Advertisement

Protesters target wealthy in caravan for equality through La Jolla

Jose Lopez of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment records the caravan of cars in a protest July 1 in La Jolla.
Jose Lopez of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment records the caravan of cars participating in a protest July 1 in La Jolla.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

A caravan of about 60 cars drove through La Jolla neighborhoods and passed some of San Diego’s most affluent residents July 1 as part of a statewide protest aimed at raising awareness of wealth disparity and other inequalities.

The local protest, organized by renters, workers and labor leaders, had planned to target UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, developer Douglas Manchester and MC Properties owner Michael Contreras. The protest was one of several throughout California on the same day, which was chosen because the first of the month is traditionally when rent is due.

“We’re visiting some of the richest people in San Diego to talk about how during this pandemic many of us are struggling to make ends meet and have a roof over our heads while these super-wealthy people have made money off the backs of our community workers and renters,” said Jose Lopez, a local organizer with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

Motorists honked horns throughout the protest, which began at 11 a.m. with a news conference in the Revelle College parking lot at UC San Diego. They soon left for the home of Khosla, who was targeted because of layoffs at the university, but their plan was thwarted when UCSD police would not allow them access to the La Jolla Farms neighborhood.

They then slowly drove past the La Jolla home of Contreras before ending the protest around 1 p.m. in front of Manchester’s home, also in La Jolla.

A protest caravan moves through a La Jolla neighborhood on July 1.
A caravan of cars moves through a La Jolla neighborhood on July 1 in a protest against wealth disparity and other inequalities.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

As with similar protests in other California cities that day, participants stayed in their vehicles as a safety measure during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We want to do it as safe as possible,” Lopez said, adding that the drive took many participants into wealthy neighborhoods they had never seen before.

A news release announcing the statewide protests said they were in response to “decades of rising inequality and a pandemic that has disproportionately impacted communities of color, threatened vital public services and left millions out of work.”

“We want to raise this message of divesting from the rich and making sure they pay their fair share,” said Lopez, who drove a Toyota RAV4 during the event. “Many of them have gotten tax breaks.”

Many of the cars were decorated with signs with slogans such as “Divest from the rich and invest in our communities” and “Make them pay.”

Similar protests were held in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento, with participants planning to drive past the homes of Elon Musk of Tesla, Bruce Karsh of Oaktree Capital, Angelo Tsakopoulos of AKT Development, Mark Friedman of Fulcrum Property and Phil Tagami of California Commercial Investment Group.

In San Diego, protest participants included labor leaders from AFSCME 3299, SEIU, USWW, UAW 2865 and the San Diego Tenants Union.

Lopez said more protests are planned for Thursday, July 2, when homes of state lawmakers will be targeted to try to drum up support for new tax laws focused on the wealthy. ◆