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Cereans join cry against big government
Fearful of a socialistic direction in government, and fed up with taxes and wasteful spending, thousands of Ceres-Modesto area residents converged on the Modesto Centre Plaza Wednesday for a Modesto Tax Day Tea Party.

Ceres resident Karen Jorgensen assisted behind the scenes, bringing 1,200 tea bags - symbolic of the colonialists' Boston Tea Party in 1773 - for the audience to use as a measure of protest.

"We're asking that people mail them to their officials or drop them on Congressman (Dennis) Cardoza's desk," said Jorgensen, a state worker and mother of two, who attended the tax protest gathering with her eight-year-old daughter. Ashley Jorgensen held up a hand-painted sign bearing a slogan she came up with on her own: "Leave My Piggy Bank Alone."

"We're being taxed to oblivion," commented Jorgensen. "I also believe our rights are being taken away. I don't think my children will have the same liberties that I did growing up. It's being robbed from her. You have to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough."

The Jorgensens are making ends meet on what she makes as a Cal-OSHA compliance officer but times are tough. Husband James hasn't found a construction job in a while and she, like other state workers, took a 10 percent cut in pay to spare layoffs. She said she didn't mind a cut if it saved fellow state workers' their jobs. But she faults California lawmakers for $40 billion deficits and turning the state she loves "into a mockery."

Similar events were held throughout the nation Wednesday to coincide with the day that income tax returns were due. Critics called the Tax Party a Republican stunt, but Jorgensen said she faults Republican lawmakers just as much as the Democrats.

"They're out of control. I believe they're public servants, not the only way around. You call them and tell them your concerns and they just ignore you."

The Modesto event featured national radio talk show host Rusty Humphries who energized the crowd with a fevered anti-tax message.

"We're not going to bail out an irresponsible government," said Humphries. "We're gonna kick them out of office ... whether they're Democrat or Republican." He was able to get the crowd to loudly chant his catch phrase, "It's not their money!"

Janet Holbrook of Ceres took a lunchtime stroll to attend as a way of protesting what she called wasteful spending. "We've got to do something," said Holbrook. "You can't keep taxing people. You're got to cut back." She suggested that the recent massive federal bail-outs of private corporations is what has angered many.

Modesto's KFIV radio talk show host Dave Diamond attacked the pork spending in President Obama's massive spending bill. "We don't need a jackass museum in Bishop, California," said Diamond. "We're not against paying taxes. We're against government out of control, a government that isn't listening."

Ceres resident Ed Krigbaum was on hand to sign up American Independent Party members and promote his new book, "Relentless: The Socialist Attack on American Freedom." The book stresses ways the government is slowly being led into a socialist state, including foisting global warming on the public, something he said science disputes. He later addressed the crowd saying that government officials are taking advantage of Americans' ignorance of the socialist agenda.

Krigbaum said the rally was a "great start but I hope people don't go home, turn on the TV and forget about it."