ACLU Annual Meeting

This past November, the local and statewide political landscape shifted dramatically, creating new political realities that could threaten civil liberties. While the rise of extremists elsewhere in the country got major coverage, little attention has been paid to the return to power of nativist extremists in Escondido, and to a series of structural changes to California’s electoral system.

Those changes include a new process for how congressional and legislative districts are set and a new primary system, with the top two vote getters advancing to a runoff election. These may or may not pose risks to civil liberties, but coupled with the disappointing loss of the DREAM Act and polls showing that more Californians
support Arizona’s race-baiting SB 1070 than oppose it raise concerns.

Locally, the Escondido Police Department has launched the first-in- the-nation pilot program in which federal immigration agents are based in the station and ride along with officers on calls. The department runs regular checkpoints and stops based on minor infractions like tinted windows that lead to families being torn apart. This presents chilling civil liberties implications for all people of color. Our speakers will analyze the current scene and lead a dialogue on ways that civil libertarians can respond most effectively.

Vince Hall, Vice President of Public Affairs & Communications, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest

Bill Flores, Co-Founder, El Grupo

Date and Location:
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, 12 noon – 1:30 p.m.

The meeting takes place at:
San Diego ACLU’s Downtown offices
[Because of security concerns, we do not disclose our physical
address in print. Please RSVP to (619) 232-2121 or info@ and we will give you the address.]

We will provide a light buffet lunch, or you may bring your own. Donations of $10 for the buffet are encouraged. Please let us know if you’d like us to order you a lunch.

There are many reasonable (between $5-8) parking lots and 2-hour meters within easy walking distance. When you RSVP, we’ll give you our address and a list of nearby lots.

RSVP by February 11th
Email and let us know if you can attend and want us to order a lunch.

The Nominating Committee proposes the following ten nominees to the Board of Directors and four nominees to the Nominating Committee. Nominations may be accepted from the floor with the consent of the nominee.


Dr. Nasser Barghouti is president of the San Diego chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), which focuses on civil rights and empowerment of the Arab-American community.He is chair of the San Diego Coalition for Justice in Palestine. Originally from Palestine, he grew up in Egypt and immigrated to
the US in 1981. Barghouti received a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D., all from Columbia University. He is a co-founder of Objectiva Software Solutions, a software services company based in San Diego. He is a long-time human rights and civil rights activist and member of both Amnesty International and the ACLU.

Elizabeth Camarena is an attorney in private practice with the law firm Luna & Associates, LLC in San Diego, California. She specializes in immigration law with a focus on representing international professionals, businesses and entrepreneurs. Camarena is a graduate of U.C. Hastings College of the Law. Her work within the immigrant and asylee community expands over 20 years. In association with Casa Cornelia Law Center, Camarena has advocated for the immigrant community and represented victims of human rights abuses in San Diego and Imperial Counties since 1994.

Jeff Chinn is associate director of the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law. He is responsible for the daily case management of all case files and supervision of staff and law students investigating claims of wrongful conviction in Southern California. Chinn works with exonerees after their release, including filing state compensation claims. He actively works with other advocacy organizations on public policy issues focusing on criminal justice reforms. He received a B.A. from the University of California,
Berkeley and a J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law.

Ruben J. Garcia was elected to the affiliate board in 2008 and is active on the Outreach & Membership Committee. Ruben is a professor at California Western School of Law. His scholarship is in the area of labor and employment law, focusing on the roles that race, gender, immigration and globalization play in the world of work. Before teaching, he practiced law on behalf of unions and employees in Los Angeles. He holds an A.B. from Stanford, a J.D. from UCLA, and an LL.M. from Wisconsin. He also serves on the advisory board of the Employee Rights Center.

David R. Higgins, Ph.D., was elected to the affiliate board in 2008. He serves as Board President and on several committees. With his extensive background in biotech, David consults for several companies. He has held positions at Invitrogen, Chiron, and Idun Pharmaceuticals. He was Executive VP for Business Development and Head of US Operations for BioMedica, Inc. David has volunteered for Positive Prevention, Rolling Readers, and the SD Museum of Natural History. He was foreman of the 2006/2007 SD County Grand Jury. David earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics from the University of Rochester.

Jon Lin is a national sales manager for the Sony Corporation and has held various positions since 2000. Lin has been an active volunteer with the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. He moved to San Diego with his family when he was three years old from Thailand and has been a resident of the City since then. Lin would like to focus his attention on outreaching to Asian and youth communities to promote the work of the ACLU. Lin graduated from the University of San Diego with a B.A. in business and finance.

Jim McElroy has been in private practice in San Diego for over 30 years specializing in civil litigation and civil rights. McElroy is a Master in the American Inns of Court, past President of the San Diego Inn of Court, past Chair of the Board of Directors of the Southern Poverty Law Center and board member of the SPLC and Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. McElroy was awarded San Diego County Bar Association’s Service to the Legal Profession Award, the Outstanding Attorney of the Year Award, the National Civil Rights Award from the Anti-Defamation League.

Joanna A. Tan is a finance and strategy consultant. She was most recently the chief financial and operating officer at Envision Solar, where she led the company’s business strategy development and execution and took the company public via a reverse merger. Tan was a vice president at American International Group and worked for J.P. Morgan in Asia. Tan received her B.A. in Government from Cornell University and holds an M.B.A. in Finance and a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University. She volunteers at Helen Woodward Animal Center and on two Surfrider Foundation committees (Rise Above Plastics & Ocean Friendly Gardens).

Paul Wong is the dean of the College of Arts and Letters at San Diego State University and serves as director of SDSU’s International Partnerships, the Social Science Research Laboratory, the Hostler Institute for World Affairs, and the Confucius Institute. Wong received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and held diverse appointments at universities in the United States. Wong
has served as a consultant for organizations including the U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission and Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Wong has published on comparative racial and ethnic issues, education, poverty and welfare, community studies, and policy analysis.

Andy Zlotnik is a licensed California attorney, real estate and insurance broker and founder of Zlotnik Law a boutique law firm specializing in real estate and corporate finance. In addition to his corporate activities, Zlotnick has helped organize and advise multiple nonprofit organizations. Zlotnik’s passion for civil liberties issues arose during his years as a labor organizer prior to entering law school. Zlotnik received his B.A. from the University of Virginia and J.D from the University of San Diego. He has been a member of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties’ Budget & Finance Committee since 2009.


Debra Coplan moved to San Diego 18 years ago. Before moving to San
Diego, she worked in graphic design/advertising having graduated from
Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. She has been involved groups that support social justice, initially being exposed at a young age through her parent’s involvement in the anti-Vietnam war and the civil rights movement. She is particularly concerned with women’s reproductive rights and has attended meetings and demonstrations
for NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood. Coplan is on the Advisory Panel of the UCSD Free Clinic which provides medical services to underserved communities.

Lorena Gonzalez is the secretary-treasurer/CEO for the San Diego and
Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO, a coalition of 130 unions,
representing more than 189,000 working families in the region. She is the first woman and first person of color to head the organization since its inception in 1902. A graduate of Stanford University, she received a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from UCLA. Gonzalez is a vice president on the executive council of the California Labor Federation.

Bob Nelson is an advertising and public relations entrepreneur. He was President Clinton’s small business representative on the U.S. Competitiveness Policy Council, and board chair of San Diego’s Convention Center Corporation, LGBT Community Center,and Revenue and Competitiveness Commission. Nelson was a director of the Public Utilities Advisory Commission and San Diego Theatres, Inc. Other local service includes the San Diego County DA’s Community Advisory Board, Citizens Academy Planning Group, and Reentry Roundtable. He is a former board member of the Orange County Health Planning Council, Saddleback Community Hospital, and the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies.

Dana Shertz has more than twenty five years of executive experience at EnDev Enterprises, MacGregor Golf and Callaway Golf. The EnDev team is credited with helping to revitalize San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter nightlife with the openings of Stingaree and Sidebar. Shertz co-chairs the board of CONNECT’s Sport Innovators, and serves on the executive committee of St. Vincent de Paul Villages. He is currently the managing partner of “Art of the Unconscious,” the name of an artistic process developed by Max Shertz, and the name of the business formed to
manage the artist’s work.