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Takoma Park City Council Strongly Backs Bid to Impeach Bush, Cheney

Takoma Park City Council Strongly Backs Bid to Impeach Bush, Cheney by Dan Morse

Over the years, Takoma Park has declared itself a nuclear-free zone, established an immigrant sanctuary law and written a 5,000-word manual for its trash and award-winning recycling programs.

Last night, its City Council voted to call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

"Takoma Park has passed many resolutions over the years, and I've been proud of most of them," council member Reuben Snipper told a crowd of about 100. "I personally am as appalled as many of you are at the actions of Bush and Cheney."

The council approved the resolution 5 to 0, with two members absent.

Earlier, during a public comment period, all 19 people who spoke on the measure expressed their support.

"I come before the council because America is under threat," said Jay Levy, a 32-year resident and a retired Montgomery County schoolteacher. He said Bush and Cheney are "shredding" the U.S. Constitution.

"This is the finest thing you'll ever do," resident Thomas Nephew told the council. After he finished, he walked to the side of the room, and his 9-year-old daughter ran up and hugged him.

Before the vote, council member Terry Seamens added two amendments, including one aimed at other Maryland politicians. It calls for the city of Takoma Park to write letters to the Montgomery County Council, the county executive, the Maryland legislature and the governor asking them to consider adopting similar resolutions.

At times during the meeting, the crowd cheered. Along a wall, someone held an American flag. Another had a banner that said simply "ENOUGH."

Wearing an impeachment T-shirt, Takoma Park resident Lisa Moscatiello stepped to the microphone and talked about an intrusive government that too many people seem to fear.

"The message that we've been getting from our president and our government is, ‘We are watching you,' " she said, adding that she and others are trying to turn the tables. "We are saying, ‘ We are watching you.'"

It was Moscatiello, 41, who helped spearhead the resolution. Beginning in March, the singer and guitarist, along with a few others, met regularly at the Savory Cafe, a Takoma Park coffeehouse, to discuss ways to impeach the president and vice president.

She helped organize a meeting with state Sen. Jamie B. Raskin, a professor at American University who represents Montgomery County. The Democratic lawmaker told the group of about 40 people not to worry about convincing Congress, but instead to move large groups of people and Congress would follow, Moscatiello said.

Moscatiello, who has lived in Takoma Park since 1988, collected petition signatures outside the Takoma Metro station and at the town's farmers market, and she went door-to-door.

As she talked to people, one thing frustrated her: While some said they strongly disapproved of Bush's actions, they questioned Moscatiello's strategy. These people wanted to avoid doing anything that Republicans could take advantage of in 2008.

"This is not very politically sophisticated," a gray-haired man told her at the farmers market.

In Vermont, Moscatiello said to herself, people probably have an easier time making decisions based simply on what they think is right or wrong.

For all of Takoma Park's liberal bona fides, the city is somewhat late to the locally based impeachment-drive movement. As of yesterday, 81 towns, cities or counties had passed an impeachment resolution, according to the Web site

It's a list heavily represented by locales in Vermont. Also on the list: San Francisco, Detroit and Berkeley, Calif. Asked to look through the list, Moscatiello saw real progress.

There are entries "not among the usual suspects," she noted. "Chapel Hill [N.C.]. It's in the South. Whatley, Massachusetts, that's a rural town in the middle of Massachusetts, far from Cambridge. Telluride, Colorado, a lot of Republicans vacation there."

The Takoma Park resolution isn't timid. A small portion of it:

"WHEREAS, George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney conspired with others to defraud the United States of America by intentionally misleading Congress and the public . . .

"Our senators and representatives in the United States Congress be, and they are hereby, requested to cause to be instituted in the Congress for the investigation . . . that they may be impeached and removed from office."

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Six miles down the road from Capitol Hill and the White House - hence the coverage by the Post and MSNBC - "Location, location, location."

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