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MailTribune.com
  • Anti-Jewish license plate will be rescinded by state

  • The state will recall a Springfield man's personalized license plate after Medford-area residents, who saw his pickup at a gathering of neo-Nazis in Phoenix last month, complained about the plate's anti-Semitic message.
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  • The state will recall a Springfield man's personalized license plate after Medford-area residents, who saw his pickup at a gathering of neo-Nazis in Phoenix last month, complained about the plate's anti-Semitic message.
    The Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division didn't realize the "NO ZOG" message on the license plate was offensive until receiving complaints, division spokesman David House said. The plate was issued to James Larry Marr, 56, last September, division records show.
    The Anti-Defamation League's online database of extremist symbols, logos and tattoos lists ZOG as a racist acronym used by white supremacists and anti-government extremists to stand for "Zionist-occupied government" and express their belief that "the Jews occupy and control the government, as well as the media."
    Marr, reached by phone at his Springfield home, declined to comment about the license plate or his vehicle's presence April 26 in Phoenix.
    On that Sunday, community members gathered peacefully to counter the ideology of the National Socialist Movement, which lists its Oregon headquarters in Phoenix. A small group of National Socialist Movement members and supporters gathered across the street.
    A Medford history teacher at the rally against hate was among those who recognized the anti-Semitic message on the license plate and contacted authorities.
    DMV spokesman House said the division gets a handful of complaints that it deals with monthly. Complaints are reviewed by the same DMV employee committee that reviews and approves personalized plate requests.
    Requests are denied if they may be viewed as objectionable. Language that is discriminatory, refers to alcohol or drugs, sexual or excretory functions, or illegal acts will be barred, say the rules listed on the application.
    House said the complaints have decreased in the past five years since the division began a committee review of applications. Previously, only one person reviewed all requests and it was difficult to keep abreast of all the changing slang and slurs, he said.
    House, who serves on the committee, said Marr's request had slipped through last year because no one recognized the reference. Since it was pointed out, the committee agreed it was objectionable.
    A letter canceling the plate was sent to Marr Wednesday, House said. It explained that he must get a new, valid plate within 30 days for his vehicle to be legally registered. He can choose a new personalized plate, which would have to be approved by the committee, or get a standard plate and a prorated refund of his original custom plate fee, House said.
    Reach reporter Anita Burke at 776-4485, or e-mail aburke@mailtribune.com.
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