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ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER ./LLUSTIRATEP 111,t “SIc iSte ride to jail,” Chief Tidmore reportedly answered. The “Crawford Five” were jailed overnight, tried, convicted, and fined between $200 and $500 for violating the “Parades and Processions” ordinance, which mandated a 15-day notice and $25 fee for a demonstration permit, subject to police chief approval. In subsequent testimony, Chief Tidmore had some interesting rationales for the arrests. Machicek’s arrest was justified because he was wearing “political” buttons such as “I am loved” and “War is not the answer.” He could be considered a “walking demonstration.” Chief Tidmore also claimed that, because Major was “getting her message out” on TV, she was demonstrating. The five appealed the conviction in municipal court, and the Crawford law was ruled unconstitutional. They and the Texas a nonprofit litigation organization, then filed suit in U.S. District Court in Waco against the Crawford Police Chief, the McLennan County Sheriff, the Chief Deputy Sheriff, the City of Crawford, and the Texas DPS for their unlawful arrests. What happened in Crawford is characteristic of what’s going on around the country in terms of suppressing speech, said TCRP director Jim Harrington. The lawsuit was settled for $43,000 on May 26, 2005. During the appeal, testimony revealed that Chief Tidmore had received a call from the Secret Service, instructing him to block passage from the city to the road leading to Bush’s ranch. “These things begin in small places and have larger effects,” said Tricia Major. Such laws are “little cancer cells” that weaken basic liberties, even in small towns. The 2001 ordinance has since been amended, shortening the 15-day notice to 7 days, and the police chief no longer has discretion to choose who demonstrates. The lawsuit “had a healthy effect on the First Amendment in Crawford,” Harrington said. “They know better now.” PERRY’S PANDERING Texas political punditry is atwitter about whether Governor Rick Perry’s full-on pander to the religious right on Sunday, June 5, was shrewd politicking or a costly mistake. When Perry announced his plan to conduct a bill signing before 1,000 true believers at Fort Worth’s Calvary Christian Academy, criticism was instantaneous and demonstrations were organized for the event. Perry’s aides then moved up the start time and snuck the governor into the school two hours before it was to begin. Perry, flanked by national televangelists and accompanied by cries of “Praise the Lord,” signed a bill requiring parental permission for a minor to have an abortion and a meaningless resolution supporting a constitution al amendment banning gay marriage. \(Texans will vote on the amendment on November 8; Perry’s key reelection The governor didn’t see the 300-400 placard-carrying demonstrators who endured 99-degree heat to stand outside the school a tax-exempt offshoot of one of the city’s biggest churchesto denounce the event as a breach of separation of church and state. The protesters criticized Perry for playing politics after failing to broker a compromise on public school funding. The Dallas-Fort Worth media largely portrayed the event as one big gay rights rally despite a broad cross-section of demonstrators. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram was one of the only media initially to report the governor’s answer to a question about how he “would tell Texas gay/lesbian war veterans that they can’t come home from war in Iraq and get married.” The governor replied, jumping the gun a bit, “I’m going to say Texas has made a decision on marriage, and if there’s a state with more lenient views than Texas, then maybe that’s where they should live.” But the demonstrators outside were as happy as hogs in slop. No one had seen so many Progressives gathered together in a group since the ’60s. “Isn’t this great?” said Tarrant County Democratic Party Chair Art Brender, a veteran of the old days, as he looked around at the sweating horde. “The people from Dallas can’t believe it.” ENDING ENHANCEMENTS Texas has the strictest Penal Code in the nation, one of the country’s largest prison systems, and a tough-on-crime legislature always eager to bring down the hammer on almost anyone who’s continued on page 31 JUNE 24, 2005 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5