A handful of men gathered outside representative Ed Royce’s office on Wednesday dressed as Mr. Monopoly, handing out chocolate gold coins which they called tax breaks.
The demonstration was part of Indivisible CA-39’s protest against Royce’s “yes” vote on the Republican tax bill, which was passed by the Senate in the early hours of Dec. 2.
The tax bill includes a permanent cut to corporate tax rates and a plan to count stipends graduate students earn as taxable income.
Crowds chanted, “shame on you,” outside Royce’s office and faced counter-protesters who met them with chants of, “build the wall.” The counter-protesters held signs that read, “Make America Great Again,” and voiced their support for President Trump.
Leanne Hebert, co-chair on the action committee for Indivisible CA-39, said she believes the Republican tax bill is a tax scam that will hurt Californians.
“Everything that is in this bill or was thrown into this bill is awful and it’s really going to hurt this district,” Hebert said. “So we decided we need to be visible out here and educate people about what this is all about and what’s happening right now.”
Hebert said the Mr. Monopoly idea came from the Indivisible CA-39 action committee and organization committee. Vincent Hennerty, a Chino Hills resident, was one of the men dressed up as Mr. Monopoly outside Royce’s office.
Hennerty’s concern with the tax bill is the cut to spending for programs in order to provide tax breaks, including Medicare, and the subsequent burden that could befall the poor and working class.
“With his vote on the tax bill, that’s what’s bringing me out here,” Hennerty said. “There are so many different things that are going to be felt in this country, and it’s going to reverberate, and we will feel it for decades and it’s not going to be a good feeling.”
Not everyone gathered outside Royce’s office was in opposition. Robin Hvidston an Upland resident, was outside Royce’s office to support him and the tax plan.
“Our economy is starting to do very well and the tax cut will help that. It’s a great plan, it’s going to create more jobs and I look forward to it being implemented,” Hvidston said.
Writer and blogger Arthur Schaper was also outside Royce’s office to support him and his decisions to support the building of the border wall and the Republican tax bill.
“We want Trump’s agenda supporting the secure borders … The priority to make sure American citizens are put first and their needs are foremost,” Schaper said.
John Marino, a resident of Royce’s district, has been watching his policies for the two years he’s lived in his district. Marino said he feels Royce is not a representative of American values, and he does not support his voting record.
Marino felt the counter-protesters were taking away from the message Indivisible CA-39 was trying to convey regarding the tax bill, and found their arguments “dishonest.”
“They didn’t come here to debate what we came here to debate,” Marino said.
Mirvette Judeh, another resident of Royce’s district, is frustrated with Royce’s voting record. Judeh said she has been trying to meet with him for a year and a half regarding controversial issues such as taxes, but has been unable to.
“How can he constantly go along with policies that are made just to attack minority communities?” Judeh said. “I’m here to tell him it needs to stop, or he’s going to go. I thought our congressmen were going to protect us and they’re not, and it’s really disgusting.”