City of Richmond Responds to Our Refund Request

 

A few weeks ago, I reported on how the Richmond Tea Party invoiced the City of Richmond for a refund of the expenses incurred from our three Tax Day Rallies in Kanawha Plaza, the same place where Occupy Richmond illegally camped for two weeks without paying a single fee to the City. We figured that in spirit of equal application of the law, a refund from Mayor Dwight Jones was in order. Shortly thereafter, we received a brief letter that promised a timely response to our request. We have since received that response.

Before I get to that, though, let me bring you up to speed on the full story.

Last week, we learned that in addition to the City of Richmond’s open favoring of Occupy Richmond, the City went so far as to even pay some of their bills, including providing toilets and cleanup. (See the invoices here.) The Richmond Tea Party, of course, paid for these same services ourselves during our three events. It should be noted, though, that Occupy Richmond intended to provide for these services as well, but the Mayor went out of his way to pick up the tab at taxpayer expense.

As if that weren’t bad enough, when we showed up to plead our case before the Richmond City Council last week, Mayor Jones walked out of his own meeting the moment our first speaker was announced. Too bad he didn’t stick around to hear Councilmen Jewell follow up by saying he agreed with us 100% and that we should be refunded our money. Apparently Mayor Jones was too busy meeting personally with the Occupiers to address their concerns and offering one of them a position on his anti-poverty commission.

I don’t suppose I’d be fortunate enough to get my own meeting and the same offer. I have done a lot of anti-poverty work in Richmond myself, and I would love to share my experiences with the commission to help craft a wise policy of approaching a serious problem. But considering the Mayor’s response to our refund request, I call it a safe bet that I will receive no such offer.

What was his response, you wonder?

A tax audit, of course!

Nice, eh? Not to worry, though. We are the Tea Party and, therefore, have followed every applicable tax law to this point, including filing all the proper forms. We will file them again, though, to satisfy the audit requirements.

But that won’t be the last the City of Richmond hears from the Richmond Tea Party and the American people.

The City is now openly rewarding and financing lawlessness, while punishing and charging the law-abiding. These actions represent the kind of bullying and abuse of power the American people have come to expect from those in office and are now dedicated to stopping. We stand united in holding accountable every last corrupt politician, no matter which office they hold or at which level they serve.

More will be coming out about this story in the coming days and weeks, but for now, I wanted to give you the quick update and let you know that we, like you, are done taking it from arrogant politicians. The City of Richmond gave us their response—now we have one for them.

Stay tuned.

Cross-posted at redstatevirginia.com

By | 2011-11-23T01:07:37+00:00 November 23rd, 2011|Government|30 Comments

About the Author:

As a political independent, Jonathan Wakefield serves on the Board of Directors of the Richmond Tea Party. He is the author of SAVING AMERICA: A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE OF THE TEA PARTY MOVEMENT and the non-political novel FATAL REALITY (an inspirational thriller). Jonathan is also a computer programmer and the owner of a copywriting and editing business. Visit his websites at www.teapartyforchristians.com and www.jonathanwakefield.com.
  • Don Marco

    I will write my GOP state representatives about this and demand equal justice.

  • Laura G

    I fully support Occupy’s right to protest; however, I also support equal protection and treatment under the law. The mayor needs to be called to task for this outrage. We are all citizens. You can’t just support the ones you like.

  • To the Tea Party in Every City…..learn from this situation…..never pay the government twice for the same service. There is absolutely no reason to give official notice to any governmental agency regarding any upcoming demonstration. Especially considering that every worthwhile demonstration is against the excessive powers and abuses from government. We know that Pres Reagan publicly stated that “Govt is the problem.” Take it from this retired Marine Officer….Government is now the enemy. All of those city, county, and state employees fully expect all of us to take out extra mortgages in order to pay higher property taxes….so as to fund their ridiculously extravagant retirements, which always commence several years before others can collect Social Security. Fight against your enslavement by all means necessary.

  • Laura: We have been unwavering in our support of the “occupiers” to exercise their freedom of speech…we just want rules/ordinances/laws applied equally.

  • Dee Pisciella

    Just a reminder of a couple of things about the City Council meeting. Remember, we are not allowed to applaud, per Ms. Graziano. But, you may have noticed that not only did Councilman Jewell agree with you on your right for a refund, but the hundred plus occupiers signaled (free speech being censored there)total agreement with your point. And, as we left, many of them told you that verbally.

    I am not an occupier, but I support their right to protest.If you feel slighted that the Mayor “snubbed” you at this meeting, he left when the occupiers got up to speak at both this meeting and the one before, that I know of. When confronted, he says “it’s not his practice to stay around for public comment” and that officially this is a City Council meeting and he is not a member of the City Council.

    Yes, the Mayor and the Police Department encouraged Kanawha Plaza, and four days after you spoke, they spent taxpayer money to reverse themselves and evict them with State, local (Henrico and Richmond), Homeland Security huge number of law enforcement. You might want to demand that money be returned to the taxpayers since it was a surprise reversal of position. I believe they reversed themselves because the Tea Party objected.
    How
    I am not an Occupy Richmond member. I’m just a senior retired middle class person, who does agree with you that equal application of policy failed here. I also believe that any city ordinance that restricts the Constitutional Rights in the First Amendment should be modified or they should all know that the Constitution trumps the City Ordinance legally. You should support that. I know you cannot support what they want to change, but you can support the Constitution. They supported you. It’s time for you to be counted in on this constitutional question and I think you should be first in line.They would be if the City tried to limit your constitutional rights, trust me.

    So, there are some potential areas of agreement here between two very different groups of nonviolent people with grievances.Instead of calling them lawless, how about you object to any ordinance that prohibits the right to peacefully assemble and air their grievances?

    Let’s see if you can walk the walk, when it’s for some group who doesn’t agree and is different. I bet you can do it. My money is on your integrity.

    Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

  • Please watch the edits from mayor’s meet with Occupy RVa.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFmHRZ9Nyk8

    The same answer he gave Occupy applies to the Tea Party. The remedy to this unequal treatment on free speech issues lies at city council. There will be an ordinance introduced next monday which would provide free and fair access to ALL who seek to exercise their free speech. It would be great to hear your ideas in the room as this is considered by city council

  • Billy S.

    It may be true that tea party pressure helped the city decide to evict. How about using some of that energy to help Occupy figure out how to end the rip-offs that are costing us trillions more than $10,000.

  • Bobbie

    I am an individual who was actually present for the City Council meeting in question. The writer of this article fails to remember that –

    1.The first speaker was a member of Occupy Richmond… in which case, yes, the Mayor walked out before the Public Comment period.

    2. Mayor Jones didn’t speak with one representative of Occupy Richmond that evening.

    3. Not only was Councilman Marty Jewell in support of the Richmond Tea Party being refunded their money, so were all those present representing Occupy Richmond.

    4. Occupy Richmond tried TWICE to obtain proper permits, but were turned down. Talk about “Selective enforcement”.

    5. Please stop pitting the Richmond Tea Party against Occupy Richmond. This is not about more divide and conquer partisan politics. We should be fighting the powers that threaten to strip us of freedom and democracy TOGETHER.

  • LibertyJon

    Bobbie:

    Thanks for taking the time to write. I’m not trying to pit RTP and OR against each other, and I apologize that it came off that way. I’ve said from the beginning that our beef is not with OR (we do have a few overlapping objections), but with the office holders who have applied a double standard to the treatment of our groups. While OR generally appears to have acted respectfully compared to some of the other Occupiers across America, camping out in Kanawha Plaza for two weeks without permits is, in fact, illegal (whether or not it SHOULD be is another matter) and was rewarded by the city by having them pay your bills. RTP, by contrast, was served with a tax audit. That is open favoring of one group over another.

    I am curious, though, about why they didn’t issue you the permits. I, of course, fully support your right to protest whatever you want. Do you know why they didn’t give you the permits?

    I appreciate your support of our refund efforts. We don’t plan on dropping it anytime soon.

    Believe me, I disdain divide and conquer politics as much as you. In fact, I joined the Tea Party because I HATE politics. I’m an independent who believes that both parties have all but destroyed this nation and have no intention of trying to fix it. They put themselves and their parties ahead of everything else. My work in the Tea Party is to serve the principles I believe in, regardless of party.

  • Bobbie

    Jon:

    I’m glad to hear that you and I are on the same page when it comes to the partisan boxes that tend to confine us and further the two parties agendas without thought or concern to the destructive dynamics that said confinements create.

    I am curious to know the specifics of the RTP’s tax audit at the behest of Mayor Jones. If this is true, despite our assumed idealogical differences, I stand enraged with you. It would just be another example of Mayor Jones many attempts to stifle dissent. Being that he is a “product of the civil rights movement”, as well as a Reverend, stifling dissent doesn’t seem to adhere to his claims and/or image. Would you be able to provide specifics?

    In regards to OR’s permits being denied, was not given a reason. On top of that, when we applied for the second time, the permit was denied 7 business days after the application process was initiated. (Per city ordinance, permit requests are to be either granted or denied within 5 business days) The next day, we were raided without warning, and $17,600 worth of tax payer money was spent to do so. A little ridiculous, in my opinion, for people who were in no way a harm to society, but quite the opposite by providing ALL citizen’s, from ALL walks of life (RTP included) to come by and exercise their First Amendment rights. We also housed, clothed, fed, and educated all who cared to participate in the process and those that were already “occupants” of the plaza. How that was deemed as harmful to society, I really can’t fathom.

    I encourage you and the RTP to come to this Monday’s City Council Meeting. Marty Jewell will be introducing a proposal for a “Free Speech Park” here in Richmond. I think that the proposal will be of great interest, not only to the RTP and OR, but to all citizen’s of this city. Perhaps the thought is naive, but I believe that if we were to strip away the walls that divide us, we can together be a great catalyst and force for equal liberty.

    Sincerely,

    Bobbie

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  • Constance

    Just wondering whether the fact that this is a “com” site means that the Richmond Tea Party is a commercial organization, therefore subject to different rules than might be the Occupy movement.

  • amen johnson

    I greatly admire your Tea Party spirit and advise you to punch back twice as hard.

  • Talnik

    Constance: despite what one might think (me too, once) dot com does not necessarily indicate an entity’s commercial nature. It’s the recommended suffix when you apply for a domain name as it is most people’s default (when they look up a domain name they check “dot com” first).

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  • It sounds like it’s time to recall this joker. I will keep posted on this and will gladly help out. Win or lose, it’s important to show this hypocrite you mean business.

  • Pingback: Richmond Tea Party audited after seeking redress over Occupy special treatment « Sister Toldjah()

  • Bertie

    I am glad to see that in Richmond, at least, there are those that see common ground between the Tea Parties and the OWS movement. I can think of many: executive compensation (interlocking boards voting each other “rock star” pay packages); insider trading perpetrated by Congress; auditing the Fed; Congress exempting themselves from laws that apply to everyone else; term limits; computer generated trading buy/sell/short manipulations; the Congress/lobbist revolving door ….

    Having the Tea Parties and the OWS groups making common cause would make the insider elites take notice, trust me. Please pass the Depends.

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  • Mikey Folds

    Just a line to let you know we are praying for you.Keep your head up stand strong and proud. The real majority will speak at the next elections. Hang in there!

  • R.U.KIDDIN

    I have been, and continue to be, a person who respects the law. I am however nearing my threshold of total disgust. The State of Virginia and its public entity have no idea of what venom can, and should, descend upon it, for its failure to defend all citizens equally.

  • R.U. KIDDIN

    Prae tell: Who decides “moderation”?

  • R.U.KIDDIN

    I am weary of the SEIU, ACORN, Communists, the Communist Left that is now the dominant force in the Democratic Party, the Culture of Dependency, the all hype no substance democratic party, the “takers” vs. “the producers”, George Soros, etc.

    The Creator did not make us all equal. Ergo: the modus operandi is “equality of opportunity”. Who foments “equality in fact” (Communism) best leave for Russia. GOT IT?

  • Tony Bano

    I’m a Calif. native but when reading about this new case of Democrat (Leftist) selective / punitive application of the law, it surprised even California-me. Our once-great State is bankrupt in every sense,i.e., schools, parks, roads, business environment, union pensions, immigration control, government and morally, all thanks to the Left.

    Why? No large group consistently stood up and said “The Taxpayer’s say ‘No.'” while a difference could still be made…and persevering until they won the point.

    Please continue your correct position. You may not realize how important your actions are… Can you recall the mayor? : )

    To support your effort, my wife and I are sending a $50 donation to your organization because you fight for us all.

    Thanks and God bless you guys!

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