Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Contradiction in Mayor's excuse for banning Marines

There is a problem permeating the issue of our Mayor refusing to allow a company of U.S. Marine Corps reservists access to Toledo's downtown area for training.

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner has repeatedly stated that having Marines running around with guns and firing blanks in the central business district of the city on a Friday afternoon is not appropriate, considering the number of workers who would be leaving the downtown area at the same time.

Today, our local paper has quotes that include the presence of children transferring buses downtown on their way home from school as further justification of the decision.

And many individuals who have agreed with the Mayor's position have referenced the timing as their reason for supporting the decision.

But the facts about the training - when it would have begun and when the troops would have been on the streets - are missing, conveniently so from the Mayor's statements.

The Marines' advance team was notified of the Mayor's decision upon arrival in the city - at 3:20 p.m.

"Sergeant Davis, who traveled ahead of the five-bus convoy, stepped from his vehicle into downtown about 3:20 p.m. and was told by a city employee that the mayor wanted him and his soldiers packed up and out by 6 p.m."

According to numerous sources, the Marines were not scheduled to arrive until the 4-5 p.m. hour. They would have unloaded themselves and their equipment, set up their headquarters, received briefings and instructions and would not have been out on the streets until after the evening rush hour - and certainly after all the kids had finished with their school bus transfers.

Additionally, if it was the number of people during rush hour that was the problem, why were the Marines given a deadline of 6 p.m. to be out of the city? This would have put them in the position of loading up the advance equipment and supplies and traveling out of the city at the same time as the rush hour traffic - perhaps scaring workers even more. This doesn't make sense.

Tom at BizzyBlog has a great post on his perception of The Blade portraying Carty as a victim. The paper contributes to the overall problem by failing to detail the schedule of training, thus demonstrating that Carty's reasoning for his decision is faulty - or at least, not as portrayed.

And individuals who read only the paper (which is, admittedly, the only media source with the ability to devote sufficient space/time to the story to include such details), will take Carty's reasoning at face value and may, actually, agree, but only because they lack all the details.

Carty needs to explain the contradiction between the actual training schedule and his excuse for kicking the Marines out of the city.

ASIDE: Blade Columnist Roberta deBoer has an interesting column that suggests the real reason Carty made this decision is ... pride.


jrs said...

Three staff writers worked on the latest Blade article( Meghan Gilbert, JC Reindl, & Joe Vardon) and apparently Roberta DeBoer is the only one at the Blade quick enough to ask the right questions, she's the only one to get the real story. How 'bout that ?

Timothy W Higgins said...


The funny thing about this is that with a little promotion, this could have been a boost to downtown. Promoting the exercise, and maybe organizing a support the troops rally in the process (and the Mayor is incredibly patriotic, right?) could have brought people downtown. I suspect it even would have done so in spite of the weather. It's not like the streets of downtown are all that busy on a normal weekend.

Instead what we have is a nationally embarrassing reputation that will take some time to wear off, and a chance to add our names (along with Berkely, CA) to the list of left-wing, unpatriotic, fringe cities. Maybe we should contact the Livcom and the UN. I understand that this is the kind of things that they really like.

GregA said...

Naw I disagree. Congestion can be so bad during drive time that even if the possibility was there for some inconvenience then I applaud Carty for his decision.

Also, no support the troops rallies please, they might get the idea that their efforts in Iraq are supported and they definitely are not. Now that the "surge" last fall has proven ultimately futile in spite of Fox news repeated crows that it was a success in spite of any evidence, will you pro-war nuts stand down already and admit defeat?

The only remaining way to support the troops is prevent anymore deployments that we are able. Sometimes that is only keeping them out of my city.

Go Carty!

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