One day after the protest organized by Tripartite Bob, City of Troy Code Enforcement closed the Bilal exhibit.
The reason? According to Mr. Buell:
The building has not been closed. It remains open. Steve Pierce has been sent a letter from the Code Department explaining that there is a life safety issue related to the doors on the building, and that the City does not want large crowds gathering until the problem is fixed. This issue was brought to our attention by people that saw the media reports on the display Monday evening. Again, the building itself has not been shut down.
Steve has been told what issues need to be resolved, just as he was told 14 months ago what deficiencies needed to be resolved. He has 30 days to fix this problem before further action is taken. The Sanctuary would be free to have assembly the minute that issue is resolved- no questions asked. The only way Mr.. Bilal is connected to this issue is that it was the media attention that brought the issue to the City's attention. You can throw the conspiracy theories out the window, sorry to disappoint you.
Does Mr. Buell suggest that people viewed television coverage of this event and spotted supposed code violations?
Who are these eagle-eyed people that brought this issue to the attention of the City? Did these people call City Hall? Send e-mails? Or, was the "anonymous" tip line used. Let us not forget the anonymous tip-line utilized by the City. No potential for abuse there. Can the City produce any evidence of these complaints?
What Mr. Buell falls to state are the following facts:
The first visit from Code Enforcement fourteen months previous, coincided with a Sanctuary event with George Stoney at which Mayor Tutunjian was criticized.
More significantly, a Code employee and a fire marshall inspected the Sanctuary property on the morning the Bilal exhibit was to open. No violations were found. This inspection was videotaped and could prove interesting.
We certainly understand any municipality's desire to avoid potential life-safety hazards. So the question is: Why did the City endanger the lives of everyone that patronized the exhibit? The life-safety issue was present on Monday morning. Code and a fire marshall both ignored that safety issue. Why? How did they miss what other, presumably non-experts, found by watching media reports? Have those men been disciplined for endangering the safety of the public?
We doubt very much if they've been disciplined for endangering the public. We don't think they did endanger the public.
This is simply a pattern of behavior on the part of the City of Troy. The use of Code violations to retaliate against those they view as opponents is this Administration's modus operandi. Sometimes, as in a recent case, there's not even an applicable code provision. They just issue a citation that does not reference an actual code violation.
The problem for the City is that the presence of an actual code violation does not protect them from a Civil Rights suit. Everyone sees the pattern. No one more sophisticated than a spider monkey accepts the administrations retrospective justification(s) for these political raids.
Let us suggest that a written record be made of all complaints. This should include the date, time and source of the complaint. Anonymous phone calls and informants sound more like 1960's East Germany than 21st Century America.
Tomorrow, we'll play Devil's Advocate and explore why Fascism gets a bum rap.