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Council denounces U.S. strikes on Iraq

The City Council on Tuesday night became one of the first municipal bodies in America to pass a resolution denouncing a U.S.-led military strike on Iraq.
Council denounces U.S. strikes on Iraq

<www.santacruzsentinel.com/archive/2002/September/25/local/stories/02local.htm>

September 25, 2002
By DAN WHITE
Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ - The City Council on Tuesday night became one of the first municipal bodies in America to pass a resolution denouncing a U.S.-led military strike on Iraq.
Even ultra-liberal Berkeley, which became the focus of boycotts last year for passing a resolution condemning the bombing of Afghanistan, has not taken such a step.
The resolution authorizes Mayor Christopher Krohn to send letters to President Bush and other leaders expressing the council’s sentiments.
Prior to the vote, Vice Mayor Emily Reilly said she had the responsibility to help make peace “an attitude, a habit, a policy.” Backers said there is no international support for strikes against Iraq and that it would only provoke further bloodshed and anger in the Middle East.
The 6-0 vote took place after Councilman Mark Primack left the chamber, saying he had to attend a family matter because the meeting was running late. But before leaving, he voiced his opposition, saying he opposed war but that it wasn’t the council’s place to make foreign-policy decisions.
“I wish I could declare the war is over, but I can’t do that from this seat,” he said. “I do not feel the City Council is the proper forum for that. That is not our charge.”
Residents held signs saying “Inspections, yes, invasions, no.” Two UC Santa Cruz students said they represented the majority of local undergraduates criticizing the war. When peace activist Ruth Hunter asked for a show of hands for supporters of an anti-war resolution, many of the 80 people in the chambers waved.
Prior to the vote, council members said they’d received mostly positive feedback from as far away as Germany, and only a handful of critical letters. Some of those letters accused them of worsening the city’s image by wading into non- Santa Cruz business and presuming to speak for all residents.
The resolution was passed a year after the council chose not to pass, or even put on the table, a resolution condemning the post-Sept.11 bombing of Afghanistan. But the City Council showed no such qualms Tuesday.
“Locals brought this issue forward,” said Krohn, who along with council members Fitzmaurice and Scott Kennedy, brought the issue forward at the urging of local residents. “Locals (would) fight this war. Some will not come back.”
He said there would be resulting psychological and drug problems and that “peace is a local issue.”
Supporters sent in a resolution-backing petition with hundreds of signatures. Many said an attack on Iraq would be a cynical diversion from a war on unseen terrorists, and that it would kill thousands of Iraqi civilians and American soldiers.
Resident Bill Codiga provoked muffled hisses and laughter when he said he, too, opposed war but felt a city-sponsored foreign-policy resolution was outside the city’s charter and possibly illegal, aside from being inappropriate.
“The council doesn’t have a right to use a city pulpit to speak for our citizens,” he said.
He also said spending time on such matters, in a public meeting, is a waste of funds. He said he opposes repeal of the city’s utility tax, subject to a citywide vote in November, but that matters like this Iraq resolution “will make you lose votes.”
City Attorney John Barisone said the City Council was within its rights.
After the vote, Fitzmaurice, referring to the council’s decision not to pass a resolution last fall, said “that was a long time ago. The community and the country were hurt and injured (by the Sept. 11 attacks). ... This is not a question of community hurt. It’s a question of what’s going to be our policy in the region.”
He said that the council wasn’t presuming to speak for the whole community but that the board is elected, is expected to bring its ideals to the job, and “we could be un-elected” if constituents disagree.
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Contact Dan White at dwhite (at) santa-cruz.com
 
 


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Comments

Was there a citizens' petition?

This is great. We want to bring this before the Long Beach City Council. I heard that t citizens' petition preceded the Council action. Where could I get a copy of that petition?

Thanks.

Sharon Cotrell
Long Beach CA
 

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