Toledo Mayor to Marines: Go Away, You 'Frighten People'

Is the Glass City becoming the Berkeley of the Midwest?

In today's Toledo Blade (HT Maggie Thurber; bolds are mine):

VACATE THE PREMISES
Mayor to Marines: Leave downtown
He says urban exercises scare people

A company of Marine Corps Reservists received a cold send-off from downtown Toledo yesterday by order of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

The 200 members of Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., planned to spend their weekend engaged in urban patrol exercises on the streets of downtown as well as inside the mostly vacant Madison Building, 607 Madison Ave.

Toledo police knew days in advance about their plans for a three-day exercise. Yet somehow the memo never made it to Mayor Finkbeiner, who ordered the Marines out yesterday afternoon just minutes before their buses were to arrive.

"The mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people," said Brian Schwartz, the mayor's spokesman.

"He did not want them practicing and drilling in a highly visible area."

..... Members of the 1st Battalion, 24th Marines have trained periodically in downtown Toledo since at least 2004 and most recently in May, 2006.

..... The Reservists' visit was no surprise to Toledo police, who Tuesday issued a news release to media outlets on behalf of the Marines that asked Toledoans not to be startled by the sight of camouflaged soldiers toting M16 rifles.

..... A pair of Marines spent the better part of yesterday setting up the Madison Building with generators, heaters, radios, and food to become the unit's overnight headquarters.

..... (Marine) Sergeant (Andrew) Davis and other company leaders estimated the total cost of the aborted training exercise, including travel, at roughly $10,000.

It's clear that Marine visits for training exercises have become a routine thing. At least one of these exercises had to previously have taken place since Finkbeiner was re-elected mayor in November 2005 after a term-limited break in service. If he didn't like what the Marines did in 2006, he could have told them not to come back after-the-fact in 2006. But noooooo.

"Somehow," the Blade's coverage missed this crucial point.

Maggie adds:

This is the most insane thing I've ever heard of. Marines don't frighten me! They give me comfort and confidence that our nation is so well-protected by such dedicated individuals. Perhaps it's only Carty who is frightened.

What's frightening is how out of touch the mayor is.

This is disgraceful. The Mayor owes the Marines an apology and a re-invite. The City owes them 10 grand.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.