Rallies for jobs held at Congressional offices across San Diego County

by on August 11, 2011 · 5 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Organizing, Popular, San Diego

Labor Council head Lorena Gonzalez addresses the crowd outside Congresswoman Susan Davis' office, Aug. 10, 2011. (Photo by Jerry.)

Wednesday, August 10th, witnessed four rallies for jobs – mostly held at Congressional offices – across San Diego County.

Sponsored by MoveOn and its affiliate national coalition, the Rebuild the American Dream, the protest rallies had the theme of “Jobs Not Cuts”, and were held outside the offices of Congressional reps Duncan Hunter, Brian Bilbray, and Susan Davis.  A fourth rally was held outside a Bank of America where Congressman Bob Filner spoke.

The rallies – although somewhat small in nature – exhibited an energy and anger that was propelled by the state of the economy and the debt deal’s shortcoming.  The events were also the occasion where copies of the Rebuild the Dream’s platform, called the Contract for an American Dream, were handed over to the Congressional reps, accepted by their staffs – as none of the reps were in their offices.

That there is a “dis-connect” between Washington and the grassroots and mainstreet was a constant observation by those who spoke, and that the country needed jobs, its infrastructure repaired, and the people’s safety nets protected.

Co-host Mary Sweeney at Duncan Hunter's office. Photo by Rita.

Over 30 protesters showed up at Hunter’s 52nd District office – out in an industrial park in El Cajon – which was co-hosted by Mary Sweeney and Frank Gormlie.  Several people who spoke talked of strengthening progressive politics in the east county – which Hunter’s district covers.

Dozens of protesters also converged on Brian Bilbray’s Solana Beach office, and led by Joanna Lasken, they chanted: “Brian Bilbray – where are the jobs?”, and “They say cut-back. We say fight-back!”

And over 20 people turned out for a rally in front of a Chula Vista Bank of America organized by MoveOn regional coordinator, Joan Stroh.  Rep. Bob Filner – a San Diego mayoral candidate – spoke in his capacity as a member of Congress.

The largest event was in front of Susan Davis’ office on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights in San Diego.  There over 60 demonstrators rallied and waved signs, and yelled a few chants.

Protesters gather inside at Brian Bilbray's office. Photo by Jerry.

Frank Gormlie welcomed people and introduced Lorena Gonzalez, the head of the San Diego Labor Council, who galvanized the crowd by leading “Jobs – not cuts! Jobs – not cuts!”.

Gormlie spoke and gave an outline of the ten points of the Rebuild blueprint, and said that progressives have been in a defensive and reactive mode in the past.  “That ends today,” he declared. He then made specific appeals to those in the crowd under 40, and then to the “gray-hairs in the crowd”. “We’re not dead yet,” he said, “we’re not in the grave yet, we’re still around, and they haven’t seen the end of us!”

Sociology professor Gregg Robinson told the crowd “I am really, really scared!” and then went on to talk about how unfair the tax rates are today compared with the rates during the Clinton and Reagan eras, how if just 400 wealthy Americans were taxed at the old rates that thousands of teachers could be hired with that revenue.

Frank Gormlie speaking at rally outside Davis' office. Photo by Jerry.

Researcher Jon Christensen then got up and reminded everyone about the CCC – Civilian Conservation Corps – and the WPA of the thirties and what the programs – which hired thousands of unemployed Americans during the Depression – built. He also mentioned CETA sponsored “by that socialist Nixon”, he said sarcastically.

This was followed by a number of unemployed people who mounted the steps and described their personal predicaments.

OB Ragster Patty Jones was one of them – she told the crowd that after working for two years at her last job at a machine shop – the whole place was packed up and shipped to Europe.

Marie speaks at rally outside Hunter's office. Photo by Rita.

Gormlie then led the unemployed into Davis’ office to hand over the Contract to Rebuild America, which was graciously accepted by her staff, who also said that they had heard the speakers and agreed with what was said.

MoveOn activists encouraged people to sign up and to become “members of the movement to save America.” Gormlie ended the rally by declaring: “We need you, you need us – we need each other!”

NBC appeared to be the only local TV station to cover most of the rallies – go here for their report.

Here are more photos from the different rallies held yesterday. (Remember to click on an image for a larger version.)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

editordude August 11, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Here’s Dave Rice’s report from the Reader


dave rice August 11, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Man, it was nice to hear Gregg rant again – if he’d have taught all of my college courses I probably would’ve graduated instead of flunking virtually everything he didn’t teach.

And I feel for Patty – my staff spent the weeks leading up to Christmas 2009 packing up our offices to ship our jobs out of town. The handful of my old employees I’ve kept up with are still searching for steady full-time work, much as I am.


editordude August 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Here is Christopher Cadelago’s report from SignOnSanDiego:


christine August 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm

like I said just make sure this doesnt include “building housing” which alot of these supposed left movements push. There is a HUGE glut of housing sitting empty which is a big part of the problem. Building new housing is just a way to get billions to the people that already have all the $ and it always involves destroying really great solid historic buildings that get tossed into landfills. this should be about building organic farms on every street corner and starting composting in every city etc. This should be about changing the paradigm and not encouraging and fueling the current unsustainable paradigm.


Dickie August 12, 2011 at 10:37 am

Protesters called out again by the Rebuild the American Dream folks came to Congressman Wally Herger’s office for the second straight week. This time there were 70 people instead of 25-30. I couldn’t be there because I was out of town, but heard that there was a lot of anger, especially that Herger’s office was closed and no one was there to hear the protesters’ complaints. Below is a link to the local newspaper story. Seems like something’s growin’ up here in the northstate.



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