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Tea Parties Make a Splash

by Susannah Kopecky, published

No government officials ended up in bodies of water or tarred and feathered, though the message was clear.

The nationally-synchronized Tea Parties of April 15 brought out citizens of all stripes on April 15, with a common message to the federal government: "Don't tread on me!"

The Tea Parties, which have been organizing and galvanizing for about two months now, saw thousands of participants turning out around the country, and around California, for the April 15 "celebration" of sorts, or protest, depending on how you look at it. With rising deficits and recent news of more than $1 trillion in borrowing and government spending, many citizens have become firmly opposed to the idea of unbridled spending against future revenues, without having their voices heard at the metaphorical bargaining table.

According to FreedomWorks.org (one of the big organizers of the Tea Party events), protests were set to take place throughout all of California, mainly concentrated between San Diego in to the South and San Francisco in the North. Santa Monica (with 181 protestors RSVPing in the affirmative), Santa Barbara, Hollister, South Bay, Merced, Atascadero, Los Angeles/San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valley, Lodi, Glendale, Walnut Creek, Redding, Sacramento, Temecula, Ventura, Bakersfield, Oceanside, San Jose, Chico, Napa, Orange County, Simi Valley, and Redondo/Manhattan Beach: these are just some of the cities which held Tea Parties on April 15.

One attendee posted on the FreedomWorks Web site that 7,500 people attended the Central Valley Tea Party, while another alerted readers to a Tea Party in Santa Monica.

Groups met throughout California, protesting recent announcements of huge spending increases, funded by American taxpayer dollars, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, noted by many for its many questionable earmarks (tattoo removal as stimulus? Really? Water park for economic recovery?) .

The well-organized Tea Parties hearken back to days of lower taxation and less federal government reach over the lives of individuals. One California Tea Party group met (very appropriately) at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. Some protestors carried signs protesting high taxes, one wore a Joe Biden mask while holding a sign designating the high taxes as the work of fools, while one member even protested the Federal Reserve (though that individual did not appear to be part of the main Tea Party itself).

In Ventura County, Tea Party attendees had planned to meet around the county government office, and had expected various media outlets to also arrive on scene.

In Santa Barbara, the Tax Day Tea Party met at 1:00 p.m. along the downtown State Street at Alameda Park. Live music, protest songs and a half mile march to the IRS building on State Street were highlights of the schedule.

If citizens continue to be taxed beyond their means, more tea parties are sure to be expected in the future.

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