Oct 26, 2005

More On Zablocki Town Hall Controversy


As reported here last night, activists were prevented by city officials from handing out informational flyers at the town hall meeting held at the Zablocki Center, a city-owned property.

Simultaneously, though, tables inside the Center were staffed by campaign workers of Mayor Jack Ford, who were passing out campaign literature.

My source had this to say about the suppression of free speech.

"Not only were we told that we could not pass out flyers, a goon from the UAW (in the Ford campaign) tried to physically intimidate one of our activists," he said. "Terry Glazer, from Lagrange Development, called our flyers "hate literature".

My source continued in conversation about the literature, which featured information about contributing to a defense fund to free the "political prisoners" arrested after the October 15 riot in North Toledo.

"Then the UAW goon ordered a white police officer to 'arrest those other two guys too' (two other activists passing out flyers)," he said. "The police officer, who was white, did not arrest anyone and said that he was shocked that we were not allowed to pass out the literature, since it was obviously 'not hate literature.'"

Ford's people, according to my sources, aggressively barred other groups, while permitting Ford campaigners a privileged place inside the town hall.

"They locked the front door to Zablocki after our volunteers went out onto the public sidewalk to pass out flyers to those people entering through the front entrance, instead of the back entrance from the parking lot," he said. "Ford campaign people had free reign to pass out literature in the parking lot and they had tables inside the building."

The anti-Nazi activists were not the only ones banned from passing out literature.

"Even the Finkbeiner campaign people were banned from passing out their campaign literature and took several of our flyers," he said. "They were exiled to the sidewalk along with our anti-Nazi coalition people. It's funny - but -sad - that Ford wants to protect the free speech of Nazis, but won't let Toledo citizens have the same right."

Still waiting to get confirmation from the Finkbeiner camp about the incident, but a staffer said "it wouldn't surprise me if that is true." He promised to find some volunteers who were at the event last night.

More to follow....


Anonymous said...

I was in Florida trying to pass out fliers on a locl nazi and the police made me stop. I found local nazi public information at http://vanguardbod.blogspot.com/

Now I know I am not the only one being harrassed by the cops.

Lisa Renee said...

Good work Mike, I linked your post at mine to increase attention of this. This is very troubling.

Jr said...

Are all of the 140+ arrested called "political prisoners?" The ambulance responding to a call that had its windshield smashed, that was done by political prisoners? The businesses destroyed or damaged, that was done by political prisoners? Interesting term. I'll have to remember that if I ever go on a rampage of mayhem and destruction.

If people were outside the building passing out literature, that would be fine. Are you saying, historymike, that people outside the building were being harrassed? If so, that's definitely troubling.

Wasn't Tuesday night's event suppose to be another listening or venting session for the locals in the neighborhood and not a circus for outsiders with a cause? Aren't the north Toledo locals getting tired of people from outside their neighborhood shoving information and opinions into their faces?

I'd say, inside the building, it should have been free of any campaigning or propaganda. Do it outside. Maybe they should have restricted inside access to only those living in the neighborhood and the media. I'm thinking the outsiders are making it worse for that neighborhood and not better. Maybe the locals there want to deal with the problem themselves.

Now, if Ford was allowed to pass out propaganda inside the building and no one else was, well, that's the People's Republic of Toledo in action.

Either allow every group to hand out info inside the building and turn the worthwhile event into a rediculous distraction, or prevent everyone from handing out info inside the building, so that the people who actually live in that neighborhood can get down to the business of taking care of their neighborhood themselves.

I prefer the latter option, and the leaflet people can do their thing outside of the building.

historymike said...

My understanding: Ford supporters could stay inside, everyone else outside.

"Political prisoners" may be a rhetorical stretch for most of the rioters, but there are probably some people getting charged with double felonies who should be getting, at most, a 4th degree misdemeanor.

I would say, based upon what I witnessed, there were a few dozen hard core rioters, a few dozen more "fringe" rioters (people who chucked a couple of rocks, but caused no damage or injury), and a couple of hundred hangers-on who yelled and ran around without being criminal.

But 140+ people being charged with multiple felonies? Sounds like someone wants to send a law-and-order message out.

I trust that the courts will do the right thing and focus on the truly dangerous criminals, and not send a bunch of people to prison just to mollify the voters.

Yes, the ambulance smashers, arsonists, and looters should get the heavy sentences, but I don't think anything is accomplished by lumping everyone together in the category of "dangerous criminal."

Hooda Thunkit said...

As for the "political prisoners," isn't that kind of a mischaracterization of the perps?

As for the shenanigans of JFo's alleged supporters, that's just business as usual for him and them...

Seems kinda desperate, huh?

Hooda Thunkit said...

Locking the door was a fire code violation as I recall

Frank said...

HM - there were Carty people inside the Zablocki Center, granted, not that many because Carty had been ducking the Lagrange Village Council event for weeks. If you remember one of the first debates after the primary, at UT's Nietchke Hall (sic), Mayor Ford agreed to the LVC event & Carty equivocated.

In any event. when I arrived at 6:45pm there were Carty people, Shankland, a number of the Mayor's people, a RON volunteer and a League of Pissed Off Voters activist all handbilling as people strolled into the event.

Inside there were anarchists & in fact two spoke in front of the crowd of 300. The Mayor made an eloquent defense of the 1st Amendment, linking it to the success of women's sufferage and the gains of the civil rights era.

Once the event started LVC official Beth Lewandowski made the standard "if your not from Lagrange don't disrupt this meeting" disclaimer - which is made at the beginning of every LVC meeting at Zablocki. The meeting was for neighborhood residents wishing to express themselves and for others to listen - not to circulate literature during the listening session. Last month the evening was intitially scheduled as a Mayoral forum - but in light of 10/15 - was switched to a new format. Carty chose to get introduced and checked out - probably upset his campaign people didnt sufficiently sprinkle in plants to assail Mayor Ford - a common & dirty Finkbeiner tactic. (i.e. the last speaker at kapturs event initially arrived with pat Nicholson in a Carty campaign tee shirt - then reappeared in a blue sweater as the last speaker to deliver Carty's talking points trashing the Mayor - nice attempt to heal the community, Finkbeiner)

Also announced close to the beginning of the event was the fact that the fire code prevented further entry into the main hall. Chief Bell was standing right there. So, as is often the case, if Carty's paid band of travellers arrived late - they would have had to listen through the double doors in the hall. So would of any latecomers.

I thought the event was a success. Carty's abscence certainly made it more productive.

historymike said...

Thanks for the update, Frank.

The burning question, of course, is whether or not Mayor Ford's people were allowed to remain inside at tables, while other political workers were sent to the sidewalk.

I know that one anarchist, Brian Matuszewski, spoke to the crowd. He lives in the area, and was one of the arrested protesters.

Brian's "crime"? He was arrested for carrying a wooden stick, displayed on his person. He was detained before the outbreak of violence, and charged with multiple felonies.

Brian is a long-time activist in the Toledo area, and volunteers at a local soup kitchen. I have met him on numerous occasions, and, while I may disagree with his politics, I know him to be a good human being.

Luckily for Brian, Judge Berling saw through the escalated charges and dropped his case down to one 4th - degree misdemeanor.

Frank said...

x took a seat front & center in the main hall. The only table I passed on the way in was the check in table - staffed not by Ford workers but LVC volunteers. Anyone shilling lit during the remarkable listening session was missing the whole point. That would have been rude. Besides, why not handbill as people walked out?

I've seen Brian around town for years as well, and can't disagree with your assessments. Perchance he wasn't with the (out-of-towner?) anarchists described at the 4:00pm Oct. 15 press conference at the Cherry Police Substation who, according to the witness, were white males dressed in black, complete with black masks, and who, in her words in front of the collected media, officials, and religious and community leaders, "worked to rile up the crowd even more than the gang leaders."