Labor, Environmental and Community Groups Plan Multiple Actions
By Doug Porter
A wide range of organizations, some of whom rarely get involved in non-electoral politics, are calling upon San Diegans to put on their protesting shoes during the upcoming annual meeting of the American Legislative Council (ALEC).
Protests, press conferences, teach-ins, rallies and guerrilla theater will be happening throughout the coming week commencing on Tuesday, July 21st as ALEC delegates are checking in. Buses will coming in from the Los Angeles/Long Beach areas on Wednesday for what organizers expect will be the largest events of the week.
Today’s column will focus on the already-announced activities (there are more coming, I’m told). On Friday, I focused on the line up of speakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Scott Walker and former Gov.Mike Huckabee, along with San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Tuesday’s column will review the more than 40 workshops, plenary sessions, issue seminars and Task Force meetings attended by ALEC delegates during this and past annual meetings.
(For a listing of all SD Free Press ALEC coverage, go here.)
Why Protest ALEC?
The march of pro-dirty energy, anti-equality and austerity-based legislation in recent decades has a direct correlation to the lack of opportunity and widening gap between the rich and the poor.
The American Legislative Exchange Council, with it’s closed-door meetings and dubious financial relationships with state legislators, has been the driving force behind many of these bad ideas. ALEC functions as a legislative ‘bill mill.’ where company lobbyists and right wing crusaders dictate their desires to elected representatives, brought together with corporate “scholarships” and the hope of future campaign support.
As Paul Krugman wrote, “ALEC, even more than other movement-conservative organizations, is clearly playing a long game. Its legislative templates aren’t just about generating immediate benefits to the organization’s corporate sponsors; they’re about creating a political climate that will favor even more corporation-friendly legislation in the future.”
A steadily mounting campaign of public exposure, fueled in large part by the investigative prowess of the Center for Media and Democracy, along with the activism of Color of Change and Common Cause, has led more than 90 of the corporate members who fund ALEC to withdraw their support.
I have no doubt we’ll see a pronouncement from ALEC or its defenders this week prattling on about the “coordinated intimidation campaign against its members.” and how these demonstrations are somehow going to “eliminate discourse.”
Sorry, ALEC. This week is about the real victims–whether it’s people who can’t vote due to the “discourse” creating restrictions on casting ballots or the child in the barrio whose asthma is caused by preventable pollution.
The American Legislative Exchange Council represents a tangible target for people across wide swathes of our nation to demand economic and political justice. I hope readers will feel motivated to support some or all of the actions this week while ALEC is in town.
Change.Org Petition Drive
As of this writing 1800 people have signed a petition at Change.Org calling upon Mayor Kevin Faulconer to refuse to speak at ALEC’s annual conference alongside Tea Party leaders.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is coming to San Diego for their annual meeting.
ALEC has produced model bills on a broad range of issues, such as reducing corporate regulation and taxation, combating illegal immigration, loosening environmental regulations, tightening voter identification rules, weakening labor unions and promoting gun rights.
So why is San Diego’s self-declared “moderate” mayor, Kevin Faulconer, speaking at their meeting alongside radical and hateful Tea Party leaders Ted Cruz, Allen West, Scott Walker, and Mike Huckabee?
If Kevin Faulconer supports combating climate change, equal rights for the LGBT community, and women’s right to choose, why is he speaking with these movements’ most outspoken opponents?
We ask that San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer make the right choice and decline to speak at ALEC’s annual conference in San Diego from July 21-25.
A Special Greeting for ALEC Delegates
Members of San Diego’s Overpass Light Brigade will be assembling in front of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown will be staging a light brigade display with “STOP ALEC” (or similar message) on Tuesday (July 21) at 8pm. The ALEC meeting attendees, who will be staying and meeting at the Hyatt for the duration of the conference, will be arriving in the evening. OLB San Diego will be staging displays throughout the week.
San Diego Democrats are planning a “Stop ALEC Welcome Party” on Tuesday, July 21, from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. on the Harbor Drive exits from the San Diego Airport. They’ll be gathering with other allied organizations to provide incoming ALEC legislators with a visual reminder that they are not welcome in San Diego. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to sign up.
There will be several events starting mid-afternoon on Wednesday, culminating in a larger demonstration at 4:30pm. Here’s the rundown…
Dolores Huerta to Headline Labor Rally
Thousands of activists from the immigration, labor, interfaith and environmental justice communities are staging a rally at Embarcadero Park North, (400 Kettner Blvd–the park is located behind the Manchester Hyatt, just past Seaport Village) on Wednesday, July 22nd, starting at 3pm.
Rally speakers will include Ethiopian-American labor activist Tefere Gebre, executive vice president of the AFL-CIO; activist Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, and representatives from community groups.
The announcement for the rally included the following statement:
The coalition of groups protesting the conference will stand together to deliver a message to the out-of-state politicians and their wealthy benefactors: California is a No ALEC Zone. Our state has roundly rejected ALEC’s regressive agenda that rolls back the rights of everyday people to further line the pockets of wealthy and powerful corporate interests.
This event is endorsed by by:
Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice (ICWJ), the Sierra Club, the Communications Workers of America, United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals, United Domestic Workers, Service Employees International Union, the California Nurses Association, the American Federation of Teachers, Alliance San Diego, California Labor Federation, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Common Cause, People for the American Way and many others.
Following the rally, participants will march to the intersection of Harbor and Kettner Drives, directly facing the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
Rally for LGBT Rights
On Wednesday the statewide Courage Campaign will also be holding a 3pm rally at Embarcadero Park North, across the street from the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
From their email blast:
“Legislators from across the country will arrive to take their marching orders from the Koch Brothers, giant corporations, and right-wing millionaires and billionaires. ALEC pushes model legislative bills designed to:
- restrict our ability to vote,
- increase gun violence,
- destroy our environment,
- end our right to organize,
- and give billions of dollars away in corporate welfare.
“They want to destroy marriage equality in America and halt all progress for LGTB rights…”
Environmental Action Brigade
Environmental activists with San Diego 350 will be meeting up from 3:45 to 4:10pm outside the Kansas City BBQ to create a unified block protesting ALEC’s anti-climate change policies funded by “fossil fuel giant corporate members like ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy.” For details, click here.
The Main Anti-ALEC Event
At the the intersection of Harbor and Kettner Drives, directly in front of the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel these groups and others will come together to make a unified statement/protest starting at 4:30pm.
There will be a variety of speakers and music followed by a Balloon Launch (Tethered giant balloons with signs) at 6pm.
The “critical mass” rally was initiated by the Citizens Oversight Project and has been supported by dozens of other community groups.
(An asterisk in the following list means there will be a speaker from that group at the 4:30pm rally)
Af3irm* – Catherine Mendoҫa, All of us or none* – Rev. Dennis Malone, American Friends Service Committee* – Pedro Rios, AntiMedia* – Nick Bernabe, Artful Activist – Providing Banners and Balloons. Activist San Diego – KNSJ Radio (89.1 FM), Citizens Oversight Projects (COPS)* – Ray Lutz, Coalition for Labor and Community and Solidarity (CLCS), Center for Media And Democracy & “ALEC Exposed,” Democratic Party of San Diego, Common Cause, Fight for 15, Green Party* – Hugh Moore, LCLLA — Labor Council For Latin American Advancement – Richard Trujillo*, March against Monsanto San Diego, Nurses Union, Occupy SD, Overpass Light Brigade, SanDiego350* – William Leslie, San Diego Imperial County Labor Council, SEIU Local 220, Socialist Alternative, Stop TPP* – Kali Katt, Union of Concerned Scientists, San Diego United Against Police Terror,* Vets for Peace
Getting There: Plan Ahead
Folks, this event is being held in downtown San Diego during the afternoon rush hour. Traffic is going to be heavy; it will take you more time than you think to get there.
Trolley: Seaport Village Station (Green Line) is within a block of the hotel.
- West on SR 94 — Take I-5 North and follow directions below for “North on I-5”
- North on I-5 — Exit 6th Ave. Left on 6th. Right on Ash Street. Left on Pacific Highway to Hyatt Hotel.
- South on I-5 — Exit Front St. Right on Ash Street. Left on Pacific Highway to Hyatt Hotel
- South on 163 — Exit Ash St. Left on Pacific Highway to Hyatt Hotel
- FREE PARKING for three hours is available at Horton Plaza, less than 1/2 mile away. (Validate your parking ticket before you leave!)
- ON-STREET Parking is FREE after 6pm in most areas. Parking on G St. Kettner Blvd, and many other streets nearby is only $0.75 per hour, and can be paid with a credit/debit card or cash.
- SEAPORT VILLAGE parking is NOT free! Seaport Village guests pay
Legislating Under The Influence
Common Cause will host a discussion on ALEC and corporate money in politics at the Hilton San Diego Airport/Harbor Island (1960 Harbor Island Drive) on Thursday evening (July 23) at 6pm.
Panelists will discuss ALEC’s influence in shaping state laws, how ALEC is in violation of the terms of its 501(c)(3) tax code, and how corporate money in our politics shapes public policy.
Jay Riestenberg, Research Analyst at Common Cause
Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy
Diallo Brooks, Director of Outreach and Partner Engagement at People For the American Way
Jane Carter, Labor Economist at AFSCME
Brant Olson, Campaign Manager at Forecast The Facts
Rey Lopez-Calderon, Executive Director of Common Cause Illinois
*Panelists subject to change
Tomorrow: What’s likely to be happening behind closed doors at the ALEC Annual Meeting
On This Day: 1890 – New York City newsboys, many so poor that they were sleeping in the streets, began a 2-week strike. Several rallies drew more than 5,000 newsboys, complete with charismatic speeches by strike leader Kid Blink, who was blind in one eye. The boys had to pay publishers up front for the newspapers; they were successful in forcing the publishers to buy back unsold papers. 1965 – Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” was released. 1969 – Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. became the first men to walk on the moon.
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