Gilbert 'TEA party' draws more than 1,000 - East Valley Tribune: News

Gilbert 'TEA party' draws more than 1,000

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 5:36 pm | Updated: 1:36 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

A "TEA party" held on the lawn of the Gilbert Municipal Center Wednesday outdrew the wildest expectations of organizers, as more than 1,000 people took part in one of a nationwide string of rallies against taxation and government spending held to coincide with the federal tax filing deadline.

SLIDESHOW: TEA Party rally

A "TEA party" held on the lawn of the Gilbert Municipal Center Wednesday outdrew the wildest expectations of organizers, as more than 1,000 people took part in one of a nationwide string of rallies against taxation and government spending held to coincide with the federal tax filing deadline.

SLIDESHOW: TEA Party rally

"I don't even have a clue how many people came," said Jean Gerstner, who said she'd never been to a rally. She was handing out fliers to the crowd that plugged a Taxed Enough Already, or TEA, party Web site.

"It has to be over 1,000 people. It was a success beyond our wildest dreams."

Others guessed the turnout was even bigger. Speaker Dave Petersen's estimate put it at, at least 2,500; Bill Norton, whose crowd estimates for the annual Constitution Fair continue to come in higher than Gilbert police's, said it could be as high as 4,000.

Parked cars spilled out of a lot next to the lawn where the rally was held. They filled the public safety complex's lot across the street to the south, vacant lots to the east and a shopping center across Gilbert Road.

The Gilbert rally was one of several in the state, mostly in rural areas.

Many people carried signs calling on the government to reduce spending on everything from Planned Parenthood to the advocacy group ACORN. Most were fired up about federal spending on the economic stimulus and bailout packages.

Jennifer and Brian Gallamore of Ahwatukee Foothills got their point across by draping a sign over the back of their 11-year-old corgi mix, Pogo: "It's 'Ruff' economically. Stop the spread of government overspending."

Betty Butler of Gilbert was one of many people taking issue with the President Barack Obama.

"Mr. Obama wants socialism, in my opinion, and we can't have that because I am from South America. I lived through that," she said. "I don't want another Venezuela for my family. It's happening. It's coming."

The crowd didn't appear to include any counter-protesters who supported administration policies. One man did wave a large black-and-white Obama poster, but the caption underneath read "NOPE." A couple of people tried and failed to get a "Yes we can!" chant started.

Glen Gaddie, 53, of Mesa, said he had never been to a rally before and made his anti-overspending signs that morning. He said he felt the Bush administration spent too much money while in power, but the trend is "100 times worse" under Obama.

"For the first time in my life I can say that I am scared for my country," Gaddie said.

Many of the signs at the rally were stacked underneath a rock at the end of the gathering in an attempt to keep them from blowing away. They were being saved for Wednesday evening's planned TEA party at the state Capitol in Phoenix.

Tom Jenney, an organizer of the Phoenix rally, said last week he'd gotten 2,000 e-mails from people planning to attend.

The Gilbert rally had a scheduled slate of speakers including Petersen, a former town councilman, state legislators Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, and Thayer Verschoor, R-Gilbert, and Town Council candidates Erin Scroggins and Jenn Daniels. Others were then able to get on their soapbox during an open-microphone period.

Petersen, who received 12 percent of the vote in the March mayoral primary for a fourth-place finish, ran on a platform of less government and lower taxes. He said he felt vindicated by the turnout Wednesday.

"It showed me I'm not one of the minority. I'm not thinking this stuff all by myself," he said.

  • Discuss

Video: Live Country Music at Bourbon Jacks in Chandler

If you enjoy live country music five nights a week, Bourbon Jacks in Chandler is the place for...

Facebook

EastValleyTribune.com on Facebook

Twitter

EastValleyTribune.com on Twitter

Google+

EastValleyTribune.com on Google+

RSS

Subscribe to EastValleyTribune.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px
Your Az Jobs