Desde la Logan columnist amongst “hecklers”
By Brent E. Beltrán
Oops, we did it again.
A handful of Barrio Logan residents, including artist Hector Villegas, my wife Olympia, my son Sandino and myself, gave Mayor Faulconer, ex-Mayor and current corporate shill Jerry Sanders and shipyard mouthpiece Len Hering a piece of our minds and vocal chords at a press conference against Propositions B and C and the Barrio Logan Community Plan.
The press conference took place outside City Hall and was attended by the same suits that have been speaking out against the plan for months. Except this time they didn’t bus in shipyard workers.
Amongst the suits was the infamous Chris Wahl of Southwest Strategies, the company that is doing public relations work for maritime industry. This is the company that told signature gatherers to lie to get registered voters to sign the petition against the plan to force it to the ballot box.
They’re also the company that blackmailed the City Council, by gathering enough signatures—on behalf of Wal-Mart—for a potential referendum, if they didn’t rescind the “big box” ordinance.
Having received a tip, from somebody close to the No on B and C campaign, an hour before the presser Hector and my family decided to take action. Olympia made a couple of handmade signs for her and Dino to hold. I brought dust masks to wear as a symbol of Barrio Logan pollution and Hector brought the respirator that he uses while painting.
We got there a few minutes before the press conference started and saw the suits lingering around. When the Mayor showed up we knew it was about to start and we were ready.
As soon as the presser started it was on. Before Sanders, who spoke first, could even begin his statement we started shouting, “LIARS! LIARS!” Over and over again. Our voices booming as the sound echoed off the walls of the San Diego Concourse making three people and a toddler sound like dozens of protestors.
“Why do you hate Barrio Logan, Jerry?!”
“Don’t you care about the health of Barrio Logan’s children, Jerry?!”
“C’mom, Jerry! Don’t you have a heart?!”
Visibly perturbed and getting redder by the minute Sanders stumbled through his statement casting a mad dog stare towards the four of us who never let up.
Next up was Mayor Kevin with his uncomfortable smile and a face as red as his buddy Jerry’s. And on we went.
“You’re lying, Mr. Mayor!”
“Stop lying, Mr. Mayor!”
“Don’t you care, Mr. Mayor? Mr. Mayor! Don’t. You. Care?!”
Over and over we continued with “LIARS! LIARS! LIARS!” Throwing in the occasional Spanish, “¡Mentirosos! ¡Mentirosos! ¡Mentirosos!” Just in case any Spanish speakers happened to walk by.
At some point a big guy in a suit, presumably somehow tied to maritime industry, got all up in my face, almost nose to nose, as we were calling out Faulconer or Sanders.
Big suit guy said menacingly, “We are going to BEAT you…at the polls. Badly.” At first I thought he said he was going to beat me after he emphasized that word.
I smiled and said, “And we will keep fighting you.”
And we kept on yelling, “LIARS! LIARS!” at whichever pro-pollution asshole was at the mic.
Little did I know at the time that my wife was ready to throat punch the guy if he touched me. Ain’t Barrio Logan love grand?
Typically, none of the assembled mainstream media came over to interview any of us. Though we did get a short mention in the Daily Fishwrap, “Hecklers outshouted the speakers whose loudspeakers were not working…”
We were briefly shown at the beginning of this Fox 5 San Diego report. And on pro-corporate KUSI where reporter Steve Bosh said, “The Yes on Props B and C backers have been showing up and disrupting the news conferences of those who oppose the Alvarez plan.”
Check out their video and you can hear us “disrupting” in the background.
Due to our presence the pro-pollution presser was cut short with it lasting only about 20 minutes, including chat time with the mainstream media after. When it was over corporate shill Sanders, who apparently isn’t used to be “disrupted,” glared again in our direction with his beady eyes and red face.
As Faulconer began to walk back to City Hall he turned in our direction and said, “Have a nice day.”
I, in turn, responded by singing the chorus to the Steam classic, Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.
With the presser over I thanked one of the four cops that were watching over us for not pushing us out (imagine if we had an Occupy SD sign) and we went back to our barrio.
Later on I saw a tweet on Twitter by Earthy Sara that pretty much summed it up:
— ❁ Sara ❁ (@earthysara) May 21, 2014
We here in Barrio Logan aren’t keyboard warriors or keyboard activists. We don’t hide anonymously behind our computer screens. When an issue like this affects us we are not afraid to take the struggle to the enemy. We don’t have fear in the face of overwhelming odds. We are Barrio Logan strong and we will fight until our last breath.
For more info on the Battle for Barrio Logan check out these articles by San Diego Free Press.