Yesterday, Lisa Weltman, Socialist candidate for Michigan Board of Education, stated her intention to pursue legal options related to an incident at Ford Field.
Weltman, along with Socialist candidate for Michigan State University Board of Trustees Ben Burgis and two other members of the Socialist Party, had been at the stadium on May 1 petitioning and distributing campaign literature during the annual Enrollment Day for the Detroit Public Schools.
While Weltman was talking parents about the current budget crisis and how it could be resolved if certain tax breaks were repealed, she and the other Socialists present were informed by Jennifer Joubert, Chief of Community and Public Affairs for DPS, that they were not allowed to distribute campaign literature and had to leave the premises.
As they were leaving, Weltman and her companions were accosted by a supervisor of Ford Field security who identified himself only as “Mr. Smith.” Smith called them a “threat to the Detroit Public Schools” and told them that if they did not “cooperate” they would be reported to the Dept. of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C.
This incident took place in front of several witnesses.
“All we were doing was talking to parents about was how all of these budget cuts and layoffs in the Detroit Public Schools could be avoided,” said Weltman. “And for that, the Detroit School Board and Ford Field declared us a ‘threat’.”
“What kind of a threat were we? Apparently, not much of one, since they allowed us to go back [inside Ford Field] to find one of our companions,” said Weltman, responding directly to the charge. “They just insisted that we leave our flyers outside.”
Martin Schreader, Chairperson of the Michigan Socialist Campaign Committee and Weltman’s campaign manager, called the incident “inexcusable” and vowed to support her pursuit of legal recourse.
“To call a political candidate a ‘threat’ to anything is a telling sign of exactly what kind of democratic norms the Detroit School Board and the Ford family support,” said Schreader. “It speaks volumes about the kind of schools and businesses these people are administering.”
Schreader said that the MSCC and Weltman’s campaign committee have already contacted legal counsel about steps to take in relation to this incident.
Contact: Martin Schreader, Michigan Socialist Campaign Committee
(313) 535-4234 — LAN_EMAIL_SUBS