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Berkeley votes to impeach Bush
By Kristin Bender, http://www.orovillemr.com
BERKELEY — The People's Republic of Berkeley has done it again.
The liberal, left-leaning city has become the first city in the nation to put a referendum on the Nov. 7 ballot to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan and Daniel Ellsberg, a Vietnam whistle-blower who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, both spoke in favor of the resolution at Tuesday's City Council meeting.
"Berkeley is a place where things begin," said Mayor Tom Bates. "It was the first place in the nation that called for divestment from South Africa, it was the first city in the nation to have curb cuts for disabled people, we were the first city in the nation to have dog parks and the first city in the nation to really protest the Vietnam War," Bates said.
Let's not forget banning Styrofoam take-out containers in restaurants.
"What happens in Berkeley people need to pay attention to because it travels, it has legs... what happens in Berkeley today is conventional wisdom in the rest of the country tomorrow," Bates said.
Although the referendum is largely symbolic because only the United States Congress can impeach a president, city leaders don't see it that way.
"I don't see it as just symbolic, I see it as educational," said Councilmember Kriss Worthington.
Dozens of cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, have already approved resolutions calling for impeachment, but Berkeley is the first American city that will ask voters to decide.
It will cost the city roughly $10,000 to create a task force to monitor the president and vice president and add the item to the November general election ballot.
Tuesday's resolution also had widespread support from a group called Constitution Summer, which originated on several university campuses, including UC Berkeley. Constitution Summer represents a coalition of students and young people dedicated to defending the constitution by launching a campaign to impeach the president.
It also had the support of the city's Peace and Justice Commission, which drafted language for a referendum. Specifically, supporters say the effort is being made based on Bush's handling of the Iraq war, federal wiretapping and other issues.
"We hope this is going to raise a national debate on the issues of the Bush administration shredding the U.S. Constitution, trampling on it," Bates said. "We hope that this will be a debate about what the Bush Administration has done to our civil liberties and rights."