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article imageChaos in Berkeley- 3 people chain themselves to the doors of recruiting office

By Susan Duclos     Feb 2, 2008 in Politics
On Tuesday, the city council of Berkeley,CA. voted for a resolution calling the military recruiters "uninvited and unwelcome intruders" and declaring that the office - which opened quietly in December 2006 - is not welcome in the city.
By Thursday of last week, the backlash against the Berkeley city council started in earnest.
Senator Jim DeMint immediately weighed in and is proposing legislation to cut all earmarks and federal funding to the Berkeley area, "This is a slap in the face to all brave service men and women and their families. The First Amendment gives the City of Berkeley the right to be idiotic, but from now on they should do it with their own money. If the city can’t show respect for the Marines that have fought, bled and died for their freedom, Berkeley should not be receiving special taxpayer funded handouts. I am currently drafting legislation to ensure that American taxpayers aren’t forced to pay for this insult by rescinding all of the earmarks for Berkeley in the Omnibus Appropriations bill, and to transfer the funds to the Marine Corps.
Senator DeMint began drafting the legislation Friday and it would cut $2.1 million in federal funding to Berkeley in a current congressional budget bill and transfer the money to the Marine Corps.
The funding would include $975,000 for the University of California at Berkeley, for the Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service, which may include establishing an endowment, and for cataloguing the papers of Congressman Robert Matsui, $750,000 for the Berkeley/Albana ferry service, $243,000 for the Chez Panisse Foundation, for a school lunch initiative to integrate lessons about wellness, sustainability and nutrition into the academic curriculum, $94,000 for a Berkeley public safety interoperability program and $87,000 for the Berkeley Unified School District, nutrition education program.
Senator DeMint will reiterate his position on Fox News today at 2 pm ET.
A Marine official told Fox News "To actually put something into law that encourages the disruption of a federal office is ridiculous. They are not going to kick a federal office out of its rightful place there, and this is not going to discourage those young patriots who want to be Marines"
The American Legion, also had some very harsh words for the Berkeley city council, telling them that the Marines are not their enemy, the terrorists are and that we cannot count on the "flower children" of Berkeley to protect our nation when it comes under a terrorist attack.
American Legion National Commander Marty Conatser said of the Berkeley City Council Resolution, which tells the Marines that they are not welcome there. "Disgraceful, disloyal, ungrateful. These words are too kind in describing the actions of the public officials in Berkeley, who voted for this disgrace. Nonetheless, our Marines continue to bravely serve and in so doing, allow Americans to spout such foolishness. The American Legion not only strongly condemns this action by the City Council but also believes that a sincere apology is in order to all Marines, past and present."
Today we see that 3 war protesters chained themselves to the doors of the Marine recruiting center at 64 Shattuck Square, in Berkeley, for seven and a half hours, from 7am to 2:30pm, on Friday until the police cut the chains and arrested them.
The anti-war group these three individuals belong to is called "World Can't Wait".
Two of the three were cited for blocking a business and released, and the third was booked into jail on an unrelated traffic warrant, police said.
The demonstrators promptly said they will keep protesting outside the recruiting station at 64 Shattuck Square until the Marines leave Berkeley - which is what the City Council advised the service to do in a vote Tuesday night that called the Marines "unwelcome intruders."
The Mayor of Berkeley, Tom Bates, stepped in and officially offered "to help the U.S. Marines leave town by negotiating an end to the lease for their recruiting station."
The Marines, via a spokeswoman, politely declined the Mayor's offer saying they had no intention of leaving their space.
Mayor Bates also says he has received more than 1,000 emails negative emails from he calls "mostly the right wing" in response to the city council passing by 6 to 3, the resolution on Tuesday to tell the Marines that their recruiting station is not welcome in the city, and now he wants to reword the resolution.
One of the members of the council, Linda Maio, said the council should have read the resolution more clearly before passing it, stating "I don't think any of us paid enough attention to it, and people want to rewrite it to more accurately portray our sentiments. We really do have a great deal of concern for the people in our military, and we don't want to be critical of the sacrifices they are making."
The text of the resolution itself can be found here. (If it says Service Unavailable, that is because the backlash from this has caused massive traffic and the Berkeley council servers are going down or have been shut down, so I am listing the text below for you.)
From: Peace and Justice Commission
1. Direct the City Attorney to investigate and report back to Council within 60 days on City options for enforcing Chapter 13.28 of the Berkeley Municipal Code, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, with respect to military recruiting offices in Berkeley;
2. Direct the City Manager to send letters to the Marine Corps Recruiting Station at 64 Shattuck Avenue and to General James T. Conway, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, advising them that the Marine recruiting office is not welcome in our city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders;
3. Encourage all people to avoid cooperation with the Marine Corps recruiting station, and applaud residents and organizations such as Code Pink, that may volunteer to impede, passively or actively, by nonviolent means, the work of any military recruiting office located in the City of Berkeley.
Move America Forward, a non-partisan, not-for-profit charitable organization committed to supporting America’s efforts to defeat terrorism and supporting the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, has started a petition to be delivered to the City Council, Mayor and City Manager of Berkeley, California, which states:
We, the undersigned, do register our complete outrage with the City of Berkeley for the recent resolutions that criticized our Marines, as part of an effort to harass the Marine Recruiting Center and chase all vestiges of the United States military outside of the city of Berkeley, California.
We take particular umbrage with the instructions given to the City Manager of Berkeley to tell the United States Marines that they are, "uninvited and unwelcome intruders."
It is shameful for you to attack our military men and women who nobly and bravely serve this nation to protect our security and defend our freedoms and liberties. Those liberties include the right to Freedom of Speech, which you seem to believe should not be afforded to the members of the United States Marine Corps and service personnel in other branches of the Armed Forces.
I call upon you to immediately revoke the resolutions passed that defamed and insulted our U.S. Marines and issue a public apology to this nation, and in particular, the honorable and heroic men and women of the United States military.
Melanie Morgan, chairman of Move America Forward and popular radio show host for San Francisco's KFSO talk radio, discussed this on Neil Cavuto show and can be watched here and you can view their press releases regarding this situation here.
Move America Forward has also been contacted by Marine groups across Northern California, Cal Berkeley Young Republicans, SF State Young Republicans and a "tsunami of e-mails" in support, according to Ms. Morgan.
Move America Forward organized a counter-protest in support of the Marines last October that attracted over 400 pro-troop supporters who stood in solidarity of the Marine Recruiting Center.
Vets for Freedom, another nonpartisan organization established by combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, also weighs in on the chaos in Berkeley and supports Senator DeMint's legislation to deny federal funding and all earmarks to Berkeley, with Director Pete Hegseth saying "The man or woman who puts on the uniform of a United States Marine, Soldier, Sailor or Airman swears an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Clearly, the elected officials of Berkeley, California see the Constitution as a mere roadblock in their radical left-wing agenda. What these fanatics fail to realize is that the fantasy world that they live in exists under the very cloak of freedom provided by the sacrifices of the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces."
The Berkeley City Council has removed their contact information from their website because they have been "bombarded with phone calls and e-mails" from people all across the country outraged over the attempt to run the Marine Recruiters out of town.
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