An Independence Day incident, during which Del. Pat McDonough was apparently asked to observe long-standing July 4th parade rules forbidding the use and display of campaign signs, has turned into a full-fledged fiasco that played out on airwaves and email throughout the day Monday.
Del. Pat McDonough was first to strike Monday morning with his allegations of Independence Day “oppression.”
Bel Air Independence Day Parade Chairman Mike Blum responded that he was simply enforcing parade rules, which Del. McDonough refused to follow..
Del. McDonough, naturally, fired back a rebuttal letting Blum know what he thought of him and the July 4th parade rules.
The situation progressed throughout the day with Del. McDonough and Blum debating the incident via telephone lines on the Ed Norris Show on 105.7 FM. By nightfall, a letter-writing campaign was well underway.
What follows are a collection of those unedited letters, most of which support Del. McDonough and were also forwarded to Blum:
I cannot understand how this Mr Blum gets away with taking our free speech away. The constitution maintains FREEDOM OF SPEECH. I bet the “OBama” signs weren’t taken down. What is happening to this country. Our service men and women are fighting for our freedoms; where does that fit in??? The Government is becoming bigger and bigger and how could people over-look this. They will see this when its too late and all of our American liberties are gone.. Are they going to blame this on Bush too?? The Obama fans should be ashamed of themselves. And now, another stimulous pkg? More borrowing, more spending from Obama and his crownies?? How does this benefit the hard working people in the US? Please tell me? He has done NOTHING TO PUT PEOPLE TO WORK…
If my understanding of what occurred at the parade is correct, then Mike Blum is a criminal! If he “snatched” signs out of the hands of two children, I believe one little girl is 8 years of age, that is in fact an assault and robbery! I don’t know where the parents were, or the deputies for that matter, but what he did was an illegal act, and a violent one at that! If he is correct in his contention, that he had a right to keep those signs out of the parade, he should have notified the proper authorities, in this case a deputy, and had them retrieve those signs! He had no right to do what it is alleged that he did, that being forcibly taking those signs from those children, that is assault and robbery!
I am sorry I was not in the parade, carrying a big sign that said “Taxed Enough Already”, or “Bob Ehrlich Again!” and Mr. Blum attempted to snatch and steal my sign, he’d be flat on his back, wishing that he hadn’t done that! Maybe I’ll run into him at next years parade, I certainly hope so! And a word to Mr. Blum: “Your rules stink!” The 4th of July celebrates all that is American, including the right to peaceably exercise First Amendment Rights; those commie rules need to be changed, and, Mr. Blum should no longer have anything to do with that parade! I hope the family of those children file formal charges against this cretin! Are any “official” Republicans possessed of enough intestinal fortitude to do the right thing, and demand that Blum answer for his crime; I didn’t think so, and that is what is wrong with the Republican Party, they are far too willing to let anything slide!
Robert Di Stefano
Major (retired) Baltimore City Police Department
Censorship at the Bel Air Fourth of July Parade
The theme of the parade was “Patriots Then and Now”. A quick review of our history will recall that, in the years prior to 1776, England had instituted repressive taxes against the colonists to pay for their ongoing war with France. In response, the colonists protested by throwing Tea Parties — not only in Boston, but also in Cecil County and Annapolis. The protests eventually led to our independence being declared on July 4, 1776, the event which we were celebrating in the Bel Air parade. That was Patriots Then.
Patriots Now are fed up with government’s overspending, with paying taxes to bail out institutions, with government endangering our children’s and grandchildren’s future by monstrous debt. In response they are emulating their forefathers’ example. They are holding Tea Parties — in Boston, in Cecil County, in Annapolis, and all across the country. They are patriots determined to take our country back from the tyrants.
So, in the spirit of that theme, my parade signs read: “Delegate Impallaria says, Stop the Taxing,” “Delegate Impallaria says, Stop the Spending,” “Delegate Impallaria says, Support the Tea Parties,” “Delegate Impallaria says, Support the Constitution,” “Delegate Impallaria says, Happy Birthday, America.”
We carried these signs in the Kingsville Parade earlier in the day. As we approached the reviewing stand, the parade marshall read out each and every one over the loudspeaker, and then thanked me for supporting the positions of their community. So these signs represented not only my views, but the views of the Kingsville spectators, who voiced their agreement during the parade.
At the Bel Air Parade, however, my supporters and I were attacked by Mr. Michael Blum, the parade marshall, for carrying signs which clearly expressed the theme of the parade — Patriotism Then and Now.
If there truly had been objectionable material in anyone’s signs, the proper place for removal would have been the staging area, before appearing in public. But Mr. Blum stopped us on the parade route, ripping the “Support the Tea Parties” sign off our lead motorcycle, then stripping signs away from children as young as eight years old. Fortunately, my one niece, who is a true patriot, hid her sign, and for the remaining route we were left with “Stop the Taxing.”
As Mr. Blum and his cohort attacked the members of my group, the spectators were outraged at what they saw, and started booing Mr. Blum, calling him a “sign Nazi” and “a Communist”, and yelling “This day is all about patariotism and free speech.” It was obvious that the spectators were not offended by the signs, but were offended by Mr. Blum’s censoring of them.
Then, like true Nazis or Communists, they not only prevented my free speech, they attempted to confiscate my private property by refusing to return the signs. I was not about to stand for this. I repeatedly demanded they place the signs in my vehicle, and they repeatedly refused. All this was taking place in public, which was an embarassment to me, my family, and my supporters. When the van driver, my brother, got out and joined me, they realized that, in the famous words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “We shall not be moved,” and the parade would be held up even further, they finally returned the signs.
As one blogger put it, “he is sick and tired of *&%^ politicians walking in the parades.” I 100% agree with him, and that is exactly why we carried those signs. I believe it is the right of the people to know exactly what their elected officials stand for. If they do not support what I stand for, it is their option to boo or ridicule me. If they do, they have the right to support me for my representation of them.
Mr. Michael Blum’s actions are a total disgrace. He owes a public apology to every true American who believes in freedom of speech. He should also attend classes on the Constitution given by the Institute on the Constitution which are held at Boyle Buick. Or, he should just openly admit to his fascist/community beliefs which he so clearly demonstrated at the Bel Air Parade.
As for my family, my supporters and myself, we stand 100% behind the positions we have taken, and we proudly say that we will continue to support the patriots of the past by doing all we can to be patriots of the present.
Delegate, District 7
Dear Mr. Blum,
Friends in Bel Air have notified me of your despicable actions concerning the parade on Saturday.
Don’t you realize your actions are a violation of the US Constitution? Harassing people with English Only signs and snatching signs from children which support the Constitution–is an illegal act on your part. That parade is partially funded by area citizens.
Please uphold the Constitution in future parades. I would hope you realize by now that your actions were not appreciated.
I find Mr. Blum’s comments and actions horridly in opposition of what our Country is supposed to stand for. Our country is at a critical time where foreigners are invading the rights instead of proudly rooting themselves within them. Most politicians have made a career of being politicians thereby forgetting what it means to work with and beside the hard-working people of this Country. That is the right way to get your hands dirty…not by taking frustration out on children or parade spectators. A parade is about fun, pride, and a camaraderie each of us share as citizens of the USA. I cannot fathom behavior like Mr. Blum’s, along with his subsequent contriteness, passing as professional. I am gravely disappointed.
Rules of a parade! My gosh, it seems to me that for virtually all of my life parades have contained campaing slogans and the likes from every candidate or politician that participated. To suggest that these are prohibited seems to go against the grain of everything American.
Perhaps another “Czar” is needed. Expanding government is the obvious rule of thumb in today’s politics; maybe even a couple billion in aid to further devalue our econony!…that way the government could own the parade, and take us further on the horrendous downslide that we are currently experiencing. We will never recover from the debt that the Democrats are multiplying daily!
With regard to the Bel-Air 4th of July parade,I find the actions of Mr.Blum appalling.This self proclaimed “yellow dog democrat”, his description not mine,was out of control .Clearly his actions were politically -driven. The citizens of Harford County should be outraged considering that the Bel-Air parade is supported by their tax dollars. Oh, I forgot, dems don’t care about our tax dollars. They think its theirs to spend as they wish. Speaking of which, our Congressman from the 1st District did us all wrong on the his vote for the Cap and Tax bill. I emailed Mr. Kratovil , but have yet to hear back from him. On the other hand Delegates Impallaria and McDonough always keep me informed and reply to emails. From my perspective , Mr.Kratovil should be toast in the 1st in 2010. As for Mr. Blum , he should immediately resign as parade committee chairperson.
Michael A. Trush
Good evening Mr. Blum. I am writing to remind you of the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights. It states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF; OR ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, or of the press; OR THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE PEACEABLY TO ASSEMBLE, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
This is the law of our land and it is to be respected, no matter what our political party is or what anybody else’s political party or opinion is.
It is my understanding that you used your position in an attempt to censor the tea party people and their right to free speech and assembly in Bel Air recently. This is particularly egregious given that it was during the 4th of July Holiday.
I suggest that you call Pat McDonough on his radio show at WCBM on Saturday night and apologize for your behavior.
I would like to inform you that i am a registered Democrat. I do not necessarily agree with Rep. McDonough or his group on all issues, but i back their right to speak out and peacefully assemble and strongly oppose any effort by anybody to inhibit their Constitutional Right to do so.
I urge you to immediately take steps to right the wrong that you attempted to impose on those people. You may not agree with them, but they have a right as Americans to express themselves. CENSORSHIP IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS WRONG!
It has come to my attention that at the 4th of July parade at Bel Air this Sat past , the Chairmen of the parade committee ,has complained about a few signs ,even displaying moments of rage . This is not except able, especially coming from an individual that claims the parade should show no signs of partisan ship , yet he himself could not hold back on his own feelings about the matter. Taking signs from children at an independence day parade in an a front to independence it self . And he is a proud Democrat . Shame on him ,and if his Democratic party friends agree with that shame on them
Bob Driscoll Middle River Md.
Dear Mr. Blum,
I want to thank you for taking the opportunity to organize the Bel Air – 4th of July “Patriotism, Then and Now.” parade.
I also want to thank you for providing the outstanding “TEACHABLE MOMENTS,” as you removed signs you considered , while – apolitical [not reflecting either a democratic or republican promotion], none obscene, and none inflammatory – but none the less [according to your judgement evidently] offensive or harmful for parade spectators to view (Why?). I gather you also informed certain spectators (not bound by any contractual obligation or announced prohibitions) that they had to “put away” or otherwise hide their signage, which you had somehow found offensive for general viewing.
It is not often parade spectators and children get to observe the lengths persons who assume they have the power of authority will go to silence spoken or written speech they PERSONALLY find objectionable.
You have noted that your agreement for participating in your parade states participants “specifically agree not to display any signs promoting a cause or issue.” This language seems over broad and nebulous to me. Public gatherings to celebrate our “Independence” Day, our forefathers Boston Tea Party, our Constitution with its first amendment right to free speech clearly should support the delivery patriotic messages. While these reflections relate to our founding … they are of necessity also a topic of relevant concern today. Such reminders as “Support the Constitution,” “Support the Tea Parties,” and “Cut Taxes,” and “Speak English” are of vital importance and wholly appropriate messages today!
Your actions in trying to muzzle such messages implies, for all to see and particularly the children who will have to shoulder the damage occasioned by our current foolhardy legislative directions ….”Patriotism Now” is frowned upon and there are those who will stifle, oppose and potentially punished anyone who would fail to obey ALL COMMANDS relating to “Patriotism” as they elect to issue!
Your actions clearly demonstrate the dangers/threats patriots are facing today. Thanks again for your example!
Jean G. Turner
A Maryland citizen originally from Chicago and currently Howard County.
By the way I attended Bel Air’s first Tea Party and found it very patriotic and entirely exemplary. Had I not had to work from before dawn to after dusk would have joined the Tea Party in Bel Air again over the 4th.
Thanks for your letter concerning the events during the parade this past weekend. Sorry but other family promises kept us from attending. I am a true conservative and believe completely in the intent of our constitution. I hope that your description of Mr.. Blums actions are exaggerated. I would hope also that if indeed your account is accurate that not only was there shouting but charges of harassment brought to bear against these individuals. I know these are times of political extreme and that emotions are running high BUT that type of behavior must be dealt with quickly .
Unfortunately we as a people are becoming complacent in the face of this Marxist movement to ignore the constitution and its laws. I would be happy to join you and others in requesting the young man be apologized to, as well as have his sign returned. In addition to this I would hope the Aegis call attention to this incident and report accurately all that occurred so that ALL may be informed as to the type of individuals entrusted with such an honor as parade chairman. Again I stand by to assist in taking this individual to task if this an accurate account.
Brian T Clarke
Not everyone supported Del. McDonough and his claims, however:
To the Editor:
I was a volunteer marshal in the Bel Air parade. I didn’t witness the incident in question, but I strongly believe that although Mr. McDonough may be right in his criticism of the parade rules, he ought to find a better way to express it.
Perhaps the rules of the parade are wrong, too restrictive, or even unconstitutional. Perhaps the rules should be changed. But that doesn’t excuse rude conduct in public. Other politicians and private groups read the rules and chose not to bring signs advocating a cause or campaign. It would not be fair to them for the parade marshals to give Mr. McDonough special treatment at the last minute.
I also think Mr. McDonough should show some respect for the members of the Independence Day Committee and the parade marshals, who contribute huge amounts of time and energy to make these events happen and don’t get paid a cent for it. I find it pretty insulting that he called us a “gang” and a “hit squad” in his press release. We have to deal with all kinds of petty squabbles and obnoxious behavior before and during the parade, and we manage to stay polite and civil. Can’t we expect our elected officials to follow the same standards of behavior that their constituents do?
Mr. McDonough mentioned a “spirit of compromise” as a way to resolve this issue. This spirit is not engendered by throwing insults and personal attacks at hard-working volunteers who are just trying to help their town celebrate Independence Day. Although I note that the Delegate listed the “spirit of compromise” third, after legislation and lawsuits; maybe that means that those two are his preferred methods of solving problems.
David S. Blum
Phil Dirt says
Really, a letter from David S. Blum supporting the actions of Michael I. Blum.
Like Captain Renault said in Casablanca: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that going on in here!”
Meghan of HarCo says
I think this is all ridiculous- Once again a few republicans make us all look horrible.
WHEN IS A REPUBLICAN HIGHER UP GOING TO STOP ALL OF THIS?
Phil Dirt says
Meghan – Republicans are not handled by “higher ups.” They are geneally independent thinkers, not sheep, which I realize is a radical idea in The People’s Republic of Maryland.
And some of us think the one-party system running Maryland (into the ground) makes us all look horrible to the rest of the country.
Banastre Tarleton says
Phil Dirt – I do not characterize anyone, ANYONE, who calls themselves a ‘dittohead’ as an independent thinker. Rather that is, at its very core, the essence of a ‘sheep.’
David S. Blum says
Yes, Mr. Dirt, I am related to Michael I. Blum, as I indicated by including my real name. The Bel Air Parade is organized and run by local people, and several whole families are involved, including mine.
I’m not ashamed of sticking up for my own.
Phil Dirt says
Banastre, it is a common tactic of the left to paint their opposition with a wide brush. Now, try hard to follow this:
Some Republicans are dittoheads.
Most dittoheads are Republicans.
Some dittoheads are not Republicans.
Most Republicans are not dittoheads.
There are many more Republicans than dittoheads.
Most people who allow themselves to be “handled” are sheep.
Many Maryland Republicans consider the Maryland Democratic Party to be a shepherd.
Perhaps we need more wolves.
Banastre Tarleton says
You said, point of fact, that ‘Republicans are not handled by “higher ups.” What you shoud have said, is that ‘Republicans, except for those who subscribe to the dittohead philosophy, or those who are Hannity heretics, or part of the Coulter cabal, or the Gingrich gang, or Fox New fanatics are not handled by “higher ups”.’
You go Pat McDonough. A radical from each side of the isle keeps me grounded in the middle.
David S. Blum #5 said;
I’m not ashamed of sticking up for my own.
I agree, however please do not tread on me, or my rights to do the same.
Have faith the people are wise enough to see beyond the political kings and queens.
I find the nature of some of the letters interesting.
Of the 5 letters of support for the Distinguished Gentleman 3 are clearly not residents of this county. One seems to have trouble with the English language in a formal letter. One did not include the place of residence. Two seemed to be witing at the bequest of the Distinguished Gentleman and finally the first has trouble staying on topic.
David S. Blum says
You know you’re not talking to any sort of “political king”, right?
This is a dispute between a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and some people who volunteer to run their hometown parade. Nobody involved in this has any real power.
This story will be continually updated with more letters as they arrive.
Several new ones have already been added to the top of the list of letters.
Fair enough, however there goes the next Bel Air Parade and I feel sad for the kids who play in the local band programs at their schools, and the military who proudly march to the cheers of the crowds. These examples are not politically involved.
Why politics just can’t keep their egos out of it is beyond me.
Banastre Tarleton says
Maybe someone ought to provide Mr. Driscoll with a Speak English sign, since clearly he doesn’t.
An Independence Day parade, fireworks display, backyard BBQ, or relaxing on a float in the pool are all “freedoms” to celebrate freedom, the free people’s freedom from a kingdom, the free people’s freedom to form a more perfect republic, a democratic republic. What better way to squash freedom and the celebration of freedom than to regulate it at an Independence Day parade where patrons and observers are free to celebrate SOME of their freedoms.
We all love the 1st Amendment when the message is something that we agree with but speak about something that others don’t agree with and the 1st Amendment simply vanishes from mind.
In the spirit of the 1st Amendment I decided to state that I think that Mr. Blum takes his power role a little too serious and that’s why I decide to use my freedom of choice and decided not to go to the Bel Air festivities ever again. I think that the kids participating in the parade were having a good time and the vendors making that dollar were having a good time and the great weather mixing with spirit patriotism was the perfect cocktail……..all dampened by Mr. Blum and his power.
It was the 4th of freaking July celebration and Mr. Blum wanted to play king, but hey, there’s nothing like a politically correct festival to celebrate freedom.
David S. Blum says
Geez, reading some of these letters . . . it’s sad and frustrating to find normal, reasonable-sounding people from your own hometown convinced that there is a “Marxist movement to ignore the constitution and its laws” going on. What movement? What Marxists? Why do people want to believe such things about their fellow citizens?
I don’t make a habit of accusing people of belonging to an evil conspiracy. Does that make me un-hip or something?
The Communicator says
Sharon – This is not a freedom of speech issue. This is an organization holding a parade, no different than Macy’s holding a parade. You can bet that Macy’s decides what goes into and what does not go into their parade. Mr. Blum has tried to enforce the rules (rules that have existed for many years prior to him acting as the chair) that keep the parade non partisan and non controversial. The participants of the parade agreed (signed a contract) to abide by the rules of the parade and then did not abide to the rules. I think we should question the people who broke their end of the contract rather than Micheal Blum. The time to question the terms of the contract were prior to the parade and prior to anyone signing the contract.
I’ve said it before, we have 364 other days of the year to sling mud at each other, why is Mr. Blum and his organization being attacked because they tried to provide non paritsian parade to help celebrate our county’s indenendence. Some poeple who are writing on this blog do not have a firm understanding of the First Amendment and the definition of Freedom of Speech.
I will also say again, because I think it is worthy of being mentioned again, that I think the behavior and tactics of Mr. McDonough and Mr. Impallaria was dispicable. Our elected leaders should, lead by example not behave like common thugs.
The Communicator 17
If you believe what you just said, I have some carbon credits to sell to you.
David S. Blum 16
Why make mountains out of mole hills? Let it go. You are just as part of what is wrong with America as Mr. McDonough.
Two wrongs will never make a right.
The Communicator says
Carole, please enlighten me. The Bel Air Fourth of July parade is not put on by the town of Bel Air. What have I said that you disagree with?
Aaron Kazi says
What is the deal with Bel Air? It seems to attract small minded rules junkies. Low quality people ruthlessly enforcing petty rules unfortunately seems to be the standard.
I walked the parade on several occassions and was sternly instructed by a gray haired school marm that my sign was “against the rules.” So much for the 1st Amendment…
People complain about these tin tyrants, but does anyone actually deal with them?That is the sad thing. I had to run for office and “Kami-Kazi” myself just to relieve of us all of one huge pain in our collective butts.
Figure out who picks who for what and fight to remove them. Then change the rules. That or try and sue them. It still blows my mind that you need a permit to enter a parade, protest, etc… bizarre
Anyone should be allowed to walk the parade and say what they goddamn please- short of inciting violence. If someone does not like what they are saying, then they can enter the parade with their own message. The more agitated things get- the better. I guarantee more people will show up to see the parade if their is some friction- and then vendors make more money, employeement goes up….
Have we all forgotten what we built this county on? Have we forgotten that our countries greatest leaps forward have always started with marching and protesting? The Revolution? Womens rights? Civil Rights?
The Communicator says
Aaron – it is not your parade, so you cannot march and say what ever you ‘goddamn please”. You say “so much for the First Amandment? This is not a First Amendment issue.
Next year, organize your own parade and you can let people do whatever they want, say whatever they want and have signs with no restrictions. Remember, this is not a public parade, it is hosted by a 501c3 organization not the town of Bel Air. If you want to enter and participate in the parade, you must sign a contract abiding by the rules of the parade. So, I’ll say it again, you don’t like the parade, the rules or the people who work long tireless hours to organize the parade, have your own parade!
I suggest since you are in front of your computer that you educate yourself on the First Amendment. Try Google
The Communicator 19
First off, re read what you wrote
“I’ve said it before, we have 364 other days of the year to sling mud at each other, why is Mr. Blum and his organization being attacked because they tried to provide non paritsian parade to help celebrate our county’s indenendence.
then try spell check.
Communicator said “this is not a public parade”.
Then why is it being viewed on a public street?
Let’s talk about what’s right with America for a change. This was a small incident in a two hour parade. I walked the parade route as a marshal and people looked happy, laughing, having fun. That is why we volunteers do this, for the thousnds of people who come out to watch. The point is to create something unique and fun to enjoy, like a moving circus, to feel the great vibe from the crowd. The parade is entertainment, the participants are performers, and the crowd is the audience. Let’s think about what we can do to make our fellow citizens happy and stop thinking of ourselves. I grew up on a fantastic little town, that I am proud to hail from and I love these people in little old Bel Air, Md. At 55, I just want to give back to the community I came from, and volunteering on July 4, at the parade is what I do. I could be at the beach, but I’d rather do this. Let’s calm down and count our blessings!
The Communicator says
Carole, you are going to bust my balls about spell check?
The parade is there for the public to watch the parade. The organizers of the parade are not public officials. If you try to enter what ever kind of float,or banner you want into a Columbus Parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, The Rose Bowl parade, St.Patrick’s Day Parade, etc. etc. etc. There are rules set by the organization hosting the parade. It is NOT PUBLIC. It is watched on a public street but the parade is hosted by a private organization. Let me say this again, IT IS NOT PUBLIC AND YOU CANNOT ENTER THE PARADE AND SAY WHAT EVER YOU WANT; Period. I don’t know how much clearer I can say this. If you do not understand, please throw your computer away, you are obviously too stupid to own one.
I suppose the issue here is whether or not the case law backs up the decisions made.
For example, if public money was used to fund the event, does it become a “public event” or does it retain it’s ability to be called “private?”
Along these lines, if public money was used, are the parade commissioners permitted to limit speech?
I don’t care what you believe, what matters here is the legitimacy of the events that took place.
Aaron Kazi says
I love how defensive small minded control freaks get. The smaller the pond, the sharper the nip…
“…its not your parade..”
If that does not say it all. In other words; “mine!mine!”
People like you sure love your little rules. If you have not already- please try to get on a homeowner association board. You would derive much satisfaction from it- I am sure of that.
501c(3) do not pay taxes because they are non-profits. They are granted this status because their primary purpose is to serve the public good rather than earn income. Violation of the 1st Amendment is a failure to serve the public good. Your organization and board membership is potential vulnerable under the Civil Rights Act.
Joseph Caruso says
Dear Communicator – Again, you are still wrong.
The parade sponsoring organizations are municipal and civic http://www.belairjuly4.org/innerpages/home.html. Therefore it is publicly funded and people have a right to express themselves. Let me reference Justice O. I. Roberts:
“Wherever the title of streets and parks may apply, they have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and, time out of mind, have been used for the purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public questions.”
Justice Owen I. Roberts (Hague v. CIO, 1939)
Besides don’t you find it a bit ironic that the parade theme was AMERICAN PATRIOTS — THEN AND NOW!
The Communicator says
Justice Roberts is referencing the streets,parks, etc. in a broad definition and I agree with what he is saying. My point is simply, this was not a publicly sponsored parade. Most of the funds were generated privately or donated. Should the organizers of the parde have no say so as to the content of their parade. What if the NAZI party, KKK, or skinheads wanted to participate in the parade? I would not want them participating in my parade (by the way it is not my parade, I am simply making a point) but I would not infringe upon their rights to stand along the parade and express their point of view. Remember, the organization holding the parade applied ofr and were granted permits to hold the parade. Therefore, that day, it is their parade.
Aaron, I am not involved with the organization who puts on this parade. I am probably as much of a bystander as you are. So when I say “my parade” it is not really mine.
I think this is all so sad. I cant believe what I am reading, especially on a Holiday meant to join us together. I have to say I believe McDonough had a right to express his concerns with the handling of the parade however I find his behavior and tactics disgusting. Again, I am embarrassed to be a Republican. Lets get some positive attention please. All this negativity is hurting us.
I also find it very hard to support a man who would carry a “Speak English” sign. How disgusting!
Joseph Caruso says
! (exclamation) – I beg your pardon…what about “Speak English” is disgusting? There is nothing wrong with citizens of our country speaking and conducting business English.
In fact, Maryland could make English the “Official State Language”.
Aaron Kazi says
I have to agree with you “!”
I actually tell people I am an Independent but registered Republican to vote in the primaries. Our party has become filled with angry and ignorant people.
I believe McD has a right to carry that sign, but I too do not agree with it.
I also believe I have wasted a lot of time reading and responding to these silly posts and am going to get back to work.
The Communicator says
I agree again. Years ago, when people emigrated to the United States, they took pride in learning English and assimilating into the population. They still celebrated and remembered their heritage but viewed themselves as Americans. Somewhere along the way things changed and we no longer have the “melting pot” but more of an “ice tray” mentality.
David S. Blum says
No one asked for my opinion on “Speak English!”, but I’ll give it anyway. 🙂
I don’t think there should be any law forcing people to conduct their private affairs in any particular language. I do think elementary school children should all be taught a second language, because it’s part of a good education. But a business should not be required by law to use English, Spanish, or Esperanto if they don’t want to.
I’m not actually sure what Mr. McDonough means by “Speak English!” If he is merely exhorting non-English speakers to learn English, then I have no problem with that. It’s to anyone’s benefit to learn how to speak English, since it has become the world’s common tongue. On the other hand, Mr. McDonough may be trying to condemn people for speaking any language other than English, which I think is rude and ridiculous. And if he’s trying to propose some sort of requirement that English be used everywhere, I would oppose that.
Del. Impallaria has contributed his two cents via a new letter just added to the list.
Joseph Caruso says
David S. Blum – It is important that we conduct business in a singular language. 28 States already have English as their “Official Language”.
Businesses cannot have the ability to offer contracts in languages other than English. English must be the Lingua Franca of our nation or we will have no nation. You cannot have bilingual contracts since it would be impractical and a disaster.
Aaron Kazi says
I love stating my opinion unasked!
Mr. Blum is correct in what he says regarding “Speak English!” Officially making it our language, forcing its usage, etc.. it is a total waste of time.
Everyone should read “The Mother Tongue.” English did not become dominant because we declared it so and forced everyone. That never works.
English became dominant because it is highly flexible, adaptable, and absorbs components from other languages. It is really “New German.”
If folks who come here refuse to learn english and stick with their old language they are really just hurting themselves. It does not last long as their kids will all speak english.
German is my fathers first language and no one forced him to learn English. My wifes great-granparents only spoke Polish. The only Polish my wife knows are a few Christmas songs.
David S. Blum says
Mr. Caruso, all I can say is that I disagree. I don’t think that non-English contracts would be a disaster. Our country would readily adapt; people would learn new languages in order to be able to read them if they became common. Americans are good at adjusting to new situations.
I also doubt that non-English contracts will become very popular, since they are impractical now, and there are so many obvious incentives for immigrants to learn English. It may or may not be true that today’s immigrants don’t learn English as fast as previous immigration waves have. That’s a popular perception, but I think I read about a study that was done which found that even if first-generation Spanish speakers don’t learn English, their children and grandchildren generally do. The fact that Spanish speakers are coming from nearby nations and have a lot of contact with the old country may slow down the assimilation process. But in general, I find it hard to believe that Spanish-speaking immigrant families won’t learn English eventually, given the obvious practical advantages of doing so.
I loose faith in government more and more everyday. And its because it is wasted on things like making english the “official state language”. Come on, I think we have a lot more bigger problems then wasting money on such a foolish thing.
David S. Blum says
I think I’m going to wait till tomorrow to read Mr. Impallaria’s piece and respond. This whole affair has been pretty tiring.
Joseph Caruso says
David S. Blum – If you have ever been involved in a contractual dispute or litigation the tide can turn on a single word or punctuation in a sentence of a provision in an agreement. It is foolish to believe that any good can come from businesses offering agreements in languages other than English.
Heck, if I gave you a contract in Italian and you took to your attorney who did not speak Italian to review it. What do you think would happen?
American’s are overwhelmed enough just trying to stay afloat; raising our families, working hard at our jobs, etc., and you want us to learn another language? Should my 80 year old Mom go back to school in order to ‘adjust’ to her new situation?
Steve Dedawlus says
It sounds like the ACLU should come in and sort this out.
A new letter has been added from a former police officer asserting that Mike Blum is a criminal and must “answer for his crime.”
The Swiss are able to conduct business just fine (their banks are doing better than ours) and they have French, Italian, German, Dutch and English as some of their most common official languages. This is just a front to Anglonize all America which clearly represents most countries on God’s green earth. English is already the “de facto” language of the people, no need to canonize it.
The tax revolters have their right to protest the govt and taxes. Let them do so but it would be nice to not ruin a parade to celebrate our independence ( ironic that it was taxation without representation as the catalist of the independence movement ).
These tax revolters chose to use a venue to celebrate that we are a self governing nation to protest the fact that we have a govt that costs us money, well at least we have the representation our ancestors chose to die for. Let’s salute the nation and not the political ideas of some.
I respect your right to protest taxes, just not doing in this event, which is non-political.
Joseph Caruso says
Rocco – 28 States disagree with you and have made English their “Official State Language”.
And actually the Swiss have a great many ongoing debates about language with the most current two being 1) Swiss German vs High German and 2) Should students study English as a second language in school or one the other three “Official Languages”.
So the Swiss Banks financial status notwithstanding, multi-lingual nations grapple with huge social, administrative, legal and business issues when it comes to languages.
You want to talk about Belgium and Spain next?
Tim Impallaria says
Robert Di Stefano, they were my children and the criminal action that took place that day did happen. I expressed that concern with my wife, that the children were assaulted when the signs were removed. You know they state that rules were broken by Delegate Impallaria concerning the signs. The signs were view by us as befitting of the parades theme. Now ignorance of the law, did not change the fact that my children and my niece were in fact assaulted and it is not a defense to not know the law. I however used my discretion and common sense to understand that a mistake was made by Mr. Blum and the unknown female. I believe a public apology by the female and Mr. Blum is warranted. If that can’t be done, then a call from Mr. Blum would be appreciated.
I’m sure that a rainbow clad group indicating the need for same sex marriage in MD would have had their signs would not have been taken or if the “New” Panther Party decided to march that their berets would have been permitted along with ant signs that they wanted. This isn’t Macy’s or the Tournament of Roses, it’s Bel Air, and the town of Bel Air issued the permit for the parade. It was a public invited event taking place on a public street. If the KKK wanted to march 5 weeks from now and were given a permit there would be protest signs and not one would be removed.
All of this rules are rules BS is just that. There was a law on the books that said a man of color could not have sexual relations with a white woman let alone marry her. That law was abolished because it was unconstitutional. The rules of the parade, if deemed unconstitutional, must be removed.
The parade marchers sign contracts. If the contract contains unconstitutional language it becomes a void contract and isn’t worth the paper that it’s written on.
Lastly, I hope that Mr. Blum feels very important and his ego grew ten fold when he accosted a child to take a sign. Big man! Wow is about all that I can say.
Another letter by a concerned citizen.
This one from Virginia who can not seem to stay focused on the issue and is ignorant of the fact the rules say name signs are OK they just can not say elect.
Tim I have read your posts and find you very calm and rational. I also find your brother’s (?) response in line with the calm and rational civility needed. For clarity I have never met Mr. Blum. I suspect that you are aware (based on your tone) that organizing any large event can be stressful and add the sun, long day and sleepless night it can lead to some poorly selected words and less then congenial responses. I suspect this is what may have happened. I would hope Mr. Blum would be willing to call and offer an apology for the incident as you request. I would also like to think that if he was serious about revising and reviewing the rules for the future he might offer a rational, intelligent and open minded person, such as yourself a seat at the table. (hint to Bel Air Parade Organizers). If I was Mr. Blum I would do these things!
Tim based on how your brother has handled this situation I will be casting my vote for him again this election even though I do not agree with all of his views. I can not say the same for Mr. McDonough and I have serious questions about if Mr. Jennings cares about the Harford County portion of his district.
Sharon and Joseph, you have a couple of good points as do the other posters, but it will amount to nothing. Mike Blum was doing his job, being the PC police for a parade which he had full control over and perhaps when the video makes it’s way to YouTube, Mr. Blum and Bel Air will have matching black eyes.
I plead the 7th (district) says
You will have lots of other choices, aside from Mssrs. Jennings and McDonough:
Tim Impallaria says
Cdev, I would be more then willing to be involved in the Parade planning, since my children are now older and I can spare some more time. I would also be glad to be involved in setting some reasonable standards and guidelines for the next parade. I know that everyone there has the best intentions, but all of us will see it from a different view and our own bias sometimes shine through. I for one spoke to Congressman Kratovil, before the parade and found him to be insightful and caring. I might not be of the same party as he, but I didn’t look for a D or R before I talked to him, he was a person who holds a position of respect. I also think that elected official should be allowed to have signage the represents their plat form. I also think it is beholden of the committee members to review the participants in the staging area before the parade begins. My suggestion would be to have a three person committee review the materials to prevent natural bias.
McDonough and Impalliaria are ridiculous and both are huge jokes at the expense of other rational Republicans in Harford County.
The parade committee had these rules for years, yet when they try to enforce them, you start whining and crying “no fair” and censorship”? I don’t buy it.
A 4th of July parade is not the place to enforce your political agenda. And having children carry signs of a political nature that will have a tendency to stir up heated emotion is wrong.
So, for one day out of the year you weren’t allowed to hold a sign. Get over it. There are more important issues facing Harford County and the country right now. Why don’t you do the jobs you were actually voted to do instead of acting like children whose lollipops were taken away from them. All you’re doing is wasting time, which, judging by what I’ve read here at The Dagger, that’s all both of you have been doing since you got elected.
Tim that is very good well thought out and a welcome relief from the other offended parties reaction. I have no ability to bring any of this to fruition but I would hope that Mr. Blum and company may be open to such a dialouge. (Mr. Blum if you are reading this call this man today).
HDG be fair only one of them stired a huge rucious and used the others name to help compound it. The other has reacted respectfully and on a more measured and restrained scale.
Would somebody please tell McDonough and Impillaria that here in Harford County, we act civilly and appreciate those who work so hard to make these events successfull. Both of you out of county types are just a plain embarrassment to the rest of us normal red blooded republicans in Harford County. You might as well be still fighting over desk assignments and who is going to bring cookies to the next meetings.
Shut up and find some real issue to go after. Geeze!
Tom Glover says
HDGReader stated: “McDonough and Impalliaria are ridiculous and both are huge jokes at the expense of other rational Republicans in Harford County”.
The vast majority of “rational” Republicans as you put it have been MIA when it comes to the ordinary citizens of this county who have been standing up for smaller government, less taxes, defending the Constitution, and crying out about the direction this country is going in. Those citizens assembled once again last Saturday, 500 to 600 of them, and will do so again this coming Tuesday, July 14th at the County Council Meeting when the Council votes on reducing the property tax rate increase cap from 9% to 5%.
The country as we know it is falling down around our ears, but the Republican Central Committee of Harford County is out on “summer break”. They should have been mobilizing the citizens of this county against the cap and trade bill, the result of which will be the largest tax increase in this nation’s history, but once again they did nothing. Leadership, what leadership!
Oh, we see the occasion Central Committee member on the edge of the parking lot, gauging how large the Tea Party crowd is, but they have not stood publicly with the citizens who are espousing basic tenets of the republican platform. What support document have they issued?
Then we have “rational” Republicans like Wayne Norman voting three times for speed cameras in committee down in Annapolis and hosting once again Martin O’Malley at his Fourth of July Party. That’s just not acceptable when we see Maryland being destroyed economically by increased taxes and more of our basic freedoms taken away each legislative session.
The only “real” Republicans in this county who have had the guts to “actively” support the Tea Party movement, and to stand up with the average Harford County citizens for core republican values have been those folks associated with the Route 40 Republican Club, Delegate Impallaria, Delegate McDonough, and Commissioner Terry Hanley. Too bad that is not considered “rational’.
The political landscape is quickly changing in Harford County with hundreds of citizens meeting, exchanging information, and starting to become active and cooperate together. They will throw their support next year behind candidates who not only “talk the talk”, but whom we have seen actually “walking the walking” in terms of smaller, less intrusive government and lower taxes. Their support will go to those candidates no matter what party affiliation, Democrat, Republican, or Independent who support those ideals.
We want our country back and it starts right here in Harford County.
Patrick McGrady says
To Mr. Glover’s point, while many of the central committee “republicans” have been absent from our events, a few of them have been present and have helped the Tea Party cause.
Specifically, Mr. Stephen Wright and Mrs. Carol MacCubbin have been very active in the planning and assisting the Tea Party movement.
Let’s take back the Republican party! Let’s do it starting on July 14 at the Council Chambers! Hurray for lowering the Homestead Tax Credit rate! Hurray for more reasonable tax increases!
Maybe it is time to start a new Political Party. A Party that Governs from the center and one that is based on the Ideals of our Country’s origins – states rights.
Steve Wright says
The Rt. 40 Republican Club meets tonight (Thursday) at 7:00 p.m., at the Ramada Inn Conference Center (Next to the Richlin Ballroom) just off I – 95 in Edgewood MD.
Action item: We’ll be discussing and planning the July 14th rally to support the Harford County Council reduce the real estate tax cap from 9% – 5 %.
Action item: We’ll be discussing the September 12th Tea Party Rally.
Action item: We’ll be discussing the Constitution, its relevance today, and the benefits of lower taxes, less government…..and related issues.
Rt. 40 Republican Club
Will you be discussing why we should or shouldn’t vote for some of our current Republican Officials that do little to promote true conservative values?
4 on 2 off worker says
Tim # 53,
Do you have more time to work on this because you don’t have to work weekends?
Jay Davis says
I’m amazed at all the people who miss the irony of this whole incident. The theme of the parade was patriotism, then and now. What can be more patriotic than signs like “SUPPORT THE CONSTITUTION”? Mr. Blum’s timing was less than diplomatic also. Instead of taking action in the staging area, he made a spectacle of his action by doing it in the parade route. Maybe he should have been wearing a redcoat uniform. And how many other signs were “molested”? How often was Mr. Blum’s rule enforced in previous parades? And the subsequent taking of signs on private property was criminal. Those people who agree with Mr. Blum’s action need to seriously look at themselves and evaluate what kind of society they want to live in – one WITH free speech, or one WITHOUT?
It was not his rule it was the parades rule which he was tasked with enforcing. Just like police do not make the laws they enforce them.
Joseph Caruso says
Cdev – Whether you agree really doesn’t matter the parade rules are ambiguous and subjective at best. These so called rules are poorly constructed and restrict protected speech.
Mr. Blum and the parade marshals added insult to injury by stripping parade participants of signs and suppressed spectator expressions as well. Mr. Blum et al have much to be concerned with as it relates to their actions and the magical parade contract provisions/rules don’t provide much safety. I recommend they seek an amicable and reasonable resolution quickly.