The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

February 22, 2011
Conservative group distances itself from rally infiltration plan

Editor's note, 11:09 a.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported the rally's start as 5:30 p.m. today.

A call to conservative activists in the Sacramento area to infiltrate a union rally scheduled for the Capitol this evening has prompted a national organization to distance itself from the plan and remove a blog that promoted the idea.

The rally, set for 6 p.m. , is intended as a show of support for embattled government workers in Wisconsin.

PatriotActionNetwork, which supports the Tea Party's limited government ideals, found itself caught up in a controversy started by Mark Williams. The former Sacramento conservative radio talk show host, according a report on The Daily Kos , posted this on his blog:

Here is what I am doing in Sacramento, where they are holding a 5:30 PM event this coming Tuesday: (1) I signed up as an organizer (2) with any luck they will contact me and I will have an "in" (3) in or not I will be there and am asking as many other people as can get there to come with, all of us in SEIU shirts (those who don't have them we can possibly buy some from vendors likely to be there) (4) we are going to target the many TV cameras and reporters looking for comments from the members there (5) we will approach the cameras to make good pictures... signs under our shirts that say things like "screw the taxpayer!" and "you OWE me!" to be pulled out for the camera (timing is important because the signs will be taken away from us) (6) we will echo those slogans in angry sounding tones to the cameras and the reporters. (7) if I do get the 'in' I am going to do my darnedest to get podium access and take the mic to do that rant from there...with any luck and if I can manage the moments to build up to it, I can probably get a cheer out of the crowd for something extreme.

Our goal is to make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is, ding their credibility with the media and exploit the lazy reporters who just want dramatic shots and outrageous quotes for headlines. Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes and pictures will linger as defacto truth.

We're trying to reach Williams for comment.

Darla Dawald, national director of Patriot Action Network, acknowledged in this Sunday update on the organization's website that she removed Williams blog from the organization's site:

We had listed what Mark Williams and some others in Sacremento (sic) CA were planning to do as far as infiltrating the SEIU rallies. We never asked our members to take that kind of action nor was that our intention. ... I have since removed the blog to make it clear we are NOT calling for that action to be taken but rather as it states below, this was a call to action to organize and support counter protests.

Williams' plan was published after the network invited Tea Party activists in California and around the country to unite and protest at union rallies around the country. As part commission, Dawald wrote on the network's website,

This is a CALL to ACTION for the TEA PARTY

Time to get into to gear and organize your troops at the local level in the areas listed below. Contact your tea party and anyone else who will support our side. It's time to show these big labor goons and the country we can organize without big Union and DNC money!

Let us know about your planned counter protests and we will promote it.

Today's 6 p.m. union candlelight vigil rally on the Capitol's west side is being sponsored by the California Teachers Association, SEIU Local 1000, AFSCME, the Sacramento Central Labor Council and the California Labor Federation.


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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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