Marine Resolution Not Approved by Commission

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Saying they didn't want to incite further protest, the Peace and Justice Commission decided last night not to send a formal letter approving of the Berkeley City Council's decision to clarify its recent resolution regarding the Marine Corps.

The commission, an advisory board to the City Council, originally authored a resolution over a month ago that would have sent a letter calling the Marine recruiters in Downtown Berkeley "uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

Since the City Council rescinded that decision last month, the commission has not issued a collective declaration concerning the issue.

At the meeting last night, the commission discussed whether to send a letter to the City Council expressing their approval of the actions, despite the changes.

"I'd like to see the commission close the loop and show that the City Council didn't bully us, that we're one with the council, and that we basically oppose the station's presence," said Rabbi Jane Litman, the commissioner who proposed the motion.

If the commission had decided to send a letter to the City Council, it would have been added as an information item on the next City Council agenda, and any council member would have the option of discussing the item further.

Ultimately, the motion failed because commissioners said they thought a letter would invite further protests.

Commissioner Elliot Cohen said he strongly disapproved of sending a letter to city officials, arguing that it would cause more harm than help.

"By sending this item to the City Council and putting it on their agenda again, it is the worst way to thank them," Cohen said.

Commissioner PhoeBe sorgen, who supported sending the letter, said a response by the commission would further clarify its position amidst the unfavorable press coverage.

"There has been overwhelmingly negative publicity and I would ask all of you to correct these inaccuracies when you can," she said.

Amidst national controversy, the City Council decided to clarify its letter to the Marine Corps by stating its support for members of the military, but chose not to issue an apology.

Four of the ten present commissioners abstained from voting, citing concern of public reaction.

"I support the sentiments completely but am unsure of the potential consequences it could have," Commissioner Megan Winkelman said.


Contact Deepti Arora at [email protected]

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