The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners will consider a resolution opposing unilateral preemptive military action against Iraq by the United States at its regularly scheduled meeting this Thursday morning, January 30, at 9:30am.
On Wednesday, January 22, the Portland City Council heard over two hours of impassioned testimony against a first strike against Iraq before voting 2-2 on the resolution. Over 40 people testified in favor of the resolution while only 4 spoke against it.
Many Portlanders believe that Commissioner Jim Francesconi betrayed residents of Portland in testifying that he opposes many policies of the Bush administration, including Bush's seemingly unstoppable rush to unleash war on Iraq, while voting against the resolution. Francesconi voted against Commissioner Erik Sten's resolution on the basis that city governments have no control over issues American foreign policy.
Commissioner Randy Leonard, the newest member of the Portland City Council, appeared most in need of clarification of the meaning and purposes of an all-out war against the people of Iraq. During his testimony before voting against the resolution, Leonard stated that he was mindful of the 3000 innocent people, including many firefighters, who perished in the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC on September 11, 2001.
Of course even the CIA, an organization not known to make statements against its interests, has stated that it can find no evidence linking Iraq to the 9/11 attacks in any way.
Leonard stated that he needed more information about the potential war on Iraq before voting in favor of Sten's resolution, prompting many of those in attendance at Wednesday's hearing to wonder why the political neophyte did not abstain from voting.
Perhaps it is Commissioner Francesconi's vote that was most egregious of all, however.
More than 40 cities had voted to oppose the Bush war before the Portland City Council finally considered the question. The councils of these cities certainly did not pass their resolutions lightly or in a vacuum. Surely those cities, like Portland, are filled with citizens who know a terrible idea when they see it, and made their feelings known to their elected officials, who shared the views of their citizens.
Many Portlanders feel it is clearly within any city's interests to make their feelings known about vital issues of national and international policy. After all, the world is clearly a small one in which commerce, trade, employment, education, health care and war have an effect on each of the world's inhabitants.
The Portland City Council dropped the ball badly on this vote.
It is now up to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners to get it right.
We are encouraging everyone who feels Portland made a ghastly mistake on this issue to attend this Thursday's meeting of the Multnomah County Board to make their feelings known, once again, to our elected officials.
The Board will meet at 9:30am, January 30 at:
First Floor Commissioners Boardroom 100
501 SE Hawthorne Boulevard
You can read their agenda for the day at: