Palin in Bay Area for Sunday brunch

October 3, 2008 7:59:58 PM PDT
Supporters and protesters planning to gather outside a Burlingame hotel Sunday morning are hoping to catch a glimpse of vice presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who will offer remarks over a fundraising brunch scheduled to take place inside.

Palin's Bay Area appearance, which changed time and location after first being announced to potential attendees, has created Internet buzz since planned on the heels of the Aug. 29 announcement that the governor would be Sen. John McCain's running mate.

The fundraiser was originally scheduled as a Sept. 25 luncheon at the home of Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Siebel and his wife Stacey, according to a spokesman for the California Republican Party.

McCain-Palin regional campaign spokesman Rich Gorka would not initially confirm the luncheon, saying it was too early to discuss Palin's travel plans. He then confirmed the event had been moved to early this month due to a "scheduling conflict" but could not say where the event would be held.

With few days to go before Palin's arrival, the campaign today confirmed a brunch will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, 1333 Bayshore Highway in Burlingame.

The fundraiser is scheduled to begin with a host committee reception at 10:30 a.m. followed by an 11 a.m. brunch.

Tickets for the brunch range from $1,000 for brunch alone to $2,500 for brunch and a limited edition John McCain 2008 lapel pin.

Host committee members -- those who donated or committed to raise at least $10,000 -- received tickets for a reception at 10:30 a.m. with photo opportunities in addition to brunch tickets.

Donors were able to become vice chairs or chairs of the event by raising or contributing $25,000 or $50,000, respectively, according to the event invitation to donors.

A McCain-Palin campaign spokesman said information about Palin's arrival in the Bay Area will be released Saturday, but the campaign would not comment on the protests planned to take place outside the hotel.

San Mateo County Central Labor Council Executive Secretary Treasurer Shelley Kessler said workers from the 110 unions the labor council represents are expected to protest outside the brunch.

"We hope to inform the public that Sarah Palin is not prepared to be a heartbeat away from the presidency," Kessler said.

Kessler said the protest will be "safe but raucous," and labor council members have agreed to protest across the street from the hotel at the request of police and secret service.

"We're hoping people will conduct a safe but raucous rally and tell Sarah Palin she is not welcome here," Kessler said. "She is not welcome in the White House, either."

Kessler said the labor council, which advocates for members on issues such as living wages and union memberships, expects more than 200 people. She said there will be singing, chanting and a variety of costumes.

"I don't know if it will be pigs with lipstick or Caribou Barbie dolls," Kessler said. "Who knows?"

She said other groups have also expressed interest in protesting, but said they are not connected to the labor council.

World Can't Wait protesters have been told to bring signs, jumpsuits and other "creative gear" for the protest set to begin at 10 a.m., according to a release from the organization's Bay Area chapter. World Can't Wait protesters will gather "as close to the main Hyatt entrance as feasible" from 10 a.m. to noon, the release states. Organizers were not immediately available for comment.

Alongside protesters, Republican Party members and other Palin supporters will gather in hopes of showing the governor she is welcome in the Bay Area, said Nicholas Rice-Sanchez, a staff member with the San Mateo County Republican Party.

Rice-Sanchez said Palin supporters are welcome to bring homemade signs and meet at the San Mateo County Republican Party's office, 875 Mahler Road, Suite 250, near the Hyatt. Supporters will gather at the office at 9:30 a.m. and walk over to the hotel to clap and cheer and hopefully catch a glimpse of Palin as she enters the hotel, Rice-Sanchez said.

"We anticipate that there are going to be protesters and we want to show the governor that she has support in the Bay Area," Rice-Sanchez said. "We will be there with signs, cheering her on when she arrives. Hopefully she will hear us clapping."

Though the protests have been planned and may draw hundreds, Rice-Sanchez said there has been a groundswell of support for Palin from the San Mateo County's 80,000 registered Republicans as well as undecided voters and some Democrats.

Hundreds showed up for the party's kickoff party and another 150 for the viewing party of the Vice Presidential Debate Thursday night, Rice-Sanchez said. The goal is to have at least another 100 support Palin on Sunday, he added.


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