A recent ABC News article notes that:
“A Virginia tea party group is demanding a refund of about $8,000 from the city of Richmond, claiming it was unfairly charged for rallies while Occupy protesters have used the same space for several weeks for free.
The political organization is sending the city an invoice for the charges incurred for three rallies held in Kanawha Plaza over the past three years. The Occupy protesters have been camped in the plaza since Oct. 15.
Richmond Tea Party spokeswoman Colleen Owens says it’s not fair that her group had to pay fees for permits, portable toilets, police and emergency personnel. The group also had to purchase a $1 million insurance policy.”
This double standard is not unique to Richmond VA. All over the country the Tea Party had to pay fees for permits when they demonstrated and they never even considered “occupying” the space where the protests occurred. Now the same situation is popping up here in Vermont. As the OWS Burlington group considers the overnight “occupation” of City Hall Park, Burlington officials seem to be unsure of the course of action to take:
“A group of local Occupy Wall Street protesters appear prepared to begin a weekend encampment in City Hall Park in Burlington today, but it’s unclear whether they’ll be allowed to stay in the park overnight.
City officials representing police, fire, parks and other departments met for 90 minutes Thursday afternoon to discuss the pending encampment, but made no decision on whether the protesters could camp out in the park.”
A good question would be whether these same officials would be so nonchalant about the whole matter if it was the Tea Party who was planning to “occupy” the City Hall Park?
The article quotes the Major’s assistant as indicating that they are going to play it by ear:
“We’re going to review this as it unfolds, with an eye toward providing a balanced approach that meets everyone’s interests,” said Joe Reinhart, assistant to Mayor Bob Kiss.
Reinert said the Occupy Wall Street supporters in Burlington are known for making decisions on their activities on the spot by consensus, meaning any agreement on whether the group wants to camp overnight might not happen until today, at which point the city would decide what it will do.
It is curious that the OWS group thinks that such a decision can be made on the spot and that the City’s officials are not yet privy to that decision, because according to the acticle: “Under city ordinances, people are forbidden from sleeping in parks after 10 p.m. or setting up tents and bedding for that purpose.” So, if we were to take the law seriously, camping out overnight in the Park should not even be an option. Does anyone seriously believe that this would even be matter for discussion if it was the Tea Party who was thinking of doing this?