Something smells fishy here in River City. The local Tea Party organization complained to Mayor Dwight Jones about having to pay fees for permits and services for three rallies held in downtown Richmond, while the local Occutards occupied the same space without filing for permits, or paying for services of any kind. The Tea Partiers figured the city owed them $8500, or the Occupests should get a bill (only, to whom would it be sent?). Guess what? Instead of getting a meeting with the Mayor -like the Occutards got- the Tea Party got a notice that they are being audited by the city. Surprise! Don’t mess with the lefty political machine.
Two weeks after the Richmond Tea Party delivered an invoice to Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones for costs incurred for previous rallies, we received a letter from the City of Richmond formally stating that the city is auditing our Tea Party. Coincidence? This audit is an obvious attempt to intimidate and harass us for standing up against the unfair treatment and discrimination against our Tea Party.
First some back story: as reported on the front page of the Richmond Times Dispatch, the Richmond Tea Party delivered an invoice for charges incurred in our previous three Tax Day rallies at Kanawha Plaza because Mayor Jones chose to allow Occupy Richmond protesters to convene in the same park for two weeks.
The Mayor not only allowed the Occupiers to break the law, but he visited them in the city-owned park. “Jones said that as a ‘child of civil rights’ and protests, he had allowed the group to remain in the park but understands his mayoral responsibility to uphold laws of the city,” reported the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Apparently his mayoral duties included preferential treatment for a group he sympathizes with ideologically at the expense of the taxpayers.
The blog Virginia Right reported that the city provided services such as portable toilets, trash pickup, etc. The incomplete invoices obtained from the city totaled $7,000. This was only a portion of the actual costs to taxpayers because the costs of police, helicopter and incarcerations were not included. Also not accounted for was the 24-hour police protection of the Mayor’s home after the Occupiers moved their camp next door to the Mayor’s house. The Richmond Tea Party, conversely, paid for all services for our rallies, including the police, portable toilets, park fees and permits, amounting to approximately $8,500.
Our actions apparently struck a nerve. Our invoice to the Mayor was covered by hundreds of news outlets, including the AP, Richmond Times Dispatch, Baltimore Sun, and the Washington Post. On October 31, I appeared on Fox Business, Neil Cavuto’s show, and was interviewed about our actions. Reportedly, at least two Richmond City Council members agreed with our plight. “I guess we’ll be writing a check to the Tea Party people,” said Councilman Bruce W. Tyler, as quoted in the Richmond Times Dispatch. “You can’t treat one group different from the other. It’s unfair.”
It is unfair for the Tea Party to be required to go through all the hoops to hold a lawful demonstration, while the Occutards get off scott-free.
Read the rest: Richmond City Audits Local Tea Party After Standoff with Mayor | Politics and Economics Right Side News.