No Tea Party – A Capitol Idea?

“The Capitol is no place for a Tea Party,” reads the invitation to a Jack McEneny event according to a post by Jimmy Vielkind on the Times Union’s Capitol Confidential blog.

Darn right!

I probably wouldn’t hold another Tea Party rally at the Capitol if you paid me.

Of course, Assemblyman McEneny wasn’t making a statement about Tea Party rallies.  Instead, his invitation was a jab at his opponent Deborah Busch and her Tea Party supporters.  It’s a rather snide comment, and one that ignores the legitimate concerns of many of his constituents.  Still, it’s not a huge surprise.  It’s politics.

But since this is my blog, let me take some artistic license and tell you about the second of the two Tea Party rallies that I coordinated.  It took place on June 16, 2009, was called the “March on Albany,” and brought hundreds of folks into Albany from across the state.  Planning it was miserable.  Awful.  Sucktastic.

When we planned the Albany Tax Day Tea Party, it only took a few e-mails, a couple phone calls, and one brief meeting with the City Clerk, the Albany Police Department and Albany’s Department of General Services.  Just like that, we had a permit for the rally that took place on April 15, 2009 at Albany’s Corning Preserve.

The March on Albany, on the other hand, was held at the state’s Capitol building, on state property.  That meant we had to get permits from the Office of General Services (OGS).  It took at least three meetings.  I cannot recall how many phone calls and e-mails were required.  We were run through the wringer.  How ’bout some examples:

  • The meetings with OGS, NY State Police and other folks were entirely humorless, if not downright hostile on occasion.
  • We were initially told that we needed to rent portable toilets. Fortunately, we found out at the last minute that it wasn’t a requirement.
  • OGS gave us a tough time over providing water and selling t-shirts at the event.
  • On the day of the event, OGS actually moved the media away from the rally site.
  • Participants were not allowed to have signs on sticks.  Ok, that was annoying, but it wasn’t a huge deal.  Safety and all.
  • Participants weren’t allowed to bring their flags on flagpoles.  That was a BIG deal to participants.  We actually had to argue to get the OK for a color guard to use flag poles to display the US and NY state flags.

Almost seemed like we weren’t very welcome at the Capitol…

Fortunately, it was a good event.  I learned quite a bit during the planning process, and I was pleased to see it attract hundreds from across the state. Here’s a link to some news coverage of the March on Albany by YNN.

You can also check out this video created by one of the attendees of the event.  It provides a flavor for the rally.

It was a good event, but I have no desire to return for a rally at the Capitol.

For the record, I have talked to a number of folks recently about Assemblyman McEneny.  Almost all of them spoke kindly of him as a person.  McEneny recently spoke with me at length in relation to a story I’m working on for my journalism class.  I certainly appreciated his candor. And check out this blog post on Albany Citizen One.  Despite some of our differences in political opinion, she’s one of my favorite bloggers.  This Friday she is hosting a fundraiser for Deb Busch.  Yet she speaks very highly of McEneny.  He really does seem like a nice guy.

But he’s way off base when it comes to his perceptions of the Tea Party.

Oh yeah, one last thought.  Take a look at the picture of the invite.  Does the Mad Hatter remind you of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver? Hmmmmm….

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2 Comments

  1. Hey Wade, thanks for the shout out! Hope you’ll be joining us on Friday for the fundraiser. Scheduling is a mess all over but tentative guests include Danielle Paladino, Harry Wilson and Dan Donovan….oh yeah, Ed Koch has also been invited. We’ll see…the way things are going it will be me, Deb and a bunch of protesters! 🙂

    That’s Friday 5-7 at O’Keeffe’s Pub in Albany (138 Washington Avenue). The Fort Orange Club and Albany Inst. Of Art are both offering their parking lots.

    Reply
    • I’m hoping to be at the fundraiser. Have to figure out the babysitting thing, though. Otherwise, I’ll have to get there late… hazards of being a stay-at-home dad, I suppose.

      Reply

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