August 14, 2008 - I called this afternoon and Mayor Valley answered his own line.
I asked him about the allegations that the curfew he imposed on the city is unlawful, running contrary to the city charter and state and federal constitutions. He explained that he is an attorney and then assured me that he had not broken any law.
When I asked how he could make that statement, considering that according to the ACLU, the city charter specifically prohibits him from instituting a curfew for more than 48 hours without involving the city council, he said that the curfew he instituted was only for 48 hours; he then instituted another curfew for 48 hours, etc.
When I asked him about those innocent citizens who get caught up in the police action surrounding the curfew, he cited the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Terry v. Ohio, in which the Supremes said that police can ask anyone for identification at anytime. I cited the Supreme Court ruling concerning a Nevada man who was asked to provide ID - in that ruling the court determined that there must be a reason for the police inquiry.
I asked him about curfews in the Land of the Free and he cited the need to balance between liberty and peace and security.
His main justification for all of this is that the people are entitled to peace. He claims that the people who live in Helena-West Helena have been mostly supportive of the curfew.
Apparently, the city council has imposed a new semi-curfew that does not affect adults, but imposes restrictions on minors during school hours and between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am.
Contact Helena, Arkansas Mayor’s Office
James F. Valley
870-572-5034 - fax