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Rotkin attacks the anti-war movement and Steve Argue

In this posting:
1. In the Santa Cruz Sentinel City Councilmember Mike Rotkin attacks the Santa Cruz anti-war movement and Peace and Freedom Party Congressional Candidate Steve Argue
2. Steve Argue responds.
Twisted logic abounds

By Mike Rotkin
I was appalled to see the self-righteous letter from two so-called leaders of the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition recently in which they proudly proclaim their role in prohibiting Congressmember Sam Farr from speaking at the recent peace rally in Santa Cruz.

These sectarian idiots are not speaking for the 7,000 citizens who were demonstrating their opposition to war with Iraq. A successful peace coalition should be in the business of building the largest, broad-based opposition to the impending war possible. As one of the handful of members of Congress voting in opposition o Bush’s drive for a first-strike, unilaterally declared war in Iraq, Sam Farr is certainly worthy of our support and admiration. His principled opposition to the USA Patriot Act and willingness to be the first member of the U.S. Congress to attend a town hall meeting about the war also make him a leader of the growing anti-war movement at this point in time.

The fact that we may disagree with his position on a number of other issues does not allow us the luxury of trying to write him out of the peace movement. This is the kind of sectarian, holier-than-thou politics which led to our president begin George Bush rather than Al Gore.

And how Mr. Argue, who spent most of last year in jail for punching a police officer, thinks he has the moral standing to criticize Mr. Farr for Farr’s ostensible lack of humanitarianism requires a logic too twisted for me to get my head around.
Mike Rotkin
Santa Cruz

Dear Editor,

City Councilmember Mike Rotkin recently denounced me in the letters section of your paper saying I have no moral standing to criticize Congressman Sam Farr. In this letter Rotkin also denounces leaders of the Santa Cruz anti-war movement as sectarian idiots for not allowing Sam Farr to speak at an anti-war demonstration of 7,000 people in Santa Cruz.

The simple fact of the matter is that Sam Farr excluded himself from speaking at the demonstration. Farr had been invited to speak at numerous peace events earlier where he declined to speak. Then, at the last minute, seeing the numbers of people who would be present, Farr wanted to speak at the rally. To allow Farr to speak the organizations involved would have had to hold a meeting of the organizers to democratically make that decision. Farr was too late.

Nor would the outcome of that discussion be a forgone conclusion. Much of the anti-war movement is disgusted with Sam Farr’s record. While Sam Farr has recently voted against the attack on Iraq he also voted for the record 440 billion dollar war budget. As schools close and money is sucked out of our communities we see this vote as financial support for the terror being unleashed. Likewise Sam Farr votes for billions of dollars in support of the death squad government of Colombia, a government that kills human rights activists, unionists and other people. In addition Sam Farr when voted his support for Clinton’s bobing of Yugoslavia.

As for Mike Rotkin’s assertion that I have no moral standing to speak out against Sam Farr’s policies, Mike Rotkin is being a classic hypocrite. As Rotkin knows the incident to which he refers occurred at a protest in opposition to Sam Farr’s support for the bombing of Yugoslavia. A mother was put in a pain compliance hold for no good reason by Officer La Favor. This woman was screaming in pain and holding a small child that repeatedly screamed: “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! To end the crime Officer La Favor was committing I punched La Favor in the nose and the woman and child escaped. Even the City Council’s own Citizen’s Police Review Board ruled that this police violence was excessive force that endangered the child.

For Rotkin to bring up this incident is a clear indication of how Mike Rotkin always tries to make the victims the criminals. As a City Councilmember Mike Rotkin should be trying to curtail police abuses instead of justifying them. I, on the other hand, am not a pacifist in the struggle for justice and I am not ashamed of taking direct action to stop the battery of a woman and stopping the terror being inflicted on a small child.

Mike Rotkin in questioning my moral standing should be questioned for his support for police violence against anti-war protesters and his support for the Santa Cruz law that makes sleep illegal for the homeless.

Steve Argue
Santa Cruz

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Correction from author

CORRECTION: I've sent out a new version of my letter to the editor where I've deleated its second paragraph because there have been some conflicting stories on how Rep. Sam Farr was not allowed to speak at the demonstration. Aparently one of the groups involved had made a decision not to invite Farr to speak while another had not made any decision on it but felt they had been asked too late by Farr to speak.

Rotkin is a phony, don't believe the hype!

It saddens me that Rotkin has any credibility left in the Santa Cruz community. Progressives need to pull the mask off this guy pronto. Whatever his achievements in the past, and they are substantial, he has betrayed this community time and time again in coordination with Matthews, Kennedy, and Primack and their ilk. To defend Sam "Plan Columbia" Farr is simply out of line. Until Farr renounces his earlier support for this plan, he is suspect and should not be considered sacrosanct by the Santa Cruz community.

yeah, Farr is nothing special!

Emily Riely invited him at the last minute with out consulting with the SC peace coaltion. Like Argue said, without a democratic vote and discussion about having Farr speak, no one was allowed to say yes or no to Farr speaking.

Not to mention he voted for NAFTA, several of the past military appropriations budgets (this most recent while SC schools face losing two of thier elementaries), Plan Columbia.... I mean, come on, ever heard of wolf in democratic clothing.

we need to seperate ourselves from both of these parties....

Viva la verde!!
Long live the GREEN (party that is...)

Farr's Office is open every week day. Everyone: come on down!

Those who wish to challenge Farr directly as an anti-war action might consider going to his office en masse. His suite in the County Building (701 Ocean St.) is one of the few accessible federal offices where we can channel our protest.

Some might choose to stay after closing time and risk arrest. Others might be there simply in support, demanding that he vote against Bush's new war appropriation, that he apologize for his recent "abstention" on endorsing the war last Thursday, that he demand the U.S. stop using uranium-depleted weapons, that he support an immediate UN-authorized ceasefire and continued disarmnament process, etc.

For documentation of his recent bad votes, check "Farr Abstains on War Support Resolution", posted 3-22. Farr's phone number, if you want to contact him, is 429-1976. My phone, if anyone wants to go to Farr's office, is 423-4833.

I have invited Mike Rotkin to debate his pro-Farr activist-bashing position on Free Radio Santa Cruz (96.3 FM) on my twice-weekly show (6-8 PM, Thursdays; 9:30 AM-1 PM Sundays).
He has so far not responded.

Rotkin also has several offices where he can be contacted, perhaps by a group of people seeking an honest dialogue. His City Council offices are at 809 Center St. (420-5020).

Farr on Bush's $75 billion war bill: no comment yet.

Rachel Dann, a local aide who was very helpful and timely, in getting the documents posted under "Farr Abstains on War Resolution" told me this morning that Farr had "not yet issued a statement" on the upcoming vote on the Bush "Bombs and Baloney" resolution (for Monday or Tuesday).

She did suggest that somewhere in the resolutions posted in that previous article was an indication that he intended to vote against any subsequent war resolution, and suggested I go look for myself. I asked her to call me if she found a specific statement that he was going to do that.

Farr is at it again. Time to educate him as to what his constituency really wants--like we did in the Kosovo situation where he was supporting Clinton's bombing campaign.

Sit in first. Decide if you want to be arrested later.


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