State vote on Iraq withdrawal eyed

first_imgPerata said he chose the steps of Berkeley’s Veterans Memorial Building for his announcement Thursday because he so clearly remembers the Vietnam-era antiwar protests staged in the city. “In those days, the streets were the only alternative,” he said. “Now we don’t have to do that. Guys like Don Perata grew up and won elected office. “We lost our moral center in this country as a result of what happened in Vietnam … and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that happen again on my watch.” State Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman, R-Irvine, issued a scathing response. “No matter the outcome of this expensive, taxpayer-sponsored survey, it is inappropriate, ill-advised and wrong for the state of California to deliver this type of message to our troops, our allies and our enemies,” he said. “If members of this Legislature want to delve into international politics then they should run for Congress. If they want to address California’s budget deficit, failing prison system or skyrocketing health-care costs, then let us get to work and solve the challenges this legislature is responsible for,” he said. But Perata earlier Thursday said the measure will cost hardly anything, and that many of California’s problems stem from a federal government unwilling to pay for society’s needs. He said he’ll write to top-ranking legislative Democrats in New York and other states that are either committed to or considering Feb. 5 primaries to try “to effectuate a kind of national referendum” on the war. Perata said he hopes this will compel all presidential candidates to be clear and honest with Californians about their stances on the war; he said he hadn’t considered how it might jibe with any particular candidate’s platform. He consulted neither Schwarzenegger nor Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez, D-Los Angeles, before announcing the proposed measure, he said: “I have not talked to anybody about this, I just decided I was going to do it.” He also said he has no plans to mount a petition-signature drive should Schwarzenegger veto it. “I’m maintaining the confidence that the governor will sign it. … It’ll begin and end in the Legislature.” The governor seems to care little for advisory measures, judging from what he said at the National Press Club in February about House Democrats’ non-binding resolution opposing the president’s plan to send more troops to Iraq: “What is the point of stirring up bitterness over non-binding resolutions? … The point, of course, is political advantage. It’s certainly not to the people’s advantage.” Perata until now hasn’t spoken extensively on the war; a Google search of his Web site finds no instances of “Iraq.” But a Field Poll released Thursday found 24 percent of California voters rate President Bush’s handling of the war positively, while 72 percent rate it negatively. Also, 66 percent oppose Bush’s decision to send more troops; 59 percent think the U.S. should set a specific timetable for withdrawal; and 50 percent believe our troops’ presence decreases chances for bringing peace and stability in Iraq. Field’s survey of 1,093 California’s voters was conducted March 20-31 and has a 3 percentage point margin of error. President Bush “clearly doesn’t understand history” and has shown unrivaled arrogance by vowing to veto funding for the troops that comes with a withdrawal timetable, Perata said. Asked how a progressive voter-turnout groundswell for this measure might affect a term-limits reform measure – which would keep him in office for four more years – rumored to be headed for that ballot too, Perata replied no such measure has been introduced yet. The Iraq measure’s Web site is paid for by Leadership California, a renamed committee that backed the 2006 infrastructure bond measures Perata had jointly supported with Schwarz- enegger. Records show that SAP Labs LLC of Newton Square, Pa., gave the committee $5,000 on Dec. 29, and Emeryville’s Oaks Card Club gave $5,000 on March 27. [email protected] (510) 208-6428160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! BERKELEY – California will vote Feb. 5 on whether to urge President Bush to begin an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, if state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata has his way. Perata, D-Oakland, announced Thursday he plans to put such a measure on the presidential primary ballot, pressuring not only the president but also Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will have to decide whether to sign it after Perata pushes it through the Democrat-dominated Legislature. The governor won’t comment on the measure until it clears the Legislature and arrives on his desk, press secretary Aaron McLear said Thursday. The measure – featured at a new Web site, voteusout.org – would ask voters whether they support a resolution saying: “The people of California, in support of the men and women serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, urge President Bush to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and immediately begin the safe and orderly withdrawal of all United States forces; and further urge President Bush and the United States Congress to provide the necessary diplomatic and non-military assistance to promote peace and stability in Iraq and the Middle East.” last_img read more


January 11, 2020 0