April 12, 2019
Way to ride: This week the Board of Supervisors approved our “Roadmap to the Future” to start to position San Diego as a national leader on electric vehicle infrastructure! I took Shawn Styles from CBS on a little James Corden carpool karaoke style tour of SD in an EV!
Thing to savor: I know it is a long season, blah, blah, blah. But come on Padres fans--our team is in solo 1st place and has more wins than any team in the National League. Just allow yourself to enjoy this incredibly young and exciting team playing really great baseball!
Cause you should support: The Mary Seau CTE Foundation was founded by Junior Seau’s sister, Mary, after his passing. Junior told her to “take care of the kid's brains” and she works to do just that--increase awareness and education to detect and treat brain trauma and enrich the lives of all those affected. Oh--she also works full time as a nurse. She is amazing.
En Espanol: I am fortunate to have several amazing native Spanish speakers on #TeamFletcher. They are always pushing me to show off my skills (or their teaching skills). I am not sure I will get many points for actual language ability but hopefully some points for effort:)
Tweet of the week: I love inquisitive kids--especially my own:) But this tweet is spot on and really cracked me up!
April 5, 2019
For the People: This week, hundreds of community members came to the FIRST ever County of San Diego Community Budget Forum! A packed house in City Heights heard from top county leadership on budget structure/organization and then we heard directly from the community on their budget priorities! It was a great evening!
Dream big: Senator Kamala Harris wants DREAMers to work on Capitol Hill. Smart move! The DREAMer who works in my Supervisorial office and was the campaign manager of my election is terrific! I don’t know anyone more committed to equity and opportunity for all!
Must read story: I have reached the summit of two of the “seven summits” (Denali and Aconcagua) and have Everest in my sites! But K2 is a MUCH more challenging mountain. Climbing this beast is intense but skiing down from the top had never been done. Well, National Geographic Adventurer of the year Andrzel Bargiel has done it. Truly insane.
Photo of the week: We got away on Spring Break to Big Basin Redwood State Park. All of our State Parks are great, but this is the only one home to the largest organism on the planet -- the giant sequoia tree! Along with waterfalls and views of the Pacific Ocean, you can see trees that are as tall as the Statue of Liberty and that predate the Roman Empire!
Tip of the (cowboy) hat): Goes to county music mega-star Brad Paisley and his wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley-- they just broke ground on a free grocery store in Nashville for those food insecure. They got the idea right here in California -- volunteering with their kids at a similar operation! You can support the good cause HERE!
March 29, 2019
Mental Health Matters: This week the Board of Supervisors passed our measure to not only repurpose county land previously designed for luxury condos to build mental health facilities but more importantly to create a regional network of these vital behavioral health centers! Thank you to all who stood with us!
#LetTheKidsPlay: Opening day of baseball season is one of my favorite days! Our Padres won and are above .500 for the first time in 1,390 days:) Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis promise to make this an exciting season. For the record—I love bat flipping, showboating and firey play—baseball should be fun!
Small town, USA: Climate change isn’t just a coastal issue about sea level rise and polar bears. Hamburg, Iowa has 1,100 people (about the size of my small town in Arkansas). This heartbreaking story details how in the absence of federal help, the citizens came together to fight climate change. And how they lost. This county gave Donald Trump 68% of the vote in 2016.
Tweet of the week: Speaking of Trump, this week we saw him double down on taking away healthcare from millions of Americans. The stakes couldn’t be higher—support your preferred candidate in the primary, but remember the goal:
Your excuse for not working out?: “An 84-year-old pole-vaulter isn’t putting her pole down anytime soon.” Florence “Fo” Meiler took up the sport at the age of 65 and doesn't have any plans to stop competing in pole-vaulting events around the world. Let her spirit motivate us all to move a little bit more!
March 22, 2019
Child Strengthening: Last week, the Board of Supervisors voted to restructure our board that oversees the child welfare system. I am honored to serve as Co-Chair of this body with Supervisor Greg Cox. Too often, children are forced to pay for the mistakes of adults and we owe them everything we can do to ensure a strong and stable life. We have a lot of work to do!
Documentary you should watch: The Central Park Five is an older documentary that I just saw. It's about five Black and Hispanic kids convicted of a brutal attack in Central Park. Under pressure and duress, they all confessed to a crime, they clearly did not commit. This shocking and heartbreaking film will make you think and rethink the justice in our criminal justice system.
Picture of the week: This week it was great to meet with Congressman Joe Kennedy. He has quite a name to live up to and he is certainly doing it. I am grateful he is serving our country!
Let’s go!: This week I stood with local leaders to announce encouraging signs that San Diegans are ready to invest in transit. As a member of the Metropolitan Transit System Board, we are going to get to work engaging our communities to see if we can bring a measure before the voters in 2020! As our region continues to grow, we need to invest in more sustainable transportation and transit.
Tweet of the week: Men can be really dumb.
March 15, 2019
Rise and Shine: I like to get an “Alpine Start” to the day--out of bed at 5 am. I love the time--it's quiet and the kids are asleep. I can read, workout and get ready for the day. This new book outlines the personal (and some scientific) benefits to this habit. I suggested this to a night owl friend of mine telling him, “you know, the early bird gets the worm.” He immediately deadpanned a response saying, “yeah, but the early worm gets eaten.” True:)
Engagement is good: This week, the County Board of Supervisors approved our measure to add an evening budget hearing--our democracy is stronger with more opportunities to engage and hear directly from those we serve. And we also took the first steps to create a platform for bold action to improve our child welfare system. I appreciate the support of my colleagues on both!
State the states: Of course, I know the 50 states. Wait, is that Vermont or New Hampshire? That happened while working with Zach learning the 50 states. Try this great website that tests your ability to properly place them all! My 10 year old now scores 100% in less than two minutes. (Tips: Nebraska has a notch, Vermont is shaped like a V, Connecticut “connects” New York to Rhode Island...).
Correlation is not causation: Diagnosis of autism has risen over the past few decades. Children have received vaccines over the last few decades. But that doesn’t mean the two are connected. By the logic of anti-vaxxers, the rise of autism has been caused by Jenny McCarthy -- it happened while she has been alive. But, as we know, correlation is not causation. We now have yet another study that shows what every other one has shown--vaccines do NOT cause autism. Not vaccinating children does cause preventable disease outbreaks. That causes death. Those are related!
Picture of the Week: One of these guys walked on the moon—the other one thinks that is incredibly cool! It was an honor to meet Buzz Aldrin. In addition to walking on the moon, he is the main character in probably two of my favorite internet videos of all time: Buzz Aldrin handles land moon denier and Buzz Aldrin reacts to Trump speech.
March 8, 2019
Getting things done: This coming Tuesday, we will be bringing before the Board of Supervisors a measure to increase access, transparency and public engagement in our budget process! This story mentions that pending item and does a quick recap of a few of the things we have been working on!
Grand Canyon just got grander: Rose Torphy is the newest member of the Grand Canyon’s Junior Ranger Program--she is 103 years old:)The national park is only 100 years old! She is committed to preserving this natural monument for generations to come. Her secret to long life? Exercise and a daily glass of wine 🍷
Story you might have missed: This is a very troubling story that shows despite low unemployment and high corporate profits, an all-time high number of Americans are missing their car payments. This shows a critical weakness in our economy--and the problem with relying on the stock market or GDP as a prime measure--wages are not keeping pace with growth and workers are falling further behind.
Happiest place on earth: Last Saturday, we escaped the daily grind to take the family to Disneyland. The downpour was a blessing as it weeded out the weak and gave us shorter lines:) Being there reminded me of a friend who was pulled over by a cop while driving into the Disneyland parking lot a few years back. My friend protested saying, “I thought this was the happiest place on Earth”. The Cop replied, “well I am happy, sign right here.”
Picture of the week: Always excited to have visitors come to our office. Even more excited when its Governor Gavin Newsom. Proud to call him my friend and Governor!
March 1, 2019
This week the Board of Supervisors approved a progressive proposal put forward by myself and my colleague Dianne Jacob. A big thank you to the environmental leaders who supported our effort!
Priorities Matter: The media plays a vital role in our democracy, but doing our job comes before talking about it. Pretty sure had I missed a vote to do an interview that would have been a story:)
You can’t make this “shit” up-literally ;) My wife tells me bathroom jokes are always bad—and this story validates her! A man in a Home Depot bathroom was heard saying, “You all need to get out of here because I’m fixin to blow it up”. Yup—turned into a 911 and bomb squad call:)
The art of the extreme: Free Solo won an Oscar for best documentary. I highly recommend this doc for all of those with adventurous spirit but know that it is tough to watch Alex Honnold scale El Cap without a rope! He is truly nuts!
Speaking of mountains: This weekend I climbed to the summit of El Cajon mountain. A great hike with spectacular views! Just one of many incredible parks and open space preserved and maintained by the County of San Diego.
February 22, 2019
NOT ABOUT THE SHOE: The Nike shoe of Duke superstar Zion Williams fell into pieces at the start of a high profile game. I don’t care about the shoe--I care about the injustice that the coach makes close to 10 million dollars a year, the NCAA makes a billion dollars off march madness, and the university sells jerseys with HIS NAME ON THEM. Pay the damn players! Don’t just give them shoes and a scholarship. Their labor and true value are being stolen.
Strong move 💪🏼: Los Angeles County is stepping up to address the problem that a huge percentage of those in jail are suffering from mental health injury. So they voted to tear down a jail and build a mental health treatment facility. Baseball is approaching so my “beat LA” chant is warming up, but on this issue, I say “bravo LA”.
Manny Mania: Speaking of baseball, what a week to be a Padres fan! I am beyond excited we signed Manny Machado! I feel the need to point out (for cynical ones out there--like the guy I sat with on the plane): you play 162 games a year in baseball, we will not win them all (more than half this year would be good), Machado will strike out a few times, probably make an error. But we are headed in a new direction!
Go Green: This week my office met with a group of environmental leaders to lay out a path so we can address climate change, water quality, air pollution, open space and a lot more. There was a lot of green this week--my first meeting at California Air Resources Board and getting ready for the vote on Tuesday to have County join the Community Choice Energy Movement--sign our petition to support that cause here!
Unsolicited tip: After all this rain, I imagine your shoes look terrible! Get a great shoe shine from my friend Joey (Joey’s Shoe Shine). He is a character with a compelling personal story of redemption and rehabilitation. He will make you smile and your shoes will shine. Be sure you tell him I sent you—he is also a voter in my district:)
February 15, 2019
Trumped: The County Board of Supervisors - yours truly included - voted to sue the Trump Administration over their inhumane and morally corrupt immigration policies. It is truly a new day in our county:) I am proud of the way San Diego County and our community has stood-up to Trump’s bully-tactics.
Overheard: Last week, we hosted Chelsea Clinton in San Diego for a discussion on transforming our foster care and juvenile justice system! Like myself, she grew up in Arkansas and laughed saying, “when I started my day, I never dreamed we would be talking about Smackover, Arkansas.” Yes, she has been to my little hometown:)
Social media reply of the week: Speaking of Arkansas, I couldn’t resist sharing this little Facebook exchange. Sadly, I don’t have time to respond to all the trolls out there, but it is important we point out facts and never back down from being on the right side of an issue:
This week in history :) On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years. Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist and first democratically elected and first black president of South Africa. His legacy lives on and continues to inspire social justice activism throughout the world.
Throwback: This one is a sad throwback. Last year this week, I had to say goodbye to my puppy, Jagger, who helped me 15 years ago when I came back from war. He was a sweet boy, with a strong spirit. On this last day, we shared a shared a final trip to the beach and all the peanut butter he could eat. I’m grateful these amazing creatures exist:)
February 8, 2019
Straight bragging: It is always cool to have the Governor come visit San Diego. Even better when he comes to praise the work our county is doing to help asylum seekers. Take a second to hear directly from Governor Newsom.
Kind of a big deal: Due to climate change, the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is one of the most unstable in the world. New research released this week from NASA outlines the frightening reality that a massive underwater cavity is accelerating the glacier’s decay.
If the Thwaites Glacier all melted it would raise the world’s oceans by over two feet—think about that San Diego.
Book I just finished: “The World As It Is” by former Obama National Security Aide Ben Rhodes is about as good as you will ever read on a political memoir. He talks openly and honestly about the challenges of navigating a complex world, the realities of politics and gives an incredible look into the day to day life during the Obama years. I can’t more highly recommend it.
Nailed it: If you watched the State of Union you might have noticed the honoring of 97-year-old World War II veteran Joe Reilly. Joe is truly the greatest generation and a wonderful man. A few years ago he joined us at a veterans event I hosted, and his words from that event about who we are as a people are some the most powerful you will ever hear.
Quote of the week: In Honor of Black History Month here is this quote from Bayard Rustin; an unsung hero from the Civil Rights Movement. The definition of intersectionality, Rustin was an openly gay man who advocated for both Civil Rights and Gay Rights.
"We are all one and if we don't know, we will learn it the hard way."
February 1, 2019
ICYMI: This week we had an enormous win at the County! The Board approved legislation we authored with Supervisor Greg Cox to provide a shelter for families and children seeking asylum in San Diego.
Never give up: The PGA tournament in San Diego last week featured big stars--Tiger plus whoever actually won:) But the biggest star is 37 year old, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, a Mexican immigrant who worked for 10 years as a laborer on a golf course and is now on the PGA tour! He didn’t make the cut this week, but is clearly winning in the game of life.
Now it makes sense: This LA Times story highlights efforts by Governor Newsom to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. I was struck the opponents didn’t have an argument against what he is doing, they just say he just wants to run for national office. It is good to the opponents acknowledge common sense gun control efforts have nationwide support!
More baseball (and documentary suggestion): Last week, I shared our countdown timer to spring training:) This week, I saw an incredible documentary, “Battered Bastards of Baseball”. This story tracks the Portland Mavericks--at the time, the only independent minor league baseball team. Team was started by Bing Russell (actor) and included a merry band of misfits, plus his son Kurt Russell. This moving story is about what can happen when the love of a game trumps profit or ambition.
Tweet of the week: I am thrilled to be have been appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to the California Air Resources Board! I hope to earn the support of the Senate through the confirmation process and get to work! Nothing better than clean air!
January 25, 2019
News story: Climate change is real and it is impacting the military and their missions. This article titled, “The awkward dance between Trump and the military over climate change,” details how climate change has become a matter of national security. It is clear that when it comes to climate change we need to do more.
Podcast that made me think: Gladiator is a podcast brought to you by the Boston Globe spotlight team (same folks who did the heartbreaking but important work on the scandals in the Catholic Church) that focuses on the tragic story of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. A tragic story of death, childhood trauma and the impact of CTE.
Something you might not know: As we head into another week of the federal government shutdown over what Trump calls a lack of commitment to border security, it is important to remember this study from 2013: “U.S. Spends More on Immigration Enforcement than on FBI, DEA, Secret Service & All Other Federal Criminal Law Enforcement Agencies Combined”
Key stat: We are 17 days, 9 hours and 44 seconds away from the start of Spring Training! Hope springs eternal for our Padres:) If you don’t want to do the math on the kick off of America’s Pastime here is a handy countdown timer!
Photo of the week: Ok--it isn’t from this week, but I love this picture of our family at swearing-in!