homepage logo

Cape ‘Tea Party’ canceled due to fear of fines

By Staff | Mar 28, 2009

A Cape resident is changing her mind about protesting potential service taxes after being threatened, she says, with a number of fines from the city.
Lynn Rosko had scheduled a “tea party” at Jaycee Park on April 1 to object to the city’s proposed service tax — which would tax electricity and natural gas — but has since called off her protest due to opposition from the city.
Rosko said she was originally told by Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pohlman that the gathering could not exceed 499 participants, or she would be required to provide special permitting, security, and insurance.
She said Pohlman has since changed his position, and Rosko would require a permit because of the event’s potential to draw more than 499 people.
“The city is piling it on, saying you have to do this, you have to that. It’s become a very expensive proposition,” she said.
Rosko estimated the required permitting and insurance would easily cost “several thousand,” though she admitted that amount is only an estimate.
The tea party, then, is effectively canceled, though Rosko said people are welcome to gather at Jaycee Park at speak their mind. She just wants it known that she has separated herself from the situation.
“If people want to get together it’s their right. They have a First Amendment right to assemble peacefully,” Rosko said. “If they want to do that they have a right, but I’m not going to be sponsoring or organizing it, effective immediately. I don’t want them (the city) to come after me.”
Rosko is instead turning her focus toward a tea party event in Fort Myers on April 15.
The Tax Day Tea Party in Fort Myers will be held at Centennial Park at 5 p.m., and Rosko said Cape Coral residents have been invited to attend.
“These tea parties are happening all over the United States. It’s in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, it’s not an unusual occurrence,” Rosko added.
As part of the city budget, the council has not yet voted on the proposed public service tax. If the tax is approved, it would not take effect until 2010.
Rosko said in an interview earlier in the week she has not estimated what her own costs would be if the tax were instituted, but added that she would be most concerned about those on a fixed income and those like disabled veterans who do not have to pay property tax
City officials did not return calls seeking comment by press time.