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Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 5:03:31 PM MST
Activists press for anti-war declaration
OF THE RECORD STAFF
A small group of peace activists, including members of the local clergy, requested this week that the Park City government adopt a resolution that would likely condemn an Iraqi war.
They argue that a war without widespread international support is wrong and they want Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council to join dozens of other cities in the country by passing such a resolution.
During Thursday's City Council meeting, anti-war activist Rich Wyman and several religious leaders approached the elected officials with a 'Cities for Peace' campaign, which is organized nationally by the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
However, Williams and the City Council did not appear to be swayed that it is necessary that the Marsac Building issue such a resolution.
There were also questions from the government about whether a resolution would damage relations between City Hall and Utah's largely Republican congressional delegation, which includes Rob Bishop, the GOP congressman who represents the area in Washington.
The City Council was unable to cast a vote on a resolution this week since there was not one drafted and it was not scheduled on the agenda.
Williams said after the meeting that he was unsure if a resolution would ever be brought to the City Council for a vote. He said several issues need to be considered, including the city's partnership with Congress.
"Park City has gone a long way over the last year to increase our relationship with our representatives in Washington, he said, noting that the city wants federal monies for water projects and continues to work with the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up remnants of the city's mining history. "I'm very wary of jeopardizing things like that.
Williams also said that he would weigh an anti-war resolution as the city's top official, not as a private citizen.
"My feelings as a person and as mayor are different, he said.
There were other concerns from the government, including from City Councilman Jim Hier, who questioned whether a resolution from Park City would sway anybody's opinion.
"Other than just feeling good, it would be good if it meant something. That is my concern, Hier said.
City Councilwoman Peg Bodell, meanwhile, claimed that there are people in Park City who support the White House and she was unsure if the local government should cast a vote on the topic.
Thursday's discussion came just hours after President Bush made a critical statement concerning Iraq, saying that Saddam Hussein "was given a final chance; he is throwing that chance away.
The clergy who attended spoke in favor of a resolution. Paddy Wood, from the Unity Spiritual Center, said some members of the local Interfaith Council want a resolution passed locally.
"I know that we are in support of this and back it up, she said.
In an interview before the meeting, Interfaith Council president Sedona Callahan, who is a member of the Baha'i faith, said the group has not yet crafted a position on an Iraq war but said she hopes that a diplomatic resolution is reached.
"I personally am opposed to the war in Iraq. I'm personally opposed to any war war being an ultimate and final solution and there are still other means available to achieve an understanding between the U.S. and Iraq, Callahan said.
Activist Wyman also spoke, claiming that a resolution from the Park City government would not be a blanket condemnation of U.S. policy and describing the anti-war movement's momentum.
"This is one of the most powerful ways to send this message, he said, urging the government to consider a resolution.
The 'Cities for Peace Campaign' claims that dozens of communities in the U.S. have either passed or are considering resolutions opposing an Iraqi war.
The organization's site on the World Wide Web lists Park City as a community where a campaign is underway for a resolution. The site says that several other resort communities, including Telluride, Colo., and Key West, Fla., have passed resolutions.
Also on the organization's site are three sample resolutions that communities can consider.
The resolutions, for instance, state that before a war is launched, proof of an imminent threat from Iraq is needed, that the U.S. should describe a plan for a post-war Iraq and that a war would be expensive.
A resolution states that the $100 billion that might be spent on the war should be put toward health and education needs.
The discussions this week marked the continuing anti-war activism in Park City, which has stretched for months.
Last month, about 40 protesters staged an anti-war demonstration during the Sundance Film Festival and there have been ongoing peace vigils in the community.
©Copyright 2003, The Park Record (CA, USA)
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