Sunday, March 29, 2009

RETRACTION: Tea Parties in Springdale Arkansas

Your reporter is about to eat crow.

It appears I owe an apology to the Springdale City government due to some of the claims in my report that officials in the city refused to issue a permit to have a "Tea Party" in that city. Because my report was so strongly worded, I believe that I need to put myself "on suspension" for a while, just as I did a couple of years ago when I went with a story that later turned out to be wrong.

I had two sources high up in the area Tea Party movement tell me that the people they assigned to get the permit from Springdale told them all at the meeting that "after talking to the city of Springdale, a Tea Party there is just not going to happen". A man named Eric Batey made that statement. The impression the hearers got was that the city was not cooperative with the request. Recently I learned that Mayor Sprouse of Springdale challenged the story......

"What you state is simply not true. I was first made aware of this rumor Monday morning by Mike Disney. My staff and I checked with every department and no one had received a request for a permit for a Tea Party. I had Wyman Morgan, our Director of Administration, call Mike back and let him know how he could get a permit. Our city would never refuse a permit for any peaceful demonstration whether we agree with the cause or not. It just so happens, by the way, that I support the Tea Party effort and what it stands for. I’ve been hearing about it for some time now on Fox News and the Shaun Hannity radio program.

I don’t know if anyone from the organization followed through and got the permit or not- but if there is not a rally in Springdale , it’s not because the city government denied permission. It’s amazing to me how quick we are to believe something negative just because someone put it on a website or a blog. You know as well as I do that anyone can say anything without any accountability to the truth. I am thankful that you contacted me so I could set the record straight. I only ask that when given the opportunity, you’ll be as willing to spread the truth about this matter as you were to believe a false rumor. I know you will because I see from your quote at the bottom of your email that you trust our Lord and Savior- that tells me that the truth is of the utmost importance in your life. If you have other questions or would like to discuss this further, call me anytime on my cell, xxx xxxx."

Once I learned that the facts were in dispute, I called my sources and got the name and phone number of one of the people that was in charge of getting a Springdale Tea Party set up, Eric Batey. He said he did not feel that Sprindale was singling them out, but rather that they had standard procedures in place for protests that the Tea Party did not have time to work around. His statement at the meeting was misunderstood. "We contacted the city, we were told that we needed specific documentation and insurance. We did not have time to do it", Batey summed up.

I retract the story and intend to write a letter of apology to the mayor's office today. I have published 1500+ stories since I started this blog in 2005. Sometimes I get it wrong, and I got this one wrong. I also need to figure out how long a "forced vacation" I should have from blogging.


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

The organizers of the Springdale event are switching to Fayetteville. Whatever their liberal faults, the city government of Fayetteville is at least willing to allow dissent.

1:15 PM, March 29, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One has to wonder if these state or local governments are not willing to allow peaceful protests are they inviting non-peaceful protests at some point?

1:51 PM, March 29, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was involved in this. I live rural and moved away from the Springdale area five years ago because of the direction this city was taking. After this, I will not be patronizing businesses in Springdale.

5:16 AM, April 10, 2009  
Blogger fortruth said...

I've been searching for days for the Springdale venue for this event. I just found your blog. I'm horrified. I guess I'm going to Fayetteville, but I'm not through with the City of Springdale on this issue. This is ludicrous! And I completely aggree with the anonymous poster who has decided to boycott Springdale businesses. I live in the middle of Springdale, but I'll do the same thing. And I'll let my favorite businesses know why I'm gone.

7:40 PM, April 14, 2009  
Blogger cmarie03 said...

Thank you for letting us know about this! It is an outrage--I too will not shop in Springdale and will let the business owners know why.

8:13 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger M. Mitchell Marmel said...

FYI, there's also apparently going to be one in Rogers at 5:30 PM (Frisco Stage, First St.)...

8:34 AM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger fortruth said...

Mark, can you provide some supporting information about the City of Springdale refusing to issue a permit? I've been told that city officials are not opposed to issuing a permit, as some of them are very supportive of the TEA Parties, and city officials are asking who applied for the permit and what City of Springdale employee refused to issue the permit.

Keeping it all in the light!

12:34 PM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger M. Mitchell Marmel said...

Just got back from the Rogers event. Quite a good turnout, 1,000 folks or so. Good speeches and all.

Also, the Tea Parties are leading the hourly news on CBS Radio.

Good start, peeps!

6:37 PM, April 15, 2009  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Yep, we are looking into who the Tea Party rep was talking to. If the Mayor is really saying that he is willing to give the Tea Party equal access then I will take him at his word. I have a friend looking into that report.

8:23 PM, April 16, 2009  
Blogger fortruth said...

Thanks for checking into this. I'm firmly in the TEA Party camp, and want to know the facts behind this allegation. I sent an e-mail to the mayor at 9:40 Tuesday night, inquiring about the city denying a permit, and received a reply at 10:05pm Tuesday. This is what the mayor said:

"Thank you for contacting me to find out the truth. This rumor first came to my attention yesterday. I checked and could not find anyone in our city who had been asked for a permit. I don't know how this got started, but it is not true. Our city doesn't deny permits for peaceful gatherings whether we agree with them or not. It just so happens I'm very supportive of the Tea Parties and their purpose. I instructed Wyman Morgan, our city's Director of Administration to contact one of the organizers yesterday, and make sure they knew how to get a permit. I get very frustrated at some of the irresponsible reporting we see on some blogs and the lack of accountability demonstrated. Any effort you could make to help get the truth out would be appreciated. Thank you again for taking the time to find out the truth."

When you learn the truth about what actually occurred, would you please publish it here?

Keeping it all in the light!

8:42 AM, April 17, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

check out the website

4:57 PM, November 23, 2009  
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