Following September McCloskey GOP rally in Lower Saucon, township may change rules for using municipal property

Written by on October 7, 2020

Following September McCloskey GOP rally in Lower Saucon, township may change rules for using municipal property

By Tyler Pratt

October 6, 2020

Lower Saucon Township may change the rules about who can use its municipal property. That comes after a GOP rally there featuring Mark and Patricia McCloskey. They are the St. Louis couple indicted yesterday by a grand jury for brandishing weapons toward protesters marching through their gated community.

The McCloskeys made headlines this summer after they pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protests in St. Louis. The Northampton County Republican Committee brought them in to speak at a Lower Saucon park pavilion.

Resident Victoria Opthof says the township didn’t share those details with locals. 

“With all these people coming to hear a political rally, are they going to be wearing masks? Are they going to be bringing weapons, or are we going to have any safety for that?” Opthof said.

Jason Banonis is vice-chair of the Northampton County Republican Committee and vice president of the township council. He said the rules were followed. And that it wasn’t a rally. It was a private meeting.

“Pursuant to the township policies, we’ve always allowed these events. There are weddings that take place, there are veterans meetings, there are birthday parties. There may be some people that don’t love marriage, but we don’t stop those events,” he said.

Township Attorney Linc Treadwell says he advised officials to treat the request the same as other rentals, like a little league post-game party, but to have the police on standby in case of violence. 

“We’re not going to stop somebody from renting the pavilion because something might happen.”

The event didn’t turn violent, but it did raise questions about transparency and the cost to taxpayers. The council is expected to take up the matter this evening.

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