Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What's New?

Our Democratic Legislature and Governor Have Been Busy

This is traditionally the time of year to look back at what's been accomplished and what is going to happen in the new year. We've got a lot to talk about.

New Laws in 2016

In a US Congress completely controlled by anti-LGBT Republicans who can't even cooperate among themselves to pass legislation, Representative Scott Peters managed to do the seemingly impossible this year by proposing and securing passage of an amendment to the FY 2016 transportation, housing and urban development appropriations bill to prohibit spending to housing and urban development contractors without LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination policies. In a year that has found us on the opposite side from Scott on some important issues, this singular accomplishment has been sort of lost. It shouldn't be.

At the State level, our legislative leaders have guided an incredibly productive and diverse set of laws through the legislature and onto the Governor's desk for signature. And our local Assembly members and Senators have been in the thick of it.

As of January 1st, California citizens will have the right to die with dignity under a specific set of requirements set to ensure that the decision is not made capriciously or by others than the individual with a terminal disease. And, under the Motor Voter law proposed by Assembly member Gonzalez, we should soon have citizens enrolled as voters automatically when they renew their driver's license. The bill becomes law on January 1st but because the DMV is asking for regulations and system funding before they can follow the law, it will not take effect until sometime later in the year. Still, in a era when many Republican legislators in other States are attempting to take the vote away from citizens, this expansion of democracy in California can't be underestimated.

Gonzalez needs to be credited with a number of other bills that become law later this week. Grocery store workers will be guaranteed (unless there are performance issues) at least 90 days employment after a new owner buys a grocery store or chain. Cheerleaders are now recognized as athletes. Executive bonuses for publicly regulated private utilities must first be submitted to CA PUC for approval if the utility has been charged with a State or Federal safety violation within the last five years. It will no longer be allowed to have law enforcement officers of the opposite sex be in sight of a strip search at a Juvenile Detention facility.

In addition to her duties ensuring all legislation moves through the Assembly, Speaker Atkins has also been very busy. Her legislation to close a loophole in CA law allowing elephant ivory and rhino horn to be sold by claiming it was owned prior to 1977 has been enacted, thereby helping to shut down the market for killing elephants and rhinos. Local CA fisherman can now sell direct to consumers like farmers. The California Air Resources Board will have two new members representing communities hardest hit by pollution. The Second Chance for Re-Entry act will reduce recidivism in California. Victims of domestic violence will no longer by re-victimized by needing to set up new phone service or continue to share service with their abuser. Under the new law, the victim may remove the abuser from existing accounts and continue to have access to the outside world. Thanks to Speaker Atkins work, low income workers will now be eligible for an Earned Income Tax Credit on their State taxes beginning with their 2015 tax returns.

Our other Democratic legislatures haven't been setting back either. Under legislation proposed by Senator Marty Block, Community Colleges will now be able to offer Baccalaureate degrees. Beginning with buildings constructed after 2016 with 200 or more occupants, a defibrillator (AED) must be installed on-site thanks to Senator Ben Hueso. Assembly member Shirley Weber is responsible for new laws tripling the number  of foster children eligible for supplemental educational services. Also, before CSU/UC campuses can enact "success fees", the uses, impact and cost of the fees must be submitted to students for a vote. Weber is also responsible for a new law requiring law enforcement to collect and make public information about police stops including the race of the person stopped, the reason for the stop and the outcome. 

Other significant legislation about to become law includes:

Childhood Vaccinations - except for children with significant health issues, all children must be vaccinated to attend public school. Unvaccinated children must be home schooled.

Fair Pay Act - employers can justify higher wages for men only if based on seniority, a merit system, quality or quantity of production of other "bona fide factor other than sex".

Reproductive FACT Act - pregnancy clinics must hand out or post information about low-cost contraceptives, prenatal care and abortions.

Search Warrants - A search warrant will be required to access individual's emails, text messages, Internet search history and other digital data

Ballot Fees - Filing fees for Statewide Initiatives will be raised from $200 to $2,000 in order to make unconstitutional or frivolous initiatives more difficult - or at least more expensive.  

Concealed Firearms - Concealed firearms are banned from college campuses and K-12 school grounds.

Sex Education - Sex education will now be mandatory for all students unless parents specifically opt-out. The law also requires revamp of curriculum to include HIV/AIDS education and discussion of the spectrum of gender identity.

Yes means Yes - health education will include instruction that students should get explicit approval from partner for sexual activity.

Gun Restraining Orders - allows family members to obtain restraining order to temporarily prohibit gun ownership for relatives they believe to be at risk of committing acts of violence.

Back Wages Liens - Allows the California Labor Commissioner to slap a lien on owner's property to recoup value of unpaid wages



We told you last week that we were within 10 "likes" of reaching 1000. We made it! As of last week we were at 990. We actually got 15 new likes this week but for some reason four people chose to unlike us so we stand at 1,001. Because of that, we're not taking anything for granted. Please like us...

If you haven't liked us yet, do it today at https://www.facebook.com/dems4equality. If you have liked our Facebook page, tell your friends to like it. The way Facebook works, it's a really bad bet to buy likes the way the County Republicans have, so it's important that as we grow our influence, we do it with people who are likely to support our goals. With your help, we can do this up right.

David Warmoth,


Next Club Meeting - Endorsements and Officer Nominations

As most of you know, the Club does not meet in November or December (you missed out big time if you didn't make the Holiday Party last weekend - see pics below). Our next Club meeting will be Thursday, January 28th, 2016 and we've got a very big agenda for the evening.

We will be opening nominations for Club officers (see the offices up for election below). Nominations will be at the January  28th meeting with elections at the February meeting - and the elected officers will begin their terms in March. We will also be considering a few technical By-laws changes to meet the County Party's requirements.

In addition we will be considering endorsements in two high profile election races up in 2016 - San Diego City Attorney and San Diego District 1 Council member. Candidates have been sent invitations and the Club's Candidate Questionnaire for completion (and scoring/copying before the meeting). Following Club procedure, the complete Questionnaires will be made available for study at the meeting but will not be distributed to members, candidates or guests before, or after the meeting.

We have invited Barbara Bry and Joe LaCava, both candidates for San Diego City Council District 1. We've invited Gil Cabrera, Rafael Castellanos and Mara Elliot as the known candidates for City Attorney. If you are aware of other candidates for these offices, please let us know so that invitations/questionnaires can be sent. Our By-laws do not permit us to endorse a non-Democrat.

The meeting will be held at Joyce Beers Uptown Community Center, 3900 Vermont Street, San Diego, CA 92103. Social Time 6:30 PM - Meeting at 7:00 PM.  


Give A Hand Up To Women Veterans

It's not a secret that women, as a group, are more economically disadvantaged compared to men as a group. This is a trend that crosses all lines whether it's racial, ethnic or employment status. A significant barrier to employment/better employment for homeless and underemployed women veterans is having clothes appropriate for the jobs they are trying to get. San Diego Democrats for Equality invites you to get involved and make a difference with these veterans working to improve their own lives by donating clothes, toiletries and money to the cause.


Club Officer Elections 

Recently, the Club changed our By-laws to allow for continuity of experience on the Club's executive board by mandating two year, staggered terms for officers. In January, we will be starting the election process for officer elections for President, Vice-President for Resource Development, Secretary and At-Large Board Member.

Officer Nominations

Officer Elections

Installation of Officers

If you are interested in election to one of the Club offices, or would like to nominate someone else, contact us HERE. Nominations will be accepted from the floor at the January meeting.


2016 All Peoples Celebration

Join us in honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by attending the 2016 All Peoples Celebration. Now in its 28th year, the All Peoples Celebration is the preeminent event in San Diego County where more than 1,000 business leaders, elected officials, faith leaders, community organizers, artists and students come together for an inspiring program and common goal of honoring the work and sacrifice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The event will take place Monday, January 18th 2016 from 10:00 - 11:30 AM at the Balboa Activity Center on the breathtaking grounds of Balboa Park. The program will be a dynamic commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement, featuring local musical and spoken work artists, multimedia presentations, and visionary speakers.

Tickets are $50 each. If you would like to attend with other Dems for Equality members, please let us know HERE.


 Celebrate 40 Years of Activism by Joining the Club

Democrats for Equality had a very successful 1st half of 2015 and we're well on our way to our goal of 400 members to celebrate our 40th Anniversary. Much of the progressive change in San Diego and in our community can be traced directly or indirectly through the work of our members.

We're not finished and we need you to get the job done. If you've let your membership lapse, NOW would be a good time to renew. If you want to be a part of the change, join NOW. Our members make history. Join us.

The Club depends on membership dues to keep the lights on and promote our candidates and issues to the community. A large number of community members depend on our Voters Guide to help them make an intelligent choice when marking their ballots so your membership renewal is critical to ensure those Guides get into those hands. At the risk of sounding like a Public Television pledge drive, if you depend on our endorsements, Voters Guide, newsletters, social media posts and programs, you should be a member! 
If your membership has lapsed or if you know your membership is soon to expire, please re-up now. You might also consider upgrading your membership to a higher level.

San Diego Democrats for Equality would like to welcome Andrew Simmerman as a new member of the Club.

You can find out more about the Club's membership levels and benefits online HERE. If you would prefer to use a check, send the check, made out to Democrats for Equality to:
San Diego Democrats for Equality
PO Box 33050
San Diego CA 92163
Note that in order to comply with Federal and State election laws, please include your full address where you are registered to vote and your job title/employer with your check. Telephone number and email address would be nice too!

Holiday Party - San Diego Style

We're not sure whether it was the spectacular view, or, the incomparable hosts in Susan Guinn and Denice Feldhaus, or the incredible turn-out of Officeholders, candidates, guests and members of all the participating Clubs, but the Holiday Party was an incredible success. 

A big crowd from Martin Luther King Jr. Democratic Club, UCSD College Democrats, Asian American and Pacific Islander Democratic Club, SDSU College Democrats, Chicano Democratic Allianceand San Diego County Young Democrats joined with us to  reflect on the year and plan for the future. Food and drink were wonderful and plentiful as was the conversation. We even managed to do a good deed and collect a trunk load of women's business wear for the Brown Bag Clothing Drive (see above) to help women veterans lift themselves out of homelessness and poverty by getting a better job. (If you didn't get a chance to donate, you still can by contacting Club member Matthew Rice at the link above. 

For all the members who joined us, thank you for being there. For those who couldn't make it, we hope we get to see you next year. For all, Happy Holidays!

Like Us, Really Like Us
San Diego Democrats for Equality's Facebook page has been number 1 among County Democratic Clubs for a while now. Even so, we've got quite a few new members so we're putting this out again. Please Like Us! Facebook includes the number of likes on a page as part of their complex algorithm to decide if our posts should be widely distributed or not. If you like us now, more people will see our Voter's Guide in their timeline next year. Twitter has different rules, but the effect is the same. The more people who follow us on Twitter means more people seeing our Tweets.

If you are on Facebook or Twitter and you haven't already liked/followed us, please do it now.




Dems for Equality Endorsed Candidates 2016

                                    Hillary Clinton

            US Senate
                                           Kamala Harris

                      CA-53          Susan Davis
                      CA-52          Scott Peters

            California Senate
                      SD-39          Toni Atkins

            California Assembly
                      AD-78          Todd Gloria
                      AD-79          Shirley Weber

            Board of Supervisors
                      Dist 3         Dave Roberts

            San Diego City Council
                      Dist 3         Chris Ward
                      Dist 7         Justin DeCesare
                      Dist 9         Georgette Gomez     

                      Sub-Dist D    Richard Barrera
                      Sub-Dist A    John Lee Evans


As we work toward a better future for our community and Country, take a couple minutes to remember what we've already done with a short history of the our accomplishments.

Ashish T. Agrawal & Bryan H. Wildenthal 
Assembly SpeakerToni Atkins 
Laurie Black 
Susan Guinn & Denice Feldhaus
Eric Isaacson & Susan Weaver 
Chris Kehoe & Julie Warren
John McConnell & James Kinney 
Don Mullen
Dr. Bob Pedrick & Josť Guzman 
Matthew Rice
Craig Roberts 
Stephanie J. Swift


Thank you for your continuing support of San Diego Democrats for Equality.

Self Evident Truths
David Warmoth, President 
San Diego Democrats for Equality 
Defending LGBT Equality since 1975
Email: info@democratsforequality.org