( What we were missing by attending the protest. What does the NBA and politics have in common? People shove each other and then a debate breaks out about it. Meanwhile the game continues.)
In an effort to minimize my comments I will allow the article to speak for itself. I want to back up the process by which it was written but as I have said in the past I did not witness the man being knocked to the ground and I didn't see Audra's Chief of Staff push him. I did see him stand in front of the path of people walking up the side walk but I don't know what he said as I was too far back to hear it.
I will say that The Star and reporter Teresa Rochester interviewed many people over the last couple of days to make sure the story was accurate. Reading the article you will see that The Star interviewed the key individuals directly.
Protest organizer Louis Pandolfi notified in advance the media and the police about the protest. Although the police on duty didn't know about it The Star staff including Teresa Rochester to cover the event.
Being that there was about 50 partisans on each side their recollections wouldn't be fair to include. But Teresa Rochester was on scene and had many pictures taken as the events described took place. The Star did not publish all of the pictures.
I know that people will quibble with her story but she is part of the few eyewitnesses to the event that wasn't on a side protesting. Another would be The Star photographer.
I have heard a prominent Democrat in the past complain about her being too favorable to those in power ( Republicans ) and that she was too cautious in her writing.
I am sure people will be arguing about this article too.
Here are some more of my photos from the event:
If someone that has Audra Strickland's released letter sends it to me I will post it so you can read it for yourself.
Strickland aide put on leave after fracas at fundraising event
By Teresa Rochester
Friday, June 20, 2008
Assemblywoman Audra Strickland placed a top aide on leave Thursday following his involvement earlier this week in altercations during a demonstration outside a fundraiser for her husband, state Senate candidate Tony Strickland.
Audra Strickland, R-Moorpark, announced she was placing Joel Angeles, her chief of staff, on "a one-month leave of absence without pay for what I view as a show of poor judgment," according to a written statement issued by her office.
On Tuesday, Angeles took the day off from his job as her chief of staff job to join her husband's campaign supporters outside the Hyatt Westlake Plaza hotel in Thousand Oaks. Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney appeared there Tuesday night to stump for Tony Strickland, who is locked in a critical battle for the 19th District Senate seat.
Tony Strickland's supporters gathered outside the hotel Tuesday afternoon to counter a planned protest by supporters of his Democratic rival, Hannah-Beth Jackson.
As Angeles attempted to block the second group of protesters from marching up the sidewalk toward his candidate's supporters, the verbal sparring between Angeles and the protesters escalated into shoving. Police were summoned and took a report of the incident but made no arrests.
Audra Strickland noted in her statement that "most accounts show that Hannah-Beth Jackson's protesters were the aggressors."
"Frankly, it is very difficult for me since I was not there," Strickland said in an interview Thursday morning. "I've talked to people who were there. I talked to people who were intimidated. They were concerned for their safety."
Couterprotesters claim Angeles was the one who instigated the physical contact.
Strickland's supporters had gathered at a driveway leading to the hotel. Jennifer McCarthy, a long-time Tony Strickland supporter, was among them with her daughter and nephew. After waving signs and flags for about an hour and a half, McCarthy saw knots of people with Obama '08 and anti-Strickland signs walk back and forth, she said.
A Tony Strickland supporter made a remark to an Obama supporter, who responded angrily, she said.
The counterprotesters ended up gathering in front of a gas station on the southeast corner of Westlake Boulevard and Townsgate Road. Angeles stood on the opposite corner holding an anti-Jackson sign.
Louis Pandolfi, the Simi Valley resident who organized the protest against Tony Strickland, described what transpired as "horrible." At the front of a group of about 50 people, including one dressed as a cigarette in protest of campaign contributions from tobacco companies, Pandolfi said he heard Angeles tell them not to step on the curb.
Angeles denied saying that.
"My primary concern throughout the whole thing was the safety of all involved," Angeles said in an interview Wednesday.
"My attempt was to talk to someone who was leading the group and say, Let's keep our groups separated 10 to 20 feet apart.' There was a decision on their part to just move ahead."
As the group moved past Angeles, he ran in front of them, in what appeared to be an effort to stop their movement. Pandolfi said he was pushed.
Jack Phillips, a Vietnam veteran, retired minister and head of the Camarillo Democratic Club was elbowed to the ground by Angeles, in front of news reporters. His left arm was injured.
"He was moving back and forth to block people, and he bumped me," Phillips, 67, said. "All of a sudden, I found myself on the ground looking for my hearing aid."
Phillips said when he got up, he confronted Angeles. The two traded heated insults with their faces inches apart. Phillips said he put his finger into Angeles' chin.
Angeles said Phillips had "given me an upper cut to the chin."