Skip to comments.RALLY REPORT - Kaloogian and Tancredo ROCK Republican Convention in California!
Posted on 02/22/2004 11:15:39 AM PST by Impeach98
Yesterday's rally against giving drivers' licenses to illegal aliens (as proposed by Democrat Gil Cedillo's SB1160 which Repub. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says he supports) was a H U G E success.
The rally planning had been going on for several weeks. It was set to take place Saturday, February 21st at the Burlingame Hyatt, where the California Republican Party Convention would be taking place.
Since Governor Schwarzenegger has said he thinks giving drivers' licenses to illegal aliens is a "fantastic" and "excellent idea" (after he made conservatives very happy by repealing an existing law by Gil Cedillo that Gray Davis had signed that did the same), the thinking was that Arnold would get the message when Republicans turned out to say "WE DON'T WANT IT - NEITHER DOES CALIFORNIA."
The location had to be changed a couple times because officials with the California Republican Party establishment were offended that Kaloogian has rallied Republicans to oppose Bush's amnesty/guest-worker plan and Schwarzenegger's "sell out" on the illegal alien drivers' license plan.
With Kaloogian's opponents for U.S. Senate uncomfortable with challenging either the Bush plan or the Schwarzenegger-backed plan (they will speak to vague policy but not these specific proposals for fear of alienating Bush or Schwarzengger and their establishment suppport), the rally united immigration reform advocates and Kaloogian campaign supporters.
A little after 10:00 AM people began gathering outside, right in front of the Hyatt Hotel. Kaloogian for Senate staffers and volunteers were handing out Kaloogian signs, bumper stickers and lapel stickers.
People were simultaneously streaming towards the Kaloogian for Senate table inside of the convention and were being directed to join the now-growing crowd outside.
At the same time, last minute preparations were taking place at a giant tented pavillion located next to the hotel's pool at the back of the hotel complex. A stage with blue-curtain backdrop and "Kaloogian for Senate" wall would serve as the dais. Approximately one-dozen Kaloogian volunteers were assisting in the set-up effort. People seeking out the rally location began arriving at this location too.
By 10:20 AM things were crazy!!! There was now a crowd of a few hundred people outside that was growing fast. More and more people were running up to the Kaloogian table inside the hotel to find out the rally location and at the poolside pavillion (site of the rally) supporters were being directed to join the crowd at the front of the hotel.
Melanie Morgan and Donald LaCombe of the Kaloogian campaign were now firing up the crowd with chants over a megaphone. There were a handful of reporters and cameras covering the mass of people out front who were shouting "Enough is Enough," "No License for Illegals," and "Stop Them at the Border."
Finally at 10:30 AM, with the crowd now a giant sea of people, completely fired up, we opened the front doors to the hotel and Melanie Morgan chanting "Enough is Enough" into a megaphone led the procession of people through the hotel, down one of the main corridors to the back of the hotel where the crowd would exit, walk the pathway towards the poolside pavillion and assemble for the rally.
A number of interesting things took place. First, the procession passed right by the press room and reporters were shocked to see this massive and boisterous gathering of people streaming through the hotel screaming and chanting. Also, liberal Republican Vice Chair of the CRP, Mario Rodriguez, was conducting a seminar teaching Repubs. how to reach out to Latino voters and was horrified to see the protest march... apparently he is unable to distinguish between the difference of "illegal" individuals and legal citizens of the United States.
The throng of people was so wide, two sets of double-doors had to be opened to allow the crowd to flow in. But then the final mass of people who had gathered in the lobby in front of the Kaloogian for Senate booth formed a third 'feeder' stream to the procession. There were so many people now marching towards the rally location in the back that people could not enter the rally tent fast enough... we had a human traffic jam and this 10 foot wide hallway that runs several hundred feet was now completely jam-packed with participants.
People contiued streaming into the giant tent and tried to squeeze in to allow as many people as possible in. But there were so many people that not everyone could fit... there were dozens of people flowing out the side entrance, straining to see over the heads of those inside, and an even larger group of people at the back end of the tent who could not get in because of the overflow crowd.
Melanie Morgan and Brian Sussman of KSFO AM 560 - San Francisco were the emcees and had the crowd fired up... it wasn't hard. The energy in the room was electrifying. They introduced Kaloogian who received a hero's welcome from the crowd.
Kaloogian was on fire and delivered one of the best speeches I've heard him give on the stump so far. And the crowd responded with passion and energy. The tent was rocking folks!!
Just as Kaloogian was finishing his remarks, we got word that Tancredo was arriving in the back entrance (having been picked up by one of our Kaloogian staffers at the SFO airport). So Kaloogian then transitioned into welcoming Congressman Tom Tancredo, a hero to our cause, just as the Congressman entered the facility.
Tancredo bounded up to the stage and grabbed Kaloogian's fist. They raised their hands into the air - pumping up and down. The crowd was hooting, hollering, screaming, chanting. Melanie Morgan and Brian Sussman were up there on stage still and were themselves cheering and beaming from ear to ear. It was a moment of magic and the energy was incredible.
Now during all of this time there was this steady stream of television camera crews arriving. While we had worked the media over pretty heavily to tell them about the rally, and who would be there, they had been dismissive. They weren't interested in covering a bunch of right-wing kooks complaining about immigration policies. So at the start of the rally we only had a handful of print reporters, 4 or 5 television cameras and 2 or 3 radio reporters. But by the end of the rally news organizations, learning of what was happening, had rushed over scores of additional reporters, camera crews, and microphone-carrying radio techs and reporters.
Tancredo gave a great speech. He explained that a series of events had led to him almost not making it. Delayed flights, cancelled flights, being held up on the tarmac, having to change connecting flights and airline carrier. Everything was a mess and a mass frustration (he was supposed to arrive at 9:30 AM so we could get him settled, instead he didn't make it until about 10:55 AM).
Tancredo told this story and explained that he would go through this kind of hassle every single day between now and Election Day if this would help to elect Howard Kaloogian to the U.S. Senate.
Again, the crowd exploded.
Tancredo went on to explain during his speech that he had NOT ONE immigration reform friendly member in the U.S. Senate... and that without an ally in the Senate to join him in leading the charge on the immigration issue that we could not bring about the change in our failed policies that we need.
Tancredo was funny, gracious, passionate and simple but eloquent. At the end of his speech he again urged those in attendance to go to work to get Kaloogian elected to the Senate and announced he'd be doing all he could till Election Day to propel Kaloogian to victory. Tancredo and Kaloogian raised arms again and the crowd cheered and the camera flashbulbs flashed.
Tancredo and Kaloogian webt out back for a press conference/media avail.
Over the course of the next 45 minutes, Mike Spence, Founder of "Save Our License" (the group that collected signatures to repeal the original drivers' license for illegal aliens bill, SB60), Rick Oltman of FAIR, Ron Prince - author of Prop 187 and Proponent of Save 187 all addressed the crowd.
Crowd estimates have varied. I heard one person say 600-800 but I think this was high. Maybe 500-550.
All the press reports have said several hundred people.
Realize that there were only 1400 delegates listed for the CRP convention, so maybe 1200 were actually at the Hyatt. But while Marin and Jones could generate rallies of 50-75 people, Kaloogian had a massive crowd of cheering and raucous supporters who would then linger throughout the convention for the rest of the day - wearing Kaloogian t-shirts, carrying Kaloogian signs and bumper stickers.
It was an awesome day!
(Burlingame, CA) -- The semi-annual California Republican Party Convention was rocked Saturday morning by several hundred enthusiastic supporters of U.S. Senate candidate Howard Kaloogian who met for a rally against SB1160, the bill that would allow illegal aliens to get a California driver licenses.
BURLINGAME, Calif. An uproar over illegal immigration roiled the state Republican convention on Saturday as party leaders struggled to keep the rank and file united behind Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bush.
Hundreds of GOP loyalists booed the president at a rally where U.S. Senate hopeful Howard Kaloogian and his allies denounced Bush's plan to give temporary legal status to undocumented workers.
"Enough is enough!" the crowd shouted. "Enough is enough!"
A Kaloogian supporter, Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, told the crowd he knew a gynecologist who surveyed patients about the plan and found it rated "right below genital herpes."
But immigration was the issue of passion Saturday, and Kaloogian was the candidate capturing it at his rally with Tancredo in a crowded white tent outside the convention hotel near San Francisco Airport. Next to the stage, two boys wearing Kaloogian T-shirts carried posters reading, "No Terrorist Driver's License." The signs showed a driver's license bearing a photo of Osama bin Laden. Tancredo, who flew in from Colorado for the rally, said that America had taken "rabid, overstated multiculturalism" too far.
"People are still coming across our borders with the intent to do terrible things to us," he told the cheering crowd. He called Bush's proposal "lousy, lousy policy."
Gloria Irwin, the Glenn County Republican Party chairwoman, said she agreed that Bush's plan was "terrible."
"The main street in our little town looks like Tijuana," said Irwin, whose hometown, Orland, is 100 miles north of Sacramento.
As for Schwarzenegger's stand on driver's licenses, she said, "He's going along to get along, and that's not a good thing. I wish he would get a little more backbone."
Saturday morning, Senate candidate Howard Kaloogian led several hundred people in a boisterous rally against illegal immigration, including proposals to grant driver's
licenses to illegal immigrants in California and President Bush's plan to give legal status to millions of undocumented workers.
"We are a nation of laws and that starts at the border. ...I don't understand how you compromise. They either have a driver's license or they don't; they are either here illegally or they are not," Kaloogian said.
While Schwarzenegger has signaled a willingness to consider ways for illegally immigrants to obtain licenses, one GOP legislative leader says he faces a tough sell.
"I think the governor will have to talk to many of us in the Republican Party for us to move on this," said Assembly Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. "I do not see ... a bill out there that we support or a concept that we support."
And last but not lease, GO KALOOGIAN GO! He'd make a fantastic Senator! :-)
Great event all the way around. "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"
I'll post my pics hopefully Monday.
BTW, I was the one with the large sign with the ILLEGAL license plate.
Former Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian, in contrast, proclaimed himself a true conservative - provoking the most approving nods as he addressed the convention-goers, who traditionally are among the party's most right-leaning members.
"We cannot run from our base," he said during the lunchtime forum with his three rivals.
Kaloogian also said he believed that many women are "coerced into abortion."
He tried to boost his Senate bid by headlining a late-morning rally to protest resurrected legislation to give some illegal immigrants driver's licenses. Schwarzenegger persuaded lawmakers to repeal a previous law after he won office, but has said he would sign a new bill if it contained adequate security measures.
Hundreds of people gathered for the rally, some holding signs that read "No terrorist driver's license," and included a blow-up of a California driver's license with Osama bin Laden's photo on it.
(BTW, I'm glad I didn't see a Mexifornia license...Telemuuuuuundo would have had a field day with that!)
With the approving nods of the Melanie Morgans and Roger Hedgecocks and John and Kens of the world (Kaloogian was on all three again this week) and with the base constituency groups (immigration, traditional values, etc...) fired up, a low turnout primary could see Republicans flocking to the polls to vote for a candidate they are actually excited about!
I was the tall thin guy in the Kaloogian t-shirt at the front, who was taking notes to and from Melanie.
After the rally I thanked her profusely with hugs, a kiss on her hand and unending praise.
We've been talking about this rally for several weeks now and we are totally indebtted to her and Brian Sussman who really pushed hard to get people to turn out.
Ron Prince and his team did a great job as did CCIR - Barbara Coe's group/
A lot of organizations helped get 2-3 people here and there to go or to pass on word to their Bay Area contacts, and Morgan and Sussman kept the issue fresh in people's faces to make sure they made it a priority. It couldn't have worked out any better!
They also helped work our booth and stickered people all weekend.
I knew things were going well when we had to STRIP the convention of every Kaloogian sign we could find after the rally when so many people flooded the Kaloogian booth that we ran out of signs. We kept bringing more and more back and they still kept running out.
Paster Kwong and Grace Fong were also huge helps with this effort... it just all went great and was the end result of a lot of hard working people giving it their all because they believe in the causes they are fighting for. I think some of the people in that campaign who are supporters of a candidate other than Kaloogian are more interested in invites to the gucci receptions... it's what separates a Kaloogian supporter from the rest of the bunch!
Were there any "Kerry for President" signs there -- there might as well have been.
This attack on President Bush is disgusting. Maybe Kaloogian shouldn't be running as a Republican.
The article should have read: "Hundred PRETENDING TO BE GOP loyalists booed the President". NO REAL "GOP LOYALIST" or even any half-sensible Republican WOULD EVER BOO PRESIDENT BUSH.