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Crowd rallies in San Lorenzo Park for peace

Crowd rallies in San Lorenzo Park for peace


November 12, 2002
Sentinel correspondent

More than a hundred people spent Veterans Day promoting peace.
WomenRise for Global Peace timed its celebration to remind people
that Armistice Day the precursor to Veterans Day marked the
end of World War I, which was supposed to be “the war to end all
The group, headed by 94-year-old Eleanor Wasson of Santa Cruz,
encourages women around the world to proclaim their dedication to
“If we want peace, we have to do more than hate war,” said City
Councilwoman Emily Reilly, an organizer and speaker at the San
Lorenzo Park event. “First you make peace an attitude, then habit,
then policy.”
The gathering featured music, poetry, food and face painting. A
visual metaphor for global peace called Weaving the Dream allowed
participants to weave colorful, donated fabrics into interactive art.
A permanent peace pole was erected. The 10-foot pole, made of
reclaimed old-growth redwood, sported ribbons in place of plaques,
which had not arrived in time.
The plaques read “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in English and Arabic,
and in the languages of Santa Cruz’s five sister cities in Italy, Japan,
Ukraine, Venezuela and Nicaragua, said organizer Corrina McFarlane.
The event kicked off with Veterans for Peace entering the park
behind bagpiper Nancy Fredrick. The group of about a dozen marched
from the nearby Veterans Memorial Building at 11 a.m.
Vietnam veteran Richard Walsh said peace rallies make a difference
by empowering participants.
“I kind of like the idea of no war, but sometimes you can’t avoid it,”
he said, noting he would support whatever decision leaders make
about Iraq.
Veteran Norman Matthews also seemed resigned to future wars.
“Vietnam was a big mistake, but today it’s a bit different,” he said.
By 1 p.m., dozens of people from toddlers to seniors had
converged on a sun-soaked grassy hill to listen to the speakers and
the music. The mood was relaxed and festive.
The celebration marked the group’s first, but it plans to organize
events several times a year. Members strive for nothing less than
global peace through modest gatherings and regular reaffirmation of
their values.
“We don’t need to persuade anyone, we simply get together with the
ones who already agree with us,” said the Rev. Charles Moore, a
speaker at the rally.
Wasson, who lived through and supported World War II, said war is
not the only solution to current conflicts.
“Hitler was different, he enslaved a whole group of people,” she said.
“No question Saddam is evil, but the only way we can prevent war is
through understanding.
“I think Hussein is probably just as vulnerable as anybody else, if we
just sit down and talk to him,” she added. “There is no way to have
peace by threatening people.”
Contact Nicole Stricker at nstricker (at)

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Is "Peace" an ingrained habit yet?

With all due respect to those who were at the protest -- an act that I admire and applaud -- I wonder how many of them voted this month to retain the city's Utility Tax, literally taking an average of around $250 yearly from all who voted to repeal the tax or who didn't vote at all.

I received campaign literature that warned of devastating cuts in essential safety and infrastructure services, when the $8.4M in anticipated utility tax revenue wouldn't even cover the full budget for the Parks and Recreation Department. Said another way, even if the Utility Tax were to disappear tomorrow, NO CUTS need occur in any department other than Parks and Rec, and even that Department would still retain $2M of its originally planned budget. Truth, it seems, is a major casualty in the campaign to maintain taxation, even as it is said to be the "first casualty" of war.

Of course, losing $8.4M in one fell swoop would definitely devastate the Parks and Rec Department, but the opponents of Measure P, with whom I exchanged views, would not even consider the possibility of voluntary means for filling in the budget gap: higher user fees and charitable contributions, for instance. Had the people who voted against Measure P simply sent in their own $250 -- instead of nominating their neighbors to contribute involuntarily -- that would have made up $3M of the shortfall right there! From that point, careful management of funds throughout the year might have restored the Parks and Rec budget to nearly the originally planned funding level, and given us a year to decide how to restructure city government to live within more limited means, or find more and better funding than the Utility Tax had provided.

But no: voluntary means were seen as clearly "insufficient" for the important civic task, if they were considered at all. Over 12,000 citizens voted to force at least 5,000 or more to kick down the average $255/yr., essentially to subsidize parks, pools, after-school and summer youth activities, and the like. An onerous tax on necessities, used to fund discretionary amenities, was allowed to stand.

How long a leap is it, from saying "no, you can't keep your money to spend as you see fit; we can and will take it to spend on things WE deem important," to saying "no, you can't stop paying and dying for this war because we who know better understand that prosecuting it is in the national interest"? Not a very long leap, it seems to me. War entails naked force and involuntary servitude, but so does the act of voting for a tax, or for a law that coerces behavior which does not itself cause harm to others. It would seem to me that someone who were truly serious about "Peace" would understand that all the small misuses of force eventually combine into a dark mass of disrespect for people and their lives, which acquires a momentum that enables large, egregious misuses of force, such as war. Respect for people and their property, and an emphasis on voluntary approaches to solving civic problems, would seem to be to be the hallmark of the genuinely "peaceful" way. So I wonder, did any of the protesters vote to retain the Utility Tax? And if so, how did they reconcile their embrace of the "little war," even as they advocated a "larger peace"?

Merritt The Miser

Once again Merritt distorts reality to fit his own selfish aims. WomenRise for Global Peace was NOT a protest, it wasn't 'anti' anything, it was a celebration of Peace.

Jeez! Now Why Bush Think Of That?

Eleanor Wasson said above:
“I think Hussein is probably just as vulnerable as anybody else, if we just sit down and talk to him,” she added. “There is no way to have peace by threatening people.”

Man! To think of all the time and effort that's been spent! Why didn't Bush think of that?

Just sit down with Saddam and talk to him! Of course!

I'm sure he'd say "yes! I'll give up all of my weapons of mass destruction, sure! All you had to do was ask!"

That should have been...

Jeez! Why _Didn't_ Bush Think Of That?

Merritt has a point

It is highly ironic that so many self-styled "peace activists", and participants in "pro-peace rallies" and "celebrations of peace", were just last week voting for such very unpeaceful things as retention of the Utility Tax.

Understand something: voting is not an opinion poll. When you vote in a Democratic process, you say "I will submit to this, and if I am in the majority then I would like force applied to the minority so that they are forced to submit against their will." That is the reality. That is what happens.

Taxation is theft. War is theft and murder. No justice? No peace!

Merritt is not distorting anything, rather he's spelling it out very clearly. He argues for letting people keep their own damned money instead of it being grabbed and spent on someone else's pet project, and you call HIM selfish? THAT's what I call distortion.

Fucking socialists, they just love taxation and govt-run money sinkhole programs as long as there's some warm and fuzzy label applied.

The Great Pyramids of Egypt were built on the backs of 10s of thousands of African slaves. Today we call that sort of thing "taxation in support of the arts". Sure, pyramids and parks and art galleries are great - but they do not justify slavery (including tax slavery).

Here's a thought - why dont all you supporters of the Utility Tax take some responsibility for your own actions. Rather than sending your cops to collect your $250 park tax from me, why don't you come to my door your damned self and try to collect it? I'll give you 11 good reasons to respect MY rights - 1 in the chamber and 10 more in the clip.

But no, you'd rather hide behind your heavily-armed SCPD and IRS brute squads, while you attend "peace rallies".

Hypocrites AND cowards.


Merritt IS both Miser and Liar

Is Merritt distorting reality? yep, he calls the event a protest in order to twist it into something that will fit his anti-tax rant, it wasn't a protest, his entire premise is false. Is the utility tax regressive and should it be done away with? Maybe, but it's completely beside the point; celebrating peace has absolutely nothing whatsover to do with how people may have voted on the utility tax. It's just like when he tried to twist the WAMM event to further his own Libertarian aims. Is Merritt a miser and a liar? You betcha, check out the garbage he writes at the Sentinel forum.

My, my, such peaceful comments

You have to wonder why "Truth Lover" feels the need to use a handle when calling other people liars, distorters, etc. I am neither miser (my family and I certainly contribute to the community VOLUNTARILY in any number of valuable ways, and have for years), nor liar (i.e., an intentional teller of untruths). Question my accuracy if you wish, question my choice of words, and we can hash out the truth in an atmosphere of amity. But to suggest that I -- who, after all, sign my own postings with my own name -- put my reputation at risk by deliberately passing along information I know to be false, is both silly and insulting.

I did not question the good hearts of the people who demonstrated for peace (and yes, it was a demonstration, if not exactly a protest -- pardon me that I wasn't more precise in distinguishing between two words that most people use interchangeably). Rather, I wondered about the consistency and depth of their actual commitment to "peace," since I have found that a propensity to tax for any but the most dire and necessary purposes to be incompatible with true "peace." Anyone who knows the facts can chime in here to educate us. For all I know, the demonstrators abhor taxation -- especially the kind of taxation represented by the Utility Tax -- almost as much as they abhor war. Then again, I meet a great many people who say "give peace a chance" -- as I do also -- but yet haven't followed the thought out to realize that coercion of behavior and seizure of resources is the seed from which conflict, up to and including war, inevitably grows. I would hope that the seniors in the crowd would agree with me on this, but you never know. So I ask the honest question aloud here, to distinguish one type of peace activist from another, and am eviscerated by someone who hides behind a handle.

Celebrating peace means celebrating the avoidance of aggressive force, does it not? And, whether "Truth Lover" wants to concede the point, aggressive force includes taxes. If you're going to make "peace a habit," then I think you have to really stop to think the next time you are in the voting booth: "is this really a peaceful act"?

Incidentally, "TruthLover"'s spurious comment about the "WAMM event" came out of left field, and I am not even sure I understand its meaning. I certainly support WAMM's right to get necessary medicine to sick people -- and their right to take it -- WHETHER OR NOT that is acknowledged by state or federal law. The denial of medicine to patients who need it is anything but a peaceful act. I say, DEA out of California. But that is a topic for another thread.


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