Submitted by Jeff Buster on Tue, 08/21/2007 - 09:51.

Susan Miller knew that Monday evenings the seats are sold at a reduced price at the Cedar-Lee Theater in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  It was raining and the theater has a canopy over the public sidewalk.    Seemed like a logical location to go to to canvas for signatures for the campaign.  The signature drive intends to put the new (just under) a million dollar a week for 20 years Cuyahoga County "general fund" sales tax on the March County ballot where all the voters in the county can vote it up or down. 


Susan and I arrived on the public sidewalk in front of the Cinema about 6:20 pm and began receiving registered voter’s signatures on our petitions.  Most people were up to speed with the recent news about the sales tax hike and the referendum petition drive and just walked up to us and signed.  


Things were moving along smoothly when at 6:27 Jonathan Crenstroft, the General Manager of the Cleveland Cinema’s Cedar-Lee Theater came out to the public sidewalk and told me that I had to leave because the Theater “owned the sidewalk” – and moreover, Jonathan was certain  the theater owned the sidewalk under the marquee awning which, in typical theater style, overhangs the public sidewalk.  Though it was raining a bit, I offered to move out from under  the canopy – but that wasn’t good enough for Mr. Crenstroft.  He was calling the police.  Mr. Crenstroft refused to put his order to leave on my video and objected to my taking a photo of him (upper left in photo)


Cleveland Heights has one of the fastest, if not the fastest, police response times in the State of Ohio.  By 6:30 Supervisor Collin’s cruiser had arrived and by 6:32 there were three cruisers with lights flashing in front of the Cedar-Lee Theater. 


So my petition signatures came to a stop while Officer Collin’s and I had a brief civics refresher.  Supervisor Collins began by offering to shake my hand which I appreciated and accepted.  Susan continued to obtain registered voter’s signatures on the public sidewalk while the 3 police and I wiped the dust off our constitutional recollections.


In contrast to my experience in the public park on Whisky Island 10 days ago, this time the police got it right and Supervisor Collins went into the theater to break the news  - that petitioning is still legal on public sidewalks - to Mr. Crenstroft.


Beside the “flight or fight” instinctual distraction of being told by another citizen (Mr. Crenstroft) to remove myself from the public sidewalk, it is also a distraction to canvassing to have to conduct a colloquy with armed police with blinking squad cars. 


While the general public in Ohio knows it is legal with a permit to carry a concealed weapon,  many public citizens and many police aren’t informed about the legalities of public petitioning.  Again, a quality, connected civic space is shown to rely on education…


Cleveland Heights Petitioning and Police.jpg114.94 KB

fight the powa

Listen here Jeff Buster -

Who do you think you are using direct action in support of your campaign.

Next think you know you will U-bolt bicycle lock your neck to something and get arrested over these taxation issues.

If something along the lines of this or skywriters is planned, please let me know as I would love to come down and shoot the whole lot with my digi cam.

God Bless


Dandy Direct Action

I second the kudos for raising awareness as to our citizen rights in a very creative and enlightening way.  One officer at a time, perhaps?  Risk-averse you are not, Mr. Buster.


Congrats to Cleveland Hts.

Congrats to Cleveland Hts. PD!


I have been getting signatures at the new Wal Mart in Garfield Hts at 480 & Transportation Blvd.  The management there has been very kind, only asking us to stay 15' away from the door, as to not block or impede access.  Otherwise they have been great.

I plan on turning in my approx. 500 signatures on Thursday evening.



Bad movie stills

  Great montage Jeff.  Great civics lesson from Cleveland Heights police.  Faith in a good society might be restored by the heroic efforts of yourself and the other legions out there.  The world is watching.