experts in the field – in hopes of understanding the landmark changes Mr. Bloom is hoping to accomplish with A.B. 2140.

“Barring any new information that could change my mind tomorrow, I plan to strongly support A.B. 2140 and vote to bring an end to the practice of holding orcas in captivity solely for entertainment purposes in California.  As a longtime advocate for the environment and for worker safety, I am greatly concerned by the practice of confining orcas’ living environments, sequestering them from their natural social organizations, forcing them to perform circus tricks for huge profits, and endangering the well-being of employees by putting them in hazardous situations. Of these, I’m most familiar with the attempts by the local operator of orca shows to oppose measures to increase worker safety and that unfortunately doesn’t bode well for their credibility on the other issues raised by A.B. 2140.

“SeaWorld’s most compelling arguments to continue the performance of captive orcas for entertainment purposes have been economic in nature. The reason to carry on with these dangerous orca performances, SeaWorld says, is because they generate profits.

“To those who oppose this legislation, I take no satisfaction in making two predictions:  First—you on the wrong side of history, and that within my lifetime this indefensible practice will be outlawed. Second – tragically, another employee will be hurt or killed by a distressed orca, and predictably, management will blame the victim and call it ‘trainer error.’ Neither of those facts can be justified by profits.”

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit

Block urges national ban on cosmetic animal testing

SJR 22 approved by State Senate and heads to Assembly; Mayim Bialik ‘Big Bang Theory’ actress, Cruelty Free International supporter endorses SJR 22

SACRAMENTO – California’s Senate today approved a measure by State Senator Marty Block (SD-39) that urges the U.S to join California, the European Union (EU), and the countries of Norway, India, and Israel in banning animal testing of cosmetic products.

Block’s joint resolution, SJR 22, approved on a bipartisan vote of 31-0, urges the federal government to mandate alternative methods to animal testing when other testing methods are available. It is sponsored by Cruelty Free International and also supported by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the State Humane Association and others.

“Unnecessary cruelty is unforgiveable,” Block said. “Animal testing by the cosmetics industry is usually unnecessary and often unreliable. Where other means of ensuring product safety are available, they should be used.”

“Cruel” tests on rabbits, guinea pigs and mice include force-feeding of animals with testing substances or repeated application of substances to an animal’s skin. After the experiments, the animals are then killed. Block and Cruelty Free International argue that more reliable, quicker, and less expensive alternatives are available and should be used. Alternatives include computer modeling and tests on human skin donated from cosmetic surgery or examination of proteins in-vitro (in a test tube).

Actress Mayim Bialik who portrays Amy Farrah Fowler on the hit show “The Big Bang Theory” is a Cruelty Free International supporter. “I am thrilled to join Senator Marty Block in asking the California Legislature to support SJR 22, the Cruelty Free Cosmetics Resolution.” She added, “For over a decade California has been a leader in supporting the use of modern non-animal tests to ensure cosmetics safety. It’s time that the rest of the nation catches up with California as well as other counties on this issue. I am proud to stand with Senator Block in calling for cruelty free testing.”

North America Campaign Manager for Cruelty Free International Monica Engebretson also emphasized that product safety is possible without the use of the older, more inhumane testing. “Our success in ending cosmetics testing on animals in the European Union has proven that it is possible and safe to create cosmetics without animal testing,” Engebretson said.

California became the first state to restrict animal testing in 2000. Some countries such as those in the EU have completely banned the importation and sale of animal-tested products. EU sales account for nearly half of the global cosmetics market.

SJR 22 also calls on the U.S. Congress to enact legislation that would establish reasonable deadlines for the prohibition on the testing and marketing of products which have been tested on animals.

Friday, April 4, 2014

NEW AD: DCCC Launches ‘Battleground: Middle Class’ Ad Against Carl DeMaio’s Republican Budget

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching the first phase of a sweeping nationwide paid effort – “Battleground: Middle Class” – to communicate with voters in California that candidate Carl DeMaio’s new Republican budget is selling out the middle class in favor of  special interests and the ultra-wealthy.

The “Battleground: Middle Class” project will reach voters through paid advertising, efforts to connect them to their representatives and field efforts in their neighborhoods and at their homes.

Carl DeMaio and House Republicans’ new budget was unveiled Tuesday, and highlights include: raising taxes on middle class families, ending the Medicare guarantee for seniors and turning Medicare into a voucher program, and costing our economy 1.1 million jobs next year alone – all while heaping tax breaks on corporations that ship jobs overseas.

“Carl DeMaio’s new Republican budget is the clearest illustration yet that he is not on the side of California’s middle class families – DeMaio’s Republican budget rewards the special interests and the wealthy who need help the least, and does it on the backs of the middle class,” said Josh Schwerin of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “The people of California cannot afford DeMaio’s reckless budget that costs jobs, threatens middle class families’ financial security, raises their taxes, and ends the Medicare guarantee for California seniors, while giving more handouts to the corporations and special interests that are shipping our jobs overseas.”

A copy of the ad running in the district can be seen here:


Economic Policy Institute: Republican Budget Proposal Could Cost 1.1 Million Jobs in the Next Fiscal Year.  “On net, I estimate that the House budget resolution would decrease GDP by 0.9 percent and decrease nonfarm payrolls by 1.1 million jobs in fiscal year 2015, relative to CBO’s current-law baseline. The following fiscal year, when Ryan’s cuts to discretionary spending kick in, ‘The Path to Prosperity’ would decrease GDP by 2.5 percent and cost 3.0 million jobs. And if the recovery remains sluggish, large job losses could continue under the Ryan budget in 2017 and beyond.” [Economic Policy Institute, 4/01/14]

AARP: Republican Budget Would Remove the Medicare Guarantee. “Chairman Ryan’s proposed budget fails to address the high costs of health care and instead shifts costs onto seniors and future retirees. Repealing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act ignores the progress we’ve made to improve access to health care and protect against discrimination based on age, gender or medical history. Removing the Medicare guarantee of affordable health coverage for older Americans by implementing a premium support system and asking seniors and future retirees to pay more is not the right direction.” [AARP Press Release, 4/01/14]

New York Times: Republican Budget Would Lower Taxes for the Wealthy While Raising Taxes on the Middle Class by $2,000. “The budget lowers the top tax rate to 25 percent for the wealthiest taxpayers, down from the current 39.6 percent, while raising taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000.” [New York Times Editorial, 4/01/14]

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


This is not your typical campaign endorsement.  Our first fundraiser was held at a restaurant, La Bella Vita, in Temecula.   There was a band playing at the restaurant and when the time came for the candidate to speak, the band stopped playing to come back and listen.  When the speech was over, the band leader, Joe (a professed Libertarian) said he liked what the candidate had to say.  The band left to finish playing their set when someone said to go out and listen to what the band was playing.  We went out and the band was playing a song they created on the fly, “Vote for Kimber”.  Later the band recorded the song in a studio and just recently put a video to the song as a music video endorsement the campaign.

Temecula, CA –April 1, 2014 –Not your typical endorsement, a local band, “Slow Traffic”, has endorsed James H. Kimber, Democratic candidate for California’s 50th Congressional District in a music video. The lead guitarist of the group, Joe Mullenix, a self-professed Libertarian, first met Kimber at a fundraiser at La Bella Vita in Temecula, CA. While “Slow Traffic” was not part of the fundraiser, they stopped to listen to the candidate during his speech. Joe Mullenix was so moved by the candidate’s words, he did an impromptu song, “Vote for Kimber” at the event. Later, Mr. Mullenix recorded the song and video as a visual endorsement for the candidate. The video can be seen on YouTube at

Kimber, who served 20 years on active duty service in the United States Navy. As a veteran, Kimber knows there are issues involving veterans that are being inadequately addressed such as the rising rate of veteran homelessness, the epidemic of suicides and lack of mental health, and the increasing violence against women in the military. “We owe our veterans the basic help they deserve for all they have sacrificed for this great country.”
Kimber has 30 years of healthcare experience and practices as a Physician Assistant in Neurosurgery in Escondido, CA and is on Medical Staff at Palomar Medical Center. He knows there is much more to do with healthcare reform and states “we can’t go back to millions of people without insurance or people being denied health insurance for pre-existing conditions. “

Kimber supports immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. “There is a way to fix the current system but only if we all work together. Immigration reform is long overdue and people are tired of hearing excuses for why Congress won’t act on it now. The time for immigration reform is now!”

For more information, please visit our website

Carl DeMaio Owes Voters an Answer on Budget

Today San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Francine Busby released the following statement in response to the news that Congressman Paul Ryan and House Republicans introduced a new budget that will again attack Medicare:

“The budget plan of Carl DeMaio’s House Republican allies would raise Medicare costs on San Diego families and slash Pell Grants for students while cutting taxes for the wealthy. If DeMaio really wants to join this toxic Republican Congress, he needs to give voters a clear answer on whether he would support it or not.

"After DeMaio called it a 'decent start' last year, San Diego voters deserve to know whether he supports a Republican plan that tries to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class. As the national Republicans' hand-picked choice, Carl DeMaio cannot credibly win a primary election without giving a straight answer about his support for the Republican budget that would cuts jobs and raises Medicare costs on San Diego families."


DeMaio Called the Ryan Plan a “Decent Start” and said It Contained Some “Good Ideas.” In 2013, DeMaio praised Paul Ryan’s budget plan, calling it a “decent start” that contained good ideas. “People have said what do you think about Paul Ryan’s budget. It’s a decent start. There are some good ideas in it,” said DeMaio. [Temple Adat Shalom Men’s Club, 9/15/13]

Economic Policy Institute: Republican Budget Proposal Could Cost 3 Million Jobs.  “On net, I estimate that the House budget resolution would decrease GDP by 0.9 percent and decrease nonfarm payrolls by 1.1 million jobs in fiscal year 2015, relative to CBO’s current-law baseline. The following fiscal year, when Ryan’s cuts to discretionary spending kick in, 'The Path to Prosperity' would decrease GDP by 2.5 percent and cost 3.0 million jobs. And if the recovery remains sluggish, large job losses could continue under the Ryan budget in 2017 and beyond.” [Economic Policy Institute, 4/01/14]

Republican Budget Proposal Would Raise Taxes for Middle Class Families by $2,000. “White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement that Ryan’s plan would ‘raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 in order to cut taxes for households with incomes over $1 million.’” [Businessweek, 4/01/14]

Republican Budget Proposal Would Turn Medicare into a “Voucher-Style Program.”  “Ryan's plan recycles several proposals from previous years that remain popular with GOP lawmakers, including repealing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. But he keeps the taxes and cuts to Medicare mandated by the law. He calls for privatizing Medicare by changing it from an entitlement program into a voucher-style program.” [Washington Post, 4/01/14]

Republican Budget Proposal Would Make Deep Cuts to Education. “The measure also promises deep, probably unrealistic cuts to domestic programs like education, health research and grants to local governments that are funded each year through annual appropriations bills.” [ABC News, 4/01/14]

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s Campaign Fundraising Reform at School and College Districts Passes Assembly Elections Committee

AB 1431 by Gonzalez Proposes A Ban on School & College Board Fundraising by District Superintendents & Administrators

SACRAMENTO – (Tuesday, April 1, 2014) – The California State Assembly’s Elections and Redistricting Committee approved legislation authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) today that would ban School and College District superintendents and administrators from raising campaign cash for the board members that they serve.

Under Assembly Bill 1431, administrators at California’s public school districts and community college districts would be prohibited from soliciting contributions on behalf of the campaigns and legal defense funds of candidates and incumbent board members that govern those districts. Violators would be subject to penalties assessed by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission.

That practice – alleged in several of the ongoing corruption cases involving officials at southern San Diego County’s Sweetwater Union High School District, San Ysidro School District and Southwestern College – created a troublesome dynamic between staff and board members at those districts. In the allegations, administrators raised money for their board members from contractors with business before their districts, allowing them to exert inappropriate influence over their own job security with the boards that hired them as well as the process for selecting contractors to rebuild and revamp the districts’ campuses.

“These corruption cases have become a huge distraction to our goal of improving public education opportunities in the South Bay, and the common thread in these cases is that administrators were improperly acting as political moneymen for board members’ campaigns,” Gonzalez said. “There are currently no statewide campaign finance restrictions for school and college board elections and this bill will stop the conflicts of interest that are perceived by the public in the best case scenario or real in the instances of the unfortunate scandals at our schools in south San Diego County.”

The bill was supported by Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee Chair Paul Fong of San Jose and Assemblymembers Henry Perea, Freddie Rodriguez, Isadore Hall and Kevin Mullin.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit


Saturday, March 29, 2014


(San Diego) In recognition of Women’s History Month, Majority Leader Toni Atkins today honored nine leaders from throughout her Assembly district for their accomplishments at a Women of the Year Awards ceremony at the State of California building in downtown San Diego.  Hailing from all parts of the extended 78th Assembly District, these women have found success in medicine, law, entrepreneurship, community organizing, and environmental advocacy.

“Women are leaders in every aspect of our society, yet they are not always recognized for their accomplishments” says Atkins. “The women I honor today have made San Diego a better place and are role models for both young men and young women in our community.  I thank them for their service.”

Speaker-elect Toni Atkins honors the Women of the Year for the 78th Assembly District.  From left to right: Hon. Patricia Ann Yim Cowett, Gerri Retman-Opper, Cincy Greatrex, Barbara Bry, Speaker-elect Atkins, Dr. Betty Jones, Linda LeGerrette, Mayda Winter, Patricia McQuater, Nancy Weare

Barbara Bry – La Jolla
Barbara is a serial entrepreneur whose passion is leveling the playing field for women and girls in business, health care and politics.  Currently, she is the chief operating officer of Blackbird Ventures, which invests in and incubates early stage technology companies.  She teaches entrepreneurship at UC San Diego and is the founder of Athena San Diego, the leading organization for women in the San Diego technology and life sciences community.  She was the first editor of the non-profit investigative news site, Voice of San Diego.

Bry is also the founder of Run Women Run, a non-partisan political action committee that identifies, inspires, mentors, trains and supports pro-choice women in San Diego for both elected and appointed offices.

The Hon. Patricia Ann Yim Cowett - Coronado

Judge Cowett is a recently retired judge of the San Diego Superior Court.  She was the first woman of Chinese descent to be appointed to the California bench and as best as records can tell, the first in the nation.  She was a deputy city attorney for the City of San Diego, an attorney for the state Department of Transportation, and in-house litigation counsel for SDG&E before being appointed by Governor Brown to the bench in 1979.

She was the founder of the Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego and the Asian American Judges of California.  She served on numerous boards and commissions including the Judicial Nominations and Evaluation Commission of the State Bar.  Since retiring in 2008, Judge Cowett has been acting as a private mediator and arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and ADR Services, Inc.

Ms. Cindy Greatrex – La Jolla
Cindy is employed in the field of biotechnology, providing remote medical care via software and other medical devices, as well as genomics sequencing so that companies can decode and analyze molecular structures.

She serves on several boards in San Diego, and is currently president of the La Jolla Town Council and Independent La Jolla,  a membership based community organization comprised of citizens united by their deep concern for La Jolla’s future.

In greater San Diego, Cindy serves as board member of Access Youth Academy; Adopt-a-Special Kid, a national organization enabling adoptions from foster care, focusing on LGBT and single-parent adoptions; International Orphan Care of San Diego, which assists orphans from Afghanistan to be productive and educated; Hatech, a telecommunication foundation for the deaf; and the San Diego-Jalalabad Sister Cities foundation, which provides medical and education services to Afghan civilians.

Dr. Elizabeth Jones  - Coronado

Dr. Jones specializes in providing international programs promoting good health in infants and children.  She has worked for Scripps Metabolic Clinic and Research Foundation; Scripps Green Hospital; Mercy Hospital; Wellstart International; and has volunteered in Tijuana since 1976, teaching nutrition for patients, families, paraprofessionals and physicians.

Together with Dr. Chong-King, a highly regarded Tijuana pediatric surgeon, she founded the Foundation for the Children of the Californias, a tri-national collaboration between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.  This pediatric facility has expanded to 25 specialties, providing more than 380,000 consultations; 9,500 surgeries; 280,000 hours of education; 350 volunteer hours and many outreach programs serving impoverished areas.

Linda LeGerrette – Golden Hill, San Diego
Linda is a founding member of the César Chávez Service Clubs, an organization dedicated to teaching our youth to believe in themselves and to know that they can make a difference and where they learn the values of leadership and organizational skills necessary for participation in a democratic society. Because of her hard work, leadership and direction, the Chávez Service Clubs are the fastest growing youth leadership club in San Diego.

Along with her husband Carlos, their dual achievements include being organizers and confidantes for the late United Farm Workers president, César E. Chávez.  They are also pioneers and developers of the Price Club (now Costco), field office director and coordinators for San Diego City Schools’ successful $1.5 billion dollar school construction bond and numerous other political and neighborhood campaigns. For the past six years, Linda has successfully dedicated her life to the campaign of home health care workers and their struggle for collective bargaining rights and respect.

Pat McQuater – San Diego
Pat has been an attorney and manager for more than 25 years in the legal department of a Fortune 500 corporation - Solar Turbines/Caterpillar. Recently retired, she remains engaged in the legal profession as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. She has been recognized as one of San Diego’s top corporate counselors.

As passionate about civic responsibility as she is about professional excellence, Pat’s leadership in the San Diego community includes serving on several high profile boards, including the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, Urban League of San Diego, Girl Scouts of San Diego/Imperial Council, Rady Children’s Hospital, and the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory.  She was the first African-American woman appointed to the San Diego Board of Port/Airport Commissioners, which she chaired for 8 ½ years.

Gerri Retman-Opper- Solana Beach
As a 30-year resident of Solana Beach, Gerri has managed numerous political campaigns, helping to change the Solana Beach City Council to a majority Democrat elected body.  She served as the chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, where she developed and organized many annual community-building events,  including the well-known "Beach Blanket Movie Night," as well as the "Holiday Tree Lighting" and "Paws in the Park".  She is a recipient of the California Parks and Recreation Society Volunteer Recognition Award.

Gerri is most proud of her successful effort to save the 3.44 acre parcel of land known as the Gateway Property for open space. She has also successfully fought against numerous development proposals that threatened public views, community character, and the fragile ecology of the nearby San Elijo Lagoon.

Nancy Weare – Del Mar
Nancy has played a key role in the protection of sensitive environmental areas in the Del Mar area.  She helped found the Del Mar Lagoon Committee and the San Dieguito River Valley Land Conservancy for the purpose of protecting, revitalizing and managing two of the most important and productive ecosystems in the world. The San Dieguito Lagoon Resource Enhancement Program was ultimately adopted as an official planning tool by the City of Del Mar and received many national and local awards, including an Orchid for Environmental Design from the San Diego Architects Association in 1987. Nancy was also recognized for her work with a Joint Powers Authority to restore and preserve the San Dieguito Lagoon and its river valley watershed.

Nancy was president of the San Dieguito River Valley Land Conservancy for its first 6 years of existence. Its goal was to preserve and restore the 65-mile long San Dieguito River watershed from source to ocean and encouraged the formation of a multi-jurisdictional task force under the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) for the purpose of creating the San Dieguito River Valley Park.

Mayda Winter – Imperial Beach

Mayda works as a project/grant administrator for the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of coastal wetlands.  For the past 14 years, she has managed numerous restoration projects in and around the Tijuana River Valley, most notably, the South San Diego Bay Wetland Restoration Project that returned tidal exchange and improved water circulation to over 230 acres of former salt production ponds, restoring a wide range of historical coastal habitats.

Mayda was elected to the Imperial Beach City Council in 1996 and re-elected in 2000 and 2004.  During her 12 years as a councilmember, she served as vice-chair of the Metro Wastewater Joint Powers Authority, on the board of directors for SANDAG, and two terms as president of the League of California Cities.  Her community ties include five years as co-chair of the Imperial Beach Chili & Jazz Association and ten years on the executive board of the South Bay Union School District Education Foundation. She currently chairs the City of Imperial Beach Redevelopment Successor Agency Oversight Board.


Steve Padilla Builds Momentum In City Council Campaign


Padilla leads in fundraising and gains additional endorsements from
local Chamber of Commerce and State Representative

CHULA VISTA – Steve Padilla continued to build momentum for his campaign for Chula Vista City Council Seat 1 announcing new endorsements today and leading the field of candidates in fundraising according to just filed campaign finance reports.

Recently filed campaign finance reports show Padilla leads all candidates for City Council Seat 1 in total money raised, total contributions this year and cash on hand.  Padilla has raised over $20,000 for his City Council race.  Crucially, Padilla’s committee also has no debt and has taken out no loans.  Padilla’s lead this month continues a fundraising advantage he established last year.  Campaign finance reports are publicly available documents available at the City Clerk’s office.

Today, Padilla’s campaign also announced it has earned endorsements from Chula Vista’s elected state representatives, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez and State Senator Ben Hueso.

“I am humbled by the outpouring of support for my campaign for City Council,” said Steve Padilla.  “I am running for City Council to put progress ahead of politics and work with all sides to get things done for Chula Vista’s middle class.  The campaign is gaining momentum by the day with support from residents, small business owners, law enforcement and leading elected officials from every neighborhood in Chula Vista.”

In addition to his fundraising advantage and the endorsements from Gonzalez and Hueso, Padilla has earned multiple key endorsements in recent weeks.  In mid-march, the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce endorsed Padilla’s campaign for City Council.  The Chamber’s endorsement comes on the heels of endorsements from leading law enforcement groups: the Chula Vista Police Officers Association, Chula Vista Firefighters Association, San Diego County Deputy Sheriffs Association, and the San Diego Chapter of the Peace Officers Research Association of CA (PORAC).   Padilla is also supported by the San Diego County Democratic Party, San Diego Labor Council and Chula Vista Employees Association.

Steve Padilla is a small business owner, environmental advocate and lifelong Chula Vistan.  He is a former police officer who previously served on the Chula Vista City Council, as Chula Vista Mayor and Port Commissioner.  He lives in the Otay Ranch section of Chula Vista.

San Diego Security Officers Launch Campaign for Good Jobs

San Diego, CA | As the national debate over income inequality rages on, San Diego security officers joined local elected officials, faith, labor and community groups to launch their campaign for good jobs in the security industry at a town hall today.

Detailed in a new report, “Secure Good Jobs for All of San Diego,” raising standards for more than 9,000 private sector security officers in the area would inject $244 million into the local economy and help reverse a recent trend of declining middle-class jobs in San Diego.  

While private sector security officers in San Diego report a medium hourly wage of $10.50, sometimes a low at $9.00, with limited access to healthcare or benefits, security officers in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, who have joined together in a union, are paid a minimum of $12.55 an hour, have employer-paid healthcare, paid sick days, vacation days and holidays along with a stronger voice on the job.

“I take my job seriously because I’m a first responder charged with keeping people safe,” said a security officer from San Diego. “Security officers put our lives on the line. We should at least have good jobs with pay you can raise a family on, affordable healthcare and full-time hours.”

"Before we had a union there was always uncertainty – nothing was guaranteed," said Mike Malley, a union security officer from San Francisco. "Now with a union contract, we have consistent hours and a stable schedule. Our pay has improved which means I’m no longer living paycheck to paycheck. I can pay my rent and have money leftover for bills and to live an enjoyable life. I have the peace of mind that comes with affordable healthcare and the dignity that comes with being treated with respect on the job."

Joining security officers at the campaign launch were San Diego City Councilmembers Sherri Lightner, Todd Gloria and David Alvarez, representatives for state and federal elected officials and a broad coalition of faith, labor and community organizations dedicated to lifting the local economy with good jobs.

"We’re here today to stand with security officers who are taking the brave step of joining together to improve their jobs," said San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria. "It’s a step they need to take to support their families. And it’s a step we all need them to take so we can start turning San Diego’s economy around and lifting our communities with better jobs."


SEIU United Service Workers West represents more than 40,000 janitors, security officers, airport workers, and other property service workers across California. For more information on security officers around the country joining together for better jobs, please visit

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Legislative Committee Explores Solutions to San Diego’s Higher Ed. Needs

SAN DIEGO - Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Higher Education in San Diego County, will hold an informational hearing of the committee on Friday, March 28th, 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM in Rm. 301 of the Mission Valley Campus of Point Loma Nazarene University, 4007 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, 92108.

This hearing will focus on the role of private for-profit and non-profit educational institutions in meeting San Diego’s higher education needs, including addressing issues of access and diversity. Members of the public are invited to provide their perspectives.

“Our first hearing last fall established that we don’t have enough capacity to meet San Diego’s current or future post-secondary needs, especially for minority students” Weber said. “Moving forward, I want to make sure that we have a thoughtful plan to meet the region’s demand for higher education that is affordable, accessible and diverse.”

Testimony provided by California Competes at the committee’s first hearing in San Diego last November noted that the region would need to increase its degree attainment by about 58 percent over the next decade for the state remain economically competitive.

Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego), a former faculty member and department chair at San Diego State University, requested the creation of the committee to explore options for addressing the region’s growing demand for post-secondary education, including the possibility of a new CSU or UC campus. The committee will make policy recommendations to Legislature

To RSVP and for more information about the hearing, please contact Assemblymember Weber’s district office at (619) 531-7913.

Earned Sick Days Bill Approved by Assembly Labor & Employment Committee

Gonzalez’s AB 1522 Would Require Workers Are Compensated For At Least Three Days Lost To Illness Annually

SAN DIEGO – (Wednesday, March 19, 2014) – A bill authored by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to guarantee employees in California can earn and use at least 3 sick days per year was approved by the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment today.

Assembly Bill 1522 (Gonzalez) passed by a vote of 5 to 1, with every Democrat on the committee voting in support. The bill will move on to the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary, where it will likely be considered on .

AB 1522 aims to reduce the impact that illnesses have on the state’s working families as well as the health and safety of employees in the workplace. Additionally, Gonzalez said that providing employees with paid sick leave could reduce health care costs by allowing workers and their family members time to visit a primary care physician to address an illness rather than rushing to an emergency room to seek care due to their fear of missing work.

“Both workers and their employers lose out when employees have to choose between reporting for work while sick or losing pay because they don’t,” Gonzalez said. “Every time this choice comes up for a sick employee, everyone loses money – whether it’s through unnecessary emergency room costs, the billions of dollars lost in productivity annually when sick employees try to work while under the weather, or lost wages that impact whether working families can put food on the table.”

Under AB 1522, workers in California would accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked and employers would have the option of capping an employee’s paid sick leave at 24 hours, or 3 days. Other states and cities – including Connecticut; New York City; Portland, Ore.; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco – have already adopted paid sick day laws.

According to the “Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink,” published last week by former First Lady of California Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, “An overwhelming 96 percent of single mothers say paid leave is the workplace policy that would help them most.” Assemblywoman Gonzalez, a single mother herself, said she agrees.

“As the dynamics of the modern family change, so does a mother’s ability to take care of sick children or hers own self when she falls ill at the same time she’s trying to hold down her job,” Gonzalez said. “Our economy has moved to a place where families cannot rely on a stay-at-home parent in times of illness. As a state, California must adapt to the reality facing today’s working families.”

Gonzalez said paid sick leave will provide relief to several economic consequences that occur when employees fall sick:

Economic security:  Workers without paid sick days have to go to work sick or stay home, lose pay and risk job loss or workplace discipline. Nearly one quarter of adults in the United States (23 percent) report that they have lost a job or have been threatened with job loss for taking time off due to illness or to care for a sick child or relative.

Just 3.5 unpaid days off can cost a family without access to paid sick days, on average, its entire monthly grocery budget.

Cost effective:  Working people with paid sick days are more productive and less likely to leave their jobs, which saves businesses money by reducing turnover. And “presenteeism” – when employees work sick – is estimated to cost our national economy $160 billion in lost productivity each year.

Reduce community contagion: Workers without paid sick days are more likely to report going to work with a contagious illness like the flu or a viral infection —and risk infecting others.

Nearly three in four food service workers (73%) and workers in child care centers and nursing homes don’t have paid sick days.  This poses a serious threat to public health.

Decrease health care costs:  If all workers had paid sick days, it is estimated that 1.3 million emergency room visits could be prevented each year in the United States, saving $1.1 billion in health care costs annually. More than half of these savings – $517 million – would go to taxpayer-funded health insurance programs such as Medicare and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

For more information on AB 1522, or to interview Assemblywoman Gonzalez about paid sick days, contact Evan McLaughlin at (916) 319-2080 or (619) 850-2790.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit .