By Chasing Robert Groden from Dealey Plaza, City Hall Conspires to Make Dallas Look Asinine

Let's not even get into the underlying issue of whether Robert Groden should be able to sell his books and magazines about the Kennedy assassination on Dealey Plaza downtown. Just for grins, let's put that to one side.

What gets me is the extreme Vladimir Putin-style in-your-face we're-not-even-embarrassed-by-it thug-ocratic stupidity of the way the city has gone after him.

The city says Groden can't sell Kennedy assassination literature in Dealey Plaza without a special Dealey Plaza Literature Sales Permit (DPLSP). Groden doesn't have one.

Why doesn't he have one? I mean, if that's what you have to have, why doesn't the guy go over to City Hall, fill out the necessary paperwork, pay the fee and get himself a DPLSP? What is he, a hard-head?

No, that's not the problem. The problem is that there is no such thing as a DPLSP. There is no paperwork you can fill out, no fee you can pay. The city does not, cannot and will not provide anyone with a Dealey Plaza Literature Sales Permit.

But you better have one. If not, they'll ticket you, fine you, shut you down and run you out of town.

Now do you get it? We've got a floor full of lawyers over at City Hall in the process of appealing a ruling by a judge who decided in Groden's favor in December and again last week. I would summarize the judge's opinion in the case as: WTF. And I think the city's position in response to the ruling could be summarized as FU.

There are so many questions I could ask. Does it occur to anyone that this kind of official behavior may be related to the problem of downtown Dallas being a dead zone? Does the city of Dallas not mind looking like an ass? Is this not some kind of criminal behavior by the city, like official oppression, that could result in charges against city officials?

But I'm not asking those questions. Forget those questions. I just wind up with the same question the judge did. WTF?

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Jim Schutze has been the city columnist for the Dallas Observer since 1998. He has been a recipient of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ national award for best commentary and Lincoln University’s national Unity Award for writing on civil rights and racial issues. In 2011 he was admitted to the Texas Institute of Letters.
Contact: Jim Schutze