The Olympia City Council just voted to repeal the 2005 Nuclear Free Zone Act. It seems that the City of Olympia no longer feels that it is important, or appropriate, to legislate against the nuclear weapons establishment. There were many arguments in opposition to the repeal, and many similar arguments in favor of retaining the ordinance. Many people turned out to express their opinion. I wasn't counting, but it seemed like there were about 40 who went on record in support of retaining the ordinance. There were exactly two people at the meeting who expressed approval for repealing ordinance.
Wow. I was shocked when I heard of the motion to recommend repealing the ordinance. Now I am shocked again by the seemingly sudden decision to repeal. Let me say to make it plain and clear that it is my opinion that the Council Members did not adequately address the arguments of the citizens whom were gathered to express opposition to the repeal.
The meeting got underway at about seven. There were a few items of business before public comment. And an interesting matter of note occurred before public comment. Two Council Members spoke up to express their concern over the new council's practice of limiting public comment to 30 minutes. With two contentious issues (the noise ordinance was also on the agenda to be decided) on the meeting agenda tonight, there were a lot of people who wanted to speak. Many people were turned away at the door, told that they would not be allowed into the council chambers.
Frankly, I am in shock. This new council seems bent on changing Olympia. It's not [only] the repeal. It's the special maneuvering to enter the motion to repeal on the consent calendar (i.e. to pass it without discussion). It's the Council Members' inadequate rebuttals of their constituency's statements of support for the ordinance. It's a lot of things.
I have a lot to say about this and I will probably write more. You may have already read the letter I sent to the Council last week. I also provided oral testimony at tonight's meeting, and submitted a written version of that testimony. Maybe I will post a copy of that tomorrow, but hopefully that will show up in the public record in relation to tonight's decision to repeal the NFZ ordinance. This meeting will definitely provide for your entertainment. It was riveting at many points. Almost non-stop great testimony, so much eloquence on the part of citizens for a City Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons.
I seriously wonder what is going on. What is going on with Olympia? I am pretty much ready to wonder if our Council Members are serving the public interest.
One of the things that Mayor Mah said is that if the people who support the NFZA ordinance were to put as much energy into it at the national level, that he thinks something might come of it. All I have to say is that believe me. Our elected officials at the national level are not hearing this argument. Nor are they interested in establishing a nuclear free zone. That's why the local aspect is important.
If enough localities take important stands against the immoral and unethical manufacture and maintenance of nuclear weapons, then it makes it more possible for those at the national and international levels to take action. This is about principled leadership. This is about setting an example. This is about empowerment, and education. This is about knowledge, and awareness. This is about respect for history and a desire to see a better tomorrow - to create a better world. A world that is rid of the subtle yet pervasive looming threat of nuclear Armageddon.
Lots of emotion. Lots more rebuttals. This is a rough draft. I am going to publish it now. But know, please, that there is a lot more. I want answers. I want to be represented.
Public officials at the national level are not doing their job. They are not promoting the important tasks of nonproliferation and disarmament. Instead of doing those things, they are actually using the threat of nuclear weapons to intimidate their adversaries. Hardly fulfilling the public interest. For three years we had representation at the local level here in the City of Olympia. Now this. Sad. Shocking. To whom or what can we now turn for representation on this important issue?
You'll be able to find a link to a page with a link to video of the meeting at this page: City of Olympia Council
Here's a more direct link to the video: City of Olympia September 9, 2008 City Council Meeting Video
plain url (maybe subject to change): http://olympia.granicus.com/mediaplayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=386
[This move has aspects that are reminiscent of shock doctrine.]
[updated september 10th, 2008]