THIS is one reason I am glad I no longer live within the boundaries of the City of Peoria:
Everybody remembers the time Jim Ardis, mayor of Peoria, Illinois, had his police raid a guy’s house because the guy was impersonating him in a Twitter parody account, right? The news went nice and viral last summer after police confiscated the guy’s computer equipment, iPhones, and Xboxes and charged another person at the home with possession of marijuana.
The victim, by which I mean Twitter account owner Jon Daniel, not Ardis, did not ultimately face any charges because he did not break any actual laws. Ardis did not pursue a route of contrition, but rather doubled down over the whole thing when the story went wide, insisting that his “freedom of speech” had been taken away by the parody online version of him.
With the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Daniel has filed a federal suit against the city of Peoria, claiming his civil rights were violated by the raid. Arguments in the case are scheduled to kick off today in Peoria.
Lord, spare us the experience of living in a town where the mayor get’s all weepy and butt hurt over someone making fun of him.
The city is going to loose this case.
The heated exchange between a proud mayor with a football career and an elderly resident who wanted to question town policies sorely needed a referee that bitter December night.
For four tense minutes, Evesham Township Mayor Randy Brown drowned out Kenneth Mills, 81, after Mills asked about a tax abatement on a property and attempted to tell Brown to calm down. In a booming voice, Brown, the kicking coach for the Baltimore Ravens, told Mills that he had been overwhelmingly reelected in November and that “65 percent of the people who came out love what I do.” He barely addressed the tax abatement.
“You’re acting like a jerk,” Mills said as he sat down, sounding exasperated.
The following month, Brown made it clear that future council meetings would be different. Residents would not be permitted to question council members during public meetings, he said. Instead, they could “make comments only.”
The policy set off a firestorm in the town, at 46,000 citizens the largest in Burlington County, and sparked concern from government watchdog groups.
Well, it’s kinda of tricky here in Peoria. They don’t want the “citizens to address the council” to become a “quiz the council” session. But citizens who ask questions that require an answer of more than a few works will be directed to the appropriate department head.
I’ve never been treated rudely by a city employee (except for a parking cop or two) and I’ve never seen it happen to others. I’ve seen people who snort and mutter too loudly at council meetings be asked to leave.
But then, our mayor did have a guy arrested because his roommate was being disrespectful on Twitter.
Am I worried. I am a little bit.
I mean, I’m a guy who uses social media and blogging to be critical of the mayor. And sometimes I use profanity. Will I wake up one day to find the police at my door with a search warrant?
I read the Journal Star so you don’t have to.
» Officials point to success of Don’t Shoot, plan next call-in
Assistant Police Chief Mike Eddlemon and Mayor Jim Ardis pointed to a 59 percent reduction in shooting victims for the year through Sunday compared to the same period in 2010 as evidence that the Don’t Shoot effort has had a positive effect on violence in the city. Fatal shootings have decreased by 71 percent over the same time frames, statistics presented at the news conference showed.
Really? Think Peoria is safer? I challenge Mayor Ardis to go for a nice midnight stroll down down Nebraska Avenue or Wisconsin Avenue. Or to take a stroll down Western Avenue a little but later. But do it without a police escort.
» Former District 150 treasurer testifies about her firing
Schau sued the district in July 2011. The suit alleges that district officials and School Board members did not follow proper procedure when they fired her Aug. 9, 2010, as they did not give her a “due process hearing” to answer the allegations and attempt to change their minds.
Schau said she was paid all the severance pay she was entitled to under her contract.
What is at issue in the suit is whether she should be compensated for emotional distress for how she was fired and because the district didn’t give her a chance to present her side of the matter.
Really? Emotional distress? It I got paid for emotional distress ever time I got fired, I’d have as much money as Grenita Lathan.
Meanwhile, the founders of Change 150 report their children have been having stomach aches over the firing of the treasurer in 2010.
Emails have gone out to Peoria-area elected officials to show up at a pro-Jim Ardis rally set to begin shortly before the start of tonight’s Peoria City Council meeting, which begins at 6:15 p.m. tonight.
I am encouraging people who are opposed to the fascist-like tactics Ardis used to silence a profane critic to show up in an informal counter protest.
For what it is worth, I will use my blog to actively campaign against ANY public official who rallies in support of Mayor Ardis today. You have the right to support who you want to. I have the right to oppose your re-election.
I cannot see has anyone who blogs, Facebooks or Tweets in Peoria could do anything other than actively oppose anyone who supports police raids for tweeting.
ArsTechnica, while no fan of Jim Ardis, suggests that all the comparisons to Hitler reek of Godwinism. I disagree. Sending the local police to investigate and arrest people who speak ill of the regime is a tactic used by the Nazis (as well as by despotic thugs before and after WW2). Granted, Twittergate is nowhere near the scale of the Night of the Long Knives. But who knows how strident this armed opposition to vocal opposition could have gone. We won’t know because people of good sense and strong moral character stood up and said “Enough!”
I hear from sources that those who support Mayor Jim Ardis over his decision to order the police to raid the home of the young man who posted vulgar messages on Twitter under the screen name “PeoriaMayior” plan to hold a rally before Tuesday’s city council meeting.
I do not agree with the sentiments likely to be expressed at this rally. Nevertheless, I support the right of Ardis‘ supporter to rally in his favor.
As someone who has criticized, and often mocked and ridiculed, the mayor for his actions, it is possible that some of these protestors may cast some shade on this very blog. Nevertheless, I support the right of Ardis‘ supporters to criticize or even mock this blog.
Some of these protesters might even use dirty words. They might even imply that I was too stoned or somewhat befuddled by illicit sexual activity to formulate a lucid opinion on the matter. Nevertheless, I support the right of Ardis‘ supporters to imply that I am too drunk or stoned to have an opinion.
You see,as someone whose makes a very marginal living writing for a living, I tend to take a live and let live attitude toward things said about me.
‘Thanks for your input.” That’s my motto. You would think the mayor of Peoria would just laugh off the profane opinions of his detractors.
Which why I won’t be filing any lawsuits after that fact, claiming I’m all butthurt by all the criticism.