Monday, April 03, 2006

Harassment or are the marshals
just doing their job?

Sunday, April 2, 2006

What a beautiful day today! Sun was shining. Purple bushes in bloom. Comfortable temperatures. No unusual problems with our homeless and needy friends.

Come about 3:00 pm, the marshal's car pulls up on the west side of the park. Everyone was scattered throughout this gorgeous, public park chatting and enjoying each other's company.

Marshal R. McMenamy walks over to the table and asks the lone gentleman at the table, "Did you serve this food today?" Before the gentleman had time to answer, the marshal spotted me sitting under a tree and said, "Oh, there is Ms. Sacco."

Reminder: Marshal R. McMenamy is the same marshal who told Joe, "No signs in the park. Take the sign out of the park." Thankfully he was reminded by his superior of Joe's free speech rights.

I got up and said, "Hello Marshal" and then he began with the questions: How many people did you feed today? Did you feed over 25 people? Have you personally tried to get a permit? Who did you speak with?

I explained to him that I did not count the people. Then someone told him we fed 19 people. I told him that a friend of mine tried to apply for a permit for me. I told him, "But as you well know, this park is non-reservable."

He said to me, "I don't want to have to go through the whole spiel again. You know the rules as we told them to you on the day you were cited."

Another gentleman asked the marshal, "Do you think it's unconstitutional what the city is doing here?" The marshal told him, paraphrased: "I don't want to talk with you. I want to finish talking with this woman."

So I asked Marshal McMenamy, "Do you think that there is something wrong with sharing food with hungry people?" McMenamy replied, "It doesn't matter what I think." I said,
"Yes, it does matter what you think. If you think that the local laws are unjust and unconstitutional, and you are being ordered from up above to enforce these unjust laws, then that is a shame."

He replied, "Let me tell you that I enjoy my job and enjoy what I do. What is right is right. What is wrong is wrong." So I asked him, "So do you think that sharing food with hungry people is wrong?" He replied, again, "It doesn't matter what I think."

At that time, I felt someone coming up behind me. I turn around to see Deputy City Marshal Sergeant John Donohue. Gentleman as usual, he asked how everything was going. He said that there was a complaint by a neighbor because of the feeding.

I explained to him that today was an exceptional pleasant day. No fighting, no one was drunk, no noise, no litter. I couldn't imagine why any neighbor would be calling to complain.

I also explained to him that myself and fellow advocates were hoping to get together soon to discuss some proposals for the city. We are hoping that we can work together to come up with a plan to make everyone as happy as possible.

Shook hands with Sgt. Donohue and we all went on our merry way.

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