Most media attention surrounding President Obama's weekend jaunt to San Diego focused on his two golf outings and local admirers out to catch a glimpse of the presidential foursome on the links. But a handful of protesters gathered outside Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (where Air Force One spends its time in San Diego) late Monday morning, hoping to send Obama off with a rebuke of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) international trade deal.
Kali Gochmanosky, who has spent months organizing rallies calling on local congressional representatives to vote against a TPP negotiation provision called "fast-tracking," explained the concerns of the protesters assembled outside Miramar's east entrance.
"We're afraid of offshoring more jobs like [the North American Free Trade Agreement] did, that it's going to have a detrimental effect on the environment," says Gochmanosky. "We're concerned about a provision that allows companies to sue states or municipalities that enact laws that dip into their profit lines — proponents of labeling genetically-modified food, for example, could face lawsuits from Monsanto on the grounds that labeling could hurt their sales. There are just an overwhelming number of things that could potentially raise concerns with this treaty."
Despite a lengthy campaign targeting local Democrats Susan Davis and Scott Peters, both Congress members voted to give Obama sole authority to negotiate the trade deal, afterward sending it to Congress for only a simple up-or-down vote on approval, with no amendments allowed.
"We didn't want fast-tracking of the bill to pass," Gochmanosky continues. "We're not happy that Susan Davis and Scott Peters voted to help it to pass — they were the only two Democratic representatives in Southern California to vote for fast-track. It's great that we're finally going to be able to see the text of the document, but if there's anything disagreeable in there by the time the public finds out, it'll already be too late to change any of it."
While happy to get their message out to a handful of news crews that had gathered in hopes of spotting the presidential motorcade on its way out of town, the activists were in for a long wait and intermittent drizzle, as Obama elected to squeeze in one last round of golf rather than head straight back to Washington on Monday morning.