Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Cleveland Heights Mayor Edward Kelley is demanding an apology after the French government specifically warned foreign travelers to avoid Lakewood, Cleveland Heights and Euclid "at day and at night" while visiting the United States.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website said that Cleveland's city center is not dangerous by day, but "is not recommended at night." The site does recommend avoiding adjacent neighborhoods by day and by night, "in particular Cleveland Heights, Lakewood and Euclid."
The ministry’s website also cautions about the possibility of a terrorist attack in the U.S. and cites the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the anthrax scare in 2001.
Kelley was angered about the travel warning when a reporter informed him on Thursday.
"The French government is foolish and doesn't know what they're talking about," Kelley said. "Our crime is down, and it's one of the safest cities in Ohio based on FBI crime statistics. It's a bunch of hogwash. I think the French government owes all three cities an apology."
Lakewood city councilman David Anderson said events like the city's annual July 4th celebration bring in visitors from around the region. "Maybe they are afraid that if French people visit Lakewood, they might not want to go home?" Anderson said. "Seriously though, I've lived in many cities and feel Lakewood is the best place for me to be and raise my family.
But Cleveland isn't alone. The French government is also advising travelers not to visit Richmond, that Baltimore is dangerous everywhere but downtown, and that that Washington, D.C.'s Union Station should be avoided at night.