The Latino-Homophobe Bus Tour has been a big silly waste of money, for Carly Fiorina’s supporters.


As I wrote here Friday, Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina’s “Latino Outreach” program, consisting of the above bus marked “Vota Tus Valores” which contains about a dozen allegedly conservative Hispanics and has been tooling around the state, has recently been joined by the National Organization for Marriage, which is sort of the NRA of homophobia, in what they’re betting is a surefire way to attract gay-hating Latinos.  And the bus’ foray into Orange County this week was the grand debut of that blissful union.

Not such a grand debut as it turns out.  Members of the Courage Campaign have been tailing the bus around the state, mounting peaceful protests whenever and wherever it stops, and attempting to engage the passengers in debate or at least discussion;  and this new embrace of unadulterated gay-bashing has only added to the numbers and determination of the protesters. Meanwhile the bold dozen on the bus seem to have grown more and more fearful of confrontation, perhaps less sure of their position, morbidly timid, not even getting off the bus half the time, but putting all their energy into eluding us, windows shut tight, AC blasting, and all bills paid by Fiorina backers.

You want an update from yesterday?  You got it.  The big day was originally scheduled to start off in “Dana Point” – actually the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel – at 2:30, and then the Huntington Beach pier at 4:30 for a grand gay-marriage-bashing, Fiorina-boosting, Latino-attracting rally!

At some point yesterday they erased the Ritz-Carlton “event” from their schedule.  Were they trying to throw us off, or had they actually realized that there are no Latinos in that area to convert to the gospel of hate and free markets?  Turns out it wasn’t really supposed to be on the schedule in the first place – the fancy beach-side hotel is just where the lucky bus-riders were put up for the weekend – where they’re cooling their heels as I write, in fact, on their Sunday “Day of Rest,” at the expense of some foolish GOP “independent expenditure.”

We HAD been scratching our heads.  Why an event at an exclusive hotel like that?  What Latinos would you be “reaching out” to?  The busboys, the maids, the gardeners?  Would the message have been, “Join the Republicans like us, hermanos, and maybe some day you’ll get sent on a nice luxury bus tour like the one we’re on!”  Now it makes more sense.  And it’s just as ridiculous and laughable.

Triumph in Surf City!

So, I got to the good old HB pier early – my home town – with four or five other protesters, and my two freshly-made Spanish-language signs, “Nuestros valores no incluyen odio!” (Our values don’t include hate) and “Carly Fiorina no es tu amiga!” (You can figure that one out.)  Dawn, who’d been involved in this longer than the rest of us, was in phone contact with the other Courage Campaigners.  Evidently the hate bus was winding erratically up and down PCH, trying to evade its critics.  After a while it finally dropped anchor at 6th Street and Main, 3/4 mile from its supposed destination, so we set off on foot to meet it.

By the time we got there, they were just pulling away, heading off back to their comfy hotel in Dana Point for an early start on their weekend of rest, having done all they could for Princess Carly, and utterly uninterested in making human contact with any Huntington Beach people critical or not.  Windows closed as always, AC blasting, the bus looked exactly as pictured above.  It may just as well have been manned by only a driver rather than the dozen Hispanics and several white NOM homophobes who were apparently hidden inside.  But at least Carly and her backers are providing some lucrative temporary employment for these malinches.

And what scared the little group away from Surf City so quickly?  It wasn’t so much the dozen or so pro-gay protesters, as it was a man named Don Fuller, a small, well-dressed, very articulate, “Conservative Republican” who had driven all the way from Corona just to ask these people how exactly the Constitution and Declaration of Independence justify denying equal rights to gays, and how they can possibly consider themselves conservative if they believe that.  These were questions that they were completely, and mortifyingly, incapable of answering.

Later today I should be able to post a video of Don, taken by the Courage Campaign.  He speaks reverently (if selectively) of Barry Goldwater, and is passionately opposed to Republicans or so-called conservatives who pervert Scriptures or the Constitution to the service of bigotry.  He spoke eloquently about growing up in the Bible Belt during the days of Brown v. Board of Education, and hearing preachers find justifications in the Bible for racism and segregation, and he sees the same thing happening now, with gays, Latinos, and Muslims.  (Okay, I added that last one, that didn’t come up, but I’m sure he’d agree.)

Santa Ana this morning should be their Waterloo.

Several armies of activists are poised to welcome these payasos to our County Seat this morning at 10AM.  Word to the wise – keep in touch with each other by cell phone.  The original plan was an event at “4th and Spurgeon” from 10AM to 1PM.  Then the schedule was changed to just say 10 AM, followed by a stop in Oceanside at 11:45, which doesn’t leave much time for any sort of Santa Ana rally.  (I suppose this means they’re once again planning to just pop their heads out of their bus, check the town off on their checklist, and scurry off?)

NOW I just looked again  – 10pm Sunday night – and they’ve changed the location to 17th and Main! I’m picturing that intersection, where I’ve spent a lot of time – Norm’s is on the SE corner, a florist and coffee shop on the NW corner, I believe a car lot on the NE corner, and the OC Weekly used to have their offices on the SW corner.  Are they planning to park in the lot on the SW?  Do they have permission?  In Camarillo the other day our allies got the cops and Bank of America to kick ’em out of a B of A lot;  that sounds like mean fun, but I’d rather let them do their thing and confront them.  Anyway, you won’t know WHAT’S going on tomorrow if you don’t show up, and keep in touch with these sites:

Facebook page for the Santa Ana action

The ever-changing Vota Tus Valores bus tour route

most fun:  Courage Campaign’s Tour Tracker!

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.