Tuesday, April 05, 2005
CA Gov. 2006: "The Tipping Point" (LIVEblog Part 1)Posted by Tim Tagaris
This is one thing I love about California, and San Francisco in particular, they don't play around. Bob Brigham is on-the-ground right now, phoning in updates from a large scale protest against California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The event: Arnold's $1,000 to $100,000 a plate fundraiser. Bob referenced it in a post earlier today, here are the updates. It looks like Govenator's re-election will not be as smooth as many anticipate:
Bob says that there are easily 3000 people there right now, and they are all over the place. He counted at least 10 telvision news trucks, 30 photographers, and 2 helicopters constantly circling overhead. He said he couldn't tell what the plane flying above had on it's banner, because it was directly overhead (that made me laugh). He told me that this is nothing short of a rock concert atmosphere.
Bob just called me back to let me know that there is a group forming to the side that is going to attempt to block the Governor from even entering the event. Firefighters are all over the place with signs that read, "Not my neighborhood firehouse," and are holding professional looking signs with burning buildings demanding that local firehouses be kept open. Other signs read: "Money for schools not corporate interests"
Bob's quote to me was: "It looks like the tipping point. There is blood in the water. The race is going to be extremely competitive."
He also mentioned that Assemblyman Mark Leno was rushing down from Calfifornia to speak at the event.
More on everything (updates) in the extended entry--cause Bob keeps calling.
UPDATE: Bob just called back and put his phone in the air to let me hear the chant, "RECALL ARNOLD."
He says that every single off-duty emergency personnel is there to protest George Bush and Arnold. The police are now breaking out more barricades. Bob claims that there are more off-duty police officers on the people's side of the barricades than Arnolds.
"They are taking over the street now. The street is shut down. There are about 50 people on the middle of the street, they just took it over." "There are smoke-bombs going off." He is laughing/coughing. "I am right in the middle of all of this, this is amazing."
There are green smoke bombs going off--green and gray smoke going off all throughout the crowd.
"We have the street" -- "We have taken the street." "The cops have no interest in restoring control. The police are laughing." Bob has no idea how Arnold will even get inside his fundraiser.
The limos that were approaching the hotel, the motorcade, has been surrounded by protestors. Traffic is shut-down. The situation is completely out of control. The dirt-bike cops are leaving. It is all shut down he says.
The police just tried just arrest somebody, and the crowd started chanting "shame on you," -- the cops let him go. And now that same guy is leading the march to re-take the street, and Bob is right next to him wearing his BlogPAC hat.
They had the guy cuffed, uncuffed him, and now he is leading the charge the re-take the street.
Bob just put him on the phone for me to interview him. His quotes:
"If I felt any better I would be the cupcake, like the sprinkles. Its about taking back the power."
He just told me that when the cops cuffed him, he told them he was out fighting for their rights as well. Then they patted him on the back, uncuffed him, and said, "let's get this thing going," and sent him on his way.
He said he is not worried about getting arrrested -- not for this cause this cause. He would pay a fine go home, feeling good, and he would hang that citation on the wall.
Five reporters were waiting to interview him while he was on the phone with me.
COPS ARE GETTING OUT OF CONTROL. IT IS GETTING VIOLENT, Bob says. They are shoving people all over the place.
Backup called for: The California Highway Patrol is there.
The banner on that airplane I referenced above was paid for by Calif. Nurses Association and it said, "Arnold, Calfornia is not for sale."
Arnold is going to enter the building on the opposite side of the building that the protesters shut down the street. The police are now marching down the street in lock-step.
The violence has worn down. Bob said that the cops ruthlessly arrested one guy and hauled him into the hotel. The crowd is swelling, Bob puts the number at 10,000 for crowd size. More and more people keep on coming.
Again, the police do not have on full riot gear, just helmets so far with the huge nightsticks. But the violence has calmed. But, Bob can only comment on one of the sides of the building, but there are people on all sides.
The motorcade is now forming to come down Nob Hill. Sixty motorcycles (police) are escorting Arnold's motorcade down the street.
"Arnold's San Francisco priveleges have been revoked; he can never come back again." - Bob Brigham
He also wanted me to let you know that there is a protest going on at the GAP right now that one of his friends is organizing (Cory Black is leading the boycott). People are protesting the chain because of the owner's contribution (Don Fisher) to Arnold's re-election campaign.
Four streets are now blocked. And the crowd continues to grow. No word on the motorcade, as it is coming down the street on the opposite side of the building.
Bob Brigham just talked to rising star Mark Leno and he asked Californians to sign a petition to stop Arnold at:
"Using the Internet there is going to be a grassroot uprising in California." -- Assemblyman Mark Leno
"It is amazing how many nurses are here in their scrubs. They just gave me a bottle of water to quench my thirst after the smoke from the smoke bombs." -- Bob Brigham
Grant Street (Chinatown)
"The sun has set. The streetlights are on. The crowd has laid siege to the building, controlling all entrances, and all streets. The streets belong to the people." -- Bob Brigham
The crowd is chanting that Arnold is chicken. The crowd is now chatning "na na nana hey hey hey good bye" (I can hear that). The professionalism of the organizing is "pure west coast."
The nurses have a staging area at St. Mary's park -- a half block away. The firefighters provided the flatbead truck that serves as a stage with sound equipment to amplify music and speeches.
Stop the budget cuts -- save social security
Public Health - Not Corporate Wealth
Don't Target Our Children (held by an 8 year old over her head)
Hands off workers pension
Workers are not a special interest
People were pounding on the Governor's car, while it was speeding out of the garage. Bob said the car peeled out, and you can literally smell the burnt rubber from where he is standing. He fled with his tail between his legs.
The motorcade is following the Governor's car down the street. It's over.
The people won.
Code Pink, a group founded by women to protest the war in Iraq, also showed up -- and not the same way as the other protesters.
Instead, they rented a $325-a-night room in the hotel, donned pink wigs and hung an anti-Schwarzenegger banner out a window before hotel security intervened. [...]
The protest organizers weren't content to limit their efforts to the hotel on Tuesday. The California Nurses Association drove a mobile anti-Schwarzenegger billboard to opening day at SBC Park and had an airplane flying over the city with a banner saying: "Arnold: California is not for sale."
"We're going to have a blast,'' said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the nurses group. "We've been protesting at 38 of the governor's fund-raisers since November, and we expect this to be the most significant."
Earlier on Tuesday, protesters also took their complaints to the governor's biggest financial backers. Demonstrators showed up outside the Gap store on Post Street in midafternoon to protest the $225,000 that company founder Don Fisher and his family have given to Schwarzenegger and his committees.
Thanks for keeping us updated Bob and Tim! Hopefully this is big enough that the media can't ignore it.
I also blog at Sonoma County DFA and linked to you from there... this was great, thank you!
I don't know about other media, but the WaPo website has nary a peep about this.
I'm compiling a short list to send to their ombudsman, of important stories they've skipped lately. Like this one, and the one where Jeb Bush sicced the state cops on the local cops outside of Terry Schiavo's hospice.
I watched local news this AM, KTVU (fox?) not a thing about this did I see. To be fair I did not glue myself to the tube, however, I would have heard the crowd noise or the comments. I did not.I am gettign more and more ready to join a revolution.
Here's another blow-by-blow account that I wrote. Also, KTVU's Randy Shandobil was there -- probably ran the segment at 10:00 last night.