At the recent La Mesa City Council meeting, one agenda item really stood out. It was a vote to approve government spending for Council Member Colin Parent's request for reimbursement to attend a NewDEAL Leaders Conference in Washington D.C.
The agenda item was placed on the Consent Calendar, meaning it was deemed to be routine and uncontroversial in nature. However, after I researched the entity putting on the training, I found the organization to be highly partisan. Their 'About' page states:
"The NewDEAL is a national network of rising state and local elected leaders who are pro-growth progressives. Our mission is to bring together leaders focused on expanding opportunity and to help them develop and spread innovative ideas to spur economic growth that is broadly-earned and sustainable." It is led by three Honorary Chairs: Senator Chris Coons (DE, DEM), Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10, DEM), and Mayor Steve Benjamin (Columbia, SC, DEM.)
The steep progressive slant of this organization then begs the question: Should taxpayer monies go to fund partisan training and seminars (for either party?) While the monetary amount was nominal ($1,350.00), my personal belief is that taxpayers should not be on the hook to pay for partisan events for elected officials on EITHER side of the aisle. If a training conference or seminar restricts attendance based on party, and is not open for ALL elected officials to attend, then taxpayers should not foot the bill.
Below are pictures of the agenda item, as well as the reimbursement request submitted by Council Member Parent.
I will be asking the La Mesa City Council at their next upcoming meeting to enact a policy to only reimburse for non-partisan trainings and travel. As stewards of our money, elected officials should only allow subsidies for training that's available to all - not just to members of a certain party, persuasion, or political agenda.
If you share similar concerns, I encourage you to make them known to ALL La Mesa City council members, as well as the City Attorney and City Manager.
Source: 1. https://pub-lamesa.escribemeetings.com/Meeting.aspx?Id=483b976f-fcb1-4813-b476-182894dd5019&Agenda=Agenda&lang=English&Item=79&Tab=attachments
3. NewDEAL Leaders - 'About' - https://newdealleaders.org/about/