Controversial Arlington MLK parade denied permit over funding failure

Controversial MLK parade denied permit

Citing a failure to meet funding requirements, the City of Arlington has declined to issue a permit for a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade that had become a controversial topic due to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s involvement.

A press release from the city said organizers of the scheduled Monday parade didn’t provide the payment needed to cover “personnel and equipment costs for traffic management and event security,” the release said.

City Manager Trey Yelverton told the Star-Telegram that the city has “been accommodating and there was a final request and that request was not fulfilled.”

“There is a significant burden and we have to be sure that burden is not borne by the taxpayers,” he said. “When we came down to four days before the event was supposed to take place and the costs burdens had not been met we had to cancel the event.”

Event spokesman Winsor Barbee told the paper the group was about $60,000 short.

“Everything to put the parade together costs about $250,000,” Barbee said. “We need to pay about $60,000 because some of the sponsors pulled their funding because of the threat of a boycott.”

Protesters had been calling for a boycott over the involvement of Gov. Greg Abbott, who had been named the parade’s honorary Grand Marshal.

"We definitely will protest this event if he is not removed," activist Dominique Alexander said Monday outside Arlington city hall. Abbott’s attendance also met opposition from the Arlington chapter of the NAACP, which celebrated Thursday’s cancellation of the parade.

Thursday’s press release from the city made no mention of the Abbott controversy, citing only the failure to meet requirements set by Arlington’s special events ordinance.

That ordinance requires a permit for parades on public streets, public parks or other outdoor spaces owned by the city, and organizers are required to pay the costs of covering costs for traffic management and event security.

The parade, set to take place in Arlington's entertainment district, was billed as a way to combine MLK events in Tarrant, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman and Collin counties in one regional celebration. 

© 2018 WFAA-TV


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