Tea Party was charged nearly $10,000 to host their demonstration but the Mayor of Richmond says the Occupy Folks get to protest free because he was part of the Civil rights movement.
We didn’t know that the Tea-Party was not exercising it’s civil rights or its First amendment protection under the constitution. Last time We checked civil rights were not afforded just to the left. O.K. ACLU where are You?????
The Richmond Tea Party is asking the city of Richmond for its money back. They say they’re not happy to hear that Occupy Richmond protesters get to stay in Kanawha Plaza – for free.
In April, the Richmond Tea Party held a Tax Day Rally in Kanawha Plaza. They say before they could use the city venue they were charged nearly $10,000 and had to comply with a series of usage forms and procedures.
Colleen Owens, a spokesperson for the Tea Party, says it’s obvious the Occupy demonstrators are not being held to the same standard. “We followed the rules, we followed the law, we got all the permits, we paid all the fees, we had to jump through all the hoops that they asked us to.”
Richmond Tea Party wants refund after seeing Occupy Richmond protesters camp out for free
Owens notes that the Tea Party “didn’t complain about it,” but that now they’re “sitting back and watching these Occupiers in Richmond and they’re basically camped out at Kanawha plaza.”
“And they’re not having to pay for the park, they’re not getting permits, they’re not paying for police, they’re not paying for port-o-potties, they’re not paying for emergency personnel,” Owens says.
“Everything that we were required to do,” she adds.
Owens says the Tea Party hopes to get an invoice into the Mayor’s office this week and ask for a refund.
“It’s not fair, the City of Richmond’s picking and choosing whose First Amendment rights trump someone else’s First Amendment rights and we thought–well that’s fine–then they can refund our money,” she says.
Blog: Richmond Occupiers Haven’t Paid Squat
The Richmond, Virginia Tea Party wants a refund from the city. In the past three years, the Tea Party has held tax day rallies in Kanawha Plaza across from the Federal Reserve Building; the same place where Occupy Richmond protesters have held up for the last two weeks. The difference? The tea party forked over nearly $10,000 dollars for permits, city fees and other expenses according to City Code requirements. The Occupiers haven’t paid squat.
According to one local attorney, William K. Taggert, occupiers are violating several Richmond City Code ordinances with no objections from Mayor Dwight Jones or other officials.
(1) Richmond City Code Section 26-390: “It shall be unlawful for any person to camp, tent, encamp or quarter upon any public grounds, parks, playfields, playgrounds or any public property owned or maintained by the city or lie upon any benches located within any such public property.”
(2) Richmond City Code Section 26-397(a): “Unless otherwise provided in this section, all public parks, playgrounds and recreation areas in the city shall open at sunrise and shall close at sunset each day of the year.” (e): “It shall be unlawful for any person other than a police officer of the city or state, an employee of the department of parks, recreation and community facilities acting in the scope of employment, or any other employee of the city acting in the scope of employment and having authorization from the director of parks, recreation and community facilities to go on, to go into or to occupy a public park, playground or recreation facility or area during hours other than as set out in this section.”
(3) The City Code also sets forth fees that must be paid for use of public spaces. It does not matter whether you call it a “rally” or a “protest.” You absolutely have a First Amendment right to assemble and to speak your voice and express your opinions. But you don’t have a right to violate the law in doing so.
One city council member feels the city should just pay up.