Club Meeting (4/23): Immigration Reform

by Gabe Quinto

With Immigration reform changing day to day and becoming more bipartisan, the Club decided to feature the topic in this newsletter and at our upcoming April 23rd meeting.

To make sense of it all, the ECDC will have Attorney J Craig Fong speak on Immigration Reform. He grew up in El Cerrito and attended Kennedy and El Cerrito High Schools, graduating in the class of 1975.

J has been practicing law for over thirty years. Although his legal career started with large corporate law firms, handling bank mergers and acquisitions, he gravitated toward community-based and civil rights work. He served as Assistant Director of the immigration project of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (1989-1992), Director of the Immigration Project of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California (1986-1989), and Director of the Downtown Immigration Advocates, a nonprofit project of the United Methodist Church. In the 1990s, he also worked as an advocate for gay and lesbian civil rights as the Regional Director of the national civil rights organization Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund.

J has had his own immigration law practice in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles since 1996. His practice is devoted exclusively to immigration and nationality issues, focusing primarily on family-related cases, investor visas, intercompany transferees, and hardship and national interest waivers. He has also taught numerous Continuing Legal Education seminars, including some sponsored by the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Law Society of British Columbia, the Federal Bar Association, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

J was educated and trained at Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and the Coro Foundation. J, his husband, and their two cats live in Los Angeles and split their time between Southern California and Paris, France. And if that didn’t peak your interest, he’s also a life-long Democrat.

Emerge California Annual Event

by Carla Hansen

Emerge California is a non-profit organization that identifies and trains Democratic women to run for office, get elected and seek higher office. Noteworthy program alumnae include Rebecca Saltzmen, BART Board Representative District 3, London Breed, SF Board of Supervisors District 5 and Beatriz Leyva Culter, Berkeley School Board.

Each year Emerge honors a Woman of the Year. The 2013 honoree is United States Senator Barbara Boxer (who is also the keynote speaker at the event).

ECDC member Carla Hansen (Emerge Class of 2013) invites all Club members to attend the Annual Event and enjoy a great speaker, great sustenance and a beautiful venue on May 2nd. Here are the details:

• When: Thursday, May 2nd
• Where: San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco 94102. Accessible by BART- SF Civic Center Station
• What time: 5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

To purchase tickets:

For more information please contact Carla at (510) 375-4265 or

Club Meeting (3/26): Gun Safety Legislation

A Discussion with

  • Sylvia Moir, El Cerrito Police Chief, and
  • Mark Chekal-Bain, District Director for Assemblymember Nancy Skinner.

The ECDC March meeting will focus on efforts in the California legislature to advance gun safety legislation. We’ll hear from two people who have been intimately involved in the push: Sylvia Moir, El Cerrito Police Chief, and Mark Chekal-Bain, District Director for Assemblymember Nancy Skinner. Chief Moir has been actively consulting on a series of bills in the California State Senate, with ten separate bills currently in committee review. Meanwhile, in the Assembly, our Assemblymember Nancy Skinner has a bill that would require additional reporting of large sales of ammunition. We’ll have the good fortune to have these front-line experts help us sort it all out.

Following the formal presentations and Q&A, we’ll consider endorsing the Contra Costa County Central Committee’s resolution on gun safety,and discuss whether we want to bring up specific legislation for endorsement at our April meeting.

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, AD15
Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, AD15, has proposed AB 48, which we’ll discuss at the March meeting.