The big action in California today was up in Sacramento where 5-6,000 demonstrators roasted the RINO governator along with the Democrat legislature. 350-500 gathered in the belly of the beast, San Francisco, where a grand total of four counter-protestors showed up.
Having just been on a long drive, we opted for the local demo in front of San Mateo's Hillsdale mall along El Camino. It was scheduled for 1-7pm, which might have been too much of a good thing. We turned up for the commute hour, which seemed to be the peak of both participants and passersby.
With the crowd strung out down the sidewalk it was tough to get a good crowd shot. I counted about 200 participants at peak, just after 5PM. One police officer said he'd not made a formal count, but that sounded about right. There was steady coming and going, so total participation may have been 300+. (There were half a dozen San Mateo police present, who seemed mostly bemused, and just kept the crosswalk clear. Probably the most excitement they've had all week.)
I chatted with a few protestors, and found that almost all were either from San Mateo county or work here. Most had learned about the Tea Party at one place or another on the net, with a couple mentioning hearing about it on the radio.
No provocateurs or counter-protesters were spotted, and if any astroturfing was going on it was either supremely stealthy or ineffective: signs were mostly handmade and quite eclectic.
San Mateo residents certainly have plenty to protest. On top of the Federal pork, bailouts, and record deficits, we've got the state government raising taxes in the face of a recession, driving out businesses and residents, meanwhile spending their time on important things like making sure we can't buy the TVs we want.
Today the local Daily Post printed a report showing that 1,229 San Mateo County employees made over $100,000 in 2008. Meanwhile, census records show the median income in the county is $36,000. If there's a class war here, it's between the tax payers, and the tax eaters. And to add insult to the injury, the county has an unfunded pension deficit of over half billion dollars, due to sweetheart deals between the public employees' union and the Democrat-controlled board of supervisors. Yes, it's time for a Tea Party.