Tea party activists rally in Modesto

UPDATE: 3:20 p.m. More than 100 "tea party" activists held a demonstration at 10th Street Plaza in Modesto today to protest what they view as too much taxation and excessive government intervention in American life.

Ed Krigbaum, author of "The Socialist Attack on American Freedom," was the keynote speaker at the downtown event.

Another tea party event was scheduled at Modesto Junior College.

Editor's note: This story will be updated with more information on the downtown protest and details from the MJC protest.


Tea party activists and sympathizers have their pick of two tax day rallies in Modesto, with one catering to a Republican crowd and another focusing on nonpartisan spending issues.

The events sprouted from rallies a year ago at which residents complained that they were "Taxed Enough Already" as they raised concerns about federal deficits and President Barack Obama's leadership.

Budget purists might like the all-day event at Tenth Street Place, where Modesto's Tea Party Patriots plan to advocate for limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets.

Political candidates are not scheduled to speak at that event, said organizer Ericka Chiara.

Ed Krigbaum, author of "The Socialist Attack on American Freedom," will be a keynote speaker.

About a mile away, another tea party rally focusing on "Generation Debt" will take place at Modesto Junior College.

That event is sponsored by MJC's College Republicans, and a number of GOP candidates are expected to drop by and speak.

"We're going to be discussing the debt that youth are going to have to pay the rest of their lives," said Mike Fowler, an adviser to the club.

That event's primary speakers will be:

Matthew McReynolds, an attorney at a nonprofit organization that advocates for religious freedom and parental rights, is scheduled to speak at 4:45 p.m.

Orly Taitz, an Orange County dentist known for challenging whether Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen who can hold the presidency, is speaking at 4:15 p.m. She was scheduled to speak at a tea party rally today in Pleasanton, but organizers rescinded her invitation because of her charges about Obama's citizenship.

"It's not worth it," Pleasanton Tea Party organizer Bridget Melson told the Los Angeles Times. "She's too controversial. This is not what the tea party is about at this point."

Chiara said her group chose to stay separate from the MJC event because it didn't want to get tied up with social issues.

"We really want to stick to our core values and avoid social issues," she said.

Both camps are venting about Congress, bank bailouts, deficit spending and the recently adopted health care reform bill.

"We believe that our politicians are not representing us in terms of our values and needs," Fowler said.

The Tea Party Patriots Event is set to take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.

The College Republicans' "Generation Debt" rally is set to take place from 4 to 7 p.m. at the MJC East Campus, 435 College Ave. Parking at the campus will be free of charge.

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