What a difference a year makes
First Amendment Rights alive and well at the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida
A year ago today, the National Park Service had a policy of First Amendment Areas, called ‘Free Speech Zones’, at the Castillo de San Marcos. The policy was based on Department of Interior regulations. The Saint Augustine Tea Party (SATP) and its Town Crier Committee, refused to acknowledge the validity of these regulations, based on the Constitutional rights granted in the First Amendment. Resistance continued over a three-year period.
On July 4, 2013, a citation for demonstrating without a permit was issued to Dave Heimbold, SATP Media Chairman. The citation was later rescinded after the incident was exposed by intensive media coverage, which was initiated by this publication.
Today, the Saint Augustine Tea Party reports that the vast majority of the grounds and sidewalks are now open to Free Speech. They also expressed their gratitude for the help which the Superintendent of the Castillo de San Marcos, Gordon Wilson, provided in getting the Dartmouth such a favorable location in the Park facility. [See http://www.examiner.com/article/st-augustine-tea-party-acquires-the-dart... It was noted that the Park Rangers treated the Tea Party with respect and made them feel welcome. A special thanks to Ranger Mayo for her expert crowd management skills was also expressed.
Action News returns for follow-up
Action News’, Lorena Inclan, returned to the Castillo de San Marcos for interviews with the Saint Augustine Tea Party and the Park Rangers.In addition to morning interviews, the Dartmouth was used for the background of a live broadcast at 5 PM. It had been hoped that our veterans, on board, could be interviewed. However, a thunderstorm with gusty winds caused all to scramble, including the veterans, many who are now in advanced age. The theme of the SATP presence was a call to “to force the VA to examine and treat Vets in Hours, not Days, Weeks, or Years!” as stated in the petition. Lorena did her live broadcasts in front of the Dartmouth with the aid of an umbrella.