A series of three or four confrontations -- and one possible alleged assault -- broke out Wednesday in front of the between political activists supporting Lyndon LaRouche-backed congressional candidates and local residents.
"I just saw red, like a bull." said Healdsburg Jazz Festival founder Jessica Felix, one of those who got in a confrontation with the activists. "I went ballistic."
Felix, who said she was at the post office around 2 p.m., said she was incensed by large posters of President Obama with a Hitler-type mustache and the words "Dump Obama" attached to the activists' table.
Felix said she complained to police in a 9-1-1 call without results. Then, she said, she was so enraged by the posters that she tried to kick over the table.
"I know there's freedom of speech, but this was indecent," Felix said. "Disrespecting the President of the United States -- that's so ugly.
"People are so ugly," added Felix. "Relating it to Hitler and the Nazis, right in front of a federal post office."
The two activists held her back and they called police, Felix said. Felix said police interviewed her inside the post office, but she was not arrested.
Healdsburg Police Sgt. John Haviland said officers were called to the site "at least three times" during the day to quell confrontations.
No citations were issued, but "we also have a possible pending assault case," he said, referring to an incident that occurred around 5 p.m. He had no details on the possible assault or whether charges would be filed.
Haviland said Healdsburg Police Cpl. Tanya Potter, who covered the 5 p.m. incident, was not on duty Thursday and her report was not yet available, he said.
"Our local residents didn't seem to be happy with the people who were out there and they were expressing displeasure," Haviland said in summarizing the series of confrontations. He said the activists did not need a permit.
"It's a public sidewalk," he said.
Wesley Vanderschaaf, one of the two activists at the table, said he and the other person, who declined to give her name, were there to oppose Obama's policies on taxes, Wall Street bailouts, budget issues and healthcare and to solicit support for six congressional candidates backed by the Leesburg, Va.-based Lyndon LaRouche political action committee.
"We're just getting contact information," said Vanderschaaf, pointing to a mailing list that people could sign.
Vanderschaaf, who said his headquarters was in San Francisco, said none of the candidates would be representing the Healdsburg area.
Congressional candidate Summer Shields, who is opposing U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi in the eighth congressional district, was the only one of the six candidates from California.
"We're organizing nationwide," Vanderschaaf said. "We're starting to fight now to determine the elections in 2012."
Asked about the Hitler-style mustache on Obama, Vanderschaaf said Obama's policies are "indifferent to the wishes of the population," similar, he said, to those that Hitler espoused in the 1930s and which led to the Holocaust. He also referred to the earthquakes in Japan, saying that Obama's budget decisions would lead to shortages in emergency services in the U.S.
Felix, however, who is Jewish, said she was so upset by the display that she later called a local peace group to let them know about it.
Felix added, tongue in cheek, that she had eaten pastries and drunk several cups of coffee for breakfast -- all of which might have stimulated her agitation. She said she was outraged that police or the city were not able to shut down such offensive displays.
"I don't usually get violent," Felix said. "I'll just use the Twinkie defense," referring to the famous trial strategy that lightened the sentence for Dan White, the man who shot and killed former San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in 1978.