Anti-tax activists known as the Cedar Rapids Tea Party were hoping to channel their revolutionary Boston brethren Saturday by dumping tea into the Cedar River. They’re seeking to defeat the local option tax that’s on the ballot here Tuesday.
(UPDATE — Tea Party’s Jeremy Cobert tells his group’s side of the story below)
But, according to The Des Moines Register, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources considers tea a pollutant:
Tea, although natural and quite tasty, is considered a pollutant that can’t go into a body of water without a permit, said Mike Wade, a senior environmental specialist at the DNR’s Manchester field office.
“Discoloration is considered a violation,” Wade said.
Although not as steeped in history, the Cedar Rapids Tea Party will dump dechlorinated tap water or riverwater from buckets labeled “tea,” said Tim Pugh, the group’s founder.
“We don’t want to hurt the river,” said Pugh, 32, of Cedar Rapids.
I’m not sure tap water carries the same symbolic potency of tea, but rules are rules. Civil disobedience ain’t what it used to be.
It’s also sort of ironic to worry about pouring a little tea in the Cedar after the muddy noxious muck the river left in hundreds of homes. Which reminds me of the reason we need the penny tax, which is probably not what the Tea Party folks were going for.
My column on the tax issue can be found here.
UPDATE — Here’s the comment posted by Jeremy Cobert from Cedar Rapids Tea Party:
this is Jeremy Cobert from http://www.CrTeaParty.org and the sites administrator. i cant believe how outrageously inaccurate this story is.
First of all on our website we posted back on the 17th plans to have a “SYMBOLIC TEA DUMP” symbolic being the key word. here is a link
and explanation that we were calling the DNR before any plans were finalized. we knew we would not be allowed to dump actual tea, but thankfully we called to confirm and have also informed everyone that they are not to dump anything but water. its easily found on our sites announcements under “TEA DUMP”
now to address the others on this site.
1. yes I was affected by the flood. my job was displaced. I was off work and when I went t back to work we had massive clean up. I work for the school district, and its funny that I never got attacked when I was down there in the mud getting Taylor, or the ESC back online.
2. yes this is a publicity stunt as we are a TRUE grassroots organization. We have very limited funds and work on this at night after we ******* work. we cant afford to hire a PR firm,televison or newspaper ad’s all we have ever asked from our supporters is for some of their time.
3.Tim and I have never asked for money/donation as we felt it would be inappropriate when we are calling for a thinner city budget. The other side (voteyes) has released their donors list and its no surprise who is on that list. Needless to say who benefits from a tax hike, just look on their list.
4. this is an emotional issue and those who do privately support our efforts can not come out and say so, without being crucified by the other side. So I’ve done my best to protect those.
5.the other side and those in the media like Mr. Dorman are portraying us as Kooks or that we don’t want to rebuild the city. When in fact the opposite is true. I just want the city’s officials to act more responsible with their current budget (as we all are already doing)
I just ask that people keep an open mind as Tim and I are probably just like you. I work, I have a family and times are tight. like many of you I have finally had enough of this city council and want to hold them accountable .
Sincerely Jeremy Cobert http://www.crteaparty.org
Not sure where he got that I think they’re kooks. He also took issue with my headline, so I changed it. He says they contacted the DNR first.
I actually thought the main reason this story is interesting is because the DNR says tea is a pollutant. I wasn’t looking to poke fun at the tea party. They’re going on all over the nation this week.