Yesterday evening MoveOn, a political action group, hosted a "Rally to Defend the American Dream" outside of the west side's Palms Ranch Library.
The message? It was for Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein: "Stand strong against attacks on the 'American Dream' and workers' rights by republicans."
About 70 people -- a sparse turnout for a group such as MoveOn -- and many passerby honking car horns, protested: "More than $100 billion in cuts to the federal budget, which would include 75,000 jobs lost in California." Decisions will be made Friday -- tax extensions could ease the cuts, if put on the ballot for June.
Among the crowd stood students, teachers and ex-city employees (and Steven Box, who recently lost in the race for City Council District 4 ):
Los Angeles Unified School District teacher, Regina Bryant, stood tall with a T shirt reading: 'dead teacher walking.'
"We are here to educate the public how devastating this district has become," Bryant says to L.A. Weekly. "Why is it that in many schools we don't have enough toilet paper, paper towels to get us through the spring? The general public does not know that. All they see and hear from Fox News and other places: 'all those greedy teachers.' You let some of those people in the corporate world come and try to live on what we live on ... I have a sign in my room that says: 'most of the things in this room, I paid for.'"
17 year old senior at Hamilton High School, Grant Michael Palmer, is worried about his own school.
"My school has a humanities magnet and a performing arts music academy magnet -- the music academy magnet is phenomenal," He tells L.A Weekly. "It's regarded in California as one of the greatest music and performing arts programs in the state. We have won awards all across America and in Canada. If we don't get the tax extensions put on the ballots in June, we will lose 90 percent of our budget. 90 percent .. Support those tax extensions."
Along with the call for saving the budget and extending taxes, rally goers stood in solidarity "with Wisconsin workers, who had many of their rights stripped from them ..."
"We work for a living and Unions have kept us in the middle class. And now we're losing that. And I think we need to get back to that," Adrienne Hatrick says to L.A. Weekly. She is a retired city attorney's office employee.
After Box's "I'm a dreamer" speech, Don Lewis took to the loudspeaker. His speech was personal. (A video of Lewis's speech will be posted soon -- check for an update today.)
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To the Weekly, Lewis says:
"I'm not even going to say what union I'm in, that's not important. The problem is that we are having an attack on all unions ... My house is in foreclosure. If I didn't have my little pension, which I got from my union, I would be screwed, to put it politely."
Co-chair of MoveOn, Mary Beth Fielder tells the Weekly that her major goal is to get "Corporate money out of politics and return democracy to the people."