In a move that really shouldn’t surprise me in the slightest yet still does, the 1% landlords/masters of the universe have announced that they are seeking to change the law so privately owned public parks, like, for instance, Zuccotti Park, are no longer required to saty open 24 hours a day.
Shockingly, this would have the immediate effect of terminating any and all Occupy camps. In a jaw-dropping statement that redefines the word disingenuous, Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York had this to say:
“We’re going to be clearly recommending to the city that there need to be some changes… If you can say that the plazas are closed between 1 and 5 a.m., I’m not sure who that’s harming.”
The fact that parks like Zuccotti are open 24 hours a day is an oversight in the original intent of the law which was a trade-off between the city and realtors. We got parks and they got the ability to build higher than the zoning laws allowed. No one thought that it would become a battleground for the First Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Of course, one way around this is to make it illegal to actually gather anyplace to protest. Or to use bullhorns to make yourself heard. Or to protest within earshot of the very thing you wish to protest. Or to walk on public sidewalks while protesting. You get the idea. The 1% are abusing the law to take away our Constitutional right to peaceably assemble and using the police to enforce their will.
Somehow, I don’t think that’s what the Framers had in mind.