Feb 15 – Meet Lori Saldaña the Next Mayor of San Diego

lori_banner_1170x315_FINAL-Come along and meet Lori Saldaña who is running a grassroots campaign to become the next Mayor of San Diego.

Despite the highly partisan nature of California politics, Lori has been a consensus-builder and an effective legislator. During six tough years in the state Legislature in Sacramento, Lori repeatedly built coalitions of Democrats and Republicans, and passed critical legislation signed into law by a Republican governor.

A San Diego native, Lori Saldaña grew up in Clairemont the third of four daughters. After her father retired from a 20-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps, Lori’s parents moved the family home to San Diego for good and settled in Clairemont in the 1960s. Lori’s experience as the daughter of a career Marine would later influence her legislative work on behalf of active-duty service members, veterans and military families.

After retiring from the Marine Corps, Lori’s father Frank joined the staff of the San Diego Evening Tribune in 1966, becoming one of the paper’s best-known and respected reporters. A full 26 years later, Lori’s father retired again when the Tribune merged with the San Diego Union in 1992. Lori’s mother, Virginia, was an active school and community volunteer who encouraged Lori to become involved in public causes from an early age.

Among the many bills penned by Lori during her time in the Legislature, one of the most notable is her work co-authoring California’s landmark Global Warming legislation. She served in the Environmental Caucus and was considered one of the state’s most influential environmental voices. In six years in the Assembly, Lori proved her commitment to conserving and protecting California’s natural resources, earning a 100% Sierra Club environmental voting record.

Serving on the Veterans Committee, Lori wrote several pioneering pieces of legislation for veterans and military families.

Lori is particularly proud of AB 599, a law which ensures California’s veterans have increased access to mental health services.

In 2006, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed Saldaña’s California School-Age Military Dependents Act, designed to ease the difficulty military dependents face when transferring between school districts within California.

This was followed in 2009 by the Military Families Educational Opportunities Act, relieving bureaucratic roadblocks military children face when transferring into California schools from states with different academic, placement, testing and graduation requirements.

For her work on behalf of veterans, Lori was named the 2006 Legislator of the Year by the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers.

Advocacy, Community Action and Education
In 1969, the proposed alignment of Highway 52 threatened to wipe out many of the native oak and sycamore trees in San Clemente Canyon. In response, Lori and her family participated in a neighborhood movement to preserve the canyon’s native vegetation and wildlife.

This grassroots movement resulted in a CalTrans agreement to build the present-day freeway slightly north of the proposed location. The resulting open space today is Marian Bear Natural Memorial Park, located between North Clairemont and University City.

With this experience, Lori saw the power of community activism, and the power of ordinary people armed only with a cause and persistence succeed in making a difference in the future of their community.

A product of San Diego’s public schools, Lori attended Whitman Elementary and Einstein Jr. High (now Kroc Middle School), graduating in the top five percent of her class from Clairemont’s Madison High School in 1976. She also attended Clairemont High School during the summer of 1974. Many of the friendships she forged at these schools were rekindled years later when she began knocking on doors in Clairemont to run for the State Assembly.

Lori attended Mesa College for one year, going on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (1980) and a Master of Arts (1990) from San Diego State University.

When teaching jobs were scarce after her graduation, Lori spent a year supporting herself as a union carpenter’s apprentice, helping build the Pacific Beach post office. This experience taught her the value of technical-vocational training, and reinforced her commitment to workforce development and San Diego’s working families.

Workforce Development Educator
Lori began her career in education by coaching field hockey at Clairemont and Madison high schools, and basketball at Hoover High School and San Diego City College. She later moved to the classroom as a popular instructor of Business Information Technology for the San Diego Community College District.

Early on her teaching career Lori knew firsthand the critical link between education, career development and jobs. She committed much of her early professional years teaching writing, business communication, information technology and workforce development programs. These classes provided opportunities for skilled employment, self-sufficiency, educational advancement and public service for low-income and at-risk youth.

Lori developed and managed several educational and technical job skills programs, including a $1.5 million Technology Workforce Development grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for the San Diego Community College district.

In 2002, Saldaña was promoted to Associate Dean, Director of Service Learning Program, at San Diego Mesa College. This successful program provided students with experience working in local volunteer organizations while earning college credit.

Lori applied her expertise in vocational and technical education to her work in the Legislature’s California Technical Education Coalition (CTE), a bipartisan group of legislators dedicated to the advancement, promotion and expansion of Career Technical

Education
Preserving San Diego’s Natural Resources and Protecting the Environment
Lori has continued working on environmental issues throughout her career. She co-founded San Diego’s first Earth Day celebration in 1990, and was appointed by Mayor Maureen O’Connor to serve as the Chairwoman of the City of San Diego Wetlands Advisory Board from 1992 to 1994. From there, Lori went on to serve as the Chair of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Chapter of the Sierra Club from 1994 to 1997.

In 1999, President Bill Clinton appointed Lori to the Border Environment Cooperation Commission’s Advisory Council to review, plan and fund water quality improvement projects in the 10 U.S. and Mexico border states.

From 2000 to 2003 she served as the U.S. Co-Chair of the Advisory Council, helping manage over $60 million in investments in the San Diego-Tijuana region, including water reclamation and sewage treatment projects.

Since 1994, the commission has invested billions in creating cleaner water along the U.S. and Mexico border. As a result of this work, Lori received an environmental policy research fellowship at the Center for U.S. and Mexico Studies at UCSD.

Legislative Accomplishments
In 2003, Lori decided she could do more for her community by running for the State Legislature, and walked door-to-door and talk with neighbors from Clairemont to South Park to learn more about their day-to-day concerns. Lori attributes this personal touch for winning the 2004 election over well-funded and politically-connected rivals.

Lori served three terms, including in Assembly leadership as Assistant Majority Whip, Speaker Pro Tempore and Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

She also served as Chair of the Assembly Committee On Housing and Community Development, where she successfully expanded access to affordable housing throughout California. She also chaired the Assembly Subcommittee on Base Closure and Redevelopment, where she helped protect state tidelands near California’s bays, harbors, beaches and waterways.

Improving the Lives of Military Families and Veterans
After experiencing the challenges of military life in her own family, Lori has dedicated much of her legislative career to improving the lives of California’s veterans and military families.

Among her early legislative successes was AB 599, a law which ensures California’s veterans have increased access to mental health services. This is especially crucial in California, where thousands of service members are returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and are dealing with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In 2006, Lori’s California School-Age Military Dependants Act was signed into law, which aims to ease the difficulty military dependents face when transferring between school districts within the state.

This was followed in 2009 by Lori’s Military Families Educational Opportunities Act, designed to alleviate many of the roadblocks to academic success that military children face when transferring to California schools from states with differing academic, placement, testing and graduation requirements.

Lori also successfully championed re-opening the state’s preschools to military children after many were denied enrollment when an inaccurate accounting system counted housing allowances as part of a family’s income, thereby disqualifying them from programs for low-income families. This legislation has prevented the closure of many local preschools near military housing.

For her work on behalf of veterans, Lori was named the 2006 Legislator of the Year by the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers.

Caregiving and Long-Term Healthcare for Seniors
Lori became aware of the health needs of seniors and the challenges of care-giving while providing assistance to her mother and grandmother.
Based on this experience, Lori formed the Legislative Caretakers Caucus and introduced laws to help seniors receive assisted living services in their homes, and ensure accuracy in insurance claim reporting.

The caucus also helped pass a law which requires greater transparency from long-term care insurance companies who drop policyholders.

Lori has also been an outspoken advocate of healthcare reform, and passed legislation with then-Sen. Sheila Kuehl to provide medical coverage for all Californians.

Environmental Legislation
Lori continued her lifelong work on the protecting the environment in the state Legislature, and has championed developing the state’s green tech economy and workforce, particularly as a co-author of AB 32, California’s landmark global warming legislation.

Lori made significant contributions to SB 1, the California Solar Roofs Initiative aimed at increasing the state’s capacity for solar generation and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. She also authored AB 1103 while in the Assembly, a pioneering energy benchmarking bill which has created jobs by encouraging the retrofitting of existing commercial building with energy-efficient insulation, lighting and HVAC systems.

In addition, Lori introduced bills to increase the use of green building methods and energy-efficiency features in new construction, to reduce hazardous materials in the state’s landfills, to provide tax incentives for the purchase of cars using alternative fuels, and to restrict the ability of non-compliant Coastal Act violators in acquiring permits to build in California’s coastal zone.

Community Outreach
While in the Assembly from 2004 to 2010, Lori balanced her work in Sacramento with community outreach events and town halls covering identity theft, first-time home-ownership, senior healthcare, assistance for homeowners associations, natural resource protection, hate crimes, and preventing home foreclosure.

She also partnered with constituents and community groups to remove thousands of pounds of trash and hazardous materials from San Diego neighborhoods and open spaces.

Primary Campaign for the 52nd Congressional District
Lori Saldaña is a popular political figure in San Diego with a reputation for integrity, vision and courage. In 2012, her grassroots campaign for the 52nd Congressional District was massively outspent by her wealthy opponent with more than $1 million, to Saldana’s zero dollars, in TV advertising. Nevertheless, Saldaña was edged out of victory by the razor thin margin of just a few hundred votes.

Personally Speaking
Lori was an athlete in high school and college, playing tennis, field hockey and basketball. As an adult Lori has been an active outdoorswoman, serving as a docent at the San Diego Natural History Museum, and leading outings for the Leisure Connection program at SDSU and for Adventure 16 in Mission Gorge.

Lori helped open San Diego’s first REI store in North Park, coordinating their weekly educational events and programs, administering annual service projects, and managing grants to local outings organizations.

In 2012 Lori returned to focus on her family and teaching as a Professor in the San Diego Community College District.

Today, Lori continues to be involved in activities which allow her to enjoy San Diego’s unique weather and topography. Among her interests are tennis, sailing, hiking, golfing, kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling.

Lori Saldaña is also an enthusiastic camper, enjoys fishing and whale watching, and even wrote a “how-to” book on backpacking based on her experience as an outdoor leader and teacher.


We’ll also hear from clubmember Nora Vargas about the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest #StandwithPP


When
Monday February 15, 7pm – Social Time from 6:30pm

Social Time
Members are encouraged to get together from 6:30pm before the meeting starts.
Please bring whatever light drinks/snacks that you’d like to share.

Where
AjA Project Building, 4089 Fairmount Ave, San Diego, CA 92105 (map)

The building is on the south-east corner of Polk and Fairmount, just north of University. Parking is also available at the adjoining Southern Sudanese and East African Community Centers on Fairmount Ave. Bus routes 7 and 13.

Questions?
Call or email (619) 900-4751  info@dwc-sd.org


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s