Sunday, May 15, 2005

Municipal Response to Federal Lawlessness

This is the full text of the resolution passed by the Arcata, CA City Council on May 4, 2005. For GuvWurld commentary, click HERE. Thanks to Councilmember Dave Meserve for supplying this document, and infinitely more so for his courageous and determined leadership.


Whereas, a large majority of Arcata residents oppose the war on Iraq for one or more of the following reasons:Whereas, the cost of the war in dollars is a root cause of local economic hardships.

Whereas, the human cost of the war is unacceptable.

Whereas, issues of local and global importance are intimately linked, and the City Council is our most locally accessible governmental body and the most direct political connection between individuals and the federal government.

Therefore be it resolved that the City Council of the City of Arcata budgets $1000 annually (which amounts to approximately one penny for every person killed in Iraq as a result of the US invasion, currently estimated at over 100,000 civilian deaths and over 1500 American military deaths) to be used as outlined below.

Be it further resolved that The City Council of the City of Arcata commits itself to do anything within its power to influence the Federal Government to end immediately the American occupation of Iraq.

Be it further resolved that The City Council of the City of Arcata supports those enlisted men and women who are currently serving in Iraq by repeating its demand for the immediate withdrawal of all troops; and the Council commits itself to support, in any way within its power, both those residents who have returned from serving in Iraq and those who have refused to serve for moral or legal reasons;

Be it further resolved that The City Council of the City of Arcata will consider placing a measure on a future city-wide ballot, asking voters if Arcata should be declared a sanctuary for those who refuse to participate in war.

Be it further resolved that The City Council of the City of Arcata will take the steps necessary to expand the mandate of the Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Commission to include “Promoting peace locally and globally”, to rename the Commission as the “Nuclear Weapons Free Zone and Peace Commission”, and to empower the Commission to use the additional $1000 budget allocation, as they are able within budget and time constraints, to:
  • Inform troops returning to Arcata from foreign duty about locally available services.
  • Inform resident members of the armed forces about access to free legal advice and counsel for those who are considering refusal, or who have already refused to serve in the war on Iraq or other wars.
  • Work with local school boards and Humboldt State University to limit access of military recruiters to school and college campuses, and to provide equal time for views offering alternatives to military service.
Be it further resolved that The City Council of the City of Arcata will provide ongoing opportunities for public discussion of current issues by sponsoring regular Town Hall Meetings at our public facilities.



I think that this action by Arcata is very responsible, but I believe the behavior that go on there need be tempered with a little good sense.

There is a movement in Arcata to replace the monumental statue of McKinley done by a noted artist with a bathroom for the homeless who hang around the central plaza, because this president was perceived as a "war monger" and apparently, under pressure he did support military use.

This is so akin to the Taliban who trashed the large statues of Buddha--who of course did not live by Muslim precepts, nor their values, abanding his family to seek "truth."

McKinley is an iconic figure, and the statue is iconic. We have multiple architypes in our world, and statues preserve them. We see the statue of Robert E. Lee, looking as gallant as Don Quixote, in the remains of the flood in New Oleans, along with loving views of the Catholic Mary, and there are not moves to change it in the secular post-slavery world.

When a local area resolves to solve international, national, and regional problems--beware.

It is good to take a position, but when you go out to a deep extent, you can get in over your head and beyond your resources, and beyond the resources of the community.

It is sensible to oppose the war in Iraq, but the individuals living there who are liberals, and temporarily there as college students in the main or new arrivals, would be best advised not to alienate the locals living there who will share their views on Iraq, or the military, or George Bush, but are otherwise alienated by their foolhardy behaviors which can, if not careful, stigmatize their cause by seeming to make the cause sophomoric rather than as real and true as it is.

I was told a few years back that there was about five homeless people in Arcata, so they were building a center just off the city center to feed them; Now I get a report there is about three hundred and they come from all over the state. The problem increased as a result of trying to solve it; And, we note that other areas (maybe closer to schools of planning or public administration and therefore good advisement) have multiple residencies and feeding areas so that the individuals are not clustering anywhere with a potential of trading drugs and the associated crime which would result. I am speaking of Placer County and West San Fernando Valley. Arcata has not kept up with the latest in planning research.

It is great to have fine ideals, but so often there is a lack of skill in the execution, and the unforseen consequences of such naivety can be horrendous.

We don't know of the unforseen consequences of these measures and we can be sure those who vote them in will not be around to bear the consequences, being largely college students, but life is so much more complicated than those who carry flags in a self-rightous way realize, and this is what they really should be learning in college, instead of what they appear to be learning in Arcata right now.

By Anonymous Jeannie Hunter, at 9:07 PM  

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