Your letters, e-mails, phone calls, and petitions are working. Some members of the Berkeley City Council are signaling a partial retreat:
A week after blasting the Marines as “unwelcome intruders” in Berkeley, two City Council members want the city to back off the declaration that ignited the wrath of the nation’s right wing and inspired a Republican senator to try to sever Berkeley’s federal funding.
Council members Betty Olds and Laurie Capitelli on Monday proposed that Berkeley rescind its letter to the U.S. Marine Corps that stated that the downtown Berkeley recruiting center “is not welcome in our city,” and publicly declare that Berkeley is against the war but supports the troops.
The City Council will vote on Olds’ and Capitelli’s two proposals at its meeting next Tuesday.
“I think we shouldn’t be seen across the country as hating the Marines,” said Olds, who voted against last week’s proposals. “If you make a mistake, like we did, you should admit it and correct it and move on.”
Turns out there are folks in Berkeley who were just as upset as the rest of the nation:
Olds said she heard from hundreds of people angered by the city’s action, including many in her Berkeley hills district.
“People are so mad about this. They have relatives in the service, and now they think they’re not welcome in Berkeley,” she said. “My twin brother was a Marine in World War II. He’d be turning in his grave if he saw this.”
Some of these lunatics still defend their actions:
Councilwoman Dona Spring said the council should not be cowed by the volume of hate mail and threats.
“I still oppose the Marines recruiting in Berkeley because it’s one way of protesting this wasteful war,” she said. “Our military policy is a shambles. But we’re not in opposition to the Marines; we oppose the policy that directs the Marines.”
Riiight. When the mayor and the council are railing that the “Marines are the President’s own gangsters… they are trained killers” and that the Marines are known for “death and destruction…and maiming” and give America “horrible karma,” it’s the “policy” they oppose, you see.
That’s how they support the troops!
Note that the vote on the retreat measures takes place next week. Still plenty of time for Code Pink to pressure the weak-kneed councilmembers to change their minds again.