Mayor Carty Finkbeiner on Friday ordered some 200 members of Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines from Grand Rapids, Michigan, out of Toledo just before the unit was suppose to start a weekend of urban warfare training downtown.
The mayor’s spokesperson Brian Schwartz said, “the mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people. He did not want them practicing and drilling in a highly visible area.”
Toledo police said they knew about the training and had approved the unit’s use of the Madison Building and the Promenade Park area. The training was scheduled to start Friday afternoon and last until Sunday. Police said the unit’s presence would have a minimal impact on the city. Police issued a press release earlier in the week saying the marines would be wearing green camouflage uniforms, operate military vehicles, carry rifles, perform foot patrols, and fire blank ammunitiion during the exercise.
Schwartz said there was a breakdown in communication between police and the Finkbeiner administration that led to the mayor’s action.
“The marines drilled here three times during the Ford administration and once under the Finkbeiner administration. After the last visit, the mayor told then police chief Jack Smith, that he did not want the marines back. Smith failed to inform the current police administration of the mayor’s feelings,” Schwartz said.
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.”
You the rest here.
It’s a fairly long and detailed article, that describes much of the horse trading surrounding the mayor’s ultimate decision. There’s really only one pertinent piece of information you won’t find in the article — the mayor’s political affiliation. If you are wondering, he’s a Democrat. He is, apparently, also something of a kook, which makes Toledo’s loyalty to him impressive. Even his accomplishments don’t seem to set off adequately the fact that the man is a loose cannon.