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Occupy Protesters Return to Walnut Creek

"Occupy" demonstrators gather at North Main Street and Mt. Diablo Boulevard. Bank of America closes downtown branch early.

About 100 "Occupy Walnut Creek" protesters converged at the corner of North Main Street and Mt. Diablo Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon to protest what they called corporate greed.

Demonstrators stood on all four corners of the intersection, holding signs criticizing Wall Street and the banks as well as demanding the government tax the richest 1 percent in the country. Several had "road signs" questioning where the jobs are.

A number of motorists driving by honked in support of the rally. The protest was peaceful, with demonstrators even obeying the pedestrian signals at the stoplights.

At 4:45 p.m., demonstrators circled the block, chanting "Hey, hey, ho, ho, corporate greed has got to go."

Shortly after 5 p.m., two dozen demonstrators gathered in front of the nearby Bank of America branch. Bank officials quickly closed the front entrance. Customers could still get inside through the garage.

At 5:45 p.m., the protest started to wind down. By 6 p.m., it was pretty much over.

During the height of the demonstration, Marvin Cohen, a Rossmoor resident, stood on one corner holding a sign against what he called the "war economy."

"I'm here to call attention to justice, truth and equality," said Cohen.

Cohen was at an earlier protest in Oakland Wednesday. He said the Walnut Creek crowd was smaller than previous weeks' demonstrations because most activists were in Oakland.

The crowd was mostly older protesters. Cohen said many of the younger demonstrators were in Oakland.

Tricia Hamlin drove from Brentwood to be at the protest. Hamlin, an employee of John Muir Health, said her pension is underfunded because of Wall Street behavior. She also has witnessed a lot of home foreclosures in Brentwood, including those involving young families.

"I'm as mad as I can possibly be at Wall Street," Hamlin said.

Bill Ruano of Concord sat at another corner with a sign criticizing big banks.

He said he was protesting the behavior of the banks after they received government bailouts and then tightened credit on homeowners.

"The country is going in the wrong direction," said Ruano. "It seems we live by the golden rule. Those who have the gold make the rules."

Nearby, a Pleasanton resident who identified himself as "Mike" questioned some of the demonstrators.

He wanted to know if any of the protesters were being paid to be there. He also told them that the richest 1 percent do pay taxes while 50 percent of the country doesn't.

Mike said he was shopping downtown with his wife when he came upon the demonstration.

This was the latest in a series of Wednesday evening protests in downtown Walnut Creek. This corner was chosen because of the Bank of America building here. Last week, the demonstrators gathered on Ygnacio Valley Road.

There were also protests in downtown Oakland all day Wednesday, with a march to the Port of Oakland by several thousand people in the late afternoon.

More demonstrations are planned for Saturday in downtown Walnut Creek and in a shopping center off Crow Canyon Road in San Ramon.

Click on the accompanying map to see where Occupy events have taken place statewide. Each symbol represents a protest ongoing or planned in California. Legend: Tent = Encampment; Police = Protest Only; Red Triangle = New Protests Planned. If you know of an event not on the map, email it to John Osborn at josborn25@gmail.com.

thedubc November 03, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Hurray for Mike! Id join him asking the "demonstrators" the tough questions.
raffaele esposto November 03, 2011 at 03:49 PM
Where were the occupiers when home prices were soaring and the stock market was jumping?
Masterlock November 03, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Classic, my dad told me the other day he is thinking about joining the Occupy Walnut Creek movement to protest against Walnut Creek parking tickets. He said he likes that it is mostly old people, like him.
Max the Teacher November 03, 2011 at 06:54 PM
Asking the tough questions, or repeating the same tired false talking points? "the richest 1 percent do pay taxes while 50 percent of the country doesn't." Not true. But at least Mike can take his marching orders from FOXnews...
Stephanie Baker November 03, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Someone call a whaaaaambulance! What a bunch of whiners.
Michele A Thompson November 03, 2011 at 07:43 PM
I am tired of these occupiers- most of whom neither live in or contribute to our community. They waste our resources and tax dollars. I feel particularly sorry for the people of Oakland. On top of a skyrocketing crime rate and declining revenue they have to pay for police to babysit the occupiers. Tell me about the ammateur ninjas who vandalized a BofA and threatened shopkeepers to stay closed yesterday. I was in SF yesterday and there is a campout across from the ferry building- filthy/smelly and functionless. If they are the 99% we are in deep trouble. This is a democracy( alright a republic) and there are rules of law. Take it to the voting box. I am part of the 50% of Americans who pay taxes. Frankly it makes me sick to see that we have so many 4th generations who so contribution has been to collect welfare while watching cable TV. Who will pay for the free colleges and babysitters-some demand. NO MORE ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS!!!!
michael frederick November 03, 2011 at 08:12 PM
What are you people complaining about???? Walnut Creek is a city that conducts a (2003) poll of residents to determine that congestion is the largest resident concern, GOING AWAY. Yet, we have a City Hall dedicated to producing little but -- Boutique Hotel, Hotel BAD, development up the ying-yang along YV Rd ... If I didn't know any better, I'd say this operation was covertly produced by City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce -- it hasn't produced anywhere near the grid-lock that more overt crowd-producing efforts such as Art on the Main does... This city can't select who gets to hang-out in public places -- for instance, closing it off to all but affluent shoppers because they contribute to our "economic ecosystem." When this city promotes itself as a "DESTINATION" for everyone (down to and including Fresno) to hang out, everyone will. We're going to attract elements that are far worse than well-dressed old people carrying signs -- follow the WCPD crime logs to get a sense of this. Get over it or take it up with City Hall.
Doug November 03, 2011 at 09:46 PM
Max the Teacher - The article is correct, but needs to be clarified. 50% of all Americans do not Federal Income Taxes. Since 2007, the tax data is fairly consistent. The Top 1% pay approx. 38% of all Federal Income Taxes, Top 5% - pay 59 %, Top 10% - pay 70% and Top 25% pay 86% all Federal Income Taxes. I am a conservative, but I do think that those with Adjusted Gross Incomes in excess of $500,000 and $1,000,000 could afford to pay another 2 - 4% at the margin. That said, the additional taxes raised from raising these rates will only have a minimal impact on future budget deficits. Cutting costs is only way to ensure fiscal soundness in the years ahead. We are much closes to Greece than people think! These Occupy protestors can get mad all they want at banks, corporations and the "Top 1%", but they should be just as angry with the Federal Government and the Democrats (namely Barney Frank) for writing the mortgage rules that pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie mac to get completely out of control. The CRA revisions pushed by Frank and signed by Clinton in 1995 and 1999 contributed significantly to the mortgage mess. In the years that followed, Democrats refused to allow and increase funding for increased oversight of Fannie and Freddie. The writing was on the wall for years, but both democrats and republicans buried their heads in the sand and hoped home prices would go up forever. Like I said, our country's fiscal situation is much closer to Greece than people think!
John N November 03, 2011 at 10:08 PM
Couldn't have said it better myself. Right on the money Michele!!!!
thedubc November 03, 2011 at 11:54 PM
So protester parenting advice: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/oct/18/hicks-some-belated-parental-advice-to-protesters/
michael frederick November 04, 2011 at 12:44 AM
Doug, I just have to comment that I admire your thinking. Raising taxes on the rich won't solve much of anything. But, in a corrupt environment where politicians -- Dems and Reps -- trip over themselves to service banks, corporations, and affluent sponsors, generally, it sends the right message. The people who profit most shouldn't be immune, they should set a good example and be part of the solution. I like the Japanese system of having the leader draw his sword and LEAD the troops over the hill, as opposed to hanging back at HQ and criticizing his troops' uninspired lack of progress... The Fannie, Freddy, Frank, and Clinton characterizations were right on. You can include Goldman Sachs and all those who profited from bundling garbage for profit, while holding their tongues. The ring of deception was as huge as the profits -- everyone had bloody hands; I think this is why, unlike the S&L fiasco, NO ONE is doing any jail time. I don't think you had to be intelligent to know that "no cash, credit, or job" should eclipse things like "EQUITY" in determining a loan's merits as "conforming." If you are a banker and can't acknowledge this, you're either guilty or too stupid for the job. It WAS and is that plain.
Marie Krausova November 04, 2011 at 04:46 AM
Our country/government could learn "something" from HIM, but they rather killed HIM. See very surprising video about Libya and Qaddafi. It came from Europe (it is bilingual). How government and MEDIA are lying to us!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht_k2RKAWGs&feature=player_embedded Why "Occupy....." movement?? If life in US will be like at Qaddafi's country we don't need "Occupy......anything" .
David Schroeder November 04, 2011 at 04:53 PM
I was at the Occupy Walnut Creek event this Wednesday on the corner of Mt. Diablo and North Main Street. I have been at these OWS demonstrations in Walnut Creek for the past four weeks. Tomorrow, I will be at this event: Saturday, 5 Nov 2011, 10:00 AM Corner of Newell and Main St. Walnut Creek, CA 94596 I will be wearing a SF Giant hat and holding a gold sign with black letters that says: “FAIRLY TAX THE 1%” Last Saturday, I went to Ocean Beach in San Francisco and spelled out “TAX THE 1%” with 1000 other people in the sand. You can see our pics taken from a helicopter here: http://www.humanbannersf.com/ Th OWS cause is legitimate & working. BofA backed off of their idea to charge customers a $5 monthly fee for using a debit card to purchase items. This most likely would not have happened if the OWS was not occurring. The other major banks saw the swell of anger at Wall Street and the banks and decided not to follow BofA – leaving them alone on the island of foolishness. I believe making people aware of the danger of wealth inequity in our country, asking for a return to the pre-Bush tax rates, reenacting Glass-Steagall to separate commercial banks from investment companies, reasonably regulating Wall Street and protecting consumers can be done peacefully. I want an America where opportunity is available to everyone – not just the well born. That is why I spend my time talking to fellow citizens and holding a sign that says: FAIRLY TAX THE 1%
thedubc November 04, 2011 at 05:23 PM
David, define what fair is.. we all would like to know what fair is. You basically have no idea that you are holding up signs that has nothing to do with the problem. The problem is in washington. The problem is with you and with me for voting idiots into office that create these problems for the past 10 years+ Government spends waaaaaaay beyond our needs as a country. In turn, they ask for more taxes to pay for crap nobody needs. So your solution is to raise taxes more for this mysterious "1%" to solve your issues. Wanting something for nothing does not work. Your sense of entitlement is not welcomed. I do however agree with your Glass-Steagall act to bring back, but also fix DC and supply a flat tax. Pre-Bush tax rates is not the answer, the tax laws need to be fixed before simply rolling back or changed to a flat tax. No matter how you try to “level the playing field,” some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they’re dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the Hamptons. Is it fair? Stupid question.
David Schroeder November 04, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Hello dubc, 1) There is great wealth inequity in America. That inequity is dangerous not only to the poor, but to the country as a whole. It limits opportunity to a fraction of the talent that we will need in the future. 2) Please watch this TED talk: Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ7LzE3u7Bw 3) By fairly tax the 1% - I simply want to return the tax rates to the pre-Bush rates. I think those who make more should be taxed more in a reasonable way. My personal income is not in the 1% but certainly is in the top 10% and I am happy to pay more than people making less than me. A flat tax is regressive. It harms the poor and rewards and perpetuates the rich. 4) I am not anti-capitalism or anti-wealth. I am pro high risk/high reward. I am a serial startup guy who has owned my own company and have had stakes in other companies. If my business failed due to poor business decisions or market changes I could not react to - I lost or would lose my money. That seems fair to me. With the Wall Street bankers their game is no risk/high reward. 5) The wealthiest 1% have the odds tilted in their favor - from the tax code to off-shore accounts to giving their children an education that most middle class and none of the poor could match. 6) Taxing the 1% fairly will help America invest in jobs programs, schools and health care and infrastructure and we all win.
Milan Moravec November 04, 2011 at 05:55 PM
Protest UC Berkeley discrinination. Discrimination against Californians by University of California. Chancellor Robert J Birgeneau ($450,000 salary) displaces Californians qualified for public university education at Cal. for a $50,600 payment by a foreign student. The need for transparency at UC Berkeley has never been so clear. UC Berkeley, # 70 Forbes ranking, is not increasing enrollment. Birgeneau accepts $50,600 FOREIGN students at the expense of qualified instate Californians. UC Regent Chairwoman Lansing and President Yudof both agree to discriminate against Californians for the admission of foreigners. Birgeneau, Yudof, Lansing need to answer to Californians. Opinions make a difference; email UC Board of Regents marsha.kelman@ucop.edu
thedubc November 04, 2011 at 09:50 PM
There is quite a bit of truth behind these. Make a sign and post these up at your "rallies" 1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. 2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. 3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. 4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it! 5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
Cameron Sullivan November 05, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Great comment, Michele! I think you'll enjoy this "take" on the topic. Cheers -Cameron: http://pleasanton.patch.com/articles/promote-literacy-write-a-business-plan-for-occupy-protest

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