I should note that there were no arrests _plural_ today, but there was one arrest that seemed to make no sense to anybody. The individuals nearby thought that the arrested – Ed K. – had simply asked an officer a question at noon.
Now for a brief description of today’s confusion after some guy from St. Paul, Minnesota took out a permit for the “Solidarity Singers” today.
A reservation for the capitol rotunda for “Solidarity Singing” by the “Solidarity Singers” appeared this morning on the DOA web site. It was odd as hell given that it showed no phone number listed and no name, as is customary.
Given that it is the sing along’s longstanding practice to move out of the rotunda if a group of citizens reserves that space, the bulk of those present decided to go outside while about 11 or 12 lingered on the rotunda’s ground floor to sing, with Irving Smith being the most adamant that everybody should stay inside. He also asked repeatedly if somebody was there to reserve the space – and nobody responded.
About 20 folks who seemed to be observers circled the 1st floor railing. After 10 minutes I went out to where 75-100 people were assembled on the lawn. A couple of cops hovered nearby.
One of the singing grannies asked to speak a few words near the end of the singing – the gist of it was that she didn’t think that the permit today was for a group since nobody showed up to say they made the reservation or used it. She said she thought those assembled should probably stay inside in the future if they aren’t interrupting an actual event.
When the songs were done, AP reporter Todd Richmond approached folks to inquire why they didn’t just use the permit and stay inside. He got an earful including, “Why aren’t you finding out who reserved the permit?”.
At this time – 8:20PM Central – I can’t find a story written about the sing by Richmond [Is he going to write one?]. Michael Phillis wrote a story for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that includes this tidbit:
A copy of the permit released by Stephanie Marquis, spokesperson at the Department of Administration, showed that the permit to sing protest songs was taken out by Elliot Doren, a man from Saint Paul, Minn., who took out the permit on behalf of the “Solidarity Singers.”
A couple of folks have written notes about Richmond’s question and what they told him. Rather than paraphrasing them, I’ll message the writers to see if I can add their words verbatum to this story.
A Happy Footnote
Cripes. You’d think we had an awful time – all the talk of arrests and permits and cops. Let the record show that there was also jubilant and defiant singing today, that the grannies assembled did proudly hold aloft their banners, that the tones of guitar, accordian, and hammer dulcimer accompanied our voices, that the temperature/light/humidity was as comfortable as any that can be found in a Wisconsin August, that I was grateful to Jonathan Rosenblum for his remembrance of Solidarność, and that after singing I consumed a sandwich and drank a “Rhinelander” brewed in Monroe, Wisconsin while basking in the camaraderie of wise and spirited fellow badgers at a table on State Street.
That’s what I call living.
For your convenience – From the JSOnline All Politics Blog:
State: no arrests in rotunda protests, but thousands spent for chalk removal
By Michael Phillis
Madison — For the second time this week, Capitol police did not make any arrests in connection with the daily solidarity sing-along.
Wednesday, like Monday, was quiet because a permit was taken out for the demonstration in the rotunda — something the great majority of the singers have refused to do.
At noon Wednesday, the group of protesters split with some staying inside the rotunda and others going outside, citing their standard practice of making way for other events with permits.
“It’s a bunch of crap, it’s bogus,” said protester Irving Smith of the permit, arguing that the permit was not taken out by a regular of the sing-along.
The source of the permit was a cause of some confusion. A copy of the permit released by Stephanie Marquis, spokesperson at the Department of Administration, showed that the permit to sing protest songs was taken out by Elliot Doren, a man from Saint Paul, Minn., who took out the permit on behalf of the “Solidarity Singers.”
Not applying for a permit has been one of the main features of the daily protesters who say they should not need a permit because their free speech is protected under the Constitution.
A recent federal judge’s ruling struck down some new DOA rules for demonstrations in state buildings, but left in place state permitting rules in the Capitol for groups over 20. The result has been almost a month of daily arrests that have often added up to 20 citations during the lunch hour.
Between July 24 and Aug. 6, about 125 citations were given out relating to the protests. Almost all of them were for assembling without a permit.
The state Department of Administration has not yet responded to an open records request by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel seeking the cost of any potential police overtime associated with the arrests, saying for the moment that “minimal overtime or other expenses have been incurred.”
But DOA officials did volunteer its figures on the cost of removing graffiti and chalk slogans that protesters have been writing on the sidewalks of the Capitol square since March of 2011. The DOA said they have had to spend about $12,800 to remove the chalk marks, though that spending may include salaries for existing staff that would have been paid out regardless.
Since the massive labor protests of 2011, protesters have written slogans criticizing Walker and Republicans, often in harsh language, on the sidewalks around the Capitol building.