While we were not actually mobbed by people wanting stickers, they were hunting us down and looking for the stickers. When you see someone from about 20 yards out zeroing in on you with a determined look in their eyes, it is wonderful to see they are smiling at you. From about 6:30 PM till maybe 7:40 PM we could not give out stickers fast enough.
The RPD presence consisted of about 3 officers each on the 5th & 7th Street sides, and maybe another 3 or 4 inside the front entrance area. I could not see if there were any others inside or at the Leigh Street side. There were no fleets of squadcars and motorcycles like at the RPV Convention. I got a few pictures before my camera batteries went dead on me.
The fun actually started about 6:45 PM when a few folks in white shirts from SMG Inc. came out and tried to tell me I could not pass out stickers. After asking if they were saying I could not exercise my First Amendment right to political speech on public property, and getting them to stop trying to tell me the Coliseum was "private property" and the public park was "over there past the steps," they tried the tactic of telling me I could not pass out stickers because the people might bring them inside, take them off, and leave them on the seats or floor or walls. These white-shirted individuals, along with some SMG Inc. folks in blue polos, would not answer me when I asked if they were going to hold me responsible for what other people did with the stickers. The final attempt on their part was to say I could not pass out stickers because the stickers would not be allowed inside the Coliseum. I asked if they were saying I was bringing stickers inside the Coliseum, but they refused to answer and brought the Richmond Police Dept. into the conversation.
The cops told me that the "Coliseum people" did not want me passing out stickers. I asked if I was being told to leave public property, and if so under what authority I was being told to leave. That got the cops all confused, so they repeated that the "Coliseum people" did not want stickers passed out. I asked the cops (a female corporal with a rocker and a male patrolman) if they were telling me I could not exercise my First Amendment right to political speech on public property. The response was that they really did not know what the law was but that the "Coliseum people" did not want stickers passed out. We went round and round till a Captain was called over, who after getting nowhere with me suggested that I pass out stickers with the backing still on. I told the Captain that I feared I might then be accused of littering if the people who took the stickers dropped the backing paper on the ground, just as I was told by SMG Inc. folks I was considered responsible if people went inside with stickers and then took them off and stuck them to the seats or floors or walls.
The Richmond Police contingent (Captain, corporal, patrolman) seemed to give up at about that point as I was not going to let them direct the conversation and they seemed fresh out of ideas of how to get me to stop passing out stickers.
One of the blue polo shirts from SMG Inc. then came over and asked if he could talk with me "over there [some distance from the crowd]." When I asked him if there was something that prevented him from talking with me "over here [where I was passing out stickers]" he threw up his hands and walked away.
While all this was going on Dale & Diane were passing out stickers like gangbusters.
Dale got a chance to see some of the SMG Inc. and Coliseum staff searching purses for contraband, He also talked with some of the Coliseum staff that we had met last weekend at the RPV Convention. It seems that as long as they did not have to deal with me they were fine talking with Dale. If only they knew the Mutt & Jeff routine being played on them!
SMG Inc. did force people to take off the stickers and put them in a trash can before they entered. Even from where I was outside the entrance I could hear folks telling the SMG Inc. employees what they thought of the rule, and a few asking where it was posted that people could not come in wearing stickers, or why stickers were being disallowed wholesale instead of dealing with the few who might litter.
In spite of the short time folks were allowed to keep their stickers on, it seems that the expense of printing up the stickers was well worth it. People had heard us talking with the SMG Inc. employees and RPD about the Coliseum being public property, and some seemed downright upset at the pettiness of the no-sticker rule. Others carried that past the no-sticker issue to petty tyranny of public officials in general. (It's great when PO'd people cluster at the entrance and talk in loud voices before actually going inside!)