Facebook group rally booted for political stance
by Michelle Babcock
July 07, 2013 12:30 AM | 5005 views | 5 5 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Smart Citizens Rally Against Marlow, or SCRAM!, rally planners found a new location after being notified by the BridgeMill Club manager that they could not hold their event at the neighborhood pavilion because of the political nature of the rally.

SCRAM! creator Christine Rea said she was contacted by phone Friday by Club Manager Loui Padgett, who explained that hosting a political event at the pavilion was against the rules for the facility.

The SCRAM! group formed after concerns arose about a complaint District 1 School Board member Kelly Marlow filed with the accrediting agency, SACS, in June, and a petition was created to urge Marlow to rescind her letter.

“Even though we’re disappointed, we are still planning to go ahead with the rally,” Rea said. “A SCRAM! member who lives in the Reserve of BridgeMill, which is across the street from the pavilion location, has offered the use of their yard and giant wedding type tent! We plan to have some SCRAM! members at the pavilion to direct folks to the new location. Because of the proximity, people can park at the park and walk to the pavilion.”

In denying the group access to the facility

Friday, Padgett forwarded Rea an email she had received at about 4 p.m. from James Haslam, the director of operations for HMS Golf who helps oversee the BridgeMill club and pavilion, which cited the club rules.

“I do not believe that we can allow this to take place at the Pavilion as it is specifically prohibited in our Club Rules as stated below,” Haslam said in the email before citing the club rules. “‘Solicitations: No demonstration nor solicitation on behalf of any political, sectarian, or other group shall be made in the clubhouse nor on the club property, nor shall printed matter on behalf of any person, party, or legislation be distributed in the clubhouse or on club grounds.’”

Though the club rules state political demonstrations are not permitted, BridgeMill has allowed multiple political events on the property in recent years.

Post 1 school board member Kelly Marlow held a campaign event in July 2012 at the same BridgeMill pavilion where SCRAM! was booted from having their rally.

A flyer was posted online in June 2012 advertising a “meet the candidate” event to be at the BridgeMill pavilion. The flyer had a Republican elephant in the top right corner and the text “Elect Kelly Marlow for School Board” at the bottom.

Haslam said that if the Marlow event was a campaigning event “it absolutely according to our rules, should not have been held, and it wasn’t brought to my attention.”

“It’s a private club so there’s not a lot of due-diligence that goes on for these things,” Haslam said.

Rea said when she got the call from Padgett, it seemed like “selective enforcement of the rules in this situation.” Haslam said “anything that’s overtly political in terms of speeches or campaigning would not be appropriate.”

“Going forward we will be very consistent with enforcement of the policy,” Haslam said. “If there has been any deviation in the past, which I’m not aware of … it is possible that some events were held that I was not aware of.”

Haslam said that he sent the email to Padgett, who later contacted Rea to explain why they had to find another location to host the SCRAM! event after seeing mentions of the rally in multiple news outlets online.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
SCAM artist
July 07, 2013
Post 1 loser candidate Kyla Cromer also held a campaign event in 2012 at the Bridge Mill Pavilion in her losing attempt to win the Post 1 Board seat.

July 07, 2013
The Bridgemill rules should say "You can't have a political rally here - unless you're a Republican."
Sue Ann
July 07, 2013
Well, well, well...it's ok for Ms. Marlow to have an event at the Pavilion for her campaign, but not those against her? I see. Now you suddenly want to enforce this rule?? Really?? My guess is someone got a call from a very upset Ms. Marlow demanding that they follow the rules she was so happy to ignore when she was running for office. Just another example of how Ms. Marlow works.
Mary Baggs
July 07, 2013
"Haslam said . . .it wasn't brought to my attention" when Ms. Marlow held her political gathering at the pavilion. I guess we can only guess who brought Monday's rally to Mr. Haslam's attention, can't we?
Cherokee Parent
July 07, 2013
Wow, selective enforcement is right! Gee, wonder who was behind contacting James Haslam about this one. Three guesses, and the first two don't count!
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