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Local News

Locals Join Tea Party Protest Against Escalating Government Spending

Several hundred demonstrators unite against tax-and-spend impulses in Washington and Sacramento

With cries of “Repeal, recall, revolt!” several hundred demonstrators took to downtown Santa Barbara’s streets Saturday to protest big government and big spending.

“I’m here because I’m worried about the direction our country is going,” said Anita Dwyer, a Lompoc resident.

Billed as Santa Barbara’s “Big, Cool Tea Party,” the gathering attracted people from as far away as Oregon as taxpayers turned out to voice their discontent over the way President Obama and Congress are handling the U.S. economy, with increased taxes and spending. Sacramento was singled out for its share of criticism, too.

Evoking images of the American Revolution, complete with Paul Revere and steed, the demonstration wound its way from the Santa Barbara County Courthouse to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, where a rally was emceed by KABC radio talk-show host Tammy Bruce.

Speakers included Joe Armendariz, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association; COLAB executive director Andy Caldwell; Lompoc Mayor Richard De Wees; author Erin Graffy de Garcia; Hollywood screenwriter Andrew Klavan; UCSB student Gabriella Murillo; and state Sens. Tony Strickland, R-Moorpark, and George Runner, R-Antelope Valley. Singer-songwriter Lloyd Marcus provided musical entertainment.

“Clocking in at $6 million a minute, in the next five minutes American taxpayers will add over $30 million to our national debt,” Armendariz said. “That is enough money to balance the budget at the county, $16 million; the city of Santa Barbara, $9 million — with several million left over for a rainy day.”

Signs of discontent were abundant during Saturday's Tea Party.
Signs of discontent were abundant during Saturday’s Tea Party. (Charles Croninger photo)

Speakers and protesters alike decried Obama’s $3.5 trillion spending plan that Congress approved last week on party-line votes, $12.8 trillion in bailouts and loan pledges, universal health care, and what they saw as growing government intrusion on the free market.

“They are taking more control of American business,” De Wees said. “They are telling American business what they can earn, what they can not earn, what products to develop.”

The event, sponsored by Santa Barbara County Tea Party, was one of hundreds of similar demonstrations taking place across the country. The tax revolts are based on the 1773 Boston Tea Party in which a group of colonists dumped more than 300 cases of English tea into Boston Harbor as a protest against British taxation. The British responded with several harsh measures that united the colonists in their quest for independence and foreshadowed the Revolutionary War.

Additional Tea Parties will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Antelope Valley Courthouse, 42011 Fourth St. W., Antelope Valley, and at 5:30 p.m. April 15 at the Mervyns parking lot, 201 Town Center W., Santa Maria.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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