|By Steve Terrell, The Santa Fe New Mexican|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Last week a couple of local
"As two of the principal organizers of the 2009 and 2010 tea-party rallies on the Plaza, we can confirm that we had to secure a permit to use the Plaza,
I realize some readers will be thinking, "What the heck? They're Republicans. They can afford it."
But setting political prejudices aside -- if that's ever possible -- one can ask if it's fair to make one group of citizens pay to use a city park for a political gathering while another group gets to use a park for free?
Location, location, location: I asked that very question of Mayor
"They're at a distant corner of the
On the other hand, the mayor pointed out, the tea-party events took place on the Plaza, "which is the center for commerce in downtown
Coss also said he didn't waive any fees for anyone camping out at the
The occupy group is engaging in civil disobedience, Coss asserted -- civil disobedience "sort of." Can it really be called disobedience when the participants aren't seeking arrest or confrontation with the law? They have negotiated with city officials, including police. All sides have said there is a good rapport. But Coss said he's made it clear that if there is damage to the park or other problems, he will want the city to remove the protesters. He said he and other city officials are monitoring the situation.
And so far, so good. There haven't been any more incidents at the
Coss said he's proud that
Unequal application: When told about the mayor's response,
He pointed out that the city's website specifies fees for using parks starting at
Another difference, Bohlander said, is that the tea-party events were limited to a few hours, while the occupy encampment has lasted more than a month. "I'm not saying there's a conspiracy or anything," Bohlander said. "It just seems to be hypocritical."
Coss said that as far as he's concerned, in the absence of serious problems, Occupy Santa Fe can stay in the park. At least until next spring when gay pride events are scheduled for
"I bet they will have to pay for a permit, too," Bohlander said.
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