Activists brew anti-tax sentiment at ‘tea party’
April 15, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 6 p.m. April 15, 2009
When local Tax Day Tea Party organizer Tom Price arrived at the corner of Sunset Way and Front Street just after noon today, he was alone. Then, he looked down Sunset: Less than 500 feet away, hundreds of protestors were gathered on the steps of City Hall.
Price and more than 200 others were part of a groundswell of frustration with government bailouts, federal spending and the policies of Congress and the Obama administration. Demonstrators in Issaquah and across the nation used the government deadline for filing income tax returns for an event modeled on the Boston Tea Party.
See a slideshow of photos here.
Instead of dumping tea into Issaquah Creek, however, activists dangled tea bags from placards, clothing and sunglasses. During the hourlong protest, they sang “God Bless America” and waved American flags and handmade signs with slogans, like “Note to Congress: You are not representing me!” and “No more public money for private failure.” Another placard called out Washington’s senior senator: “Do you hear us, Patty Murray?” A protestor dressed as a minuteman rallied the crowd.
“It’s not just a party issue,” said Mary Austin, a Sammamish resident who wore headgear decorated with a bar graph that depicted deficit spending. Although lawmakers respond to e-mails and calls, Austin said the sudden increase in government spending required community action.
Austin and other protestors learned about the local Tax Day Tea Party online. Organizers used the Web site www.taxdayteaparty.com to rally supporters from coast to coast. Similar events were scheduled in Seattle, Bellevue and other cities in the state. Thousands of anti-tax protestors descended on the state capitol in Olympia.
Price, of Issaquah, said the event was the first political protest in which he had participated. Price and a handful of others moved the protest to the intersection of Front Street and Sunset Way, in front of the library, as the day progressed.
Price said he was surprised by he strong turnout.
“I thought it was going to be just me,” he said.
As he spoke from the corner of Sunset and Front at 4:30 p.m., motorists sped past and blared their horns.
“It’s surprising how much support we got in a Democratic stronghold,” he said.
Skip Blain, of Issaquah, stood in front of City Hall and held aloft a cardboard sign that read, “Don’t tax me, bro.” He expressed concern about passing along budget deficits to future generations.
Other protestors said using tax dollars to pay for government entitlement programs rankled them. As one sign put it, the demonstrators were TEA’D OFF – an acronym for “Taxed Enough Already Discontinue Obama’s Funding Frenzy.”
“Spending, spending, spending,” Price said, listing the reason he decided to protest.