Published on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 by the Santa Cruz Sentinel (California)
Protesters Push for Bush Impeachment
by Dan White
SANTA CRUZ Angry peace protesters at City Hall displayed a realistic-looking, oversized layoff notice for President Bush on Tuesday, advising him to "vacate your office in 24 hours."
The 80 protesters, waving pink slips, are part of a local movement that wants the City Council to be first in America to pass a resolution not only seeking to impeach Bush, but to clean house at the White House.
Robert Nahas, one of the organizers, said hed gathered more than 200 pro-impeachment signatures on Saturday while downtown, and urged the council to "protect us from the crimes of the federal government."
One protester, Louis LaFortune, even stripped down to a "pink slip," as in a pink nightie, while addressing the City Council about impeachment.
Protesters will have to wait, however, because the City Council, deep in budget-slashing sessions, has yet to take action on the resolution and will soon break for its August recess.
Skeptics say a Republican-dominated Congress makes impeachment all but impossible.
Vic Marani, a former chairman of the local Republican Party Central Committee, scoffed at the idea of protesters asking a city council to support impeachment.
"They arent going to impeach Bush so fix the streets," he said. "Thats boring, but thats what local government does. Theres no such thing as a Democratic or Republican sewer or pipe. They have no chance of any kind of follow through, so take that energy and try to keep the Civic (Auditorium) open."
He was referring to concerns that the city-owned 2,000-seat auditorium in downtown Santa Cruz might be scaled back or mothballed in light of budget cuts.
Peace activist Ruth Hunter agreed impeachment wasnt likely but said that if there is enough of grassroots support, it could pressure Republicans into changing their minds.
Protesters also said theyre heartened by suggested articles of impeachment drawn up by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, by Bush opponents questioning his statements about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and a recent dust-up surrounding a section in Bushs pre-war State of the Union address.
The controversial clause referred to Iraq seeking uranium from Niger, a piece of information subsequently criticized as "tainted." The White House later stated the accusation, attributed to Britain, was based on forged information and should have been excised.
The City Council, in September, was the first such body in the United States to pass a resolution opposing a U.S. war on Iraq, a measure that drew a brief but intense bout of national attention.
Among those calling for the latest measure are members of the Santa Cruz Action Network, Santa Cruz Peace Coalition, Green Party of Santa Cruz County, the Peace and Freedom Party Central Committee, Santa Cruz Peacemakers and Code Pink of Santa Cruz.
Though U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, could not be reached to comment, his spokeswoman, Sarah Rosen, said Farr didnt think the movement could achieve its goals.
"The congressman definitely supports any efforts that can be made to discuss the credibility of the president, but the possibly of impeachment going anywhere is not even remote," she said. "Were talking infinitesimal."
She said energy being directed toward an impeachment movement would be better directed toward electing a Democrat president. "We have an excellent opportunity to get rid of this guy and thats what elections are all about."
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