Oh, Dealey? City Council to Clarify How and When It'll Go After Vendors on Park Land.
Robert Groden at his usual spot in Dealey Plaza
Photo by Mark Graham
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."
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