Pete Stark (D-CA 13) held not just one, but three town hall meetings on healthcare Saturday in his East Bay district. The first one, in Fremont, has already been diary'd; and we skipped the second one in San Leandro in order to make it to the third, in Alameda, in time to get inside.
Although we arrived nearly an hour early, by the time we got there the rally was already well under way.
All photos by Holly K. Dodson
After the earlier town-hall in Fremont, where the pro-reform forces barely matched the anti-reformers, Alameda was a revelation. Passing motorists were honking for health-care reform in response to the demonstrators pictured above. The line to get inside Alameda's City Hall building already went around the corner and out of sight (here is a small part of it).
The area in front of the building was a thicket of pro-reform signs.
Organizing for America volunteers were all over the place, passing out signs and stickers. Several other groups were also well-represented. But the best signs, as always, were homemade:
A lone insurance industry shill we had seen earlier outside the Fremont town hall arrived and was greeted by at least a dozen pro-reformers. They quickly surrounded him, holding their signs high.
The evil insurance industry octopus arrived, but a brave pro-reform hero fought it off.
Many local doctors were present. Without exception each was calling for reform, including these two stalwarts:
A near-constant stream of pro-reformists mounted the steps and told the crowd why we need health care reform.
This was my effort. Yes we can!
One of the highlights was Jimmy Kelly and his guitar.
Jimmy Kelly sings "(Ain't No Cure for the) Healthcare Blues"
We never made it inside. After they let about 200 people in, at least 500 remained in front of City Hall, chanting, singing, and calling for health care reform. The deathers and wingnuts never had a chance. A lone Minuteman (below right), though armed with a megaphone, didn't have the heart to say a single word.
(I got word from one of the organizers that inside Pete Stark found similar support. Reportedly, only one questioner, a Deather, was anti-reform, and she was unable to disrupt the proceedings.)
Even when the town hall went overtime, the rally continued. Finally, Pete Stark appeared on the front steps and said a few words. The crowd gave him a minute-long ovation.
Best of all, I got to go home afterwards with my lady! Yes we can!