Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Confusion Lingers Over D.C. Permit Rules

I received this email today from an alert reader of "Quest for Quiet," who experienced an amplified preacher in the vicinity of 13th and F Streets NW in downtown D.C. Wednesday afternoon. Apparently the issue remains cloudy about who needs a permit and whether it applies to amplified free speech.

Throughout the H and 8th Street NE saga, the city has maintained that the fellows from the Israeli School of Universal Practical Knowledge (ISUPK) do not have a permit from the city to assemble and blast their amplifier every Saturday. The residents in and around the 700 block of 8th Street NE, via several city agencies and the Office of Attorney General, have been led to believe that the permits were not necessary for this type of activity. Today's event brings into question, again, the proper D.C. regulation.

Either the city agencies are not on the same page about the permits or they lack the will to enforce them.

And now, our dutiful correspondent in downtown Washington:

Hi Klav,

We have a preacher over here by our office building at 13th and F NW with an amplifier (bullhorn) reading out of the bible. He is very loud and I can hear him half a block away on the 9th floor of my building. His name is Harold Green and he’s from the Greater Morning Star Pentecostal Church at 4417 Dix Street, NE, DC.

I approached him and he said, "I can’t talk, my permit will only let me out here for 45 minutes." I got a copy of his permit and it’s something that he printed on line, filled out himself and signed himself. He told me the police would shut him down without that permit so I needed to hurry back.

I took the permit, made a copy and got his info. I told him he didn’t need a permit and could come to this corner whenever he wanted to.

On the way back to return his permit, I met a guy named Marc Tucker at the preacher corner. Mr. Tucker runs his organization out of the building where the preacher is blasting; he was staring at the preachers as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

I told Mr. Tucker that the preacher could do this legally all day, seven days a week if he desired and the police would have no authority to shut him down. I briefed him on the 8th/H spot. Mr. Tucker was outraged so I gave him your blog address.

Hopefully the preacher spends more time here so more people become aware of what the law actually is. I’m tempted to call the preacher and ask him to spend as much time over here as possible! I’d like to see how all the business owners would react. Would the city’s response be different since this is only one guy and a different part of town?

(CLICK TO ENLARGE) A copy of the "permit" displayed by the amplified Harold Green May 10 near the corner of 13th and F Streets NW. Actually, this is an application for a permit, which must be submitted to the Special Operations Division of the Metropolitan Police Dept. (MPD). It can be downloaded from the MPD website. (Contributed image)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure Mr. Graham will look into this. He seems real keen on fixing this mess his committee created. On a serious note, maybe this is information that should be going to the enforcers. Hell, if a permit is required, I'll apply for the permit for the 8th and H for each Saturday for the rest of the year.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is so dc. why am i not shocked?

8:52 AM  

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