Tea Party activists and opponents rally in downtown Issaquah

April 15, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Shirley Jahnke (left) and Dave Weiseth, of Sammamish, share a cordial disagreement Tuesday during the Tax Day Tea Party. The event drew about 120 protesters and counter-protesters at Sunset Way and Front Street. — Photo by Greg Farrar

NEW — 2:40 p.m. April 15, 2010

Tea Party activists came to downtown Issaquah on Thursday afternoon to brew discontent with the policies of Congress and the Obama administration.

Issaquah and Eastside residents gathered for about 90 minutes for the Tea Party rally and a smaller counter-rally organized by the 5th District Democrats. The dueling events attracted about 120 people — about 100 for the Tea Party rally and about 20 Democrats.

Participants held aloft colorful signs at the corner of Front Street and Sunset Way to cacophony of honks as drivers passed the intersection. Others carried U.S. and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags — a yellow banner with a coiled snake and a symbol of anti-government protest.

Issaquah resident Tim Ooyman said he attended the Tea Party rally to protest federal spending and the way President Obama and lawmakers handled the healthcare-reform bill.

“The silent majority needs to stop being silent,” he said.

Ooyman and other activists picked Thursday — the federal deadline for filing income-tax returns — for the rally. Local activists also planned events in Bellevue and Seattle. Washington State Patrol officials estimated the Tea Party crowd at the state Capitol in Olympia at 3,000 people.

Despite the presence of a counter-rally, fewer people gathered in downtown Issaquah than last April 15, when more than 200 people turned out on the City Hall steps for a Tea Party protest.

Issaquah resident Peggy Johnson said she had not attended a political rally before Thursday. Concerns about the size of the federal deficit and federal spending prompted her to travel downtown for the Tea Party event.

“I’m angry about what they’re doing not only to the county, but to my family, my children and my grandchildren,” she said.

Tea Party activists waved homemade signs with messages, such as “Give me liberty, not debt” and “Are you better off now than you were $4 trillion ago?” — a play on a campaign slogan used by Ronald Reagan. Democrats countered with signs scrawled with the Obama campaign emblem and “Health care is a BFD” — a reference to the off-color remark Vice President Joe Biden made before Obama signed the healthcare-reform bill into law last month.

“I love Joe Biden,” Robyn Scola said with the poster in her hands. “And you know what? Healthcare is a BFD.”

Scola, a member of the 5th District Democrats board and a Klahanie resident, donned a long-sleeved Obama campaign T-shirt against the April chill.

Despite the presence of the opposing groups on the same street corners, participants tangled only in tame disagreements about Medicare and Social Security payments.

Kate Kaluzny, a former Issaquah City Council candidate, distributed red handbills with a message to encourage the activists to become involved in local government agencies.

Kaluzny recalled how she attended a Seattle protest against the economic stimulus bill last February. She brought the same hand-lettered “Don’t bankrupt the U.S.A.” sign to the Issaquah rally.

“I’m concerned about government spending, that it’s terribly out of hand and that it doesn’t bode well for the economic security of future generations,” she said.

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Comments

7 Responses to “Tea Party activists and opponents rally in downtown Issaquah”

  1. Erica on April 15th, 2010 3:49 pm

    Interestingly enough, I had trouble finding space in the KCLS library parking ramp today. Did the anti-tax demonstrators use a publicly-funded and supported by property taxes facility to park for their event today?

  2. Jere VanDomelen on April 16th, 2010 6:17 am

    You do realize that the Tea Party people are about 40% Dems, at least nation wide. It’s not about party, it’s about Taxes, govt waste, representation, proceedure, not listening to the people, etc. People in ALL parties relate to that. Sure, the current admins. lack of promised transparency and dirty deals, makes it look like THEY are to blame, but only recently. There’s plenty of corruption on both sides to be corrected.

  3. Tea Party activists and opponents rally in downtown Issaquah | BNews on April 16th, 2010 6:44 am

    […] by the 5th District Democrats. The dueling events attracted […] {content} Read more on Issaquah Press Tags: activists, downtown, Issaquah, opponents, Party, […]

  4. Doug on April 16th, 2010 11:43 am

    I’m sorry to burst your bubble Erica, but the KCL parking lot was filled by people who waited until the last minute to get their tax forms… The vast majority parked near the railroad station or in the parking lot behind the Shell.

    Nice try though.

  5. John on April 16th, 2010 12:08 pm

    First off, the notion that 40% of tea party activitsts are Democrats is completly unsubstantiated. The Fox poll said;

    “Fox asked its respondents which party “best shares your values.” Result: Democratic Party 40 percent, Republican 25, Tea 19.”

    This is not the same thing as saying the Tea party has support amongst Democrats – far from it.

    Tea party followers for the most part appear to be low information voters. For example, if you ask they’ll tell you Obama bailed out the banks. The bank bailout occured prior to the Presidential election. Likewise with the debt. The current debt situation was caused by eight years of Republican rule, 6 of which were with a Republican Senate and House. Most of them don’t know, or don’t like to think about the fact that the nations structural financial imbalance was caused by Bush’s unfunded tax breaks for the top 2% income bracket, and two wars that were not on the budget, but were handled by off budget spending authorizations, total cost somewhere around 3 Trillion dollars.

    I’m curious as to where the Tea Party has been over the previous 8 years as the Republicans were running this country into the ditch… Where was the anger, then?

  6. Bob on April 16th, 2010 2:08 pm

    Can you show us some of the signs the the tea party crowd had protesting the GWB’s Trillion dollar tax cut on the upper 2%? Surely you took some pictures of those, as surely there had to have been such signs.

  7. Doug on April 16th, 2010 4:02 pm

    There was one incident the Press wasn’t privy to. A gentlemen waiting at the light turned to the crowd, gave them the finger at least twice and started yelling. He then zipped into the parking lot of the Shell, taking two spaces, slammed his door and started stomping his way towards us.

    The word went out and few turned around with their cameras pointed towards him. Once he realized all of his actions would be recorded, he quickly changed his direction.

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