Will Los Angeles get its own version of Jon Stewart’s rally?

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For Amy Lee and her friend Ashley Wright, the decision to organize the Los Angeles-based Rally to Restore Sanity was an easy one. All it took was the urging of Jon Stewart … and tight finances.

“We were having dinner together a few weeks ago, and we were talking about how we really wanted to go to the D.C. rally,” said Lee, 38, who works in production and H.R. “But that’s quite a trip. We couldn’t afford to travel all that way.”

Two weeks and a Facebook page later (with 3,100 followers to-date), they are well on their way to organizing a satellite rally.

“What I thought would be a small get-together with some of my friends has morphed into this big thing,” Lee said. “It’s pretty amazing.”


And they’re not the only ones looking to restore some sanity. There are shadow rallies planned in 47 states and six countries for Oct. 30, according to, to coincide with the upcoming dueling rallies in Washington, D.C.

But before sanity can be reached, there’s been a little madness for the L.A. organizers. A permit for Pershing Square, the venue they had hoped to be the location of their organized chaos, was denied by the city earlier this week. It conflicted with preparations for the location’s winter festivities, according to a Parks and Recreation spokesperson.

“When we originally met with folks at Pershing Square a couple of weeks ago, they didn’t think there would be a problem getting a permit,” Lee said. “They actually issued us a permit number and an invoice. But when I went to pay the deposit, things changed. They’re gearing up for the holiday season.

“The biggest challenge has been finding a place where we can all gather,” she added.

“We are looking at every possible venue in town,” said Wright, a 32-year-old postdoctoral biology scholar at Caltech, in an e-mail. They said they might go back to their original plan and hold the gathering at the Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard. “But we just don’t know yet,” Lee added.

While committed to supporting the D.C. rally’s message, the L.A. organizers say the shadow gathering will have its own Angeleno flare, with appearances by local comedians and speakers, though a lineup hasn’t been announced yet.

The all-volunteer group — with a 10-person committee — is hoping to raise $16,000 to help offset costs and to purchase a large LED screen to provide a live feed of the Washington rally set to air on Comedy Central. Unused funds, they said, will be donated to Southern California schools at

“We’re just huge fans of Jon Stewart and we found the idea of take it down a notch really inspiring,” Lee said. “We’re not giving up. We’ll see participating Angelenos on Oct. 30!”

--Yvonne Villarreal

Image credit: Rally to Restore Sanity: Los Angeles


Jon Stewart fans embrace his Rally to Restore Sanity