San Diegans Rally for Bernie, Warn Hillary: Don’t Count on Us

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Bernie Sanders flashed peace symbol in solidarity with Belgium on day of terror attacks. Photo by Chris Stone

By Ken Stone

Dylan Souza wore a Pokémon outfit, including yellow headgear, to the San Diego Convention Center. But his presence Tuesday night at the Bernie Sanders rally wasn’t Comic-Con kid stuff.

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Bernie Sanders was afforded a Beatles-style welcome by some fans. Photo by Chris Stone
If the Vermont senator doesn’t win the Democratic nomination, he said, “I’d probably end up voting for Elizabeth Warren” as a write-in for president.

Souza, a 24-year-old from Cypress (near Anaheim), wasn’t alone.

Among thousands cheering for Sanders were many jeering any mention of Hillary Clinton on a large screen showing CNN or MSNBC results of voting in Arizona, Utah and Idaho. At one point, a brief chant began: “Turn it off! Turn it off!” referring to the TV.

Teresa Whitney of Point Loma said: “I’ve loved Hillary a long time until she started taking all her money from big corporations. I love that Bernie is one of us.”

Whitney, 61, said she contributed to Sanders’ campaign “all the time.”

Sean Train of North Park, an Independent who last voted for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, said if Sanders doesn’t win the Democratic nod, “my vote will end up going to a third party.”

Saying he wants to break up the two-party monopoly, the 30-year-old Train declared: “Now that we know fully and definitively that we live in an oligarchy, and no longer a democracy, we need someone radical like Bernie to flip things around and get us back on track.”

Film and TV star Rosario Dawson made a love symbol to the audience before introducing Bernie Sanders. Photo by Chris Stone

Wayne Peters of Pacific Beach, a retired San Diego City College and Southwestern College teacher who calls himself a cancer researcher, was unequivocal.

He said if Sanders doesn’t win his party’s nomination in Philadelphia, he “definitely” won’t vote for Clinton, and “it’s not going to Trump.”

“Doesn’t [Sanders] have the option to re-register as an Independent?” asked Peters, 68.

And another PB resident, John Nicksiz, had one big reason to oppose Clinton — her early support for the TPP — the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Nicksiz, at 74 the same age as Sanders, said he spent 37 years as a steel worker in Indiana mills, retiring in 1980.

“I won’t vote for her,” he said, suggesting that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce expects her to again back TPP. “I’ll write Bernie in.”

Of a dozen rally-goers quizzed by Times of San Diego, only a handful said they’d vote for Clinton if she is the party’s standard-bearer.

But not enthusiastically, they said.

Sanders capitalized on such energy Tuesday despite CNN calling the Arizona primary for his opponent about 15 minutes before he began his standard stump speech.

Camila Herrera of La Mesa (left) and Diana Lang of Tierrasanta react to Sanders on a video screen. Photo by Ken Stone

He declared near the end of his 45-minute talk: “If there’s a large voter turnout, we will win in California” on June 7.

Scheduled to start at 8 p.m., the rally didn’t begin until 8:27, when TV and film star Rosario Dawson made a heart with her hands and said:

“You’re here because you’re talking to each other” and not at the orders of the Democratic National Committee. “We need you now more than ever. Youth has been on the right side of history on every issue.”

And: “If you want to beat Trump, vote Bernie.”

Sanders recited his popular-with-young-people plans, including free public-college tuition, loosening of marijuana limits and campaign finance reform.

He got the usual laughs with: “I have been criticized for saying this, so let me say it again: I believe health care is a right for all people.”

But perhaps the biggest cheers from an estimated 8,800-person indoor audience came when he said his campaign would side with Latinos on immigration — and end what he called the exploitation of 11 million undocumented people.

Dozens of Secret Service agents were present for security, but no threats were observed — just a topless woman in the crowd.

“Well, when your nipples are #Bern ing, time to cool them off!” said a response to images posted on social media.

Bernie Sanders flashed peace symbol in solidarity with Belgium after terror attacks. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders spoke for 45 minutes at San Diego Convention Center. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A young boy holds a handmade sign at Sanders rally. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A young girl holds a sign at Sanders rally. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders is backed by dozens of people chosen by his campaign. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders at San Diego rally. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders was greeted by a deafening roar in Halls D and E of Convention Center. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders made no concession speech on day he lost Arizona to Hillary Clinton. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders touched on all topics he's become famous for. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders waved to crowd that waited for as long as 11 hours. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Many handmade signs greeted the Democratic presidential candidate. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A young woman reacts as Bernie Sanders walks into convention center hall. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders fans greet him as he enters convention center hall at 8:36 p.m. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders flashes a rare smile at San Diego Convention Center. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Thousands waited in line to enter San Diego Convention Center. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Convention center Halls D and E were said to accommodate 9,000 people. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Donald Trump supporters showed their sign to Bernie Sanders backers. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Young woman reacts to a point by Bernie Sanders. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Young people dominated the audience at Bernie Sanders rally in San Diego. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders was afforded a Beatles-style welcome by some fans. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Older people dotted the audience at the Bernie Sanders rally. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders brought out enthusiastic supporters. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Many handmade signs were brought to the San Diego rally. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Film and TV star Rosario Dawson made a love symbol to the audience before introducing Bernie Sanders. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A line stretching several miles led to the Bernie Sanders rally. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Thousands packed the San Diego Convention Center for their candidate's first California visit. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Sign salutes Bernie Sanders in Yiddish as person of honor and integrity. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Selfies were taken to mark the historic San Diego moment. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Anti-Trump signs also were displayed at the rally. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Handmade signs abounded for Bernie Sanders. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bernie Sanders is depicted as an action hero in one sign. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Camila Herrera of La Mesa (left) and Diana Lang of Tierrasanta watched Sanders on a video screen. Photo by Ken Stonemore
An audience diverse in age and ethnicity attended Bernie Sanders rally in San Diego. Photo by Ken Stonemore
Audience members stood for hours, awaiting arrival of Bernie Sanders. Photo by Ken Stonemore
Convention center Halls D and E saw thousands cheer for Bernie Sanders. Photo by Ken Stonemore
News media had workspace behind risers for camera crews. Photo by Ken Stonemore
Young girls brought greetings from their classmates. Photo by Ken Stonemore
Christopher (left) and brother Liam Hernandez, 4 and 1 1/2, awaited Sanders arrival with mom Blanca Hernandez standing behind them. Photo by Ken Stonemore
Two dozen camera operators occupied a 5-foot riser facing the Bernie Sanders stage. Photo by Ken Stonemore
Some members of the press couldn't resist recording the monent. Photo by Ken Stonemore
Fisheye lens caught vast expanse of Bernie Sanders crowd. Photo by Ken Stonemore
The Plata family of North Park (from left, Gilberto, Gilbert and Judith) feasted on concession burgers and fries while awaiting Sanders arrival. Photo by Ken Stonemore
Young children rode shoulders throughout the San Diego Convention Center. Photo by Ken Stonemore
MSNBC and CNN results live feeds were shown in back of convention center hall, where Sanders also was shown. Photo by Ken Stonemore
Thousands stand for Bernie Sanders in San Diego Convention Center. Photo by Ken Stonemore
John Braehler, 71, shows off his hat to a member of the press. Photo by Ken Stonemore
Reporter Candace Nguyen of NBC 7 San Diego smiles while waiting for Bernie Sanders' arrival. Photo by Ken Stonemore
Balloons were swatted around by the crowd like beach balls at a Padres game. Photo by Ken Stonemore
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