Protestors are Bad for Business

Angry protesters are driving away customers to businesses next door to Rep. Perriello’s office, and they’re demanding that Perriello relocate his office to a place where they can more easily picket him.  #

16 Responses to “Protestors are Bad for Business”


  • I’m not surprised to see that they actually don’t give much of a damn about encouraging local businesses and making it easier for them to prosper. They might say that’s one of their core values, but in this case it appears they’re all about getting their hate on.

  • Bunch of Cheap-Labor-Conservatives trying to put small businesses out of work so there’ll be people to work in the manufacturing jobs they want to bring back to the US.

  • Like democrats have never protested. You’re both hypocrites!

  • Steve, I’ve protested, but I’ve never clogged up an unrelated business’s parking spots on a repeated basis such that the business is losing its customers, and continued to do so even after the business complained that it was losing customers. So no, I’m not a hypocrite.

  • My understanding is that the owner of the building has repeatedly asked the protesters to please stop, because a) they’re on private property and b) it’s scaring away customers. This has been effective in getting Perriello supporters to tone it down and back off, but his opponents are not sufficiently civil (or law-abiding) to do so. The result is the appearance of opposition to Perriello without corresponding support, a benefit that opponents enjoy by virtue of behaving like asses.

    Protesting is very good and very necessary. Protesting on private property with no compassion for the harm being done to unrelated business is bad. That’s not so hard.

  • I absolutely love this quotation from Bill Hay:

    “I think we should be able to form outside our congressman’s office. If the landlord has a problem with that then maybe they should ask the congressman to relocate to an area where people have easy access to him,” says Bill Hay of the Jefferson Area Tea Party.

    So if the landlord has a problem with his/her property rights being infringed, then it’s incumbent on the landlord to ask Perriello to move (presumably at taxpayer’s expense) somewhere that meets Bill Hay’s needs? “easy access to him” — is Hay suggesting that Perriello is currently ensconced in a forty-foot tower surrounded by a moat filled with lions riding on the backs of sharks? Is Hay deliciously unaware that there is only a lack of access to Perriello’s office because of his protestors clogging up the whole parking lot?

    Would he also like the taxpayers to provide individual Barca-Loungers for each of the protesters to recline in while they wave their signs and declare that illegals are destroying this country?

  • If they start handing out barcalungers I am there in a heartbeat. the new man cave needs more comforts.

  • A couple of points which appear to have been missed:

    1) That same NBC29 article goes on to point out that the protest groups have agreed to abide by the instructions of Chief Longo, which they did during the protest yesterday. So all the strum und drang appears to be over a single rally.
    “Hay says they plan to abide by Chief Longo’s instructions to stay on the sidewalk, or to gather inside Perriello’s office, but they aren’t pleased with the restrictions being placed on their constitutional rights.”

    2) I would assume that most would agree that the First Amendment gives anyone the right to assemble, demonstrate, or protest the votes made by their representatives. The most visible place to do so is at that representatives office, which the taxpayers pay for. Congressman Periello, intentionally or not, has located his office in an out-of-the-way building which is effectively protest-proof. Why isn’t it fair to suggest that Congressman Periello shouldn’t locate his office in such a way as to infringe/thwart the exercise of these First Amendment rights?

    3) In particular, contrast the location of Cong. Periello’s district office (next to the train tracks behind X-Lounge) with that of former Cong. Goode’s (104 South First Street, right on the Downtown Mall). Most elected officials prefer maximum visibility, so what other reasons are there for the rather significant move away from the Mall?

  • “what other reasons are there for rather significant move away from the Mall”? Cheaper rent than a DM rent? desire to save taxpayers’ money? desire to be closer to people rather than businesses? maybe the mall office wasn’t available and there weren’t other mall options? you could at least try to think of some other plausible reasons OH WAIT NO, why would you want to do that? far better to conclude that he wants to infringe free speech. (have you ever BEEN to one of his town hall meetings? not a guy who tries to infringe free speech…)

    How is it “protest proof” if people are protesting there? How it “out of the way,” exactly? is that because it’s close to Garrett Square? there’s street parking and two lots RIGHT THERE…how is that less convenient to a protester than the DM? is it that the protesters feel less visible there and aren’t getting the attention they want?

  • I’m sensitive to the concern of a public official locating his office in a poor spot, though. Delegate Bob Marshall doesn’t (or, at least, didn’t a few years ago) have an office—his home was his office. And in 2003, when protestors showed up (a gay rights group with whom he had refused to meet), he was very upset, claiming that they’d come to his house to harass him and his family, intentionally ruining his son’s birthday party. Of course, they simply wanted the opportunity to communicate with their representative, and were angry that he’d refused to allow them to do so.

    This doesn’t appear to be an instance of that. Perriello has a downtown office in a well-trafficked area in an office building that isn’t nearly as expensive as something on the Downtown Mall, right next to a parking garage, surrounded by public land. It’s tough to generate any sympathy for these protestors’ arguments.

  • Waldo:
    I’m not sure his current location could be considered well-trafficked, certainly not by comparison, but that is largely semantics. I think less expensive is a fair reason, if in fact that is the case, but I’ve not seen any numbers either way (but he receives a set office budget, more below).
    But I have to take issue to the “surrounded by public land”. With the way the building and parking lot are set up, there is in fact no public land which is visible from his office. The sidewalk to the south and east are both downhill from the entrance and set back at least 100 feet. To the south it is also screened by trees. Having been out there yesterday, there is no public land from which one could effectively protest the office.

    Cecil: Two lots from which protestors are forbidden, remember. Also, how is his office closer to “people” than the number who frequent the Downtown Mall?
    I also must point out that each Congressman receives a set office budget from which they choose to allocate staff salaries, office rent, supplies, etc. To the extent Cong. Periello is saving money on rent, I will be willing to bet he is spending the money elsewhere, such that taxpayers are not actually “saving” any money. We won’t find out until disclosures come in after the end of the year, but I’ll bet he (and every other Congressman) finds a way to spend their full allocation. Paying your staff more, or having additional district offices may be what his constituents desire — my point is only that it does represent a choice, one I think is fair game for further discussion.

  • when I referred to the nearby parking lots, I meant as an option for parking, as in it’s no hardship to get down to his office, park your car, and tote your picket signs over to his office. it’s hardly inaccessible.

    He’s closer to residents. To where people live. Maybe it’s a symbolic choice to set up shop literally on the other side of the tracks, symbolically so as well — he’s close to Garrett Square.

    Maybe he wants to pay less for a tony address on the DM so that he can pay his staff more.

    How much public land should an elected representative surround himself with in order to facilitate large numbers of protesters? I would wager that the vast majority of elected representatives across the US have offices in downtown-y/business-y areas in their districts, near other businesses or residence, where most of the land is private. I’m doubting they’re all surrounded by vast stretches of public parks or other forms of public land. (Remember, this is the US, where if we can privatize something, we will.) If being surrounded by large chunks of public land is not the norm for congresspeople’s home offices across the US, then why you are demanding it of Perriello?

  • I’m not sure his current location could be considered well-trafficked, certainly not by comparison, but that is largely semantics.

    My father owned a business in the same building that Goode’s office was in on 1st St, and went I went to school on the Downtown Mall, I’d walk to and from there every day. And my wife used to run an organization in the Glass Building, where Perriello’s business is, and I helped out regularly. And, finally, I used to live on the corner of First and South, when I worked on the corner of Water and 3rd SE. What I’m saying is that I’m pretty familiar with these two spots and the relative levels of traffic that each get. With the large residential area just behind the Glass Building, the shops surrounding it, ACAC a block over, a nightclub in the same building, and the parking garage immediately next door, there’s a great deal of foot traffic around that building. There’s a constant passage of people pushing strollers, carrying gym bags, walking to and from parking, etc. 1st St., OTOH, has very little. It does have whatever Gravity Lounge is called now, which brings foot traffic some evenings, but other than that, there’s nothing for people to go to there. It’s just the sides of two large buildings and a few entrances to office buildings. It’s just one of a dozen roads leading to the Downtown Mall from the surrounding blocks.

    Really, there’s no meaningful argument to be made that this location is inferior by virtue of its proximity to humans who can observe the goings on.

    But I have to take issue to the “surrounded by public land”. With the way the building and parking lot are set up, there is in fact no public land which is visible from his office. The sidewalk to the south and east are both downhill from the entrance and set back at least 100 feet.

    Just to be clear, it’s your assertion that political officials are obliged to have an office space that has a clear line of sight from within the office, through one or more windows, to a piece of public land located less than 100 feet away, where people can protest and be seen by said officials or his employees and that is located in a sufficiently well-traveled part of town that some undefined large quantity of citizens can observe said protesting?

    I just want to make sure we’re on the same page here.

  • Dave
    A few points for you to consider.
    You: That same NBC29 article goes on to point out that the protest groups have agreed to abide by the instructions of Chief Longo, which they did during the protest yesterday. So all the strum und drang appears to be over a single rally.
    No, one protestor said he talked with Longo and they aren’t staying on the sidewalk, they are sitting on parked cars and keeping people from parking in slots for other private businesses.

    You: I would assume that most would agree that the First Amendment gives anyone the right to assemble, demonstrate, or protest the votes made by their representatives. The most visible place to do so is at that representatives office, which the taxpayers pay for. Congressman Periello, intentionally or not, has located his office in an out-of-the-way building which is effectively protest-proof. Why isn’t it fair to suggest that Congressman Periello shouldn’t locate his office in such a way as to infringe/thwart the exercise of these First Amendment rights?
    First do you want to spend tax payer money to have his office in a higher valued mall space as Goode did? And isn’t it obvious that this is not a protest about his vote on health care and more of an opportunity for a fringe element that doesn’t properly represent this part of his district who is more focussed on the next election and ignoring the issue of health care?

    3) In particular, contrast the location of Cong. Periello’s district office (next to the train tracks behind X-Lounge) with that of former Cong. Goode’s (104 South First Street, right on the Downtown Mall). Most elected officials prefer maximum visibility, so what other reasons are there for the rather significant move away from the Mall?
    And again, this is your tax payer dollars, Are you aware of what Congressman Goode spent on monthly rent to have an office he barely visited?

  • Protest are fine and all of this discussion is good and well, but the best protest of all is a VOTE against congressman Periello. I intend to remember how he voted on the health care issue and will vote against him in the 2010 election.

  • I don’t believe any business has lost customers during a protest at 2 PM in that location any more than I believe the Omni loses business every time some protesters gather in front of the federal courthouse.
    Does anybody know what Perriello pays his landlord and what Goode paid his?

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