York County Libertarian Party

York City Mayor: Humanitarian Award Winner Must Pay City Fee for Permission to Feed the Needy


Mayor C. Kim Bracey Forces Permit Fees On Charity Event

“The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable.” • Bastiat

For the second time in as many years, the City of York stands as a barrier between a charitable organization and the people it works to serve.

York mayor Kim Bracey has ordered 2011 City of York Humanitarian Award recipient Bobby Brunner to pay a $35 permit fee (along with all other applicable fees) in order to be able to pass out food and donated items to the needy during a planned Sept. 6th giveaway.

Brunner told the York Dispatch’s Erin James he’s been recently laid off and living on unemployment checks.

“It’s not the $35. It’s the whole principle,” he’s quoted as telling James.

And we agree.

York’s Public Assembly Laws Need Revision

Today, it’s Bobby Brunner and his giveaway event. In 2013, it was Wayne Scott’s annual Trey & Boo Basketball tournament that was in jeopardy due to city rules. Before that, this author was himself denied a permit and forced to pursue legal remedy against the city. Other organizations and individuals have shared similar stories.

Since 2008, the York city council has been on notice that York’s public assembly ordinance contained several unconstitutional and otherwise problematic provisions. In response to this author’s request for assistance in addressing the City of York’s public assembly ordinance, the ACLU of Pa noted the following in a letter to the York city council:

The American Civil Liberties Union objects to the following parts of York’s proposed public assembly ordinance:

  • a ban on loud or indecent language, begging and playing musical instruments
  • permit requirements for every exhibit, music or dramatic performance, concert, play, radio or television broadcast, and all religious or political events
  • the fee waiver process
  • an insurance requirement for events with more than 100 people
  • a requirement that permit applications be submitted 30 days before an event
  • the city’s ability to deny a permit to anyone who previously violated a permit

ACLUPa 2008 Letter to York city council

Make the Law Respectable

We at the York LP ask you to join us as we organize a campaign to revise the City of York’s public assembly ordinance. The right to waive permit fees should not lie solely within the mayor’s office, or with any other politically motivated official or city office under mayoral supervision.

The city’s public assembly rules have led to the very same influence peddling and authoritarianism used by the mayor to force charitable organizations and people like Bobby Brunner to pay the government a range of fees before being granted the permission to do such dastardly things as give food away to those in need of assistance.

People of good conscience can in no way respect such a law.

Instead of making scofflaws and pariahs out of our neighbors, I say it’s about time the people join forces to demand city council and the mayor make the city’s public assembly laws respectable.

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