Last Friday, while making a sweep of sign posting for Occupy Toledo, I had an encounter with the Clean and Safe Patrol. Apparently, the Clean and Safe Patrol is an arm of the Downtown Toledo Improvement District, Inc., a 38 block area in downtown Toledo. An uniformed man riding a bike grabbed the sign I was posting in the middle of posting it. He declared that this was defacing government property and that they would take the signs down as fast as we could put them up. I don’t know if that was meant to be some kind of challenge or something, but I just went about my business, as they apparently went about theirs. In this regard, we’ll just have to let the signs speak for themselves. Oh, by the way, the signs were bright yellow with simple messages such as “no war”, “stop sexism”, “stop racism”, “abolish corporate personhood”, “stop greed”, “Justice for Danny Brown”, “end homophobia”, and “end corporate welfare.” God forbid that we pollute proprietary business ventures with simple messages of social justice.
Being a former resident of Dearborn, Michigan, I can’t help but be reminded that the motto Keep Dearborn Clean had to do with way more than trash and graffiti. Keeping Dearborn Clean was really a not-so-subtle code word for keeping blacks and Arabs out of Dearborn. My experience with the Clean and Safe Patrol seems to have more of a slimy and fascist feel to it than the clean and safe feeling to which they seem to be aspiring. But hey, if we can’t have justice, we should at least have a clean and safe facade in which to conduct our businesses.
I suspect that Occupy Toledo will be a job creator for the Clean and Safe Patrol. Maybe we can get a grant or something from the Lucas County Port Authority for such economic development. I suspect not. Nevertheless, operation “signs of the times” will continue unabated, and partially abated, thanks to the city of Toledo and the Downtown Toledo Improvement District’s Clean and Safe Patrol.