Star Tribune: Minneapolis parks chief reverses flier ban

Rochelle Olson, Star Tribune, June 24, 2005

»Break out the campaign literature and head for the Minneapolis parks.

In the aftermath of a well-publicized incident, Minneapolis Park Superintendent Jon Gurban reversed a ban Thursday on handing out literature in city parks without a permit.

Legal counsel advised that “current regulations may be overly restrictive from the sense of requiring permits for individuals or small groups to distribute noncommercial information,” Gurban wrote in a memo to staff.

Gurban’s reversal memo said, “I am also asking that any individual or small group who are in the park distributing literature use common sense! By that I mean please do not block access or egress to park buildings or block or impede traffic on parkways or paths. Do not litter or bother parents who may have children in wading pools or people playing on athletic fields.”

Groups smaller than 50 won’t be required to get permits when they hand out fliers or noncommercial literature.

The reversal was brought on by a flap recently at Pearl Park when Jason Stone, who is challenging Carol Kummer for the Park Board seat in District 5, was handing out campaign brochures.

Gurban, who was at Pearl Park for a meeting, said that he told Stone that he needed a permit but that Stone kept on campaigning, compelling Gurban to have the park police called.

The police came, Stone put his literature in the car and attended the park meeting. He said Gurban owes Minneapolis residents an apology for misuse of police authority.«

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