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Supporting working families, micro-businesses and visiting La Mesa landmarks



Since I wrote my first column for La Mesa Courier, the Board of Supervisors has advanced several measures to support young people who want to turn their lives around and provide financial support to struggling micro businesses. I also made another visit to La Mesa and had an opportunity to meet some great people.

In February, the Board of Supervisors passed a Working Families Ordinance I co-authored to require the use of a skilled and trained workforce and provide for a prevailing wage on construction projects on County land. It is important workers on county-owned land are paid fairly for their hard work. San Diegans should be able to support their family with good jobs and fair rules to protect them. We felt it was important for the County to become an example for others, and so we took the first step by requiring these workplace standards to reduce poverty and promote the middle class.

Helping families includes looking out for our youth. We recently cut the ribbon on a brand new Youth Transition Campus in Kearny Mesa that was built to give young people the opportunity to turn their life around. This new campus is a place where young people who want to change their circumstances can receive the encouragement, treatment, education, support and skills they need. This is the type of place that could inspire them to get on a path to a better future, maybe even become an entrepreneur.

As a parent, you want all kids to thrive, whether they are yours or the children of someone else. The reality is that no matter how hard you try to raise your children the right way, there is always the potential they could fall in with the wrong crowd or make some poor choices that get them in trouble. Recognizing that, the County has changed its standards for how we take care of youth who enter our justice system and are assigned to the probation department. We want to give every one of these youth a chance and opportunity to get their life back on track.

Lately, we know our small business owners have been struggling, and the Board of Supervisors recently approved $3.875 million in funds to help 1,550 micro-businesses that have faced historic barriers to accessing capital. When you’re a business owner that employs fewer than five full-time workers, the margins can be thin and every dollar matters. The action we took is a small step we can take to support our local small businesses.

The micro-businesses that receive the grants can use the money to purchase equipment, invest in working capital, apply for new permits, and for debts and costs accrued because of COVID-19.

To apply for a grant, or learn about any of the programs I discussed in this column, please visit

I had another opportunity to visit La Mesa. During my most recent trip, I made several stops including the La Mesa Veterans Club. Retired United States Air Force CMSgt Jack Porath kindly gave me the tour. He shared the history of the facility, and I learned of all the great organizations that host their events there. The La Mesa Veterans Club is a tremendous asset for our Veterans and the citizens of La Mesa.

I also met with Mary England, the CEO of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce. We talked about the strength of the local businesses community, and the resilience La Mesa businesses have demonstrated over the last couple of years. We took some time to stop into some businesses: Brew Coffee Spot where I met with one of the owner partners, Joe Paraiso, and Nonno’s Ristorante Italiano where I met with Gerado Ortiz and his wife Lisa. I look forward to visiting La Mesa again soon.

If you need to contact my office, please call us at (619) 531-5544 or email and follow me on social media. To invite me or my team to your organization’s meeting, request a proclamation or grant, and learn about the work we’re doing, visit

Read the entire column here.