Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mayor Kicks Marines Out Of Toledo

An Ohio mayor had a stern order for a company of Marine Corps Reservists: Get out. Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner ordered the Marines out as their buses were arriving for a three-day training mission in the city, where they have periodically trained since 2004. The 200 Marines, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., had planned to participate in urban patrol exercises in downtown streets and a vacant building, Past exercises have included mock gun fights, ambushes and the firing of blank ammunition to simulate urban combat. Finkbeiner said that would be alarming. "The mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people," Brian Schwartz, the mayor's spokesman, told reporters. "He did not want them practicing and drilling in a highly visible area."Toledo police knew of the plan days in advance, but Finkbeiner apparently didn't. The Marines turned around and went home to Grand Rapids. This isn't the first a city has given Marines the cold shoulder. The City Council in Berkeley, Calif., voted last week to send a message to Marine recruiters that they weren't welcome in the city because of the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy toward gay servicemen and servicewomen. Following a public uproar, Mayor Tom Bates issued an apology to military personnel for any personal offense taken by the council's actions.

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