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Letter Writer Speaks up on Bethlehem Proposed Ordinance

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: Bethlehem’s new Ordinance (New Article 961 – “Special Events Activity Permits”)

Quite a few Tea Party people turned up last night to protest this issue, as did many other Lehigh Valley citizens. The first thing the 9-member Bethlehem City Council did was to announce that they WOULD NOT be voting on that Ordinance Tuesday night. “We took it off the Agenda for tonight and will be voting on it sometime in the future,” they said. Didn’t give a specific reason for that action. I found it interesting that they later stated that they didn’t take it off the Agenda until JUST BEFORE Tuesday night’s meeting began. There were 23 people who signed up ahead of the Tuesday meeting to address the Council. Of all those 23 people, 7 had various other issues to speak about, but 16 of them spoke very strongly about why they felt that this “Special Events Activity” Ordinance was wrong.

The speakers giving their personal viewpoints used words to describe it like “socialistic,” “unconstitutional,” “full of over-reach and minutia,” “absurd and ridiculous,” and “Requiring Permit fees to peacefully assemble is CHILLING.” They quoted Scripture (Proverbs 29:2 – “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked bear rule, the people mourn.”), George Washington (“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”), and Lincoln (“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad!”) The speakers asked if a group of 6 Christmas Carolers would need to get a Permit and pay a fee, just to sing holiday songs of “peace and good will”? Would 8 laborers need to get a Permit in order to hold a strike and picket their place of employment?

One fellow told Council that the Bethlehem Police should refuse to enforce this Ordinance. Instead, he said, “They [police] should turn it around and use it against this Council, both the fines and the threats of jail time.” Another guy summed it all up nicely when he told the Council “In the future, please limit your regulations to ILLEGAL behavior, not ordinary meetings by regular citizens.” Obviously, many people in the Lehigh Valley felt that this new regulation from Bethlehem City Council was really “making a mountain out of a molehill,” as one woman told them. City Council got quite an earful last night from the citizens! All of us in the audience at that meeting hope this issue is now dead in the water and doesn’t ever get resurrected again!

I didn’t expect that I’d enjoy anything about this meeting, or that I would see such an outpouring of passion from people about government over-regulation, but it seems that the patriot spirit is very much alive and well in the Lehigh Valley today! Hooray! I’m glad to be an active participant in the Lehigh Valley Tea Party – it’s times like this when I feel that the LVTP really has some “clout.”

 

-Anonymous

Editor’s Note:  Anonymous articles and letters will not be published unless the Lehigh Valley Commentator’s Editors deem it appropriate, as in this case.

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