Tax day spurs calls for activism

APRIL 15, 2010


On April 14, the eve of the tax-day Tea party, Americans for Prosperity, a free-market grassroots group, hosted a dinner fundraiser packed with speakers across the conservative political spectrum. “Spring is finally here — or the first evidence of global warming,” opened Tim Phillips, president of Americas for Prosperity, a national organization that has only been in California for two years. The event, Defending the American Dream Summit, took place at the downtown Sheraton hotel, hosted by Peter Foy, chairman for AFP in California. In efforts to defend the American Dream, the event hoped to grow grassroots support and attention of upcoming elections to the public and policymakers alike.

“The purpose of the summit was to bring together AFP supporters for a pre-Tea party summit and introduce ourselves to people who might not be aware of our work,” said Meredith Turney, communications director for Americans for Prosperity.

“This was a great way to talk about personal liberties and get ready for tomorrow,” said Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, candidate for Board of Equalization. Speakers included U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Rocklin, and U.S. Senate candidates Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, as well Steve Poizner, the gubernatorial candidate and others.

“I’m running against Barbara Boxer” Carly Fiorina clearly indicated in her remarks. Her focus was on the growth of the national deficit leading to expanding government programs. “Barbara Boxer voted for the stimulus bill that was promised to keep unemployment at eight percent” — it currently tops 12 percent this month.  According to Fiorina, the president’s budget is likely to increase federal jobs by 14 percent over the next few years.

“We’re all becoming a party of ‘we’ve had enough’ and I believe we are at a time of choosing,” said Fiorina. “Our government is out of touch, it is arrogant, it is elite, I have lived the American dream — I will fight to restore the American dream.”

In the same fight against Barbara Boxer, State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore was next to speak. DeVore gave credit to the work of AFP, especially on the issue of revoking AB 32, a bill to reduce greenhouse gases at the expense of growing the economy. He did not fail to mention, however, his one point lead above Ms. Fiorina (and three points behind Rep. Boxer). “This is the year to win. And this is the year to say to the government — you’ll advance no further!” said DeVore.

Along those same lines, governor’s candidate Poizner came expressed his love for free-markets and quickly outlined his three-part plan to fix the dysfunctional state. First, cut 10 percent in sales, business and personal taxes and 50 percent in capital gains tax. Second, solve the water problem, suing the federal judge under the 10th amendment, if necessary, and third stop illegal immigration. “Sometimes it takes a crisis to galvanize what it takes to fix it,” said Poizner.

The candidates gained applause and support by the audience, as expected, yet the crowd was most energized by an Irish filmmaker, Ann McElhinney. McElhinney is the writer and producer of Not Evil, Just Wrong, a documentary on the inaccuracies of Al Gore’s film, The Inconvenient Truth. “Ideas matter, I’m a convert to realizing how great capitalism is,” she said in her Irish accent, emphasizing the need to teach these good ideas in school. “You’re breeding a generation of idiots and you’re not doing anything about it.” Climate change, she found “is not about climate, but how you control people.”

Last but not least, the night ended with three well known radio host from across the state, Hugh Hewitt, Larry Elder, and Roger Hedgecock. All had a take on how to fix the state’s woes, but Hugh Hewitt summed them up nicely — know your facts of the public pension crisis and tell your friends and family; allow people to use their land, getting the coastal commission off their backs; and vote for an attorney general that believes in the constitution.  The questions that followed ranged from state pensions to foreign policy.

“ The event was better than expected, I wish it went on longer,” said Teri Kalafate, a resident of Sonoma who came out for this event, “The candidates were great and the radio hosts were fantastic—they are a good sounding board since their not politicians.”

More is to come as the rally begins today, Thursday, April 15 at noon on the west steps of the Capitol.

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