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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Secure Arkansas Advocates Receive Apology From U.S. Post Office

Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: The Jonesboro Sun ran a front page story with colored picture with this headline: "Woman receives apology after postal officials made her leave sidewalk." The caption under the picture reads, "Cora Jean Liles, a volunteer for Secure Arkansas, displays an apology letter she received Wednesday from the U. S. Postal Services. Liles was removed last week from Jonesboro's downtown post office as she attempted to collect signatures for a petition."

The ARRA News Service reported previously about Cora Jean Liles who was collected signatures for the Secure Arkansas Ballot Initiative on the sidewalk at Joneboro, Arkansas Post Office. After receiving prior permission she was harassed by a Postal official and the police were called to stop her activities. Didn't sound right at the time and it has proven to have been an incorrect action by the postal official.

Debbie Pelley, a local coordinator for Secure Arkansas and member of the ARRA, researched the law and discovered that it was amended to allow signature gathering on sidewalks outside post offices. When the Joneboro postmaster refused to give Pelley and Liles ten minutes to show him the law, Pelley used Google and the phone to find the authority who would be in charge of this matter . She talked to Rick Carter, Manager, Consumer Affairs and Claims, USPS AR District in Little Rock. Carter asked Pelley to email him the amended law. One postal attorney with whom Pelley talked said it would probably take several days to resolve the issue, but Carter took less than 24 hours to reply by email. The email to Pelley reads:
From: Carter, Rick A - Little Rock, AR
To: Debbie Pelley
Cc: Driskell, Robert H - Jonesboro, AR ; Adams, Hillrey D - Jonesboro, AR
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 9:43 AM
Subject: RE: Law on collecting signatures on post office sidewalks


Thank you for sending me the amended 39 CFR on soliciting on Postal property.

I submitted this to our SW Area Law Dept. and they agree soliciting on sidewalks around Post Offices is allowed by this amendment. Please accept our apology for the misunderstanding and any inconvenience you experienced because of the situation in Jonesboro.

I have advised the Jonesboro Postmaster to allow soliciting adjacent to the Jonesboro Post Office as long as it does not interfere with access or egress from the entrance ways and if there is no disturbance because of the soliciting.

For your future ease in carrying out your petition initiative, let me suggest you speak with the Postmaster or Station Manager in the location where you intend to solicit before hand. Let them know this activity is allowed by 39 CFR and reach an agreement as to where the activity can be pursued without interfering with Postal operations or access and egress from the facility.

This should prevent any misunderstandings or problems with your soliciting activity.

I will send an alert out to all Postmasters and Station Managers in Arkansas advising them of the amended soliciting regulations.

Again, please accept our apology for this misunderstanding.

Rick Rick Carter Manager, Consumer Affairs & Claims USPS AR District
This time, the common citizen prevails over government bureaucracy. The postmaster in Jonesboro said Liles was wrong and used a 911 call to have her removed from the post office sidewalk. The police asked her to move saying the property was federal property. The Post Office media spokeswoman in Little Rock said Liles was wrong. Even the staff at US Senator Mark Pryor's office, whom Liles contacted, sent her a letter saying she was WRONG. But the law says she was RIGHT. Thank God for the law. And the law is what Secure Arkansas initiative is all about. It just can't be right or just for illegal alines to march and protest in our streets without intervention and one single lady collecting signatures have three police cars dispatched on her.

Pelley and Liles gave the following written statement to reporters:
"We don't want this story to cast any reflection on the post office or employees or on the policemen. Except for this one incident with the postmaster, the post office has been very cordial and has given permission for us to collect signatures on the sidewalks and has now taken steps to prevent this situation from happening again. When we visited with the police chief, we could not have asked him to be any nicer. We understand it is their duty to dispatch policeman to any business that makes a call, and this was made as an emergency call. I understand the police chief even took steps after this to prevent it from happening again.

An attorney informed us that we had a very good civil rights case. We do not intend to file a lawsuit in this matter, although it could be tempting. That is not our goal. Our goal is to exercise our civil rights and protect the rights of the American citizens and get the signatures we need for the initiative. It does strike me as unbelievable that illegal aliens can march and protest in our streets freely, yet one single person exercising her legal, civil rights collecting signatures has the police called on her with a 911 call. We feel that situation in this particular instance has now been rectified."
Bob Hester, State Director, Arkansas Family Coalition summed up the situation: "These brave ladies have fought for our rights to gather petitions at the post office. I hope you will go to the post office and exercise that right. The Secure Arkansas website gives information on how you can do this."

Tags: ballot initiatives, citizen rights, Civil Rights, Post Office, Secure Arkansas, US law To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 9:00 AM - Post Link


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