(Click Play Button Below to Listen to Episode 1 – 16:24 minutes)
The miracle of modern medicine means that a child born 10 weeks premature today in America has an incredibly strong chance of survival. In 1975, when I was born 10 weeks premature (at 2 pounds, 8 ounces), the chances were not so high. It didn’t help that I was born to a mother with a disability and mental illness, who grew up poor in the segregated south, and lost her own mother at age four.
What saved me was the love of an incredible couple named Tom and Phyllis Passons, my foster parents (who later adopted me), the support of the San Diego County child welfare system, hard work and a bit of luck. In this first episode of my podcast series I open up a little about what life was like having over 100 foster siblings. I talk about how I ended up getting a Master’s Degree in Public Health – public health and human services is almost 40% of the County of San Diego budget – and then found my way to a legal career in a subject, land use, that is a major part of the County’s responsibilities.
From being inspired by my biological mother’s own bouts with homelessness on San Diego’s streets to being deeply committed to fighting for every child to have a strong start in life, this first episode helps explain who I am. It also explains why I’d leave the law and seek to improve the lives of millions of San Diego County residents.