Two Hundred Protest for Single Payer Outside California Assembly Speaker’s Office in Los Angeles County

29 Jun
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Protest, on Tuesday, June 27, in favor of Single Payer outside of California Assembly Speaker’s South Gate office; Photo by Barry Saks

More than 200 people protested, outside the office of California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D, Lakewood), at 12132 Garfield Ave., South Gate, on Tuesday, June 27, in favor of Senate Bill 562, also known as the Healthy California Act.

The program consisted of skits, speakers and chants.

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The character, “The Grim Reaper, on Tuesday, June 27, at protest; Photo by Barry Saks

The program started and ended with a skit linking the Assembly Speaker to the insurance and pharmaceutical companies through their campaign donations to him and to death through the character of the Grim Reaper signifying it.

David Sirota, in a June 26 article for the International Business Times, wrote, “Since 2012, Rendon has taken in more than $82,000 from business groups and healthcare corporations that are listed in state documents opposed the measure, according to an International Business Times review of data amassed by the National Institute on Money In State Politics. In all, he has received more than $101,000 from pharmaceutical companies and another $50,000 from major health insurers.”

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Former Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen speaks, on Tuesday, June 27, at Healthcare for All rally in South Gate, Calif., outside of the office of California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon; Photo by Barry Saks.

One speaker was Bao Nguyen.  Nguyen, who is a former mayor of Garden Grove, said, “Coming from Orange County, we’re all not conservative….We need healthcare too….Being I guess a politician, …we know what campaigns take and we know that you don’t have to take the money…We do not want our representatives to sell us out, especially here in California.  What difference are you (Assembly Speaker Rendon) compared to what is happening in Washington?”

A second speaker was Brenda Gutierez, who said she is a diabetic and had healthcare until she lost it this year.  Gutierez said her diabetic medication is going to cost monthly $674.85.

One chant was “Rendon, Rendon, shame on you, action now on 562.”  A second chant was “Medicare for all is our fight.  Healthcare is a human right.”  A third chant was “What do you do when your healthcare is under attack.  Stand up, fight back.” A fourth chant closer to the end of the program was “Recall Rendon.”  A fifth chant was “What do we need? Healthcare.  When do we want it? Now.”

One protester outside of the Speaker’s office was Rachel Burkhardt, 44, who now lives in Burbank, and is a stay-at-home mother “with some free time” because her two children are “at day camp.”  Burkhardt characterized herself as a registered Democratic, who believes in women’s and abortion rights.  She said, “There is no reason why our country can’t have a single-payer system…I want us (California) to lead the nation with a single-payer system…I feel like on a daily basis there is so much like soul-crushing news,…it hurts me….This is really the first time I’ve felt really compelled to pay attention and become active…What is so amazing is seeing this resistance build up.”

One person outside, who had a recall Rendon sign but was not protesting Rendon’s decision and who opposes the Healthy California Act, was Arthur Schaper. Schaper, with his iconic red Make-America-Great-Again baseball cap and President Trump tee-shirt, said, “I think single payer, forcing that on every person in California would be the most uncivil thing to happen.”  When Schaper was asked how many people he brought with him, he refused to answer.

A statement issued on the Assembly Speaker’s website, on Friday, June 23, in part, said, “As someone who has long been a supporter of single payer, I am encouraged by the conversation begun by Senate Bill 562.  However, SB 562 was sent to the Assembly woefully incomplete.”

While the Speaker decided the bill will remain in the Assembly Rules Committee, near the end of the statement, Rendon left some hope for supporters of the Healthy California Act by adding “this action does not mean SB 562 is dead….(I)t leaves open the exact deep discussion and debate the senators who voted for SB 562 repeatedly said is needed.”

 

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