SAN JOSE, April 15, 2012 — On April 14, 2012, The Norcal (Northern California) Tea Party began a two-week bus tour up and down the state. Over 20 rallies in 14 days are taking place. Several patriots including myself are part of the “California Revolution—Rise Up Bus Tour.”
Below is a chronicle of events as they unfold. This column will be updated daily, and at the bottom are the tour dates and locations.
The race for conservatives to take back the country is in full swing. The Rise Up Bus Tour actually began for me the day before. Thursday, April 12th had me flying in the morning from New York to Los Angeles and that same evening to Oakland. On Friday the 13th, after speaking to the Alameda Republican Women, a member of the tour brought me from Oakland to Sacramento.
This is not a case of aging rock stars sleeping on a bus. We are not Occupy Wall Street, so tents are out. This is a civilized bus tour, and after a night of sleep at the Downtown Sacramento Hyatt, it was time to get down to the hard work.
April 14, 2012: The kickoff event was the anti-tax rally on the Capitol West steps. About 1,000 people showed up. At 11:15am, hundreds of people marched around the capital until almost Noon, when the speakers began. For those who want to understand true diversity, the Tea Party movement is America in every sense of the word.
Ginny Rapini is the Founder of the Norcal Tea Party Patriots, now known as the Norcal Tea Party. While it takes hundreds of people to put together a bus tour of this magnitude, she is the glue that holds it all together. Working in conjunction with groups throughout California, she arranged the bus tour, the locations to hold rallies, and the speakers.
Mark Meckler is the Tea Party Patriots Founder along with Jennybeth Martin. Mr. Meckler split from the Patriots over philosophical differences. A proud Texan from Dallas with a cowboy hat, Mr. Meckler was the emcee of the first event. He arrived sans hat, but with plenty of Texas mojo. He reminded everybody that a struggle for the heart and soul of this country is ahead of us, and only hard work and dedication will get the job done.
Brad Dacus is an accomplished attorney and the spokesperson for the Pacific Justice Institute. The PJI is a non-profit organization that uses its donations to represent their clients pro bono. Their specialty is defending those who have had their religious liberty infringed by secular activists. They frequently represent religious institutions under siege from progressive individuals and governments.
Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson is a black conservative who runs BOND. A frequent guest of Sean Hannity, the Los Angeles-based Reverend Peterson ministers to young black men in an attempt to turn their lives around. Reverend Peterson is also the leader of the Black Tea Party. The rally he held outside of the NAACP Convention showed that no religion or ideology has a monopoly on the thoughts of any person of any race. Reverend Peterson is proud to be black, but is not an African-American. He is 100% American. His deepest commitment is to helping restore America’s families to the proud place they had in society before the cultural breakdowns of decades earlier. When young men have a mother and a father, they have a better chance in life.
Sam Paredes is the Executive Director of Gun Owners of California. When the National Rifle Association needs to be reminded what their purpose is, Mr. Paredes makes sure that the Second Amendment is protected. Mr. Paredes understands that if the Second Amendment disappears, the First Amendment is gone several moments later.
Lisa Ellis is a Patriotic singer who helps get the rallies going by belting out the national anthem. In addition to being a wife, mother, and singer, she is also getting her degree in energy management. Since part of her coursework involved having to sit through Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, the people on the bus will be holding a bonfire when she is done.
Rex Ruth is a half-Mexican Tea Party activist. His surname does not reflect that his mother’s last name is Sandoval. Mr. Ruth is the author of “Blood, Fire and Faith,” which gives a philosophical background on the Constitution. The book traces 33 centuries and three continents from 1500BC to 1787AD. His obsession is to save our form of government and our liberty. We must adhere to the Constitution.
As for me, Eric Golub of the TYGRRRR EXPRESS I was there in my capacity as a politically conservative comedian. That is what I do, what I did, and what I will be doing on this tour and beyond.
Crowds were given heaping doses of political red meat.
Martin Martinez works for Pacific Coachways. One cannot have a bus tour without a bus driver. After the rally in Sacramento, Martin drove us to a nearby town called Vacaville. The Vacaville Tea Party is headed up by Colleen Britton. This was a much smaller rally, with about 25 people in attendance. One person in the crowd was Jay Yerkes. Mr. Yerkes was on the school board, and he is a conservative. Once he tried to change the culture of the local education system, the unions spent $20,000 to defeat him. They succeeded, but Mr. Yerkes is not backing down. The real entertainment before that rally came in the form of a 26th person who was not there with good intentions.
The young man was a member of the Vacaville chapter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. To be more specific, he is the movement. He immediately began taking pictures of the bus and attempting to spread his “philosophy.”
He demanded to know if we had a permit to hold our rally, which we did. He asked to see the permit, and his request was declined. He began furiously dialing on the telephone. Within minutes a police officer showed up.
The Occupier inquired about permits, and the officer confirmed the legality of the rally. When the Occupier complained about not being able to see the permit, the police officer asked him “Who are you?” The man replied, “An American citizen.”
The officer explained that the young man had no authority and that the rally would go on as scheduled. When one of the Tea Party leaders suggested that the young miscreant invite his friends, the Occupier lamented that the movement in Vacaville consisted only of him. He had to do it all himself, although none of us figured out exactly what “it” actually was.
Dejected, this middle class Caucasian man pretending to represent the poor did what Occupiers do. He gave up, and went home.
This was another reminder that Tea Party attendees do matter. Occupiers do not.
After two rallies in Sacramento and Vacaville, it was back on the bus. Martin drove us a couple of hours South to San Jose. April 15th is the big tax day rally put on by the Silicon Valley Tea Party.
April 15–About 300 people attended the Silicon Valley Tea Party Patriots anti-tax rally. David Valadez and Robert Howell put together this successful event that featured a diverse group of speakers. There was an economist, a professor from San Jose State, and even a young student trying to spread the conservative message.
San Jose is one town where the Occupy movement is practically non-eistent. The police simply prevent San Jose from turning into Oakland. The only activists in site were Ron Paul activists who felt the need to shout their candidate’s name far more than was necessary. They were very young, and other than briefly booing the mention of one of the other candidates, they were respectful enough. Trying to explain why booing any of the GOP candidates was disrespectful was lost on them.
KSFO radio host Brian Sussman gave a rousing speech to coincide with the release of his newest book. Radio morning men Armstrong and Getty offered remarks, as they did in Sacramento.
April 16–A very early morning had the bus leaving San Jose for a Noon rally in Turlock followed by a 5pm rally in Merced. Turlock is a very small town. 66,000 people live there, but not all of them are part of the Tea Party movement. 65,990 were hard at work and unable to make the rally. However, those who did attend welcomed us to their town. Wellington’s Restaurant is attached to the Iron Duke Pub, and that is where lunch and dinner book-ends the Merced rally. A Turlock hotel is our resting stop before the bus leaves for Patterson and Fresno tomorrow.
Tony Walker is the owner of Wellington’s Restaurant. He is what this country is about. He is a small business owner, and like many people around this country, the last three years have been rough. At his peak he employed 40 people. Now he has only about half of that amount. He is very fond of his employees and they like him very much. The food is excellent. Yet all the quality in the world will not help a restaurant if traffic is down. Business is better than last year but still not where it needs to be for him to start hiring again. In towns across America, people are packing up, giving up, and leaving. Tony is staying in Turlock, and maybe if government would get out of his way he could build up his staff again.
Turlock is not the safest city in the world. During our rally, police sirens blared. Sadly, a homicide took place not too far from our rally. The locals pointed out that the city averages one per day. maybe it just feels like it. Nevertheless, moments like that cause some people to give up and others to become more emboldened to take back their town.
The rally in Merced had about 40 people. One elderly lady brought her young grandkids because she wanted them to see how important it is that the nation she loves is passed on to them intact. One gentleman showed up in a “truth bus” with many messages of morality for all to see.
April 17–A short drive from Turlock led to the rally in Patterson. Manuel Rojas heads the Tea Party group in Patterson. Marie Roberson leads the Turlock Tea Party, and she came to Patterson to show support. Like Turlock, Patterson is a town devastated by the current economic climate. Despite at most 10 people showing up, there were people that made Patterson memorable.
Across the street from our rally, a woman named Ramona was feeding total strangers who were down on their luck. Ramona is a black woman in her 40s and a nurse by trade. Nobody funds her. Out of the goodness of her heart, whenever she can, she cooks a big meal and helps people. There were heaping plates of turkey and salad.
Yet as noble as Ramona is, some of the people lining up looked quite healthy. While some truly were in need, others were taking advantage. At least she was able to help people free of hindrances. Technically she is not a licensed food merchant, but things are so tough in Patterson that the government leaves her alone. They know she is doing something positive, and do not want to get in the way. Other governments could learn from Patterson in this sense. Jonathan Partridge is the editor of the Patterson Irrigator, the local paper. He interviewed those putting together the rally and offered some insights into Patterson.
The bus tour was in a state of flux, as locations are changed to meet the demands of larger or smaller crowds. Rather than Fresno, the next stop was in Clovis, which was right nearby. Brad Roltgen runs the Fresno Tea Party, and was involved setting up the event in Clovis.
The Clovis rally was a success. About 100 people came out. In addition to the speakers on the bus tour, five local politicians addressed the audience. The crowd was an enthusiastic bunch, and they enjoyed the various presentations. After dinner, a long ride awaited as we headed from Fresno to Los Angeles. On the downside, the rally for the following day in Irvine was canceled. On the upside, one event the day after became two events as we would be hitting Riverside in the day and San Bernardino in the evening.
April 18–Our event in Irvine was canceled. Such is life on a bus tour. We stayed in Los Angeles and recharged are batteries.
April 19–The bus took us from Los Angeles to Riverside. The rally was held outside Bullseye Sports Guns and Ammo. About 10 people showed up. Yet this event was successful from a business standpoint. While spread the conservative message is important, bus tours cost money. That money is offset by the sales of merchandise. The Norcal Tea Party is selling baseball caps and t-shirts. Rex Ruth and I are both selling copies of our books. Lisa Ellis is selling her cds. Sometimes one can have a large crowd but not purchase anything. This small crowd enthusiastically supported our efforts.
From Riverside we then traveled to San Bernardino. Salem Communications was putting together a series of events featuring Ann Coulter and Hugh Hewitt, entitled the “Hope for Change Tour 2012.” Salem is also involved with some of the events on the Norcal Tea Party Bus Tour. Ed Hoffman of the Wholesale Capital Corporation also played a major role in making the event a success. In addition, the Heritage Foundation also had their bus at the event. About 400 people came for the event with Ms. Coulter and Mr. Hewitt. They took pictures with many people, including myself. Ms. Coulter has a great sense of humor. She saw me wearing my Fedora and exclaimed “Hey, it’s Kid Rock.” Let the record show that I was wearing the fedora before he was.
Because the crowd was so enthusiastic, it made more sense for our Tea Party group to focus on merchandise rather than performing. Lisa Ellis did sing her patriotic songs, but the rest of us focused on the merchandise. This turned out to be a very smart move, since the crowd was very supportive of the Tea Party. As for Ms. Coulter and Mr. Hewitt, they were magnificent. A link to some of their remarks will be provided in the coming days. After the event the bus took us to a hotel in Ontario for the night.
April 20–The bus took us from Ontario to San Diego for an event at Balboa Park. Woody Woodrum is helping put that event together. Mr. Woodrum runs the San Diego chapter of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum. While the Eagle Forum is known as a socially conservative organization, recent assaults on religious liberty by the Obama administration have aunited Tea Party fiscal conservatives and social conservatives in opposition. Again Ms. Coulter and Mr. Hewitt were there as well doing their tour. The weather played games, turning from exceedingly hot during the day to rather cold (by San Diego standards) around twilight.
While again around 400 people were expected to see Ms. Coulter, this time our rally was not in the same spot as she was. Yesterday the decision was to congregate in the same area and focus on selling merchandise. This time we decided to have the speakers give their presentations again. We were close enough to San Diego Airport to allow for pauses in our speeches when the frequent jets would fly by. Only about 30 to 40 people attended the rally. As the weather got colder, some did not stay until the end.
Yet one fiery bright spot came in the form of congressional candidate Nick Popaditch. Wounded in Iraq, he has an eyepatch over one eye. Despite the look, his running for Congress in San Diego prevents him from embracing his fellow pirates in the Raider Nation. Despite this, he is still a hero and a great conservative. In addition to Mr. Popaditch, Mr. Woodrum is also a former solider and San Diego congressional candidate as well. He emceed this rally and announced that he was running for Mayor of San Diego.
April 21–Linda Hodges put together a successful event in El Centro. About 50 people showed up, and they were very receptive to the Tea Party message. Despite 104 degree heat, it may only, as Bon Jovi sang, been “99 in the shade.” The local radio station interviewed several of our participants for an hour on the air. Stuart Dodge has been coordinating with all the local Tea Party leaders, and now we have a couple more people on the bus. Stuart’s sister Bonnie is speaking to crowds about ridiculous government laws on the books that restrict our freedoms. Lisa Ellis’s husband Bill is the writer of the patriotic music she sings. He has joined us as well. After El Centro we needed to hightail it back to San Diego. Glenn Beck was doing his “Unelectable 2” performance at the Copley Symphony Hall in Downtown San Diego by the Gas Lamp District.
With these bus tours, the only constant is change. Man makes plans, and God laughs. Sunday, April 22nd was supposed to be a rally in Chino, Orange County. Instead the bus tour is headed to Del Mar, which is North of San Diego in San Diego County. The Del Mar Fairgrounds has everything from Cirque de Soleil to rodeo horses, and the Tea Party will be among thousands of people from all walks of life. Monday, April 23rd was supposed to be a stop in Los Angeles. The new plan is to hold an evening rally in Palm Springs.
April 22–This was a day to turn lemons into lemonade, as our original event was cancelled and our substitute event was a total debacle. We arrived at the Del Mar Fairgrounds hoping to meet hundreds if not thousands of people. We unloaded our merchandise and set up our area. Within moments a security guard resembling a cross between Tariq Aziz and Inspector Clouseau was demanding that we leave. At every other event our permits were in order. This event was put together at the last moment. The individual who organized the location suggested that we drive a couple minutes away to a nearby Albertsons grocery store. We parked in the parking lot and prepared to greet the public. Apparently the public did not receive the memo of our arrival. After only a few minutes, it was time to give up and pack it in. There was one more opportunity.
Glenn Beck was having an event at Skyline Church in La Mesa, only about twenty minutes from San Diego. His 2pm show had an overflow crowd of about 2,500 people. Yet his 4pm show only had 1,000. This meant that there was actually room in the parking lot for us to park our bus and offer support. While we only got to see the tail end of Mr. Beck’s performance, he was his usual masterful self. One moment he was talking about Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs), and the next moment he was on to religious and spiritual musings. The crowd loved him and listened intently to every word.
In the parking lot, we again ran into some people from the Heritage Foundation. They are on a different bus tour. As the people exited the Glenn Beck event, both the folks at Heritage and the Norcal Tea Party were warmly received. It took three tries, but the last location worked. None of us performed, but meeting and greeting the people allowed us to show them that the Tea Party is alive and well. So is the Glenn Beck movement for that matter. Our third and final night in San Diego would be followed by a trip to Palm Springs the following afternoon.
April 23–The weather was warm in Palm Springs but swirling winds kept people cool. Despite only three days notice, Elise and Bob Richmond put together a fantastic event. Elise Richmond is one of the most popular conservative radio hosts in Riverside County and the surrounding areas. She is also the past President of the Palm Springs Republican Women. Her husband Bob is the former Riverside GOP Chairman and small business owner of Desert Solar and Construction. The setting for the rally was a printing and engraving shop known as Classy Prints. Tuck Broich is the owner, one of many small business owners hanging tough in tough times.
Three judicial candidates spoke along with our regular speakers. A local city council candidate made an appearance as well. A crowd of 50 people stayed from beginning to end. The Palm Springs Republican Women had several of their members in attendance. There was more patriotic music than usual as Lisa Ellis was joined in song by her husband Bill, a Vietnam veteran and writer of much of the patriotic music she sings.
The youngest patriot in the crowd was a young girl named Molly. She made sure that people knew the cost of all of the merchandise. She was a vital assistant and eager helper. She remembered all of the prices better than some of us did. She kicked off the rally with the Pledge of Allegiance, becoming an instant hit. After the rally, it was back on the bus for a trip to Orange County where the next rally would take place the following evening.
Normally dinner at Sizzler would not be newsworthy, even if we also had Sizzler for lunch. Yet this tour is about meeting Americans. We are talking a lot, but also listening. Our server at the Sizzler in La Mesa was named Albert Ruelas. He was simply one of the most pleasant waiters I have ever encountered. He had the entire restaurant laughing and smiling with his sense of humor. The service was outstanding, and he deserves a healthy raise.
April 24–Today was a day to stay put as the restaurant was right next door to the hotel. The walk took about 60 seconds, and the Foxfire Restaurant in Anaheim Hills was the setting for our Orange County rally and post-rally elegant dinner. Brian Cronin is the General Manager, and he runs a very upscale yet pleasant environment. Attached to the restaurant is a separate bar with several televisions showing different games.
Desare Ferraro was the organizer for this rally, and close to 100 people came out to show support. The people responded well to the candidates, as well as our speakers and singers. Tomorrow will be a bus ride of between four and five hours as we travel all the way from Orange County to our next event in Paso Robles, North of Santa Barbara. The Southern California part of this tour was significantly bumpier from a logistical standpoint than the original events up North. Yet after a couple of events in Central California, the Norcal Tea Party returns to the region of the state bearing their name.
April 25–The bad news after a five hour bus trip is that it was raining in Paso Robles. The good news is that about 100 people showed up, ignored the inclement weather, and stayed the entire time. In fact, the clouds even parted and allowed for some sun for a good part of the rally. Randall and Mary Jordan put the event together, and really got the job done. Then after we were done, the rain came back. The brief reprieve was enough for Paso Robles to be a great experience.
While enjoying a Mexican dinner after the rally, an Army veteran walked in. He was surprised to receive a huge ovation just for being a soldier. We invited him to join us. He reaffirmed that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were the right thing to do. He is only one soldier, but it was still inspiring to hear his thoughts. The day without travel was followed by the day of extensive travel as another 100 miles separated us from our hotel in Salinas. The next day would be a rally in Manteca at Noon and Lodi-Elk Grove in the evening.
April 26–The adventure got started before the bus reached our first destination. A car honked at us, did a u-turn, and followed us. We pulled to a stop and a big, burly black man with a booming voice wanted to speak to us. He is Pastor Bruce Rivers, and he wanted to bless the Tea Party bus. This man is a character. He actually received one paycheck from the Raiders in the 1970s before being cut after 17 days. Hey, most people never even get a tryout. Now he does the lord’s work, and helps people achieve a better life. He led us in a sidewalk prayer. Since we were all standing in a circle, I as the only Jewish member of the group led us all in a rousing rendition of “may the circle be unbroken.”
For those who needed to know, Pastor Bruce would even bring a child into the world if it grew up to be like Nancy Pelosi. Pastor Bruce asked God to bless our Tea Party Bus and wished us safe travels. Just before he left, a couple of his parishioners showed up with their two young children. The media loves to focus on racial conflict. It would have been nice had the media seen blacks and whites, who only moments earlier were complete strangers, hugging each other and offering each other blessings of the lord. Whatever one’s religion, religion can be a major force for good.
Still having not made it to our first destination, we stopped by the Hilmar Cheese company for a quick break. Children were there on a field trip because nothing makes for an exciting field trip like a cheese factory Then again, just being out of the classroom must have been liberating. This place even sells purple cheese. For those who love wine and cheese, purple cheese combines them both. The place also had a coffee shop. So between the wine, cheese, and coffee, I had to get out of there. I could smell the liberalism. This was not a place for conservative Republicans to hang out, even if the Stella Ramona sample tasted quite good. The owners are actually good conservative Republicans themselves, so this one place should be the exception to the rule that conservatives should not be caught dead around wine, cheese, and trendy coffee.
The rally in Manteca again looked like a potential rainout, but again just before the rally started the sun came out and remained out. There was a chill with some wind, but around 20 people braved the elements and had a great time with us.
The rally in Elk Grove just outside of Lodi was done in the face of strong winds but bright sun. Lisa and Bill Ellis sang the patriotic music. Rex Ruth continued fiery oratory on the Constitution. Sam Paredes gave a sincere defense of the Second Amendment. Bonnie McAdams again educated the people on the propositions. For one last time, I offered politically conservative comedy. The crowd of about 30 people were an appreciative bunch.
This rally was bittersweet for the people on the bus. The schedule officially has rallies tomorrow in Rancho Murrieta and Roseville. The day after, two weeks to the day we started, is the final rally at the Rodeo in Auburn. This is the greater Sacramento area, bringing the bus tour full circle. Sadly, I will not with them.
Tonight the bus is taking me to the Sacramento airport. I fly tonight back to Los Angeles rather than continue on the tour. After sleeping in my own bed for a few precious hours, tomorrow morning I am on a plane to Minnesota. A major anti-tax rally featuring keynote speaker Herman Cain has me as the warmup.
Yet this is not about me. It is about the Norcal Tea Party Rise Up Bus Tour. The show must go on, and it will go on. With Ginny Rapini operating her version of Centcom out of her home in Northern California, Stuart Dodge has been running things on the bus. In addition to being in charge on the bus, Stuart is also a better writer than he admits. He will be offering updates on the final couple of days, and my talent from Minnesota will be to check my email, read his words, and cut and paste them into this historical record of events.
To be a part of this bus tour has been an honor and a privilege. There may be another one that covers Oregon and Washington in September. The word has gotten out that the group of people on this bus tour are talented and dedicated. If we do go further North just shy of Canada, it would be in September.
This concludes my live reporting of the bus tour. Updates from the last two days will be coming as events occur. To every person we met, entertained, listened to, shook hands with, and saluted America with, thank you so very much. We brought the bus, but you brought the hearts and the guts. You are what America is all about, and what a beautiful nation it is.
Now Rise Up! It is time to take our country back.
April 27–I flew to Minnesota while the Norcal Tea Party Bus Tour went to Rancho Murrietta and then to Roseville.
The big finale at the Rodeo in Auburn awaits.
CALIFORNIA REVOLUTION – RISE UP BUS TOUR
Put together by the:
NorCal Tea Party
Saturday April 14–Sacramento, Vacaville
Sunday, April 15–San Jose
Monday, April 16–Turlock, Merced
Tuesday, April 17–Patterson, Fresno
Wednesday, April 18–Irvine (Cancelled)
Thursday, April 19–Riverside, San Bernardino
Friday, April 20–San Diego
Saturday, April 21–Brawley-El-Centro
Sunday, April 22–Del Mar
Monday, April 23–Palm Springs
Tuesday, April 24–Orange County
Wednesday, April 25–Paso Robles
Thursday, April 26–Manteca, Lodi-Elk Grove
Friday, April 27–Rancho Murietta, Roseville
Saturday, April 28–Auburn Courthouse
Hugh Hewitt and Ann Coulter will join us for some of the stops and Glenn Beck has a San Diego appearance to be announced but not at the same time.
Stop by and say hello. Stop by stop, we will take back California and this country. Rise up!
Time to get on the bus!
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. After years of dating liberals, he has finally seen the light and now only dates Republican Jewish women. His family is pleased over this. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS
Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.