Supervisor Chris Daly and his progressive allies today plan to put a "Bring the Troops Home" resolution on the November ballot, timing the move to coincide with the Monday handover of power in Iraq.
"The federal government should take immediate steps to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and bring our troops safely home," the single-page Daly resolution reads, in part.
Municipalities in the Bay Area and around the country have put their elected legislatures on record opposing the Iraq occupation, but San Francisco would be the first to put the issue directly to the voters.
"I think the City and County of San Francisco needs to weigh in on the atrocities that the Bush-Cheney-Ashcroft bunch have really committed," said Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who with Daly, Matt Gonzalez and Tom Ammiano plans to sign his name to send the resolution to the electorate. "They have made us unfortunately one of the most hated countries in the world right now and it's very sad. This didn't have to be.
"I think San Francisco voters will undoubtedly pass this thing with an overwhelming majority. Thank God, thank God."
The resolution, which would cite financial impacts to cities around the nation as justification for a U.S. pullout in Iraq, follows a Board of Supervisors action last year to put the legislature on record against the occupation in Iraq. It also comes after tens of thousands rallied against the war last year and police arrested 1,400 who helped shut down the Financial District as the war began.
Thousands again marched this year to mark the one-year anniversary of the invasion.
San Francisco has long been on the leading edge of the country's left, in open defiance of the federal government. In 2002, voters overwhelmingly passed a resolution making it official policy to grow medical marijuana on to grow medical marijuana on city property, and last November the electorate gave the liberal Board of Supervisors final say over any records requests under the USA Patriot Act.
In February, Mayor Gavin Newsom, who has quietly opposed the Iraq occupation, opened the doors at City Hall for the marriages of more than 4,000 same-sex couples, in defiance of state law he deemed unconstitutional.
Housing activist Richard Marquez, who has been organizing support for the Daly resolution, said the goal was to show other cities they could make a statement to the Bush administration.
"As San Francisco set the trend on same-sex marriages, we're hoping to build on that victory and to light a fire across the nation and have other cities and other progressive legislators take this to the ballot and let the citizenry vote and say, 'Bring the troops home now, we cannot afford this war,'" he said.
Congress through last week had approved $151 billion in appropriations for military and reconstruction spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Daly plans to use data from city financial experts and left-wing think tanks to charge $520 million in losses to San Francisco's economy.
Last week, the Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy In Focus released a report estimating that the war bill will add up to an average of at least $3,415 for each U.S. household. According to the institute, the $151 billion could have covered: 23 million housing vouchers, health insurance for 27 million people, salaries for 3 million elementary school teachers, 678,200 new fire engines or 20 million Head Start slots.
Labor leaders and service workers are backing Daly's resolution, and religious leaders, parents opposed to the war plan to join him this afternoon at the Department of Elections to put the issue before the voters.
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