News & Views » Detroit News

Ferndale fuss


It’s apparently true that everything has changed since Sept. 11 — including Ferndale politics.

Last month Laurence Wolf, a 35-year resident, posted large canvas banners on two buildings he owns on Woodward in the fair city of ferns. “Helen Weber advocates abandoning our sanctions against Iraq,” announced the signs. “On Nov. 6, let’s tell Ms. Weber where to go.”

Weber, appointed to the council last year after the death of an incumbent, is running for a four-year term this time out. The Peace Action of Michigan member traveled to Iraq with 13 other metro Detroiters to deliver medicine and food to in 1999, a violation of the U.S. sanctions policy against Iraq that has been in effect for more than a decade.

Though Wolf says that Weber is “free to believe what she wants,” she is “awfully un-American.” He displayed the signs because “the people of Ferndale should know what this woman stands for” and compared her to Louis Farrakhan who recently criticized the U.S. government for bombing Afghanistan.

Ferndale code enforcement officer Judy Purdy entered the picture last week when she informed Wolf that the signs violated city code because they were too large, and that failure to remove them would result in a $50-per-day fine for each sign.

Wolf took the signs down, but insists the fines had nothing to do with it. Neither, apparently did the fact that all we good Americans are obliged to follow the law. No, according to him, the signs have disappeared because Purdy helpfully pointed out that the message was a bit obtuse for some Ferndalians, who mistook the “tell her where to go” messages as a show of support.

For her part, Weber says she appreciated that the signs prompted an opportunity to publicly clarify her position on Iraq when questioned at a public debate.

“My mission was to bring food and medicine to the suffering people. It was not to support that regime,” Weber told News Hits.

A small anti-Weber sign remains on one of Wolf’s buildings. As for the other two, Weber says that she may offer to recycle them.

“Those canvas banners are expensive and I could use the backs of them for an anti-sanctions event” she says.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.