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After months, weekly Issa protests show no signs of abating
San Diego Union-Tribune
Every Tuesday, hundreds of people descend on a Vista side street, waving handmade signs, chanting, cheering, jeering and singing for an hour — as they have since last winter.
They recite the Pledge of Allegiance, give speeches and sometimes hold moments of silence following tragedies around the country. Occasionally, the gathering is street theater, as in March with a “die-in” that saw more than 300 lie on the grass, healthcare protest signs serving as grave markers.
The demonstrations are a weekly event outside the field offices of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, that started as pushback against President Donald Trump and his agenda and actions. One rally in May saw roughly 800 people — some in tears — show up to protest the House vote — including Issa’s — to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Seven months after Trump’s inauguration, the rallies still draw roughly 300 people a week to Thibodo Road. They have also started to draw more counterprotesters, some criticism and even a touch of controversy during a battle over where they could stand and how loud they could get during their hour on a shady sidewalk.
Don’t look for the rallies or counterprotests 50 feet across the street to taper off anytime soon. People on both sides of the road say they see the weekly sign-waving as ground zero in the battle for the House of Representatives next year, particularly because Issa won re-election by a razor-thin margin, just 1,621 votes, in what was the closest congressional race in the country last fall.
[…] But relatively warm relations have cooled in recent months. Colgan says the change came when he added an anti-abortion sign. People on the other side of the road said its because Colgan has company now.
[…] The location itself along Thibodo Road does sort of keep the protests hidden, with no more than a few hundred passersby over the course of the hour — though they’ve received national media coverage over the months. When folks do drive by, some of them honk and wave at whichever side they support.
Initially, the plan was to keep the protests up during the first 100 days of the Trump administration. Then it stretched to run through September. But now, Montanari said last week, the protests will continue “as long as people want to be out there.”
“As soon as interest wanes, I will go away,” said Montanari, who owns a business and said she loses money when spending time at the rallies. “I started doing this for me. Now, I am doing it for them.”