Protesters hold a "die-in" in front of Congressman Steve Knight's Santa Clarita offices on Monday, May 8, 2017 to voice their concerns over the congressman's vote in favor of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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About 70 protesters with Indivisible Santa Clarita carried tombstone-shaped signs on Monday afternoon to speak out against Representative Steve Knight’s (R-Palmdale) healthcare vote.

The group gathered at the congressman’s Santa Clarita office and marched to the corner of Golden Valley Parkway and Center Point Drive where they played dead.

“Congressman Knight, is your lack of compassion a preexisting condition?” one sign read.

Protesters hold a “die-in” in front of Congressman Steve Knight’s Santa Clarita offices on Monday, May 8, 2017 to voice their concerns over the congressman’s vote in favor of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Knight voted along party lines with 217 Republicans in favor of the American Health Care Act on May 4, receiving backlash from people afraid of not getting coverage because of preexisting conditions.

Indivisible Santa Clarita leader Ariel Penn painted her face white with red around her mouth as if she were a corpse, leading chants through a mega phone including “pro-life, that’s a lie, you don’t care if people die,” and “red state, blue state, illness doesn’t discriminate.”

“His vote affects everyone,” Penn said.

The democratic alliance group conducts formal meetings once a month and is already looking for a candidate to support in 2018, Penn said. Members have interviewed candidate Katie Hill and are planning to interview Jess Phoenix on Tuesday, both political newcomers and Democrats.

Protesters stand and chant in front of Congressman Steve Knight’s Santa Clarita offices on Monday, May 8, 2017 to voice their concerns over the congressman’s vote in favor of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Chandra Prater, a local who wore an antiquated gas mask at the rally, said she knows lots of people who do not feel their concerns are heard by Steve Knight. Wearing the mask was an effective way to get visibility and set herself apart, she said.

“Protests like these are about numbers,” Prater said. “There are protests every week. I’m here to make noise and get attention.”

Santa Clarita resident Penni Perrault said she is concerned and scared about the future of her health care.

“Steve Knight is a disappointment to us all,” Perrault said. “He is not representing his constituents. I hope the Senate straightens everything out (when they vote on the bill).”

Protesters march to the corner of Centre Pointe Parkway and Golden Valley Road on Monday, May 8, 2017 to voice their concerns over Congressman Steve Knight’s vote in favor of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

A Republican voice among mostly Democrats, James Fujioka said he wanted a representative who was willing to negotiate, whichever political party they belonged to.

“Someone’s got to tell Steve Knight that he can’t just vote along party lines,” Fujioka said.

Bailey Duemmel estimates she has participated in upwards of 10 protests. The local resident said she hopes the district will replace Knight in 2018.

“We’re organizing someone to run against him,” Duemmel said. “I want someone who cares about constituents, not money.”

Porter Ranch resident Mike Cornner attended the event with his wife and said he sympathized with those expressing their dissatisfaction.

“Things like this make a difference,” Cornner said. “There is a resistance representatives are encountering in their own districts. They didn’t read the bill but voted on it. There’s an insanity to it.”

Marcy Tamayei, a Valencia resident, said she hopes to have a representative that will care about constituents.

“Life is lethal,” Tamayei said. “Everyone has a preexisting condition.”

Protesters hold a “die-in” on the corner of Centre Pointe Parkway and Golden Valley Road on Monday, May 8, 2017 to voice their concerns over Congressman Steve Knight’s vote in favor of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Alex Soto, who is employed in the Santa Clarita Valley, is a 33-year-old cancer survivor who said she wanted to represent working people who will be affected by the bill.

“I couldn’t just sit back when I could come speak out,” Soto said.

Janice Markham, leader of Indivisible Eagle Rock, played somber music on a violin during the protest to emphasize the “die-in” theme.

“Representatives only want to hear from people in their district, but every single person is affected,” Markham said.


On Twitter as @ginaender

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Gina Ender
Gina Ender is a journalist covering city government and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in February 2017. You can contact Gina Ender at, 661-287-5525 or follow her on Twitter at @ginaender.
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  • lois eisenberg

    “Graveyard of protesters say Knight is cause of death”
    Bravo to one and all and show your displeasure at the polls in 2018 !!!!

  • Brian Baker


    A snowflake clown show. How droll.

  • Bill Reynolds

    Oh brother! Liberal angst liberally displayed here.

  • Mike Smith

    Just vote him out.

    I voted for him, but I’m done with lying corrupt Republicans. I don’t care how bad the Dem is.

    Republicans have lost my vote forever for their behavior since Trump was elected.

    • Humberto Zelig

      Thanks, Mike.

  • Brian Richards

    Did any of you give a damn 7 years ago when my policy was cancelled? Show me your tears when my premium was tripled and my deductible went up 500% and I lost dental coverage. Come on, I want to share my pain with you along with 8 million other Americans who lost their policy despite being told we could keep it. Show me the gravestones of the promised $2,500.00 a year savings. Lament with me over the words of Obamacare architect Peter Gruber who said they relied on the stupidity of the average American to get this bill passed. Now let us turn our attention to the good folks of Iowa who starting in 2018 will have NOT ONE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANY IN THE INDIVIDUAL MARKET! Where is your sympathy for those folks or people in Tennessee and Virginia who will be in the same boat. Let us now cry for 30% of all Americans who can only “choose” from one health insurance company. The greed is unbelievable and the ignorance of people defending, not just a failing law, but a deeply flawed law that has screwed millions reflects a selfishness that cannot be put into words.

    • Marcy Rothenberg

      Your policy evidently didn’t include the ten essential provisions required by the ACA. You must have had crappy coverage to have had the price go up that much. I guess you’ll be happy if TrumpCare passes and you can once again spend “less” money on coverage that’s worth little or nothing. You get what you pay for.

      • Brian Richards

        You’ll pardon me if I make that decision and not you, Nancy Pelosi, or Barack Obama. You see Marcy, as an adult I believe I know what’s best for me and my family more than you do or Nancy or Barack. Now if you need the warm blanket of the federal government making all your decisions, I’m sorry for you. I always assumed once one achieved adulthood, then one should be able to decide for him/herself what’s best. I would never presume to tell you a product you paid for and was happy is not sufficient for your needs.

  • Brian Richards
  • Brian Richards
  • Ron Bischof

    No one died and this protest is symbolism without substance, i.e. public emoting.

    Democrats in SCV would do well to comprehend there are substantive reasons why their party is at its lowest ebb since the 1920s. That is a fact beyond dispute.

    Lashing out at your fellow citizens and demonizing them for policy differences on the role of government in our lives is a recipe for further decline.

    Pro tip: It’s the policies and attitude of Democrats that are objectionable.

    “Every president sees his party lose hundreds of positions — it’s the price a party holding the White House pays — but no president has come close to Obama. During Obama’s eight years in office, the Democrats have lost more House, Senate, state legislative and governors seats than under any other president.”

    • Marcy Rothenberg

      People WILL die if they lose access to affordable health coverage. THAT is the point. It is NOT “symbolism without substance.”

      And there are more Democrats in SCV than either Republicans or independents. THAT is a fact beyond dispute.

      We are not “lashing out at…fellow citizens” — we are criticizing the Congressman who told us in person at his April 18 Town Hall that he would vote “no” if the House TrumpCare bill impaired coverage options for people with preexisting conditions and if it pushed costs significantly higher for people in the 50-65 age range. It does both. But Steve Knight voted “yes.”

      And as for Obama’s eight years in office, the reason he had trouble getting legislation through Congress has nothing to do with his policies. Obamacare, in fact, was designed on the MassCare model successfully implemented by one Mitt Romney as Massachusetts Governor and included the individual mandate recommended by the conservative Heritage Foundation. The reason that Obamacare, and all of the other rational, moderate legislation proposed during President Obama’s term, failed to garner GOP support was the decision made the evening of his first inaugural on Jan. 20, 2009, and boasted about by Mitch McConnell to oppose anything and everything President Obama proposed in a (vain) effort to make him a one-term President.

      How easily you ignore THOSE facts.

      • Ron Bischof


      • Brian Richards

        If there are more Dems than Repubs in SCV, what’s the problem? I’m sure victory in the House, the Senate, the Presidency, the state Legislative offices, and the Supreme Court is juuuuuuuust around the corner for you! Did it ever occur to you Marcy the reason Dems have so little power beyond dopey protests, is BECAUASE of Obamacare?

  • Brian Richards

    I realize you gravestone toting hysterics can’t be bothered with actual facts about the new healthcare bill, but I’m a glutton so I’ll keep on trying. Do try to keep up.

    “If you’ve only followed coverage of the Republican health care bill loosely in the media, you might believe that House Republicans, after much effort, passed legislation to deny people with pre-existing conditions health insurance.

    The issue of pre-existing conditions has dominated the debate over the GOP health care bill out of all proportion to the relatively modest provision in the legislation, which is being distorted — often willfully, sometimes ignorantly — into a threat to all that is good and true in America.

    The perversity of it all is that the legislation is properly understood as doing more to preserve the ObamaCare regulation on pre-existing conditions than to undermine it. The legislation maintains a federal baseline of protection in such cases, and says only that states can apply for a waiver from it, provided that they abide by certain conditions meant to ensure that no one is left out in the cold.

    Since these provisions only involve the individual insurance market, a small slice of the overall insurance picture (about 18 million are on the individual market), and merely make possible state waivers, they are inherently limited.

    You’re not affected if you get insurance through your employer (155 million people), or through Medicaid or Medicare. You’re not affected if you live in a state that doesn’t request the waiver, a category that will certainly include every blue state and most red states, too. Even if you buy insurance on the individual market and live in a state that gets a waiver, you’re not affected if you’ve maintained insurance coverage continuously and not had a gap in coverage longer than 63 days.

    By this point, we’re talking about a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the population. If you do have a pre-existing condition in a waiver state and haven’t had continuous coverage, you can be charged more by your insurer only the first year. The state will have access to $8 billion in federal funds explicitly to ease the cost of your insurance, and the state must further have a high-risk pool or similar program to mitigate insurance costs for the sick.

    Clearly, if Republicans set out to recklessly endanger the well-being of people with pre-existing conditions, they didn’t do a very good job of it. The purpose of these provisions isn’t to punish people who are sick, but to create an incentive for people to buy insurance while they are healthy. (The ObamaCare exchanges are failing because the law’s tangle of regulations drove up costs and made insurance economically unappealing to the young and healthy.)

    It takes all of five minutes to understand the basic architecture of the House bill on pre-existing conditions, yet it has been subject to wildly ill-informed and deceptive attacks. Nancy Pelosi called the provisions on pre-existing conditions “deadly.” Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey said the bill would hurt 129 million people with pre-existing conditions, starting from an exaggerated figure and then assuming every single one of them would be harmed by the House bill.

    Such is the hysteria around this issue that using the phrase “pre-existing condition” has become a license for making any charge whatsoever. Feminists have spread word that the bill treats rape as a pre-existing condition, a stupid lie that has been treated seriously in cable TV debate. As The Washington Post Fact Checker noted, not only does the bill not classify rape or sexual assault as a pre-existing condition, almost all states have their own protections for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

    There are certainly legitimate criticisms to be made of the House bill, and ample room for the Senate to improve it, especially by boosting its coverage numbers. But it is not an act of heedless cruelty against the sick. As for its critics, their reflex to demagogic dishonesty isn’t a pre-existing condition, just an ingrained habit.”
    Rich Lowry

    • Marcy Rothenberg

      The GOP DID “pass legislation to deny people with pre-existing conditions health insurance,” Brian. That they made it “optional” for each state does not change the fact that the possibility, even the likelihood, that millions of Americans with preexisting conditions would not be able to afford coverage under TrumpCare’s provisions. TrumpCare does NOT “do more to preserve the Obamacare regulation.” In simple fact, Obamacare flat-out prohibits the denial of coverage for preexisting conditions; TrumpCare does not. That clearly weakens the protection, rather than “does more” to preserve it.

      • Brian Richards

        Did you read what I wrote above Marcy from Rich Lowry? What you claim simply is not true. First, if you get your insurance through your work, you’re not affected. If you are covered by medicare or Medicaid, you’re not affected. If your state opts to not opt out as most will undoubtedly, you’re not affected. If your currently covered, you’re not affected. The ONLY ones affected are people who do not get their coverage through work, people that are not on medicare or medicade, people who live in states that choose not to opt out, and people who allow their existing coverage to laps more than 63 days. Further, there is an 8 billion dollar pool of money to help those people. Your statement that “millions with preexisting conditions would not be able to afford coverage under Trumpcare” presumes they are not covered today! And if so, what’s the problem? They aren’t covered today so Trumpcare hardly makes their lives worse. Learn the facts and refute them, if you can.

        • Ron Bischof

          Your comment is “awaiting moderation”, Mr. Richards. Ms. Rothenberg may not have access to it if she didn’t perform a web search. That may be due to you quoting it in its entirety and The Signal editors may not view that as fair use.

          Here’s the link to Lowry’s column:

          • Brian Richards

            Why does the Signal do this? I gave attribution.

          • Ron Bischof

            A salient excerpt is generally accepted as fair use. Best practice is a quote and link to the entire source.

          • Brian Richards

            Very few people read links, especially those that are a bit intransigent on their Obamacare opinions.

          • Ron Bischof

            No doubt.

            I’m positing a publishing practice. Apply as needed.

        • Marcy Rothenberg

          Rich Lowry is a right-wing commentator.

          If he claims that people with employer-provided coverage are not affected by TrumpCare, he is WRONG. Just wrong.

          As for that $8 billion, it is a literal drop in the bucket when compared to the economic impact of putting people with preexisting conditions into high-risk pools. The need would be $200 billion more than TrumpCare provides. Millions would be placed on waiting lists for high-risk pool coverage.

          I am talking about people who ARE currently covered. So that entire part of your argument is moot.

          YOU need to learn the facts, Brian. (And re-read what I wrote above. You’re ignoring facts stated there.)

          • Ron Bischof

            Attack the argument, not the person, Ms. Rothenberg. Facts, regardless of source, remain so.

            Please provide references to support your assertions.


          • Brian Richards

            “Rich Lowry is a right-wing commentator.”

  • Marcy Rothenberg

    Gina Ender did a solid job of reporting on an event that some are trying to ridicule; she clearly understands that there is an appropriate role for “public theater” as a means of drawing attention to a serious issue.

    • Ron Bischof

      I’m pleased to note you acknowledge the “event” was “public theater”. Your candor is refreshing, Ms. Rothenberg.

      • Marcy Rothenberg

        There is often a GOOD reason for “public theater.” That the event was public theater does not diminish its purpose.

        • Ron Bischof

          How’d that work out for the “Occupy” protesters? Shouldn’t efficacy be the evaluation metric?

          If that’s all you have, please continue. I’ll stipulate the theatrics of a “die-in” are amusing.

    • Brian Richards

      One of the signs said R politicians are trying to kill grandma and grandpa. Since grandma and grandpa are on medicare, the issue of preexisting conditions is not applicable. They are covered no matter what. I would have thought this would be common knowledge at least and the minimum we could agree on. Absent agreement on that one small basic fact, you and your fellow protestors deserve to be ridiculed.

      • Marcy Rothenberg

        If “Grandma and Grandpa” are between 50 and 65 — eminently possible — their insurer will be able to charge them five times as much as a young adult, which in most cases will make coverage unaffordable. If they are on Medicaid, they are at risk of losing their coverage altogether. Not all grandparents are on Medicare. Those are FACTS that your argument fails to consider. But I’ll at least be polite and not say that your factually deficient argument deserves to be ridiculed.

        • Brian Richards

          Are your young grandparents getting their insurance currently through work? Are your young grandparents currently insured? Do your young grandparents live in a state that will not opt out? Do your young grandparents live in Michigan, premiums up 17%, Colorado 20%, Minnesota up 50%? Do they live in Iowa where starting next year there will wont be ANY market for individuals? Do they live in Tennessee or Virginia where the same thing is happening? Are your young grandparents 1 in 3 Americans who can only “choose” from one carrier? Are your young grandparents my age, 54, and have had their premium go up 300%, after I was cancelled of course, under the glorious Obamacare? Did they have their deductible go up 500%? Did your young grandparents ever get that magical $2,500.00 a year in savings? Do I really need to go on Marci or are you going to continue to defend Obamacare? And finally, the country is represented as it is today EXACTLY because of Obamacare. Remember, elections have consequences.

          • Marcy Rothenberg

            Having employer-provided coverage does NOT mean one will not be impacted if TrumpCare passes. Please read my other posts for the reasons.

            Who KNOWS which states will/won’t opt out. That they CAN is the issue.

            As for Iowa, its gov and legislature worked very hard NOT to implement Obamacare and are having problems now as a result.

            If you were cancelled, it was because your policy didn’t meet the minimum requirements set by Obamacare. Forgive us for trying to get you coverage that was WORTH paying for.

            And “the country is represented as it is today EXACTLY because…” of the LIES told about Obamacare. People are now beginning to figure that out as they see what they will LOSE if TrumpCare is passed. Yes, elections have consequences; so does legislating in a way that takes away health coverage from people. Those consequences are now pending. 2018.

          • Ron Bischof

            “… LIES told about Obamacare…”

            This one?

            Lie of the Year: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’


          • Brian Richards

            Well, from the bottom of my heart, thanks for your concern. I had no idea that insurance I was happy with needed to be 3 times more expensive and have a 5 times higher deductible as well as losing dental for me to be truly happy. I only wish it would go up another 300%, then I would be literally orgasmic. Marcy, your statist ideology has cost your party dearly and reduced you to picketing with fake grave stones. You and yours are utterly out of power and are one Senate filibuster away from being even more irrelevant than you currently are. I never imagined in a million years that a Trump victory, I didn’t vote for him by the way, would bring such utter joy on a daily basis because of the reaction from people like you. It’s pure schadenfreude!

          • Brian Richards

            “As for Iowa, its gov and legislature worked very hard NOT to implement Obamacare and are having problems now as a result.”
            What about Minnesota? Premiums up 50% and the Dem governor said Obamacare is a failure. In fact, even Bill Clinton said it’s the craziest thing he’s ever seen. You know Marcy, Peter Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, said they relied on the stupidity of the American public to get the bill passed. How does that make you feel as a supporter of a law that is literally imploding before our eyes?

  • Brian Richards

    I just have one question for you Marcy. Do you acknowledge that Obamacare is currently failing and is imploding as we speak?