A one-hour “religious freedom” protest rally scheduled for Friday, June 8 in Charlottesville’s Jackson Park will cost the organizers $357.32 in city fees and required insurance coverage, The Schilling Show has learned. A city-mandated mandated $250.00 “deposit” will bring the upfront expense of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Stand Up For Religious Freedom (SURF) event to $607.32.

In contrast, last fall’s Occupy Charlottesville (OC) law-bending takeover of Lee Park—which lasted for 45 days, presented far greater liability exposure to the city, and was a major public safety and health threat to participants and citizens alike— cost that group nothing. All fees were waived in the name of “First Amendment Rights,” according to City Manager Maurice Jones, who in collusion with OC leaders and Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Director, Brian Daly, worked to make Occupy Charlottesville’s “free speech” demonstration, truly free to the protestors; although, Charlottesville citizens and taxpayers paid dearly for the incessant occupation.

Despite the dangerous and ultimately violent nature of their long-term seizure of Lee Park, OC was not required to purchase the standard $1,000,000 indemnity insurance which was demanded of SURF, and which would have protected Charlottesville taxpayers from liability for Occupier’s misdeeds. Adding insult to injury, in spite of a written promise to “clean” the park upon their departure, OC left behind a filthy hodgepodge of fetid refuse, which—because City Manager Jones waived Occupy’s “deposit” requirement—taxpayers remediated in toto.

When conducting “First Amendment” protests in Charlottesville, the message is loud and clear: if your cause is progressive, you can count on preferential treatment; if your cause is conservative, you will strictly be held to the letter of the law. Although such “unequal protection” explicitly is precluded by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, Maurice Jones and Charlottesville’s all-Democrat, City Hall cabal, will continue their ongoing politically-based legal favoritism unless and until they are forcibly, legally impeded.

 No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. — from Section 1, Fourteenth Amendment


  1. Preferential treatment for leftists from Charlottesville City Hall?

    Right, leftists like the Jefferson Area Tea Party, which you noted “was offered . . . a similar waiver . . . for a rally in the City’s McGuffey Park in opposition to the Occupy demonstration.”

  2. Ken:

    The waiver offered to the JATP last fall was the first time in our 2 1/2 year existence that the City offered to waive a fee or requirement of liability insurance for us. Up until then, we ALWAYS paid the fees and for the expensive insurance – time and again – without complaint.

    Furthermore, the application I submitted to City Parks and Recreation (CP&R) for our October rally INCLUDED a check for the $25.00 application fee. It was only after CP&R received it in the mail and news broke in the media that the City waived the fee for Occupy Charlottesville, that I received a phone call telling me without explanation (even after I insisted on getting one) the City decided to waive the fee,

    They advised me they were planning to return my check. I advised them that until I got an explanation for the reason our fee was being mysteriously refunded, that they should hold onto the check. After pressuring them for an answer, I received an e-mail from Maurice Jones in which he revealed, as quoted below, the elusive reason:

    “As a way to support the First Amendment Rights of our residents we have decided to waive the $25.00 application fee for both Occupy Charlottesville and the Jefferson Area Tea Party demonstrations.”

    So the JATP only received special treatment as political cover for what they were giving to OC. Of course, MANY other waivers and favors were extended to OC as the encampment rolled on.

    With answer in hand from Mr. Jones, I called back CP&R to tell them we chose to reject the waiver and I insisted they cash our check. We refused to be complicit in the City’s transparent and disingenous game of tit-for-tat designed only for their own protection.

    Now, with the discrimination perpetrated on Stand Up for Religious Freedom,clearly the City has not amended its policy to make sharp distinctions between political demonstrations and community festivals – like the Dogwood and Chocolate festivals, for example, whose requirements for fees and insurance are reasonable.

    The activists of SURF are going to be in the park with placards to listen to a few speakers for one hour during regularly open hours for the entire community. They will be exercising their Constitutional rights as guaranteed in the first and fourteenth amendments.

    Other than perhaps a courtesy call to the City in a courteous effort to select a rally date which does not conflict with the plans of another organization, why should they have to notify the City at all?

  3. Carole, I remember that bit of business with City Parks and Rec last year. The city’s initial response was clearly hypocritical, but you made your point and were offered equal treatment. I’m not defending the city in regards to today’s rally because I haven’t heard an explanation for their decision. But the fact is that in the end you were offered equal treatment.

  4. “But the fact is that in the end you were offered equal treatment.”

    Har, har….. suurrrrrrreeeeeeeeeee – equal treatment MONETARILY it looked, but for a price….. an indirect price there Ken. Can you say extortive inveiglement? A council shouldn’t have to be told what’s sauce for their political favorites is also good too for their political shunned adversaries. What happened to treating every applicant from the get-go the same without insinuating circumstances or (heaven forbid) without veiled bias?

    Bravo Carole for telling the city to hold on to their check.

  5. Spade, I agree with you. Of course. My point was that in the end the city did the right thing last year. We’ll have to see what they have to say for themselves this time – or what they ask from the next leftist group that wants to rally.

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