Sowing the Seeds of Constitutional, Limited Government


For interviews or permission to republish please use the form linked below:
November 28, 2011

Nebraska  Right  To  Life  Not  Alone  In  Concerns  About  City  Of  Lincoln’s  Handling  Of  Occupy  Group
In  addressing  the  City  Council  on  Monday,  November  22,  Execu<ve  Director  of  Nebraska  Right  to  Life,  Julie  Schmit-­‐ Albin,  did  more  than  raise  ques<ons  about  how  enforcement  of  ordinances  for  size  and  placement  of  signs  has   affected  her  organiza<on,  says  another  Lincoln-­‐based  group. Shelli  Dawdy,  founder  of  the  limited  government  advocacy  group,  Grassroots  in  Nebraska  (GiN),  stated,  “We’re   grateful  that  Julie  took  the  <me  out  of  a  very  busy  holiday  week  -­‐  <me  that  GiN’s  leaders  didn’t  have  -­‐  to  point  out   some  of  the  problems  with  the  City’s  ordinances  and  enforcement  of  them.  There  is  a  growing  list  of  ques<ons   about  City  officials’  decision  making  and  how  it  impacts  ci<zens’  First  Amendment  rights,  about  taxpayer  liability,   about  public  safety  and  the  future  of  the  rule  of  law  in  Lincoln.” Dawdy’s  group  has  been  troubled  since  the  Occupy  Lincoln  encampment  sprang  up  on  the  Centennial  Mall  in  mid-­‐ October  and  has  been  ac<vely  monitoring  developments  both  locally  and  na<onally,  while  researching  Lincoln’s   Municipal  Codes.  GiN’s  leadership  team  has  no<ced  some  differences  in  the  City’s  handling  of  groups  like  GiN,   Nebraska  Right  to  Life,  and  others,  when  contrasted  against  the  handling  of  the  Occupy  Lincoln  group.  As  taxpayers,   members  of  GiN  are  increasingly  concerned  about  the  City’s  poten<al  exposure  to  costly  legal  ac<on  resul<ng  from   such  disparate  applica<on  of  the  law  affec<ng  ci<zens’  ability  to  exercise  their  First  Amendment  rights. City  officials  stated  in  October  that  the  Mall  is  not  a  City  Park,  but  a  “public  right-­‐of-­‐way”,  despite  a  long  history  of   management  by  the  Parks  and  Recrea<on  Department  which  includes  budge<ng,  maintenance,  long-­‐range  planning,   and  publica<on  in  print  and  the  City’s  website  that  the  Mall  is  a  park.  Parks  and  Recrea<on  has  required  groups  to   follow  permiXng  and  use  ordinances  for  parks  when  convening  events  on  the  Mall  in  the  past.  Occupy  Lincoln’s   encampment  violates  a  list  of  City  ordinances  under  any  classifica<on  of  the  Mall,  especially  since  indefinite   overnight  camping  is  involved.  The  City’s  past  enforcement  of  permit  requirements  for  First  Amendment  related   events,  including  marches  and  street  closures,  are  now  due  renewed  scru<ny. “There  seems  to  be  no  objec<ve  standard  for  how  groups  are  treated,”  Dawdy  noted,  “Some  groups  are  granted  one   kind  of  permit,  while  other  groups  are  required  to  get  another  kind  of  permit  in  the  same  space  for  the  same  kind  of   event.  S<ll  others,  including  Occupy  Lincoln,  are  not  required  to  get  a  permit  at  all.  We  can’t  find  a  way  to  make   sense  of  City  policy  associated  with  First  Amendment  expression,  including  those  regarding  signage.  City  officials’   statements  about  camping  on  Centennial  Mall,  whatever  officials  want  to  now  call  that  loca<on,  makes  the  least   sense  of  any  aspect  of  this  issue.”   Following  the  publica<on  of  an  ar<cle  in  the  Friday,  November  25,  Lincoln  Journal  Star  about  Schmit-­‐Albin’s   November  22  appearance  before  the  City  Council,  GiN’s  leadership  team  decided  to  let  other  Lincolnites  and  Schmit-­‐ Albin’s  cri<cs  know  that  an  all-­‐volunteer,  unincorporated  group  with  a  broad  mission  has  many  concerns  about   Lincoln  officials’  handling  of  the  ma\er.  As  of  Sunday  evening,  the  majority  of  comments  on  Journal  Star’s  web   version  of  the  ar<cle  were  dismissive,  personal  a\acks  on  Schmit-­‐Albin,  including  her  status  as  a  paid  employee,  her   pro-­‐life  advocacy,  and  even  on  her  family  life,  not  on  any  of  the  substan<ve  issues  about  unequal  applica<on  of  law   or  encroachment  on  First  Amendment  rights.   Dawdy  and  Schmit-­‐Albin  have  both  separately  stated  that  they  support  all  ci<zens’  ability  to  exercise  their  First   Amendment  rights  to  free  speech  and  assembly,  but  both  have  stated  that  they  believe  ci<zens  -­‐  including  Occupy   Lincoln  -­‐  should  do  so  within  the  confines  of  the  law. ###

Grassroots in Nebraska Press Release Nov. 28, 2011
For interviews or permission to republish:

GiN Web Article About City of Lincoln and Occupy Lincoln Group:
Occupy Lincoln Shanty Town: City of Lincoln PERMITing Hypocrisy

Other GiN Articles About Occupy Movement:
Occupy Lincoln: The 99 Percent, The Proletariat OR The 99 Percent? Government vs Capitalism OR Crony Capitalism? What Can We Do About Greed? For a Grassroots Spontaneous Movement - Occupy Groups Are A Lot Alike

About GiN
Grassroots in Nebraska (GiN), founded in March 2009, is a Lincoln, Nebraska, based group whose mission is to actively promote a return to Constitutional, limited government according to its original meaning. As an allvolunteer, unincorporated group, GiN organizes various actions in working to fulfill its mission, including rallies (some of which were tea parties), meetings, and periodically joins forces with other groups in Nebraska and across the country. GiN’s core focus is on research, analysis, and dissemination of information about current public policy issues, role of government, and history. The GiN website has become an increasingly popular information source for Nebraskans looking for independent assessments and analysis of state politics and important issues such as the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Project. GiN’s founder, Shelli Dawdy, who serves as media spokeswoman for the group, was an original member of the team who helped coordinate the 40+ simultaneous tea party events on February 27, 2009, but decided to form a group focused on Nebraska which was independent of national and political party influences. GiN and some of its leadership team individually have been covered by Nebraska media outlets since 2009, including KLKN-TV, WOWT, Ch. 10/11, KHAS TV and Radio, KFAB 1110, KLIN 1400, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful