The city council of the town of Quincy, Illinois denied a request to speak by a taxpaying resident of the city – his only trespass against parliamentary procedure apparently rooted in his active support of the Quincy Tea Party effort.
Steve McQueen, one of the organizers of the Quincy Tea Party that fired off along with other similar protests in more than 800 cities across the country this past Tax Day, Apr. 15, requested in writing to speak on the Midwestern city’s recently approved $31.2 million budget and water and sewer rate increases.
A roll call vote was eventually taken and the seven Democrats on the council denied McQueen's opportunity to speak – while six Republicans voted to allow him to speak, according to a report by QuincyNews.org.
The majority prevailed, and McQueen was left "dumbfounded."
"Freedom of speech was not the issue I came to talk about, but it is the issue I left with," he said. "I cannot believe what took place here tonight. This solidifies my beliefs."
After the roll call vote, Alderman Mike Farha (R-4th Ward) blasted that he had never seen anyone denied the right to speak in his 10 years on the council and called the vote "outrageous," according to the QuincyNews report.
But Alderman Steve Duesterhaus (D-2nd Ward) was just as adamant, saying, "A point of order here. This is an incidental motion and is not subject to debate."
Duesterhaus added that in his opinion there had been ample opportunity to comment on the budget and the water and sewer increases before a previous vote on the issue.
The blowup in Quincy is an illustration that the Tea Party movement survived beyond Tax Day.
Organized in all 50 states by Americans from all walks of life, "tea parties" are described by organizers writing on TaxDayTeaParty.com as "a true grassroots protest of irresponsible fiscal policies and intrusive government."
Peter Roff, senior fellow at the Institute for Liberty, recently wrote:
"The 'Tea Parties' augur the beginnings of a new political movement, it is now clear, that may eventually exceed the power of MoveOn.org and others of the new liberal pressure groups in their ability to influence the votes of politicians in Washington, as well as state capitals in every region of the country."
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