ACTION: Charlottesville City Council Prepares to Support Peace
January 8, 2012
David Swanson / War Is a Crime.org
At the first meeting of the new Charlottesville, Va., City Council, four of the five city council members publicly expressed their intention to support a resolution asking Congress to reduce military spending. The resolution is likely to be discussed and voted on at the council's next meeting on the evening of January 16th, Martin Luther King Day.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (January 4, 2012) -- At the first meeting of the new Charlottesville, Va., City Council Tuesday evening, four of the five city council members publicly expressed their intention to support a resolution asking Congress to reduce military spending, a resolution likely to be discussed and voted on at the council's next meeting on the evening of January 16th, Martin Luther King Day.
The fifth member expressed no view, so the possibility exists for unanimous support. One of the four members who expressed support for the draft resolution that we had proposed added that he would like to see it amended to also oppose the launching of a war against Iran. Another member also expressed an interest in revising the draft in some unspecified way prior to the next meeting.
The City of Charlottesville posts videos of its meetings online, but the video that can be downloaded and edited includes no audio, so I'm unable to show you just the relevant bits of the meeting. However, you can find them with the following handy-dandy guide to this video:
Scroll ahead to 17:07 for Brandon Collins, immediately followed at 20:43 by David Swanson. Jump ahead to 34:36 for Kirk Bowers and to 38:30 for Nancy Carpenter. Then at 47:20 Stratton speaks on another issue but connects it very well to this one.
Following public comments, each of the five city council members replied briefly. First new member Kathy Galvin spoke on other topics and did not mention the resolution at all. Next, at 53:28 new member Dede Smith spoke in support of the resolution, and at 54:22 Kristin Szakos did so as well but suggested that it should be voted on at the next meeting on MLK Day, while at 55:10 Dave Norris spoke in support of the resolution and of adding to it opposition to attacking Iran.
Norris's term as mayor ended at this meeting, but as mayor in 2011 he had been an early supporter of the resolution passed by the US Conference of Mayors asking Congress to reduce military spending. Brand new mayor Satyendra Huja spoke last and did not touch the topic at that point.
Now, enjoy lots of unrelated discussion or jump way ahead to 2:35:30 for Pat Lloyd, another member of the public who speaks up for the resolution. Then skip ahead to 2:49:48 at which point Mayor Huja says that he too supports the resolution, and Charlottesville City Manager Maurice Jones asks the five members to submit any proposed edits to the resolution to him (or to "staff") by the end of this week.
The book that I present to the Mayor in the video can be found at http://MIC50.org
Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice is supporting this resolution.
David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org
Draft Resolution Being Proposed
To the Charlottesville City Council
Submitted by David Swanson on Tuesday, December 13, 2011
CALLING ON CONGRESS TO REDIRECT MILITARY SPENDING TO DOMESTIC PRIORITIES
WHEREAS, the severity of the ongoing economic crisis has created budget shortfalls at all levels of government and requires us to re-examine our national spending priorities; and
WHEREAS, every dollar spent on the military produces fewer jobs than spending the same dollar on education, healthcare, clean energy, or even tax cuts for household consumption[*]; and
WHEREAS, U.S. military spending has approximately doubled in the past decade, in real dollars and as a percentage of federal discretionary spending;
WHEREAS, well over half of federal discretionary spending is now spent on the military [**];
WHEREAS, we are spending more money on the military now than during the Cold War, the Vietnam War, or the Korean War;
WHEREAS, the U.S. military budget could be cut by 80% and remain the largest in the world;
WHEREAS, President Dwight David Eisenhower warned us 50 years ago that "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist";
WHEREAS, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposed in both its Co-Chairs' proposal in November 2010 and its final report in December 2010 major reductions in military spending [***];
WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, with the support of Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris passed in June 2011 a resolution calling on Congress to redirect spending to domestic priorities;
WHEREAS, the people of the United States favor redirecting spending to domestic priorities [****];
WHEREAS, the people of the United States in numerous opinion polls favor withdrawing the U.S. military from Afghanistan;
WHEREAS, the United States has armed forces stationed at approximately 1,000 foreign bases in approximately 150 foreign countries;
WHEREAS, the United States is the wealthiest nation on earth but trails many other nations in life expectancy, infant mortality, education level, housing, and environmental sustainability, as well as in non-military aid to foreign nations;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, calls on the U.S. Congress to end foreign ground and drone wars and reduce base military spending, in order to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, re-train and re-employ those losing jobs in the process of conversion to non-military industries, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy.
* See "The U.S. Employment Effects Of Military And Domestic Spending Priorities: An Updated Analysis," by Robert Pollin & Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, October 2009.
** See "People's Guide to the Federal Budget," by the National Priorities Project.
*** See http://www.fiscalcommission.gov
**** See "American Public Shows How It Would Cut the Budget Deficit," by World Public Opinion, February 3, 2011.
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