Details, details…

History of the 2009 Albany Tax Day Tea Party – Part III

…many people can’t be bothered with them.  Not me.  I love the details.  One of the upsides (downsides?) of being a perfectionist, I suppose.  Not that I’m perfect. Not even close!  In my opinion, though, management of the details is one of those things that separate “great” from “good.”

As we discovered, planning a rally meant handling a myriad of issues.  It also meant doing so with extremely limited resources:  no money, little time, no existing organization.  The one thing we had was a group of passionate volunteers.  Despite accusations to the contrary we did not have any backing by existing political organizations.  It’s cliche, but it was truly grassroots.  Of our volunteers, only a couple had ever participated in or helped plan previous rallies.  Still, a group of energetic volunteers stepping up to handle the details was the biggest reason for the success of April 15, 2009’s Albany Tax Day Tea Party.

Here’s a partial list of those details:

  • Selection of location, time, and date: Corning Preserve; 11 AM – 2 PM; April 15, 2009.
  • Selection of theme “Rally for the Ordinary Citizen”: a result of intense online discussions.
  • Creation of web site, e-mail accounts, and Facebook page.
  • Obtaining a permit and insurance waiver from the City of Albany: kudos to the City Clerk’s office and the Albany Police Department.  They made it a painless process.  This process was handled in less than three weeks and started over the phone/via e-mail while I was on vacation in Wisconsin.
  • Ride-sharing, parking plans, and directions.
  • Creation and distribution of graphics and flyers.
  • Publicity, advertising, outreach, and press contacts:  handled well by Audrey Pietrucha.  (I hope to introduce her in a future blog post.)
  • Lining up speakers and music.
  • Creation of a detailed event schedule: down to the minute.
  • Coordination with WGY: live broadcast.
  • Electrical and sound system planning and setup:  coordinated by Jay Kline. (Another person I hope to introduce in a future blog post.)
  • Security for the event:  again thank you to the APD and to volunteers who kept an eye on things.
  • Online petition.
  • Planning and coordinating the setup and cleanup of the event:  managed ably by Tom Chandler.  (You’ll learn more about Tom in a future blog post.)
  • Implementation, coordination and adjustment of the event schedule: including actions of the MC (Al Roney), speakers, and musicians during the event.

In the end, we spent only a few hundred bucks, most of that the cost for the permit.  The funding:  donations and t-shirt sales.  The sound system, podium, tables & chairs:  all borrowed.  The speakers:  all ordinary citizens, in keeping with the theme.  No politicians were allowed to speak from the podium.

In the end, the event ran smoothly.  Having a detailed plan meant it was easy to make adjustments and make them look seamless.  Admittedly, the rally did run a little too long, and we learned some valuable lessons.  Yet, while it was not perfect, it was a rousing success.  It came directly from the efforts of volunteers as they attended to each detail with pride and passion.  Evidence of this:  when the rally ended, Tom Chandler and his crew had us packed up and cleaned up in mere minutes.  The park looked better afterwards than it did before.

Certainly the details were handled well, but did the event garner any media attention?  Find out in Part IV.

Leave a comment


  1. That very first Albany Tea Party was a pivotal point in my life. The lessons I learned from hearing the speakers and listening to the crowd voice their concerns was invaluable and life changing. Never again will I be able to support a candidate solely based on the R or D next to his/her. Never again will I be able to sit back after an election and trust that my representative has my back. I know better now and I thank the Tea Party movement for that.

    • I think we all learned a lot from each other that day, and we continue to do so. Don’t forget to thank yourself… you’re now a part of that movement!


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