200 Marines based in Grand Rapids, MI had planned to conduct urban patrol training exercises this weekend in downtown Toledo, OH. They had the cooperation of Toledo police who blocked off streets for the exercises and even sent press releases to local media outlets days before to notify anyone that would be in the area. Most of their exercises were to be conducted in and around an abandoned building.
A spokesman for Mayor Finkbeiner said, “The mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people.”
The Marines packed up their headquarters, generators, heaters, radios and food, got back on their buses and made the 3.5 hour trip back to Grand Rapids without completing their necessary training.
The Marines have conducted exercises before without incident
This Marine unit has been conducting these exercises in Toledo on an annual basis. In 2004, the Toledo Police Chief said there was minimal impact to Toledo residents and he didn’t want to place any obstacles in the Marines’ way. Maj. Jeffrey O’Neill, the company’s commanding officer, said "You can go to military ranges for live fire [exercises], but there's no way to duplicate the urban jungle unless you actually train inside a city." Marines who participated in the 2006 Toledo based exercises ended up taking the Iraqi city of Fallujah later in the year.
I have been to Toledo many times on business. There are barely any people on the streets during the middle of the week, let alone on the weekend. There is probably enough room for tanks to navigate traffic without having the police block off any streets.
Who is Carty Finkbeiner?
Mayor Carty Finkbeiner is a Democrat; you’re not surprised are you? He served two terms starting in 1994, left office due to term limits, and was re-elected in 2004. He offered no criticism of the annual Marine exercises until this year – an election year.
Carty referred to his African American fire chief as King Kong. He defended the comment by saying there was no racial connotation. He simply meant the Chief was very strong. Sure, he could have called him Hercules, Paul Bunyon, or Arnold Schwarzenegger; it was purely coincidental that he referred to him by the name of a giant ape.
Carty had a $9,996 shower installed in his office because he likes to jog during his lunch hour. In another pure coincidence, that amount is just $4 dollars less than the $10,000 amount that would require approval of the Toledo City Council. It might not have been approved since the city is running a nearly $5 million deficit. Boy, was that lucky? But jogging isn’t the Mayor’s only hobby - nearly killing his dog is another pastime of the Mayor.
Carty parked his car in a handicapped parking space and left his dog in the car in 90 degree weather while he received a 45 minute massage. Of course, there were no protests of a Democrat by PETA or advocates for the disabled.
An effort to recall Mayor Finkbeiner fell just 3,000 signatures short of reaching the ballot in Toledo last year. But 2008 is an election year and the people of Toledo will again have the opportunity to voice their opinion on Carty.
I understand why in an effort to increase revenues Finkbeiner raised taxes on garbage – he sure produces a lot of it.