I attended the town hall that was set up in Brighton today for Rep. Ed Perlmutter. I am pleased to report that with a heavy police presence, excellent Union support and Organizing for America on point we outnumbered the TeaBaggers 3 to 1.
My Mom had spoken with the Democratic Party Chair for Adams County the day before and he had told her that Perlmutter was prepared for the crazies and he was. They did a great job of preserving the constituents ability to speak with their Representative while also controlling the crowd on a hot summer day in the parking lot of the local grocery store.
Follow below the fold for more details;
Though Perlmutter did not speak, he did allow one on one meetings for any constituent that waited on line. Because of the set up the meetings were not disrupted by protesters. Also, because of the police presence it was a lively but well behaved crowd and as I stated above I would estimate a three to one advantage in support of Health Care Reform.
A couple of interesting things happened.
Once the Teabaggers started to shout their slogans, the supporters of Perlmutter and Health Care Reform drowned them out with chants of "Yes we can". The crowd was mixed together with teabaggers and supporters all milling around together and most were polite. A few looked angry but did not seem to want to get into anything other than shouting matches.
The signs held by the teabaggers were generally not derogatory to our President, but rather his healthcare plan. An organizer handed out signs in support of healthcare which helped make our side stand out more. The press was out in force and interviewed both sides. I personally was interviewed by NPR. I don't know if it will make it on air but you never know. The local stations in attendance did not report extensively on the 5'oclock news.
One incident occurred where a lady was screaming at a Healthcare supporter to "read the bill". He responded by chanting back at her "read the bill". The Healthcare reform crowd took up the chant which I thought was hilarious. I went over and shook his hand and told him that it was excellent that he threw their own talking point back in their face.
In the crowd was a staffer for Senator Michael Bennet. We talked to him a bit and he said that Bennett is a big supporter of the Public Option. I would like to see this stated on his website but it was good to hear his staffer state his support.
The Unions I saw represented were SEIU, AFL-CIO, UFCW and the Iron Workers of America. I believe there were more there, but I did not see their logos or take notes. Good on you Unions!
No pictures, I was too busy and there were none posted on the local news outlets yet. Maybe someone else who was there will come along and post some for me.
BTW - For those of you who read my diary last night, my Mom did go and she behaved herself. No fist fights broke out.
A bit more on the NPR interviewer. Her angle seemed to be where was I from, why was I there. She seemed to be wanting to know if I was there as some sort of organized group. I told her that I was not a constituent but that I had brought my sister who was. I also told her that it was important for us to get out and show support for reform as the majority of American's are for it. She then wanted to know more about why I cared about this issue. I told her of my other sister who pays a monthly premium for self insurance that is almost as much each month as her mortgage which was just ridiculous and how when I found myself without insurance at one time I was very scared of the consequences of any medical problems and the cost. I said a lot of stuff but unfortunately didn't ask her where her piece might show up so that I could go see what she wrote.
UPDATE: On the Denver Post a blog claims that Perlmutter was avoiding a town hall meeting because the blogger was unable to find out about the event today. He claims the event was not announced until yesterday and was only sent out to supporters. I call Bullshit! I found out about this event early last week by going to the Patients Rights website. Also, the style of event that Perlmutter had today, meeting with constituents one on one is a style that he has used several times in the past. He made special arrangements today to meet with larger groups together so as to accomodate the expected crowd. Link here to idiot whiner blogger Perlmutter Dodging a Real Constituent Meeting? By: Jbpawsuxwe
8/8/2009 - 8:43am
UPDATE: Square State reports that a Health Care Supporter had his car trashed in the parking lot of Perlmutter's event today. The supporter returned to his car after the event was over at about 4:30 and found deliberate damage which included; broken mirror, dents on virtually every part of the car, spit and the side keyed. Teabagged Not Nice!
In the end I believe that we surrounded them.