The Tea Party of Richmond, Virginia has called the city government on the carpet over the fact that it has allowed the Occupy Richmond protest to take over the city park of Kanawha Plaza since 15 October without action by the city.
Colleen Owens, spokesman for the Richmond Tea Party, has announced that the group is sending an invoice to the city for some $10,000 in expenses that they have incurred over the past three years for rental fees, permits, insurance, and other expenses such as sanitation services and police security, during rallies held at the park.
The tea party keeps being compared to the occupiers. Well, in the way we're treated, there's no comparison. It's like a slap in the face. . . . The city of Richmond is allowing Occupy Richmond to blatantly break the law day after day while forcing other groups to strictly comply.
The Occupy Richmond protest has applied for no permits and has apparently had no official communication with the city whatsoever, much less paying for any expenses incurred by the city.
The mayor’s press secretary has declined to comment, and a city council resolution that would ask the police department to “exercise forbearance and restraint” in dealing with the encampment has been deferred (and moved to a sub-committee) until 22 November.
A section of the city code makes it "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." The code was used last March to break up a group of anarchists who encamped in a park for about a week.
In a pathetic attempt to be fair and balanced, the CBS news affiliate quotes a spokesman for VA Pride as saying that a park can be used at any time by any group as long as it is not reserved, since it is . . . you know . . . public.
Today, Tea Party Richmond director Eric McGrane asserts that the mayor and city government shows that all laws do not apply equally.
Update: Fox News has picked up the story and expanded on it, citing other locations. The televised Special Report today has Jim Angle quoting the Richmond mayor as admitting that he is giving the Occupation preferential treatment, since he is "a product of the civil rights movement".
The fact that they are not and the fact that mayor [Dwight] Jones refuses to enforce the law and chooses to empathize with the OWS movement shows that city leadership endorses anarchy over lawfulness in Richmond.
Along with the invoice, the Tea Party has included a blank sheet of paper so that the mayor can list those laws that he considers optional.
I have located these stories outside the mainstream press, as I could not find mention of them otherwise. This goes along with the sentiment of the MSM that feels that they need publish, to paraphrase the motto of the New York Times, "all the news that we declare is fit to print". Historic journalist A J Liebling, after all, said, "The freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
All encouragement to the Richmond Tea Party, who is also tracking down connections between the Occupy Wall Street protests and at least tacit support of Democrat politicians, such as former Virginia governor and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine.
Update: The Richmond Times Dispatch publishes a commentary on the issue.