Aug 13, 2007

On Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, Municipal Censorship, and Certain Freedoms

The city of Toledo's decision yesterday to close Woodrow Wilson Park to local citizens protesting city expenditures to protect neo-Nazi groups was most unfortunate. This act merely reinforces claims by groups such as the October Fifteenth Anarchist Collective that the city cares more about neo-Nazis than its own citizens.

I spoke with local activists yesterday about the unprecedented closing of the park for "public safety" reasons.

"It is unconscionable that the city will allow out-of-town neo-Nazis to march here and taunt local minorities, while censoring local citizens who object to city funds supporting neo-Nazis," said one attendee of the cancelled public meeting. "It shows that the city is in bed with neo-Nazi groups, and shows exactly where the Mayor's sympathies lie."

Dozens of police could be seen in and around the park, and mounted patrols kept watch over the activists when they went to Manhattan Plaza to meet the media. Media personnel were also banned from the park, although people who had been in the park prior to the event were allowed to continue their recreational activities.

My personal opinion is that the decision to shut down the park represents a disturbing infringement of freedom of speech and freedom of association, and the city might find itself on the receiving end of expensive legal action. The city issued a brief statement explaining its rationale behind closing the park:
Wilson park was closed, effective noon, today. Toledo police received word of a rally with potential for confrontation. To avoid problems, Mayor Finkbeiner ordered the park closed.
At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law, I think that the repressive nature of the closing of Wilson Park is indeed reminiscent of the actions of a certain fascist group that came to power in the 1930s. I respectfully suggest that the Mayor re-familiarize himself with portions of the Bill of Rights if and when this group decides to hold another legal public meeting.


Anonymous said...

Carty Finkbeiner is as much a fascist as the Nazis. This was an unbelievable move by Carty, but all this will do is inspire us.

**October Fifteenth Collective**

historymike said...


While I disagree with your assessment of the Mayor's fascist tendencies, I do agree that this decision will be counterproductive.

Mad Jack said...


Do you have any details or pix? Did the demonstrators belong to a particular organization? Who were the spokespeople?

This seems kind of high-handed, but where Carty and Toledo City Council are involved I'm not surprised.

Chad said...

And yet..people are skittish to sign the recall.. Toledoans deserve what they get for the apathy and support of a rediculous man and his evil empire.

Hooda Thunkit said...


Seems like many of the local bloggers have voiced their displeasure at having OUR RIGHTS trampled by our nitwit mayor.

I took a particularly pointed attack at "his dishonor's" feeble (minded) attempts at protecting us by denying our rights myself; although I admit that I took a bit of a harsher tone that most;-)

Remenber, We DESERVE the government that we elect. . .

historymike said...

Mad Jack:

No pics. I was nursing an attack of kidney stones, and I stayed home yesterday thinking this would be an inconsequential, non-newsworthy event.

I am reluctant to disclose group and individual names for fear of providing the neo-Nazis with intelligence. Their favorite tactic is to engage in campaigns of cyber-terror against their opponents, and I do not want to facilitate neo-Nazi terror.

historymike said...


While I would not go so far as to characterize the Caty Finkbeiner administration as an "evil empire," I suspect you are correct that this will drive a few more people into the Recall Carty camp.

historymike said...


Agreed about the reaping of what we have sown.


Anonymous said...

TPD Shuts Down Anti-Fascist Rally

NBC 24

(Toledo, OH) --- On Sunday, Toledo police said they shut down a rally at the North Toledo park --- The same park where neo-Nazi protests sparked riots two years ago. But there's a twist: Sunday's rally was a call against racism.

The rally was setup by the "October 15 Anarchist Collective." They're a left-wing group, founded in reaction to the 2005 neo-Nazi rally.

They say they're surprised and disappointed that the city shut them down, when all they wanted was to spread a message of peace.

Wilson Park in North Toledo in empty after Toledo police told everyone to leave.

Members of the October 15th Anarchist Collective say they'd hoped between 50 and 100 residents would show up to protest racism and have a good time.

"We were going to bring food and simply have fun and have a rally saying that they don't want Nazis in their neighborhood and they don't want the cops to protect them," said Brian Matthews, a member of the Collective.

They planned this rally last week, in response to a group of white supremacists who plan to rally in the park, next Friday.

They say if the racists want to come that's fine, but the taxpayers shouldn't be paying for police to protect them.

"We're not denying anyone their first amendment rights, we feel we have first amendment rights to say we're against everything these Nazis represent and everything they espouse," said George Windau, a member of the Collective.

"We think if they don't get police protection, they just won't show up," Matthews says.

They're hoping to avoid a scene like two years ago. A Wilson park protest by neo-Nazis in 2005 sparked a riot that tore across North Toledo.

Residents there say if the white supremacists can spread their message in the park, folks preaching against hatred should be welcome there, too.

"People hate racism," says North Toledoan, Will Davis. "It's a new day, a new era. People aren't the same like they were. I think it would have been real peaceful."

The mayor's office issued this brief statement: "Wilson park was closed, effective noon, today. Toledo police received word of a rally with potential for confrontation. To avoid problems, Mayor Finkbeiner ordered the park closed."

Police referred all of our questions to the mayor's office. Neither the mayor, nor his spokesman, Brian Schwartz, would respond.

The Screaming Nutcase said...

Hopefully I can get away from my clinicals long enough to sign:

Recall Carty

Mad Jack said...

(Toledo, OH) --- On Sunday, Toledo police said they shut down a rally at the North Toledo park --- The same park where neo-Nazi protests sparked riots two years ago. But there's a twist: Sunday's rally was a call against racism.

So Our Elected Officials, aided and abetted by the Toledo Police Dept. prevented a demonstration against racism.

Against racism.

If this doesn't get Carty recalled, I can't think of anything he'll get caught at that will.

This isn't government. This is nuts.

Mad Jack said...


Sorry to hear about your kidney stones. I had some once and managed to lose them in the middle of a drug induced haze.

Back to the topic at hand. You, HistoryMike, being a well-read history aficionado as well as being an upstanding citizen of good moral character, should make a few comments here relating to this incident from a historical perspective.

GuestZero can handle the economic perspective, Katie can elucidate us from the educational perspective, and maybe someone can let LimeDrops out of solitary confinement long enough to cover the emotional perspective.

While I make light of this, I really would like to know about similar incidents and their significance, if any.

Chad said...

History Mike..I've met them all...

It's Jamestown revisited. They are the ones with dark circles under their eyes, the stare at the floor when talking to you demeanor and the 1 too many Kool-Aids for the road, walk.

It's like talking to a wall sometimes. The Mayor's dwindling alliance is looking more like stowaways on the Titanic. .....And the band played on.

My experience with the various entities that make up Carty's empire are ever expanding, and it's a rare occasion that it's a plesent and affiable experience.

From the 22nd floor to the salt garage, he has no idea how to run a contemporary city. Well, unless you count contempt as effective management. His leadership and communication skills are swirling in the muddy Maumee...

Anonymous said...

It's sad really.

Despite his eccentricities I've found myself on the same side as Carty on some issues, Costco and the bike path to name a couple, and I've even taken his side on this whole recall effort which seems to have sprung out of the boredom of the right-wing libertarian crowd.

But now this is too much.

This is an absoltely indefensible and illegal act, akin to something I would expect to see in China or North Korea.

The mayor has shown his blatent disregard for the most basic of civil rights, and seeming disdain for legal due process of any sort. The police also shoulder some responsiblity for enforcing what seems to be an obviously illegal order.

I'll echo a comment I saw on another blog regarding this:

If this isn't enough to have him recalled I don't know what is.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,

The first comment posted is not actually from us, the October Fifteenth Anarchist Collective, or anyone related to the group. Before the event, and ever since, we've dealt with a lot of provocation from anonymous people. Calling Carty a fascist is definitely not something we'd do. We can explain the connection between racism, governments, and capitalism in much more intelligent ways than name-calling.

NBC 24 has probably the best coverage of the rally (video as well, of the police, a member of our collective, and the signs deeming the park closed).

--The ACTUAL October Fifteenth Anarchist Collective

historymike said...

Lisa Renee said:

**** ********* was incorrectly stated as a member of the October Fifteenth Collective by 24 - this was stated on WSPD tonight. He was just a citizen who lives in that area that knows people who are in the group but is not speaking for them.

historymike said...

Sorry, Lisa:

I had to edit your comment. The neo-Nazi trolls viit my site, and some of them like to engage in campaigns of cyber-terror. As a result, I am not printing the names of people who speak out against the Nazis. Too many times in the past my site has been the source of intelligence for Nazi thugs, and I do not wish to contribute to their idiocy.

Here's an example of a recent segment of Nazi bullshit:

MP said...

Well, I disagree with Carty randomly suppressing speech at a public park. I disagree with that vehemently. However, I do not condone the risk of mob violence either, which may inevitably result should no police officials protect the neo-Nazis.

Not that I condone neo-Nazis or fascism. However, I do believe that they have a right to express their opinion safely and Constitutionally, ferociously vile though it may be.

Regardless, I see no sense in suppressing public protest. The public is quite entitled to protest the expenditure of its tax dollars. Suppressing the park protest was completely uncalled for.

What worries me more is that many leaders today, Carty included, are shifting away from respect for individual opinion. What happened to coalition building? What happened to mutual respect for opponents? Why has the face of leadership become the working model of the Bush Administration: Suppress what you don't agree with, ignore and criticize dissent, push beliefs as precedent over the face of reality?

This is not leadership. This is not even intelligent! Those who ask why the recall effort is going so poorly are right to ask why that is. I ask a deeper question: why is it that those of us who worry about these things are persistently in the minority? Why is it that society in general seems to be so content maintaining a status quo with leaders that will ultimately lead us to ruin?

Toledo, in particular, is in absolutely no place to practice complacency about anything economic, political, or otherwise. Yet in complacency it stays with regard to its leaders. Why? Is Carty's entertainment value THAT important to people? I sometimes think so, and I get so tired of it. What will it take? What will it take for Toledo to change? What will it take for people to care about what happens to them, even if it means sacrificing a cheap laugh?

I read this blog for the faint hope it provides for my everyday life. I may be in Illinois, but I feel like crying every time my hometown digs its own grave.

-Sepp said...

In the military, a soldier can refuse an unlawfull order. Don't our police have the same option? I'm not surprised that this happened since Carty has no problem using the police for other personal vendettas and private citizen harrassment.

My next question is to ask how a group that calls itsselves "anarchists" would simply let the cops violate their rights without even a hint of defiance?
Anarchists must have just been more radical in my day.

Anonymous said...

My next question is to ask how a group that calls itsselves "anarchists" would simply let the cops violate their rights without even a hint of defiance?
Anarchists must have just been more radical in my day.

Sometimes, you let the police violate your rights. That is to demonstrate to the pubic that they have no rights either.