Free Radio Santa Cruz's Bathrobespierre's Broadsides show will present an hour debate Sunday April 13th at 10 AM. Councilmember Mike Rotkin and activist Joe Williams will debate the topic: Sam Farr--Bane or Boon to the Peace Movement. Recent anger with Farr for his half-hearted opposition to the war has stirred letters back and forth.
REP. SAM FARR: BOON OR BANE TO THE PEACE MOVEMENT IN SANTA CRUZ?
Radio Debate on Free Radio Santa Cruz 96.3 FM Sunday April 13, 2003 10 AM -11:15 AM
Peace Activist Joe Williams vs. Councilmember Mike Rotkin
Call-In: 831-427-3772 E-mail: rnorse (at) hotmail.com
Net access: www.microradio.net/frsc
Your questions and calls welcome. More info on Farr at www.santacruz.indymedia.org
Below are some of the public correspondence and local newspaper articles on the subject. I apologize that not all of them are as well formatted as they should be. I have time limitations and hope that folks can get the information they need.
Please tune in and call in! --Robert Norse
Interested researchers can also use the indymedia website "search" feature for "Farr" to find further information and opinion on the subject.
Local Media Coverage: Farr From Accurate from Metro Santa Cruz, Nuz Feb 19, 2003
Paradoxically, though many signsters actively wanted to "Duct Tape Bush," the only person who did get gagged at the rally was none other than Congressmember Sam
Farr. Despite reports in Sunday's Senile that Farr did speak at the county building before the march began, he in fact did not.
Whoops! Kind of a huge flub, considering the story behind this one was one of the most intriguing to come out of the weekend's events.
Asked why rally organizers in the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition banned Sam from speaking, SCPC member Susan Zeman said the group decided not to invite Farr--long before they discovered--"only 48 hours before the rally"--that mayor Emily Reilly had invited Farr to speak. Did we mention "whoops?"
"We operate on consensus. Had I been contacted earlier, I'd have called a special meeting to discuss the matter," Zeman explained. And a SCPA press release, while applauding Sam's recent "efforts to rescind the congressional authorization for the use of force in Iraq" noted that "Rep. Farr has not been an ally in many of our struggles: he supported the bombing in Serbia, he
continues to support Plan Columbia, and he votes Yes for most military appropriations."
All of which apparently led the California Peace Action to give Sam a C+ on his voting record, which they claim is considerably worse than that of other Bay Area reps.
"His support for NAFTA and other 'free trade' measures, meanwhile, demonstrates that Rep. Farr does not mind waging economic and environmental warfare on the world's most desperate people," continued the release, which ended by extending an invite to meet Sam "to discuss his voting record. We hope that soon he will join with us in our efforts to silence forever the guns of empire and extend the hand of peace."
Asked what she thought of SCPC's decision, Reilly said, "We're telling the world that we've got to get beyond past disagreements and disappointments. We have to
move forward, we have to let go of what's past, if we want to change the future."
As for Sam, his comments to Nüz were, simply stated, Farr out. "I'm here. We're all here," he said. "And we're all about peace here. People say we're not doing enough in Washington, but the truth is that what we're doing isn't
being reported by the media. So, we're going back to our communities to participate in meetings like this one, because real power lies in the people."
As for Farr's thoughts on the recent duct tape advisory, "That's Bush's new economic stimulus plan" (a comment which got Nüz wondering who does own duct
tape shares ).
"By the way," added Farr, "I'm not buying any. We have to make sure we don't panic."
We won't if you don't, Sam, but would you tell Tom Ridge to at least issue duct tape vouchers, given all the money his Depot--we mean, Dept.--has received to keep Das Heimland safe und secure.
Farr Wasn’t There letter to the S.C. Sentinel, March 1, 2001
Your Feb. 16 story, "Protesters march, fill Mission Plaza," inaccurately reports that Rep. Sam Farr was a speaker at our Feb. 15 peace rally. While Rep. Farr attended the rally, he wasn't a speaker.
The Santa Cruz Peace Coalition made a decision not to invite him due to his poor voting record. It was perceived that his record these past 10 years too generously
supported the U.S. military and various campaigns to render destruction/death upon the citizens of other countries.
His vote in April 1999 authorizing the to conduct military air operations and missile strikes against Yugoslavia (S CON RES 21) is a case in point. During this air campaign a television station was targeted and destroyed and the civilians within were killed, reflecting a gross disregard for the Geneva Convention on war.
His consistent support of several billion U.S. tax dollars to wasteful military appropriations is an example of Sam's tenuous grasp of the value of peaceful diplomacy. In 2001, he received a grade of F in wasteful military spending from a statewide advocacy group. He has supported Plan Colombia (a war on indigenous people disguised as a war
on drugs) and NAFTA (an economic tool for institutionalizing violence against the working class in Mexico and the United States).
For these reasons and more, we declined to have Rep. Farr speak. Sam's vote against the use of U.S. forces against Iraq (HJ RES 114) in October 2002 is certainly a
vote in support of the global peace movement which I and others embrace.
An invitation to the podium of our next peace rally is up to him: no to ever-larger military budgets; no to Colombia-supported terrorism; move to rescind NAFTA, Plan
Pueblo Panama and the FTAA. We hope he'll join us in our efforts to forever silence the guns of empire and extend the hand of peace.
JOE WILLIAMS AND PAUL FRANKLIN
Twisted Logic Abounds
Letter to the S.C. Sentinel 03/19/03
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.
Metro Santa Cruz March 5, 2003 Nüz
Councilmember Tim Fitzmaurice has been called a name or two in his time, but never a Hell's Angel. At least not until last week's City Council meeting, at which Mike "King of the Trolls" Tomesi dubbed him thus, presumably on account of the hell that the Fitz gives Tomesi and other City Council groupies whenever they get out of control.
And while Fitzmaurice has never to our knowledge so much as even ridden a Harley to chambers, he did come roaring out of the hills, intellectual guns blazing, when asked to explain why the council opposes a pre-emptive strike on Iraq.
"I believe a pre-emptive strike is morally unjust," he said, adding the following
footnote, about which Nüz thinks peaceniks (and others) could probably do worse
than repeat 10 times at meals and at bedtime in the weeks--nay years--to come:
"We have to make sure that ... we make as good [an argument] as we can, and not
thrust disdain on others for not understanding our position."
Which was classic, given that most of the activists at the poorly attended meeting were heaping dollop loads of disdain on the council's antiwar crusade.
Robert Norse wanted to declare Santa Cruz "a sanctuary for those who feel this is an illegal war," James Cosner criticized the resolution as "too symbolic" and Sheri
Conable demanded the "impeachment of Bush and Dick Cheney."
The council, which sat stony-faced through these suggestions, responded by not discussing any of them and voting instead to unanimously support Rep. Sam Farr
in his efforts to rescind the authorization for use of military force against Iraq--and to ask California legislators to sponsor a resolution against a U.S. war on Iraq (as Hawaii and Maine have already done).
Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Assemblymember John Laird says that though there was a push to get a resolution, "we decided to send a letter, instead"-- a decision
he called "tactical."
"There's a sensitivity to the fact that we have a $20 billion deficit, and that it costs thousands of dollars to do a resolution, so we'd be perceived as spending money
while not paying attention to the deficit, though personally, I'd have preferred to make a resolution," said Laird, even as an open letter admonishing the "silent"
Democratic senators and representatives was doing the cyberspace rounds.
And here in the Cruz, Mayor Reilly recalled another avenue of protest, as mentioned by Farr at the Feb. 18 Town Hall meeting.
"Sam urged everybody to talk to people they know in other places and get them to tell their congressmembers how they feel," she said.
By the way, Reilly added an interesting footnote to a recent controversy when she said, "Locals took it as a personal attack when Sam said his actions weren't getting
media coverage, but by 'media' he meant CNN and Fox News-- not local newspapers."
Metro March 12, 2003 Nuz:
Santa Cruz was the first city to denounce the war on Iraq, in what is now a nationwide municipal movement. Congressmember Sam Farr has introduced legislation to rescind Bush's authorization to use force--and to exempt libraries and booksellers from provisions of the USA Patriot Act. And state Assemblymember John Laird joined 49 Democratic legislators in signing a letter that listed a myriad of concerns (including lack of credible evidence, failure to persuade other nations and lack of clarity about possible instability in the Middle East during the war and
subsequent foreign occupation of Iraq) and opposed war with Iraq without a formal resolution by the U.N. Security Council and a declaration of war by Congress.
Ann Simenton’s letter from Metro S.,C. March 12, 2003
Sam, Don’t Speak
The Santa Cruz Peace coalition has every right to decide who they want to speak at their rallies. Sam Farr, like most of our Congressional representatives, supports military aid to Colombia, whose government and military collaborate with death squads to murder civilians and in particular labor organizers.
Unfortunately, Farr voted for the anti-labor anti-environment NAFTA treaty and supported the bombing of Serbia, which included bombing population centers such as
Belgrade. Sam Farr recently voted FOR the 2003 defense budget of $350 billion dollars
including funding for nuclear weapons research and star wars.
Why would anyone, especially our Mayor of Santa Cruz, think we need to hear from him at a peace rally. WE need to hear from people of color, women and others
who are silenced by big money politics.
from Metro March 26, 2003, Nuz
Pukers for Peace
Seems Congress is not addressing anything of importance these day--as witnessed by the freedom fries debate--unless you count expressing support and appreciation for Mr. Bush and the armed forces, a vote from which Sam Farr and 21 colleagues abstained, apparently objecting to the following language:
"Congress expresses the unequivocal support and appreciation of the Nation (1) to the President as Commander in Chief for his firm leadership and decisive action in the conduct of military operations in Iraq as part of the ongoing global war on terrorism."
All of which was enough to make Pukers for Peace throw up the U.S. flag, first ingesting milk dyed red and blue as well as plain old white, then puking it up on the
steps of a federal building in San Francisco,
P.S. Mayor Emily Reilly has scheduled a town-hall meeting April 7, 2003. Call 420.5022 for details.
"Amy Courtney" <>
Subject: Re: Letter to Metro Santa Cruz
Kudos to the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition for hosting the largest "peace time" (whether we are at peace now is debatable) rally in Santa Cruz! The list of groups working together and the amazing line up of speakers and performers illustrates that this is a peace movement that crosses many political lines. The Coalition's efforts and the amazing turnout of creative people in this area, inspire me and give me hope for a peoples' movement toward and in peace.
I would also like to congratulate the Coalition for taking a principled and polite stand with regards to Rep. Sam Farr. Farr's voting record tells us where he stands on war and peace-
--repeated support for military funding in Colombia where the military has been cited for several human rights violations including the mass murder of their own civilians,
--approval of the bombings of Kosovo, responsible for the death of thousands of civilians,
--unwavering defense of NAFTA that has served to further exploit North Americans and
our lands for private interests,
--the conspicuous absence of voice when it came to the matter of handing over war
powers to a man who bought the presidency, and of course,
--the appropriation of $355 billion to fund the latest act of terrorism by the United States
against the Iraqi people.
While I applaud Farr's recent support of the DeFazio-Paul bill to rescind Congressional authorization for a war in Iraq, I am left to wonder how we got to this point. If Farr, along with his Democratic colleagues, had been as principled in his previous votes as the Peace Coalition has been in decisively rejecting him as a speaker and advocate of peace, we may not have gotten so deep into this mess.
I challenge Farr to learn from his constituents and politely "un-invite" Mr. Bush to speak for the American people.
Thank you again Santa Cruz Peace Coalition for your leadership and inspiration.
April 10 letter to the Santa Cruz Sentinel
I am dismayed at the letter to the editor from Councilman Mike Rotkin. I find it disturbing that an elected official should call constituents "idiots" in a public forum.
Particularly disturbing is that he singled out a rival candidate, Steve Argue, for this public name-calling. Mr. Rotkin has a right to his opinion as to the inclusion or exclusion of U.S. Rep Sam Farr from an event in this community. However, when an elected public official uses a public forum such as the Sentinel's editorial page to resort to venomous slander against rivals, it sends a chilling message to dissenters.
I suppose that this is just a sign of the times in the "new America." I suppose that voices of dissent ought to by now expect this sort of hateful reaction from public officials. I suppose that the "new American patriot" knows enough to shut up and follow direction.
Which would make me an anti-patriot of sorts. So be it. I believe in the right to dissent. I believe in the right to press for change in the system. I believe in political action even if the mainstream does not approve. Those used to be American values Mr. Rotkin. Actually, I believe that those used to be values you once shared and taught.
January 28, 2003
Town meeting on Iraq planned
By DAN WHITE
Sentinel staff writer
The city’s tradition of holding public forums on United States’ military actions will
continue next month.
The City Council will hold a special "town hall meeting" at the Del Mar Theatre with
Congressman Sam Farr to discuss a U.S.-led war on Iraq.
The session, which will not be telecast, will run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in the
newly restored movie house’s grand auditorium.
The city took a similar tack after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The council
wanted to check in with local residents before weighing a possible resolution
opposing a U.S. bombing of Afghanistan.
The town meeting turned into a peace protest at the Santa Cruz Civic Center, with
several speakers urging the council to take strong action. But the council faced
backlash and some boycott threats, and ended up backing off from a resolution.
But in this case, the council has already taken a strong stand. Months ago, the
council became the first in the nation to oppose U.S. military action in Iraq.
The council’s stance last fall brought Santa Cruz, and then-mayor Christopher
Krohn, a brief spate of national publicity, rivaled only by the council’s participation
late last year in a medical marijuana hand-out and protest in front of City Hall,
following a federal raid on a pot farm run by a medical marijuana collective.
Farr, D-Carmel, has spoken out against waging war on Iraq without broad
international support and without compelling proof that Iraq has weapons of mass
destruction He won praise from peace activists this fall when he said President Bush
has not made a convincing case that an invasion is necessary.
"And finally, the most important question of all," Rep. Farr said in a prepared
statement released in September "Has the United States really done everything
possible to seek consensus from our allies, and to find a diplomatic solution to the
threats posed by Iraq?"
His stances have earned him praise from peace activists and criticism from
constituents who have sent letters to various newspapers accusing him of "backing
a war criminal." And yet he’s also taken heat from protesters who feel his
opposition to an attack is overly conditional.
Of the council’s seven members, only Councilman Mark Primack chose not to vote
on the anti-war-on-Iraq resolution, saying it wasn’t up to the city to make foreign
policy decisions. The council, however, voted unanimously when it later declared
opposition to the U.S. Patriot Act. Past councils have also made proclamations
denouncing economic sanctions against Iraq.
January 29, 2003
Bush’s address alot of ‘rallying around the flag,’ Farr says
By HEATHER BOERNER
Sentinel staff writer
WASHINGTON — President Bush said in his State of the Union address that the nation would not deny or ignore our problems at home.
But from where U.S. Rep. Sam Farr sits, "The president is not discussing the real state of the union."
Among other things in his hour-long speech, the president called for $400 billion to reform Medicare; $100 billion to research technology for cars that run on hydrogen; $15 billion to combat the African AIDS pandemic; a reduction to the "marriage penalty," eliminating taxes on stock dividends; and passing a law preventing frivolous medical lawsuits.
In addition, Bush urged Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to produce evidence that he has destroyed weapons of mass destruction, saying that the U.S. will go it alone
in a war against the Middle Eastern country if it must.
Reps. Farr, of Carmel, and Anna Eshoo, of Palo Alto, called the president’s statements on hydrogen car fuel-cell research and the AIDS pandemic good steps, but both questioned how the projects would be funded. They noted that landmark education reforms passed last year, including smaller class size and higher teacher
pay, are still not funded.
"What you have is a piece of paper with a noble statement on it," Eshoo said.
But overall, both representatives were disappointed in the speech.
"There was a lot of rallying around the flag," Farr said. "I think he tried to connect
the dots tonight (between al Qaida and Iraq) but I don’t think he was able to do
that. I fear that the president will have to go it alone on this strategy. I saw very
little support of unilateral action on the floor."
Both Farr and Eshoo also criticized the president’s Medicare plan. Eshoo said the
proposal is an all-or-nothing contract for seniors: either sign up for a health
maintenance organization or stick with government-funded Medicare and receive no
drug benefits at all.
Bush’s plan to stimulate the economy with tax cuts would cost the government $1
trillion, including interest, Eshoo said.
"This plan falls woefully short," Eshoo said. "He did a good job of describing some of
the things that are ailing this country economically. But that’s all it was: a
description, not a prescription. What he brought out was tax cuts, which seem to be
his organizing principle. He proposed the same thing a year ago, and it’s clearly not
February 18, 2003
Huge crowd expected at tonight’s S.C.
Town Hall meeting
By DAN WHITE
Sentinel staff writer
SANTA CRUZ — Those who want a seat at the city’s Town Hall meeting tonight
about a possible U.S. attack of Iraq would be wise to show up early.
In Santa Cruz, interest runs very high in discussions of war and peace. Police
estimate 5,000 to 7,000 people turned out Saturday for the Monterey Bay Peace
March and Rally in Santa Cruz. It is likely large numbers will be turned back from
today’s event because the theater’s grand auditorium has 500 seats.
But Mayor Emily Reilly said if there is an overflow crowd, "we’ll have two separate
seatings. We’ll end the first one, when the crowd will be asked to leave. Then the
second session will begin."
The meeting is planned for 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Del Mar Theatre on Pacific
Avenue. Congressman Sam Farr, who last year signed a letter opposing a
"pre-emptive strike" on Iraq, is the main speaker.
Doors will open around 6:15 p.m. People in the crowd will be asked to fill out cards
to ensure Farr gets their comments, even if they don’t wish to speak. Two monitors
will walk through the crowd with cordless microphones.
The council chose the newly restored Del Mar in part because its renovation was a
public/private venture, with 20 days a year set aside for city events.
"The chairs are comfortable, it’s easy to get to people with a cordless microphone,"
The Civic Auditorium is larger — and was the site of a City Council forum in October
2001 to discuss the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the bombing of
Afghanistan — but was booked that night.
"That’s the reality. I wanted Sam (Farr) to participate and this was the night he
could do it," Reilly said.
The event can’t be simulcast on cable TV, though it will be videotaped and
broadcast later. The theater, unlike the Civic and the City Council chamber, lacks a
Officially speaking, this is not a peace rally. All viewpoints are welcome. But
members of the peace community say they will be out in force.
It is unclear what action the council might take because of the meeting, considering
the group pre-empted itself in September, when it became the first city council in
America to oppose a U.S. war on Iraq.
"There may be something that occurs to us as we listen to the public, but there’s no
plan I know of," Reilly said.
The earlier action drew coverage from CNN, ABC and Fox Network News. About 50
other American cities have since passed resolutions of their own, and some
representatives from other cities — including Chicago — called the council for
advice on the wording.
Councilman Mike Rotkin joked that one option would be to pass a second resolution
saying, "We really, really don’t want to go ahead with this war."
Rosemary Chalmers of KSCO 1080 AM said her station may broadcast the event live
from the theater if the station can round up a sponsor in time.
Councilman Ed Porter said that if the council does move toward a resolution, he’d
like to see one somewhat different from the first.
"I would like to see something about the world community listening to the United
Nations, and listening to our peers in the world," he said
February 19, 2003
Members of VFW Bill Motto Post get a standing ovation at the town hall meeting Tuesday
Sentinel Photo by Shmuel Thaler
Anti-war crowd asks Farr for action
By DAN WHITE
Sentinel staff writer
SANTA CRUZ — Tuesday night’s town hall meeting about war on Iraq belonged to
the peace protesters.
But the joyous, raucous atmosphere of Saturday’s downtown war protest was
nowhere to be found at the City Council-sponsored meeting in the Del Mar Theatre
Most speakers voiced anger and frustration, with many saying President Bush was
defying or willfully ignoring millions who protested for peace last weekend.
The turnout was enough to nearly fill the 500-seat auditorium. No one was turned
away at the door for the free event.
Many asked U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, who spoke, if there was any other way to change
the world situation, if their voices weren’t being heard. The Carmel Democrat said
he continues to oppose the war. He said he’s never heard, in any intelligence
briefings, "anyone indicating the United States is under direct threat from Iraq." He
called for more time for arms inspections, and "for emphasizing the prevention of
But he said that if people want change, "petition your government. The squeaky
wheel does get the grease." He said he would press on with his support of a bill to
repeal President Bush’s use-of-force authorization, "and give back Congress its
voice on this central issue of foreign policy."
But he also said the bill would face strong resistance from Republicans, who hold
the majority in Congress. He also quelled some peace protesters’ hopes for
impeachment proceedings against Bush.
"The impeachment process begins with the House Judiciary Committee. I don’t see
(Republicans) having any interest in impeachment hearings."
Farr said protesters had "at least another month" before a massive shipment of
military equipment arrives in the Middle East. He said protesters had at least that
long to persuade loved ones nationwide to "encourage council members,
supervisors, labor unions and members of Congress" to make their opposition
The majority of speakers at the theater opposed war on Iraq, and many said they
didn’t know where to turn. Some said they were confused and disillusioned that the
weekend’s massive worldwide protests hadn’t done more to turn the tide.
Jake Williams from the Youth Coalition of Santa Cruz said he’s been to "a lot of
rallies and demonstrations, and it doesn’t seem like it’s getting the war any closer
to not happening. What else can the youth do to stop war?"
A few voices in the crowd, however, had a different perspective. A few dissenters
met with scattered heckling, but the audience was silent when Syrian-born
Khartoun Brown spoke. Brown, who lives in the Mount Hermon area, is an Arab
whose family lives across the border from Iraq.
"My family is still there (in Syria)," she said. "I was a minority there, a Christian. I
challenge every one of you. Live there for a week (under) that kind of dictatorship.
Nobody loves war, but you are dealing with an uncivilized dictator that understands
only power and strength." She said "Democrats and Republicans should be united"
on this matter.
Another speaker took no stand on the war, but said people were wrong to use terms
such as "madman" and "genocide" about President Bush, when those terms were
much more appropriate for Saddam Hussein.
"(Bush) is not the one using biological weapons on his own people," the speaker
Several anti-war speakers suggested walking out of work from corporate jobs if the
war proceeds. Others spoke of boycotting fossil fuels. Some said Hussein should be
tried by an international military tribunal.
While a few said Santa Cruz should be a sanctuary for those who refuse military
service in Iraq, Farr responded by saying the U.S. military is all-volunteer. He said
he supports the troops serving the country, but doesn’t necessarily support some of
their "civilian leaders."
While several people praised Farr for speaking out on the issue, he was questioned
by activist and unsuccessful City Council candidate Steve Argue, who said Farr had
done the right thing by opposing Bush’s use-of-force authorization, but should have
taken a stand against economic sanctions. Argue said sanctions have killed
"millions" of Iraqi children."
Steve Hildebrand said Congress has "failed miserably to hold George Bush
accountable to the Constitution of the United States. Millions march and Bush has
the audacity to say he’s not listening?"
In a wrap-up, Farr praised organizations that have opposed war, including 52 Aptos
High School teachers. This group read a statement saying there was no grounds to
attack Iraq. "Our daughters have not been raped," said one of the teachers, reading
a prepared statement. "Our fields have not been poisoned. ... We want a graceful
way out of this box of our own making."
February 26, 2003
City Council wants state to oppose
By DAN WHITE
Sentinel staff writer
The City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to send a letter to the state
Legislature asking its members to speak out against "a pre-emptive war with Iraq."
The decision came after more than an hour of public testimony and discussion.
The motion, however, did not please some audience members at the sparsely
While one peace activist strongly supported the resolutions, others said they
wanted stronger statements, such as a resolution demanding the impeachment of
Pres. Bush and a resolution, proposed by Robert Norse, "declaring (Santa Cruz) a
sanctuary for those who feel this is an illegal war."
If the state Legislature took the city up on its challenge to sponsor a resolution
against a U.S. war on Iraq, it would be among the first in the nation to do so; only
the state legislatures of Hawaii and Maine have passed similar resolutions.
Council members Mike Rotkin, Cynthia Mathews and Emily Reilly suggested this
letter to the state government, in response to a card they received from former
mayor Celia Scott. Rotkin was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.
Most peace activists who spoke at the meeting said the latest council statement
about war did not go far enough.
Sherry Conable — holding a sign saying "The U.S.A. is a security risk" — passed on
a suggestion she heard at least week’s Town Hall meeting, wanted the council to
send a letter urging the state Legislature to pass a resolution calling for the
impeachment of Pres. Bush and Vice President Cheney.
Congressman Sam Farr, speaking at the Town Hall meeting last week, called
impeachment highly unlikely considering the Republican-dominated Congress, but
Conable said it might happen "if Democrats are relentless."
During the meeting, another activist, James Cosner, said the resolution was too
symbolic. "Paperwork and resolutions will not resolve the problem." he said "We’re
two weeks from a holocaust (in Iraq) and we’re talking about sending a letter to
But several council members said that taking another stand would be their way of
responding to the Town Hall meeting, where most speakers asked for diplomatic
solutions. The council also unanimously voted to back Farr in a bill that was drawn
up with the intention of rolling back Congress’ authorization for use of military force
In voting for the state government to draft its own resolution, the council avoided
competing with itself; the council was first in the nation, in September, to draft a
resolution opposing a U.S. war on Iraq. While councils over the years have passed
dozens of resolutions — often drawing scant attention — the September vote drew
March 18, 2003
Farr, Eshoo opposed
Sentinel staff report
While some Democrats were striking a more supportive tone for the president, the
Santa Cruz County area’s congressional delegation was not among them.
U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, said the Bush administration is setting a bad
precedent by bucking the U.N. Security Council and traditional American allies.
While Bush criticized the Security Council for not living up to its responsibilities,
Farr said the council had done so, but Bush simply didn’t like the response.
"Everybody has tried to avoid war but the president of the United States," Farr said
by phone from his Washington, D.C.- area apartment.
Farr said he supports continued weapons inspections to disarm Iraq, saying they
kept Hussein in check before teams left in 1998, and they are keeping him
"We’ve had containment while the inspectors are there," Farr said.
Farr said an attack puts Americans at risk because of potential terrorist attacks and
puts the country at risk by eroding relationships with allies.
U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, echoed some of Farr’s views, saying the
administration has been "hell-bent" on war with Iraq.
"The commitment to very broad and full inspection processes could have brought
about what we sought to do," Eshoo said.
She called it a somber day for the country.
"This is unprecedented for the United States of America to preemptively strike
another country," Eshoo said
March 21, 2003
Local political leaders cool criticism
By KURTIS ALEXANDER
Sentinel Staff Writer
The antiwar protesters who have come to symbolize California’s sentiment toward
war continued to rally Thursday as U.S. forces struck Iraqi targets.
But the majority of Californians seem to be waiting and watching in silence as the
war unfolds. Among them are California’s representatives in Congress.
"Today is not a day to review the policies that have brought us to this point," said
U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, the Palo Alto Democrat whose district includes Scotts Valley
and the San Lorenzo Valley. "Our country has just attacked another country. It’s
unprecedented. It’s serious."
Pointed criticism by California’s leading Democrats of pre-emptive and so-called
unilateral strikes just days ago has turned to unconditional support for American
"The debate on whether to send in troops is over," said U.S. Rep. Sam Farr,
D-Carmel. "My thoughts and prayers (now), first and foremost, are with the men,
women and families of our Armed Forces."
Political analysts said the harmony in Washington, D.C., isn’t likely to subside soon.
"Unless things start to go wrong, I don’t think you’re going to get any criticism until
(American) ground troops are in Baghdad," said Ronnie Lipschutz, a politics
professor at UC Santa Cruz. The time of reckoning will come only when Iraq is being
rebuilt, he suggested.
The waning objection to war, Lipschutz said, comes not only out of concern for U.S.
service members but because of politics.
"People are playing it safe right now," he said. "Nobody wants to get caught as the
naysayer if this turns out all right," he said.
Additionally, many Democrats have long supported pre-emptive strikes on Iraq and
have encouraged their political colleagues to do the same, Lipschutz noted.
Farr, whose district includes Santa Cruz, acknowledged pressure to go along with
current White House policies. "If you complain about this administration you get
your head chopped off."
Farr, though, said he’s less hesitant to voice objection because of his generally
Retired from Beltway politics, Central Coast resident and former White House chief
of staff Leon Panetta did not hesitate to criticize the administration’s military
"It kind of got off to a bumpy start," he told the Sentinel Thursday.
With no clear battle plan and no disclosed assessment of risk or cost, President
Bush is acting inappropriately, as well as outside of democratic conventions,
"For over 200 years this country has operated on the basis that we only attack
when we’re attacked or a clear threat presents itself. ... I’m not sure this is the case
here," he said.
Local Republicans disagreed.
"The leadership of Iraq is a threat to the United States," said Santa Cruzan Tim
Morgan, head of the California Republican National Committee.
Morgan applauded Bush’s resolve to take on the regime of Saddam Hussein, in spite
of opposition, both internationally and locally.
"It’s Santa Cruz County that is out of step with the rest of the nation, not me," he
March 26, 2003
Town hall meeting on war scheduled
Sentinel staff report
Expect raw emotion and hours of speeches at an April 7 follow-up town hall meeting
about the war on Iraq.
The session will begin at 7 p.m. It is the first community meeting scheduled since
the war started.
A Feb. 18 town hall meeting drew a near-capacity crowd to the 500-seat grand
auditorium at the Del Mar Theatre. Almost all speakers were peace advocates.
This time the meeting will be held at the Civic Auditorium, with nearly twice the
There may be no keynote speaker, though. Mayor Emily Reilly said U.S. Rep. Sam
Farr has been invited but most likely will be unable to attend since Congress is in
session that Monday.
At the last town hall meeting, Farr, D-Carmel, met with strong applause but also
criticism from some peace advocates, who said they were angry he did not take a
strong stand against economic sanctions against Iraq and voted in favor of a
military appropriations budget. Controversy over Farr led to a minor flap last month
when the Santa Cruz Peace Coalition barred him from speaking at a downtown rally,
a decision that prompted dissension among peace advocates.
The council was the first local government body in the nation to condemn a possible
United States-led war on Iraq. After its proclamation in September, the council
passed a follow-up, urging state and federal leaders to pressure against the war.
Reilly said there’s no other resolutions planned at the moment. She said the
meeting will be for people to air their views, whether they are protesting or
supporting the war.
Reilly recently ordered flags at City Hall lowered to half staff for 72 hours to
commemorate all the people killed so far in the war, Iraqis was well as U.S. service
March 28, 2003
Farr, caucus lash out at Bush
By ROBYN MOORMEISTER
Sentinel Staff Writer
After receiving thousands of letters over the past week from constituents
condemning the war against Iraq, Congressman Sam Farr has taken a public stand
against the Bush administration’s use of military force.
The Carmel Democrat joined Members Against War, a roughly 20-member ad-hoc
caucus of other Democratic congress members, at a press conference in
Washington, D.C., on Thursday afternoon.
"You don’t resolve diplomatic differences through war," Farr said. "You can bring
pressure another way."
Farr echoed the comments of his constituents and insisted the United States should
never have engaged in a military campaign in the first place.
Since the United States began its bombing campaign in Iraq on March 19, Farr’s
Washington office has been swamped with more than 8,500 letters from his
constituents in the 17th Congressional District, which includes most of Santa Cruz
In a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 2-to-1, 99 percent
of the letters — more than 8,300 of them — were from people opposed to the war,
his press secretary said.
And the pile is growing.
"This is one of the largest responses that I’ve had (on an issue)," said Farr, a
10-year veteran of Congress.
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, whose district includes Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo
Valley, knew of the group but declined to take part in the Thursday event, an aide
Eshoo was in Scotts Valley last Saturday and voiced opposition to the war. She said
she identified with antiwar constituents who said they were frustrated their voices
were not being heard, but felt it was important to support the troops.
Farr, who opposed October’s congressional resolution giving President Bush
authority to wage pre-emptive war on Iraq, said Iraq has never been enough of a
threat to warrant the kind of strike Bush has launched.
"We were being told that Iraq was a threat to the U.S., but intelligence indicated
Iraq was not a threat," Farr said. "I and 132 other members of Congress voted
"America has, over time, been shortchanging our commitment to diplomacy and the
United Nations," he said. "I believe this war could have been avoided if we had
invested more in diplomacy."
Thursday, Farr criticized the president’s attempts to link Iraqi President Saddam
Hussein to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He said the administration hasn’t provided
sufficient proof that Hussein was involved.
Farr was also critical of Bush’s claim that his administration has garnered support
from a coalition of 40 countries, which Bush called more support than during the
1991 Gulf War.
"I question that," Farr said. "The president didn’t point out that in ’91, those
countries in support of the war sent troops and America paid only 10 percent of the
cost (of the war). The countries (Bush) is listing now are not sending troops.
They’re lending only moral support."
Farr’s press conference was in stark contrast to one held earlier in the day at Camp
David by Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Blair, standing alongside Bush at the president’s Maryland mountaintop retreat,
declared in words similar to Bush’s that "Saddam Hussein and his hateful regime
will be removed from power."
Bush for months has said Hussein is a multifaceted threat; not only is he risk to the
American people, but to his Mideast neighbors and his own people.
"For nearly a century, the United States and Great Britain have been allies in the
defense of liberty," Blair said. "We shared in a costly and heroic struggle against
Farr helped U.S. Rep. Peter Defazio, a Democrat from Oregon, author a bill in
February that would have repealed the president’s authority to use force in Iraq.
The bill never made it to the floor for a vote.
Farr said he realizes he and his small group of dissenting Democratic lawmakers will
not have the sort of influence that would put an end to the war, but they would be
remiss in their duties if they remained a silent minority, he said.
"There are a lot of people out there questioning this war," Farr said. "The reason
I’m worried is that it’s not a question of winning — it’s at what cost."
Northern California representatives joining Farr in the group include Barbara Lee,
D-Oakland; Hilda Solis, D-El Monte; Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma; and Pete Stark,
April 5, 2003
Meeting to discuss resolution to send
By DAN WHITE
Sentinel staff writer
Expect to hear the City Council call for "the immediate, safe return of all coalition
troops" during Monday night’s town hall meeting.
The three-hour meeting about the war against Iraq starts at 7 p.m. at the Santa
Cruz Civic Auditorium in downtown Santa Cruz. The council is considering drafting a
resolution to follow its previous statements against the war.
Like all town hall events, this event is open to all residents regardless of their views
on the war. But at past town tall meetings, the vast majority of speakers have been
The council may consider other actions as well, such as "communications to the
federal government and the United Nations," according to a city press release.
Santa Cruz peace activist Virginia Merrill, 87, said she backs the planned resolution
and wants to see Santa Cruz be "the first (city) in the U.S. to petition Congress to
bring our troops home."
In addition, Merrill wants to see the resolution say "no money for war."
At times, the council draws snickers for resolutions from those who dismiss the
actions as empty gestures.
But Merrill said timely resolutions make a "tremendous" difference.
"The fact that our city was first to pass a resolution for peace got on national TV,
and so will this. Our children should not be over there, massacring anybody or
being massacred," she said.
The council will also hear from constituents who have other suggestions about how
the city should react to the war.
Some have asked the council to offer asylum for those who have joined the military
reserves but resist serving in Iraq.
There has been widespread press coverage of Lance Cpl. Stephen Funk, the
20-year-old Bay Area Marine reservist who wishes to be discharged from service as
a conscientious objector.
Others want a city resolution demanding the impeachment of President Bush.
While the Feb. 18 town hall meeting on Iraq, held at the Del Mar Theatre, did not
fill the 500 seats in the theater’s grand auditorium, the city is taking no chances
this time. The Civic Auditorium has nearly four times the capacity.
Last time, some residents grumbled because the Del Mar did not have the
equipment hook-ups needed for a cable TV simulcast
But the auditorium is wired for that purpose, and the meeting will be broadcast on
Community Television Channel 26.
A representative from U.S. Rep. Sam Farr’s office and county supervisors Mardi
Wormhoudt, Jeff Almquist and Jan Beautz will attend.
Farr, keynote speaker at the last town hall meeting, will be in Washington, D.C.,
during this event.
April 8, 2003
Local residents offer war solutions
By DAN WHITE
Sentinel staff writer
SANTA CRUZ — Speakers at Monday’s Town Hall meeting turned the night into a
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
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
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.