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Local residents offer war solutions

Local residents offer war solutions

April 8, 2003
Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ - Speakers at Monday’s Town Hall meeting turned the night into a brainstorming session.
While expressing despair and anger, they came up with dozens of suggestions for the city to help cut short the war.
Among the suggestions: form a “sister city” relationship between Santa Cruz and an Iraqi city, urge the president to negotiate a cease-fire, have a peace flag fly at City Hall, and declare Santa Cruz a “weapons of mass destruction-free zone” because of Lockheed Martin’s local presence.
Brad Neily of Disability Activists For Peace said the city should lobby Congress to guarantee good health care for injured troops coming home, and address medical needs of all Iraqis disabled in the war.
About 120 people, including four of the seven council members, showed up to the televised session at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, where city staff set up a partition blocking off part of the chamber to make the forum more intimate.
A staff member for U.S. Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel), who was in Washington, read his prepared statement about the Bush administration’s “arrogance and disregard” and likened it to a “cage of hawks ... The Bush administration continues to set up America for a troubling, war-ridden future.”
In his note he said he couldn’t be at the meeting because he was “fighting the good fight against war” in Washington, D.C. Farr was one of 12 members of Congress who voted against emergency funding for the Iraq war.
Many who spoke said they were worried for the safety of American troops and horrified at the killing of Iraqi civilians.
Mayor Emily Reilly spoke of city workers “traumatized and confused and angry about the burning of their building. It was an absolutely despicable action.”
She was referring to last week’s arson attack on the city’s personnel office.
“But we have risen to the occasion to put this together,” she said. While she said “peace can never come from war,” she made a pitch to people with varying viewpoints: “Regardless of your opinion, please know you’ll be welcome here.”
It seemed no one took her up on the offer. This night, like previous meetings, belonged to the peace protesters.
Councilman Tim Fitzmaurice said he hopes to see a reconciliation between people with different viewpoings “because we will need to create a reconciliation with Iraq, and the world. In our own community, we should also reconcile our differences.”
He added that the money spent abroad “on these misadventures has a terrible impact at home, especially during this time of economic reversals.”
Several speakers said mainstream newspapers, radio and TV programs were distorting the war, sanitizing coverage and censoring violent images.
Peace activists Louis La Fortune and Cassandra Brown displayed graphic photos of civilian war casualties. In the entrance area, five women, dressed as Iraqi civilians, acted out the “phases of bombing” as they held pieces of cloth, stained with red, and cradled a baby doll.
World War II veteran Richard Fitzmaurice, father of Councilman Fitzmaurice, spoke of spending a year in a German P.O.W. camp in Poland, where the German in charge of his roll call kept prisoners from harm although his family was obliterated in a U.S. bombing raid.
“Here’s a man who should have hated Americans,” Fitzmaurice said. “Instead he saved us. Will we ever get to the point where we love each other like our own brothers?”
The council, first in the nation to oppose a U.S. war on Iraq, was to consider approving a statement calling for “the immediate safe return of all coalition military personnel.”
A group of 60 local residents signed a letter to Farr urging Congress to negotiate a cease-fire, “no blank check for military spending,” for U.N-supervised humanitarian aid, and U.N-supervised reconstruction and governing of Iraq among other things.
Contact Dan White at dwhite (at)


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Appreciation & comment on the Sentinel

Dan White's report on the town hall meeting fairly captures the essence of the event - thank you.

Robert Muller, former UN Assitant Secretary General proposed some time ago that we create a "World Media Watch" that would support journalists in serving society as educators rather than mere communicators. See below a letter I recently wrote a to the editor of the Sentinel which he declined to print (I acknowledge that he has published a fair range of my letters in the past). My issue with the Sentinel is not with the caliber of reporting but rather with the choice to continue the entrenched tradition of 'above-the-fold' alarmist or disheartening news.

Re Mala Notte (The relocation and persecution of Italians in Santa Cruz during World War II - by Geoffrey Dunn) Cuba, FOR, And - where are we today?

We very much appreciated Geoffrey Dunn's 'Mala Notte' presentation last Wednesday at the Vet's Hall. My husband and I heard about the event because we attended the Day of Remembrance the week before. My husband is full-blooded Italian (Sarnataro) and so had some interest in the second event. I was interested also but for more generic reasons.
First, thank you to Geoffrey for being willing to re-trace these steps, to feel and to heal. The unexpressed pain, the inability to tell the stories, the denial and smoke screens are all sure signs that we remain in danger of self-betrayal and projection no less then the generations before us.

In the days following Geoffrey's slide show I was consumed with the juxtaposition of Tommy Kadotani's photograph in the Sentinel, used first to affirm him as a stalwart, trustworthy community member and then cropped to portray him as an 'Enemy Alien' only by virtue of the fact that the FBI had arrested him.

In today's equally unpredictable climate I am acutely aware of the newspaper 'above-the-fold' phenomenon. There is every kind of considered column and opinion contained within the pages of all our daily's. A balanced forum seems to exist. Yet the damage is done by that one snap-shot above-the-fold headline news.

What does Sentinel really mean, I started to wonder:
sentinel [sntnl]
1. a person, such as a sentry. assigned to keep guard.
3. to guard as a sentinel.
4. to post as a sentinel.
5. to provide with a sentinel.
[from Old French sentinelle, from Old Italian sentinella, from sentina watchfulness, from sentire to notice, from Latin]
Source: The Collins English Dictionary 1998 HarperCollins Publishers

Much like 'tribune' then, implicit in the name 'Sentinel' is the promise to uphold/guard/protect the rights of the people. Obviously, in this instance the Sentinel failed in its self-assigned duty. As Geoffrey Dunn wrote in Mala Notte:
"The Santa Cruz Sentinel quickly jumped on the relocation bandwagon. In an editorial dated Feb. 3 (1942), the local daily reasoned, "The United States can take no chances by trying to pick for exclusion only those aliens who are known enemies. All aliens originating from countries with which we are at war [should] be banned from the defined areas.""

Sandy Lydon in his Internment Commemoration presentation challenged us: "Don't say you didn't know this time", jabbing his finger at us all seated there; "YOU KNOW!!" And here am I sitting in the sea of faces, a resident alien, fully aware that any rights I may have had have already been rescinded under this Administration - detainment without representation or deportation; either could happen. So what's to be done?

I am convinced of one thing: local daily's have a culpability for their above-the-fold emphasis - so do nationals of course but my concern here is with the role of a local daily as the voice of a community.

Last Friday evening I was present at an historic community gathering at which Sam Farr, Jeff Almquist and 30 or so community representatives were reporting back as the first delegation to Cuba under our Sister County Alliance program. The Cuban Study Group has accomplished something of great magnitude. Their achievement was recognized and honored in part by the community hall at the Methodist church filled to capacity. For research sake(!) I checked out the Sentinel above-the-fold today (Saturday, March 1, 2003).

Sentinel Top News this morning: 'Pain at the pump spreads', 'Suspect was freed despite reports - alleged rapist', Capitola's 'guardian' vandalized, swiped', 'White House adds exile to demands - Saddam must disarm, leave..' I was reminded of one woman's comment at the mike on the Cuban event; that before her involvement in the Cuban delegation she had been losing hope in humanity. I have to say, these selected top news stories serve to feed that hopelessness... and fear - Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine) is right.

The period 2000-2010 is designated the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence by the United Nations and the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) We are edging inexorably towards the halfway mark of this 'Decade of Nonviolence' and it's looking pretty ugly even while we may understand that there are many perspectives and real reason for hope.

The end of the decade will bring the felowship of Reconciliation close to its centennial. What must we do now to realize FOR's Vision: "a world of justice, peace, and freedom... a revolutionary vision of a beloved community where differences are respected, conflicts are addressed nonviolently, oppressive structures are dismantled, and where people live in harmony with the earth, nurtured by diverse spiritual traditions that foster compassion, solidarity, and reconciliation. -That's the question.

Sandy Lydon reminded us that susceptibility was such in World War I, that local residents turned in 'suspicious' neighbors to the degree that the Sheriff's dept. could not cope with the volume. Will we re-act under pressure (repeating history) or will we have the tools to respond with consciousness and our collective humanity? Because I know that intention prevails, we must set our collective intent before fear-mongering twists the mind of a heretofore peaceable community.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Corrina McFarlane

tribune 1 [trbjun]
1. (in ancient Rome)
a. an officer elected by the plebs to protect their interests.
Originally there were two of these officers but finally there were ten.
b. a senior military officer.
2. a person or institution that upholds public rights; champion.
[from Latin tribunus, probably from tribus {tribe}]
tribunary adj.
tribune 2 [trbjun]


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