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Dallas Seems About the Same Dallas The scene strained credibility. There sat the fashionably-dressed men and woman who govern the city. The chamber in which they labor is as modish as they, dark-panelled and illumined by discreet indirect lighting. Somewhat at variance with this genteel setting were the spectators. Thirty or forty of them were beaded, bearded, long of hair, unconventional of dress. A young girl entered to the accompaniment of tinkling bells that were attached to her ankles. Dallas’ hippies were represented. Others on hand for the meeting included the usual business types that abound hereabouts, elderly codgers of the sort who frequent courthouses and city halls, a woman wheeling a baby in a perambulator, a couple of ministers, an assortment of housewives, and an old gentleman who sat patiently, displaying an inscrutable sign that read, “See the Secret of the Kennedy Half Dollar, 25c.” The chief concern of the day was an ordinance the council was considering on third, and final, reading. It deals with the Stone Street mall, a blocklong pedestrianway that once was a street connecting Elm and Main streets. Having no particular value as a passage for vehicles the street was blocked and made a mall a couple of years back or so, and a fountain installed. Dallas’ hippies have taken a liking to the spot and regularly conduct be-ins, love-ins, or what have you on the mall, reading poetry, playing guitars, singing, and just, generally, grooving. Adjacent merchants have not been pleased; they had complained to city hall about the congregating kids. Also a source of unhappiness for the retailers were the ministers who hold forth on the mall, and have for years. Finally it became clear the council would have to act to quiet the complaints of the merchants. An ordinance was prepared. “It shall be unlawful for any person between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on any day except Sundays and legal holidays to use that portion of Stone Place . . for the purpose of demonstrations, speeches, or unusual acts or exhibitions, 12 The Texas Observer without first having obtained a permit from the chief of police.” The permit entitles its holder to use the mall for his purposes for two hours; five two-hour periods are designated and only one permit will be issued per period. The chief is to consider the “purpose and manner of use” proposed by the applicant. Several persons were on hand to speak in protest of the proposed law. Fred Weldon, a young attorney representing the local chapter of the Texas Civil Liberties Union, led off. “The ordinance violates constitutional rights, it’s too broad an instrument,” Weldon asserted. Since it is a licensing statute it constitutes a prior restraint on free speech, he went on. Noting that the police chief must consider the purpose of the applicant for a permit, Weldon said, “There must , be no discretion to pick and choose between those who shall speak and those who shall not . . . [The law] invites the chief of police to pass judgment on the propriety of a speech.” Weldon was also critical that the proposed law limits the number of speakers to five a day, precludes the possibility of debate and dialogue, and, worst of all, he said, makes a speaker liable to prosecution if he draws a crowd. This last provision, Weldon told the council, means that a speech is to be penalized if it becomes effective. DALLAS MAYOR Erik Jonsson sat through Weldon’s 20-minute presentation with a look of benign patience on his face. When the lawyer had finished, the mayor said, smiling, “Mr. Weldon, of course you probably understand what the council’s reasons are. . . . There were interferences with the rights of others [at the mall] . . . We have nothing against any activities at Stone Street as long as they don’t impinge on the right ‘s of others. . We’ve had complaints from the Wilson Building, a block away, about the noises,” he said. Pedestrians who might use the mall walkway are avoiding it and merchants have noticed a loss of business, Jonsson advised. “What was intended as a pleasant walkway has become a lounging area,” the mayor said. Councilman Jack McKinney said the council shouldn’t concern itself about the legality of the ordinance, the courts are the place for that. He moved final passage. The proceedings were interrupted at this point by Dalford Todd, an attorney and minister who has on occasion preached at the mall. Todd, dressed in a business suit, stood up and said the council should get an opinion as to the ordinance’s constitutionality from the U.S. attorney general’s office. “Gentlemen,” he said, “Dallas already has got a name. I live here and want to serve my city [in this matter] because I love the Lord Jesus Christ. . . I believe this question [of free speech] has already been settled by the Supreme Court. . . . I personally think a very great deal of our police chief and you’re putting a very onerous duty on him. . . . I may be prosecuted under this ordinance, but that doesn’t worry me, because whatever the Lord Jesus Christ lets happen tome is all right with me.” Todd having finished, anotheriglocal preacher, C. R. Bailey, carrying a Bible, came to the front of the chamber i at4 l inquired if he might speak. “May the LOt i d’s word be heard here?” he asked. “It’s ‘been banned by the Supreme Court and hasn’t been heard here yet.” “How long would you like to speak?” Mayor Jonsson asked. “About five minutes,” Bailey said. “I’d like to limit you to two minutes,” said Jonsson: “I believe the Lord’s word deserves five minutes,” Bailey shot back. This drew long, enthusiastic applause from the crowd, mostly the hippies, and vaporized the mayor’s hold on his temper. “Stop that applause and stop it now or we’ll have you removed from here by the police. This is not the place for theatricals,” Jonsson said sternly. BAILEY THEN was permitted to speak. He began by reading a lengthy passage from his Bible as the mayor and council members looked on dourly. Concluding his reading, Bailey began a sermonette. “At one end of the Stone Street Mall the word of God is preached, but the people don’t want to hear that they’re sinners and that their government has become murderers . . . . drawing blood. “I have nothing to do with that sign the man is holding back there,” Bailey said, pointing, “but it’s true that our silver has turned to dross because we are resisting the word of God.” A councilman -interrupted Bailey, saying. “Mr. Mayor, this man is not speaking on the subject of the ordinance.” The vote was quickly called. There were no dissenters. An hour later the hippies had reconvened at the mall before the eyes of a policeman. No arrests were known of as the Observer went to press. G.O. Buttons are simply a sublimation for man’s natural propensity for in depth social commitment and physical release of hidden emotion which have caused terrible hang-ups since the earliest recorded times and that ain’t all .. . 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