"During the past seven days the issue of the Marines being denied the opportunity to practice Urban Patrolling Exercises in Toledo’s Central Business District, has had quite a run.
Today it is a week old and I have these comments:
1. I stated in 2006 I did not wish such “patrolling exercises” to take place in the Central Business District. That was communicated, in writing, to the Marine Corps. I stand by that position today.
2. How the Marine exercises scheduled for last weekend came about, remains unanswered. Suffice it to say, communication among all parties involved was lacking.
3. I have great respect for the U.S. Marine Corps and the military, and my belief that the practice of “urban war exercises” in central cities does not conflict with my genuine respect for the military. The Marines will be welcome to Toledo, by myself, in the future and together we’ll work to find places appropriate for their training.
4. Deputy Chief Ron Spann, who met with the Marines in mid-January, was an excellent police officer, and a Deputy Chief of great distinction. His death was a great loss to his wife, Claudia, their three daughters and this City. We mourn his loss. Ron had met with the Marines, and when he was hospitalized shortly thereafter, Toledo lost its point of contact with the Marine Corps.
5. Some Toledoans disagree with my priority to protect Toledoans first and foremost. That is the Mayor’s job. I respect their right to disagree, regret that we differ on this issue, and wish that we now move forward.
6. Today I signed the Council legislation apologizing to the Marines. That apology is genuine and sincerely extended by all of us. We will learn from this experience and put procedures in place to ensure that this will not happen again."
Obviously, the Mayor just doesn't know when to stop digging an even deeper hole. This issue not going away just because you say so.
Let's take the most onerous problem first: an apology is needed. Even if Carty doesn't apologize for his decision, he can apologize for how he implemented it. Don't misunderstand; I think he needs to apologize for a lot of things in this incident, from the decision to the refusal to meet with the Marines on the day of, to the arrogance and delusional statements that this has no effect on Toledo's reputation. But...knowing Carty, he won't.
And signing the City Council resolution apologizing on behalf of the city doesn't get the Mayor off the hook for his responsibility to apologize for himself!
To blame a dead cop for the miscommunication? Outrageous! Even if the sudden death is somehow involved in the communication problems, you don't create another PR nightmare by making a point of it.
And then there is the admission that the Mayor doesn't know what's going on in his city. This leads to the speculation by many who know Carty and his personality that this incident has more to do with him 'not knowing' and his penchant of retaliation for defiance of his wishes than his actual concern about the issue in the first place.
And how ridiculous to expect that urban training can be conducted elsewhere in the city than an empty - yes, Carty, EMPTY - central business district over a weekend. We should be proud that we have the ability and support necessary for our U.S. Marine Corps to conduct such training - and that they choose to come here because of the way we've worked with them in the past. That's a compliment to us!
Lastly, Carty can talk about how much respect he has for the Marines, but actions speak louder than words. When an officer wanted to meet with him last Friday afternoon after learning of the sudden cancellation of the exercises, Carty refused. Yes, refused. The officer waited 45 minutes in the lobby of One Government Center because Carty didn't even want him on the 22nd floor. It is this specific action by the Mayor that belies all his protestations of respect and support for the U.S. Marine Corps.
I continue to be disgusted by all of this. If Carty really wants to 'move forward,' then he can apologize. However, given the circumstances, I don't think an apology will work at this point ... for if it were offered, it would appear as if it were only being done to try and put an end to the issue - and not out of sincerity for actually having made a mistake.
As I say in my Toledo Free Press column this week, perhaps the only way to truly send a message Carty would understand is to vote down the .75% 'temporary' payroll tax, making this Carty's $57.5 million mistake.