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The Pittsburgh City Council listened to area residents as they called upon the council to pass a resolution opposing the war on Iraq.
The City Council chambers were standing room only Tuesday morning as councilors listened to area residents who are asking the council to pass a resolution opposing the war on Iraq. At about 9:30, before the meeting began, approximately 50 city residents rallied on the steps of the City-County Building on Grant and Fifth, braving the cold weather to listen to several speakers, including the bill's sponsor, Councilman Bill Peduto (8th district).
The advocates for the bill, among them the Thomas Merton Center's Anti-War Committee and the local Rosenberg Institute, argued best by pointing to the fiscal impact of a war on Iraq. This may have been a good time to make that argument, as the city is facing cuts in federal subsidies. Just days before the meeting, the Housing Authority had announced that some of those cuts (totaling an estimated $3-4 million) would force the authority to slash it's budget for staff and reconstruction efforts.
A fact sheet prepared by the Merton Center's Anti-War Committee announces a dramatic cost of war with Iraq. Yale economist William Nordhaus estimates that taking into account the costs of a protracted war, including a long term occupation of Iraq, humanitarian aid, rebuilding of infrastructure, and the effects on the global oil market, war with Iraq could cost as little as $120 billion or as much as $1.6 trillion.
That would lead to a cost of $74.5 million for city taxpayers, argues the committee. That figure is generated by taking the total cost estimated by Nordhaus and calculating the percentage of federal taxes paid by Pittsburgh residents.
"There is a debate going on about the war on Iraq," said Peduto. "Unfortunately, it is not going on in the halls of congress, but in talk shows, radio programs, and our everyday conversations."
Peduto plans to introduce the resolution at next week's City Council meeting, saying that he doesn't want to introduce a bill that won't win. The extra week will give more time for people to organize and support the bill, he said.
Councilors seemed impatient during the public comment section of the meeting. Council President Gene Ricciardi exercised his discretion to limit the public comment section to an initial 30 minutes, with any additional speakers being given a chance to speak after more business was conducted. And one councilor left the room in the middle of the first group of speakers.
Before the public comment section began, approximately an hour and a half of proclamations had been given, primarily by Councilwoman Carlisle. Among other proclamations, March 3rd was declared "Drop everything and read" day, and the week of March 2-8 was reserved for recognition of women in construction.
A Pittsburgh resident who gave his name only as JT gave the councilors a challenge. "How will history look on you if you do not support this resolution for peace?" he asked.
And indeed, Pittsburgh may soon be in the minority if it does not pass an anti-war resolution. Among the latest municipalities to pass an anti-war resolution is the Wilkinsburg Borough Council, which passed an anti-war resolution just this past Wednesday. Chicago was recently among the largest cities to pass such a resolution, joining 117 total cities, according to CitiesForPeace.org.
|peace||Matt Miller||Monday, Mar. 10, 2003 at 6:42 PM|
|anne r kist for peace||Matt Miller||Monday, Mar. 10, 2003 at 6:41 PM|
|malcolmford||Malcolm Ford||Friday, Mar. 07, 2003 at 3:43 PM|
|HUH?||Evan N||Thursday, Mar. 06, 2003 at 5:35 PM|
|wrong connection||JonUs||Wednesday, Mar. 05, 2003 at 7:13 PM|
|Hey buddy||Evan N||Wednesday, Mar. 05, 2003 at 6:55 PM|
|Anti-Saddam||James Everly||Wednesday, Mar. 05, 2003 at 6:33 PM|
|Bill Peduto||Quinten||Thursday, Feb. 27, 2003 at 12:27 AM|