Cap-and-Trade Protest Forces California GOP Chair Underground

Jim Brulte (Ben Margot / Associated Press)
Ben Margot / Associated Press

A flurry of protests against Republican state legislators in San Bernardino County who voted for Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade extension has made an impact.

Threats of protests forced the cancellation of a fundraiser last week for Assembly Minority Leader Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley), and drove California GOP Chairman Jim Brulte underground, forcing him to meet in secret to avoid public attention to the growing schism within the party.

It all started last Thursday, when Mayes cancelled his $1,000-per-plate fundraiser without notice in response to a last-minute protest scheduled by activist Joseph Turner — the man who outed Mayes’ alleged affair with his predecessor on his website.

Half a dozen protestors showed up at the location of the fundraiser to find a small white paper in the window that said, “Chad Mayes Banquet Cancelled Today, July 27th, 2017.”

Later that day, the same small band of activists made its way to the district office of Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga), who also voted for cap-and-trade.

Steinorth’s Chief of Staff, Heather Rouhana, invited them to come into a conference room and talk. The entire conversation — which became quite heated at times — was posted on YouTube and other social media platforms.

When asked why her boss voted for an effective tax increase on gas, Rouhana at first deflected until answering: “The alternative was much worse … I don’t speak for the Assemblyman … It actually isn’t a tax … have you read the legislation? It doesn’t impact the tax on gas; it could impact the cost of gas because that fluctuates anyway.”

Turner kept pressing her over a campaign ad that Steinorth used to attack his opponent, Abigal Medina, over her support of the existing cap-and-trade program, but Rouhana refused to address that particular question, claiming it was “political.”

After being there almost 12 minutes, California Highway Patrol (CHP) was called. Within minutes after the arrival of the first officer, three dozen others soon lined the hallways, and formed a phalanx in front of the door to the building.

By the time the activists reached the parking lot, a helicopter was circling overhead, and the entire lane up to the building was blocked by double-parked CHP officers, who outnumbered the peaceful protestors by five to one.

After Turner warned on his website and through social media that he intended to confront California GOP Chairman Jim Brulte, who was scheduled to lead a “strategy meeting” of the San Bernardino County Central Committee the meeting date and time was changed multiple times in the space of 24 hours, and it was announced that it would be closed to the public. After a final last-minute change, the meeting was held Saturday morning in the private home of Jan Leja, San Bernardino County GOP Chairman and staffer for 8th District Congressman Paul Cook (R).

Although Turner was not successful in confronting Brulte himself, he did query dozens of central committee members on camera. As a result, San Bernardino has now followed Riverside in demanding that Assemblyman Mayes come before its next Central Committee General meeting on August 10 and answer for his vote.

Tim Donnelly is a former California State Assemblyman and Author, currently on a book tour for his new book: Patriot Not Politician: Win or Go Homeless.  He also ran for governor in 2014.


Twitter:  @PatriotNotPol




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