Nine days ago, admitted vandal Joe McDonald climbed thirty feet up a structure on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, PA to slice two ropes holding the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “let reason prevail” holiday freethought banner which was slated to be displayed for one week following city approval [see the video]. Since the vandalism, Wilkes-Barre officials were notified of this vandalism and were well-aware of it because of various letters from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (here is one from 12/24), media coverage, posts on the city’s Facebook page, perhaps personally seeing the downed banner, and much much more. Despite all of this, the banner has not been restored.
Above is a picture taken on the evening of 12/28/12.
On 12/21/12, I contacted the city’s Administrative Coordinator, Drew McLaughlin, concerning the vandalism and asking for the banner to be restored. McLaughlin responded saying that the Department of Public Works — on that day — was limited in staffing and was chiefly addressing power outages, flooding, and downed trees following a night of high winds and rain.
The banner might not have been a high priority [following a night of high winds and rain], but what is the reason for city workers neglecting to restore the banner following 12/21? When the banner was first displayed — one day later than I was told it would be placed — two city workers utilized a vehicle with a cherrypicker and finished their work in about 15 minutes. Restoring the banner, I would imagine, would be an even quicker task because the banner is already hanging there and only two ropes — it seems — need to be affixed.
When will the city restore the banner and allow the FFRF and I to display our message to the public for one week as was initially promised? So far, we have only had one day of our message placed on Public Square for all to see. It’s a real shame — regardless of the holiday season, high winds, low staffing, snow, or whatever else — that this simple matter had not been resolved.
For more information on this matter, read other posts on this site under the category of ‘FFRF banner.’