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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

It's Not Too Soon for a Total Recall 

The Gubernator was in town to raise a little dough for his November ballot initiatives tonight, and off-duty cops, firefighters, nurses and teachers joined thousands of other protestors outside the Ritz-Carlton to give him a rousing San Francisco welcome:
[T]he primarily peaceful protest, which grew to a few thousand boisterous demonstrators, turned ugly for about 30 minutes when the sign-waving crowd broke through police lines around the posh hotel and shut down a block of Pine Street. Protesters shouted taunts of "Corporate pig" and "Shame on you" at Schwarzenegger supporters trying to go inside for the fund-raiser, and at least one demonstrator was arrested for appearing to threaten a hotel guest . . . .

Protester Juanita Yee, 40, of Brisbane, denounced the governor for failing to support public education in the ways he had promised.

"I can't afford private school," said Yee, who has four kids. "It's not an option with a stay-at-home mom and a father who's a union plumber."

Santa Clara fire Capt. Bill Stone had never attended a protest before but was spurred to do so Tuesday by proposed benefit cuts for public safety employees.

The crowd was largely middle-aged, equipped with signs such as "Grope-n-ator, keep your hands off our retirement" and "Nurses heal, Arnold wheels and deals."

John Bilicska, 46, an unemployed North Beach resident who used to work at UC Irvine, said, "The governor's calling the people who do the work the special interests, while the businesses that are shipping our jobs overseas are just great. I don't trust him. He's a typical Republican politician" . . . .

While denying the protests are hurting fund-raising, they don't make it easy for the people attending the dinners, said Joel Fox, a former aide to Schwarzenegger who is one of the leaders of Citizens to Save California.
The Gubernator, who is growing used to massive protests by all those "special interests" who can't shell out $1000 a plate for dinner, apparently beat the crowds by arriving at the Ritz around 3 in the afternoon.

UPDATE: Our indefatigable colleague Susan Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla links to Tim Tagaris and Bob Brigham of Swing State Project, who were blogging live from the Ritz:
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 Arnold's . . . .

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 California for Democracy.

"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

Street Closings:
California Street
Pine Street
Grant Street (Chinatown)
Stockton Street

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.

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