Takoma Park City Council Tells Congress:
Move Money from Pentagon to Communities
Repeal Indefinite Detention
Takoma Park, MD: At its regular meeting on May 21, the City of Takoma Park joined numerous other cities in the nation in passing two resolutions, one asking Congress to cut the military budget substantially and use the savings to fund local and state needs, and the other addressing the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act.
The resolution entitled Supporting Federal Budget Reprioritization states “The City Council urges the United States Congress to make major reductions in the Pentagon budget in a manner that does not harm the safety of our troops, with the savings invested in state and local needs so that the City of Takoma Park and other local jurisdictions can repair their deteriorating infrastructure, reverse budget cuts to education, health care, and other needs, and otherwise improve the welfare of their residents.” The resolution points out that United States military spending is higher than it has been since World War II, in inflation-adjusted dollars, and that the Pentagon budget has more than doubled, in constant dollars, since 1998.
“The vast majority of the people of the U.S. are struggling to make ends meet. Money spent on wars, unnecessary weapons systems, and foreign military bases should instead be invested in our communities,” said Takoma Park resident Fran Pollner.
The resolution entitled Urging Monitoring and Repeal of the Indefinite Detention Provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act states “It is the sense of the City Council that the National Defense Authorization Act and the Authorization for Use of Military Force do not now, and should never, authorize the Armed Forces of the United States to investigate, arrest, detain, or try any person within the United States, or to militarily detain without charge or trial civilians not captured on any battlefield, and that Authorization for Use of Military Force expires upon the end of combat operations in Afghanistan by the Armed Forces of the United States.”
The resolutions were voted on following several months of advocacy in which residents of the city presented testimony at weekly Council meetings.
The Maryland coalition Fund Our Communities, Bring the War Dollars Home supported the resolution addressing Pentagon funding. The coalition is comprised of 60 organizations, including veterans’ groups, labor unions, religious congregations, and advocacy, political and service organizations. Members include the NAACP/MD, CASA de Maryland, Progressive Maryland, the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Healthcare-Now of Maryland, the Network of Spiritual Progressives/MD, and many others. A current list of member organizations can be viewed here: http://ourfunds.org/coalition-members/
Like the Takoma Park City Council, the Fund Our Communities coalition is demanding a re-prioritization of the Federal budget, with money moved from military expenditures to the creation of jobs that will fix our failing infrastructure and convert the U.S. to a green economy; to education and health care needs; and to fully-funded veterans’ services.
The resolution on indefinite detention was brought to the Council by the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition ( http://mococivilrights.wordpress.com/ ) and endorsed by several groups in Montgomery County and Maryland, including the Maryland ACLU.
During the Council’s deliberations, Council member Fred Schultz emphasized the importance of local resolutions such as these, stating, “Revolutionary change starts at the bottom, not at the top. That’s how all the big changes have come about. So, we shouldn’t be waiting on our senators or congressmen or president to do these things.”
Following the vote, Mayor Bruce Williams commented, “It was important to hear the outpouring of support for these resolutions from the community.”
Both resolutions can be found here, beginning on page 33: http://citycouncil-takomapark.s3.amazonaws.com/agenda/2012/052112-agenda.pdf