Arkansas Family Coalition
PO Box 9076, Jonesboro, AR 72403
Phone: 870-932-5065 – Fax 870-910-0464
Pelley & Liles Receive Apology from US Post Office
Common citizen prevails over government bureaucracy/apology made
Ladies back on the post office sidewalk collecting
signatures this morning.
Jonesboro Sun had a story on their front page today with colored picture with this headline: "Woman receives apology after postal officials made her leave sidewalk." The caption under the picture reads, "Cora Jean Liles, a volunteer for Secure Arkansas, displays an apology letter she received Wednesday from the U. S. Postal Services. Liles was removed last week from Jonesboro's downtown post office as she attempted to collect signatures for a petition." http://www.jonesborosun.com/story.php?ID=33357
The letter referred to above was actually an email to Debbie Pelley, local coordinator for Secure Arkansas, which as the story points out, "came after Pelley researched the law and discovered that it was amended to allow signature gathering on sidewalks outside the federal buildings." Pelley then contacted an attorney in Fort Smith that has helped her with some issues before to confirm the law was the latest one on the books. The lawyer told Pelley that they had a good civil rights case if they wanted to take it to court. [This particular law is actually in reference to post offices, not federal buildings]
If you recall, our organization sent out an email last week about this story in the Jonesboro Sun. Liles is a supporter of our organization, and Debbie Pelley is Area Coordinator for Secure Arkansas, the organization sponsoring the ballot initiative to "Prevent Persons Unlawfully Present in the US From Receiving Certain Public Benefits."
When the postmaster refused to give Pelley and Liles ten minutes to show him the law, Pelley then used Google and the phone to find the authority who would be in charge of this matter and finally talked to Rick Carter, Manager, Consumer Affairs & Claims, USPS AR District in Little Rock who asked Pelley to email him the law. One postal attorney with whom Pelley talked said it would probably take several days to resolve the issue, but Rick Carter took care of it in less than 24 hours. (The research had been done for him by Pelley who had hoped it could be resolved with the local postmaster.)
The email to Pelley reads:
From: Carter, Rick A - Little Rock, AR
To: Debbie Pelley
Cc: Driskell, Robert H - Jonesboro, AR ; Adams, Hillrey D - Jonesboro, AR
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 9:43 AM
Subject: RE: Law on collecting signatures on post office sidewalks
Thank you for sending me the amended 39 CFR on soliciting on Postal property.
I submitted this to our SW Area Law Dept. and they agree soliciting on sidewalks around Post Offices is allowed by this amendment.
Please accept our apology for the misunderstanding and any inconvenience you experienced because of the situation in Jonesboro.
I have advised the Jonesboro Postmaster to allow soliciting adjacent to the Jonesboro Post Office as long as it does not interfere with access or egress from the entrance ways and if there is no disturbance because of the soliciting.
For your future ease in carrying out your petition initiative, let me suggest you speak with the Postmaster or Station Manager in the location where you intend to solicit before hand. Let them know this activity is allowed by 39 CFR and reach an agreement as to where the activity can be pursued without interfering with Postal operations or access and egress from the facility.
This should prevent any misunderstandings or problems with your soliciting activity.
I will send an alert out to all Postmasters and Station Managers in Arkansas advising them of the amended soliciting regulations.
Again, please accept our apology for this misunderstanding.
Manager, Consumer Affairs & Claims
USPS AR District
Common citizen prevails over
government bureaucracy/apology made
For once a common citizen prevails over government bureaucracy. The postmaster in Jonesboro said Liles was wrong and used a 911 call to have her removed from the post office. The police asked her to move saying the property was federal property. The media spokeswoman in Little Rock for the postal office said she was wrong. Even our US Senator Pryor's office, whom Liles contacted, sent her a letter saying she was WRONG. But the law says she was RIGHT. Thank God for the law. And the law is what Secure Arkansas initiative is all about. It just can't be right or just for foreign born persons to march and protest in our streets without intervention and one single lady collecting signatures have three police cars dispatched on her.
Pelley and Liles submitted the following written statement to the reporter asking him to include it in the story, which he did.
"We would really like for these statements to be part of the story: We don't want this story to cast any reflection on the post office or employees or on the policemen. Except for this one incident with the postmaster the post office has been very cordial and has given permission for us to collect signatures on the sidewalks and has now taken steps to prevent it from happening again. When we visited with the police chief, we could not have asked him to be any nicer. We understand it is their duty to dispatch policeman to any business that makes a call, and this was made as an emergency call. I understand the police chief even took steps after this to prevent it from happening again.
An attorney informed us that we had a very good civil rights case. We do not intend to file a lawsuit in this matter, although it could be tempting. That is not our goal. Our goal is to exercise our civil rights and protect the rights of the American citizens and get the signatures we need for the initiative. It does strike me as unbelievable that illegal aliens can march and protest in our streets freely, yet one single person exercising her legal, civil rights collecting signatures has the police called on her with a 911 call. We feel that situation in this particular instance has now been rectified."
These ladies have fought for our rights to gather petitions at the post office. I hope you will go to the post office and exercise that right. Secure Arkansas website gives information about how you can do this. That website is http://www.securearkansas.com/
Bob Hester, State Director
Arkansas Family Coalition
This email can be read online at http://www.wpaag.org/immigration%20-%20Pelley%20-%20Liles%20receive%20postal%20apology.htm
It can be commented on at this blog: http://arkansaswatch.blogspot.com/2008/06/pelley-liles-receive-apology-from-us.html