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Tea party finds new life, broadens cause

By Staff | Mar 31, 2009

It appears the revolution will live on.
A Cape Coral woman has taken up the reins of the proposed tea party Wednesday at Jaycee Park, after original organizer Lynn Rosko backed off from sponsoring the event.
Faced with the prospect of heavy fines from the city for not having the proper permitting or insurance, Rosko disassociated herself from the event late last week.
Now Mary Rakovich is moving forward with the tea party, albeit with the backing of national organization Freedom Works.
“I really wanted to pick up the ball and run with this,” she said. “There are people out there who are very concerned about it.”
Rakovich said Freedom Works will provide the insurance per the city’s rules, and it will have an overflow site if the event exceeds 500 people.
The attendance factor is what originally drew the city’s attention. City officials said a lack of insurance and the possibility of drawing more than 500 people pushes the gathering into a full-blown event that would require a police, fire and EMS presence.
That backed Rosko up a bit, and she separated herself from the idea of protesting the city’s proposed service tax.
City Manager Terry Stewart said the city never told Rosko she could not hold the tea party, and it offered to post a park ranger at the gate to count attendees.
Stewart added that the city is happy to help anyone as long as they act in a responsible manner.
“We never lose our responsibility to safeguard the public,” he said. “No matter what someone else decides, that’s still our responsibility.”
Now that the event has new life, Rakovich admitted that the tea party’s scope will broaden to include national issues, along with the proposed city service tax.
As a member of Freedom Works, Rakovich said the organization is for “people who believe in freedom,” and focuses on less taxes and less government.
“We’re respectful, law-abiding citizens, not some wackos,” she said. “It’s just a gathering of like-minded citizens very concerned with local and national issues.”
Rakovich extended an invitation to Rosko to attend the event and speak her mind.
Rosko said she wishes Rakovich and company success, but is still not involved in any way with the tea party’s efforts.
“It’s a novel idea to allow the people free speech, as long as they’re not tied to three minutes,” Rosko said, referring to the time allotted citizens for public comment at city council meetings.
“I probably will be taking a walk through the park that day,” she added. “It is a public place.”
The tea party is free and open to the public. For information, contact Rakovich at 994-4305 or katraky@gmail.com.