|Rapid City's Main Street Square|
There's A Place For Us, All Of Us
(photo from mainstreetsquarerc.com)
That seems way extreme to me. Maintaining public order is one thing, but a "total ban" on an essentially peaceful expressions of our country's democratic processes? Uhhh, no . . . I don't think so. For their parts, some of these petition gatherers can be obnoxious and aggressive, so to that extent they need to be reined in, but their activities are so integrated into the essence of what our country is all about that banishing them outright from crowd-drawing activities on public property is an affront to what we stand for.
I'm a multi-use kind of a guy when it comes to permissible activities on public land. For
|Democracy At Work In Rapid City|
A "Total Ban" On This On Public Property? No Way.
(photo from rapidcityjournal.com)
But an important part of that compromise, understanding, social contract--whatever you want to call it--means the general public doesn't have to be hassled as part of the deal. You want to be out there gathering signatures, fine--just don't get into my face and start haranguing me. I don't need it. I'd much prefer it if a piece of our jointly owned land were reserved for you to make yourself visible and available to those who have an interest in the cause you're pushing.
Setting aside a section of the Square itself or a portion of the adjacent sidewalk seems a reasonable way of settling the issue. It would conform to the general operation of MSS, which has areas for vendors of commercial products. In this case the area would be reserved for vendors of political products, i.e., petitions. I would think the signature gatherers themselves would be better off because the end result would be an informed public, not an annoyed one.