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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Casar defends our right to party at parks
Friday, March 8, 2019 by Jo Clifton
Council approved changes to city code related to park administration, fees, offenses, penalties, food and beverages at Thursday’s meeting. But some of the wording in the proposed code had Council Member Greg Casar worried that someone could be charged with an offense simply for having a birthday party in the park and not notifying parks administration. Casar noted in the proposed changes there’s a section that says, “a person can’t conduct a group activity” without notifying the department, “and I think the goal … was to make sure that an agency didn’t conduct a group activity. We wouldn’t want to unintentionally outlaw somebody showing up with 10 of their friends to swim in the pool. While I don’t think that our parks department would criminally charge somebody for doing that, I would rather that our law clearly reflect that.” The goal of that particular section was to make sure that someone defined as a “caregiver” not bring a group for an activity to a park or pool without notifying the Parks and Recreation Department ahead of time. No one objected to Casar’s amendment, so party on. Casar also made clear that individuals not associated with commercial enterprises could bring snacks to a park to sell.