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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Council Majority Agrees with National Mayors’ Conference Stance on Wars

• Opposition on Afghanistan and Iraq Based on Depletion of Local Government Resources

BY BILL KOENEKER

With apparently no fear of being compared to the cities of Berkeley or Santa Monica, the majority of the Malibu City Council voted this week to support a letter crafted by the United States Conference of Mayors, calling for an early end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to focus on reinvesting in domestic job creation.
The motion, brought to the table by Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, was prompted by Malibu residents, who had asked her to do so, she said.
“It doesn’t say how or when. There were 150 mayors, who supported it and I wanted to add the city to a growing list of cities,” she said.
There were two speakers, who urged the council to support the letter.
Monique Lukens told the council the state of the military has changed with young soldiers enlisting who see the military as just a means to education and buying a house.
“They don’t believe in the message. They have been given misinformation while working and have become mercenaries. It happens to law enforcement agencies also,” Lukens added.
“If we are not helping them, we should leave and take care of things at home,” Lukens told council members.
Mayor John Sibert said he took exception to the characterization of the military in that fashion. “I was in the Marine Corps. I do not want to see the military demonized,” he said.
The mayor noted he would not ordinarily support a resolution he considered symbolic, but he thought the letter was carefully worded.
Councilmember Jefferson Wagner, who abstained from the vote, said, “I don’t think we are going to answer the maladies of the military. I look at it differently. There is a bigger issue than stated by the speakers.”
Councilmember Laura Rosenthal, who abstained from the vote, had a different take on the matter. “I don’t feel capable of solving foreign relations problems of the U.S. I think it is not what we should be doing in Malibu. We should not be making policy decisions,” she said.
Councilmember Lou La Monte said, “I actually do think I’m qualified to make decisions on foreign policy, but I don’t know why this is here,” he said, then quipping, “This looks like a document done by 150 mayors.”
Conley Ulich made the motion, which was seconded by the mayor, for Sibert to write the letter.
The mayor, La Monte and Conley Ulich voted yes, while Rosenthal and Wagner abstained.
During the closing hours of the mayors’ conference held last month, nearly 150 of them met to debate and pass a policy resolution, calling on a speedier drawdown of troops in the two war zones.
The nation’s mayors called on leaders in Washington to end the wars as soon as strategically possible and bring war dollars home to meet vital human needs.
Mayors are calling for war dollars to instead be used to promote job creation, rebuild America’s infrastructure, provide aid to municipal and state governments and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy and reducing the federal debt.
During the debate process and in the written resolution, mayors stated that the drawdown of troops should be done in a measured way that does not destabilize the region and that can accelerate the transfer of responsibility to regional authorities.
The city council’s letter will be forwarded to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the newly elected president of the United States Conference of Mayors.

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