Fighting for our children: the impact of trauma on growth

Our StrongStarts4All plan recognizes the harsh role that childhood trauma plays in stunting growth and limiting lifetime opportunities.  We call for scaling the successful home visit model and providing more youth mental health support because we know both steps are necessary. The ACE study introduced ground-breaking research across all races and economic classes that revealed the significant impact of childhood trauma in the long-term.

These negative and harmful experiences are much more common than many people realize.  Approximately 20% of all adults in one national survey reported being physically abused as children and nearly 33% of all women reported sexual abuse as children. These traumas can have profound, lasting impacts and must be prevented or addressed as early as possible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has commissioned rigorous research regarding how to reduce the instances of childhood trauma.  Among the two most important steps are to promote positive community norms around parenting programs and to implement evidence-based programs for parents and caregivers.

Our StrongStarts4All plan builds on this and similar research in its very first target: increase home visits so expectant parents are better prepared when their children arrive. Having been raised in a foster home with dozens of teenagers who were abused and neglected, I can see that many people never got the nurturing environment that is critical to young children.  Equally problematic, given how much we know about the importance of early stage brain development, many expectant parents just don’t have the tools to cultivate that development from birth. Our plan helps fix this issue at the root cause – before the child is born.

The County of San Diego currently provides limited support for home visits. However, the need is far greater than the supply and with the federal government’s unwillingness to embrace this evidence-based approach the County must step in to support our children. This is a critical approach focused on long-term solutions for our region rather than quick-fix band-aid approaches that focus on symptoms of a problem.

Together, we can help children get the strong start they need to reach their full potential and avoid negative outcomes in the future.

Fighting for our youth: 43,000 opportunities for a better tomorrow

The San Diego region has experienced one of the worst collisions of public health epidemic and homelessness crisis in modern memory.  In response, as a result of substantial public pressure, we have reacted with a number of strategies that virtually all focus on symptoms of homelessness rather than the underlying root causes. Our StrongStarts4All plan aims to change that. Here’s how. Continue reading “Fighting for our youth: 43,000 opportunities for a better tomorrow”

Fighting for our youth: reaching their full potential

I am running to be the next member of the Board of Supervisors to fight for young people. Every child. Every neighborhood. Every part of the county.  We understand that having a safe, affordable place to live is critical.  This is why my campaign released our Housing4All plan to bring owning or renting a home within reach for more San Diegans.  But housing is just the start and our county can and must do more for young people. This post is an introduction to our StrongStarts4All plan to fight for every single child in our region. Continue reading “Fighting for our youth: reaching their full potential”

Veterans’ Day: Honoring the sacrifice

Each year, we take a moment on November 11th to honor our nation’s veterans and their families.  The holiday started as a celebration of the end of World War I and a hope that we would find a way to avoid war moving forward. Although only about 7% of San Diego County’s population are military veterans, we are a community with a very deep tradition of honoring the sacrifice they and their families have made. As a former Certified Nurses Aide in a Veterans Administration Medical Center, I have a very personal appreciation for that sacrifice and this is a day that makes me grateful for what by oldest brother, my brother in law, my uncle and many others have given in service to our country.

As someone who did not serve our country in this way, I imagine I am like many in our community who nevertheless very much wants to show respect for the people who did.

My answer: San Diego Veterans Coalition

This is a collection of a wide variety of Veteran-serving organizations throughout the County and provides a great opportunity for anyone looking to honor our veterans by giving of themselves. I will honor our veterans by learning from the members of this organization so that I can help serve them and their families. But these organizations also present great chances for people to give of their time or their financial resources to help.  I am grateful for the freedom I enjoy and the opportunity to work hard to ensure that every San Diegan has the same chance.

Fighting Hepatitis A – The long term battle

The County of San Diego is facing a public health crisis and while I campaign to be the next County Supervisor I am grateful to be the only candidate with a Master’s Degree in Public Health who has worked evaluating public health programs.  Our Hepatitis A outbreak is about a lot of things – none of which will be solved with finger-pointing or sound bites.  We need a fresh, diverse perspective on the Board that represents the residents of the Fourth District and has the personal and professional background to lead. Continue reading “Fighting Hepatitis A – The long term battle”

Craft Beer and progressive leadership

My campaign announced the public support of major figures in craft beer this week. San Diego’s craft beer industry represents over $600 Million in annual economic impact and is responsible for thousands of jobs in our region.  Endorsements from this community range from Peter Zien, the owner of AleSmith, a brewery rated number one in the world several times, to Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co. and many others who have shaped our county’s reputation for excellence in craft beer.  For me, receiving support from this community is about much more than the product, it is about what these people stand for and what the community represents.

Peter Zien, for example, employs a diverse staff that includes an African-American man who runs the entire warehouse – among the most important jobs in the brewery – and a number of staff who have resettled from Sudan. Douglas Constantiner of Societe Brewing Company, another public supporter, fights to make sure the minimum wage of his hourly employees is upwards of $16/hour. That’s a livable wage in San Diego for a job that does not require an advanced degree.

Craft breweries and the restaurants that feature their products tend to be civic-minded, to share my ethos about protecting our planet and supporting their employees.  They prove that being both progressive and business-minded are not only possible but desirable, and achieve great outcomes for the business, the employees and the communities in which they live.

I am proud to have the support of so many people in craft beer who take their roles as community stewards seriously and value their employees in ways that enable them to earn a decent wage for the work they perform.

Towards more safe, affordable homes (part III of III): Protecting our environment

This post focuses on a specific element of our Housing4All plan, the need to protect our natural resources, our environment, and do our part to stop global warming.  I have also posted about the two key sides of our approach in other posts. You can read about the community-based/government part of our solution here and improving the market realities to increase supply here.

What does a housing plan have to do with the environment?

The answer is basically everything.  It is worth adding that you can’t develop a comprehensive approach to housing without factoring in transportation and jobs. However, there is so much involved in each of these three elements that most people can’t really be expected to digest all three elements at the same time. Our campaign will release plans for regional transportation and economic development and then help you as a voter see how we plan to integrate all three concepts in a way that puts children first and supports our seniors in innovative ways.

How does your plan protect San Diego’s environment?

San Diego is beautiful. I grew up here and after living in other places I became even more certain that I want to grow old in the same place I grew up. In large part, that’s about access to beaches and bays, opportunities to hike and bike, and temperate weather that almost always feels climate-controlled. We developed the Housing4All plan with specific elements that will protect our environment while making San Diego more affordable. These elements are:

  1. Focusing growth. The County has a General Plan for growth and we believe with tweaks to the housing rules we can focus our growth to minimize environmental impacts to open spaces and our natural environment.
  2. Build where we have resources. The San Diego County Water Authority has identified areas that receive water service. By focusing building in those areas we protect the back country and wilderness for our children and generations to come.
  3. Put services closer to needs. We encourage changing rules to allow certain land uses like malls to be innovatively re-imagined as intergenerational centers, quality child care facilities, health care nodes, and other high-need uses that are placed close to homes so that we burn less gasoline.
  4. Encourage open space protection. Being smart about growth and protecting our watersheds will improve the natural filtration of our waterways while preserving San Diego’s beauty.

It is true that to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change, the County of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan focuses primarily on changing our energy sources. But to fully protect our environment, we can’t leave anything on the table – including making sure we protect the back country from development.

Our Housing4All plan rejects the notion that responsible building must come at the expense of natural beauty and preservation.  Community, the building industry and environmental advocates came together to develop a General Plan for growth and our plan respects that work while tackling the biggest crisis we face – housing affordability. We must lead on environmental protection while meaningfully addressing our housing affordability crisis. This plan strikes that balance.

Our Housing4All plan has four core principles. Enhance quality of life, improve reliability in rules, decrease overall cost, and protection of our natural beauty. To view or share a 30-second video about these pillars, click here. These are the principles of our Housing4All plan and what we need for all San Diegans.


Towards more safe, affordable homes (part II of III): Making the market work for all

This week, my campaign released our Housing4All plan (download HERE) to help make our region more affordable for San Diegans by taking on our housing crisis. I wrote about part of our solution – the community-based approach for subsidized homes – here.  This post focuses on some of the key changes we need to make to our regional housing approach that influence the market realities and can make homes more affordable. Continue reading “Towards more safe, affordable homes (part II of III): Making the market work for all”

Towards more safe, affordable homes (part I of III): The government’s role

This is the first of a three-part series on our Housing4All plan. Download the whole plan here. This post focuses on the community-based approach because frankly it is high time our region paid more attention to addressing the needs and opportunities for those most struggling to afford a home to live in. I use the term “community-based” to refer to our government’s role in this crisis because any participation by the county government truly is driven by us as a community. Continue reading “Towards more safe, affordable homes (part I of III): The government’s role”

Neighborhood Leadership: Trust is earned

When I was 23, I co-founded a health promotion non-profit organization aimed at promoting healthy choices and disease prevention in a working class community that was predominantly African-American and Latino.  I had been asked by a friend to work with the local university and the health department because those demographic groups had a track record of coming into a neighborhood and telling the neighbors what they needed rather than listening. I earned the trust of the people we worked with back then, not by inserting myself as a leader but by rolling up my sleeves, being humble, and helping where help was needed. That lesson has stuck with me over the years.

Our campaign has seen tremendous support from community members and leaders across San Diego’s fourth Supervisor’s District. These people support our vision in part because it is rooted in consistently held values that they know I have had for many years. But they also are public supporters of our campaign because I have taken the time to earn their trust by showing up, by being true to what I say I’ll do, and by not just having ideas but being willing to work to implement other people’s ideas and respond to their needs.

Every weekend we are bringing our message to voters across the Fourth District. We share the importance of supporting every child, caring for our seniors, tackling our housing affordability crisis and many other issues. We are proud to stand at a person’s door with the respect and support of community leaders with decades of involvement in San Diego and let them know our campaign will put their needs in this community first.