Activist Max Rameau is having a tough time getting a County-issued protest permit to erect his tent city in front of the county building at 111 N.W. First St. next Wednesday, and he's gotten the ACLU involved.
As we reported earlier this week, Rameau and other activists are holding several protests against neighborhood gentrification and for affordable housing all next week--coincidentally, the same time that the nation's focus will be on Miami because of the Super Bowl.
On Jan. 18, Rameau asked Carol Dickson, the building manager for the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, for a protest permit. "We will have a few people eating and spending the night in tents outside of Government Center as a means of highlighting the shameful gentrification and housing crisis in Miami-Dade County and the role the BCC has played in exacerbating that crisis," he wrote in an application.
According to Rameau, Dickson told him that the only ones who are eligible for permits are official non-profits or organizations/events officially sponsored by Miami-Dade County.
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She also said that anyone asking for a protest permit needs liability insurance along with payment for security coverage and janitorial services.
Ray Taseff, a lawyer and ACLU member, says the group is looking into the situation. He said that ACLU lawyers have "been playing phone tag" with the county's lawyers on Friday. The county did not return a call from the New Times.
Taseff said he didn't want to criticize the county just yet -- "this could be just a bureaucratic glitch" -- but when asked, whether he thought this had anything to do with county leaders not wanting protests during Super Bowl week, he replied "Those thoughts certainly crossed peoples' minds."