Open Thread: Will Tea Parties Be Reimbursed?
Nationwide, Tea Party groups are upset by the double standard applied to their rallies and Occupy Wall Street protests. While Tea Party groups typically are required to pay a fee to use a park for a one-day rally, OWS protestors have set up camp in the same parks for days at no cost.
One Tea Partier, Colleen Owens of Richmond, VA, is taking action, demanding that the Richmond City Council refund the $10,000 that the Richmond Tea Party was charged for their Kanawha Plaza rallies, the same venue Occupy Richmond protestors have been using at no charge.
Owens is not the only Tea Partier demanding fairer treatment. Do you think any of the Tea Parties will be successful in having their money reimbursed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Owens, along with others, believe that the OWS protestors are getting a free pass to break the law and not pay permit fees. According to FOX News Radio's Todd Starnes, Tea Party activists are growing increasingly frustrated with the situation:
“We’ve had to pay for the police, the sanitation, we had to pay for emergency personnel, and we event had to buy a $1 million liability policy,” Owens told Fox News. [...]
“We’re trying to show this is unfair and biased treatment by the mayor and the city council,” she said. “Either force the occupiers to follow the law that’s on the books or evict them.” [...]
“If they are not going to apply the law equally, then they should refund our money,” she said. “They’ve been camped out there for almost two weeks and they have not paid one dime. They are not being held accountable to follow the law, yet we were expected to follow the law.”
Owens is joined by Tea Party leaders across the country who have experienced similar frustrations. In Nashville, the Tea Party was refused access to hold a rally at Legislative Plaza, the same place where Occupy Nashville has been camping for three weeks, apparently without securing a permit. In Louisville, Tea Party organizer Wendy Caswell explained that Occupy Louisville protestors could camp in Jefferson Park until the end of the year for a $25 fee, while a permit for a one-day Tea Party rally at the same park cost $75, on top of insurance, security, and medical personnel.
Do you think Tea Party organizers will have any success in securing reimbursements? Will cities begin cracking down on OWS protests without proper permits? Or do you think OWS protests will continue getting a free pass?