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Committee Strikes Down Bill Penalizing Berkeley



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Legislation that would have withheld funds from Berkeley failed to make it to the floor of the California State Assembly yesterday.

The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, was one vote short of the eight it needed to pass the Assembly Committee on Transportation. Six committee members voted against it and two abstained.

The bill would have withheld $3.3 million in funds for Berkeley roads.

Houston introduced the bill on Feb. 22 in response to a City Council resolution calling Marine Corps recruiters "uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

The council also reserved a weekly parking space in front of the Marine recruitment center in Downtown Berkeley for anti-war group Code Pink, which has been protesting the center since last fall.

Despite the council's Feb. 13 vote to rescind its statement to the Marines, Houston's bill still asked that funding be withheld until Code Pink's parking permit was also revoked by the council.

The bill did not remove funding for public transportation and would not affect regional transportation routes but rather "focused on impacting the city," the bill stated.

The Marine controversy has also provoked responses in the federal government. Two companion bills were introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to strip Berkeley of over $2 million in earmarks.

The Senate bill, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., was defeated on March 13. The bill introduced by U.S. Rep. John Campbell, R-Newport Beach, has not gone to a vote yet.

-Kate Sturla

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