“We wanted to create an event with a diverse array of speakers who were creating peace within their communities,” she told the Register-Pajaronian. “The group felt that Sam Farr doesn’t fit those qualifications,” and voted unanimously to not invite him to the rally.”
Representative Farr uninvited to peace rally
Feb 18 2003
By DAVE BROOKS
OF THE REGISTER-PAJARONIAN
The Santa Cruz peace protest was absent one congressional delegate Saturday after event organizers pulled Representative Sam Farr from the rally’s list of speakers. Organizer Susan Zeman said that her group, the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition, had decided not to invite Farr to speak at the event because of his congressional voting record on defense appropriations.
Zeman said she applauds Farr’s efforts to prevent a war with Iraq but that, according to the California Peace Action network, Farr has favored many policies that the group opposes.
“Rep. Farr has not been an ally in many of our struggles,” Zeman wrote in a press release. “He supported the bombing of Serbia, he continues to support Plan Colombia, and he votes ‘yes’ for most military appropriations. For these reasons, California Peace Action has graded him a C+ on his voting record, considerably worse than other Bay area Representatives.”
According to Zeman, organizers of the event had decided several weeks prior not to invite Farr to speak at the rally. “We wanted to create an event with a diverse array of speakers who were creating peace within their communities,” she told the Register-Pajaronian. “The group felt that Sam Farr doesn’t fit those qualifications,” and voted unanimously to not invite him to the rally.”
Zeman said she was surprised when she discovered that the event was being promoted to include Farr. She said that Mayor Emily Reilly invited the congressman to speak at the rally, unbeknownst to event organizers. Zeman said that when she found out about the mayor’s action, she called Farr’s office and rescinded the invitation.
Farr’s office took the incident in stride.
“It’s not a big deal,” said press secretary Sarah Rosen. “We’re fine with it. People have the right to do whatever they want. Sam still attended the rally and really enjoyed himself.”
During Reilly’s speech, the Santa Cruz mayor applauded Farr for his efforts to overturn a resolution authorizing the president to use force against Iraq.
Zeman said she was happy to see Farr opposing a confrontation with Iraq, but her group’s main point of contention with Farr is his continual support of military appropriations bills, which Zeman said makes the United States a “materialistic, imperialistic bully.”
“We’re never going to have peace with a military that is funded more than the next 12 countries combined,” she said.
Farr currently sits on the House Appropriations Committee and its subcommittees on agriculture and military bases. Rosen said that Farr approves appropriations bills that often deal with Fort Ord, including efforts to turn the base into a college campus.
“These bills do more than just buy hardware,” Rosen said. “They provide raises for military personnel and cleanup for bases that have been recently closed.”