It doesn’t take visitors to the office of Sharon Ambrose very long to learn the freshman councilmember’s position on Children’s Island. On the desk facing the office’s perpetually open front door is a giant letter Ambrose received from 8-year-old Eddie Hinshelwood-Ahmann. In perfect Toys ‘R’ Us script, the Northeast youth asked Ambrose to vote against the proposal, citing the virtues of everything from biking to hiking to fledgling eaglets. Ambrose, meanwhile, must have concluded that the letter was perfect fodder for her crusade against Children’s Island: She blew it up to poster size and slapped it up for all to see.
A harmless, saccharine piece of political agitprop? You’d think so. But one day last week, Ambrose says, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS)—which administers the building—called her executive assistant and asked that the poster be torn down. “Well, I went crazy. I said, ‘The sign stays,’” says Ambrose. And so it did, until that afternoon, when a protective services officer came to the office and began removing it, citing prohibitions against posting things with scotch tape or thumbtacks.
Ambrose suspects the anti-letter crusade began with DAS appointees with connections to Children’s Island boosters. After a couple of calls to administrative higher-ups, Ambrose said she’d keep the poster up—even if it meant using scotch tape, duct tape, or some cracked bureaucratic skulls to keep it in place. For his part, DAS director Richard Fite says he’s asked the building manager to find out about anti-poster regulations and pleads ignorance to charges of political censorship. “I don’t know whether that’s true or not,” he says.
Ambrose, however, remains convinced: “This borders on a First Amendment trampling,” she says. “It’s thuggery.”