Tehachapi will be a stopping point tonight for a group of marchers on their way to Sacramento to protest big money and corruption in politics.
At approximately 6 p.m., participants with California March For Democracy plan to demonstrate in front of City Hall. The march began in Los Angeles on May 17, with the goal to make the 480-mile trip to Sacramento by June 22. The event is being coordinated by 99rise, a grassroots activist group. It started with a group of 20 people in Los Angeles, with more joining during the seven days they've begun
According to Curt Ries, a spokesperson for 99Rise, the march is to raise awareness about the big money in politics and dissatisfaction over two U.S. Supreme Court rulings regarding Citizens United vs. FEC and McCutcheon vs. FEC.
Ries said protesters will eventually wind up in Sacramento to demand two things of individual legislators: Public acknowledgement that the big money and corruption are present in politics and a call to take immediate action to have it stopped.
The ruling of the Citizens United vs. FEC case ruled that big corporations fell under the rules as individuals when it came to campaign donations to candidates.
McCutcheon vs. FEC removed a cap on how much an individual could donate in any election. While contributions to individual candidates remain capped, a wealth individual could feasibly make contributions to numerous candidates without hitting a limit.
"The results of the two cases have never been made law," Ries said. "They are just something that the court ruled on."
Ries noted that legislation is in the works in the U.S. Senate to overhaul campaign finance, and is set to vote on it this year.
The bill, authored by Sen. Tom Udal (D — New Mexico), would limit fundraising ands spending for federal levels and allow state governments to place limits in their own elections. The likelihood of it passing in the Senate this year remains dubious, as it needs 67 votes to pass.
Ries noted that the implications of big money and allegations of corruption in politics could be huge.
"Everything connected to politics is being affected, whether it's the economy or education," Ries said.
He added that march encourages local supporters to come out.
"The idea is not to spotlight the marchers but to start a conversation on the topic and to educate," Ries said.
According Ries, marchers will come through Tehachapi on East Tehachapi Boulevard and Highway 58 and head to City Hall at 115 South Robinson St.
The itinerary for the group is simple from there: They will depart Tehachapi in the morning, make for Stallion Springs by way of Banducci Road from Highway 202, head on to Comanche Point Road and access the Central Valley through Tejon Highway.