Protestors: We Want Jobs, Not Cuts

While members of and other organizations demonstrated at local congressional district offices Wednesday, one Congressional staffer described their tactics as "not helpful."

Chanting “They say cutback! We say fight back!” a small crowd with signs converged on Rep. Brian Bilbray’s Solana Beach office Wednesday.

Unemployed teacher Megan Ellsworth-Reinero, holding her baby girl and a sign demanding jobs, said she wants legislators focus on essential services.

She's without a job this fall and wants help from lawmakers for those like her seeking jobs in education and public service like police and firefighters.

Inside Bilbray's office, the group's leader Joanna Lasken of Escondido delivered the "Contract for the American Dream" to Christy Guerin, District Director for Congressman Brian Bilbray and explained how the points were devised by grassroots meetings held around the country.

The plan's 10 points include investing in the country's infrastructure, providing Medicare for all, removing the cap on Social Security tax and ending wars to invest at home. The organization has even created a video using children to illustrate the plan.

“I really like number 9. Tax Wall Street,” Lasken said. “Just return to fair tax rates. We’ve got to get the corporations and the ultra rich to pay like all of us do."

Frank Gormlie, Council Coordinator for the greater San Diego area, took his group of protestors to Rep. Duncan D. Hunter's El Cajon office before moving them to a similar rally at Rep. Susan Davis' offices later in the day.

At Rep. Bilbray's office, Guerin told the protestors they were disrupting business and asked them to stay outside the office.

Guerin said she met with the MoveOn representatives recently and found there are similarities in the contract and Rep. Bilbray’s positions.

“If we really sat down and had a conversation in a setting that was able to do that without it being a protest, they would find that we’re, our intentions, are very much the same,” Guerin said.

However, she said the group’s tactics are not helpful.

“We have groups of Tea Partiers who have very different views than this group. They call and make an appointment. They come in a group of about 10. I can sit down with them in a conference room and have a conversation with them.”

“This kind of behavior is paralyzing. It emphasizes the divide,” she said. ”I don’t think when you have 50 people show up yelling with signs, they want to talk with me.”

She said all they have to do is call and make an appointment and she would be happy to sit down and talk with them.

Ellsworth-Reinero said her ultimate goal is to find that common ground.

“I definitely think compromise needs to happen. Sometimes people turn their ear off and don’t want to hear anything, only their point of view,” she said. “I tell my students compromise isn’t the perfect solution you want. But that’s what a compromise is.”

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