NEWPORT COAST — A weekend of worldwide protest spilled over into Orange County on Monday morning as about 40 left-leaning activists protested House Speaker John Boehner's visit to the Pelican Hill Golf Club.
"He knows he can't go anywhere without the people going with him," said Rick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign, a progressive group. "I hope that even while he's up there, raking in millions in cash, he knows there's people here and everywhere.
"We're going to make clear that this isn't a funny time anymore. This is a real time. It's time for him to get busy on jobs and not on his golf game."
Jacobs and nearly 50 others drummed, chanted and —with the help of bullhorns — shouted the morning away on Pelican Hill Road, a quiet street off Newport Coast Drive.
Under the guise of having a tee time Monday morning, Jacobs was able to get into the golf clubhouse and speak with the Ohio representative and Republican leader.
He said he tapped the speaker on the shoulder. Boehner then turned and smiled until Jacobs said he was actually with the Courage Campaign, at which time Boehner turned and walked away.
Jacobs was trying to hand him an online petition signed by more than 26,000 people that called for Republicans to move the jobs bill forward; however Boehner's assistants took it.
"Speaker Boehner always appreciates hearing the concerns and opinions of all Americans, and he'll continue working to find areas of common ground where Democrats and Republicans can come together to help create jobs," said Cory Fritz, Boehner's communications director.
The Daily Pilot was denied admission to Pelican Hill by organizers of Boehner's visit.
Administration officials said they will now try to push through the bill, which would raise taxes on millionaires, provide tax breaks for small businesses and provide money for local governments to save teaching jobs and increase spending on public works — in bits and pieces.
In a Senate vote last week, every Republican and several Democrats facing reelection next year rejected the bill. Critics say that the bill relies on the same sort of borrowing that got the country in trouble in the first place.
While Republicans have lately been wholly opposed to tax increases, others said the package didn't do enough to immediately address unemployment, which has remained at more than 9% since May, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"I think the 36,000 teachers that would get a job would disagree with that," said Kimberly Claytor, president of the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers. "I think the construction workers that would improve our public schools would disagree with that. Ask those without a job if it would make a difference to them."