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Dayton RTA (transit system) Open Carry Bus Ride(s)

BB62

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Here is the e-mail I today to Mark Donaghy, the CEO, copied the to RTA Board, the authorities, the media, and the Attorney General's office:

Mr. Donaghy,

In your December 21, 2016 e-mail, among your superfluous comments and/or inaccurate statements you made mention of irrelevant changes to Ohio firearm laws which took effect in March, 2017, suggesting that your “team” continued to work on the issue of RTA’s continued non-compliance with Ohio law. Taking my counsel’s advice, I decided not to act further until the first RTA monthly board meeting held after March 2017. Since March, TWO monthly board meetings have taken place and I still see no evidence that RTA is in compliance with Ohio law.

For instance, today I checked and downloaded your “Rules of the Road” and “Facilities Code of Conduct” (both attached), which remain unchanged – indicating that firearms are still prohibited on RTA property and buses, e.g. “including weapons carried pursuant to a valid license”.

For years, and despite RTA’s incomplete responses to my records requests, RTA has received a number of communications making it clear that RTA was not in compliance with Ohio law with respect to legal firearm carry. Such communications were either ignored or dodged, sometimes referring to RTA’s ‘policies’ – but not the law.

In November 2015 you personally went so far as to acknowledge in an internal e-mail (attached) that “It appears that from a purely legal perspective we may not have support for our position banning firearms carried by people with a concealed carry permit under the ORC.”, but concluded that “I would prefer we force someone to litigate before we roll over and encourage a change.”

In October 2016 you also contacted at least one other RTA, the Cleveland RTA, asking about how *they* handled concealed weapons (failing to recognize that *open carry* is legal in certain places and circumstances, including on RTA buses). Still, nothing changed at the Dayton RTA: your misleading and inaccurate “private property” signage remained, and your rules remain unchanged.

Last year, I was even threatened with a trespass citation for engaging in the legal act of openly carrying a holstered sidearm on RTA’s **public** property open to the public.

By now you’ve literally had YEARS to comply with Ohio law, remove your signage, change your rules, and train your employees – yet you’ve just bobbed and weaved, all the while consciously ignoring the law.

It seems that RTA’s position is that civil and/or statutory rights only apply when RTA wants something: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/beavercreek-council-approves-rta-bus-stops/pQOULASOSabhEbnpfgn98J/


** NOTICE **

I’ve invited legal possessors of firearms to visit the Wright Stop Plaza on May 20, 2017, at a time to be determined, openly carry holstered sidearms. Individuals who possess a valid concealed handgun license or its equivalent will be invited to ride one or more buses.

Members of the media copied into this communication are also cordially invited.


me
xxx-xxx-xxxx


Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/100454047196274

Dayton media report, December 2016: http://abc22now.com/news/local/rta-challenged-for-firearms-policy-calling-bus-hub-private-propety


(PS & PPS removed)
 

BB62

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BB62

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Dayton's RTA celebrates Cinco de Mayo!

...by refusing to remove inaccurate & misleading "Private Property" signage at the *publicly owned* Wright Stop Plaza! (I personally took the attached pictures on May 6, 2017)

Yes, at least 16 signs saying "Private Property, RTA Facility Code Strictly Enforced" are posted at the transit hub.

You'd think that they'd be gone shortly after RTA CEO Mark Donaghy informed me in a November 15, 2016 e-mail that "RTA property is publicly owned. RTA signage is likely to change, replacing the word “private” with “RTA” or “GDRTA”."

Well... you thought wrong. :(

No, as is apparent in a number of other ways, RTA doesn't put too much stock in following through, or following the law.

More later on this subject.


(Two pictures are shown here - all 16 are on the Facebook event page)




 

BB62

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PRESS RELEASE sent out today

The press release below was sent out to a number of media members, and CCed to the named officials and a few others

** PRESS RELEASE **

** The notice following this note, making clear my intent to conduct an Open Carry (of handguns) Bus Ride on RTA on May 20, 2017 was sent via Certified Mail of the US Postal Service earlier today. **


Very simply, for years RTA has knowingly been out of compliance with Ohio law regarding firearm carry by formulating and disseminating policies against legal firearm carry, something which, as a political subdivision, they can’t do under Ohio law. See ORC 9.68: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/gp9.68

Additionally, by its signage, RTA has deceived citizens about the public nature of its Wright Stop Plaza (at a minimum) by labeling it “private property”. For instance, there are at least **16** such “private property” signs currently posted at the Plaza. For example: http://tinypic.com/r/iw5b9w/9

Around 2010, RTA even falsely claimed that the transit hub had been “Moved… …from public domain to private property controlled by RTA” (see the attached ‘Corner of Chaos’ report)

Also, in November 2015 RTA CEO Mark Donaghy went so far as to acknowledge in an internal e-mail (attached) that “It appears that from a purely legal perspective we may not have support for our position banning firearms carried by people with a concealed carry permit under the ORC.”, but concluded that “I would prefer we force someone to litigate before we roll over and encourage a change.”

Months of my communications with RTA’s board, RTA’s outside legal counsel, Dayton’s Police Chief, Dayton’s Mayor, Dayton’s Law Department, Montgomery County elected officials, and Montgomery County Sheriff has not produced any response or action to change the status quo.

On RTA’s part and for years, rather than simply concede that RTA was not in compliance with Ohio law, and make the necessary changes, RTA CEO Mark Donaghy has stalled, prevaricated and otherwise refused to change course. In order to attempt to get to the bottom of RTA’s/Mark Donaghy’s acts and deceptions, I and others have been forced to file numerous records requests with RTA and other public entities.

As a consequence, the road to this point has been unnecessarily long and wasteful of human resources, and the responsible parties are those who neither took, encouraged, nor forced action – all the individuals identified or named above.

It’s my hope that you will contact the above parties, including the Ohio Attorney General’s office, to lay the proper foundation for investigating this ongoing abuse of public trust.

Should you otherwise want to get up to speed on the matter, I suggest you view this accurate and comprehensive story from October, 2016: http://abc22now.com/news/local/rta-challenged-for-firearms-policy-calling-bus-hub-private-propety


Cordially,

me
xxx-xxx-xxxx
xxx@xxx.xxx



Regarding the notice below: USPS Certified Mail delivery can be tracked by entering the receipt #’s shown below at the following address: https://www.usps.com/manage/welcome.htm

The postal service changed Ms. Doseck’s ZIP code to 45404, instead of the 45402 ZIP code I was given by the Law Department.

*************************

*NOTICE **

Chief Richard Biehl
Dayton Police
335 W. 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] Street
Dayton, OH 45402

Barbara Doseck
Law Director, City of Dayton, OH
PO Box 22
Dayton, OH 45402

Mark Donaghy
Greater Dayton RTA
4 S. Main St.
Dayton, OH 45402

RE: NOTICE of Open Carry of Firearms at Dayton RTA Wright Stop Plaza & on RTA buses, May 20, 2017

Chief Biehl, Ms. Doseck, and Mr. Donaghy,

You may or may not be aware of an e-mail I sent last Friday, May 5, 2017, directed to or copying in each of you or your designees. The e-mail was entitled “Dayton RTA: RTA's continued noncompliance with Ohio law & ** NOTICE OF OPEN CARRY BUS RIDE(s) **”. Please contact me if you didn’t receive it.

Unfortunately, and possibly purposely, electronic read receipts were not returned by any of you. So, just to ensure that last week’s notice gets delivered, this communication is being sent to each of you via USPS Certified Mail, with receipt #’s as follows:

- Chief Biehl: 7016 2710 0000 0398 2994

- Ms. Doseck: 7016 2710 0000 0398 2987

- Mr. Donaghy: 7016 2710 0000 0398 2970


For years, despite multiple communications from me and others; in person, via e-mail, and by phone - including partially fulfilled records requests, the Dayton RTA:

1) Continues in effect firearm policies which violate Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 9.68, Ohio’s firearm preemption statute, which among other things disallows political subdivisions from, except as otherwise provided by law, establishing their own firearm policies. In Ohio law, there is no provision for RTA to do so, except to allow *concealed* carry (which is otherwise prohibited) in buildings.
For instance, the current RTA “Facilities Code of Conduct” states in part: “While you are on RTA property, you are prohibited from: 1) Carrying or possessing weapons of any kind, including weapons carried pursuant to a valid license.”

Additionally, RTA’s current “Rules of the Road” states in part: “Customers may not carry onto an RTA vehicle any item, which could cause injury or damage to RTA riders or property including firearms, knives or such hazardous materials as gasoline, propane tanks or car batteries.

2) In an apparent attempt to bolster its right to make various rules, continues to post inaccurate and misleading “private property” signage at (at minimum) its Wright Stop Plaza, when in fact the hub is public property open to the public.

THEREFORE, I have invited legal possessors of firearms to visit the Wright Stop Plaza on May 20, 2017, openly carrying holstered sidearms.

Additionally, persons possessing an Ohio concealed handgun license or its equivalent will be invited to ride one or more buses, openly carrying their holstered sidearms.

The media has also been invited.

If any you have knowledge of laws making any of the above-described actions illegal, I invite you to communicate relevant information to me via e-mail.


Cordially,



me
xxx-xxx-xxxx
xxx@xxx.xxx


P.S. – One or all of you may want to contact the Ohio Attorney General’s office to get a clearer understanding of Ohio’s gun laws. For instance, and although it’s been years since I’ve seen him, I found AG employee and attorney Jonathan Fulkerson to be quite knowledgeable regarding Ohio’s gun laws.


http://www.i-riderta.org/about-rta/resources/2356.PDF (Rules of the Road)

http://www.i-riderta.org/about-rta/resources/2355.PDF (Code of Conduct)
 

color of law

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The passengers on the bus go guns, guns, guns;
guns, guns, guns,
guns, guns, guns.
The passengers on the bus go guns, guns, guns,
all through the town.

The police on the bus says "Wah, wah, wah;
Wah, wah, wah;
Wah, wah, wah".
The police on the bus says "Wah, wah, wah",
all through the town.

The activists on the bus says "Shush, shush, shush;
Shush, shush, shush;
Shush, shush, shush."
The activists on the bus says "Shush, shush, shush"
all through the town.

The activists on the bus says "the law is clear,
the law is clear, the law is clear;"
The activists on the bus says "the law is clear",
all through the town.

The police on the bus pee their pants;
pee their pants;
pee their pants.
The police on the bus pee their pants;
all through the town.

The activists on the bus win their case,
win their case, win their case;
The activists on the bus win their case",
all through the town.
 

BB62

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>> BRIEF REPORT << (from the FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/100454047196274)

My sincere thanks and deep appreciation to those who attended (not in any particular order): Brandon Webb, Roy Laissez-Faire, Andy Burton, Mike Daulton, Albert Cowlan, Kimberly Cowlan, Cory Curl, and Hans Oak.Again, THANK YOU.

The bus rides came off without incident, and we had some great conversations with people waiting for buses, other passengers, and passers-by.

HOWEVER, although RTA put on a good show, **that's all it is unless and until their policies are changed.**

Put simply, given six plus months of experience with them, and knowing their previous history, RTA has zero credibility with me.

I'm beat right now, but I'll be following up with more detail tomorrow.




 

BB62

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JmE

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Wish I could have been there. Good job. Another good example of the citizenry getting the job done.
You were there in spirit, my friend. I could've sworn I heard your voice a time or two.

(Then again, it could've just been one of the other voices in my head doing impersonations! ;>D )
 

DeSchaine

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They're ignoring you in the hopes that you'll just go away. It may be time to bring in a state level message, like from the AG.
 

BB62

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I'm going to have a full write-up later today, but in the meanwhile, it should be recognized that for more than six months, I got NO response from local and county public officials, including the RTA board, regarding RTA's willful violations of Ohio law.

When I did get a response, TWO DAYS (Thursday, May 18) before the bus ride, it was perfect evidence of what I call a "conspiracy of silence" of Dayton, Ohio and Montgomery County.

Here's the communication from Major Wendy Stiver, Dayton Police, Commander of the Central (downtown) Patrol division:

"Thank you for the information. I have been briefed and the Dayton Police Department has been meeting with our law department for guidance on this issue.

My sincere request is that when determining how to address your grievance with RTA, that you consider overall public safety needs for the City of Dayton and make attempts to communicate your concerns without unnecessarily occupying police resources or unnecessarily alarming the public and to be considerate of any requests made by Dayton Police Officers. If you dispute the legal facts of those requests, you may address those in a proper setting and procedure."
 

BB62

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My response to Major Stiver

Major Stiver,

It’s troubling that you have chosen to construct what I view as an insincere, mischaracterizing, threatening note - rather than simply remaining silent, or responding on-point to my request to cite anything illegal about my and others intended actions tomorrow. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that intimidation by public officials is apparently how things are done in the city of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio.

RTA’s violations of Ohio law didn’t happen in a vacuum, but rather were/are perpetrated for years with the silent acceptance of law enforcement officials and those in positions of power and influence. For more than six months of my continuous involvement, starting with your officers’ unfulfilled promise of a phone call from you (10/4/16), to the unreturned phone message I left for you, to my 10/7/16 e-mail copied to Dayton & Montgomery County legal officials, to the apparent ongoing acceptance of RTA’s extra-legal firearm policies (as demonstrated by the lack of response to my various e-mails) – it’s clear to me that the problem extends far beyond RTA.

Long ago, had any chief law enforcement official or legal counsel made it clear to RTA that they would no longer be a party to RTA’s extra-legal policies and other deceptions, the issues I raised would have been quickly and publicly validated – and I suspect promptly modified. Instead, because apparently no such communication took place, I view all the enablers of RTA as co-conspirators in violating individual’s statutory and/or constitutional rights.

A few other points:

1) What “grievance” with the RTA? If anything, I have a disgust for RTA’s, Dayton’s and Montgomery County’s lawlessness.

2) “Consider overall public safety needs” – what in the world are you talking about?

3) “…communicate your concerns without unnecessarily occupying police resources…” – We will be doing exactly what I’ve described above. If you find that those actions violate the law, please spell out the particulars.

4) Actual “requests” are politely made and don’t have legal consequences, so “the legal facts of those requests” addressed in a “proper setting and procedure” makes no sense, unless of course it’s a threat. If you want to make a threat, make it clearly. If you have a concern, spell it out in writing, and I’ll address it.

5) “Unnecessarily alarming the public” seems to me to be code for ‘disorderly conduct’ or ‘inducing panic’. As you and I both know, the peaceful exercise of a statutory or constitutional right, without an underlying offense, is neither. If you feel otherwise, please provide case cites.

6) Dayton PD’s contract with RTA, first paragraph, says that “RTA desires City of Dayton Police officers to provide general police services…”, which is another way of saying “enforce the law”. “Enforcing the law” has nothing to do with enforcing RTA policies, or enforcing RTA policies which are clearly in conflict with ORC 9.68 and/or other ORC sections.

So, rather than constructing an ambiguous, contradictory, threatening note, please simply and clearly respond to this request: “If there is anything illegal about individuals openly carrying holstered handguns visiting the Wright Stop Plaza, and those who possess a concealed handgun license riding RTA buses while openly carrying their holstered handgun(s), please let me know via e-mail.”

Bottom line: if you have something further to say, say it clearly and stop playing word games.



me


http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2917.11 (Disorderly conduct)

http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2917.31 (Inducing panic)
 
Last edited:

BB62

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How could you be "unnecessarily occupying police resources", if they refused to jump every time they got a call about a MWAG aboard a RTA bus or on RTA controlled property? How could you be "unnecessarily occupying police resources", if they refused to be complicit in enforcing an illegal gun ban. They can easily free up their "resources" anytime they decide to quit playing RTA's game.
Exactly.

I think her disgusting note was their last shot at keeping the intimidation racket running.
 

BB62

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*BACKGROUND of this Bus Ride*

False and misleading “Private Property” signage at the Wright Stop Plaza, posted circa 2010, was replaced only two days ago with signs reading “GDRTA Property”.

For years, and to no avail, various people have pointed out to RTA that their policies were in contravention to Ohio’s firearm laws. Despite RTA’s CEO acknowledging in a November 2015 internal e-mail that they were probably on the wrong side of the law (but he preferred to wait until someone litigated it), RTA remained unmoved. Even after six months of records requests and other communications, and the separate efforts of Andy Burton of Southwest Ohio carry, RTA *still* remained unmoved. My multiple e-mails to RTA’s legal counsel, Dayton’s Police Chief, the Montgomery County Sheriff, city & county prosecutors and related elected officials - pointing out the fact that RTA was not in compliance with Ohio, got no reply.

As far as I’m concerned, all the above were aiding and abetting RTA’s deceptions (signage) and law breaking (firearms policies) – because at any time they could have announced that they were no longer going to be a part of RTA’s deception and law breaking. In an evident conspiracy of silence, law enforcement and those who advise law enforcement apparently took no action, as RTA’s signage and policies remained unchanged.

Even after Andy Burton’s April 20[SUP]th[/SUP] meeting with RTA, where he completely acquainted them with applicable firearm laws, nothing was heard from RTA. On May 5[SUP]th[/SUP], long, long after I’d given RTA 30 days notice, I created the May 20[SUP]th[/SUP] Open Carry Bus Ride(s) event, and followed its creation with multiple notices to all the parties identified above, including law cites. Still, no response.

Finally, on May 16th I received proposed policy changes from Mark Donaghy, RTA’s CEO, which asserted that one’s legally carried sidearm had to be concealed on RTA buses. I crafted yet another response, copied in a few more people who’d been part of Mr. Donaghy’s e-mail: the president of the bus drivers union, a contact from an AFSCME union, and the commanding officer of the Dayton Police, Central Patrol Division.

That finally got a response – on May 18, from Major Wendy Stiver, commanding officer of the Dayton Police, Central Patrol Division. See it a few posts above, and my forceful response.

But, nothing more was heard from the Major or other officials I’d copied in on my response. So, I expected and prepared for heavily documenting the Bus Ride event as a prelude to legal action – which may still be necessary.
 

BB62

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FULL REPORT

Yesterday marked a steppingstone, **but not the final chapter**, in the saga of the lawbreaking GDRTA (Greater Dayton RTA).

When we arrived at the Wright Stop Plaza, it was closed by orange “snow fencing”, with temporary stops set up on three adjacent streets. On walking up to the main area where riders were waiting I was approached by a Dayton police officer, Sergeant Rick Blommel, who told me that their role was simply to act as observers. That meant to me that the non-RTA lawyers had finally told RTA: “You’re on your own, suckers!” Still, how RTA was going to handle things wasn’t defined. I also noticed that RTA’s CEO, Mark Donaghy, was in the area.

We talked with Sgt. Blommel for a while, had a number of productive conversations with waiting riders about what we were doing and why, and walked around the block a few times. It was great because there were lots of inquisitive people! Finally I moved to talk to an RTA employee to nail down what route(s) we could take to get to the University of Dayton. She told us the routes, and when I asked if firearms were allowed on the buses she said “As long as they’re concealed”. I thought, “Here we go!”

We moved to the other side of the street, and so did a husky, bearded employee, who I later found out was Gerry Gustin, RTA Manager of Security. He looked like he was ready to physically challenge any openly armed person who boarded. I called Sgt. Blommel and told him so, and he said that RTA wasn’t going to give us any trouble. BIG surprise. I decided to do a dry run and stepped onto a bus, asked a question, but Gustin made no move to challenge me. Still, I asked people to divide into two groups and take different buses to UD. As we got on, Gustin told the drivers “They’re okay”. There was a delay before we got started and the driver of my bus remarked to his fellow drivers that he’d like to carry!

We rode to UD, ate lunch, and all rode the same route back to where we started, where we had yet more conversations with people. Great stuff and very rewarding.

We also talked to Gerry Gustin, who said that “just this morning” they were informed by the “legal team” that OC was okay on the buses. He also said that the firearm policy will be changed at the RTA Board meeting June 6, at 3PM. He claimed that RTA’s CEO, who was still at the hub when we returned, likes small children and kittens, too. (okay, just kidding)

Do I believe any of it? HECK NO! With Donaghy’s and RTA’s history, I believe what happens, not what is said will happen. That’s why I, Andy Burton, and others will be watching carefully. I and others may “audit” RTA by OCing on buses prior to and after June 6. If necessary, additional steps will be taken to bring them into compliance with Ohio law.

Again, my sincere thanks and deep appreciation to those who attended. (named in a prior post) It’s people like yourselves who make it worthwhile to spend the considerable time it took to get to this point.
 

solus

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congrats on the apparent positive activity and apparent LE cooperation exhibited.

quite an achievement to you and those who accompanied you on your sojourn.

are you planning on attending the bd mtg on the 6th?

ipse
 

BB62

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congrats on the apparent positive activity and apparent LE cooperation exhibited.

quite an achievement to you and those who accompanied you on your sojourn.

are you planning on attending the bd mtg on the 6th?

ipse
I'm debating - only because the particulars of what they approve is not apparent to an audience member - so attending may be a waste.

I have no desire to speak to them further either - my position and the law has been made clear to them in numerous e-mails. If they pass legal changes, great, if not, there WILL BE follow up. (don't ask for specifics)
 

solus

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I'm debating - only because the particulars of what they approve is not apparent to an audience member - so attending may be a waste.

I have no desire to speak to them further either - my position and the law has been made clear to them in numerous e-mails. If they pass legal changes, great, if not, there WILL BE follow up. (don't ask for specifics)
just silently sitting does their conscience good...

again outstanding effort

ipse
 
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