A sign hangs from one of the tables set up at the "Jobs Nots Cuts" rally. Photo: Peter John Shuler/KQED

A South Bay coalition of activists is trying to merge traditional political organizing with the Occupy movement’s grass roots style. More than 200 people gathered in the rotunda of San Jose City Hall Monday night for a rally that organizers called “Jobs Not Cuts.” Speakers urged people at the rally to get more politically active.

Event organizer Fred Rehhausser of Los Gatos said voting alone is no longer enough. He said people need to get engaged in the process. “If people are unhappy with the way thing are,” said Rehhausser, “rather than sitting home and complaining to their friends, or yelling at the television like I do, they need to come out and do something about it.”

To drive that point home the wall of the Rotunda was ringed with tables where volunteers from a variety of causes and organizations signed people up to get involved. “Don’t leave here tonight,” urged one speaker, “until you’ve signed up with at least one of the groups.”

San Jose Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren joined in the rally. She said it’s time ordinary people get a fair shake.

“I’m here to join with my neighbors to talk about the direction of our country,” said Lofgren. “Are we for Main Street or are we for Wall Street? And what are we going to do if we’re for regular Americans? The 99%?”

Lofgren admitted to the crowd that the last year has been a tough fight. But she told them they have the power in their hands.

“Every member of congress is up for a rehire interview with you,” she said. “The president is up for a rehire interview with you. Don’t let the opportunity to get control of this situation pass you by.”

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor