After Friday’s American Tea Party in Wichita, complaints rolled in. The Wichita Eagle article reporting on the event drew over 200 comments, many complaining about one or another aspect of over 700 people gathering for a peaceful event.
In particular, the squawking of one member of the Kansas House of Representatives only revealed the ignorance of the speaker in his attempt at finding irony. As reported on the Wichita Eagle’s editorial blog: “‘We need taxes to support their protests.’ — Rep. Dale Swenson, D-Wichita, about how Friday’s anti-tax tea party was held at the county-owned and taxpayer-supported Sedgwick County Park.”
As reported in the following submission by event organizer Lynda Tyler, the tea party paid quite a sum in order to use the park.
Those who came to the TEA party had an enjoyable evening. The compliments were 10 to 1 over complaints and frankly those were all valid complaints that could only have been fixed with more resources.
What gets me are those who like to hide behind their computer and nip at the ankles of those who are actually getting off their buttocks and doing something. Even if that something is waving a flag and socializing with like minded individuals. But there are two reoccurring comments that are really getting to me and I would like to address them.
One is the criticisms is the “irony” of holding the event at a public park. They claim that the “taxpayers paid for our protest.” Taxpayers paid for our protest about as much as they pay for any other event held out there. We were charged a large event rental of the property of $310. Since we were following the laws and contracts we had to pay for our own $500,000 liability insurance policy to protect the public lands against damage. That policy cost $682. Then instead of depending on tax paid facilities our contract with the county required we supply our own portable restrooms, trash bins and trash pickup of $580. The county sheriff’s department required that we hire two off duty officers for $240. During setup we discovered that there is barely enough power there to run a hair dryer so we had to rent a generator to run the food vendors for another $72. So all in all our “public park” cost us $1,884 to use. Did any of you pay that for your kids’ birthday party or to walk your dog out there?
Now had we done this the way most liberal protests we have seen over the years, we would have gone downtown (without permits), walked down the middle of the street during rush hour (blocking traffic), assaulted those in opposition (like the police), turned over and set fire to any cars that got in the way (destroyed property), thrown rocks through business windows (destroying property without insurance), and the county (tax payer) would not only have to pay for the clean up but for the police who had to use riot gear to stop the protest and then the expenses of arresting some protesters, pay for their public defender attorney and possibly pay for their room and board while the protester was in jail.
None of that happened at our TEA Party. All were welcome and nobody got hurt, arrested, or assaulted. There was very little trash to pick up after it was over and the vendors and groups were all very happy. We had people of opposing views there and they were treated with respect and welcomed to participate.