Redbeardedguy - Posted on 24 August 2010


Wednesday, August 18, 2010, I left my home at 8 a.m., got to Berkeley 9-ish to meet other people going to Sacramento—and the Food Not Bombs vehicle, a rescued ex-AC Transit bus.  On the way to Schwarzeneggertown we picked up 12 more passengers, all Wheelchair Skolahs.  Joe Bolden, “Tell Joe” of POORmagazine, got to Sacto by other means. 


In Sacto by Noon, this poverty skolah helped perform street theater, pushing three gurneys (with patients aboard) down the street with some single mamaz, a 10-foot-tall effigy of Ahnold, and several tents.  The Wheelchair Skolahs led the way, with Ahnold looming overhead with an axe in one hand and a cigar in the other.  We went up K Street, turned onto N Street to the Capitol.


Wearing doctors’ smocks, we barricaded the street across from the Capitol building.  A Po’Lice officer on a bicycle tried to get us to leave.  He called for back up and got six more bicycle-ridin’ officers.  The media was watching—Channels 4, 5, and 11.  Newspaper reporters were there too.


Joe (our photographer) and I were willing to do civil disobedience.  Thirty Po’Lice officers were there, one for each of us!  Some wore SWAT gear.  My cellphone rang.  My fairy godmother, who shall go unnamed, had other ideas.  Joe and I decided to, as we say at POOR, “report and support”, but stay out of jail.


We performed a live report of the protest on KPFA FM radio station.  A Po’Lice Captain, or some other highly ranked cop, announced that they might be spraying chemical agents and if anyone was allergic they should leave immediately.  The Press was encouraged to move back, yellow Po’Lice tape was put up.  People from the Calfornia Federation of Labor were present, chanting slogans.


People inside the yellow tape were asked for identification.  The Wheelchair Skolahs presented the Po’Lice with a challenge, none of them present had any experience of arresting physically disabled people.  They had more fun with the effigy of Ahnold, and the gurneys, grabbing them like they were Blue Light Specials from K-Mart.


One of the single mamaz got her foot stepped on by a Po’Lice officer.  She pushed him off her foot and was charged with attempting to escape—with her hands bound behind her with plastic ties.  The mama, on Welfare, was worried about benefits getting cut and her child put at risk.


The Po’Lice set up a processing station on the spot, citing and releasing people there.  The strangest sight of the day’s action--a petite blind woman was surrounded by five SWAT officers, escorting her to the fingerprint area as if she were one of Jackie Chan’s long lost cousins ready to start some trouble.  None of the officers looked older than 25.  Note to Sacramento Po’Lice:  please give your officers better training in dealing with Wheelchair and other Differently Abled Skolahs!


Who do they have training them to A.D.A. (Americans With Disabilities Act) standards?  It was 90 degrees that day.  The processing was quick, but not quick enough.  The protesters were also Elder Skolahs who needed water.  Sun-stroke is no joke.  It can kill.  The Sacto Po’Lice Department looked like the Keystone Kops. 


The Lawyers Guild had representatives there, interviewing everyone who was arrested, especially the mama who got her foot stepped on.  She said they stepped on her toes, so she stepped on theirs.  The Po’Lice treated her as if she was the leader of the protest, which was run by consensus.  She was the only protester not immediately released--a few of the officers on-scene said they were keeping her for a while longer.


We lost Joe Bolden.  His ride couldn’t wait.  The “Arniemobile”, the Food Not Bombs bus, was enlisted in the hunt, but No Joe.  We headed back to the Bay Area.  Joe walked to Vallejo.  He made it back to San Francisco from there, knowing the area and having enough money to pay his own way.  This poverty skolah fell asleep on the floor of the bus.


I woke up smelling burning rubber and diesel.  The bus dropped an axle, which we saw behind us in the fast lane.  Ever try to get 12 Wheelchair Skolahs van rides in the middle of nowhere at 6 p.m.?  Eight people who weren’t skolah helpers were rescued 3 hours later, riding a van that carried the Ahnold effigy.  Everyone else got moving again several hours after that. No good deed goes unpunished…






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