Angry calls derail anti-war meeting |

Angry calls derail anti-war meeting


A group of anti-war activists plans to soldier on after being told their meeting to discuss options to military service could not be held at the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools office last weekend because of safety concerns.

Steve Weiss said he was told by Superintendent of Schools Terry McAteer just before the meeting Saturday afternoon to move the group’s meeting to another location because the superintendent said there was a potential for violence between Weiss’ group and conservative activists.

The meeting was planned, Weiss said, to discuss with concerned parents and the community the presence of military recruiters at the middle- and high school levels and to inform individuals of options outside of military service. Another goal, he said, was “to tell them the truth on military life.”

When word spread that a room at the superintendent’s office was to be used for the gathering, Republican Central Committee Chairman Tony Gilchrease raised an alarm via e-mail.

“Please note that this Peace Group of Anti-Americans and al Quida (sic) supporters, as far as I’m concerned, are holding their rally and ‘training’ at the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools office,” Gilchrease wrote to several dozen area residents the day before the scheduled meeting.

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“I suggest that each one of you that feel as outraged as I am about this, call Terry McAteer, a Republican and the Nevada County School Supt. and tell him just how you feel about allowing this traitorous activity to occur on Nevada County school owned property.”

Gilchrease wasn’t available for additional comment Wednesday evening.

After a brief article about the meeting appeared in The Union on Friday and Gilchrease sent out his e-mail, McAteer said he received several angry phone calls and was threatened verbally over the use of the room for Weiss’ group.

McAteer said he neither took names of callers nor reported threats to police, but he said he chose to ask Weiss to move the meeting for the safety of all involved.

“I wasn’t going to allow for a safety issue to occur,” McAteer said Wednesday.

McAteer said he came to his office 15 minutes before the start of the meeting and instructed Weiss to move the meeting elsewhere. Twenty-seven people later showed up at Pioneer Park to participate in the discussion without further incident, Weiss said.

McAteer said he generally allows rooms at the Superintendent of Schools office to be used as long as it isn’t for a commercial purpose. “We give out meeting space all the time. We are a government entity, and that’s why we lend out the room.”

Weiss has plans to hold more meetings over the summer to discuss military recruitment procedures and options to military service, and he hopes to have a half-dozen people trained to speak to students during the next school year.

“We are committed parents and activists,” Weiss said. “This is even making us more determined to do this.”

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