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Some 68 years ago I was born in Brooklyn with some obvious failings having been described as having two left feet and all thumbs. Nevertheless, I managed to overcome the inherited misspelling of my first name to graduate from the City University of New York -CCNY campus in 1971 with dual majors in history and political science despite having started in the legitimate field, though equally obtuse, of mathematics. With specialization in campus takeovers and mass marches against the foreign policy of the country at the time, I continued my education stumbling into and then out of the Ph.D. program in International Relations. But I became distracted by the international maritime container industry and marriage to my high school sweetheart who I’ve remained married to for the last 441/2 years. When I come home from City Council, she still reminds me to take out the garbage for the morning pick up.

My adult children Yvonne and Edi Junior credit me with outstanding growth and learning that seemed to blossom from the ten year period before they each turned 25. “Amazing what Dad learned,” they say. After living in Europe and travelling all over the world, I settled down in Concord in 1983 where wild turkeys will not drag families out of their homes, though sometimes laying siege to them.

Starting my small company in the maritime field in 1986, it continues to this day in intermodal equipment. Inspections require a combination of dedication to the truth of the situation with the diplomatic exercises to deal with those who hold a different truth in the same situation. A lifelong game hobbyist, especially in the game of Diplomacy, I have my own Wikipedia page for international game accomplishments and have held numerous championship titles in North America, Europe, South Africa, Russia, Italy, and Canada.  

Having entered the political field locally in 2010 when the Monument Police substation was closed over my objections, I’ve been dealing with the challenges of politics. I often remind myself that politics are the most expensive form of entertainment that our tax dollars are forced to buy.

Currently the mayor of Concord till December, I’m most proud of having broken the mold of what a mayor is and does, continuing to meet with everyone and anyone while avoiding dancing around issues. Rather, I prefer to just charge through issues with anyone who wishes to engage. I like to remind everyone not to tiptoe around things. Remember, government is either listening to you or to someone else.

I agreed to dance for this event to support the Clubhouse’s work helping to improve the lives of so many people in our community.

Edi Birsan

Mayor of Co‍‍‍ncord

Hello! My name is Joclar Dala I grew up in Concord, California and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where I majored in political science with a minor in sociology.

Currently, I'm an internship services specialist at Year Up Bay Area, a workforce development nonprofit. I'm passionate about closing the opportunity gap by educating young adults about how to mold themselves into competitive professionals in today’s job market and navigate employer rights and benefits. In the past five years I've used my knowledge and workforce expertise to connect more than 300 individuals to employment opportunities.

I’m also a Group Fitness Instructor at In-Shape where I teach Zumba! Being a teacher gives me the opportunity to make others feel happy through dance and exercise and make them feel empowered to control their health. I give 200% to every class that I teach and ensure that every student walks out of my class feeling satisfied.

In the past, I have volunteered at Emerge California and the Kimberle‍‍‍y Ellis Campaign for DNC Chair of California. I’m involved in my local community through my public service roles that I’ve held for over 4 years and participating in various Zumba Master Class fundraisers for organizations such as Habitat For Humanity, Contra Costa/Solana County Food Bank, and Victims of Hurricane Yolanda.

Outside of work I love cooking, dancing, hiking, exploring nature, and traveling. I always try to stay on top of any current events, politics, international affairs, and any news related to Star Trek. Yes, I’m a Trekkie!

My dance experience spans over 20 years starting at age eight when I started dancing Filipino Folk Dance with my sister for Likha Dance Company and Kasayahan of Cal Poly, cheerleading, and being a certified Zumba instructor for more than four years.

I’m dancing for “So, Do You Think You Can Dance? Reach For The Stars!” because I admire the work that the staff and volunteers of Putnam strive to achieve in supporting our brothers and sisters that have mental health challenges.

Joclar Dala

Talent Acquisition & People Deve‍‍‍lopment Champion

Zumba Instructor, In-Shape Health Clubs

PUTNAM CLUBHOUSE

Putnam Clubhouse is affiliated with Clubhouse International and follows the Clubhouse Model. Clubhouse program components involve doing the tasks needed to run the Clubhouse (cooking, clerical, fundraising, etc.), structured employment and educational opportunities,social and recreational activities, community support, outreach to other members, and participation in Clubhouse governance.  Putnam Clubhouse is the first Clubhouse International-accredited program to open in Northern California.

Meet Joclar and Edi! Learn more about them below. If they've earned your vote, click on the "VOTE NOW‍‍‍!" button below. Your donation amount will show how much you really like them. *wink*

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Joclar & Edi