06 June 2008 ~ 0 Comments

A Letter To USCS Protesters For AFSCME Workers

Dear UCSC AFSCME protesters,

I am a member of the local community here in Santa Cruz.
My wife called me to find out what was going on on Friday June 6th, 2008 at the corner of Mission and Bay.  I was at my computer.  She was trying to get to Longs with our son, but the only way she knew how to get there was blocked.
She was a bit frustrated, but I was intrigued to see what was going on.
I am all for peaceful protests to raise awareness and support.

It was down the street from our office and home, so myself and 2 friends walked down there.
You were protesting unfair wages.
Possibly a very just cause.  I don’t know.
I watched and listened as you chanted.
“What so we want?  Justice!  When do we want it?  Now!”
“No contracts, no peace.” (Thought that was an odd one.)

Then I saw a lady in a mini van approach the intersection from Bay.
Police were redirecting traffic several  blocks up on Mission, (closing off 4-5 blocks of businesses) but apparently she came from elsewhere.
Perhaps she was on her way to pick up a child from the preschool/elementary school across the street.  Who knows.
I watched as you refused to allow her to pass and used intimidation to make her turn around.
This is when my outlook and demeanor changed.

I imagined my wife and child alone in the car as you intimidated them.  That pissed me off.
You may call it kindly letting her know that she could go another way.  You may believe you were not intimidating, but friendly.
I define 15-20 students surrounding an innocent lady’s minivan intimidation.
I watched as three of “Santa Cruz’s Finest” stood in the middle of the street talking and not helping the lady at all.  Even after I pointed out the situation in case they had missed it.  Glad to know I could count on them to take care of my family.

As I walked away, I overheard the lady who works for Santa Cruz public transit talking to a student.
“We carry you back and forth here.  We never cross your picket lines.  We always respect you.  You could have given us some warning so we could reroute our buses ahead of time.  Not cool.”
I watched frustrated business owners talk with police.
I listened to local residents upset because they couldn’t get anywhere.

As I said, I’m all for activism.  I’m fine with protests.  I live in Santa Cruz.  I better be.
There are ways to get messages across and be heard without angering a majority of the community and cutting your support base.
You may have a very worthy cause.
It may be a cause worth my support.
Unfortunately, I don’t know.
Today, your methods unfortunately spoke louder than your message.

A disappointed Santa Cruz resident

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