First, I want to apologize for the truncated live blog last night. The battery ran out on my phone.
Secondly, I’m angry with the atmosphere at the meeting last night.
Depending on what source you read, there were between 350 and 450 members of the public last night. That’s protesters, counter-protesters, audience members, press and other hangers-on. There were 100 policemen.
As if that isn’t bad enough, the police that were deployed in the meeting room were dressed in tactical gear. That means helmets and all. This led to the most ridiculous and offensive moment of the evening: officers in riot gear forcibly ejecting Lupe Castillo. Lupe is nearly seventy and her ongoing medical problems mean that she walks with two canes (when she can walk at all). To quote Miguel Ortega: ¡Que verguenza!
I know that a few of my conservative readers are thinking “Yeah, so what?” Well, think about if this was, say, a city council meeting and the local Tea Party was treated the same way.
One local journalist I talked to supposed that higher security was called for because of what happened in January. If I saw measures like that taken at a congressional town hall, it would be hard to imagine the press standing for it for even a moment. I wouldn’t expect any less.
This nature of the police presence was requested by John Pedicone, according to a source I talked to close to the board. Yep, Pedicone requested this show of force and all the while made claims of wanting more community dialogue.
So, when we have these community fora on the issue with a larger crowds and venues, does he up the security a notch? Maybe the Arizona National Guard? It’s too bad the 82nd Airborne isn’t available, right John?