Huge Crowd Shows Up at Protest in Front of Garamendi’s Office Tuesday

Staff for Congressman Garamendi holds the phone to a microphone for the congressman to address the crowd on Tuesday. Seth Sanders, an organizer is to the left.

Organizers describe that at least 170 people showed up at what appeared to be a last-minute protest in Davis in front of Congressman John Garamendi’s office, to protest Trump’s policies in general.  One by one, people who would be impacted by things like the repeal of the Affordable Care Act spoke about their personal experiences and their desire to see Congress fight these changes.

All present were invited to raise their most pressing concerns, and many of all ages did so.  Issues ranged from loss of health care, Medicare, last weekend’s immigration ban, ethnic and religious and racial profiling, infringement of science and research, religious freedom, and others.

Seth Sanders, a UC Davis Professor in Religious Studies, affiliated with the group, Indivisible Yolo, told the Vanguard that the group had not expected this level of turnout, with constituents coming from Winters and other rural locations to attend the event.

He told the Vanguard that the Garamendi staffers “had never seen this level of organization and energy – period.”  They were quickly able to get Congressman Garamendi on the phone to talk from Washington to the crowd.

150 to 170 people showed up

Congressman Garamendi said, “Washington is in an absolute state of confusion and chaos.  The entire Congress is wondering what in the hell is he going to do next.  The man is just out of control.”

He said, in the last ten days, “everyone Democrat and Republican is just shaking their head, thinking oh my God, now what.”  He said that the Supreme Court announcement, which happened later in the day, would raise another raucous response.

“Just look at his inaugural speech, which was one of the darkest and meanest in history,” said the normally mild-mannered congressman.  He noted that millions of people will lose their health care and 5000 people in Davis are directly affected by the immigration executive order.

He said the Muslim ban sends the exact message that ISIS wants – “that Donald Trump hates Muslims and America hates Muslims.”

The congressman said he was going to be talking about the wall later in the day. “If he wants to spend $20 billion on a wall, I have $20 billion that could be spent usefully.”  He talked about the need to build bridges, roads, education and other programs where the money could be spent.

One of the people gathered told the congressman, “No shaking of heads, do something.”

The congressman responded, “My protest is going to take place here in Congress, on the committees, and specific action.”

A woman describes what will happen if she loses her health insurance

Organizers for the event told the Vanguard that Indivisible Yolo is a group of concerned constituents that formed after the election, who are worried about the direction the Trump administration is taking the country.

“We believe his agenda will take America backwards and must be stopped. As Rep. Garamendi is our voice in the House of Representatives, we are making sure he hears what is important to us so he can fight for it,” they said in a statement.  “Many of us are new to political activism and are grateful to have a blueprint for engaging in the political process effectively.”

“I started our local chapter because I felt I couldn’t sit silent and watch our country slip into a xenophobic autocracy, and since doing so I have met so many others who felt the same. I have never seen this level of energy for activism in such a broad cross-section of people, and am excited at the multitude of people who care that are newly active,” said Emily Hill, founder of Indivisible Yolo.

She added, “Unfortunately, our representatives don’t have the power to set the agenda at the national level because they are part of the minority party, so they have to play defense. We expect them to put up a strong and unified opposition to this administration and will lobby them to do so.”

Seth Sanders told that Vanguard that they came to this event “because, while we were delighted to see our representative at the Women’s March and his strong statement on Trump’s political undermining of the national security council, to make it clear to the American people that their national security comes before partisan politics … but in this time of constitutional crisis we need more than statements.

“When Customs and Border officials are openly breaking the law, defying federal orders, we want to hear what he’s doing to make them follow the law. If he attended Trump’s inauguration to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, what did that get his constituents if the incoming administration acts unlawfully?” he said.

Mr. Sanders added, “We understand that, especially with a GOP majority in congress, reaching across the aisle is crucial, and he is an experienced legislator who can work on vital things like Veterans’ issues with Republicans. So what specific ways is he going to use his bargaining power?”

A former Marine speaks on the Affordable Care Act

After the public event, members of the group spoke with Congressman Garamendi’s staff for over an hour.  Ms. Hill described that “(we) got assurances that the congressman held views very much in line with our own, but we need more than assurances. We need a vocal and unwavering representative for the fight ahead that does not compromise with a racist administration.”

She added that the Congressman’s staff was very welcoming and indicated his district office is always open to constituents.  The group plans to speak with them on a regular basis.

John Evalle, Garamendi’s district director, said “more to follow on the specifics of a pending meeting in March.”

Seth Sanders told the Vanguard that they asked the congressman about his plans with regard to the administration’s growing intimidation of immigrants including the Executive Order (EO), because, with UC Davis and Yolo, Garamendi represents a diverse district shaped and fueled by hard-working immigrants, from agriculture to tech research.

“We asked for a clear statement on if, unlike Rep. (Ami) Bera, we are told he will protect the city of Davis’ decision to be a sanctuary city for immigrants and refugees,” Mr. Sanders said.  “And we need to hear that he is addressing this constitutional crisis, with officials of the executive branch refusing to follow the rulings of the legislative branch.”

There were a dozen passionate speeches from constituents, ranging from Marine Corps veterans to longstanding pillars of the community, from places like Yemen, at the rally in front of the congressman’s office.

A Davis student began describing how his father sees the current atmosphere in America beginning to resemble what he saw under the communist regime in Afghanistan in the 70s and 80s . That atmosphere, “especially forced disappearance of political dissidents, has scared him to the point where he is scared of me – a 34-year-old man – being out after dark because he thinks the FBI would pick me up and disappear me.”

Seth Sanders in the hat

He spoke of Sunday, being at a family event: “All the people there could only speak about one thing – the Muslim Ban. Everyone was afraid that this is just the beginning. It would end with all Muslims either being deported – regardless of immigration status or citizenship – or locked up in internment camps. One relative said, ‘America used to mean freedom. Now, it has lost that meaning.'”

He added, “A Yemeni friend of mine who is a doctor on the east coast is on a green card. Today, he was informed by immigration authorities that his green card’s renewal will be put on hold. As he called it, now he’s in purgatory. This is a man deeply engaged in the community and busy saving  American lives. Yet, he is being treated like an enemy of America when he should be thanked and appreciated for his efforts.”

Ms. Hill added, “Today we talked about [the threats to] Davis’ students and world-class agricultural and scientific research from the Muslim ban and EPA freeze, and the danger to Californians’ health from ACA repeal.”

She said that one specific request was to meet with Congressman Garamendi himself when he is next in the district, and have a phone meeting before then, and they are working to schedule the face-to-face meeting in March.

She added, “We will continue to ask for a teleconference before then.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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40 thoughts on “Huge Crowd Shows Up at Protest in Front of Garamendi’s Office Tuesday”

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          I think that comment discounts what we are seeing. These were for the most part people I have never seen before. Usually at these events, you see the same faces over and over again. The organizers have never been involved before in politics. It’s a good thing because the system needs fresh energy and blood. Sure you don’t agree, but getting new voices can only be a good thing for the country.

        2. Jaroslaw Waszczuk

           Sure you don’t agree, but getting new voices can only be a good thing for the country.

          David

          New voices you do like . Right David ? Keith does not know you yet  who you are .

    1. Tia Will

      Keith

      I hope that Congressman Garamendi realizes that he supposed to represent all of his constituents, not just the squeeky wheels.”

      I would hope that the current president would realize the same.

      1. Keith O

        Elections have consequences.

        Just like the last eight years where Obama pushed his agenda we now have a new leader who will push his.

        That’s how it works.

         

        1. Tia Will

          That’s how it works.”

          I would say that that is how it does not work. This time the popular vote winner did not take office. So much for being a President for “all the people”.

           

          1. David Greenwald Post author

            Election definitely have consequences, some of them are not necessarily what you think they are.

        2. Keith O

          If he were to appease your desires he would most likely be going against everything the voters put him in office for.  As Obama once said, “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don’t break it. Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That’s not being faithful to what this country’s about.”

        3. Colin Walsh

          Keith. you contradict your self so readily I don’t see how you think anyone will take your seriously.

          I hope that Congressman Garamendi realizes that he supposed to represent all of his constituents, not just the squeeky wheels. – KO 5:25am

          Elections have consequences.- KO 6:42am

           

    2. Dave Hart

      So, Keith, Garamendi is supposed to represent “all of his constituents” with the implication that by speaking with and showing moral and political support for those constituents that showed up at the rally that he is not supporting all of his constituents?  Meanwhile, those of us who think the new minority president who has no popular mandate are to be regarded as minor, “squeaky wheel” types that do not deserve to be taken seriously or should be considered a fringe sentiment.  Those people who were at the rally represent the clear majority of voters and citizens in this congressional district whether you like to recognize it or not.

  1. Keith O

    He said that the Supreme Court announcement, which happened later in the day, would raise another raucous.

    *
    *
    Neil Gorsuch was confirmed by the senate in 2006 by unanimous vote including the following Democrats:

    Barack Obama
    Joe Biden
    John Kerry
    Hillary Clinton
    Chuck Schumer
    Patrick Leahy
    Dianne Feinstein
    Patty Murray
    Ron Wyden
    Richard Durbin
    Jack Reed
    Bill Nelson
    Tom Carper
    Debbie Stabenow
    Maria Cantwell
    Bob Menendez

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      I don’t know what’s going to happen there. It’s a different world than 2006, so I’m not sure how much that’s going to matter. However, that being said, you have a qualified candidate to be nominated to the Supreme Court, that’s probably the best you’ll get under this administration. So unless you are bent on making it so that there is never an appointment to the court for either side, they probably are going to have to confirm. But again, who knows.

      1. Keith O

        So unless you are bent on making it so that there is never an appointment to the court for either side, they probably are going to have to confirm. But again, who knows.

        He will get confirmed either way.

        The GOP has already stated he definately will get confirmed.  Meaning with or without Democrat approval.

        They’ll use the nuclear option if they’re forced.

    2. Dave Hart

      I’ll say one thing about Gorsuch:  he is scholarly and as such we can only hope he will be open to discussion.  It makes no sense for the Democrats to fall on their sword in this particular case because the alternatives that the minority president and his party can come up with could be much worse.  In any case, I have never liked the idea of settling all disputes using the court system.  There may be very bad decisions coming our way, but the political process can reverse those with enough political pressure.  The Supreme Court is a political body and always was.  The gay marriage decision came down not because it was “legal” in some abstract sense, but because the nation is moving in that direction.

  2. Eric Gelber

    Kieth O said:

    I hope that Congressman Garamendi realizes that he supposed to represent all of his constituents, not just the squeeky wheels.

    As you later point out, elections have consequences. It works both ways. Garamendi was elected by those you dismiss as  squeaky wheels. “That’s how it works.”

    1. Keith O

      Fair point.  But there’s a lot more people that voted for him than just those 170 or so that showed up at his office.  It’s kind of like our council meetings were you often see the council swayed by the same few voices that show up to most of the meetings.

      1. Tia Will

        Keith

         But there’s a lot more people that voted for him than just those 170 or so that showed up at his office.  It’s kind of like our council meetings were you often see the council swayed by the same few voices that show up to most of the meetings.”

        Then by your own reasoning, is it not incumbent upon those who have a differing point of view to step up, attend meetings and voice their opposition ?

         

  3. Tia Will

    Keith

    Quoting from President Obama, you state “Then argue for your position”. This is exactly what those that you dismiss as “squeaky wheels” were doing. Winning elections is certainly one part of the process, holding your elected officials responsible for their actions is another. It was the latter that was being addressed at this meeting.

  4. Howard P

    “Huge” is of course  relative term, and in the eye of the beholder… but 170?  Not close… at peak, I counted closer to 100-110, tops… was parked across the street… even went over at one point to see what it was about… at first wondered if there was a movie playing at the cinema that was being protested… was told that it was about Garamendi and wanting him to oppose many potential/perceived, actual Trump positions… was told they assembled there so as not to block the sidewalk in front of the congressman’s office… they ended up blocking the sidewalk, anyhow…

    1. darelldd

      *Please* tell me that we’re not going to dispute crowd size. Size of the protest crowd is as important as how much money a candidate raises for an election. If only we could find a way to focus on something as boring as… issues.

  5. Dave Hart

    I have an observation regarding the rally outside Garamendi’s office.  The sound system to amplify the congressman’s voice is typical of the wimpy, sonically weak sound systems being used at demonstrations.  With all the mischief that this minority administration has planned for us, it is imperative that we have better audio equipment.  Maybe there is some entrepreneurial little college Republican that can see the huge and potentially lucrative market in compact battery-operated sound systems for public demonstrations.

  6. Jaroslaw Waszczuk

    Tia Will February 1, 2017 at 6:43 am

    I would say that that is how it does not work. This time the popular vote winner did not take office. So much for being a President for “all the people”.

    Tia
    Why is so important and significant for  you as an American and  the voter that Donald Trump did not won the popular vote .?  You are also the  Political Scientist by education than you have an  outstanding expertise why the popular vote would make you love the new President  Donald Trump if he would won the popular vote . This is not first time you are raising the popular vote against the  new President Donald Trump .  Would you shut up if Donald Trump would be a winner and elected as President  by the  electoral vote and  popular vote as well ?  Maybe it is a silly question but by the following your reasoning of hate for the new President is not the a  silly question. Please answer only the popular vote versa electoral . I know the your other reasons to hate to the new President .
    I see the pictures attached to this articles with signs like ‘No Muslim Ban ”  “Un -American Unconstitutional”
    “We are the People ” with lady head wrapped up in  the “American Flag ”  (what it suppose to mean?) and the best sign  is :’Fighting Fascism Is An American Tradition”  . Maybe fighting Islamo- Fascists  like the  Al-Queida  ISIS or Taliban  is  an American  traditional for last few decades. However  “Black is beautiful and white is right ” and ” Hands up Don’t shoot ”  is the another deeply rooted American tradition regardless if  President of United States was George Bush or Barak Obama .  As the statistics shows President Barak Obama was the worse for the African -Americans  in this matter . Ask  the Attorney John Burris if you don’t believe what I am saying .

    1. Dave Hart

      It’s important to the extent that it means a minority president does not have what could be considered a mandate on behalf of the majority.  That’s all.  It’s a moral argument, not a legal one.  To that extent he is in danger of overreach which I have no doubt he will accomplish at some point.

      1. Jaroslaw Waszczuk

        Dave

        This the whole point but .  Donald Trump  is the legal President of the United States  and attempts to delegitimize him is a  dangerous path the  left extremists  are walking on.

  7. Tia Will

    Jerry

    I agree with you that it is a silly question. I believe that the answer to whether I would like the current president’s policies and actions any better if he had won the popular vote or not is both ridiculous and self evident at the same time. I do not hate the current president. Complete lack of respect would be a much more accurate descriptive for how I feel. From my point of view he is without personal integrity saying and doing only that which is likely to win him more attention and feed his constant need for self aggrandizement.

    As to your comments about President Obama. Again, I ask you as I did Keith. What is the point ?  Your favored candidate is now in office. It is no longer about the actions of President Obama. You have elected your man, he is in charge. And now you and everyone who supports him has to own his irresponsible childish destructive behaviors. Unfortunately, all of the rest of us have to live with them as well.

  8. Jaroslaw Waszczuk

    Tia

    Don’t be silly . You are dancing now and contradicting yourself . You are not only one who are raising hell about the popular vote . President Trump is not the exception as you know . Your statement This time the popular vote winner did not take office. So much for being a President for “all the people” clearly implies  that  the new President  is not President for “all the people” because of popular vote.  As a Political Scientist you understand the term “Bolshevik” . It translates to your majority or popular vote in the context of  our discussion. 
    (B) RUTHLESSNESS OF BOLSHEVIKS 
     
    The weaknesses of their opponents made it much easier for the Bolsheviks to crush them. In summer 1918 a failed rebellion by the SRs in Moscow and an assassination attempt on Lenin persuaded the Bolsheviks to unleash the ‘Red Terror’. This was presided over by the CHEKA, formed shortly after the October Revolution under the leadership of Dzerzhinsky (‘we stand for organized terror: this should be frankly stated’). Within months, membership of the Menshevik (Minority)and SR parties had fallen by two-thirds. The following year, Victor Serge felt that the Soviet state had ‘reverted to the procedures of the Inquisition’ and by the time of Lenin’s death an estimated 250,000 opponents had been liquidated.

    BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR–You Might Get It!

     

        1. Dave Hart

          You know, Jaroslaw, it’s entirely possible DT will be impeached by a Republican Congress.  I can envision a scenario in my nightmare phase where even Sean and I have to join you and take to the streets to prevent Trump from being deposed by a Pence military coup.  You know, just about anything is possible in this increasingly bizarre political world.  So, shalom, brother.

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