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New Priorities Resolution Adopted by SF Board of Supervisors

By a vote of 8 to 3, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors today adopted a strong resolution calling on Congress to adopt a new set of federal priorities that end the wars, cut the military budget, tax the rich and transfer funds now spent on militarism to meeting urgent domestic needs.  Under the board's rules, the resolution must come up for a second vote at its next meeting.  All members of the board voted for the resolution except for Carmen Chu, Sean Elsbernd and Mark Farrell.

Congratulations to all those who helped to achieve this victory.

SAN FRANCISCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS Resolution: to Reduce the Military Budget, End the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Redirect the Savings for Domestic Needs

WHEREAS, our nation faces its most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression; and,

WHEREAS, approximately 58 cents of every federal discretionary tax dollar in fiscal year 2011 is spent to pay for past, present, and future military expenditures [1, 2]; and,

WHEREAS, not including U.S. military forces presently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, our country maintains more than 255,000 troops stationed in 146 countries and a network of more than 865 bases in 63 countries, which together cost more than $372 billion annually [3]; and,

WHEREAS, the Pentagon budget was $297 billion when President Clinton left office but for the 2011 fiscal year is over $700 billion, more than double, and military spending by other agencies such as the Veterans Administration, Department of Energy, the State Department, and interest on the war debt raises the total to almost $1 trillion annually [4]; and,

WHEREAS, the total cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to Americans is estimated at $4 trillion [5], and taxpayers in deficit-plagued California have paid almost $145.8 billion in federal taxes for war, and San Francisco taxpayers have paid approximately $3.8 billion for these wars since 2001 [6]; and

WHEREAS, over 4,470 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq (474 from California), over 1,770 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan [7], and over 45,100 U.S. troops have been wounded in both conflicts according to the Department of Defense; and

WHEREAS, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians have been killed in these wars and the ongoing wars pose great and unnecessary harm to the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan; and

WHEREAS, San Francisco faces falling federal and state support, causing cuts to the city’s Adult Day Care Centers [8, 9], Food Bank [10], City College, Public Schools, and Libraries, which threatens San Francisco’s public workers, youth, students, elderly, and other vulnerable citizens; and,

WHEREAS, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2009 survey of U.S. infrastructure (bridges, roads, sewage treatment, etc.) assigned poor grades to all categories: from C-plus to D-minus [11].

WHEREAS, the June 2011 U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution calling on the President and Congress to end the wars and reallocate the funds to meet vital domestic needs (attached); and,

WHEREAS, the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee in July 2011 unanimously passed a resolution urging Congress to pass HR780 to provide funds for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. Armed Forces from Afghanistan (attached); and,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors finds that the Federal Government’s current military budget diverts critical funding away from domestic needs and, in particular, is detrimental to the well-being of the citizens, residents, and taxpayers of San Francisco, and calls upon California’s Congressional delegation to promote Federal legislative action to reduce the military budget significantly; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors calls upon California’s Congressional delegation to promote Federal legislative action limiting any subsequent Iraq and Afghanistan war appropriations to funding the rapid, safe, withdrawal of all U.S. troops, bases, and contractors from those countries, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors supports Federal and California state legislative or executive action that would ensure adequate funding for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, particularly those who have returned home physically or mentally wounded, to ensure they receive health care, housing, jobs, education and other support services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors calls upon President Barack Obama and California’s Congressional delegation to promote Federal executive or legislative action redirecting savings from reducing military expenditures towards domestic needs, creating jobs, and supporting non-military efforts by international organizations to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan; and,

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to President Barack Obama, the California Congressional delegation, the Governor of California, and the California State Legislature.

Sources1.      “Rep. Dennis Kucinich says defense spending consumes more than half of the discretionary budget”, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Politifact Ohio, Jan 24, 2011,  
2.      “Deficits Add Pressure to Cut Defense Spending”, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/7/11,
3.      Dufour, J., “The Worldwide Network of U.S. Military Bases”, July 1, 2007,
4.      Stiglitz & Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War;
5.      Seligson, S., “Staggering Price Tag for Iraq, Afghanistan Wars”, BU Today, July 8, 2011, Boston University,
6.      National Priorities Project, Cost of War:
7., Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan
8.       “Adult day care cuts leave seniors in the lurch”, ABC channel 7, July 27, 2011,
9.      “Jerry Brown vetoes bill to help elderly, disabled”, San Francisco Chronicle, July 26, 2011,
10.  “S.F. Food Banks Struggle with Major Funding Cuts”, San Francisco Chronicle, Aug 20, 2011,
11.  “Report Card”, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2009,



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