End the war, Alameda!
When the City Council meets on Tuesday, they’ll be greeted by foes of the proposed expansion of Alameda Towne Centre, news about the impact of pending state budget cuts … and folks from the Alameda Peace Network, who will ask the council to support a resolution asking the federal government to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq by November 4, 2009.
Folks from the Network, who say they gathered more than 1,000 signatures from Alamedans supporting their request, will rally on the steps of City Hall at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, before appearing to speak toward the end of what we imagine will be another unconscionably long meeting (but I guess that’s a small price to pay for peace).
We contacted the Network’s Carl Halpern and asked him what he hopes to accomplish by gaining the council’s ear on this one (after all, they’re not responsible for the war. Or are they?). He said the war and the billions – trillions, really – it’s sucking out of our nation’s coffers is directly responsible for our nation’s financial and other woes. And he said the cash pinch is felt locally too.
“When you’re spending $3 trillion on a war and the federal government has these massive deficits, their ability to help states and cities with revenue sharing has been severely restricted. If we were not spending $12 billion in Iraq for one month, we could give Governor Schwarzenegger his loan today,” Halpern said of the governor’s request for a $7 billion federal loan to keep the state’s finances afloat.
He said 300 cities across the country have passed similar resolutions. Alameda has passed similar resolutions in the past, he said, but this one is stronger. And he said his group will call on the council to set a hearing, to talk to residents about the impacts the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are having on the Island’s finances.
Another goal, Halpern said, is to remind folks the Iraq war is still going on.
“We just think that the war is falling below the radar screen,” he said. “And we want to make sure it stays on, because we think it’s central to the problems we are facing as a nation.”
For more on the Alameda Peace Network, click here.