The City of Philadelphia has reviewed a permit submitted by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign for a rally that would take place in South Philadelphia the day before the Democratic National Convention. The 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia kicks off on July 25. Sanders’ campaign had hoped to host a rally with an estimated crowd of 15,000 to 40,000 at the Richie Ashburn baseball field in FDR Park on July 24.
In a brochure, it is reported that the city expects a total of 50,000 participants to the area when combining media, delegates, and others.
Find ur way in FDR park! pic.twitter.com/V4yuWmM4In
— FDR Park (The Lakes) (@FDRpark) March 19, 2016
The City of Philadelphia has determined that officials will be unable to issue the Bernie Sanders campaign the permit for the rally. A campaign spokesman for the Vermont senator told Philly.com that the event was to be a “traditional Bernie campaign rally.”
In the rejection letter, Deputy Managing Director Jazelle M. Jones, who once shared an anniversary photo of the Clintons on her Facebook and another of Mrs. Clinton voting, explained to Bernie Sanders’ campaign that the field they requested was subject to a multiparty agreement that does not allow the park to be used for non-recreational uses. Sanders’ permit specified it was for a traditional campaign rally, which would not fall under the category of recreational uses.
Jones oversees, coordinates, and executed the city services for all of the “parades, festivals, concerts, athletic events, fundraisers, signature events, and major motion picture film productions held each year in Philadelphia,” according to the Mayor’s Fund website. Jones serves on the 2016 Democratic National Convention Host Committee.
Jones’ husband is 4th District Councilman Curtis Jones, a Democrat who once shared to social media an image of Hillary Clinton on the cover of what appears to be a chapbook or small magazine entitled Philadelphia, with the caption, “Our proudly biased guide to the DNC.” He also tweeted about Hillary’s kickoff rally in June 2015 and her candidacy launch in April 2015.
— Curtis Jones, Jr. (@Mr4thDistrict) June 14, 2015
— Curtis Jones, Jr. (@Mr4thDistrict) April 12, 2015
Some Sanders supporters are skeptical that Mrs. Jones had to deny Sanders’ permit. Contrary to these concerns expressed on social media, though, is the fact that other permits have been issued to grassroots activists planning pro-Bernie events with no problems. Politics Breaking reported that nearly 40,000 activists alone are expected to be participating in rallies next week.
“Four pro-Bernie Sanders rallies, with estimated attendance of 38,000 activists, have been approved for public demonstrations during the Democratic National Convention in July, the city said Thursday.”
Rally Bus states on a designated “March on the DNC” webpage that it will be providing round trip transportation to and from the center of the city for one of the larger DNC protest events.
Jones said that the city had no alternate location that it could suggest. After explaining that she could not recommend an alternative location, Jones explained that the city would be willing to look over “the submission of a revised application” that had “a different staging area, time and/or route.”
Tri Cape set to face Jersey Shore in Carpenter Cup quarterfinals at Richie Ashburn Field in FDR Park pic.twitter.com/NbHHtjURfL
— Philip Anastasia (@PhilAnastasia) June 20, 2015
A spokeswoman for Mayor Kenney said that the deadline hadn’t passed at the time of the notification in the event that Sanders’ campaign wanted to find a new location for the rally. Sanders’ campaign had hoped for the location that was across Broad Street from the Wells Fargo Center, where the DNC will be taking place next week.
In light of the denial letter, Sanders said Friday that he will not be holding a rally the day before the convention, Philly.com reported. Sanders has decided, according to WILX News, to just focus on smaller events and speaking before his delegates as they prepare to fight on the floor over the issues of superdelegates and open primaries.
The Friends of FDR Park have announced that police “will have a plan in place to keep protestors as close to Broad Street as possible,” because there will be protestors in both FDR Park and Marconi Plaza during the week of the DNC in Philadelphia.