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About Two Dozen Demonstrators Turn Out At Chevron Headquarters

"Jobs Not Oil Subsidies" demonstration again tomorrow at the San Ramon headquarters.

“The Wall Street tsunami has hit the West Coast!”

Thus declared Ellis Goldberg, a Danville resident who came out today as part of the Tri-Valley MoveOn/Rebuild the American Dream demonstration in front of Chevron headquarters.

“The protest isn’t just in New York and Washington D.C. - it’s here,” said Goldberg, media coordinator for the organization and president of the Tri-Valley Democratic Club. “It’s all about jobs. Obama asked for $44 billion for jobs, and this is about funding the jobs. That’s what we’re here for.”   

About two dozen demonstrators turned out for the peaceful protest, holding signs that read: “End Oil Subsidies,” “Democracy Isn’t For Sale,” “Support Occupy Wall Street,” “End Corporate Greed, Rebuild America,” “Heal America, Tax Wall Street,” and “Chevron Give Up Your Subsidies For The American People.”

“We need jobs, not corporate welfare,” explained Karen Beck, event organizer and MoveOn Tri-Valley coordinator. “The middle class is being asked to give, but we don’t see what’s being asked of corporations – there’s no shared sacrifice there. We don’t have their money, but we have voices and we have votes, and that’s why we’re out here today.”

Dan Johnson, a San Ramon resident, explained: "We are here to protest the oil subsidies that have been given to Chevron, to protest corporate greed, and to promote social responsibility."

Mary Schneider of Pleasanton came dressed as a dancing barrel of oil.

“We’re not against [Chevron employees] having their jobs,” Schneider said. “It’s the corporate willingness to take tax subsidies on top of their huge profits that we’re protesting.”

“We have a government of, by and for the rich,” said Walnut Creek resident Gordon Miller. “They’ve run the country into the ground and we want to change that.”

Miller said the government needs to come up with a serious job package and put an end to warfare. “But campaign finance reform needs to happen before anything else,” he added.

“This is not just a demonstration; we are building a national movement,” said Sheilah Fish, coordinator for MoveOn in Central Contra Costa. “We want to have a more balanced distribution of money in America. Teachers and police officers are losing their jobs. Chevron is here in our back yard… we’re making a point about how much money is going to big oil subsidies.”

Chevron spokesman Sean Comey said there's a lot of misinformation out there.

“It’s very understandable that people are frustrated with the current economic climate,” Comey said. “Unfortunately, what I’ve heard is inaccurate or misleading.”

He explained that subsidies are in fact deductions used by most businesses.

“Our industry pays its fair share in taxes," he said. "Our effective tax rate in the U.S. last year was nearly 32 percent, which is about 5 percent higher than what most industrial companies pay in this country.”

But Comey realizes that people don’t believe it.

“It’s a matter of public record,” he explained. “You’re certainly entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

For some of the protesters, the problem goes beyond oil subsidies.

“I’m here because I want to see economic reform and I want to see economic reform that works,” said Amy Pacholuk, a Dublin resident. “I’m very motivated to see people come out to events like this to express their discontent with the government.”

Pacholuk said she is interested in seeing educational reform, especially when it comes to student loans.

“What would this economy look like if we didn’t have student loans to repay?” she asked. “We need to make education accessible to all.”

Lois Flood, a Danville resident, is also concerned about where the money is being spent.

“I am absolutely horrified that we invaded two countries and wasted taxpayers’ money on wars that are totally unnecessary,” Flood said. “We need teachers, police officers, firefighters.”

Castro Valley resident Sonya Howes, a retired teacher, shares Flood’s concerns.

“When we have a major earthquake or other disaster, where will the first responders be?” Howes asked.

“I think we can all agree that we’d like to see more jobs and prosperity,” Comey said. “[Chevron] employs nine million people in this country and pumps a trillion dollars into the economy.”

But he said we can’t tax our way into prosperity.

“We need mutual prosperity. When companies like ours are successful, we can help create a better economy and more jobs.”

But protesters like Beck see a huge disparity. Beck joined the organization about a year ago because she wanted to help make a change.

“I’d had enough,” she said. “Rather than sitting on the couch and talking about it, I decided to get involved. Getting out on the streets is the only way we can bring about change.”

Beck estimates there are about 13,000 MoveOn members in the Tri-Valley area.

The local demonstration is part of a network called Occupy Together, a collection of groups in more than 450 cities that are supporting the Occupy Wall Street rallies in New York City.

The Occupy Wall Street website urges Americans to copy the mass rallies of the Arab Spring to bring about nonviolent change to what protesters say is the 1 percent of people who hold down the other 99 percent.

There will be another protest at Chevron tomorrow from 4 to 6 p.m. Protesters will also be in downtown Walnut Creek tomorrow, in front of the Bank of America building on Main Street.

Craig Williams October 12, 2011 at 06:22 PM
David,the foreign tax credits have always left Americans with the short end of the stick. The history of the foreign tax credit is that they are either collected as royalties or taxes. As a tax they don't have to pay domestic taxes and often get a "excess credit" and other deductions.When they buy oil from someone with oil on their property in the U.S. they pay a royalty and also a state and also a federal tax. In foreign oil development they only pay a foreign tax, domestically they get taxed twice on foreign oil only once. Chevron's biggest problem is meeting the downsizing of CO2 emissions. They projections and the projections of the environmental community are miles apart. Also there is usually a big protest at the Chevron Shareholder meeting .It would be interesting to see if the two groups work together. As far as the White House goes over a 1000 people, including many celebrities have been arrested in front of the place involving the oil shale/pipeline issue.There are also quite a few demonstrations against the wars. You're just not going to see it on commercial stations.
Leah Hall October 12, 2011 at 06:25 PM
"Those that make peaceful resolution impossible will make violent resolution inevitable." -- John F. Kennedy
David October 12, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Marga, 1) there is nothing you or I can ever do to choose our parents better. If you're born into wealth, you're born into wealth, just like if both your parents are smart or gorgeous, you get those advantages. That's life. Stealing more money from rich people doesn't make me any richer (although shockingly, it sure does seem to make government workers better off), nor does lobotomizing a smarter person make me more intelligent or making a pretty person wear a bag over his/her head make me better looking. 2) More importantly, it has been repeatedly demonstrated across cultures and time that, actually, taxing that next dollar at, say, a 50% rate DOES reduce the willingness to work for that next dollar, in which case the government gets $0. In fact, this is precisely why Europeans work fewer hours on average (they used to work the same amount up until around the 1970's, when marginal tax rates across Europe started moving up significantly, especially compared to the US). A person might rationally decide to spend that working time on vacation or relaxing in his hammock rather than working 50% of that next hour for the government. Finally, of course, spending on the government has doubled in the past decade, and that's outside of the military, and ditto for state and local governments. For what, exactly? Will another doubling of spending be enough? Quadrupling? that's the fundamental bankruptcy of your ideals. it's never "enough."
Leah Hall October 12, 2011 at 06:32 PM
"The price of apathy to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men" -- Plato You caught me again, Tim! Greek philosophers in skimpy togas and sandals are too hard for this cougar to resist :)
David October 12, 2011 at 06:44 PM
It's also interesting how "liberal" has become synonymous with stealing from productive people or making them slaves to their government masters after they make what is deemed "enough money." And that these slaves are foolish enough to keep working mindlessly so that they can give their money to the government in increasing portions. Finally, let's take an example. Let's say I risk $25,000 of my own hard-earned money (which is really around $45,000 pre-taxes) on a business venture a friend is starting up. Let's say in 15 years, we're fortunate and my stake is now worth $100,000 (which is about a 10% annualized return). Let's also say the marginal tax rate at that point is your desired 50% (we're pretty much there now anyway, with 1.9% Medicare+33% federal+10.23% state). My $100,000 is now $50,000. After inflation, which let's say is 3%/year for those 15 years, and now my investment is worth $32,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars, or a 1.7% real, after tax gain, or actually LESS than what my pre-tax wages were worth when I started. Why would I risk it? Why wouldn't I instead look for a tax shelter to put my money? Muni bonds are paying 5% tax-free...I could instead put it into a 401(k)...anything but a new venture or business. Do you see how high taxes destroy new business formation?
Tim October 12, 2011 at 06:46 PM
"Those that make peaceful REVOLUTION impossible will make violent REVOLUTION inevitable." -- John F. Kennedy Jack Kennedy said that referring to democracy and voting rights. How is this Soros, moveon.org BS related in anyway? Fortunately we began a peaceful revolution last November when 60+ House Democrats were kicked out on their asses and we'll continue next November when Barry and Moochelle are kicked out on their behinds as well.
David October 12, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Yep. An understanding of the words, "Unconditional Surrender." Oh wait, that's right, war never solved anything except slavery, fascism, communism, imperialism...
Leah Hall October 12, 2011 at 07:13 PM
Democracy is bad for this country when it doesn't yield the right outcome, but super cool when it knocks my opponents on their butts? Please teach me, Professors Tim, & Professor David. My little 'ol head hurts but I'm all ears...
Tim October 12, 2011 at 07:17 PM
If you're going to quote Jack Kennedy at least know what you're talking about. Do you think he'd be supporting these protests? What happened to "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country?" Now it's give me give me, I want this and I want that... but I don't want to work for it.
Leah Hall October 12, 2011 at 07:21 PM
Professor Tim reports that George Soros is a big financial backer of the Episcopal Church and is propping up our bishop Marc Andrus as he leads the rally for peace and non-violence in our California congregations. Who knew!(?)
David October 12, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Leah, you could just crack open a history textbook. Do you think "understanding" Hitler or imperial Japan achieved peace? I don't think you mean by "understanding" that they could only be defeated in a war, but if you do, well, my bad. More recently, were you alive and did you see any of the anti-war protests when Bush was in office? You know, the protests where the elected president was repeatedly compared to Hitler, hanged in effigy, plays and books were written about assassinating him, etc etc. Maybe if you paid attention to something besides Comedy Central...
Tim October 12, 2011 at 07:28 PM
I'm stating that moveon.org sponsored this protest and that George Soros is bankrolling moveon.org Not sure what's with you and religion in your posts. I am an atheist and haven't made one comment about religion here.
Leah Hall October 12, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Professor Tim's next university course offering: Political Science 11AC S 102 DIS Two American Cultures: What John F. Kennedy would Twitter (if he wasn't dead). :)
Leah Hall October 12, 2011 at 08:57 PM
George Soros needs to step it up. This "First Beatles Mass" at All Saints Episcopal Church, San Leandro, totally needs some help from its friends :( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qTlu8CopWE&feature=player_embedded#! You're welcome, Rev. Rob! :)
srl99 October 12, 2011 at 11:24 PM
Did all the protestors take the bus to get there, or did they drive in someone's Hummer? If you REALLY want to effect corporate change you need to affect the lifeblood of the corporation : money. Don't buy their product(s), get enough people to alter their behavior - the corporation will change.
Tim October 12, 2011 at 11:34 PM
Which protestors? The 1960s hippie retreads that walk or bike? Or the whiny, white, over-privileged college aged types that get bussed over from their student unions?
srl99 October 12, 2011 at 11:37 PM
Tim, their race doesn't matter as long as they didn't walk over in their Nikes to protest big corporations.
Tim October 12, 2011 at 11:42 PM
No race doesn't matter but this is the least diverse groups of people I've ever seen.
srl99 October 12, 2011 at 11:44 PM
Tell me about the shoes, Imelda!
Leah Hall October 12, 2011 at 11:48 PM
I agree with sri99's point that some of the most challenging duties we face are to change our own behavior and win the hearts and minds of those we'd have join us in our effort. "It isn't them guys, it's us...Our efforts need to be collective and we need to cast aside many of the things that we are convinced things that we hold dear: wealth, status and all the power that those two afford in a selfish society." (paraphrased from the 'First Beatles Mass' by Rev. Rob Droste at All Saints Episcopal Church, San Leandro)
Leah Hall October 13, 2011 at 12:07 AM
These collective efforts can and must run on diverse tracks, a secular one and one that uses the language of our faith communities. We need to think smart and understand the ways in which we can mobilize toward a common purpose. The plight of the poor and middle class in our country, and carbon emissions/fossil fuels consumption are certainly 2 important examples.
Leah Hall October 13, 2011 at 12:17 AM
Professor Tim's theme :) Don't cry for me Argentina The truth is I never left you All through my wild days My mad existence I kept my promise Don't keep your distance
Leah Hall October 13, 2011 at 03:28 AM
Nope. No chance of that, but I will try to lay off the black beans. Starting tomorrow, I promise. :)
Michael E. Kerr October 13, 2011 at 09:34 PM
When we ask millionaires and multi-national corporations to pay their fair share we should not set our sights on a particular % as these discussions so far have shown this is meaningless and avoids the real problem of creating a fair society for everyone. These millionaires and corporations make sure that their money is used to not only lobby our government officials extensively for what they want, but to constantly remind our elected officials who can donate significant money for their election campaigns and even offer possible future employment opportunities. In other words, as a society we have allowed such excessive wealth to corrupt our politicians and political system. This relentless lobbying buys favorable legislation, reduced or ineffective regulation, countless tax loop-holes and even worse it ensures that most of our tax money is used to the primary benefit of the rich rather than the public.
Michael E. Kerr October 13, 2011 at 09:35 PM
Let us demanded 100% public financed elections and that our society will guarantee that everyone has a right to a decent living. The progressive tax rate on the rich and corporations will be determined by whatever is necessary so that everyone has a decent living standard. This will force the rich and corporations to lobby on all our behalf (the 99%) for efficient, effective, fair government, regulations, laws, programs & services. It should only be when the needs of the 99% are satisfied that the millionaires and multi-national corporations can enjoy and keep their wealth! They will no longer want to dismantle our social programs, send jobs out of country, promote the prison industrial complex, and wage senseless wars for profit. How millionaires and multi-national corporations use their money is more important as to what kind of society we have, than how much wealth they actually have!
Penny October 13, 2011 at 09:50 PM
That kind of remark is uncalled for and not helpful to the discussion. Let's try to be part of the solution, nort part of the problem I say..
Leah Hall October 13, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Thank you for chiming in, Penny. It is my understanding that Patch editors usually take a day or two to remove direct attacks by one commentator towards another. The process can be sped up if readers click on "flag as inappropriate." Three or four unique flags automatically deletes the comment, or so I'm told.
Tim October 13, 2011 at 10:09 PM
I flagged it for ya Leah :)
Leah Hall October 13, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Thank you, Tim. :)
John Harrison October 16, 2011 at 07:34 AM
Leah I live in San Ramon would love to come out I am also with a group called We Are Change through www.Meetup.com and I wish I would have know I would have come out to support all of you. Please let me know when you organize the next one protest. Respecfully John Harrison

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