As readers will recall, Las Vegas tea party organizers were dragged through “Bureaucrat Hell” before we were issued a “permit” to hold a public rally in a public park which ended up costing us over $600. Now, exactly a week AFTER the Tea Party rally at Sunset Park, Sr. Recreation Program Administrator Darrell Rich inked the following letter to me:
“This letter is in reference to your picnic reservation on Wednesday, April 15, 2009. I am in receipt of documentation concerning the condition of the Picnic Area F. Your group, needless to say, damaged plants, irrigation lines within the park. According to the Indemnity Agreement, which you signed at the time of the reservation, it is your responsibility to ensure that the area was left in a clean manner. This letter serves notice that you must be fined for the repair and replacement of this damage that was incurred. The fine is based upon the amount of time and costs it took for the repairs. See the attached document with the charges. The amount of $459.00 is due upon receiving this notice and must be paid within 30 days of receipt. All future reservations will be put on hold until we receive payment.”
Needless to say, especially since we left Picnic Area F spotless when we were finished, this bureaucrat’s letter pissed me off royally. Here’s my vintage Muthian response:
April 24, 2009
Fancy Bureaucrat Title
Clark County Parks and Recreation
2601 E. Sunset Road
Las Vegas, NV 89120
Dear Mr. Rich,
I am in receipt of your letter dated April 22, 2009 in which you make several unsubstantiated claims of damages to Sunset Par allegedly caused by our organization, along with a bill for $459.00 for what you claim was the cost of repairs. In your letter you write: “Your group, needless to say, damaged plants, irrigation lines within the park.”
“Needless to say”? Hardly. You better be able to prove your accusation. And by that I mean you better provide a hell of a lot better “documentation” than what you included with your letter. Let’s go through this, shall we?
1.) My organization rented Picnic Area F on April 15, 2009 from the hours of 11:00 am to 3 pm. I was on-site the entire time. We policed the picnic area before we left at 3 pm and, as per my Boy Scout training, made a point of leaving it cleaner than when we arrived. The only things I left behind when we left Picnic Area F a little after 3 pm were four Metro Police Officers, the five security guards we hired, and my mother-in-law…who somehow found her way home anyway.
Needless to say, any damage or mess caused after 3 pm wasn’t caused by my organization.
2.) Enclosed with your letter as part of your “documentation” were copies of photos taken by an unidentified individual(s) allegedly showing damage to Picnic Area F. Three of those photos show what appear to be damaged plants, two show what appears to be nothing more than footprints in sand, and one shows what appears to be a garden hose. Needless to say, the problem is that none of these photos give any indication whatsoever that the alleged damage being shown was from Picnic Area F.
3.) Also enclosed were two additional photos. One shows a sandy area behind what appears to be a park sign where the only “damage” I can discern is some footprints in the sand. The other shows a damaged street sign at a park entrance. Problem is neither of these photographed areas appears to be located anywhere near Picnic Area F. Needless to say, I’m not responsible for areas of the park I didn’t rent.
4.) The date/time stamp on each copy of each photograph shows the pictures were taken on April 16, 2009. The time stamps read from 5:50 through 6:03. At first I thought these pictures might have been taken in the morning; however, one picture clearly shows the sun shining brightly with the shadows seemingly falling eastward. Needless to say, that would be unlikely for a morning picture – especially when the sun didn’t even come up until after 5:50 am.
The point being that my organization has been accused of property damage – and for “proof” of this accusation you’ve submitted pictures which appear to have been taken more than 24 hours after our event. But even if the pictures were somehow taken on the morning of the 16th, that’s still fifteen hours after our event. Needless to say, I don’t know how you can authoritatively maintain, let alone prove, that it was my group which was responsible for the alleged damage shown in these pictures taken many hours after our event was over.
5.) Also included in your “documentation” of our alleged damage to Picnic Area F, you included an “Accident/Incident Report Form” – I believe that’s Form 22317(a)-45(e)-72/BULL-46.
That unsigned report was allegedly filled out at 7:00 am on April 16, 2009. The Accident/Incident Location on the report is described as “Planter at the corner of Eastern and Sunset RD.” The description of the “Event” and the “Immediate Action Taken” as recorded on this official government form is as follows: “Repair planter Decomposed granit, prune broken shrubs, and irrigation lines trampled by ‘Tea Party Protestors”
Providing you are familiar with Sunset Park’s geography and layout, you’ll know that the area around Eastern and Sunset where the alleged damage cited in this report is nowhere near Picnic Area F. So while the alleged damage *may* have been caused by “Tea Party Protestors,” if the damage was indeed found in the vicinity of Eastern and Sunset on the far north side of the park, it sure wasn’t caused by my group, which rented Picnic Area F on the far south side of the park.
And as there were “Tea Party Protestors” who had nothing to do with our picnic ringing all of Sunset Park from probably around 10 o’clock in the morning until 7 o’clock in the evening, you’re going to have to provide better “documentation” that any alleged damage not only occurred in Picnic Area F, but in the time frame my organization rented that area – from 11 am until 3 pm.
Needless to say, by this letter I am officially disputing your “bill” for $459.00 to cover the cost of damage which you have not substantiated was caused in (a) the area my organization rented or (b) during the time frame we rented it.
Also needless to say, unless you can provide better documentation and verification than what you’ve provided so far I expect this matter to be dropped immediately and our name be removed from your list of organizations on “hold” as far as future reservations are concerned.
Also needless to say, if you intend to pursue this matter further without sufficient and acceptable “documentation” that Citizen Outreach was responsible for the alleged damage, I will turn this matter over to our attorney who is already unhappy with the Department of Parks and Recreation for trying to deny us a permit to rent Picnic Area F in the first place.
Finally, if you are unable to prove the accusations you’ve made against my organization in your letter, I would appreciate a letter of apology. Needless to say, I won’t be holding my breath waiting.
Not So Respectfully Yours,
P.S. Your “bill” includes $191.25 for five hours worth of “Administrative” work on this matter at a cost of $38.25 per hour. If you intend to pursue this matter any further, you can save us all some time by detailing exactly what “administrative” functions were performed – beyond typing up your letter – which required five hours of back-breaking work at more than five times the minimum wage. No wonder the government is broke.