Topic: Local Lobbying
I spoke with Gene Marx via telephone last night and asked him to write and send a detailed eye-witness account of the meeting. The following was in my morning email - Arthur
VICTORY for BELLINGHAM: Troops Home! Resolution Passes 6-1
On Monday night, Oct 9th, the Bellingham City Council passed the Troops Home! Resolution by a 6-1 vote, with only Councilman Bob Ryan voting against it, becoming the first city in Washington State and the 108th nationally to adopt such an initiative.
Councilman Terry Bornemann sponsored the resolution and strongly supported the Troops Home! Advisory Committee's efforts from the outset in June. The resolution was co-sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Beardsley.
Before the vote, Bornemann, a Vietnam Veteran, powerfully stated that he supported this resolution to honor Gold Star mother Doris Kent, whose son Corporal Jonathan Santos was killed in Iraq two years ago this week, and other parents of soldiers; and also to honor the many Vietnam Veterans who still suffer from the consequences of that war.
Council President Gene Knutson said that when our national representatives won't listen, the people come to their local politicians.
" When the federal government isn't listening, and the state government isn't listening, where do citizens go? They go to their local officials...we are elected officials, and we have that right to do what we're doing here tonight."
Knutson also took on stay-the-course detractors.
"Look at the highest levels of our government that are using cut-and-run, look at the people that are using cut-and-run, look at their military backgrounds."
When Council Member Joan Beardsley questioned whether it was appropriate for the city council to make a vote on behalf of ALL the citizens of Bellingham, Bornemann and Knutson strongly stated that every time the Council votes, they are voting on behalf of the City of Bellingham and ALL its citizens.
In addition to making Northwest news, Bellingham's victory is being celebrated by the national peace movement and Cities for Progress.
Whatcom Peace and Justice Center (www.whatcompjc.org), under Executive Director Marie Marchand, was the Resolution's organizational sponsor from its inception.
For a refreshing counter-balance to The Bellingham Herald's inaccurate coverage of the council meeting, check out Seattle's KOMO 4's 11:00 pm news from Monday night, October 9.
Bellingham's victory was the top news story, even trumping N. Korea's test detonation. The powerful City Council presentation (Sep 25th - beginning at 22 minutes) and successful vote (Oct 9th - beginning at 54 1/2 minutes) can be viewed on http://cob.org/council/packets.htm.
Board of Directors,
Whatcom Peace and Justice
On September 26, 2006, about 150 people gathered at a Bellingham City Council meeting to present a Troops Out Now resolution.
A group of Bellingham parents of soldiers (both deceased and Iraq veterans) and peace advocates prepared and presented the resolution proposal to the Bellingham city council.
Among these families are members of Military Families Speak Out Washington State Chapter.
Speakers included Doris Kent, Victoria Marx, Susan Livingston, Eileen Herring, and other parents of soldiers.
MFSO member Anna Lawson from Bellingham explains that "this resolution, of course, has no power other than highlighting that one city strongly opposes federal policy and actions.
... and we hope that Bellingham's council will be the first of many in Washington to do so."
Parents of soldiers bring resolution to council, 150 attend meeting
The link below describes the resolution and provides much more information.
The Troops Home! Resolution urges Congress to end the occupation of Iraq and bring American troops home.
Some 106 other U.S. cities have passed similar troop withdrawal resolutions.
To date, no other Washington cities were listed as having passed this type of resolution.
For citizens in other cities in Washington state interested in initiating a City Council resolution to bring the troops home; see the toolkit at link Cities for Progress.
The council will vote at its Oct. 9 meeting to adopt the resolution or not.
Video of the City Council meeting is available online (September 25, 2006).
The Hearing begins around minute 22 of the video.