Aaronson: No apology to Tea Party crowd at commission meeting
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By George Bennett |
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
About 50 members of the anti-tax Tea Party movement showed up for this morning's Palm Beach County Commission meeting after taking umbrage at dismissive remarks by Commissioner Burt Aaronson at a meeting last month.
After a big crowd filled a plaza outside the county government center for an evening rally on April 15, Aaronson noted during a weekday commission meeting in May that Tea Party activists "participated in the tea party, but they couldn't get here today."
Aaronson was silent when one activist said she felt Aaronson's remarks were out of line.
Suzanne Squire stepped up to the podium during public comment on a usually noncontroversial agenda item about water utilities and said she felt Aaronson's previous comments were "kind of like kicking your boss in the butt," since he's an elected official.
"I'm shaking in my shoes right now," she said. "Mr Aaronson, I believe that you owe me and my friends a public apology for what has happened."
Aaronson was silent. Commission Chairman Jeff Koons quickly intervened.
"If you felt that you were threatened, I want to extend my apologies from everyone on this board," Koons said.
"Thank you," said Squire. "I do believe it should come from the source, but I don't see it coming."
The Tea Party movement originally formed to protest massive federal spending and deficits, but some in the crowd this morning said they're fed up with local government taxing and spending as well.
"I'm just sick and tired of the politicians not listening to the people," said Jeanne Barnett of The Acreage, who sat in the back of the chambers with a large sign featuring several declarations and ending with "We...Are Voters....Your Boss."
Everett Wilkinson, a 30-year-old financial adviser, organized today's turnout and said he was pleased with the attendance.
"It's a work day. Our people are working, so if we get, I don't know, 50 people, that's more than most organizations can pull out on a weekday," Wilkinson said. "We're just trying to get our voices heard that we're watching them."
Some in the crowd had "Give Me Liberty, Don't Give Me Debt" signs and others had "Taxed Enough Already" signs or T-shirts.