Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Civil Disobedience: Stamford Cyclists Rides into Greenwich Point Park Again, and Police Let Him Go

If you feel like riding your bike into Greenwich Point Park for free, my guess is that this would be a good time. You might get a ticket but I don't see how Greenwich can make a fine stick against you if they're allowing Paul Kempner to ride in for free.

Kempner is the 75-year-old Stamford resident who was given a ticket, with a $92 fine, earlier in the summer for riding in and not paying the $10-a-day non-resident fee. He did it to make the point that cyclists and walkers should be able to get into the park, and to Long Island Sound, without having to pay. He took the case to court, where it was dismissed because prosecutors said it would be too expensive to go to trial.

When he said last week that he would do it again because he knew that in a trial a judge would declare Greenwich's park policies for non-residents unconstitutional, the town's first selectman, Jim Lash, said Kempner would be ticketed and fined again.

But he wasn't. He rode in yesterday. Police asked him to leave but when he wouldn't, they let him go.

"All I can think of is that they don't want this thing to appear in front of a judge," Kempner said. "We think our case is overwhelming that I have a right to use the park."

The Greenwich Time said it was unsuccessful in its attempts to reach Lash for his thoughts.

Meanwhile, mayoral candidates in Stamford want to change the city's policies for charging out-of-towners.


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