Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Photos from the Awake The State Rally in Clearwater

Specifically it was Countryside, but that's not a designated city name or anything, so technically it's Clearwater.

If you know your way around Pinellas County, it's the intersection of 580 and McMullen Booth.

The event was planned for 4 PM.  I showed by 3:30 just in case parking was an issue (at that time, it wasn't).  No one was there yet so I walked the intersection pedestrian crosswalks awhile until more people showed.

The first photo was taken about 3:40 pm.

This was the first group of sign wavers standing in favor of:
Schools and Teachers
Union workers in general
The Unemployed

This group is standing on the NW corner of the intersection.  Behind them is the Countryside High School.

The next set of photos are as the afternoon went on, between 3:45 to 4:45.
You'll notice the crowd getting bigger.

By the by, while the pro-union, pro-schools rally was going on, a counter-protest of Tea Partiers carrying Rick "I DIDN'T CARE HE COMMITTED MEDICARE FRAUD" Scott banners and the "Don't Tread On Me" flags were on the southeast corner of the intersection.  The photos of their rally will be toward the end of this entry.  I wanna document how the pro-sanity rally was doing first.  :-)

The pro-school rally sent a few brave souls across McMullen Booth to wave the banners on the other side of the street.  There are these turn lane islands in the intersections that allow for a few gatherers to stand and wave to the cars.

This photo was taken about 4:20.  You'll notice the crowd grew from the 3:40 size to something larger.  You can see the cameraman for the local Fox News channel (yes, they sent a camera crew to our side.  I didn't see them go to the Tea Partier side of the street, oddly enough).  Where the cameraman is, that's the far left flank of the line.  The crowd is shoulder-to-shoulder and the line circles around the corner to the end of the right turn lane.  I'll demonstrate later.

Here's me.  Yes.  I need to lose weight.

The sign I borrowed from one of the rally organizers who brought extra.  I only brought a camera.

The photo was taken by a lady who was also taking pictures of other pro-school attendees.  I should have taken my hat off so you could see me squinting more clearly.  Heh.

This was the small group standing in the turn lane island at our corner.  You can see the McMullen traffic heading north.  It's very hard to see but in the distance are the Tea Partiers (look behind the red sign, you'll see two over that guy's shoulder).

Here's the attempt I made at 4:45 to take a series of photos of the line of pro-school pro-union protesters.  The far right of that line is where the turn lane merges into 580 traffic.  There are few gaps in this line.
Here's the second panning photo.  You can see part of the turn lane island over the large brown banner.

I had to move a little bit to the right to take the third panning shot.  You can see people are still arriving by 4:45 pm.  Some of them were smart enough to bring chairs.  My back was killing me at this point.  Never bring a backpack to a rally unless it's full of bottled water.

Still panning to the left here.  This was the one spot I saw a gap in the line.  You could fit about two people there.  Pity.

And here's the final panning shot of the far left of the line.  It's stretching a bit further down the left, compared to the photo I had earlier at 4:20 pm.

I'd have to say this was a good-sized turnout for the pro-school, pro-union crowd.  Most of them showed up in red shirts (it was one of the local union chapters, but I forgot to ask which union).  Nearly all of them showed with hand-made signs (and for those of us too lazy to make one, the rally organizers had extras printed out).

Now, you ask.  What about that opposing group.  What about the Tea Partier group that was on the opposite corner of the intersection with McMullan Booth and 580?

To the right you will see the first two of the Tea Party, pro-Scott crowd.  There was another guy to the right off the photo, but this was the best I could with my camera.  This was taken about two minutes before I took the first pro-union, pro-school crowd, so this was at 3:40 pm.

This was at the height of the crowd size for the Tea Partiers.  Remember, this is the opposite corner of McMullen Booth and 580.  It mirrors the opposite corner in terms of roadside length.  I took this photo about 4:45 pm, when I finished the long photo pan of the pro-union crowd and then crosswalked over to this side.

There's almost nobody here.  I counted about 16 people.  Even if I miscounted, there was no way there was more than 20 Tea Partiers here.

I called them the Tea Party crowd because three of them brought those yellow "Don't Tread" flags with them.

I took this photo a few seconds after that second one.  I moved further down the line and angled my camera to try and get a better image of their line along the street.

You can see it better here.  There are clear gaps between clumps of 2-3 people spread out over less space.  The far left of that photo was about the end flank of their line.

Like I said.  There's almost nobody here.  Compared to the other side of the street, that is.  There had to be at least a 4-to-1 advantage to the pro-school, pro-union (and yes, anti-Scott) crowd.

Coming out to this event gave me hope.  It gave me the awareness that in truth there are a TON of fellow Floridians who are in favor of doing right by our schools, who are in favor of doing something to fix our unemployment crisis.  It gave me hope that there are more Floridians out there angry about how reckless and crooked someone like Rick "JOB KILLER" Scott really is.  It makes me hope that others are going to realize that the Tea Partiers are truly FEW in number (and from what my fellow ralliers told me, the Tea Partiers didn't even understand the debate.  They were only out here to rally for Scott and against unions.  They were really only there because the Awake The State group was there).

It also gave me a backache.  Ahhh, I seriously need a back massage.

Thank you to everyone who attended the rally.  And let me know what those cops were doing on the Tea Party side of the street with their lights flashing (uh-oh!) when I left at 5:30 pm.  What happened over there?

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