Yesterday an organization of LA area unions organized held a rally in downtown Los Angeles to protest the possible purchase of the LA Times by the Koch brothers.
The event was announced last week with a press release that promised “hundreds of union workers, environmentalists, good government advocates.” In reality there were about 100 on hand, about half of them purple-clad SEIU protesters who were bused in for the event.
The focus of the event was ostensibly the Koch brothers interest in buying a group of newspapers, including the LA Times, from the Tribune company. However, much of the talk from the makeshift stage focused on union issues and Occupy themes.
The emotional highlight of the event was a speech by Mahlon Mitchell. Mitchell is a Wisconsin firefighter who ran for Lt. Gov. in Wisconsin during the 2012 recall election. You can see one of his upbeat campaign commercials here. At Wednesday’s rally, he borrowed some lines from President Obama and managed to get the crowd to forget the heat for a few minutes.
Mitchell also made some comments that seemed to get right up to the line of acceptable political discourse, telling the audience he took his political outlook from Mike Tyson who once said “everybody’s got a plan until I punch them in the fricking face.” Mitchell went on to say he wasn’t recommending any actual punching, but at least one woman in the crowd disagreed, yelling “Oh no, we gonna punch his face.”
After the event ended around 1:15pm, the SEIU protesters re-boarded their buses and were gone in a few minutes. The truck that served as the stage rolled off and only the reporters and a few speakers remained.
Wednesday’s protest was held outside the offices of Oaktree Capital which owns 25% of the newspapers now for sale, including the LA Times. The same collection of protesters is planning a follow up on May 23rd outside the Beverly Hills home of Bruce Karsh, President of Oaktree.