First Amendment also takes a back seat in Gould, Arkansas
Recently Earnest Nash, the mayor of Gould, Arkansas and city council of the tiny town of 850 residents have been waging a battle of Constitutional proportions. The council has issued an ordinance banning all public and private meetings discussing any city matters within city limits without its approval. The vaguely worded Ordinance No. 062011-5 would even prohibit such discussions around the dinner table in private homes.
Nash is a member of the Gould Citizens Advisory Council, which the council has banned from doing business within the city limits.
“This is America and even though this is Gould, Arkansas, this is still part of America. And in America, you can’t just vote and violate people’s constitutional rights,” said Mayor Nash.
“I couldn’t believe that it was real when I first read it,” said University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law Dean John DiPippa. “The truth is the city of Gould doesn’t have the authority to tell anyone that they have no right to petition them, no right to speak and no right to exist in their city.”
Gould’s city attorney gave the council the same news. In return, members tried to fire him. The town is about 30 miles southwest of Pine Bluff.
As tensions escalated, Nash was pistol whipped (video) this past week, requiring hospitalization. During a television interview with Fox 16, Councilwoman Sonya Farley drove up and confronted him again. Farley had to be restrained.
Despite the threats Mayor Nash said he has no plans to step down. “I’m not leaving, I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I’m going to stay the mayor whether they like it or not. They’re not going to run me off.”
Arizonans have their own brand of craziness in the town of Quartzsite, where the First Amendment has also been under attack. We’ve written about it here, here, here and here. AZ Attorney General Tom Horne has weighed in on the subject.