by Alejandra Molina
LV Life Editor
The La Verne City Council voted against joining 24 cities and counties in California that are adopting a resolution against war in Iraq at the city council meeting Monday.
Mauricio Terrazas, a La Verne resident and activist, proposed the anti-war resolution to the council.
“The war against Iraq provokes terrorists, putting cities and counties at great risk,” Terrazas said.
More than 125 cities across the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Milwaukee, began passing resolutions last September opposing President George W. Bush’s planned war with Iraq.
While such resolutions have varied in language and carry no legal weight, most have called for war to be reserved as a last resort.
Mayor Jon Blickenstaff said although he strongly supports community action and the fact that everyone has a responsibility to be informed, passing the resolution would be outside the jurisdiction of the La Verne City Council.
Blickenstaff joined four of his council colleagues in voting against the proposal.
“We as five people should not pretend to speak for a city of 32,000,” Blickenstaff said at the meeting.
Councilman Robert Rodriguez, a veteran and member of the Church of the Brethren, does not support war, but said that signing a resolution is not an issue for the city of La Verne.
Terrazas said, however, that La Verne should take a stand on what is a global issue.
“We can’t be petty about this. It’s not just local; it’s world-wide,” Terrazas said. “We’re going to mobilize more people; we want to settle this peacefully.”
Rodney Davis, a resident of La Verne, supported Terraza’s proposal.
He said it was important for groups of citizens and even the city council to exercise the privilege of passing the resolution.
“Some would maintain that this council should refrain from making a resolution on a matter of national concern,” Davis said. “Taxes, support for police and fire services, block grants, street and highway programs all have national and city implications and are worthy of comment to the federal government.”
Davis also pointed out that La Verne is a city with 17 different churches located within its borders.
As representatives of these churches, he said it would be appropriate for the council to pass the resolution.
“As a preemptive war, it violates international law,” Davis said. “It would be appropriate for the council to advise the president that international law should be obeyed.”
Nancy Matthews, a La Verne resident, also spoke to the council about enacting the resolution.
She said that California is a major state that contains military bases and nuclear sites.
“This is a prime location for an attack,” Matthews said.
President Bush said Monday before the city council meeting that if Saddam Hussein did not disarm within 48 hours, the United States would attack, but Matthews did not believe it was too late for La Verne to pass the resolution.
“It sends a message along with the other cities, stating that we do not agree with this,” Matthews said. “There are other alternatives rather than taking first strike action.”
Councilman Thomas Harvey said that there are plenty of people who support the war, and that there is another group who sees it differently.
Harvey said that it was not appropriate for the council to take on issues outside the city.
“It’s a vote for what I think represents the citizens of La Verne,” Harvey said.
Councilman Steven Frank Johnson said that the resolution would send the wrong message to American soldiers.
“I’d love to put my name on this resolution, but not the City Council’s,” Johnson said at the meeting.
Councilman Dan Harden, a high school teacher, said that he had some students who are in the military because of the proposed war.
“I don’t want to do anything that would have them doubt themselves,” Harden said.
After the council voted against the anti-war resolution, Matthews said she was disappointed but that she understood the council’s point of view with La Verne being such a small community.
“They allowed us to speak our mind,” Matthews said. “We were granted a respectful audience.”
Claremont resident Corey Calaycay complimented the council in not imposing time limits on speakers. He said that Claremont City Council only allowed their speakers four minutes to address their issues.