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."
The brouhaha started last week when the council passed two items condemning the Marine recruiting center on Shattuck Square, which opened about a year ago. The first called on the city clerk to send a letter to the Marines telling them they're unwelcome, and the second item granted Code Pink a parking space in front of the recruiting office every Wednesday afternoon and allowed the group to operate a loudspeaker.
After the items passed, the council was besieged with criticism from right-wing groups and military supporters. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. (now my personal hero---ed.), proposed that the federal government cut off funds for Berkeley, including lunch programs, ferry service and UC Berkeley.
Olds said she heard from hundreds of people angered by the city's action, including many in her Berkeley hills district.
And my point? For those of you joining us late, I will say it once again; actions have consequences.
The best line is from Councilwoman Dona Spring...
Councilwoman Dona Spring said the council should not be cowed by the volume of hate mail and threats.
I consider that a challenge. I would bet that they will be cowed by threats and hate mail. The facade is already cracking.
I still say we take away their money, just to make our point....