The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that our “freedom of speech” and “the right of the people to peaceably assemble” shall not be abridged. But local governments in the United States have declared war on the Constitution and on the American people.
First it was the city council of Quartzsite, Arizona, which had police forcibly remove a law-abiding but outspoken citizen from a council meeting, then declared a state of emergency and put the police chief in charge as chief mafioso.
Now the city council of Gould, a small town in Arkansas (pop. 1,300: 20.23% White, 78.01% Black), has passed an ordinance declaring a state of emergency and banning an existent voluntary citizens’ group and any new associations from the town!
Max Brantley reports for the Arkansas Times, July 13, 2011, that on June 28, 2011, the Gould City Council passed an ordinance (No. 062011-5) that disallows a voluntary association, the Gould Citizens Advisory Council (GCAC), from existing the city limits of Gould. The Council also passed another ordinance that evicted the GCAC from its meeting place — a building that had been donated by a bank, Simmons Bank, to the city in partnership with GCAC to be used as a Community Resource Center.
On the evening of July 12, 2011, the City Council voted four to one to override the mayor’s veto of Ordinance No. 062011-5. The Council also voted to change the locks on the doors to the Community Resource Center.
Curtis Mangrum, GCAC Chair, said, “The Gould City Council has banned our group from meeting or existing within the city and declared it an emergency to stop the people from voicing their opinion and holding the public officials accountable for their actions. We believe that action is in direct conflict with that the right of citizens to assemble in their communities as protected by the U.S Constitution’s First Amendment and Arkansas Constitution, Article 2, Section 4.”
Eight years ago, concerned with the city’s sizable IRS debt, bankruptcy and many years of legal problems, some citizens of Gould got politically involved and formed the grassroots organization, GCAC, to ensure that citizens provide a voice in the decision- making process at all levels of government and hold their public officials accountable. Working together, GCAC members claimed the following accomplishments:
- Identified and helped elect candidates who wanted to move the city forward.
- Sponsored City Council retreats to develop a strategic planning process for Gould.
- Preserved the Gould School District archives when it was consolidated and made sure Gould’s trophies were displayed at the students’ new school.
- Identified abandoned housing and submitted a list to City officials for action.
- Sponsored a youth summit attended by 50 young citizens.
- Produced a documentary on the history of Gould.
Hosted citywide cleanup campaigns.
- Helped raise $11,000 earlier this summer through the Gould Tax Relief Fund to keep the IRS from seizing and liquidating City property.
H/t Before It’s News.
Here’s the tyrannical City of Gould Ordinance No. 062011-5:
Be it enacted by the city of Gould and the city council of the county of Lincoln, state of Arkansas, an ordinance to be entitled:
An ordinance the disallow the Gould Citizens Advisory Council from existing within the city limits of Gould.
Be it ordained by the City of Gould City Council:
Section 1: Gould Citizens Advisory Councils ability to operate within the city of Gould. The Gould Citizens Advisory Council by the passage of this ordinance is hereby banned from doing business in the city of Gould.
Section 2: That the said Council is, in effect, causing confusion and discourse [sic: the City Council meant “discord”] among the citizens of Gould and as a result is contributing to the friction not only between the Mayor and the Council but also among the citizens who deserve a cooperative government. Also no new organizations shall be allowed to exist in the City of Gould without approval from a majority of the City Council.
Section 3: Therefore, an emergency is hereby declared to exist and this ordinance being necessary for the immediate preservation of public peace, health and safety shall be in full force and effect from and after passage and approval.
Here’s contact info for Gould’s City Hall:
301 N. Gould Ave., Gould, AR