[pjw] COMMENTS/REMINDER: Opposing the proclamation of April 21 as "USS Portland Day"

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Mar 13 12:49:36 EDT 2018

PJW supporters:
We sent the below email to City Council (and the media) this morning. We 
urge you to get in touch with Council as well if you oppose declaring a 
day in support of launching a warship in Portland.

As a reminder, the proclamation is coming up at City Council tomorrow 
(Wednesday) at 10 AM. We will have stickers for you to wear to show 
opposition to the proclamation (since we aren't allowed to talk, or bring 
in picket signs, this will be a visible way to express our opinions). If 
you think you can make it please reply. Feel free to send this out widely.

dan handelman
peace and justice works

  ---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2018 09:42:30
From: Peace and Justice Works <pjw at pjw.info>
To: Portland City Council -- Commissioner Amanda Fritz
     <amanda at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Chloe Eudaly <chloe at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Dan Saltzman <dan at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Nick Fish <Nick at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Mayor Ted Wheeler <MayorWheeler at portlandoregon.gov>
Cc: News Media <newsmedia at pjw.info>
Subject: COMMENTS: Opposing the proclamation of April 21 as "USS Portland Day"

Mayor Ted Wheeler and members of City Council:

We urge you to reconsider and withhold your proclamation that April 21 will be 
"USS Portland Day," because this proclamation directly conflicts with earlier 
Council statements and resolutions about spending priorities and Portland's 
concerns about military conflicts. In 2012, Council voted to support a 
resolution calling attention to the domestic costs of war and calling for the 
funds being spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to be redirected to human 
needs. (Resolution No. 36896 which we have posted at 
http://pjw.info/wardollars_city_final.html ) Moreover, several of our Mayors 
(including, we believe, Mayor Wheeler last year) have supported similar 
resolutions at the National Conference of Mayors. For example, resolution #59 
in 2011 called for the war dollars to come home: 
A resolution passed in 2017 stated that cities (including Portland) would 
direct department heads to consider what they could accomplish with money now 
being spent on the military instead being distributed for local use. It called 
attention to the fact that even "fractions of the ... military budget could 
provide free, top-quality education from pre-school through college, end hunger 
and starvation on earth, convert the U.S. to clean energy, provide clean 
drinking water everywhere it's needed on the planet, build fast trains between 
all major U.S. cities." 

The website promoting the commissioning of the "amphibious landing dock" tells 
us the ship has two anti-air missile systems, two 30MM anti-surface guns and 
nine 50 caliber anti-surface machine guns. Thus, it is disingenuous for the 
proclamation to state that this warship will "protect our nations [sic] 
interests but also provide aid during emergencies such as earthquakes, 
tsunamis, hurricanes or other disasters." When Iraq was under United States and 
United Nations sanctions, our country refused to let in hundreds of items that 
the Iraqi people desperately needed, including tires for their ambulances, 
because the federal government claimed those items were "dual use" for both 
civilian and military. Just as it was a morally imprecise stretch to prevent 
tires from reaching the Iraqi public because they might be used for military 
purpose, it is a stretch in the other direction to praise a warship because it 
may someday be used for humanitarian relief efforts.

It is bad enough that when warships visit our waterfront during the Rose
Festival, we are now met with signs that say "No Trespassing-- US Navy
Restricted Area-- USE OF FORCE AUTHORIZED." As we wrote to the Mayor last June,
that's a very jarring message at a "family-friendly" event.

Setting aside the undemocratic nature of a non-profit holding an event with 
limited public seating ( http://ussportlandlpd27.org/ ), and holding City 
Council hearings where no public testimony is taken, we instead choose to focus 
on the dangers of praising military spending when our housing, roads, parks, 
schools and other critical infrastructure are under-funded and crumbling. As 
Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "A nation that continues year after year to spend 
more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching 
spiritual death."

Please drop the proclamation and continue the City's policy to promote
nourishing life rather than ending it.

--dan handelman
for Peace and Justice Works
     PO Box 42456
     Portland, OR   97242
     (503) 236-3065
     pjw at pjw.info

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