WatchSonoma Watch

Occupy Santa Rosa protesters settle in

(l to r) Tess McDermott of Sebastopol, Joe Sorensen of Santa Rosa and Renee Mitchell of Cotati were among 20 Occupy Santa Rosa protesters in front of City Hall on Monday. JOHN BURGESS/PD


Waving signs, cheering at honking pickup trucks and singing R.E.M. songs in a drum circle, dozens of Occupy Santa Rosa protesters spent their third day at Santa Rosa City Hall on Monday and said they would not leave until Christmas Eve, if necessary.

“We’ll be here until Dec. 24, unless changes happen before that,” said Sage Keaten, a retired Santa Rosa physician. “We are allied with Occupy Wall Street. That is their stated end date and that’s our stated end date.”

The protest began Saturday, when more than 2,500 people marched through downtown Santa Rosa. It was the nation’s sixth-largest demonstration over the weekend in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the New York Times reported.

Demonstrators were denied a camping permit by the city but have been allowed to maintain a 24-hour presence at City Hall as long as they comply with ordinances that forbid them from sleeping, cooking or setting up a camp.

On Sunday night, police officers told the protesters to dismantle tables they had used to feed themselves and the homeless.

Despite their lack of tarps or sleeping bags to provide shelter, the group planned to maintain an overnight presence at City Hall, taking breaks in shifts to care for pets or complete homework assignments.

“It was very cold last night, and it was very wet,” said Frank Anderson, 19, a business student at Santa Rosa Junior College. “Basically, it united us.”

Santa Rosa police said there were no arrests overnight and the demonstrators were well-behaved.

Dozens of protesters kept a presence outside City Hall throughout the day Monday, holding signs reading “Tax the Rich,” “Somos el 99%” and “Stop Corporate Personhood.”

Keaten decried the influence that corporations have over the political process and the loss of individual rights because of the Patriot Act.

His sentiment was echoed by Francis Welch, 22, a student at SRJC and employee of Social Advocates for Youth.

“What matters is every person should be heard, should have a voice in the system,” Welch said. “It shouldn’t matter how much income you have, how much political influence you have.”

As night fell, a group of 60 mild-mannered demonstrators gathered beneath towering fir trees to work their way through a list of decisions at the evening meeting. A facilitator helped the group reach consensus on items like whether protesters should be allowed to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes on the grounds. The decision: no.

James Monk, a SRJC student, said the movement is organized, despite how it has been portrayed.

“They feature anarchists that look crazy, but this is an organized movement, we have demands,” he said.

Monk said personally he wanted to see a direct democracy with the removal of the electoral college in the presidential election process.

Others, like Garick Rood, 27, were asking for an end to war, greed and corruption. Welch wanted the city of Santa Rosa to transfer its money out of international banks and into local credit unions.

“I have been here on and off for three days,” said Seth Buffum of Cotati, a Cal State East Bay student, who was stenciling a sign on a piece of cardboard. “We’ll be here every day until our goals are met.”

30 Responses to “Occupy Santa Rosa protesters settle in”

  1. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Just wondering here, but I have a concern. Will our rates on city power go up when we consumers work to save power? Kind of like our water bills go up every time we work to cut down on our water useage?

    If you can say no, then I’m for it. PG&E (who I am definitely NOT enamored with and will be happy to say goodbye to) gives lower rates for low consumption of power.

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  2. Anderson says:

    @Lets Be Reasonable,

    Let’s do it your way – but it is the Federal Government who passes and implements the tax laws, and it’s the Federal Government who has written this insane 67,000-page mess of a tax code that allows loopholes. So the OWS people are protesting the wrong people. It’s the self-serving, unethical politicians who accept big donations from businesses AND unions and then vote how their masters want.

    But as someone wrote here, if you believe that most CEOs do not pay their “fair share” or pay no income taxes, you are sadly mistaken and have no clue about the government interference in running a small-to-medium sized business or the amount of taxes that are actually paid by these businesses to the Federal and state governments.

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  3. Frank says:

    Lets be Reasonable
    I agree the tax system is broken
    will a 999 plan work?, i don’t know
    i do know how to balance a check book. can the government?
    Steve Jobs had an idea and followed through with it, but what is differant today are the rules and regulations
    could he start a bis in California today, NO. i don’t think it is possible.
    look at all the people who are employed because of Jobs action, most only see the deductions on there pay stubs, they don’t see what else the Fed state county and city takes for payroll
    we have government funded programs to retrainthe unemployed , one of many is affirmative action, they have a lot of programs, another is welfare they have programs too, to retrain people.
    a big problem is this state mandates what is good and bad business, lets say you apply for a water permit, your company is ” the children learn to swim” you need to draw water from the stream stamped approved permit is 100 greenbacks. now another bis apply for the same water permit, but wants to wash rocks in a pool, permit is 10,000 Bucks and needs a EIR, DFG, CARB, ie before approval, now i am all for learning kids to swim, but sure do like a nice road to drive on, makes for texting a little easier
    when AIG got bailed out i said it was worng, now look where were at. yes i agree people should come first, but look at the leaders at the state capital right now and who is lobbying them

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  4. Marsha Thornbrook says:

    Whinning is never pretty whither it is done by children or adults or even adult children.

    These people in this street theater called Occupy Santa Rosa are right out of the me generation. Their parents are paying for their education, their cell phones, laptops and life styles and still they complain and whine.

    The rich are the enemy they are told in their college classes by Marxist instructors. Their long suffering parents hope they just grow out of it.

    These self indulgent, spoiled brats need a few lessons in life. Most of them have never experienced a bad day let along being layed off with a family to feed or a mortgage to pay. Life is generally good here in Sonoma County for them.

    The unemployed learned along time ago that whinning doesn’t work. What works is looking for another job every day, everywhere using all of the resources you can to find a job. No one cares about your whinning. They just want you to stop and that is what the protesters need to do.

    If they are unhappy with Wall Street, write letters to the editor or vote. There are lots of traders on Wall Street who are unemployed too and looking for work.

    Don’t waste time sitting in the grass complaining like a child or following some idiot with a bull horn telling you what to do. Think for yourself. Get a real life.

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  5. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Frank – How did Steve Jobs get rich? By selling stuff to the rest of us. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Did you notice that Apple did not meet profit expectations? We don’t have money, so we can’t buy stuff, so CEO’s may see a little drop in their stock options. I’m all for capitalism and getting rich. What I’m against are those folks who aren’t paying their fair share. I’m sorry, something is broken with our tax code if someone earning millions is paying a lower effective tax than someone in the middle class. How about we raise capital gains tax to 21%? This would stop this kind of abuse. How about we use the extra money to create some jobs? How about we use some to provide training for the unemployed? The JC is having to cut back, when instead, it should be expanding programs like nursing and welding – areas where there are actually jobs available? Maybe we could use some of the money to cut the corporate tax rate? Imagine.

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  6. Jim M says:

    I don’t think these protests relate to the public pension issue in any way, there may be some in the labor movement who would like to push it in that direction, but people are not out protesting because they are concerned public safety employees may receive their full pension.

    There is certainly some extreme element in various cities but I did not see anything anti-semitic in the march here in Santa Rosa or in the protesters currently at City Hall.

    As the police have stated the protesters here are generally obeying the law, and from what I can see keeping the area where they are pretty clean. There is nothing illegal about hanging out at City Hall, sure you can’t sleep there, or set up camp, so to the extent they are not doing that they are within the law.

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  7. Frank says:

    The last week brought us a striking contrast that tells us much about the current debate over the direction of this country.

    On one hand were the perpetually aggrieved protestors of Occupy Wall Street. While much of the media, desperate to find a liberal counterpart to the Tea Party (remember coverage of the state-house takeover in Wisconsin?), tried to pretend that this was an organic and leaderless uprising by middle America, the reality was that most of the demonstrators were the same motley crew that regularly shows up to demonstrate against the World Bank or G8 meetings, their ranks bolstered by union activists, MoveOn.org, and the Obama front group Organizing for America — not to mention the usual collection of filthy-rich movie stars who flew in on private jets and then climbed into waiting limousines to show up to denounce the filthy rich.

    But while Roseanne Barr was suggesting that the rich should be beheaded and demonstrators were making such reasonable demands as the forgiveness of all debt, much of the rest of the world was mourning the death of Steve Jobs, the filthy-rich businessman who was responsible for all those iPhones and iPads that the iPod-sporting protestors used to organize their demonstrations.

    [W]hat government jobs program has created as many net new jobs as Jobs?

    Jobs certainly was rich. Estimates suggest he was worth more than $7 billion. But it’s important to realize that he didn’t start out that way. Jobs’s story was a quintessential American one. Born poor (and out of wedlock), he achieved success through hard work and brilliance. Along the way he failed sometimes. But when he did, he didn’t beg Washington for a bailout. Instead he frequently put his own capital at risk, taking chances, because entrepreneurship truly is risky. And he showed us that no amount of adversity can stop someone who is truly determined and talented from achieving the American dream.

    Does it really matter what tax rate Steve Jobs paid? He was not even a notable contributor to charity. Yet, he did more to contribute to American prosperity and the general betterment of mankind than any government program could ever hope to. Start with the obvious: The various businesses started and run by Jobs employed more than 30,000 Americans and thousands more around the world. Jobs truly was one of those job creators so disparaged by the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

    Estimates suggest that Jobs generated as much as $30 billion annually in increased wealth for the U.S. economy. Obviously, without the wealth that Jobs created, all of society would be that much poorer. And, of course, as Jobs drove the value of Apple from $2 billion to $350 billion following his return as CEO in 1997, all of us moved a bit closer to a comfortable retirement as the value of our pension plans and 401(k)s, almost all of which include Apple stock, increased.

    But that only captures a small fraction of the social benefits generated by Jobs.

    The technology that Jobs brought to the mainstream of American life doesn’t just let us listen to music or play Angry Birds. It has made businesses more efficient, lowering the cost of goods and services for all of us. It has made it easier for everyone from doctors to teachers and students to soldiers on the battlefield to access information and stay in contact with others. It has disseminated knowledge, improved medical diagnostics, and helped bring about the overthrow of dictators. It has helped the blind read the denominations of dollar bills and alleviated the symptoms of children with autism.

    Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and coauthor of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.
    More by Michael D. Tanner

    The Occupy Wall Street crowd, and for that matter President Obama, see government as the center of our existence. It is government that makes for a better society, while the rich, businessmen, and entrepreneurs are “takers” who don’t “pay their fair share.” But would we really have been better off if we had taken more of Jobs’s wealth and given it to the government? Would President Obama really have used it better than Jobs did? Would the government have given us all that Jobs did?

    Government has spent trillions on schools that don’t educate, anti-poverty programs that don’t lift people out of poverty, stimulus programs that don’t stimulate, and health-care programs that don’t control the cost of health care. Compare Apple or Pixar’s record of success with the failures of government. For that matter, what government jobs program has created as many net new jobs as Jobs?

    In fact, the next time someone suggests that what we need is more taxes, more regulation, more class warfare, more government programs, we should instead suggest that what we really need are policies that encourages a poor boy from San Francisco to become rich and thereby make the rest of us a little richer as well

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  8. Graeme Wellington says:

    Money Grubber must be proud of his participation trophys. America only promises you the pursuit of happiness and a fair shot. If you want a California pollice officer’s pension, you have to compete with everyone else who wants the same thing. Did you try and fail or is this just whining and complaining? So much for fairness. You want it for free.

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  9. sarkyfish says:

    From the Simon Wiesenthal Center: “Unfortunately, the hateful fringe of the Occupy Wall Street Movement is now also coast-to-coast, though you might not know it from the mainstream media. Today’s hate propaganda from the New York protests has gone viral. This includes placards identifying “Wall Street Jews” as “Hitler’s Bankers,” and angry shouts of “Kill/Screw Google Jews.” According to anecdotal evidence, the conspiracy banter that the 9/11 attacks were a U.S. government and/or Israeli plot is also popular among some protestors.

    From Wall Street to LA’s City Hall now comes a copycat wave of street posters including one with the headline “End the Fed Spigot” under which are pictures of missiles and Stars of David bombarding innocent victims. Another pseudo-learned poster tells us: “Humanity has been colonized by a Satanic cult called the ILLUMINATI . . . Masonic and Jewish bankers who . . . control the purse strings [and] are conspiring against us. They have orchestrated TWO WORLD WARS and are planning a THIRD.” We are told that it’s “Humanity VS. The Rothschilds”. Protester Patricia McAllister, who says she works for LA Unified Schools exercised her First Amendment Right thus: “I think that the Zionist Jews, who are running these big banks and our Federal Reserve, . . . need to be run out of this country.” “

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  10. Grapevines says:

    Notice how they break laws by their actions and are praised and pushed along by the liberal’s, including the media? Anything to get the public thinking something other than blaming Obama for the state that things are in. Lets just go out and spend another trillion or so that we don’t have to keep Nazi Pelosi and her kind happy.

    If the TEA Party acted that way the media and liberals would cry for the police to respond with force. Hypocrates!!

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  11. Anderson says:


    It’s the words and their enlightened meaning that are important, whether Lincoln or the reverend were the source – do you agree with them or not? The case they make is strong, correct and powerful. Whoever the messenger, they apply to today’s chaos.

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  12. Money Grubber says:

    I would like Press Democrat reporters to ask the protestors:

    Is it fair that you work in low wage jobs with a retirement age of 67 while government employees get to retire at age 50 with public pensions that are far larger than social security ?

    Is it fair that you must work a full lifetime before collecting social security while government workers can qualify for public pensions in as little as four years?

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  13. Graeme Wellington says:

    I would like the Press Democrat reporters to ask the kids if they support free college tuition for students working toward getting an MBA and becoming a banker. So, it’s not free tuition for everyone?

    I’d also like the reporters to ask everyone they interview if they voted in the last election. No? So much for the revolution.

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  14. Jim says:

    “Anyone who would give a thumbs down to Abraham Lincoln’s enlightened and prophetic quote really needs to look in the mirror and question what they believe”

    Lincoln didn’t say those enlightened and prophetic words. Do some research on the quote. Here is an explanation where it came from…

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  15. Anderson says:

    Anyone who would give a thumbs down to Abraham Lincoln’s enlightened and prophetic quote really needs to look in the mirror and question what they believe.

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  16. Michael Sheehan says:

    Anyone who professes to be against “greed and corruption” must acknowledge that the greatest sources of those are Federal, state, and local governments. For OWS to give government and the current incompetent in the White House a pass is hypocrisy at its worst.

    For those who claim otherwise, most CEOs – whether rich or middle class – pay a large amount of income taxes, and pay their so-called “fair share” according to current (stupid) tax laws. All S Corp taxes are paid as personal income, and the bill is often very high.

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  17. Commonsense says:

    Good post and funny how much it still applies today.

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  18. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Marsha – “What are the city gardeners doing? Standing around drawing city paychecks and doing nothing? Is the city going to lay them off for no work?”
    Actually, the City laid off most of them already. Lawn cutting is now contracted out.

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  19. Joyce Garcia says:

    “were asking for an end to war, greed and corruption.”

    Some of the most telling videos I’ve seen in the past couple of weeks are with these “peaceful” protesters egging on the police, who are doing their jobs, as they are demonstrating civil disobedience as they block streets, occupy parks, government facilities and harass their choice of enemy….but they ask for an end to war.

    They are demonizing ALL wealthy people and are telling everyone that it is not fair some are poor while they are rich and they should pay their fair share….isn’t that greed? Yet they are asking for an end to greed and corruption.

    I am a single mother of 3 who struggled to keep a roof over our heads and food in their bellies several times throughout the years. I am now working 3 jobs to make ends meet. I have bills and my credit is in need of repair. I live in the best Nation on God’s green earth because I choose to work hard to keep my cable on and my gettro bill paid each month! I CHOOSE to take responsibility for my own financial and health matters! I am one who is not fooled by the false notion there is a 99% I am an American!

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  20. Graeme Wellington says:

    Well I’m out here at the protest with my iPad doing my bit to “unfrack” the world. I’ve dabbed on an unholy amount of patchouli oil. I’ve got my camouflage pants and jump boots on. I’m wearing a modified Che Guevara t-shirt (my shirt has a smaller picture of Guevara with larger lettering: “This T-Shirt Made Possible by Capitalism.”)

    Well not a lot of sensible, logical, reasonable people out here. I am trying to inject my own ideas into the mix just to help people focus on something doable. Ideas can only be fought with other ideas.

    The idea I’m floating is getting our politicians and leaders to go after the trillions of dollars that the greediest of the greedy are hiding in off-shore tax havens like Luxembourg, Cayman Islands, and Singapore. There’s 10 trillion of this kind of money floating around out there. That’s 2 trillion more than in all the banks in the entire United States combined.

    How about an international task force to go look for it? It’s been tried before, but never successfully. Offer amnesty upon payment of a 10% tax and you’ll get little or no pushback from these cheats.

    It would bail out all of Europe’s debt and keep Italy, Greece and Spain from bankruptcy. The Wikileaks documents prove that British and German citizens have enough money squirreled away in Swiss banks that it rivals the economies of most European countries.

    The poor countries in our world lose 1 trillion a year to tax-free off shore accounts — 10 times the world’s total foreign aid and five times the sum experts say would bring an end to poverty in the world.

    So, will the idea of going after the greediest of the greedy instead of the wealthiest of the wealthy catch on? It will solve the problem everyone here seems to be upset about if they even know what they are upset about.

    Unfortunately, the reality here is that this is just a happening – an event – a big party. No one is interested in accomplishing the unfracking of the world. But at least I tried.

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  21. Anderson says:

    You cannot help the poor
    by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak
    by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity
    by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up
    by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot further the brotherhood of man
    by inciting class hatred.
    You cannot build character and courage
    by taking away people’s initiative and independence.
    You cannot help people permanently
    by doing for them,
    what they could and
    should do for themselves.”
    Abraham Lincoln

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  22. good one says:

    How about “occupy the vote”? Where are these young folks when we have the incredible opportunity to have our voices heard thru the democratic process?

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  23. Marsha Thornbrook says:

    Shouldn’t the city be maintaining the lawns, shrubs and trees around city hall? Because of OSHA requirements lawn occupants cannot be left in place. It is too dangerous.

    The ground maintenance needs to be done every day all day and at night too if required to keep it looking nice. What are the city gardeners doing? Standing around drawing city paychecks and doing nothing? Is the city going to lay them off for no work?

    Get the clean up going now and keep Santa Rosa the city of roses and clean up city hall!

    All trash needs to be picked up trucked off to Berkeley or where every they recycle and soon.

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  24. Really Big Fish says:

    It sad to see these mixed bag of protesters. Some legitimate and understandably having a need to protest. I certainly agree with some of their complaints. Some were haphazard young liberals responding to the training days in high school. Some were uneduacted about American history and are spoiled brats. The blond spokesperson said the real organizers did not want to be identified but shouldn’t that be public record or shouldn’t the PD should investigate. Suppose it was set up to be violent.Shouldn’t the taxpayers have a right to know who the organizers, financial backers are? If this is OK shouldn’t it be OK for hedge fund backers and presidents of banks not to be identified. Who are the crooks here?
    Tragically this “occupy protest” could be the largest corporate scam in history of global proportions. Lenin, a community organizer, called fellow sufferers, the “useful idiots” and Castro promised equality and fairness for his people. They of course died and live in fear and poverty and he is a dictator billionaire. This protest is all about coroprate greed and power using the economy and inequality to create rage. Read Obama’s, a reknown community organizer and apologist for America, books and “his coil of rage” and then read any job creation and wealth creation book and you will come to the conclusion Obama wants the country to fail so he can become king.
    I saw the You Tube video of mexican union leaders demanding equality, the wild self impressed hippie type and the revolution “by the book” professor.

    This protest reminds me of the Chicago Seven crew.Completely stoned out and high on LSD they provided some great protest entertainment. There was Tom Hayden who became a corporate business man, politican, married into another anti-American corporation and continues to this day. Abbie Hoffman became a pathetic figure in New York. Adoring his coolness and self partying all the time he got busted for cocaine sales but fleed before trail becoming a teacher in upstate NY. After some 15-20 years he couldn’t take it so he turned himself in and soon after shot himself. Apparently he wanted to write a book.Then there was the LSD guru wildman Jerry Rubin an anti-American who loved calling people, fire and police the “establishment” screaming out”pigs.” A few years later Jerry joined the establishment trying to be an investment banker complete with with $50 hairdo and suit. Apparently a little stoned and obviuously not paying attention stepped in front of a moving car and was taken to the “final pigless” cleaners, nice hair, suit and all. The rest of them entered the world of captialism or became teachers.


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  25. Commonsense says:

    Graeme has an interesting point. If you look at the majority of political donors for many of the long term politicians, both state and federal, you see alot of corporation names, ie. Goldman Sachs. Yet, we have continued to elect them, with this information available to any and obvious to most, despite that, and now we are being told by this movement, that only the corporations are to blame. That makes no sense, and maybe that is the real reason for this mess, people aren’t thinking these issues through or considering facts. Emotional stories are easy to tell and have an immediate impact, but they aren’t always the best things to base decisions on, either politically or personally.

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  26. sarkyfish says:

    The Press Democrat’s dwindling readership gets ready for Halloween.

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  27. RICHARD says:

    “Bank Of America Earnings Report: Bank Sees $6.2 Billion Profit … even as banking officials expressed concern recently about the effects of new regulations on their bottom line.” – The Huffington Post

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  28. Liz (Elizabeth Gatley) says:

    “James Monk, a SRJC student, said the movement is organized, despite how it has been portrayed.”

    No no it is more than organized it is very well organized. sheep just following seiu and george soros etc.

    38,000 total across the country on saturday, that sure doesn’t seem like 99%…. just saying.

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  29. Graeme Wellington says:

    I’ll be there today. I’m going to be carrying a sign that says “unfrack the world” but I’ll have the real F word on my sign so that the media won’t publish any images.

    As a tea party supporter, I also opposed bailing out the banks. However, the problem is government, not capitalism.

    Chris Dodd and Barney Frank wrote the laws that forced the big banks to make sub-prime loans to people who couldn’t afford it. The law that legalized the credit default swaps was passed under the lame duck session of the Clinton administration. Take away those two things and we’d have no economic downturn at all and no bailouts because there would have been be no toxic assets. But that’s hindsight.

    We need to use our elections as revolutions every two years and stop putting the same politicians back into office. Sonoma County can’t legitimately complain because they abdicated their right to revolution by election and put Lynn Wollsey into office for 20 years.

    If I show up tomorrow, I’ll have a sign that says “Sonoma County… It’s YOUR fault.”

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  30. Josh Stevens says:

    When will they be holding the “Would someone other than me pay my tuition”drum circle?

    Does anyone know?

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