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UPDATED: Groups organize protests for Brown’s visit

Politics: Governor to meet with leaders at Hart High today; conservatives plan demonstrations

Posted: April 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.

From left, Dick Jeffrey, 64, of Santa Clarita; Bill Reynolds, 64, of Valencia; and Teri Sojka, 50, of Valencia, hold signs in protest in front of Hart High School in Newhall on Thursday, ahead of a visit from Gov. Jerry Brown.

 

UPDATE, Thursday 1 p.m.:
Protesters lined up across the street from Hart High School as Gov. Jerry Brown began a private meeting with local officials at the school's auditorium. Thedemonstrators protested California's fiscal situation, rises in property taxes, Brown's relationship with unions, and the inability of the public to visit with Brown inside the school.

See image in the media player, and check back later this afternoon for an update on Brown's visit.

Original story, Thursday 2 a.m.:
During a planned visit by Gov. Jerry Brown today, an increased number of sheriff’s deputies will be on patrol around Hart High School to keep expected crowds of Republican and tea-party protestors in check.

Brown is scheduled to be on campus at 1 p.m., and will be holding a meeting with about 150 school, law enforcement and media officials to discuss the effects state budget cuts could have on local education and public safety.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, state Superintendent Tom Torlakson, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Captain Paul Becker, city officials and about 50 Santa Clarita Valley school officials will be in attendance. 

While no street closures are expected while the governor is in Santa Clarita, no parking will be allowed from 9 a.m. to noon on either side of Newhall Avenue between Lyons Avenue and 16th Street, authorities with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station said.

Extra deputies will be stationed in front of the school to direct traffic and assist with crowd control, Sgt. Steve Casaus said.

“We don’t anticipate any large amount of protestors,” Casaus said.

The Santa Clarita Valley Republicans and SCV Patriots, a tea party group, sent emails to its members Wednesday protesting that the governor’s meeting would not be open to the general public. Americans for Prosperity California, a group against state pensions, will be protesting in front of the school.

The organization’s director is planning to arrive in front of the school in a white stretch limousine emblazoned with the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” logo.

Lynn Haueter, member of the 38th District Central Committee and a local Republican leader, said she sent emails to several hundred activists and Republicans to rally in front of the school.

“We believe that if he really truly wants to hear what the people have to say, they should open the doors,” Haueter said.

Brown’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford said the governor’s office will follow its own security measures during the visit.

“Protestors are always afforded the space to voice their opinions in an area that is off of school property, and in a space that is legal in which to protest.”

Students, meanwhile, will continue this week’s STAR testing during Brown’s visit.

Before talking with educators and law enforcement in Hart’s multipurpose room, Brown will be touring two classrooms, said Gail Pinsker, William S. Hart Union High School District’s spokeswoman.

The superintendent and a board member from the Newhall, Saugus Union, Castaic Union and Sulphur Springs school districts have been invited to attend the event, as well as leaders from College of the Canyons, Pinsker said.

All board members and principals from the Hart school district have been invited, as well as leaders representing the district’s teachers and staff, she said.

“We would have liked to invite a number of additional people, but we were unable to because of the restrictions placed by the governor’s office,” Pinsker said. “We’re excited the governor has selected to tour Hart High School. We’re proud of the school, and proud to share it with state officials. We’re looking forward to his visit.”

Brown’s trip to Newhall is one in a series of stops he’s making across California to talk with community leaders about the impact of possible state budget cuts. In recent weeks, Brown has also visited Riverside and Stockton, according to past reports.

Signal Assistant City Editor Tammy Marashlian and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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