Yesterday’s Capitol Protest: Pictures & Video

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Approximately 3,000 people (guess) turned out to protest the budget impasse — and specifically, how it has effectively cut 100% of funding to 100% of state agencies and programs — yesterday afternoon on the steps of the Capitol building in Harrisburg.  Supporters overruled the oppressive, muggy heat to make sure our message was heard.  We need a budget passed, and we need it passed now. The time for committees, speeches, debate, and other political rhetoric is long over.

protest5cThis is far from a party issue.  Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want a stopgap budget passed.  Doing so would severely weaken their bargaining positions.  Although both sides are accusing the other of bearing sole responsibility for the impasse, they’re really both dragging their feet equally.  Both sides are feigning outrage over the notion that they might have to compromise on their ideal budget situations.  Oh sure, they’re all perfectly willing to compromise — as long as it’s the other side doing the compromising.

protest7cOne recurring theme I heard throughout today’s demonstration is that Ed Rendell is somehow solely responsible for this mess.  It is very important to remember that this is not the case.  While Mr. Rendell, being the highest-ranking official in our state government, does share responsibility for the impasse, fault does not rest squarely with him.  Our legislature shares equal blame.  This misconception needs to be cleared up so that people remember this outrage when the 2010 elections roll around.

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protest6cprotest9cprotest3cHere are some photos from the event.  You can find the complete set of my photos on my Picasaweb.  Roxbury News has the most comprehensive, un-rushed video of the event (including the now-infamous “no budget, no peace” chant).  WGAL has video of the event here.  ABC27 did not put any video on their website, despite their cameras being present, but they do have a story here.  The Patriot-News did not cover the event (or if they did, it’s nowhere to be found on PennLive).  And not surprisingly, neither did WH “Rush Limbaugh” P.   Here are some excellent photos from @phillipsnyder.  If you have photos or videos from the event, or if you blogged about it, contact me and I’ll give you a shout here.

17 thoughts on “Yesterday’s Capitol Protest: Pictures & Video”

  1. floor9,

    I know you either got a million messages or none from me. Had a little problem w/ the security code. lol

    So here are 2 videos from yesterday. First one is an (uncut)interview w/ Lancaster Newspapers. The second is a video of us in action. Stay strong everybody!

  2. In leadership chain of command, crap rolls up hill. So whether it is all his fault or not, if Rendell was a real leader he’d accept the responsiblity and take care of business. These are the risks one takes when they want to be in charge.

  3. With power come great responsibility. I guess he missed that part of the leadership course.

  4. On ESS, it looks like we are going to be paid Friday. I took this to my supervisor, and he was surprised. He then came to us today to let us know that the pay showing is what we will make if they pass the budget, or get some stop gap stuff in place.

    Why don’t more than 3,000 march on the capitol? We need all 77,000 + families, and we need to march on the capitol, and also Fat Eddie’s mansion, the place we will all be living in when our houses get sold at sherrif’s sale.

  5. you are rite sandman. there were 2900 afscme members, 100 pssu members and 1 pscoa member, ME! where was the pscoa. There office is 2 blocks down the street. I work for SCI greene. I hear guys complaining every day at work. Bad mouthing rendell, bad mouthing the legislators, yet i didnt see any other pscoa members. I felt alone there as far as union support. I was never to crazy about afscme, but i saw first hand on those capital steps, UNION togetherness and support. Where is the pscoa?

  6. Sandman, when you log out of ESS notice the top statement;
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    July 22, 2009

    ESS Pay Inquiries
    Pay statements in ESS are not an indication that payment has been made

    We have received numerous inquiries from employees concerning the 7/31/09 pay date for pay group Z3.

    While employees can bring up their pay statement, no checks will be released / deposited for the 07/31/09 pay date until a budget is passed and signed.

    For more information, please select the following link:

    http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=4128&mode=2

    Why does my pay statement in ESS show pay for dates on or after July 31 even though a budget has not been signed?

    During an impasse, the commonwealth will continue to prepare payroll but the payments will not be made until a budget is signed. Thus, pay statements will still be generated and will show the date that the employee was to be paid along with accurate details on payments that will eventually be made after a budget is signed. The appearance of pay statements in ESS is not an indication that payment has been made.

    For questions, please contact the following:

    Employee Self Service (ESS) Center
    Local Harrisburg area: 717-346-5483
    Outside the 717 area code: 1-866-ESS-COPA (1-866-377-2672)

  7. It would be nice if we could all march on the capitol, but as it stands, not every government employee is in that neck of the woods and has the ability to use their hour lunch to protest. And I’m not sure if I want to burn a vacation day to go and protest, I should be getting paid, not taking a vacation day to tell lawmakers I want to be paid. I don’t think these rallies are accomplishing much anyhow, it gets a 20 second blurb on the news station and then it’s onto other news. Only thing it’s accomplishing is making it look like AFSCME is doing something about this.

  8. Posted: Wednesday, 29 July 2009 2:21PM

    Rendell May OK Stopgap Paychecks for Hamstrung State Workers by KYW’s Tony Romeo

    Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell says he may sign legislation as early as next week that will allow state employees and some vendors to be paid a few days later.

    Rendell said on Wednesday that he will take action if a joint House-Senate committee makes no substantial progress toward breaking the five-week-old budget stalemate.

    The committee began meeting on Wednesday. State government began its fiscal year on July 1st without a budget in place, severely curtailing its ability to spend money.

    The legislation Rendell wants to sign must be passed first by the House.

    Rendell’s plan would leave in limbo billions of dollars for education, health care, universities, human services, and more while negotiations continue toward a full-year budget agreement.

  9. Yeah, like someone commented over a pennlive, on Monday we’ll here him say something, like by mid week we will have a stop gap budget. It is all postering and bull. I tried to watch the committee meeting and thought my head was going to explode. Evans wouldn’t let anyone talk. He is just as bad as Rendell. Selfish and punch drunk on power.

  10. According to the Governors letter on the OA site dated May 13th, it can take 2-4 weeks for any back pay to be paid. What about regular pay? would you have to wait for your regularly scheduled pay date to come along before you would receive anything?

  11. Its about damn time this is from fast eddys web site

    07-29-2009
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    July 29, 2009

    CONTACT:
    Ken Snyder
    717-783-1116

    GOVERNOR RENDELL TO SEEK ‘BRIDGE’ TO PAY EMPLOYEES WHILE BUDGET TALKS CONTINUE

    HARRISBURG – Governor Edward G. Rendell announced today that if the General Assembly’s conference committee does not reach a budget agreement by Monday, Aug. 3, he will ask the House of Representatives to send him Senate Bill 850, which has already passed the Senate.

    “I intend to approve only the funds that are necessary for the operation of government services and for public safety. I will veto all other line item appropriations,” Governor Rendell said. “I do not consider Senate Bill 850 to be a budget; it is simply a bridge to allow us to pay state workers and ensure the continued efficient operation of state government — nothing more.

    “I had resisted taking this step until now because I was hopeful that the administration and the four legislative caucuses would agree soon on a budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year that began July 1. But in the past few days, communication between legislative leaders and the administration has not been able to close the significant gap. This gap is due in large part to the continued belief on the part of the Senate Republicans that they feel no responsibility to negotiate, compromise or lead,” the Governor added.

    “I cannot approve Senate Bill 850 in its entirety because I strongly believe that the funding levels it contains are insufficient for the core state programs of public education and health care, and the crucial economic development program that help create and retain jobs, and much more.

    “I remain resolute in my commitment to enact a final budget that adequately funds programs that educate and support the children of this state, and continues to protect our older and disabled citizens, but in doing so I will not allow state employees to suffer any longer. They’ve done nothing wrong. Since July 1, they have reported to work and performed their duties, and they deserve to be compensated without undue delay. They and their families should not have to undergo further financial stress.

    “This is by no means a solution to our budget crisis. Our public schools, hospitals, county human service agencies and many other necessary institutions will run short of funds in the next few weeks or months. This would result in the elimination or the severe reduction of services to students, the elderly, the infirm, people with mental disabilities, at-risk children, and other vulnerable residents who rely upon state government.

    “I call upon the General Assembly to engage in diligent, non-stop, good faith negotiations in a spirit of compromise, and a willingness to produce a budget that balances fairly the interests of all citizens of Pennsylvania,” he concluded.
    ###
    The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell’s initiatives and to sign up for his newsletter, visit http://www.governor.state.pa.us.

  12. While we are waiting in line at our local food bank, food stamps office, or local soup kitchen I would like to see everyone wear the yello/green can you see me now PenDot shirts. Maybe when there is a sea of green in line people will notice. As of right now our local media ( NEPA area) are hiding their pitiful coverage in page 12. Make yourself seen, by the public and the media.

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