April 18, 2009

Tax protesters show up in force at City Hall

If it was a beautiful day for an anti-war rally (see earlier post), it was equally fine for an anti-tax rally.

... and an anti-Doyle rally, an anti-Obama rally, an anti-the-two-guys-on-the-ballot-for-mayor rally, an anti-liberals rally... I'm sure I'm forgetting some of the targets.

Racine's version of the nationwide onslaught of tea bag rallies -- harking back to the Boston Tea Party and standing for Taxed Enough Already -- was eclectic, all right; a well-organized event on the lawn of City Hall that drew upwards of 250 sign-waving, slogan-cheering protesters. Almost all were from one side of the political spectrum, except for a small handful of Obama Democrats who wisely kept mostly to themselves.

Lora Halberstadt, one of the organizers, started things off by leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance, and concluded it 45 minutes later by promising, "we'll gather again and again, until they get it."

In between, speakers held forth.

Jayne Siler, from the Racine Taxpayers Assn.:

"I thought I was the only person in Racine concerned about taxpayers' rights," she said, acknowledging the large crowd, even more impressive for the speed in which the rally was put together. Siler ripped some of the larger local budgets spent without adequate taxpayer input: $63 million spent by the Gateway Technical College Board; $30 million that Racine Unified took from reserves under previous superintendent Tom Hicks.

The crowd was with her, offering shouts of "No taxation without representation" and "They work for us, we don't work for them."

Fred Dooley, whose RealDebateWisconsin blog is a conservative bastion:

People are struggling and have to make cuts, he said; government should do the same thing instead of raising taxes. "This isn't about left and right, it's about doing the right thing so we have something left in our pockets. It's about the ridiculous expansion of our budget," a 10% increase on the state level, he said.

He also ridiculed the city's plan to spend more than $1 million on four 20-passenger hybrid buses -- $350,000 apiece -- which will be used on routes that often carry only three or four passengers. "Let 'em buy a minivan for $7,000" he said.

Jody Harding, write-in candidate for mayor:

She started by pointing out that the Journal Times announced her candidacy in a four-sentence story on the obituary page (here's ours), but quickly aimed her rhetorical guns at John Dickert and Bob Turner, the two candidates on the ballot for mayor. "Both are for big government, and more taxes. There's no difference between them," she said. "But you do have a choice, and her name is Jody Harding!"

"I came to talk about taxes. It's not just about our money, it's about our liberty. The enemy is apathy, helplessness and despair. We will not turn over our future to a mindless and mostly inept government."

Harding, by the way, filed her Campaign Registration Statement with the Racine City Clerk's office on Friday, so she is an "official" write-in candidate for mayor.

Cathy Stepp, former State Senator:

"There's no better country than this, where you get up, go to work and pay your own bills."

"We need to send a message to this governor who thinks raising taxes at this time, when we each have less, is the right way to go."

She also took a shot at President Obama for regulating carbon dioxide emissions. "My own breath will be regulated?" she asked.

Pastor David King of Milwaukee:

He started by asking if there were any liberals in the crowd... "The ones that are for taxes. Can you come up and pay mine?"

"Our country is going to Hell in a wastebasket. First we take God out of our government; now our government sucks. Then we take God out of our schools, and our schools suck; they took God out of everything, and after 9/11 they asked, 'Where is God?' "

"Rise up, take your city back. Kick out those liberals," he said.

Also noticed in the crowd were State Rep. Robin Vos, who got a shout-out from Stepp; and two members of the Racine City Council. Greg Helding, one of the eleven mayoral candidates in the primary, said the event "sounds like a Jody for Mayor campaign rally." And Jim Kaplan noted, "This is what makes America so great; in other countries, police would come out with machineguns to shut the thing down."


  1. Gee, a dozen leftist protesters show up and they get multiple pictures...

    Hundreds of anti-tax people protest, no pictures.

    You were there taking pictures...


  2. Anon 2:22: In physics, there's something called the Time-Space Continuum.

    The rally ended at 12:45. The full story was posted by 2 p.m.; the pictures by 3 p.m.

    If that's not quick enough, do it yourself.

  3. Fan of The Post4/18/2009 4:08 PM

    Good job Pete, well said.

  4. Good job of covering a tea party without insulting the participants. Racine Post seems to be the only media outlet in the US that can capture what's being said at these events even if they may not agree with the message personally.

  5. Someone stop the hypocrisy.

  6. Pete:

    Where is my thank you and apology for having to educate you on the "teabagging" term?? That article mysteriously disappeared?? Why?? If one blasts Dickert in here, you guys go Apesh*t, but it's OK for other things?? I thought the JT was bad, man, I was soooooooo wrong.

  7. Anon 5:35: Don't kid yourself. I grew up in New York and know a lot more than I let on...

  8. Hey Pete,
    Great posting and great coverage! And what a fabulous Day it was, in weather, and Spirit, and I also want to again thank the Obamites who attended. we still have to listen tyo each other. And they were great, and polite and courteous.

    Jody did a great job! and I was thrilled the level of enthusiasm for her Write in campaign. To ALL OF YOU WHO CHEERED HER ON thanks so much!!
    I hope you encourage your friends to WRITE IN JODY for Mayor, make sure you MARK THE BOX for Write in!! Pass the Word.

    Pete I'm saving your pic of the rally to my Screen saver!

  9. Is that Robin Voss' wife I see on the main picture wearing a greenish top?

  10. Why was the pastor preaching about taxes? What exactly does God have to do with that? As an ambassador to God, does he speak for him/her? If so, the message I was getting is that Jesus is against taxes. I guess that's why churches don't pay any.....just like lots of big business with their offshore accounts.

    I didn't know Jesus was such a money freak, but I'm glad I was set straight. Of course it makes sense that He wouldn't want His money being sent to the government for programs that benefit society. He is totally against that! Jesus would say, you know I think my taxes are too high. What I want is 10% more disposable income for myself so I can get a new TV. I'm a consumer baby, and this government is holding me back and ruining my life! Lord help me.

    You know, I think if Jesus were around today that he would be poor. He would donate all of his time and energy to the people that needed it. He wouldn't keep worldly possesions for his own, because ultimately it is meaningless. What is money anyway? It's paper. We make it valuable, not God.

    If we were serious about putting God back into government as the pastor is saying, then all of our money would go to the poor. Nobody would be sick or hungry in a country as rich as ours. Compassion would win over personal greed. Everyone gets the same and is not rewarded differently. We would all be equal.

    Now that sounds really sounds like socialism, but don't say that to the fake Christians. No, no...They want all of their money baby. They want to use God's name to protect their piggy bank. They want that income to spend as they wish so they can have more stuff. Stuff is their God and that was put on full display today by the pastor.

    Tax reform by Jesus would involve giving back. Giving it all back. Somewhere maybe God is a little embarrassed today that His name was used, to loud applause, to glorify the lust for something as worthless as money.

    Money Bless America!

  11. Thanks for doing a great job in posting this article, complete with pictures.

    I would like to point out that the "real" newspaper still hasn't posted anything yet.

    Nice work, Racine Post!

  12. God only asked for 10%, it is Biblical...

  13. So even God believed in taxes, but you don't. Nice. I guess protesting taxes would make you a non-believer.

  14. Amen, Anon 8:03!!!

    Child: I'm hungry and sick.

    Jesus: Your parents need to get jobs. I shouldn't have to help your family, I have enough problems to worry about.

    Child: Both my parents work, but we don't have health insurance and our cousins live with us so we hardly have any food in the house.

    Jesus: Not my problem. I am too busy traveling, shopping, and drinking fine wines. You should just work hard in school child so you don't have to grow up like your parents.

    Child: I love my parents. They love me.

    Jesus: But what is that worth???

  15. What kind of pastor tries to incite a crowd into anger against liberals? No thank you Jesus. This man's behavior was a mocking of the word of God and he should step down as pastor. He is not fit to lead a congregation.

    Were the liberals in attendance responsible for this fake pastor's tax burden? This idiot is probably actually getting a tax rebate under the new plan. But he'll tell you that God hates taxes, except the 10% he needs from you to keep the church going. That's ok, just don't call it a tax. Problem solved.

    I was fully expecting him to start mocking the working poor that get flamed on conservative talk radio all the time. They don't pay taxes! Well, yeah because they're poor you moron. Go ahead and try to live on what they do and then get back to me about how angry you are because you got a tax break and some fortunately rich had to pay a couple percent more.

    They're populists for the wrong population.

    I don't have a problem with being critical of spending and trying to make wise choices, but linking that to God is a disgusting display. If you want to be a fiscal conservative, by all means do so, but don't pretend that paying taxes is the 11th commandment. Thou shall not pay taxes!

    Unless it is for national defense, then that is ok. They'll pay to blow up some m'fers courtesy of the red white and blue but won't pay for social programs that help the less fortunate.

    Nobody likes wasteful earmarks and spending money on programs that don't work - but don't pretend it is a result of a liberal anti-god agenda. Plenty of liberals are believers too.

  16. Cathy Stepp "My own breath will be regulated?"

    You know I actually think it should be when you say something as stupid as this:

    "There's no better country than this, where you get up, go to work and pay your own bills."

    So that's it, hey? A country's greatness is defined by working and paying your own bills (after you get up of course). I almost rang my neighbor's doorbell this morning to ask her if I could pay her bills in addition to mine for the greatness of the country. Glad I heard her speak first.

    And didn't she get rich on real estate? Hey, that's fine. But this isn't. Check this out from her blog profile:

    "was a presidential appointee on the Freddie Mac Board of Directors"

    Oh yeah, thanks Cathy. Get a bunch of people to lobby for lower taxes so you don't have your little increase. Niiiice. You know, most of the people there won't be getting a tax increase due to their income, but you would wouldn't you! Can't have that now, Ms I got rich on the real estate bubble.

    Don't tax my air! I'm like so angry right now! So angry I could help regulate Freddie..well, not that angry, come on now! I've got money to earn and cash to burn baby wooooooo!

  17. TaxedTooMuch4/19/2009 4:12 AM

    First I'd like to say that my respect for RacinePost.com has come up significantly in the past few days. Their comments concerning the secret forum in Sturtevant and their seemingly fair coverage of this taxpayer rally (even though they left Paul from WRJN radio off the list - I think unintentionally) have shown me that they can be somewhat fair and balanced, whether they agree with the rhetoric or not. Thanks guys.

    As for the loudmouthed, hateful bleeding hearts that have posted anonymously here about their misunderstanding of the separation of church and state and Jesus's direction to give to the state what is "due" to the state and, to paraphrase, give to the church what is due to the church and keep the rest, but be charitable, well, the problem is that the state is demanding far too much, and wasting what they get. That's the issue here. We pay far more than 50% of our incomes in a string of taxes (and taxes on taxes) and get next to nothing for it. As Jody said, over the decades we've spent trillions, TRILLIONS!, fighting poverty and have more poverty now than we've ever had. Think something might be wrong with the system?

    The Apostle David King? What an impressive man. Something else you may not understand is that though the church may not have to pay taxes, their paid employees do (i.e. pastors). You see, the govenment has imposed the illegal income tax on ALL of us that work. David does believe in the separation of church and state, but he also undestands that this country was founded on Christian principles, which our government has seccessfully eroded over the past 50 years. When you take the spirit of which this country was founded on out of the working elements of the this country, it is bound to change, and not for the good.

    Another thing, how can a liberal honestly consider themselves to be TRUE Christians when they support murder through abortion, the advocation of homosexual activity and perpetuating the welfare base just to broaden their voter base?

    Yes, WRITE-IN JODY HARDING and be sure to mark the arrow that points to her as a write in candidate or it won't count.

  18. Who's stupid idea was Jody's write-in campaign? You've gotta know the chances of winning are pretty much the same as winning the lottery - it 'aint gonna happen.

    I hope most people are smart enough to realize that a vote to Harding is basically a vote to Turner. Chances are a conservative would vote for Dickert before they would Turner.

    What will end up happening is Turner will win, and all the conservatives who voted for Jody will be crying in their cheerios come May 6th.

  19. Jody who thinks she is so bright, couldn't even put her last name on her campaigns signs. People walk in and say "WHO" and some feel it is a big ego that would be so pompous as to think she had that name recognition nailed down.

    Jane is nuts. Always has been. She is bitter, angry.

    Stepp needs to step up to a treadmill with ol' Fred.

    If these are the stars of the republican extremists, no wonder they lost.

    As I understand, alot of people were out of towners anyway.

  20. Dear 2:22, You are rather demanding aren't you to expect pictures and story up within the hour of the "event" and Pete was nice enough to respond. You are a prime example of the ridiculous signs and fools who demand instant service yet want to pay nothing for it. Kind of like expecting lower taxes and get premium instand service for snow plowing, fire and rescue and police protection.

  21. These people are fools. They want service, like the guy who demand why the story and pictures weren't up within the hour.

    Let me tell you. This weekend, out in Racine County, someone got into a citizen's car to get hold of the garage door opener. The man opened the garage door and was trying to get into the house through the garage door entry. There were people HOME, it was late at night. The deputy responds as fast as he can, they are short of course, have to cover a large area these days. House isn't around alot of other houses. Wanna cut services some more to save taxes?

    Jody Harding campagns on cutting taxes, just where Miss Jody would you plan on cutting? Racine is running bare to the bones now. Anyone can stand up and hollar and hold a sign cut taxes, slam Obama, slam anyone, but it takes someone with thought and vision and experience to govern. Some of these women need hot flash medication.

  22. Some of those people looked angry enough to rip you apart. Who would have the nerve to ask them if they receive Medicare, Medicaid, VA benefits, or Social Security. Or use public parks, libraries or anything else?

  23. taxedtoomuch

    You're really on a roll.

    So this fake pastor is a true Christian, huh? Since when did using God's name to advocate for a policy that would result in a financial gain for yourself become a Christian principle? And not only that, but trying to focus hatred on liberals in the process? Disgusting and an embarrassment to the profession.

    And if the taxes here have reduced your quality of life so much ("we get next to nothing for it") then why don't you hop on a plane and go live in one of those countries with a low tax rate. Keep your extra $1000 per year and lament about how much happier you are in your straw hut.

    We live in the richest nation in the world people. The tax system is not perfect and there is waste, but don't pretend like you know what it means to be poor or that we have it so bad here in this country. Is selfishness and not appreciating what you have another true Christian principle?

    You and Jody Harding hate Racine, but your hatred is so selfish, that a tax cut would appease you both. So how much would it take to shut you up? $100, $200, a thousand?

    I've got news for you - God doesn't care about your money.

    Bleeding heart. I decided to look it up.

    "A person who shows extravagant sympathy especially for an object of alleged persecution."

    That's so not Christian!

    Jesus would want to help the poor, but you only want to help yourself. You want your money and all of it, Right Here, Right Now!. You want to spend, spend, spend so you can have more things and then you lecture everyone else about what a true Christian is. Unbelievable.

    Maybe Pastor King should spend less time worrying about his wallet and more time worrying about his congregation.

  24. I found it interesting that the entire crowd was made up of any older white people. Not a person of color or under the age of 40 in any picture.

  25. I don't have a problem with paying my fair share of taxes. What I have a problem with is people who don't care to work, expecting me to pay their way. I have a problem with the schools spending money just because it was given to them. Not for supplies the children will use, but for supplies that go unused and wasted. I don't have a problem paying for parks. I go to parks with my kids and we pick up after ourselves and leave the park cleaner than we found it. Just like yesterday at the Tea Party. I tried to pick up after the rally, but there was no garbage left. I appreciate our police force and their protection, but before they get there, I would appreciate being able to defend myself and my family without criminal charges being brought against me.

    Jesus did say give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's, but if everything we have has to go to "Caesar" than there is nothing left to give to God. Is that Joe Bidden's excuse for only giving $1800 in charitable contributions. My family gives more than that and we are a single income family.

    I agree whole heartedly with Pastor King. Too many people in this country have taken God out of there lives. This countries morals have declined to the point that breating is going to be illegal and killing babies is a billion dollar industry. We are an obamanation. God does not stand to be mocked. Google mocking God.

  26. Tea bagging parties...those whacky republicans, what will they think up next. :-)

  27. Good for them, I'm all for a good non-violent protest. Too bad they couldn't organize themselves eight years ago when the big government revolution was getting started.

  28. You Forced Me To Do This Pete4/19/2009 5:37 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  29. The tea bagging definition was totally uncalled for. I definitely could have done without. I have been trying to educate my children on how our government works, good or bad, and now I cannot involve them in this process using this blog. Thanks alot!!!!

  30. Pete - thanks for the coverage and photos of this rally.

  31. Sandy

    I know that since I went to public school in Racine, that means I'm uneducated and can't show up to work on time according to Jody Harding, but I'm going to do my best to form complete "sentences and not drool on the keyboard.

    "What I have a problem with is people who don't care to work"

    And who exactly are you referring to I wonder?

    "I have a problem with the schools spending money just because it was given to them"

    Well, yeah what do you want them to do with money, invest it in the stock market? This is one of the dumbest things I've seen on this site. And then you decide to continue:

    "Not for supplies the children will use, but for supplies that go unused and wasted."

    Well, I'm glad you are patrolling the schools looking for unused pencils. How many did you find? 4? If the city sends you a check for your tax contribution of $.01 in compensation will you be happy?

    I'm sure schools are actively looking for ways to buy supplies that are completely useless to them. Why? Because it's fun!

    "I go to parks with my kids and we pick up after ourselves and leave the park cleaner than we found it."

    But if there might be oil there then I'm sure you'd tear that park a new one! Well, congrats on doing what you're supposed to do - cleaning up after yourself. On a side note, I'll be sending you a thank you card on behalf of the citizens of Racine for stopping at red lights too.

    "Jesus did say give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's, but if everything we have has to go to "Caesar" than there is nothing left to give to God."

    Jesus needs cash. Oh that's good. Can we call that the Jesus tax? Nothing left huh? Somehow I doubt that. I guess the house, cars, cell phones, and other assorted material goods you own constitute having nothing left.

    Maybe when that was said about Caesar and God, they really meant give Casar what it Casar's (worldly possessions) and give God what is God's (your heart). But then again, God needs cash according to you so it couldn't possibly be that.

    I'm also glad you base your tax philosophy after a book written 2,000 years ago when at the time you could get a house in exchange for a chicken. Way to go.

    "I agree whole heartedly with Pastor King. Too many people in this country have taken God out of there lives."

    You and I agree. The problem is that it is the conservative right(eous) that have taken God out of their lives and replaced him with love of money.

    These fake Christians have hijacked the religion and turned it into a political party. Maybe God would be embarrassed that a bunch of people were complaining about how much they don't have when the already have so much. Great lesson to the kids by the way. Put your own personal selfishness above everything else.

    Spit on the Lord's name by using it to facilitate getting more money for yourself so you can buy some new silverware, all the while playing God by judging any and everything around them. How disgusting. Yeah, I'm sure Jesus would be complaining right now that he doesn't have enough stuff.

    God does not stand to be mocked, you're right. If Jesus were alive today you'd probably hate Him. He'd ask you to give and you'd say to heck with that you socialist! I give enough! Now leave me alone so I can watch American Idol.

  32. "Alot" is two words. A LOT. Two words, not one. There's no such word as alot.

    Sorry but that's a huge irritation for me.

  33. American Idol 'aint on 'till Tuesday and Wednesday night.

  34. Based on the photos, I know Pete was there. Pete, did you participate in the teabagging party??

  35. What a dumb question, would you ask the same of a JT reporter? Time to grow up.

  36. Anon 6:12: I was there strictly as a reporter/photog.

  37. "I found it interesting that the entire crowd was made up of any older white people. Not a person of color or under the age of 40 in any picture."

    QUIT THE RACIST CRAP. You can not judge an event by a few pictures.

    Show me the last time you mentioned how dark the crowd at an NAACP was.

  38. "Show me the last time you mentioned how dark the crowd at an NAACP was."

    It's called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People you idiot.

    Well, let me think. What kind of people might belong to an organization with that name? I don't know, maybe black people for one! It sure would be shocking to see one at a meeting! But then again I'm from Racine and am stupid according to your guest speaker Jody Harding.

    And yeah, let's not judge the whiteness of the crowd based on actual photos of the event. That would be really dumb. Let's base it on our imaginations and lack of reality. Close your eyes tight and imagine the diverse mixture of people that attended the event that day. Breathe in the air of equality and rejoice.

    Afterwords have some kool aid.

  39. There is plenty of waste in city spending. You have to know where to look, right away I am sure you will find 100's of thousands of dollars. Keep looking, they also know how to hide it.

    I like what Fred Dooley said. I am cutting back at home. I am not excited to see the city purchasing. They have plans for buses, recycling bins, and trees etc. What else?

    Thanks for this forum to speak our piece. Thanks for the stories.

  40. The "poor" in the United States are richer than 75% of the people on this globe. Have you ever noticed how many, if not most, come to this Country and maintain a lifestyle and work ethic better than the "poor" citizenry? Give something away for nothing....and that's just what it's worth.