Oh, Dealey? City Council to Clarify How and When It'll Go After Vendors on Park Land.

newrobertgroden.jpg
Photo by Mark Graham
Robert Groden at his usual spot in Dealey Plaza
Jim and I've spilled a lot of virtual ink in recent months writing about Robert Groden's legal battles with the city of Dallas over his selling JFK assassination-conspiracy wares in Dealey Plaza -- specifically, beneath one of the pergolas beneath which the Oliver Stone adviser has long set up shop. Long story short: Dallas PD arrested Groden for not having a vendor's permit, tossed him in jail, seized his stuff and took him to court, only to have a judge twice say: Well, no. The city insisted Dealey Plaza was Park and Rec-controlled property; again, a judge disagreed.

While browsing through the council's final agenda before summer break, I espied what can only be considered The Robert Groden Ordinance, which rewrites the section of the Dallas City Code the City Attorney's Office has used to go after Groden -- the one prohibiting the sale of goods and services on city-owned property. Per the summary of the ordinance rewrite:
The proposed ordinance amends Section 32-10 to clarify the offense and to provide defenses to prosecution that are similar to defenses provided for other city regulations governing vending on public property. The proposed ordinance would also authorize a person who witnesses a violation to file a complaint with the city attorney.
The new ordinance follows, but as Schutze said after I showed it to him: The rewrite shows, if nothing else, that the law being used to persecute ... pardon, prosecute ... Groden "doesn't work." New Dallas Park and Rec Vendor Ordinance
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6 comments
Mike
Mike

Why is this a Parks issue?  Can't the Council simply control vendors on city owned property?  The city ought to be able to control somebody setting up up a booth and selling materials on our property.  He can protest, give speeches, whatever, but the second one Abe coin gets exchanged, he and the other truth tellers crossed the line.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Ah, but according to the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case, money is speech so it's no longer an automatic disqualifier in this sort of exchange.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Why did the City Council briefing on the proposed ordinance take place in closed session?  What's so super secret about this that it needs to be kept from the public?

JimS
JimS

The city attorney had to tell the council, "O.K., this is about that Groden guy."

Aaron Collins
Aaron Collins

You can't disagree with people like Groden because all they have to say is that we are paid disinformation agents.  It's the same with those guys selling the newspapers (not all of them).  They have been fairly hostile to me in the past for disagreeing with them.

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