It was supposed to be just another Tuesday on the picket line outside the Thibodo Road building housing Congressman Darrell Issa’s office in Vista. Little did organizers know the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department had a surprise waiting for them.
Roughly 300 people showed up, as they have every week for the past nine months, urging the 49th District Republican to disavow President Trump’s policies. To keep interest up, there are weekly themes and protest subjects. This week’s theme was “It’s a Bird It’s a Plane It’s the Resistance!” the matter at hand was the GOP budget coming before Congress in the coming weeks.
In keeping with their weekly theme, protest organizers obtained a 20-foot tall inflatable chicken, complete with Trump hair styling, and arranged for a plane to fly overhead towing a banner “Not One Penny in Tax Cuts for Issa and the 1%.”
The San Diego Sheriff’s Lieutenant at the scene was upset about the arrival of the chicken, which was tethered on the sidewalk, telling protest organizer Ellen Montanari “code enforcement” would be called as the inflatable fowl represented a public “hazard.” She indicated a willingness to speak with those officials but didn’t offer to remove the chicken.
Shortly thereafter, the street was blocked, by Sheriff’s Deputies doubled parked as they inspected parked vehicles along the road–many of which did belong to demonstrators–looking for excuses to write tickets. And citations were written… …for missing front license plates, wheels not turned enough to the curb to meet the deputies’ liking, and even to a passing motorist who –gasp!– honked her horn in solidarity with the demonstration.
Protest organizers say they will contest each and every ticket. (Here’s a link in case you need to appeal on your own)
— Mike Levin (@MikeLevinCA) October 17, 2017
Sheriff Bill Gore has been an enthusiastic endorser of Congressman Issa, and made a joint video with the Orange County Sheriff in support of his 2016 campaign.
Congressman Issa wrote two letters, on May 30 and June 21, urging the Vista mayor and city council to take action on the protests, saying protests posed “dangers for passing traffic” and made unsubstantiated — and disputed — claims that protestors damaged property.
The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties jumped into the picture as Vista officials sought to impose conditions on protesters, calling those actions “inappropriate and unconstitutional.” City officials threatened to deny access to the public sidewalk, restrict use of a sound system, and charge the permit holder fees for police services.
Following nationwide publicity, Vista officials backed down.