Day 5 on the NOM California tour: When the going gets tough, Vota Tus Valores blows it off

October 1, 2010 at 9:25 pm 57 comments

Evidently Vota Tus Valores is adding “skipping stops entirely” to their list of tactics to get Latinos to vote a certain way as part of Alfonso’s Underpants Gnomes theory. Keep it up! -Adam

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

Stop #23: Santa Cruz

The morning began with the same amount of intensity that it ended with yesterday. Close to 15 counter-protesters arrived early – mostly Latino and mostly from SEIU – were quick to greet the Vota Bus with chants of “si se puede.” There was no one else present in the park for Tus Valores to engage.

SEIU/equality supporters getting ready to protest in Santa Cruz

Alfonso engaged the audience in Spanish first. He appears to have gotten the memo about appearing so enraged.

Alfonso Aguilar speaking in Santa Cruz

Most of the organizers still refuse to speak with us, but after 3 days the tactic just seems outdated and tired. My point of view on life is that once you reach a point where you cannot or are afraid to defend or articulate your views, it’s time to reassess.  But I digress.

Equality/labor folks in Santa Cruz

Stop #24: Hollister

In Hollister, the Vota Bus was greeted by an even larger crowd of SEIU and LGBT equality counter-protesters – 24 in total.

Counter-protesters in Santa Cruz

SEIU counter-protesters in Hollister

One younger Caucasian woman stood behind the protest wearing a Meg Whitman shirt, but she’s clearly not who this tour is designed to engage.

Alfonso showed more signs of frustration at this stop. “I know you’re being paid,” Alfonso said to the crowd dismissively.

Wait a minute, Alfonso, aren’t you being paid too?  I’m sure your check is bigger.

Stop #25: Salinas

In Salinas, the Vota Bus had a few more supporters present – if you can call them supporters; at least 3 were clear anti-choice supporters, the other 4 were brought by the Victory Outreach ministry and were not quite sure why they were there. They sat at a picnic table about 15 feet behind the counter-protest waving the fans Tus Valores had just given them.

“I’m not sure what to think about all this,” one Latina from Victory Outeach told me. “It’s a lot to take in.”

When asked what he thought of the counter-protest Alfonso broke his vow of silence and mumbled “real lame.” Funny, I thought seeing Latinos actively involved in the political process, regardless of party affiliation, was a good thing, Alfonso?  Isn’t that what you said earlier?

But apparently I’m the only liar on this tour.

Stop #26: Soledad

Possibly the strongest stop of the tour for Tus Valores thus far, we arrived at an empty park followed closely by a bus from the Victory Outreach ministry carrying 8 members from the local men’s group.

Pastor Richard Ramos opened the show talking about how he had managed to overcome inner city challenges like gangs and drugs by finding God.

Pastor Richard Ramos from Victory Outreach

He seemed to really connect with the men and I thought for a moment that this tour had turned a corner. For a fleeting moment, I got it – these men were people that no one in either party has fought to engage. I actually clapped when Ramos’ speech was complete.

Stop #27: Paso Robles

Just as we were beginning to think that the Tus Valores tour had hit its stride, we didn’t see any sign of the Vota Bus in Paso Robles.

Forced to stop for gas, we lost sight of the Vota Bus just after the short stop in Soledad. We estimated that we were 5-10 minutes behind them, but figured we could a) make up the time and b) that tour organizers had shown a renewed commitment to actually show up at the announced location.

Boy, did we underestimate the sham-ness of this tour.

As soon as we were able to get back on the 101 freeway, an accident occurred a few miles ahead causing traffic to backup.

Unsure whether the Vota Bus had been delayed, we took a detour off the 101 (a privilege that comes with actually being from California) in an attempt to get ahead of the traffic, eventually arriving at a park in Paso Robles at approximately 4:20 pm just as the lead advance car was leaving the scene. Because no literature had been handed out to park attendees and after receiving a tweet from the Tus Valores team that although they were running late they’d still planned to make there two scheduled stops. We hung around in Paso Robles until around 5:15 when we received word via tweet that they were skipping the Paso Robles stop and heading straight to Santa Maria.

Too bad. The Paso Robles location was well scouted by the advance team. There was no counter-protest and tons of people (many Latino) hanging out in the park or walking around the town square. Nonetheless, the advance team opted not to engage.

Stop #28: Santa Maria

So we hopped back on the road and arrived in Santa Maria around 6:15 pm. Several minutes later we received a tweet saying that they were closing shop for the day.

Ironically, the the park in Santa Maria had tons of Latino voters to engage – a youth soccer league was practicing as their parents sat idly on the sidelines.

You heard it right. The Vota Bus blew off two stops without batting an eye. Traffic was bad, but not that bad. We left after them and managed to make it to both stops. I don’t even think they tried because this is not a real tour. Only the people on that bus know what happened today after the Soledad stop at 2:30. Is anyone actually supposed to believe that the Vota Bus couldn’t cover a total of 131 miles in less than 4 hours?

Nah, I don’t buy it for one second – they saw that they lost us and made a few stops. I wonder what they would’ve done for the last 5 days if we hadn’t been on this tour?

But the events of today do remind us that what we’re doing out here is important. These people need oversight and regulation. On a personal note, I’m sick and tired of organizations like this one who take money and claim to do meaningful work on behalf of minorities.

I guess everyone has skipped out of work early on a Friday before and it would have been really difficult to come all the way out to California without stopping for a wine tasting, but give me a break.

We can only speculate.

I’m sure Anonygrl can fill in a few gaps for us all. Duty calls, my friend.

Onto Santa Barbara. Maybe they should just quit while they’re ahead. Oh wait, they’re not.

Entry filed under: NOM Exposed, NOM Tour Tracker-California, Right-wing.

NOM’s Maggie Gallagher: Judge Walker’s “swan song” Prop 8 decision engineered for fame and fortune NOM’s version of the cavalry joins the Vota Tus Valores tour

57 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lesbians Love Boies  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:26 pm


    • 2. Ann S.  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:30 pm


      • 3. Lesbians Love Boies  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:34 pm

        Just played!

    • 4. JonT  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:40 pm

      Another subscribe. Another dead kid (Cody J Barker). # 5 for the week. :(

      • 5. Lesbians Love Boies  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

        Jon, Cody passed away Sept. 13

      • 6. JonT  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:55 pm

        Sorry LLB – #5 for me this week.

  • 7. Ronnie  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    More FAIL MUCHO from the loca Vota Bus…..& please somebody….for all that is good & GQ …..tell that man to untuck that woven shirt from his ill-fitted jeans… : / ….Ronnie

  • 8. bonobo  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    We be here.

  • 9. Kathleen  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:48 pm


  • 10. Michelle Evans  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Hopefully will see friends on Saturday afternoon in Dana Point.

    • 11. bonobo  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:55 pm

      Sorry Michelle, looks like they cancelled Dana Point. Check the new schedule.

      • 12. Michelle Evans  |  October 1, 2010 at 11:32 pm

        That’s a bummer. We had a bunch of people who were going to meet there. Wonder if they got word. Also, Cherie called the Ritz Carlton and she was told that they had no permission to do anything like this on their property, so maybe if they actually called that property they were told to stay away.

        Or maybe they just can’t read maps and have no idea where they are! :-)

        Going to really miss meeting Arisha and the great tracker team.

      • 13. truthspew  |  October 2, 2010 at 5:00 am

        So I looked up the domain registration for

        Registered to one American Principles in Action and the registrant email is

        Looking up I get:

        Marjorie Fellows
        1100 H Street, NW, #700
        Washington, DC 20005
        Phone: +1.2023476840

        Searching her name on Google nets the distinct impression of “Christian Bigot”.

  • 14. Jonathan H  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Oooh that’s funny! Can’t you just imagine it?

    Hey guys, we lost the press!

    Finally! Driver, find us a party!

    *Cue music*

  • 15. bonobo  |  October 1, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    On second thought, you might want to show up, just in case they’re lying.
    Hey, they don’t show up to the ones that are scheduled. What’s to say they won’t go to ones they’ve unscheduled?


    • 16. Michelle Evans  |  October 1, 2010 at 11:34 pm

      The Dana Point stop never made any sense in the first place, since it is an hour south of Huntington Beach, then back another hour north to get back to Santa Ana. Maybe they finally figured that out.

      We may head down there anyway just in case, but personally I think they’re too dumb to show up anyway. Good excuse for a day by the beach.

      • 17. Kate  |  October 2, 2010 at 7:29 am

        Not making any sense doesn’t really apply here, Michelle, given that so much of what They have done on this “tour” makes no sense. May I encourage you and Cherie to still go? Just think; perhaps, with luck, there will be a news camera also waiting for them. And then guess who will be there to talk with the media instead of Alfonso!!!!

      • 18. Kate  |  October 2, 2010 at 7:43 am

        PS — Michelle, if your group of friends would still be willing to go, the worst you’d all get out of it is a nice gathering for political talk and partying at the beach. I’d sure hate to see all those bodies-in-presence not be at Dana Point if Alfonso et al really do show up….

  • 19. Lesbians Love Boies  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Just for Fun
    Newer P8 Trial Trackers…a long time ago P8TT Papa Foma started a light bulb joke about the “fringe group” National Organization of Marriage (NOM) and there were many great entries. Perhaps we can come up with some new ones…

    The Question: How many NOMo’s does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    The ones we did come up with:

  • 20. JonT  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    @Arisha: In case I haven’t said it lately, Thanks! I really admire your ability to talk to and track these folks. I would need some serious training to restrain myself, I think. :)

    Alfonso showed more signs of frustration at this stop. “I know you’re being paid,” Alfonso said to the crowd dismissively.

    Wait a minute, Alfonso, aren’t you being paid too? I’m sure your check is bigger.

    LOL – how willingly the sheep ignore the obvious.

    But apparently I’m the only liar on this tour.

    No you aren’t. If they can’t be bothered to point out where you lied, then their accusation is just so much meaningless drivel.

    I actually clapped when Ramos’ speech was complete.

    They can’t all be ignorant asses, thought they do try :)

    On a personal note, I’m sick and tired of organizations like this one who take money and claim to do meaningful work on behalf of minorities.

    I second that emotion. And again, thank you very much for doing this. I know it can’t be easy.

  • 21. Lesbians Love Boies  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    NOM removed their facebook posts…those dang gayz

    • 22. Lesbians Love Boies  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm

      or they got caught by the facebook police

    • 23. JonT  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:45 pm

      You know LLB, the fact that they have to keep censoring and removing posts convinces me that they must ultimately fail.

      If they cannot handle an honest and open discourse on the subject, how strong can their argument be?

      I understand removing obviously hateful/threatening posts, but the posts people here have tried to place on their blog(s)…

      Says quite a lot about them IMO.

    • 24. Phil L  |  October 2, 2010 at 1:12 am

      I suggest taking screenshots of their Facebook wall whenever more hateful posts show up. If nothing else it will be proof before they delete them again.

      I saw the posts earlier but now their wall is completely bare. It will be funny when they prevent all posting whatsoever (if they can).

  • 25. Jonathan H  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    So really, the lesson learned here is that next time they want to send a bus tour out, they should get Pastor Richard Ramos to do it instead of Alfonso, right?

  • 26. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Or maybe they should quit before they dig their burial pit any deeper?

  • 27. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Note to Self: Click subscribe first, then submit!

  • 28. Elizabeth Oakes  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    Okay peoples, I have used my superpowers for good and sent the Latino Equality Alliance’s counterprotest info to the three Unitarian churches in my area for the East L.A. “rally” Oct 5th. I hope they get the info out to their members in time. I should really also send to some folks in WeHo, but it’s nighty night time. Nighty night!

    • 29. Ann S.  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:30 pm

      Advance Planning and Taking Initiative badges for Elizabeth! Wear them with Pride!

    • 30. Kathleen  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:48 pm

      I notice they still haven’t announced a place for the East L.A. “rally.” No merit badges for them.

      • 31. Ann S.  |  October 2, 2010 at 9:15 am

        Definitely not! No badges for you, NOM! No badges for you, Tus Valores!

  • 32. Bobw  |  October 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Exchanged several tweets with Karyme Lozano last night. She’s clearly confused about NOM, and she has refused to respond to three separate requests (2 from me) to answer “do you believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry?” The main issue for her seems to be abortion.

    • 33. Carpool Cookie  |  October 1, 2010 at 11:30 pm

      I guess she’s one of those actors who’s utterly lost without a good writer and director…..and is a bit of a husk, otherwise?

  • 34. Phil L  |  October 1, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Did anyone ever notice that Alfonso and Brian Brown are never in the same place at the same time?

    I am a firm believer in the idea that they are the same person.

  • 35. Michael  |  October 2, 2010 at 12:05 am

    Sounds like shrill anti-gay activist Alphonso has chosen money over God. Which is his first big mistake. And then he thinks by smearing Christ’s face with the darkness and shame of homophobia, that he can somehow justify his own sin of homophobia. He’s only endangering his soul further. Christ doesn’t condone homophobia and Alphonso needs to repent and renounce homophobia and the NOM false prophets’ efforts to portray homophobia as a legitimate “religious belief.” As a pro-equality Christian, I’m praying for you, Alphonso, to see that NOM is only causing our gay youth to commit suicide and you need to get away from them for your own soul’s sake. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit.”

  • 36. Michael  |  October 2, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Forget to say this: I think it’s wonderful that Karyme Lozano wants to encourage her Latino brothers and sisters to vote and be engaged in the political process. However, she can do that without getting caught up in the lies and filth spread by the false prophets at NOM. They are only dragging her down. She does not need to support removing the civil rights of gay people in order to further the civil rights of Latinos–we can have BOTH in the USA!

  • 37. Chris B  |  October 2, 2010 at 3:08 am

    I wonder if you guys are taking photos at the skipped stops. The two you mentioned–where there were lots of Latino families around (seems like the perfect target audience)–would be great proof of how they are wasting their supporter’s money. They are stopping at empty parks and parking lots and skipping prime locations full of people.

    I have to show some respect to the NOM marriage tour people–they were organized, had supporters out and were willing to engage. This tour, however, is complete lunacy. Alfonso is a bit of a hothead, lacks any grace to counter-protestors and seems completely unprepared for any criticism.

    I remember seeing many video interviews (on the NOM SOM tour) with Brian and Maggie, and although they did get slightly hostile/irritated a few times, they were willing to talk. I also seem to recall that when they saw you coming with the video camera, they kind of joked about it–but still grudgingly talked.

  • 38. Sagesse  |  October 2, 2010 at 5:34 am

    After reading NOM’s RI court submission yesterday, I now understand that they aren’t allowed to work ‘with’ a candidate, because of the kind of PAC NOM is. So they have no access to the candidate’s organizing resources.

    Too bad they have no organizing skills of their own either. They make the NOM summer tour look downright slick.

    And scribin’

  • 39. Ray in MA  |  October 2, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Not much going on around the Votus Tus Bus.

    FINALLY we can see what is going on inside:

  • 40. Kate  |  October 2, 2010 at 7:26 am

    ‘Alfonso showed more signs of frustration at this stop. “I know you’re being paid,” Alfonso said to the crowd dismissively.

    The protesters are being paid to be there? Is this Alfonso accidentally revealing that HIS attendees are paid in some way (or coerced) to attend?

  • 41. Kate  |  October 2, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Their first stop for this morning looks as though they don’t even want to bother to get into the bus to go there:

    •8:00 AM – Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara) – Best Western Pepper Tree Inn

    Can hardly wait to see what Best Western thinks of this…. It’s one thing to park your billboard in their lot while paying to sleep there but quite another to advertise it publicly as a political stop.

    • 42. Kate  |  October 2, 2010 at 7:58 am

      Link to Best Western national customer service:

      I wrote a la Jelly Belly to inquire about them permitting political rallies at their hotels, specifically this one in Santa Barbara. Unfortunately, I hit the send button before keeping a copy to post here, but you know what to do….. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    • 43. Kate  |  October 2, 2010 at 8:00 am

      Here’s the tweet from Alfonso’s gang about this:

      Join us this morning at the Best Western Pepper Tree Hotel for Bagels and Coffee!

      • 44. Ann S.  |  October 2, 2010 at 9:18 am

        Traditional Latino bagels?

  • 45. Anonygrl  |  October 2, 2010 at 8:19 am

    I’m sure Anonygrl can fill in a few gaps for us all. Duty calls, my friend.

    As it happens, I know for a fact that on the stops where ACTUAL Latinos show up, El Autobus del Fracaso is forced to skip the location for one simple reason.

    Prior to going on this tour, the group, who know nothing at all about Latinos, decided to brush up their knowledge. So they rented the movie Born in East L.A (1987) In it, Cheech Marin is accidentally deported to Mexico without I.D. or knowledge of Spanish, and can’t convince U.S. officials to let him back in. Film follows Cheech’s repeated attempts to get back home.

    This scared the heck out of the people on the bus, so they vowed amongst the group to never, ever go where there were any Latinos, for fear that they might get caught in an immigration sweep and be deported themselves. Thomas, the bus driver is against the whole boycott of Latino locations, but they have been threatening to out him and Louis (Hi Louis) and so he has acquiesced. Privately, he is working on a plan to sneak the bus over the border on the last day of the tour and dump the bunch of them in Tijuana, Mexico, then drive north east and meet up with Louis and HIS bus somewhere in the middle of the country. History will remain silent as to what their busses get up to together in the dark of the night, behind a barn in northern Oklahoma, but Maggie, I am sure, would not approve.

    That (and the fact that none of them can eat spicy food) is also why they are eating at fake Mexican restaurants…

    • 46. Kate  |  October 2, 2010 at 8:23 am

      It’s getting more and more difficult distinguishing between fact and fiction with these guys……….

      • 47. Anonygrl  |  October 2, 2010 at 8:28 am

        I am not sure it actually MATTERS what is fact or fiction, it is all so insanely silly.

  • 48. Sheryl, Mormon Mother of a wonderful son who just happens to be gay  |  October 2, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Can hardly wait to hear how many show up for those bagels and coffee.

  • 49. Carpool Cookie  |  October 2, 2010 at 10:26 am

    “Alfonso showed more signs of frustration at this stop. “I know you’re being paid,” Alfonso said to the crowd dismissively.”

    You mean there’s actually a job description out there that has you attend counter rallies in parks?

    Where do you apply?

  • 50. Alex O'Cady  |  October 2, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Well, gosh. We’re in the middle of a move, and I had to work, but my wife was going to try to get to the one in Paso (neither of us will go near Santa Maria after the gay bashing/attempted murder a couple weeks ago). Turns out she would have been disappointed.

    Funny, because having lived around this area a few years, I can say they’d probably have found some sort of audience – they DEFINITELY would have had an audience in Santa Maria, and likely not much of a counter-protest (most people don’t want to get stabbed in the throat).

    Info about the stabbing here:

  • 51. Michelle Evans  |  October 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    From what I have heard, the removal of the Dana Point stop on the bus tour was a feint. Someone at the Courage Campaign said that they made that stop this afternoon. Has anyone heard anything about what happened there? Cherie and I were thinking about going just in case, but she just wasn’t up to it.

    • 52. Kate  |  October 2, 2010 at 3:57 pm

      Michelle, they actually tweeted that they were there. I was afraid they were just pulling a stunt.

      exploring dana point now! Exploring dana point before our next stop in huntington! Another beautiful cali day! #votabus
      25 minutes ago via Twitter for Android

      • 53. Michelle Evans  |  October 2, 2010 at 4:51 pm

        I don’t use Twitter, so definitely wouldn’t have seen the tweet. Wonder what “exploring” they were doing, since they were supposed to be out getting people to vote for their bigotry. Anyone have any idea how many, and on who’s side showed up?

        Looking forward to any other reports from their locations in Orange County. Santa Ana on Monday should be a big one.

      • 54. Kate  |  October 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm

        I don’t use it, either, Michelle. I’m just keeping an eye on them at:

    • 55. Jonathan H  |  October 2, 2010 at 4:20 pm

      A feint, I love your choice of words there! A feint is exactly what you’d do if you were trying to avoid publicity, but it seems kinda weird for a political tour, where you’d expect them to make as much noise as possible.

      I can only wonder what this road trip would have been like without Arisha & co. to keep them (almost) honest.

  • 56. AndrewPDX  |  October 4, 2010 at 7:18 am

    subscribing, uber late to the party — been moving all weekend.

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

  • 57. Box Turtle Bulletin » Valores tour Days 5, 6, and 7  |  January 8, 2011 at 8:52 am

    […] 5, Stop 2: Hollister (Courage Campaign) This little city is known not for a clothing line (which is Southern Californian) but for its […]


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