This is of particularly interest to me because I was born and raised in Toledo. I lived there until January of last year. Unfortunately, Toledo’s mayor Carty Finkbeiner has a reputation of being a complete idiot. He’s the guy who recommended moving the deaf out by the airport. Ugh. Now he’s making the Marines feel as welcome as Berkeley has. It’s been a custom for the Marines from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to do urban warfare training in downtown Toledo since 2004, and the Marines were going to do the same this weekend. The Toledo police knew and sent out press releases to the media to inform Toledoans to expect to see Marines in camouflage doing drills. However, since his royal idiocy wasn’t informed quickly enough, he put the kibosh on it. From the Toledo Blade:
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.”
Well, that’s bull. The Marines have been practicing in downtown Toledo for a number of years. My husband saw them on a couple of occasions and noted that no one walking around downtown was scared or upset. They were actually quite interested and thought the whole thing was cool. I can’t think of a better way for Toledo to support our men and women in uniform than to allow them the opportunity to train in the city because it saves lives:
Lance Cpl. Brandon Bukrey-McCarty, 22, recalled taking part in the company’s 2006 urban patrol exercise in downtown Toledo.
He said he learned skills during that exercise that proved useful during the unit’s deployment to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2006-2007.
“It was extremely helpful,” Corporal Bukrey-McCarty said.
The training “got me used to looking up on rooftops, looking around every alley, every open door.”
Finkbeiner, you’re such an idiot.
And by the way, I thought I’d mention that Finkbeiner is a Democrat.
Update: Fox News picked up on the story as well. I hope this goes national. Carty should be embarrassed.
Update III: Laughing Wolf at Blackfive:
This cost the Marines better than $10k in taxpayer money, not to mention wasting their time and having a negative impact on their training. The least I think should be done is for the mayor to personally pay that back to the Marines (NOTE: Having the city pay it for him is, IMO, tantamount to theft of public funds, though it would tend to confirm a lack of understanding of personal honor and be par for the course for a politician — we have far too few Statesmen these days). I wonder how much pork is in the budget for Toledo…
Update IV: Drudge now has it. Ooh boy, the mayor is going to regret his decision.
Update V: Finkbeiner didn’t want the Marines “playing war in Toledo.” I can’t imagine a comment that shows more contempt for our brave fighting men and women than that.
NBC24 spoke to Jack Smith who recalled that after the marines last visit, he and the mayor had a heated exchange about the training.
“He told me he did not want them, as he put it, ‘playing war in Toledo,'” Smith recalled. “I told him, as a former marine, that if one young marine’s life is saved because of training he or she received in Toledo, Ohio, then it was worth the inconvenience.”
Absolutely. What Finkbeiner did is worse than what the city of Berkeley did because the Marines in Toledo were denied an opportunity to actually train for war. The Marines in Berkley were simply protested. What happened in Berkeley was rude; what happened in Toledo undermined our troops.