City Paper editor Chris Potter has a nice post at Slag Heap on trouble brewing between the state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the ACLU, after police threatened Green Party petition circulators with arrest at (the state-owned) Point State Park during the Arts Festival last week:
On June 10, DCNR chief counsel Kimberly Hummel wrote back to Walczak, asserting that park officials had to juggle a wide number of divergent uses, and "the management of ... activities at urban parks such as Point State Park is particularly important." The letter went on to say that while leafletting and other such activitiy is permitted, the activists "did not comply with the regulations" because they
did not provide an application to the park office for permission to carry out [their] planned activities or provide copies of the materials to be distributed. Given the nature of your client's activites, permission would have been granted for the activity [but] the State Park staff had not received any notice of the activites in which your client intended to engage.
Hummel gave the activists "permission to engage in the requested activity at Point State Park. However, your client should provide proper notice to the park office ... so the park staff has notification of the nature of the activities that will occur as well as their time and place."
Hummel also thoughtfully included a copy of state regulations governing "organized events; public assemblies [and] distribution of printed matter." According to those regulations, "a copy of any printed material to be distributed shall be delivered to the park manager" in advance.
[ACLU legal director Witold] Walczak described himself as "flabbergasted" by the regulations, which he had not previously been aware of.
Chris signals the ACLU is set to sue the state over the regulations should the political activity be threatened again.