3PM this afternoon I was one of 12 single payer activists who were
escorted from the reception area of Nancy Pelosi's office in the San
Francisco Federal Building and arrested by members of the Federal
Protection Service of U.S. Homeland Security.
before noon we went to Pelosi's office to ask Dan Bernal, the district
director, make a phone call either to Pelosi herself or Terri
McCullough, Pelosi's chief of staff in Washington. We wanted to
directly communicate two demands: that the Kucinich amendment be
included in the health care bill that will soon be brought to a vote in
the House and that the Weiner amendment be voted on by the House, as
previously promised by Pelosi.
two hours Bernal refused to meet with any of us. Then he called in the
police and had them arrange for a meeting with himself and three of us
in the reception area. The doors between the reception area and the
hallway were closed. Two policemen stayed in the room. The other
activists and other police stood outside the closed doors in the
hallway. Instead of working out how a call could be made so that we
could discuss our demands, Bernal promptly and brusquely said he'd just
listen to what we wanted and then all of us had to leave the building.
As soon as we said that wasn't why we had agreed to the police's
conditions to meet with him, Bernal broke off the meeting, left the
reception area and went back inside the locked doors to his office.
the police took us from Pelosi's office on the second floor to the
basement, where they processed our arrests. Because Bernal was too
cowardly to file an official complaint, an elaborate charade was worked
out by Bernal, building management and the Federal Protection Service.
The misdemeanor charged against all of us was based on a technicality:
our singing and chanting for single payer was not in accord with the
rules and regulations of the federal building. This technicality was
then extended to mean that we had "disobeyed" the police officers. We
were issued citations and told that we would be summoned to court
later. Then we were dismissed from the building.
noon until we emerged from the basement with our citations in hand,
there was a spirited rally for single payer taking place across the
street. The demonstrators included a large contingent of members of the
California School Employees Association, some of whom had come from
Sacramento and Stockton. The rally also included members of California
Nurses Association and Single Payer Now.
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"Pelosi Twelve" are members of organizations such as ActforSinglePayer,
AFSCME District Council 57, California Alliance of Retired Americans,
California School Employees Association, Gray Panthers, and Health Care
of us today, those who were arrested and those who rallied in support
of us, will keep fighting to get the Kucinich amendment in the House
health care bill. And we'll keep fighting to win single payer in
California and the nation. Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats or sell-out
Democrats, like Nancy Pelosi, will not prevent us from succeeding.
Health Care for All-California