Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Patriot Act stirs debate on council

Toledo City Council may enter the national debate over the USA Patriot Act, a federal law expanding law enforcement powers to investigate possible terrorists.

But the resolution, introduced at last night's council meeting, is running into flak of its own.

Mayor Jack Ford said the resolution would impose burdensome duties on Toledo police.

Republican Councilman Rob Ludeman says it's a partisan attack on President Bush.

The resolution blasts the federal law passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The law makes it easier for investigators to watch a person's Internet activity, see what books they've read, tap phone lines, and seize other records if there is suspicion the person is part of an international terrorist organization or is a spy.

Councilman Peter Gerken, who authored the resolution with Councilman Frank Szollosi, said other cities have passed even stronger resolutions.

“Everybody - right, left, and middle - ought to have a problem with government going into your home, your e-mail, and not having to tell you,” Mr. Gerken said. “They can go into your house with a warrant that you've never been told of, your bank account, your library books. You may never know there has been a search.”

Mayor Ford said the resolution would require extensive work on the part of his staff and police.

“It requires the police department to do six different things, as well as refrain from things federal law would require them to do,” Mr. Ford said. “This begins to set up literally a bureaucracy to monitor our concern. It probably needs to be more of a typical resolution.”

Among its provisions, the resolution

Mr. Ludeman said he forwarded a copy of the resolution to state Attorney General Jim Petro to determine whether it complies with state law. Mr. Ludeman believes it violates the city charter, which prohibits council from interfering with the duties and management of the mayor's office.

“It's another in a series of things that divert a lot of time of council members to issues we have no control over,” Mr. Ludeman said. “To me, it's a liberal slap at George Bush.”

More than 100 cities and one state have passed resolutions condemning the act. In May, the town of Arcata, Calif., enacted a fine of $57 on any city department head who voluntarily complies with investigations or arrests under the aegis of the Patriot Act.

The matter was referred to Mr. Szollosi's intergovernmental relations committee for a hearing.

Council also:

w Voted 11-0 to reject a special-use permit for a gas station and convenience store at 2829 West Central Ave. The applicant, Michael Howard, president of American Petroleum Retail, Inc., said he will appeal the action in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

w Authorized a $50,000 contract with Tom Chema, president of Gateway Consultants Group, Inc., of Cleveland, as consultant on the Marina District. Mr. Chema would draft a request for proposals, then interview potential developers.

The Marina District is to include a new arena, residences, shopping, offices, and a marina on 125 acres along the Maumee River.

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