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St. Patrick's parade organizers go straight to federal court; argue shortened route deprives residents of First Amendment right to applaud

UPDATE: Judge overrules city.

As promised, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council has gone to court to seek an order forcing the city to let it run the St. Patrick's Day parade from Broadway station to Andrew Square, rather than forcing the parade to stop at Farragut Road.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, the group's lawyer, Chester Darling, argues the city's decision to shorten the route by roughly half on March 20 violated not just the organizer's First Amendment rights of assembly and free speech but "deprived the neighborhood and the residents of their opportunity to associate themselves with the Plaintiffs' First Amendment activity by their applause, and other reactions to the values and messages contained in the parade."

In a memorandum in support of a request for a temporary restraining order to force the longer route, Darling snarls at what he calls the city's "pretext" of a shorter route being safer and less expensive:

There is no case law that supports the ability of the entity issuing Parade Permits to do so with unfettered, unrestrained and unbridled discretion. The actions of the Defendants in this case, are beyond the usual efforts to invoke "plausible deniability". Their actions define the word "pretext".

The abuse of discretion by the Defendants as the permitting authority in this action, will devastate a cultural event and cause the loss of the Plaintiffs' fundamental rights of expression that the participants and the spectators have enjoyed for over 70 years.

Darling does not mention 1978, when the council went to court - to shorten the parade route, over the objections of city officials, who wanted it to run its full length.

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Comments

Security and public saftey costs have sky rocketed in the last few years. If the parade organizers want to keep the longer route then they should pay for the 50% more officers required.

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Cut the neighborhood liaisons and expand use of 311. That should be enough to cover one parade.

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Of all the people in City Hall they seem like some of the most useful--help me understand what six departments I need to talk to in what order to get something done. I'm seriously curious about why they are the ones to cut?

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Am I wrong in my interpretation of the 1st Amendment that it only protects your right to free speech from the Government, and that it doesn't require them to actually provide you a forum in which to free speech?

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IMAGE(http://studentsforliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/modestofreespeecharticle.jpg)

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In its infinite majesty, it allows the SBAWVC to do exactly what they want, excluding whomever they want, while also mandating that the city give them free reign to use public ways. What a fortuitous coincidence, that Jefferson et al. happened to foresee the exact needs of these retrograde jackasses.

As if Hurley hadn't already dragged their name far enough through the mud.

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...was 9-0. So, like it or not, Hurley apparently had a valid point. Now, IANAL, but the nine Justices are.

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eight at the moment.

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fucking parade.

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I'm tired of it too. Every single year it's always something. Last year it was the shortened route. The year before (and many years before that) it was about the gays marching in the parade. Next year it'll be something else. And then of course the parade itself.. loads of college kids being drunk and annoying all day.

Is the bickering and fighting for this parade worth all of it?

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I grew up in this town and i've gone to the parade exactly once. horrible experience. it seemed like the floodgates opened on route 3 and SB was flooded with a bunch of 20 something "irish" wanna be tough guys from the suburbs.

maybe it's all this english blood flowing through my veins or the fact that the next morning i found that some scumbag slashed my fucking tire on o'connor way (and there wasn't even a space saver!), but they could flush this whole thing down the toilet and it wouldn't bother me in the least.

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I agree.

"Weekend Gun Violence: Dawnn Jaffier, 26, was shot and killed while marching in the Jouvert parade for the annual Caribbean Carnival in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston."
http://hinterlandgazette.com/2014/08/dawnn-jaffier-fatally-shot-marching...

"BOSTON, USA (CMC) — Police here say a woman was killed while marching in Boston's Caribbean J'ouvert on Saturday morning."
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Woman-killed-at-Caribbean-carnival-i...

"CNN) – Boston police are searching for suspects after an outburst of overnight violence at planned festivities.
Officials say at least five people were shot, one person was killed."
http://wwlp.com/2015/08/30/bostons-annual-caribbean-carnival-parade-over...

My thinking? It's all about the costs of administration. I see no indication that they want to cut other parades. Maybe they do, but wait and see.
Last year's shortened route was a legitimate answer to the snow problem. That excuse doesn't fly this year.

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Man, remember when everybody read the Globe? The Globe wrote last week the city was looking at shortening the Dorchester Day and Bunker Hill parades as well. Now, granted, they buried it in their story about the Allied War Veterans threatening to sue over the South Boston parade, but the fact you have an account here means you must have missed the link I posted: Now city looking to shorten Dorchester, Charlestown parades as well.

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No.

Anyway, I read the linked article: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/03/12/patrick-day-parade-organizer...
I read it through a couple of times. It says nothing about other parades. Maybe they changed it after it was written, but then they would have to note the changes, I would think.

So, I re-read your post from 3/12.
"Buried in a Globe story about how the Allied War Veteran's Council is looking to sue the city over the route of the St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston (something they know quite a bit about) is this statement from the mayor's office:

Boston police are considering changes to the routes for the Dorchester Day Parade and the Bunker Hill Day Parade for public safety reasons as well, the statement said."

Found your quote in the post, but couldn't find it in the actual article. So, where did it come from? It looks like a cut and paste, I'm assuming it's real, but it's not in the linked globe article.

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because I remember reading what Adam reported here ... yet it's not in the article anymore.

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Last year a constitutional scholar kicked in my fence and exercised his first amendment right to free expression by urinating on my home. It was as if Thomas Paine stepped through time and unhitched his breeches in my backyard. Cant wait for Sunday!

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Well said.

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Then don't go. I'm not. I don't think Southie parade supporters care what we feel but it is important to them so why put it down??? You people need to chill out.

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If this guy is so eager to fight about a parade, I hear it is always a popular topic in Northern Ireland. I love the claim that the city shouldn't have jurisdiction over use of public streets though.

I bet that in the coming years of tighter budgets, there might be some public debate about the costs to the city of various parades vs. their benefit to the city. I like them as a part of the fabric of city life. I have no idea what the relative cost/benefit is between say the Greek Independence Parade vs. the Roslindale Parade. Also I don't know what, if anything, the city charges for use of the streets or support staff as part of the permit process. Anyone know?

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With all due respect and thanks for their service, it's time for the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council and their ringleader/enabler/exploiter Chester Darling to go away. Every year they find some new reason to whine, complain, and run to the federal courts to scream about how their right to dress up, drink too much, and block traffic are being abridged by the big, bad city government. What a waste of time, energy, resources, and money. These gentlemen must be getting on in years. Don't they have better things to do with the time they have left?

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Give credit where credit is due. It's not the parade organizers who are dressing up , drinking too much , and blocking traffic. It's the drunken buffoons who descend upon South Boston. Go away!!!

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You obviously did not grow up in Southie NOT Sobo!!!! Since i was little my family watched and marched in this parade! We enjoyed every minute of it too...along with our extended family and neighbors. I applaud Chester Darling and the veterans Committee for having the balls to go to court and fight for What this has ALWAYS been about...celebrating our Irish heritage! Even of you aren't Irish.
Why should this be shortened? If you have a beautiful sunny day on Sunday and the parade is shortened, then there's going to be more chaos In the streets. All the out of towner 18-20 year old light weights with vodka in their water bottles will be taking over the streets..pushing kids and elderly to the side. Keep the parade as it always was! Pay the cops to do their jobs(watching the lightweights for their public drinking..peeingl
PS. Who wants Race Car Driving in South Boston? REALLY?

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I applaud Chester Darling and the veterans Committee for having the balls to go to court and fight for What this has ALWAYS been about...celebrating our Irish heritage!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it supposed to be the Evacuation Day parade, commemorating when the British left Boston after the Revolution? Isn't that where the veterans connection came in?

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General Knox dragged a bunch of cannon from Fort Ticonderoga, through the winter, to set them up on Dorchester Heights. It was a hell of a feat. The British, noticing that the Colonials had the upper hand, withdrew their ships from Boston.

As Barry Fitzgerald might have said, taking pipe from mouth, "The toyming is fartuitous."

Remember, have a few beers and start saying, "Aye" instead of "Yes". It's the American way.

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Just don't close the streets and watch them sit at red lights all day.

Or pull them over and cite them if they fail to yield to pedestrians. $200 a pedestrian can probably pay for next years parade!

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Based on the complete lack of enforcement, I'm not sure if Boston cops know that failing to yield to a pedestrian is even a fineable offense.

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festival/parade feel the same about Madi Gras, Puerto Rican parade/festival, etc., etc., or just the Irish stuff? And why is the Irish parade/festival always ridiculed, mocked, have various groups take them to court, get 'progressives' in a tizzy, etc., etc.? And don't say it's about 'partying', drinking alcohol, etc., because this occurs in all these festivals, Madi Gras ranking as the most rowdy and some would say degenerate (I don't), the Caribbean festivals almost always have serious violence including shootings, etc.

So...what is it about the Irish festival parade that occurs in what was a traditionally 'ethnic' (white) neighborhood in the city that gets so much attention, often negative and mocking? Hmmmmm....and to my American brothers and sisters of Italian descent (I'm 1/2 Italian descent), congratulations...you/we also are now official white oppressors in the same league as WASPs, Germans, Irish, etc. There are serious attempts now being made to change the name of the Columbus Day parade/festivities, even excluding any evil Italian reference.

Question:

Do the groups who always go to court to demand they be allowed to march in the St. Patrick's parade in South Boston, and who're behind much if the drama and hate over this parade, do they also march in all the other 'ethnic' and religious parades and festivals? I ask because I sincerely don't know. What about the Israel Day parade and the Greek parade?

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When was this, and in what neighborhood? First I've heard of it.

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So far we've had accusations of two separate groups who have fallen victim to "white oppression." And it's only Tuesday! C'mon, guys, I bet we can get the trifecta before the week is out... who here wants to wring their hands and tell us all about the horrific oppression the Italians, or the Greeks, or maybe the Swedes are suffering? We'll all totally buy into your not-at-all-disingenuous claims that white people are just as much victims of discrimination as everyone else.

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we should mind our business when it comes to other parades/festivals. As soon as you have a New Orleans local judging what happens in Boston's Irish parade, every fist will be raised with anger...so let's not do that to them.

More importantly, when did everyone get so damn hung up on race & racial history? People spend more time looking back than looking forward. With all the bull that happened racially in decades past, how are people going to progress if they're holding onto that while supposedly moving forward? (Not saying you are particularly, but in general)

Why can't people just let things happen, and if you don't like it, turn the other cheek? When did trying to appease every one person become a thing? Parades aren't a necessity, so folks should be happy anything is still happening in this fashion to celebrate. Besides, ethnic appreciation/celebration should go beyond drinking, floats & food (but I guess some relaxing convo over shared heritage is too "vanilla" for most).

And folks need to STOP waving the "First Amendment" excuse in front of others, at the smallest drop of something not going their way. Get a bad cup of coffee? "It's my First Amendment right to a good cup". It's also my First Amendment right to say those type of people are what's wrong with today's society.

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As a parent who's had to drop my kid off to march in other parades, it makes way more sense to have the parade end close to its starting point. Otherwise, you'll have parents, buses, etc. trying to beat the parade to the end at Farragut Rd. in order to pick up those marching and causing a lot more chaos on the roads.

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...right to applaud! That gave me a good chuckle! Enough with these St. Patrick's Day parade shenanigans. The city needs to stop nitpicking Southie and let them have their damn parade. Every year there's such an uproar over it. As a Boston resident, I'd love the mayor to stop worrying so much about the parade and start paying attention to other things in the city: daily shootings, bringing more jobs to the city, gang violence, pedestrian and cyclist safety, skyrocketing apartment rents, etc. These are issues that have a DAILY impact on the lives of Boston citizens. The ONCE-PER-YEAR St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston does not impact our daily lives! Yes, yes, I know the mayor can juggle multiple issues at once, but the silly amount of time spent on this parade is laughable. For the record, I fully support gay rights groups marching in ALL parades in Boston including the Southie St. Patrick's Day parade and I thought it was BS that they were excluded.

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Where is this years Uhub haters parade being held?

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Same as every year.

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