PALM DESERT, CA. At a special banquet last night held at Rancho Las Palmas – one of Southern California’s most exclusive resorts - San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders was presented with one of the most coveted awards given out annually by the famous, billionaire Koch brothers.
Mayor Sanders was handed the “Golden Pluto” award by David Koch himself during the lavish banquet feast, which was attended by many big-city mayors, conservative politicians, pundits, and select press from all over the South West.
Sanders earned the sparkling “Golden Pluto” for the manner in which his office handled San Diego’s version of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. Early in their occupation of Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Diego, the demonstrators had their tents removed and were ordered upon threat of arrest to get rid of all sleeping bags and personal property.
The way Mayor Sanders handled the protests became a model for other big-city mayors around the country. During a recent 18-mayor conference call in which the municipal executives discussed how to deal with the proliferating Occupy encampments, Sanders made his pitch on how to remove the “tent cities”. Sanders was praised by mayors from Oakland to Seattle, and from Denver to New York City.
As he awarded the “Golden Pluto” to Mayor Sanders, David Koch had this to say:
“Folks, Jerry has shown us the way. The way that Mayor Sanders used his police force in dismantling the tent city that had popped up right beneath his window at City Hall was a model for all of us. We are so proud of Jerry Sanders. As a former police chief himself, he knew how to deal with these unruly, dirty hippie demonstrators.
“And he was able to do it all the while respecting their First Amendment rights to demonstrate.
“Jerry first removed all the tents, then he had his guys remove all the sleeping bags and made it an arrestable offense to even put anything down on the ground over there at the City Hall plaza. This was great. It became the model for [Mayor] Bloomberg himself in cleaning up Zuccotti Park.”
After the spirited applause died down, Sanders took the microphone and praised his staff for resisting efforts by the demonstrators to negotiate with his office. He also had many good things to say about his police force, commandeered by Chief William Lansdowne, who was present in the audience. At one point, Chief Lansdowne rose and made a slight bow to the audience to more applause.
“We continue to monitor these demonstrators … who I am proud to say … are experiencing ever dwindling numbers. We have successfully contained them, and by early December, I’m sure they’ll be gone. They’ll be history!” he declared to rising applause.
Mayor Sanders was all smiles as he strode from the podium to shake hands with his police chief.
The annual “Golden Pluto” award is handed out by the Koch brothers to demonstrate their appreciation for grand strides and innovation on the municipal level in resolving problems created by the rise in income inequalities and other disparities created by the economic recession.
The “Golden Pluto” – “pluto” is short for plutocracy – remains one of the most coveted awards on the tea party circuit, as well as in the halls of many conservative city politician around the South West.