Anti-Berkeley bandwagon | February 15, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Perspective - February 15, 2008

Anti-Berkeley bandwagon

Berkeley made headlines nationwide when it voted recently to send a letter advising the Marines that its recruiters were unwelcome in the city; it also gave anti-war group Code Pink the use of a parking spot right in front of the recruiting office on Wednesday afternoons so its demonstration would not block the sidewalk.

In response, six U.S. senators introduced the Semper Fi Act of 2008 in Congress to take away $2.3 million appropriated for Berkeley, for a lunch program and a project at the university, and to give the money to the Marines. Locally, Assemblyman Guy Houston (R., 15th) submitted a bill in the state capitol to strip Berkeley of $3.3 million in transportation dollars "for recent actions against the U.S. Marine Corps in the city of Berkeley."

Other items on the agenda at that Berkeley meeting demanded Bridgestone take responsibility for it workers' standard of living in Liberia; called for the U.S. to terminate military assistance to the Colombian Army; and asked the governor to demand that Congress take steps to withdraw state National Guard troopers from Iraq. The council also handles the regular business of running a city, but these types of items earn Berkeley its reputation.

Houston said the special allowances for Code Pink to make it easier to harass and annoy the Marine recruiters were a violation of the public trust. "The city of Berkeley needs to be held accountable for that," he said.

But is there really a chance that these bills would pass? Or were the politicians merely grandstanding? Do these elected officials really want to interfere with food programs or the university? Or not maintain the roads in Berkeley that benefit all of us?

We can each speak with our pocketbooks by boycotting Berkeley businesses if we so desire or write to the council members to express our concern. Tuesday night's meeting drew a large number of passionately interested citizens. Apparently the outcry from the public did cause the Berkeley council to reconsider its actions this week. We don't need leaders grabbing the mike to propose cuts in funding that has been allotted for sound reasons.