Randy Leonard is talking about effective means to stop the protests. In my opinion, neither a city commissioner, nor the police, should be involved in trying to stop legal protests! People have the right to protest and the only comment from the police or the city officials should be that it is legal and that it is their constitutional obligation to protect such rights. Such rights are the basis of freedom in society and far supercede any need to please a downtown business owner.
Instead you have Commander Dave Benson and a City Commissioner offering advice to a business how they can stop people from excercise their Constitutional Rights. I believe people should speak up about this because it is a local example of how our rights on paper are not being protected by our elected officials when we actually try and exercise them.
Below is an email I sent to the Schumachers after investigating their complaint;
From: Leonard, Randy [mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sat 3/25/2006 9:31 PM
To: Linda Schumacher
Subject: RE: today
I have communicated with Commander Dave Benson regarding your concerns.
I am very concerned about the issues you raised with me and, unfortunately, from the information I have received it appears that some of the problems you are having with protesters are exacerbated by the confrontations representatives of your business, including Mr. Schumacher, have had with the protestors.
According to Commander Benson;
"Schumacher's always gets a little extra attention from the protestors
because he verbally engages them in sometimes a spirited discourse. To
date, no other retailer is getting weekly protests."
In addition, Commander Benson told me that
"I/we met with Mr. Schumacher early on. He came to our weekly problem
solving meeting with his attorney, Greg Oldham and we spent some extra time develop solutions. Laurie Abraham from the DA's office suggested that they seek a civil injunction similar to the one sought by the Lovejoy Surgicenter and awarded by a court. To date, the Schumacher's have not pursued this option."
I am particularly disturbed that you have posted banners inside your store that appear to taunt the protestors outside (please see attached photos).
One poster says
All Protesters Should be!
Another poster has a picture of a protester with the words
Poster Boy For Birth Control
You certainly have the "right" to display these posters in your windows, but you must know that by doing so you only antagonize the protesters and, as a result, they become as interested as you and Mr. Schumacher are in proving they are "right".
Neither the police bureau nor my office can assist you if you are not
willing to accept our advice on a strategy that helps us help you cause the protestors to lose interest in targeting your business.
Similar businesses to yours that were subject to the same kinds of protests have followed the police bureau's advice and, as a result, the protesters have moved on.
This series of confrontations between your business and the protesters is deeply troubling to me. I am concerned that your actions and then the reactions of the protesters is escalating to a much more serious level.
You and Mr. Schumacher cannot control the rights of protesters that
peacefully gather to protest your business. However, you can control how you react to it.
I recommend that you reconnect with Commander Benson and follow his
I would also urge you to instruct everyone that is associated with your
business to cease engaging the protesters on any level. If the wrong
combination of personalities begin confronting one another a horrible
outcome could be the result. While you may not agree with me now, I can assure you that you will regret not having followed this advice if someone -on either side- ends up being hurt no matter who is "right" or "wrong."
I am attempting to give you my most thoughtful advice. I hope you accept it in the vein I am making it. I truly want you and Mr. Schumacher to be able to conduct your business in as healthy an environment as is possible.
I have copied Jim Redden and Phil Stanford of the Portland Tribune.
Apparently, someone from you business let them know I was discussing this issue with you so, as a courtesy, I am copying them on this email.
Please let me know if I can provide any assistance to you in helping you implement the recommendations I have made to you.
Commissioner Randy Leonard