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Old 02-08-2008, 06:05 PM   #1
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Berkeley Bans the Marines

How is this "Supporting the Troops, Not the War"?


http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/ci_8127493

Berkeley gives Marines the boot

City Council says recruiting station not welcome; military mum for now

By Doug Oakley, STAFF WRITER


Hey-hey, ho-ho, the Marines in Berkeley have got to go.
That's the message from the Berkeley City Council, which voted 6-3, with Gordon Wozniak, Betty Olds and Kriss Worthington dissenting, to tell the Marines that its Shattuck Avenue recruiting station "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

It also voted 7-2, with Wozniak and Olds dissenting, to explore enforcing its law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against the Marines and to encourage the women's peace group Code Pink to protest in front of the station.


In a separate item, the council voted 8-1 to give Code Pink a designated parking space in front of the recruiting station once a week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting once a week from noon to 4 p.m.

Councilman Gordon Wozniak opposed both items.

The Marines have been in Berkeley for a little more than a year, having moved from Alameda in December 2006. For about the past four months, Code Pink has been protesting in front of the station.

"I believe in the Code Pink cause. The Marines don't belong here, they shouldn't have come here, and they should leave," Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said after votes were cast.

A Marines representative did not respond to requests for comment.The resolution telling the Marines they are unwelcome and directing the city attorney to explore issues of sexual orientation discrimination was brought to the council by the city's Peace and Justice commission.
The recommendation to give Code Pink a parking space for protesting and a free sound permit was brought by council members Linda Maio and Max Anderson.

Code Pink on Wednesday started circulating petitions to put a measure on the November ballot in Berkeley that would make it more difficult to open military recruiting offices near homes, parks, schools, churches libraries or health clinics. The group needs 5,000 signatures to make the ballot.

Even though the council items passed, not everyone is happy with the work of Code Pink. Some employees and owners of businesses near the Marines office have had enough of the group and its protests.

"My husband's business is right upstairs, and this (protesting) is bordering on harassment," Dori Schmidt told the council. "I hope this stops."

An employee of a nearby business who asked not to be identified said Wednesday the elderly Code Pink protesters are aggressive, take up parking spaces, block the sidewalk with their yoga moves, smoke in the doorways, and are noisy.

"Most of the people around here think they're a joke," the woman said.

Wozniak said he was opposed to giving Code Pink a parking space because it favors free speech rights of one group over another.

"There's a line between protesting and harassing, and that concerns me," Wozniak said. "It looks like we are showing favoritism. We have to respect the other side, and not abuse their rights. This is not good policy."

Fran Rachel, 90, a Code Pink protester who spoke at the council meeting, said the group's request for a parking space and noise permit was especially important because the Marines are recruiting soldiers who may die in an unjust war.

"This is very serious," Rachel said. "This isn't a game; it's mass murder. There's a sickness of silence of people not speaking out against the war. We have to do this."

Anderson, a former Marine who said he was "drummed out" of the corps when he took a stand against the Vietnam War, said he'd love to see the Marines high-tail it out of town.

"We are confronted with an organization that can spend billions of dollars on propaganda," Anderson said. "This is not Okinawa here; we're involved in a naked act of aggression. If we can provide a space for ordinary people to express themselves against this kind of barbarity, then we should be doing it."
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:10 PM   #2
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Yeah, this definately could have been handled A LOT differently.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:13 PM   #3
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It's Berkeley.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:14 PM   #4
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I think they answered that question pretty well. Clearly, they feel that the war is unjust. Continuing to allow the Marines to recruit there would likely be sending more young men and women to a war where they are very likely to lose their lives. For those of us (I'm talking about all over the country/world with this statement, not just Berkeley) who believe this war is unjust we consider it immoral and completely lacking in support of our troops to send them to fight for what most Americans now feel is an unjustifable cause. It has nothing to do with a lack of support for our troops from what I can see; it has do with supporting them in such a way that the residents of Berkeley would like to see them alive and serving our country as a military is supposed to. That would be not allowing them to die in a war that never should've started in the first place. I can't say I agree with how Berkeley went about it, but I can understand why they might've.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:35 PM   #5
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If Hillary or Obama win in November, will the Code Pink nutjobs go away?
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
It's Berkeley.
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Old 02-08-2008, 06:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
It's Berkeley.
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Old 02-08-2008, 07:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by MaxFisher
If Hillary or Obama win in November, will the Code Pink nutjobs go away?
Will there still be a war?


Every side will have it's nutjobs, at least these nutjobs will eventually shut up because hopefully we won't infinitely be in war.

But we'll always have the christofascists, paint throwing PETAs, and the NWO conspriracy theorists... they'll never shut up.
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Old 02-08-2008, 07:03 PM   #9
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Edit: Never mind.
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Old 02-08-2008, 07:12 PM   #10
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What does "solidarity of the university classes" have to do with it? U Cal doesn't run the City Council, you know. I do have several friends at UCB as far as that goes, matter of fact I'm married to a Berkeley alum.

At any rate, if there's any city in the US where it's unsurprising that the local government itself would be confrontational about the presence of a military recruiting center in the area, it'd be Berkeley.
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Old 02-08-2008, 07:23 PM   #11
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I live at the northern edge of Oakland/southern edge of Berkeley. I like Berkeley - it's a cool place, but people have just come to accept that it is and always will be a little nutty.
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Old 02-08-2008, 08:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
What does "solidarity of the university classes" have to do with it?
Solidarity of the university classes means that in my view you should support freedom of expression by universities even when you don't agree with the specific point of view or protest being made and dismissive responses like 'it's berkeley' to me are not in that spirit.
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:15 PM   #13
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^ I think you may be reading implications into my post that weren't there. Berkeley has a stronger tradition of pacifism and anti-war protest than any other US city I can think of, and that's been true for four decades. I'm surprised the Marines chose to open a recruiting center there in the midst of an unpopular war to begin with--presence of a large university in the area notwithstanding--as it was predictable they'd encounter trouble.

Back to the topic, it seems the inevitable Republican backlash has now arrived:
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San Jose Mercury News

A move to strip Berkeley institutions of federal funds is going forward in Congress in retaliation for last week's city council vote telling the Marines their recruiting station is not welcome in the city...Six Republican senators and an Orange County representative are introducing companion bills called the Semper Fi Act of 2008 that takes away $2 million, including funds from the University of California-Berkeley and a local foundation that provides lunches to the Berkeley Unified School District. The Senate bill was introduced Wednesday by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.; and Sen. David Vitter, R-La. Rep. John Campbell, R-Newport Beach., introduced a companion bill in the House.

The bills seek to take away $243,000 from the Chez Panisse Foundation, which provides school lunches for Berkeley public schools, and $975,000 from UC-Berkeley's Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service to create an endowment and catalog of papers of Rep. Robert Matsui, a press release from DeMint's Washington office said. A spokesman for DeMint said Wednesday that the bills would also seek to remove other earmarks, including nearly $1 million for a new ferry service and funds for public safety.

Mayor Bates, a retired U.S. Army captain, said "There's really no correlation between federal funds for schools, water ferries and police communications systems and the council's actions, for God's sake. We apologize for any offense to any families of anyone who may serve in Iraq. We want them to come home and be safe at home."

Two Berkeley city council members this week said they would ask the council on Tuesday to rescind the item declaring the Marines "uninvited and unwelcome intruders."
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:17 PM   #14
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They do raise a good point about discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gays are taxpaying citizens too.
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:11 AM   #15
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^ Noncompliance with university antidiscrimination policies is in fact a major reason why several universities refuse to host ROTC programs on-campus. They do, however, lose their federal grant and contract funding (i.e. research monies) if they do so. But for actual municipalities (i.e. cities and towns), federal law requires them to permit military recruiters to operate locally if they wish. Berkeley's City Council isn't actually violating that law, though I suppose their resolution *might* qualify as obstruction. Stripping funding for an entire city's schools, public safety and transportation is a bizarre way to "enforce" that though.
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