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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Education & Student Activism
The May 9, 2011, Education Budget Protest In Sakkkramento, KKKalifornia
THE MAY 9, 2011, EDUCATION BUDGET
We left the San Francisco City College Mission Campus at 12 Noon, heading up Highway 80 to Sakkkramento. We took sleeping bags--our plan, if everything went in our favor, was to have someone rush them into the state capitol building at the last second. Along with teachers, college and high school students went to the protest.
Two protesters had already started the action when we arrived, so the California Highway Patrol (CHP) was already on high alert. People were also posing with the massive $100,000 bear sculpture that Arnold Schwarzenegger bequeathed to the hallway outside the Governor's office.
Six p.m. came quickly. Two other random acts of demonstrating about budget cuts happened before we officially got going. Zero hour came. This poverty skolah is large, and can sneak more stuff in than a skinny person (including a CA Teachers Association banner...). It is forbidden to bring banners inside the capitol building.
Let me explain why I gave the teachers union an "F". The union, which called for the demo, began forcing teachers to leave while the official protester teachers were threatened with fines.
"Education should be free!" "K to PHd should be free!" were two of the protest chants. I believe I saw the same camera man 12 times as we marched past the statue of Eureka, a goddess on the state seal. The Highway Patrol began telling us we should leave, it was our last chance to leave freely before being arrested.
We began a teach-in. I was sitting listening at first. I asked the students: "Who wants a free education at any of the state's colleges? That isn't a myth--it was real when I was your age. It was real during the Depression! Charging a 1% tax on any corporation, partnership, or person that earns $1 million or more a year would not hurt anyone and make college/university educations free again.
The Highway Patrol gave us 5 minutes to leave or go to jail. The citation they gave me cites "602Q PC: Failure to leave a state building". The situation began to feel like a Woody Allen movie ("Take the Money and Run"). The senior officer present made sure his CHP officers were as non-violent and polite as possible.
Why Do You Have To Get Arrested To Get Decent Health Care?
Sitting on the ground outside the CHP station was hard for me. I was given a chair--other Po'Lice departments haven't been that courteous and nice, treating protesters like cattle.
One student had food and shared it. The CHP officer managing the students cut her plastic cuffs and said he was happy to let her do that as long as she (wink-wink) didn't escape custody. One of the teachers said some of the officers have kids the same age and understood how to behave with them.
There was a Sacramento Po'Lice officer present who wasn't so nice. A CHP officer showed up with a drunk yuppy who was driving a BMW. The drunk guy was rude, as was a Sacramento Po'Lice officer who happened to be there--the CHP officers on duty at the station weren't.
I started out in plastic cuffs, graduating to metal ones (which I, and most people would prefer to wear if circumstances require them...) so I could go the bathroom. We were taken to see a nurse, as everyone arrested by the CHP does. My foot was infected from cuts that happened earlier in the week. The nurse was very concerned when she saw this.
She ordered the CHP to take me to a hospital and have me released. I was taken to UC Davis. Why do you have to get arrested to get decent health care in Amerikkka?
I was at UC Davis for six hours before having my foot looked at and treated (in a brand-new hospital). I was given an antibiotic shot and two different pills. On the way to downtown Sacramento I called Tiny. I took Amtrak back to San Francisco and slept for 16 hours.