"In a surprise late night move, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt on Wednesday petitioned the Chapel Hill Town Council to immediately suspend the town’s policy governing ads on Chapel Hill Transit buses"
This is a ridiculous attempt at face-saving and a manifestation of abject cowardice. They have pulled these new policies out of their hat and are pathetically claiming them to be the same old policies they've had all along. Why didn't anyone remember these old, established policies when the anti-Israel ads ran? But our ads that oppose the ideology that inspired 9/11, the Times Square attempted car bombing, the Fort Hood massacre, the recent attempted bombing of the Federal Reserve bank in New York City, and so many other jihad attacks is prohibited by the town. This is implied support for the oppression, subjugation and slaughter mandated by an ideology that is diametrically opposed to our Constitution and our freedoms.
The good people of Chapel Hill are ill-served by these frightened little men and ought to throw the bums out. This Mayor is pathetic. Does he wear a red nose and a funny wig as well?
Our ads can't run but the anti-Israel ads will continue to run.
"CHTC Puts Bus Ads on Ice, For Now" Chapelboro.com, Elizabeth Friend ReportingCHAPEL HILL- In a surprise late night move, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt on Wednesday petitioned the Chapel Hill Town Council to immediately suspend the town’s policy governing ads on Chapel Hill Transit buses, after town staffers revealed they had accidentally consulted a draft ordinance very different from the policy the council officially adopted in June of 2011.
“Earlier today I was informed that our conversations around the transit ad policy were in error, and in fact, our conversations were around a policy proposed to us in June 2011, but not adopted by us,” Kleinschmidt told the council.
***Click to listen to the full petition***
The error came to light as Town Attorney Ralph Karpinos was preparing to brief the council on the policy next month.
In a memo to Town Manager Roger Stancil, Chapel Hill Transit Director Steve Spade wrote, “We have been using the draft policy rather than the one approved by the Council. In reviewing our communication since June 2011, we have consistently applied the draft policy rather than the one approved by the Council.”The draft policy allows ads with religious and political content, while the policy actually approved by the council explicitly forbids such content.
“The policy, as we speak right now, of the Town of Chapel Hill as to advertising on buses, currently, right this minute, bans religious advertising- promoting or opposing- and bans political advertising associated with any cause that’s not currently on a ballot,” said Kleinschmidt. “We did that in June of 2011. That, for obvious reasons, completely alters the conversation we are having as a community on transit advertising.”
The rules governing bus ads have been scrutinized since this summer, when a series of ads purchased by the Church of Reconciliation advocating for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel sparked heated debate over both the content of the ads, as well as the question of whether public transit is an appropriate forum for free speech.
Mayor Kleinschmidt stressed that if the council took no action, town staff would be forced to comply with the official policy, stripping ads from all buses first thing in the morning.
“Tomorrow, when we wake up if we don’t do anything tonight, our transit advertising policy will require the removal of the ads on the buses right now, which I think would be injurious to the conversations we’re having towards adopting another policy of some kind, which is scheduled for our consideration two weeks from now.”
The council voted to immediately suspend the policy and refuse any new advertising contracts until new policies are adopted. All current contracts will be honored, meaning the Church of Reconciliation’s ads will remain in place until the council and community have a chance to discuss the matter next month. Eight council members approved the suspension; Penny Rich cast the lone dissenting vote.
The freeze comes just as the town was set to make a decision on another highly controversial ad that’s drawn criticism in San Francisco, Washington D.C and New York City.
Pamela Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, submitted a pro-Israel ad to Chapel Hill Transit that reads, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”
Geller has threatened to sue the town if her ad is rejected. Similarly, the ACLU has threatened legal action if it appears the town is blocking ads due to objectionable content.
Kleinschmidt said the ad freeze was not related to Gellar's ad, and was instead meant to preserve the status quo until the council reviews the bus advertising policy on November 5.