Blow the Whistle on Pombo!
Hands Off Social Security!

Stockton, California, May 10, 2005. Over 120 noisy demonstrators picketed and demonstrated at the offices of Representative Richard Pombo today.

Bay Area Gray Panthers, the Hands Off Social Security Coalition, Stockton labor unions, and Stockton disability and community groups joined a strong demonstration organized by CARA, the California Alliance of Retired Americans, against Pombo's outspoken support for Social Security Privatization, and his refusal to meet with the large number of his constituents who disagree with privatizing Social Security.


Welcoming people as they arrive in Stockton.

Activists from the Stockton were joined by people from Alameda, Contra Costa, Modesto, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and even Tuolome County.


While picketing and chanting in front of Pombo's office, we also listened to people's stories of how Social Security "reform" would affect them.

Senior activists declared how they were not about to have their retirement benefits taken by either private accounts or "progressive" indexing and demanded Pombo back off his pro-privatization stance.

Disability activists spoke about how Social Security restructuring particularly endangers SSDI benefits and how Schwarzenegger's budget eliminates federal SSI cost-of-living allowances. 30% of 20-year-olds are disabled before reaching retirement.


Being there and being loud makes a difference!

In the previous month, CARA had organized 12 Town Hall Meetings on Social Security across California, and four fell within Pombo's heavily gerrimandered Congressional District 11. Pombo refused to come to any of them, and sent no representative or even a statement.

Today, however, constituents were invited into a special video conferencing room to speak with Pombo's Social Security point person in Washington, who noted he could hear the angry chants of demonstrators in Stockton. Pombo's office promised to meet with his constituents over the long Memorial Day weekend, so this gives us something special to plan for.

People have long opposed Pombo on other issues, such as promoting water privatization, weakening environmental protections, and introducing military recruitment into the schools.


After a great Mexican lunch, where we evaluated today's action and made plans for the future, we left, after picture-taking and talking with new-found friends.

We'll be back!