Adam Schiff’s Town Hall Fracas

adam-shiffLast night tempers flared during a boisterous town hall meeting on health-care reform attended by 3,000 people.

The event was organized by U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D- Burbank). The townhall meeting was originally to be held in a inside the Alhambra Civic Library. But, due to the huge turnout, the meeting was instead held outdoors on a stage in front of the Library.

The meeting turned into a confrontation like you have been seeing on the news, except this one had at least an equal number of health care reform supporter to counter the lunatic fringe.

A local anti-tax group, Pasadena Patriots, rallied members, as did the local Republican party.

Supporters of health care reform carried signs decrying insurance industry profits and calling for a single payer system to be on the table. While, opponents carried signs denouncing what they called Obamacare, and comparing Obama to Hitler.

The real loser here is American Democracy and the ability to have a meaningful discussion on the merits of ensuring that people in this country are ensured health care.

The opponents appeared unwilling to listen and were there to disrupt. This appear to be an extension of the President election and many of the anti-health care mob were the same sorts you found at the Sarah Palin rally’s during the election.

Congressman Adam Schiff should be applauded he stood his ground against the right-wing mob and clearly stated that health care reform was needed and that he supported it.

Other speakers included:

Moderated by NBC-4’s Dr. Bruce Hensel

Panel Discussion with:
– Dr. Benjamin Chu, President Southern California Region, Kaiser
– Dr. Richard Brown, Director, UCLA Center for Health Policy and Research
– Leeba Lessin, .President CareMore Health Plan
– Jerry Flanagan, Health Care Advocate, Consumer Watchdog

Larry Gross
Executive Director
Coalition for Economic Survival


  1. Lee Frank says

    I was one of the health reform supporters in the audience. I have a much more positive view: 1) Schiff was able to more or less control the event by holding on to the microphone. And even people like me who have impaired hearing were able to hear most of what he and others said through that mike. 2) Schiff actually took questions from the audience (repeating them over the mike) and in that way was able to answer real questions and respond to real suppositions. 3) His panel from authoritative and trustworthy venues gave credence to what he said. 4) As the evening wore on the many protestors left the meeting, leaving the real give-and-take questions and answers able to be heard in a much less tense atmosphere.

  2. GaryH says

    This is not a comment specifically on Rep. Schiff’s town hall meeting, but a concern about the characterization of the grassroots opposition to Health Care Reform, who I think regard themselves and genuine and sincere.

    In particular, I want to make my point through the use of the term “Astroturf.” In case I’ve raised any doubts, I’m completely in favor of single payer, and at least a strong! “public option” at the congressional level.

    I really find this term “Astroturf” both derogatory and meaningless.
    If the left demeans grassroots people as managed from above, they are going to and are taking offense at that. They are being insulted for raising concerns which they genuinely feel come from themselves and their experience and justifiable feelings of insecurity.

    People down below genuinely do feel alienated and frightened of any power that corporations or the government may exercise over their personal lives and welfare. Right or wrong in their perceptions about power from above, their personal lives are affected. Those feelings of fear and economic loss should be respected not ridiculed or characterized as coming from people who can’t think for themselves or manipulated (however true that may be).

    Rather than instruct and educate the working class or the lower socio-econmic strata, the left is, yet again, alienating the populist grassroots with condescending terminology. This is a mistake. Name calling does not help our cause. This is not the way to organize a movement.

    And who was it started this term “Astroturf”?
    Was it the mainstream media? Some snide pundit on the left?
    And what is it supposed to mean?
    Even I’m at a loss to define it.
    I suspect an “establishment” mole with intent to divide the progressive movement from the working class. Or is that the fault of the progressive movement?
    Progressives can not afford to be elitist.

    I am convinced that listing the comments made against Health Care Reform, when they are myths or distortations, and counter posing them in a list of myths vs. facts is a good idea. But the question is, how do we reach people with this broad sheets, beyond the convinced? 

    An old strategy, but one that works, is reaching out to the non-eletes where they mostly are, in their churches and synagoges, etc. Most larger congregations have a social justice committee, or social concerns committee. That would be a good start. My point is, the movement has to go where the majority of people are.


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