Educators, Students, Occupy Members Up San Pablo Ave.

Protesters walked though Pinole and then Hercules Friday afternoon.

West County got a taste of the Occupy movement Friday, but not a prolonged one. A group of about 100 people — UC Berkeley faculty, students and members of the Occupy movement —stopped for lunch in Fernandez Park in Pinole, and then marched through Hercules, on a leg of their journey to Sacramento to protest cuts in education and other areas.

The bulk of the crowd focused their cause on education. An oversized pencil with the message, "Kids R No. 1 Tax the Rich to Teach the Children" led the post-lunch march out of Pinole and into Hercules.

The crowd's presence appeared to cause no disruption, other than slowing traffic on San Pablo Avenue on the way out of town. A Pinole police car drove slowly in front of the crowd as they walked toward Hercules. Some drivers honked their horns, either in support or to make protests of their own. California Highway Patrol cars also drove through the Old Town area.

The marchers moved toward Hercules and Rodeo, with their sights on camping overnight Friday in Vallejo.

Maureen Miller, who teaches medieval history at UC Berkeley, said she wouldn't walk all the way to the state capital, but could join the protest there on March 5.

"I'm here to support restoring funding to public education at all levels, but particularly to public higher education," Miller said. "That's what I've devoted my life to, and we're hoping people in the state legislature will hear us. We wanted to come out and support these students who are marching and to show solidarity with them. We're very concerned about the higher costs that our students are paying. Many of them now are working extra jobs, they're having difficulty attending to their studies."

She also is concerned about faculty members.

"We're losing faculty members," Miller said. "We're concerned about being able to support their families and to be able to retire. We've hung in their through furloughs and all sorts of deterioration in working conditions and new obligatory payments into the pension system."

With no assigned leader, or apparent formal organization, the march attracted people with more than education funding in mind.

A man who identified himself as "Wildabeast" said he is from Massachusetts and had camped at the Occupy Boston site before is was dismantled. He originally protested about cuts in the Boston subway system but said he opposes cuts in education and other services.

"My objective is to carry an upside-down (American) flag all the way and to protest cuts" Wildabeast said. "I found happiness in that tent (in Boston) and I haven't had it since. I'm trying to get it back."

The group planned to camp overnight Friday on Holly Street in Vallejo.

Share your thoughts and take our poll below.

RJ March 03, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Well said G.C., and I thought as much for Hercules pension contribution, but was not sure. I just won't support additional taxes.
Milan Moravec March 03, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Chancellor Birgeneau’s campus police deployed violent baton jabs on Cal. students protesting Birgeneau’s tuition increases. The sky will not fall when Birgeneau and his $450,000 salary are ousted. Opinions make a difference; email UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu UC Berkeley (UCB) pulls back access and affordability to instate Californians. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau displaces Californians qualified for public Cal. with a $50,600 payment from born abroad foreign and out of state affluent students. And, foreign and out of state tuition is subsidized in the guise of diversity while instate tuition/fees are doubled. UCB is not increasing enrollment. Birgeneau accepts $50,600 foreign students and displaces qualified instate Californians (When depreciation of Calif. funded assets are included (as they should be), out of state and foreign tuition is more than $100,000 + and does NOT subsidize instate tuition). Like Coaches, Chancellors Who Do Not Measure-Up Must Go.
Claire Voyance March 03, 2012 at 11:32 PM
CalWatchDog.com Exclusive: Cal State Lies about Executive Pay By JOHN HRABE MARCH 2, 2012 Link: http://www.calwatchdog.com/2012/03/02/calwatchdog-com-exclusive-cal-state-lies-about-executive-pay/
Wendy Harrison March 05, 2012 at 02:19 AM
I didn't see 100 protestors but it did take me 15 minutes to get out of Hercules to drive to a medical appointment. I pay property taxes in four counties in California and I dare anyone to tell me I'm not paying enough, especially when the Governor has signed legislation to spend $40 million on higher education for children of ILLEGAL immigrants. You can tax the "rich" 100% (and I am not one of them), and there still won't be enough money for everyone's "pet project." It's not that we are not taxed enough; it's that we are spending money on programs for which we should not be spending money.
Brian March 05, 2012 at 11:35 PM
your not paying enough. You are a part of the 100% maybe not the top 1% though. You complain about pet projects then say the money is spent on the wrong projects. I assume you know some good projects to use them on. One that doesn't disperage children seeking education. I guess lady liberty meant more attractive, rich " tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free"


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