Arkansas town council forbids citizens from freely meeting, forming groups without formal approval

Thursday, July 21, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: Arkansas, city council, health news

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(NaturalNews) Members of the Gould, Ark., city council, a town whose population is roughly 1,100, recently passed a new ordinance that prohibits all Gould residents from forming any kind of group or organization without first getting formal approval from the council.

In an apparent attempt to self-appoint themselves as the supreme overlords of Gould, council members left the language of their ordinance so broad that it technically prohibits residents from even discussing various matters with one another apart from official approval, a restriction that is both unconstitutional and, by all means, insane.

"I couldn't believe that it was real when I first read it," said University of Arkansas, Little Rock (UALR) School of Law Dean John DiPippa, concerning the language of the ordinance. "The truth is the city of Gould doesn't have the authority to tell anyone that they have no right to petition them, no right to speak, and no right to exist in their city."

But that is precisely what council members have attempted to do, as the ordinance's provisions not only outlaw citizens from freely congregating and discussing various issues with one another, but they also prohibit the town's Mayor Earnest Nash from meeting with and talking to local residents.

The passage of the ordinance apparently stems from a dispute the city council had with a local political group called the Gould Citizens Advisory Council (GCAC) that has continually tried to influence the way the town is governed. As a result of this and other disputes between local residents and the city council, council members decided to (illegally) take it upon themselves to restrict free speech and act as the town's new dictators.

"With this city council, it's their way or the highway," said Mayor Nash, who is also a member of GCAC, in a statement to FOX 16 News in Little Rock. "They act more like Napoleon Bonaparte. Total domination."

The ordinance, which is clearly in violation of the US Constitution, will more than likely be struck down, or at least ignored. But its passage shows the ignorance of and total disregard for constitutional law among many who serve in public positions throughout the US.

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