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Anti-war towns pass their own resolutions

Santa Cruz, Calif., appears to have been the first, approving its resolution
Sept. 24. Five other California cities - San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley,
Arcata and Sebastopol - have followed suit, as have Ithaca; Seattle;
Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Carrboro, N.C., a suburb of Chapel Hill.
Anti-war towns pass their own resolutions

<www.sunspot.net/news/nationworld/bal-te.townsiraq20oct20,0,5526072.story>

Opponents: Leaders of small U.S. communities officially express their
reservations about an attack on Iraq.

Associated Press
October 20, 2002

AARONSBURG, Pa. - Dan Brannen Jr. felt he needed to do something
to express his reservations about the possibility of war with Iraq. As a
township supervisor in Haines Township, he thought he and his fellow
board members could take a stand.
“Congress just passed a resolution, and President Bush was signing it,”
Brannen said. “We’re a board, and we can pass a resolution, too. And I
wanted to propose one that opposed an unprovoked attack on Iraq.”
The township’s Board of Supervisors did just that Thursday, joining a handful of
other municipalities - mostly bastions of liberalism such as Ithaca, N.Y., and
Berkeley, Calif. - that have spoken out against going to war.
The Haines Township resolution, passed 2-0 with one abstention, says that
killing “innocent Middle Eastern people, including Muslims, will widen the
gorge between people of different races and religions rather than
nurturing a union of humanity here and abroad.”
Santa Cruz, Calif., appears to have been the first, approving its resolution
Sept. 24. Five other California cities - San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley,
Arcata and Sebastopol - have followed suit, as have Ithaca; Seattle;
Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Carrboro, N.C., a suburb of Chapel Hill.
Haines Township has little in common with those cities. Although it lies
just 25 miles east of State College and Penn State University, Haines is a
predominantly rural township with just under 1,500 residents.
Haines Township does, however, have a tradition of religious tolerance.
The township offices are in Aaronsburg, a village founded in 1786 by
Jewish immigrant Aaron Levy, who donated ground for the Lutheran and
Reformed congregations and presented each with a pewter communion
set.
Brannen said he had that history in mind when he introduced the
resolution, although religious tolerance was not discussed. He said the
supervisors just wanted to show that not everyone supports war with Iraq.
“It’s a message to the world that America does not speak with one voice,
as the president and Congress claim, in supporting an unprovoked military
attack on Iraq,” Brannen said. “I think that freedom of speech is one of
our most cherished freedoms in the country, and, as I said in the
resolution, the marketplace of ideas in the world is the best way to effect
peaceful change.”
Roberta Edington approved of the council’s action. She said her two
children were upset by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and she thinks
a war with Iraq would upset them further.
But Carpers Garage owner Mike Carper, an Army veteran who served in
Vietnam, said supervisors should have sought more public comment
before taking action. “I know they have a right to stand up and say no,”
Carper said. “But you’d think that the supervisors would have talked with
us about this first, talked with the townspeople. I don’t want to go to war -
I guess no one really does. But we might have to.”
Brannen acknowledges that he could have given the public more notice.
The resolution was not on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting, and besides
the three supervisors, only three other township officials were present.
But he said there wasn’t time to wait another month for the next meeting,
and all meetings are open to the public.
Not every municipal council presented with an anti-war resolution has said
yes. City council members in Boulder, Colo., voted 6-3 against a resolution
opposing unilateral military action Oct. 1.
“Number one, I don’t think that little city councils should be voting, wasting
their time, on national issues. And number two, the reasons to vote in
favor of it are a bunch of hogwash,” said Tom Eldridge, Boulder’s deputy
mayor and one of the six council members who voted against the
resolution. “I’m in favor of letting the president and Congress do their
thing.”
 
 


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