Pleasanton Tea Party scheduled for Tax Day

The nationwide “tea party” anti-tax movement is coming to Pleasanton, with an event from noon to 6 p.m. next Wednesday, April 15 – Tax Day, of course – in Amador Valley Community Park, 4301 Black Ave.

TEA in this case stands for “taxed enough already,” and organizers say concerned citizens from Oakland, Castro Valley, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, Sunol, Brentwood, Livermore, Pittsburg, Antioch, Alamo and Pleasanton will join forces to protest “out-of-control government spending on the federal, state (up to 10% sales tax) and local (Pleasanton proposed Parcel Tax) levels.”

Headlined by San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson, Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti and KSFO talk radio hosts Brian Sussman and Barbara Simpson, the event aims to rally local residents “in an effort to give them answers on how to get involved on either the local, state or federal level to end the ‘Tax Insanity’ that is poisoning America. Hundreds of citizens have already signed up to attend and petitions will be on site to sign along with strict security in case of infiltration of unwanted groups.”

The concerns are “(n)ew local taxes, in particular the Pleasanton parcel tax they want to impose upon its citizens, and any new taxes Obama and Congress et. al., will surely be passing down on us to help pay their ridiculous debts,” said Bridget Melson, a local business owner and this event’s president. “Incurring more debt to get out of debt is a really lousy lesson for the future children of America. The earmarks, the pay raise Congress gave themselves and the “stimulus” packages to come? We are protesting against it all.”

Hooray for civic engagement, but let’s have a bit of fact-checking, after the jump…

A couple of thoughts:

(1.) I trust San Ramon, Dublin and any other cities represented by mayors taking part in this event will reject any and all economic stimulus funds made available.
(2.) Though the tea-partiers are free and welcome to disagree, the Public Policy Institute of California found 65 percent of Californians support the $800 billion federal economic stimulus package.
(3.) As I’ve written, if you’re really concerned about federal spending, then complaining about earmarks is a red herring – like complaining about being spritzed with a water gun during a monsoon. Same with the annual Congressional pay raises, automatic since 1989, which can be refunded to the Treasury by anyone who doesn’t want ‘em, Democrat or Republican.
(4.) Other than letting President Bush’s tax cuts for the very rich expire, what federal tax hikes are we talking about?
(5.) Wanna see some numbers on how Americans’ tax burden compares to those of citizens in other countries? Take a look here.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • San Ramoner

    I always thought San Ramon Mayor Wilson was a serious public official. Apparently he is spending too much time down at the Contra Costa Republican Central committee. He is being sucked in by Leader Del Baccaro and the KSFO crowd. I guess he is desperate to run again in AD15. What he does not understand is that hanging with the kooks is not going to broaden his appeal to the public.

  • Tim Sbranti

    There seems to have been a misunderstanding, but I am not going to be speaking at or participating in this event. I apologize for any confusion.

    Tim Sbranti
    Mayor, City of Dublin

  • John W

    Interesting that Mayor Wilson would be one of the headliners for an event that is protesting, among other things, the Pleasanton parcel tax. He is featured as one of the endorsers of the Measure C school parcel tax for the San Ramon Valley district.

  • Josh Richman

    Sorry, Mayor Sbranti; your name was featured in the news release issued by the organizers, but I guess I shouldn’t have taken that at face value. Perhaps Ms. Melson would care to elaborate?

  • Bill

    What we need are state & federal constitutional amendments LIMITING any legislative body of government to spend only 50% of projected revenues. Until we take back this once great nation, we will continue in this recession and with higher and higher taxes, the system will break alltogether !!!

  • hilltopper

    I wonder if these “tea baggers” were protesting the deficits run up by the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and his “off-budget” war against Iraq? Just curious.

  • Jezter

    “I wonder if these “tea baggers” were protesting the deficits run up by the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and his “off-budget” war against Iraq? Just curious.”

    Yes, there were lots of conservatives horrified by Bush’s deficits as a matter of fact. However, for Obama and his supporters to continually slam Bush over deficits is astounding! Obama’s budget has TRIPLED the debt and he’s only been in office 3 months! And, the largest spending bill in history (more than a thousand pages, unread by congress, not posted online as promised, etc) spends the equivalent of $1 million per day for 2000 years!!!

  • Sean Duckworth

    At least the Obama Administration is *doing* something about our economy instead of bitching about socialism like the Republican Congressional Caucus is and has been. When the Republicans finally put a valid plan out there, I might start pay attention.

    But they’ve lost most if not all of their credibility in economics after the past 8 years.

  • Anne

    Oh Yes, Obama is doing something about our economy! He is continuing the very same sin of overspending, only under a different name and at a staggering rate! It’s purely legalized plunder that is nowhere written in the constitutional duties of the president. Nor is nationalizing and internationalizing our US owned companies part of his job description.

    By the way, you might want to do some fact checking and go back to the Bush era war budget. You might find that the Democrats earmarked those budgets with special interest local projects that would choke a pig. Now that’s positively criminal if you ask me, to blackmail the soldiers funding with earmarks. But you didn’t and probably wont… Oh yeah, it was a major stand down that Bush won by the way.

    The total lack of historical knowledge and understanding you liberals have is the most expensive liability we have today. But then you were brainwashed at an early age, so I suppose I should show some charity, it’s not your fault your ignorant!

  • Josh Richman

    Everyone’s welcome and encouraged to express their opinions here – and thanks for reading the blog! – but let me clear up a few misconceptions, Anne:

    1.) I’ve yet to see anyone prove how President Obama is exceeding his constitutional authority in drafting a stimulus plan approved by Congress. Nor do I believe any of the companies bailed out by Washington in the past year have had it happen without their consent, nor complained about it much afterward.

    2.) It’s common knowledge that lawmakers of both parties are inveterate earmarkers – you’ll notice this year’s list-topper is a Republican, once again – and it’s also common knowledge that those earmarks all combined don’t add up to a fraction of what we’ve spent and continue to spend on the war in Iraq.

    3.) Bush fought Congressional Democrats over tying Iraq war funding to withdrawal timetables; he smack-talked the earmarks, true, but that clearly wasn’t the stumbling block.

    4.) Grammatically speaking, it should be: “…you’re ignorant.”

  • Thank Goodness, I am not the only one who sees what is happening in Ameica! Stop the careless spending now!! Obama needs to stop complaining about Bush and then doing the same thing only way, way worse.

  • hilltopper

    Sorry Jezter. There is no truth whatsoever for your statement: “Obama’s budget has TRIPLED the debt and he’s only been in office 3 months!”

    Bush inherited a balanced budget and had a republican controlled congress. Obama is fixing the disaster left behind.

    Complain about spending? Maybe Bush should have spent more on levy repairs. Or invested in solar energy. Giving Trillions to the richest 1% instead was asinine. Maybe that is why Bush and Cheney remain so popular.

  • Biolprof

    Pure and simple, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are doing their best to divide and destroy this country. For example, they think that many Americans should pay no income tax, only the rich (an over used liberal comment). Everyone who earns a salary should be paying their fair share of income tax to the government (50% Of our citizens pay no income taxes.).

    Whatever happened to the campaign promise Obama made that he would not sign any bill with earmarks? And shame on the elected representatives who vote for the Stimulus Bill without even reading it. This current administration is worse than the last in my opinion.

  • Not happy in San Ramon

    Per S. Duckworth-“At least the Obama Administration is *doing* something about our economy instead of bitching about socialism like the Republican Congressional Caucus is and has been. When the Republicans finally put a valid plan out there, I might start pay attention.

    But they’ve lost most if not all of their credibility in economics after the past 8 years.”

    Promised visability, openness, ‘reaching across the aisle’ NOT HAPPENING; the Party in control is ramming it’s agenda thru without any consideration for an opposing view nor the political process!! This is a Democracy not a Monarchy

  • Katy

    Josh – On another note (off topic but equally frustrating,) this article and your response to bloggers demonstrates your clear bias on the issue. As a journalist you’re supposed to present the facts, not your ideology. I mention this issue because it seems to be a nationwide problem with the media. You were very snarky to a blogger with whom you obviously disagreed politically and your “fact checking” points at the end of the article are all easily refuted by opposing thought. Put simply, please keep in mind that your job is to report, not to sway opinion and promote your ideology.

  • BJD

    Mr. Richman, it is so nice to see a newspaper man stand up on these blog and point out when people are incorrect instead of letting them abuse the first amendment.

    I think the problem we face in this county is we concentrate on the things we disagree on and not the things we have in common. When the people of this country work towards a common effort, there is nothing we haven’t been able to overcome. That added with a level of partisanship that can only be described as faction, which is treasonous, have really slowed down communication, action, and prudency.

    Biolprof: The people you mentioned are doing no more to divide this country than Karl Rove (Mr. DIVIDE and conquer), John Boehner, and Sean Hannity have and continue to do. The problem is partisanship. No side is innocent and no side is guiltier than the other.

    Not happy in San Ramon: The democratic leadership is doing nothing different than Republicans did when they were in power. The republicans used the budgetary procedure known as “reconciliation” just as Democrats may use it this time around. Personally, I think it is a chickens**t thing to do, for whoever is in power. My grandmother used to say something that you might want to learn…”what is good for the goose is good for the gander”. One of the greatest aspects of our republic is the protection of the minority from a “heedless” majority.

    It’s time people learn the difference between opinion and fact.

  • hilltopper

    Just in time for tea, Gallup is out with a poll on taxes. When asked whether upper income people are paying too much in taxes, only 23% agree. When asked if they are paying too little, a whopping 60% agree.


    So 60%-13%, the upper income need to start paying their fair share. If you disagree, that’s fine. It’s your right. But know that you are in a small minority.

  • hilltopper

    Typo. 60%-13% should be 60%-23%.

  • Josh Richman

    Katy – thanks for your comment, but I don’t believe laying out facts constitutes a “clear bias on the issue.” How is it biased to note current poll numbers, or to point out that earmarks are a bipartisan addiction and only a fraction of a percent of federal spending? How is it biased to ask for more specificity on these “tax hikes” of which so many people say they’re scared? Or to compare our tax burden to those in other industrialized nations? That’s context, not bias.

    As for whether I was “snarky,” perhaps I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with people who generalize – “you liberals,” “you conservatives,” “you journalists” – and make silly, cheap attacks – “brainwashed… ignorant” – rather than engaging in a civil debate of the issues based on facts.

    Or maybe I’m just a stickler for spelling. 😉

  • BJD

    I didn’t see any “bias”, but then again, everytime I see someone pull the “bias” card it because someone doesn’t see things their way.

    There was a time in this country when we could disagree without being disagreeable.

    As to the journalist statement, 1860-1880 in this country was a brutal political time and journalists, as they have since this country was founded, voiced not only facts, but also opinion, and that dirty word “bias”. Was not Paine’s “Common Sense” filled with all the aforementioned?

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Bravo, Josh.

    A agree wholeheartedly. The people who call me biased are almost always significantly more biased on the subject at hand than I could ever muster.

  • Anita

    Thank you, Josh, for both the content and tone. Your refusal to be prodded by the more shrieky among us is laudable.

    Very concerned that my mayor is showing up at TEA events. And also very concerned that because there’s a Republican primary for CA-11, they get to have their campaign signs up now. Whoever wins the primary will have had several weeks’ advantage in signage over Rep. McNerney, our current Rep. Wish there were a way to make that more fair.