This is actually going to be about the Americans for Prosperity meeting last night, which I was told would be a planning meeting for next month’s Tax Day TEA Party here in Salisbury. But apparently much of the event has been planned – however, what I didn’t know is that Ocean City will have one as well. More on that later, though.
To open the meeting, AFP Wicomico co-chair Julie Brewington had a monologue where she noted the Obamacare bill was “a finger poked in the face of the people” and created “a nation divided (which was) a very sad thing.” But rather than being depressed, she was “more energized than ever.”
To her, people were “fairly ignorant” on the contents of the Obamacare bill, and because of the lack of transparency, “we must change who represents us” here in Maryland.
At that point, we received some key dates.
On March 31st there will be a town hall meeting sponsored by Wicomico County Councilman Bill McCain regarding the revenue cap. McCain would prefer to see it repealed and allow the county to raise our property taxes through the roof (since property values are so far down the millage rate will probably increase regardless) but wants public input. I’m sure we’ll give it to him. The sobfest will be held in the Danang Room at the Wicomico County Youth and Civic Center beginning at 7 p.m.
Five days later sanity returns to the Danang Room as state Republican Chair Audrey Scott hosts a town hall meeting of her own, April 5th at 6:30 p.m. Brewington noted that the Republicans were “begging” for TEA Party input and personally I welcome them into the fold. (Otherwise there wouldn’t be any GOP Central Committee people attending AFP meetings, although the College Republicans also meet that night so that may account for one or two others.)
On April 6th the Wicomico County Council has its quarterly night meeting, where we were urged by AFP member Matt Trenka to “pack the house” and take advantage of the public comments. When pressed, County Councilman John Cannon (who was in attendance) said he supported the idea and noted it’s one of the few items brought back to the Council’s attention after a decision was made – the quarterly meetings were a compromise measure. The current schedule was “terribly confusing,” said Cannon, and I imagine this may be a side issue for this year’s election.
Finally, the Tax Day TEA Party will be held April 15th (naturally.) That was the last subject we covered, so I’ll get to that shortly.
G.A. Harrison (of Delmarva Dealings fame) next spoke on the prospects of an elected school board. He noted that only 6 of Maryland’s 24 school districts (each county and Baltimore City) still had appointed boards of education, and only Caroline and Wicomico counties had that method here on the Eastern Shore. To get an elected board, we would have to have a non-binding referendum and there were two methods of achieving this:
- through the approval of County Council, or;
- via petition drive, with the signatures of 10% of county voters in the last election for Governor. For Wicomico County, this would mean we have to gather 2,821 valid signatures. The time is tight for this petition though: the language needs to be filed by May 1, with 1/3 of the signatures in by May 31 and the remainder by June 30.
Obviously the easier route is County Council, and recently the Republican Central Committee sent a letter to the County Council expressing our support (a letter I was pleased to sign.) Harrison noted that the Democrats may be on board as well, but for differing reasons – the teacher’s union would certainly try to influence the school board election.
State AFP head Dave Schwartz was also in attendance, and he spoke at some length about the recent fight against Obamacare. He told us that, “the American people are with us” and had it not been for all of our efforts this would have been done last June. After the 2008 elections the only question was when Democrats would pull the trigger, noted Schwartz. But Americans got to look at how things work in Washington, D.C. and they don’t like it – a CBS News poll released this week revealed 62% want Republicans to keep fighting this bill!
While the media wants to paint this as an “accomplishment,” continued Schwartz, it was only an accomplishment in the sense of getting a third mortgage when you had difficulty paying for the first two.
The next steps in our fight were:
- To “win the aftermath” by explaining the bill’s pitfalls (of which there are many) better than the other side explains the supposed benefits. After all, $500 billion in new taxes, $500 billion in Medicare cuts, and a “fast-forward” to single-payer only benefit the government.
- Signing the petition at NOvemberiscoming.com. (As I write this 343,138 have.)
- Attend the Tax Day TEA Party here – 600 did last year and we want double this year!
- Call and get the Health Care Freedom Act passed here in Maryland. The bill lost in committee 6-5 but we are asking two Democrats to reconsider.
Schwartz concluded by citing an AMA study which suggested that a high percentage of older doctors (over 50) will simply choose to retire as early as possible once Obamacare takes full effect, leaving fewer providers to care for an increasing number of insured patients who expect free medical service.
Two other quick pieces of information we received were that the Leadership Institute candidate school originally scheduled for Cambridge this weekend was cancelled, but there were still openings up in Dover. Also, the Worcester County AFP chapter asked for donations to purchase the use of a billboard along U.S. 50 to promote a message.
Finally, the Tax Day TEA Parties.
In Salisbury, the TEA Party goes on Thursday, April 15th from 3 to 7 p.m. About the only desired thing missing from the planning is a band, but everything else seems to be going as planned (aside from hoping for better weather, of course.) The venue remains the front lawn of the Government Office Building downtown on Division Street.
This year, Ocean City joins in on the fun! On Saturday, April 17 from noon to 3 p.m. theirs will be held in the plaza which hosts Trader Lee’s on the southwest corner of U.S. 50 and Maryland Route 611.
In either case, I encourage my readers to attend and they can register at this website. It looks like AFP has taken the lead in planning and promoting these events in Maryland, although each individual one is different.
Their next meeting will be April 28th at Brew River in Salisbury. Be there early to grab a seat because we had over 70 in a room set up originally for 50.