Coalville woman plans ‘tea-party’ protest
Ryan Summerlin April 10, 2009
Coalville resident Colleen Schulte says she will take a stand Wednesday against reckless spending by politicians in Washington.
Schulte is helping organize a modern-day tea party in the Summit County seat as part of a nationwide movement of protests against bank bailouts and stimulus plans.
On April 15, tax day, hundreds of cities will host demonstrations in the spirit of the Boston Tea Party of 1773, when patriots dressed as Indians protested unfair taxation by dumping tea into the harbor.
"This is a horrible thing that they’re doing to us," Schulte said in a telephone interview Friday. "It’s going to kill us and it’s going to kill our children."
She said she is afraid federal spending underway in the nation’s capital will create a crushing tax burden for her children and grandchildren.
"I’m just tired of the money the government is putting into bailouts for these companies and these banks," Schulte said. "How dare they?"
In Utah, other tax-day tea parties are planned in Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, St. George, Tooele and Vernal.
Schulte said she hopes her neighbors show up at Coalville City Hall at noon to criticize politicians who voted to bail out cash-starved car companies and financial institutions.
"I’m tired of this," she said. "And if I am, other people are."
Meanwhile, Mayor Duane Schmidt said a permit is not needed for demonstrating in Coalville.
"I don’t have a problem with it. It’s a free country and people have a right to say and do and feel how they choose to feel," Schmidt said. "My only obligation is to make sure there is some sort of public safety in place. Any time you have a rally, you’ve got people, and there is always potential for some sort of problem."
Schmidt said he may attend the demonstration.
"I might go over there and see what the people are talking about," the mayor said.
Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said he doesn’t expect radical protesters to attend the tea party.
"We will monitor it, depending on how big it is," Edmunds said. "If it becomes horrific, there are things law enforcement can do to shut it down."
But deputies will not stop peaceable demonstrators, he stressed.
"When it comes to free speech issues, we give people a lot of leeway and I don’t know of a violent demonstration that we’ve had here," Edmunds said. "I’d obviously prefer people keep it G-rated if there are a lot of kids around."
Beltway politicians are criticized on the teapartyday.com Web site for wanting "doctors and medical workers to perform abortions against their will" and refusing "to stop the flow of millions of illegal immigrants into our country".
But Schulte insists Wednesday’s demonstration should be nonpartisan.
"We’re just frustrated with the money that the government is putting into everything, these so-called bailouts. They could have given that money to people," she said.
Suggestions from Barack Obama for fixing the nation’s financial woes have been irresponsible, Schulte said.
"I run a household. I have a certain amount of income that comes in and I have to make do with what comes in," she said.
Still, reckless spending in Washington began before Obama, Summit County Democratic Party Chairwoman Laura Bonham countered.
"The real reckless spending started when George Bush hauled us off to war in Iraq, and cut taxes. Those are the two factors that really brought us to our knees," Bonham said Friday. "The people in government at least recognize that we have a problem, unlike the previous administration."
Bonham lives in Coalville and said she may visit Wednesday’s protest.
"I will probably be driving by there on my way to mail my taxes," she said. "Even the tea-baggers are asking good questions. Eight years too late, but good questions nonetheless."