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The following excerpt from an email is reprinted with permission of the author.

"There was a little, but not insignificant, victory play out here in Riverside, California, over the last few days.  A victory that proves you can fight City Hall and win.  A victory that proves that one voice really does matter.

"Both the Bill Hedrick for Congress Campaign and local Obama volunteers had been told by the City of Riverside Parks and Recreation Department that they could not have a booth at the 4th of July festivities in Fairmont Park, nor would they be allowed to register voters in the park, nor even put up our own tents in the park with signs, literature, etc.  Plans for visibility and voter registration efforts in the park were cancelled.

"However, with a little encouragement, one volunteer, the indomitable Alice, wrote her councilman on Wednesday afternoon and asked, Why?  Why can't we register voters in a public park?  Why can't we put up a tent, and wear our t-shirts, and talk to anyone we like about our candidates?  Why were we denied a booth?  Is there a City ordinance prohibiting these activities?  Could she have a copy?  On Thursday morning, she followed up with a phone call.

"By noon, the councilman was speaking with the City Attorney.  By afternoon, Victory!  Alice received a return phone call from the councilman.  Yes, you are free to register voters in a public space.  Yes, of course, you are free to wear any t-shirt you like, and talk to anyone you like, about any candidate you like.  Yes, you are even free to have a booth at the City's festivities in Fairmont Park on the 4th.  The Parks and Recreation Department was duly chastised by City officials, and Alice soon received a call to make arrangements for a booth!  

"Proof that the Bill of Rights is still alive and well in Riverside.  Proof that once voice can make a difference."

Originally posted to demokratia on Fri Jul 04, 2008 at 09:22 AM PDT.

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