WELCOME INSTAPUNDIT READERS! Thank you, once again, Instapundit for a platinum link! :)
Dear Readers: Before I go much farther in the post today, I wanted to extend my thoughts and prayers to the people of Chile, the South American country that was the epicenter of a devastating 8.8 earthquake early this morning. The whole world’s eyes are on the Pacific Rim today, as tsunami watches and warnings fill the region.
It was a fateful turn of events for our merry band of agitators associated with the Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition (SoCal-TRC). Not only were our participants worried about the impending wave (slated to hit our region of the Pacific about noon — smack dab in the middle of our Anniversary Tea Party program today), but we were deluged by the dreaded “El Nino” rain-showers during set up. Happily, approximately 800 citizens showed up to the event, which was a celebration of one complete year of grassroots activism.
The focus of the event was the California-specific issues that are the highlight of our group’s 2010 agenda: putting forth initiatives on repealing our state’s version of Cap and Trade (AB-32), demanding the formation of a part-time legislature, and preventing the pilfering of employees’ paychecks for political purposes by the state government unions.
One of the most intrepid of San Diego’s citizens is Archie Thompson, who leads a wonderful and talented group of musicians, Archie’s Basement (the website is here, at http://www.archiethompson.com.) Three talented artists showed up around 8:30 am this morning to set-up for the 11 am program; at about 10 am, a series of windgusts blew over the easy-up — rendering it unsafe for their electronic gear. Like a true captain and leader, Archie let his crew go and stayed behind to entertain the crowd with his sax, a small sign, and soul! THE MUSIC WAS OUTSTANDING, and SoCal-TRC got a ton of requests to have the group return for future rallies.
Mut’s Best-Sign-of-the-Rally went to Janet for this entry, which goes to one of the Tea Party issues near and dear to my heart.Janet had this to say: “I think the biggest achievement of last year is waking people up to the graft and waste in Washington and Sacramento; I think the goal of this year is to give politicians lots of incentive to stop the runaway spending by concentrating on the upcoming elections.”
Before and after the rally, citizens were invited to sign petitions on the three core issues listed above. They were also informed about I-caucus, “Independence Caucus”, via a full group table and speech given by Stephanie Jahn. They were also encouraged to sign the San Diego City initiative: Competition and Transparency in City Contracting (to find out more or sign yourself, go to www.ReformSanDiego.com). Mathew was in charge of gathering signatures at today’s event, explaining: “This initiative will require all city departments — outside of police and fire — to use a competitive bidding process to achieve cost effective programs. For example, contracts for such services as waste handling and vehicle maintenance, would go to the lowest bidder.”
Tommy Chandler of Chandler’s Watch got the formal rally started an an national security note, and reviewed the current situation related to the Haditha Marines. Colleen Gray, of I-Caucus, sang a stirring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” During the event, one of the standing jokes was related to President Clinton, James Carville, and their attempts at targeting the “Tea Party Leader”. Dawn Wildman, the “main community organizer” of our group, explained to the crowd: “You are all the leaders”. A couple of people in the audience had a spirited debates as to who was the real leader! :)
We seemed to have some sort of divine intervention at the formal start of the program — the clouds lightened and the rains stopped so that the guest speakers could stay dry. The speeches were excellent and informative, especially the one given by Bryan Bloom — the San Diego businessman who has been on the front-lines in California’s battle with its power-mongering and deceitful Air Resources Board (CARB). Bryan detailed the scope of the problem with the diesel rules promulgated by the agency, as well as outlined some of the issues related to AB32 (the state version of Cap&Trade). He also detailed that a batch of “green jobs” just went to to other states, because the state was the most regulation-burdened and business-unfriendly. I was delighted to finally meet him in person, as we have corresponded often.
(Guest Speaker Bryan Bloom)
Another amazing speech was given by Richard Rider, veteran citizen activist and one of the key people behind the passage of California’s Proposition 13 (that limited state property taxes). Richard offered much support and advice for those of us interested in getting initiatives passed — reminding us newly-minted activists that it took THREE TRIES to get Proposition 13 on the ballot. Richard admitted this during his speech: “I thought that the Tea Parties would go away after the impressive Tax Day events. I am glad to see I was wrong.”
(Guest Speaker Richard Rider)
The dynamic conclusion to the formal portion of our rally came with the keynote address by Roger Hedgecock, the host of the nationally syndicated “The Roger Hedgecock Show” and long-time Tea Party supporter. Roger recounted one of his earliest experiences with citizen activism, when he dialoged with border patrol widow Muriel Watson. Based on their radio conversaion, Watson organized a series of demonstrations at the San Diego – Tijuana border, which came to be known as “Light up the Border”. The first event was lightly attended — but after Watson proved her mettle by organizing the first event, then she invited roger. 1500 San Diego area residents came to the second event.
“When one person says, I am going to make a difference, that is how real change begins,” noted Hedgecock. “We need to make the politicians accountable for what they do, and events like this will make it happen….The Nanny State will be defeated in 2010.”
(Keynote Speaker Roger Hedgecock).
Roger graciously greeted numerous fans, as the following image shows:
After my “Sarah Palin” skit, in which I read from CA Governor Schwarzenegger’s book, “The Encyclopedia of Modern Body Building,” I also was greeted by my new fan base — one of whom wanted an autograph, and another of whom requested this picture:
(MUT Note: Hat-tip to the two other fine members of our comedy trio — Caesar Charles (of DooDooEconomics.com) and his vivacious “Obamagirl” — who tossed a T-shirt of one of Charles’ tea party designs).
QUICK — SOMEONE CALL THE MSNBC DIVERSITY POLICE. I have just shown more racial diversity in 2 pictures above than MSNBC has on its whole panel.
The funniest story of the day: The 12 counter-protesters across the street (who had signs indicating they were with the Socialist Worker’s Party - hat-tip Charles Caesar for that update) seemed to think the real Sarah Palin was there. I am still laughing about that! I will try and get the video of that skit up, if and when I get a YouTube of it!
It was a great day for a rally, though everyone kept looking at the adjacent harbor and asking about the wave levels. Though it wouldn’t have mattered much — we were all pretty drenched after the event. However, if Michiganders can protest in snow, and Minnesotans can handle sub-zero temperatures, surely we motivated Californians can endure a little moisture for better government!
Two of the Shrine’s heroes were also there; here are their reports:
Big Turnout at the San Diego Tea Party by W.C. Varones.
Tea Party Saturday in San Diego by the Liberator Today.