Another Shocker from Ohio

Maybe the mayor’s spokesman thought he was living in Beaver Falls, Ohio, not Toledo.

WSPD talk show host Brian Wilson and Toledo mayor spokesman Brian Schwartz had a rematch yesterday, this time at the Press Club of Toledo. The issue was the city government’s violation of the First Amendment when it barred WSPD reporters from local government functions.  

The Toledo Blade’s Joshua Boak deftly captured the first round of the rematch:

Toledo mayoral spokesman Brian Schwartz tested the limits of public decorum yesterday during a forum about free speech.

Mr. Schwartz, the official spokesman for Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, cracked a jaw-dropping inside joke and later engaged in a shouting match with WSPD-AM (1370) talk-show host Brian Wilson, prolonging a squabble about the mayor barring members of the radio station from a news conference.
The forum, sponsored by the Press Club of Toledo, began with a bit of attempted levity by Mr. Schwartz, who referenced an old trick that speakers use to calm their nerves.
“Two ladies that I used to work with when I worked at the [Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority], though, made me promise I would not picture them in their underwear when I spoke,” Mr. Schwartz said of the women who were seated in the front row.
The remark was followed by silence from reporters and media professionals in attendance at the .
Mr. Schwartz said after the forum that the women are employed at a Toledo advertising firm that does business with the port authority.
The women could not be reached for comment…..The article noted that Schwartz is paid $78,000 a year,  though it did not disclose if women’s undergarments are part of his official purview.

Schwartz’s comments are off-putting in so many ways.   My experience of  port authorities is limited to passing through New York’s renowned locale on Trailways many years ago.   If the Toledo’s port authority employees had any resemblance to what I saw at the NY Port Authority, well…

I’ve done a fair amount of speaking but haven’t heard of this ‘old speaker’s trick.’  Was Schwartz worried about reaching the conclusion of his talk too quickly, so he started thinking about the Port Authority?

The Blade article has lively details about Schwartz and Wilson’s duking it out.   It is almost always a bad idea to get into a public shouting match with a talk show host…

I have not yet been able to confirm what impact the incident had on the grassroots campaign to draft Wilson to run for mayor in Toledo.

It is great that he is continuing to roast the city government for trampling the Constitution.

(Here’s the link to the blog entry I did on January 31 on Wilson and WSPD’s victory in federal court over the repressive mayor).


14 Responses to Another Shocker from Ohio

  1. Marc Swanson February 18, 2007 at 12:11 am #

    As Clint Bolick pointed out over a decade ago in his book “Grassroots Tyranny”, the worst abuses of power often occur at the local level. Not all trampling of rights is due to arrogant mayors, corrupt police departments, and greedy self-serving bureaucrats. “Well intentioned” committees empowered to micromanage “community interests” do a good job of regularly raping individual liberties as well. Apparently, if they can quell infighting enough to eventually cast votes, their power is almost limitless.

  2. Joe February 18, 2007 at 7:58 am #

    The “old speaker’s trick” is to imagine that your audience is sitting there in their underwear, i.e., not a pretty sight in an “old boys” corporate setting, thus supposedly giving the speaker reason to feel superior or to lose his inhibitions. Strangely enough, IIRC I first heard this from a woman speaking coach.

  3. Brian Wilson February 18, 2007 at 8:01 am #

    Clint Bolick must have visited Ohio for his research.
    The laws, regulations, “city council votes” here routinely steamroller citizens’ rights without a whimper. The only thing more appalling than govt’s blatant disdain for the most basic principles of Liberty is the plague of apathy that infects a paralyzing majority of the residents.

    Like so many termites gnawing away on the Constitution, the coverage of our 1st Amendment issue referenced above has been laced with lies, distortions and red herrings. They aren’t sufficient to completely change the bottom line – just enough to lessen the significance of what happened. To the casual observer (aka most everyone), this was a govt flack’s faux pas cum stupidity at worst; a radio station “publicity stunt” at best. (Of course, you have to ignore that pesky Permanent Injunction from Federal Court to accomplish that act of Aggressive Ignorance).
    Only the handful of eyewitnesses know all the facts and most of them ain’t talkin’ because they are complicit.

    Assuming this “grassroots tyranny” continues around the country, the whole Replublic infested with “termites” would be a fitting analogy.

  4. Jim February 18, 2007 at 9:57 am #

    Marc – didn’t Bolick’s book hit the streets right about the time of Waco? That far exceeds any specific abuse done by local or state governments in the last 20 years.

  5. Jim February 18, 2007 at 9:58 am #

    Joe – as for the “old speaker’s trick” – it sure as heck wouldn’t work if I was speaking to a college audience with a bunch of coeds sitting in the front row.

    It’s hard enough to think of a good opening line for a speech without wondering which women are wearing thongs.

  6. Jim February 18, 2007 at 1:05 pm #

    Brian – I’m sorry the coverage has not justice to the issue.

    I still got a big hoot out of the Blade article – but perhaps that is merely a reflection of my prurient tendencies.

    I hope at some point you can write up your battles, wins, and losses against government & apathy in Ohio.

  7. Lawhobbit February 18, 2007 at 1:34 pm #

    Am I the only one whose little concerned that Jim appears to have a copy – possibly the only copy – of Penthouse’s “The Women Of The Toledo Port Authority?”

  8. Brian Wilson February 18, 2007 at 2:17 pm #


    OK – the future of the Free World will probably not hinge on what has/will happen in Toledo, thank (insert choice of deity or “N/A” here).
    But my limited vocabulary cannot find, with any economy of words, a way to describe the appalling, ridiculous, amazing, bizzar-o, unlimited stupidity, ignorance, vaccuity, apathy so rampant here!
    Check out the local blogs for a cornucopia of blithering idiots, non-sequitors, t-boned “logic”, double-digited IQ’s posing as the Intellectually Adroit with Infallible Wisdom.
    There might be Hope if any one of these Self-Annointed had the stones to say “I am a statist/collectivist/socialist/noclue-avist who just can’t stand Wilson’s mainlining Freedom right out there in public! Let’s hear it for Ignorance!”
    and I’d be a happy dude knowing for certain there is at least a hint of self-awareness. With that germ of “wisdom”, there just may be hope before global warming fries us all.
    If the “Toledo mentality” is as firmly entrenched in too many other towns, we are surely doomed!

  9. Jim February 18, 2007 at 11:04 pm #

    Hobbit – yep, that’s the only issue Penthouse ever printed on industrial-strength paper.

    It was hell on the graphics but, actually, no loss.

  10. Jim February 18, 2007 at 11:24 pm #

    Brian – I think it might make an amusing column to pull together the liveliest (most clueless?) attacks on you in the Toledo media and blogs.

    You could start out with the mayor’s team and work your way down the food chain.

    It is frustrating to see the mental caliber of debate out there….

  11. americanintifada February 19, 2007 at 6:21 am #

    My mental caliber is a 44 magnum and when I picture those coeds in the front row wearing thongs, it always ends up being a mass debate!

  12. Lawhobbit February 19, 2007 at 5:55 pm #

    Jim, if Brian starts with the mayor’s team what in the world makes you think he’d ever have time to work his way down?

  13. Annie February 24, 2007 at 6:51 pm #

    some lyrics from ‘song of the tax resisteur’:

    O politician, on this day I say to you,
    you work for me.

    if I say you can’t have my dollars
    any more to pay for your hotel rooms,
    then that’s the way it is,
    you can’t.

    I won’t pay for your wars,
    That isn’t why I’m working;
    I don’t want to fill your pockets
    with the money I scrape off the
    counter each night

    You better take a look in the mirror
    Nightmares are coming your way
    You can’t turn your back, close your eyes,
    rob us blind,
    and expect Life won’t teach you a lesson

    expect Life to teach you a lesson,
    or two,
    expect Life will teach you a lesson.


  1. Jokes Blog Search » Blog Archive » Another Shocker from Ohio - February 17, 2007

    […] read more… […]