Berkeley City Council: Marines aren't welcome
Code Pink assigned parking to disrupt recruitment
By Jeff Shuttleworth
February 1, 2008
The Marines aren't welcome in Berkeley, the Berkeley City council
said in an 8-1 vote Tuesday night.
The council's resolution says that the U.S. Marines Corps recruiting
office at 64 Shattuck Ave., which opened about 13 months ago,
"is not welcome in our city, and if recruiters choose to
stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders."
Marines Capt. Rick Lund declined to comment on the resolution
today except to say, "We have no plans to move."
The resolution also calls for exploring enforcing Berkeley's
law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
against the Marines because of the military's "don't ask,
don't tell" policy.
The City Attorney's office will investigate that possible action
and report back to the City Council within 60 days, but City Manager
Phil Kamlarz says it's "unlikely" that the city has
the ability to enforce the city's law against the military.
In a separate but related action, the City Council also voted
8-1 to encourage the peace group Code Pink to disrupt the recruiting
office on a weekly basis.
The council's vote gives Code Pink a designated parking space
in front of the recruiting office from noon to 4 p.m. every Wednesday
for six months and a free sound permit during those same hours.
The lone council member to vote against both measures was Gordon
In another related action, nearly 40 members of the anti-war
group The World Can't Wait and Code Pink rallied outside the recruiting
office Thursday to call for the office to be shut down as well
as to allege that the U.S. military is engaging in war crimes.
Stephanie Tang of the World Can't Wait said the organization
engaged in a national day of protest in a number of cities across
the country as part of "mass, non-violent civil disobedience
against war crimes because we're trying to stop war, torture and
Despite steady rain, protesters gave speeches, chanted slogans
such as "Shut it down!" and marched around the block
where the recruiting office is located.
Although Lund declined to comment yesterday, in the past he has
said that the Marines opened the recruiting office in Berkeley
because they had to abandon an office that was located in an old
federal building in Alameda that was being torn down.
Lund has said the Berkeley office is conveniently located because
it's near the downtown Berkeley BART station and the University
of California, Berkeley and is close to major freeways.
City Councilman Max Anderson, who attended Thursday's rally and
was one of those who supported the resolution against the Marines,
said he doesn't see any contradiction that city officials in Berkeley,
the home of the free speech movement, are in effect telling the
Marines that their brand of speech isn't welcome.
Anderson said, "The military has hundreds of millions of
dollars to run ads on TV" aimed at recruiting young people.
He said, "This small counter-demonstration by us should
in no way stop them from propagandizing and recruiting,"
Anderson said the council's resolution is only symbolic because
it doesn't intervene in the Marines' lease with the landlord who
owns the building where the recruiting office is located.
But he said the resolution expresses "the popular will of
the people" of Berkeley against war and is telling the Marines
"this is not fertile ground here" for recruiting.
Also attending today's rally was Sharon Adams, a member of Code
Pink and the National Lawyers Guild who is gathering signatures
for a petition that would put a measure on the November ballot
in Berkeley that would make it more difficult to open military
recruiting offices near homes, parks, schools, churches, libraries
or health clinics.
Supporters of the measure need to gather 5,000 signatures by
the end of July to get it placed on the ballot.
Adams said the measure wouldn't ban military recruiting offices
but would require public hearings if they're within 600 feet of
schools, homes, churches or similar facilities.
However, the measure wouldn't apply to offices that already are
open, so it wouldn't affect the current Marines recruiting office,
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