Public Comments from Monday Night’s City Council Meeting.


My name is Sue. It’s good to be back here. I haven’t been in several years, but a very compelling issue brings me forth, and that is to support Reuben Snipper’s resolution for impeachment of the President and Vice President of the United States. I’m very proud to see that this has been introduced, and that there is growing momentum for it, and I come to encourage you to pass that resolution. I have noticed growing interest in conversations with people, and to me it’s very urgent, because I feel that we must stop this administration from the things that are making this a more and more dangerous situation for ourselves and for people abroad. A much more effective way to voice our concerns as citizens is through our elective bodies, not just as individuals contacting members of Congress, but of course we do that, too. At the latest count, sixty two cities have passed such resolutions, including large cities like San Francisco and Detroit, as well as many smaller cities such as ours. This is an expression of the peoples’ voice. There are also growing numbers of state Democratic parties that are passing such resolutions, and they are also being introduced in state legislatures around the country. So, I come to speak to that and want to strongly encourage you to do that.

I’m Thomas Nephew, and I’m here to support the impeachment resolution sponsored by Councilman Reuben Snipper.I’ve collected signatures on behalf of this at the Farmer’s Market, and can tell you that the response to this idea is overwhelmingly positive.But there have also been questions that deserve answers, including, fundamentally, why bother with this? What good will a city council resolution do? So I’ll try to explain why I think this resolution is a crucial duty.

The short answer to “why bother?” is summed up by the counter-question: “what if we don’t even bother?” Among the terrible precedents this administration has set are: the utter sin and crime of torture. A fraudulent case for war. Abrogation of habeas corpus. Warrantless surveillance in direct defiance of specific law. A king-like disregard and contempt for other laws properly passed and signed, and a refusal to enforce them. Each of these are grounds enough for impeachment, and there are more; together, they add up to a administration that must be opposed, whose very policy is to flout the Constitution and laws designed to control it.

But also, unless we act now, the next administration like this one can take its lawless, amoral, unconstitutional approach as a consensus starting point, instead of a shame on this country and a reproach to its institutions.

That’s where we come in. The first three words of the Constitution are “We, the people.” We “ordain and establish” the Constitution, we are responsible for it. We, here in this room, too. You, our elected leaders, too. To echo a certain president’s father: “these aggressions must not stand.” They must at least not stand unopposed.

I think we absolutely have to do this. I want to be able to tell my little girl years from now “we tried.” Of course, I’d like even more to say, “and we won!”
So thank you all for considering this resolution, and for the opportunity to speak for it. And to all of you who vote for it: I’m sure you’ll have many other important achievements — but I think this will be the finest thing you ever do in public office.

Thank you.

My name is Katie Bergstrom. I’m here to voice my support for impeachment both the Vice President and the President. I’m a resident of Germantown, but I spend about half my time in Takoma Park visiting with my girlfriend. Even though I’m not a resident of Takoma Park, I actually take pride in the city of Takoma Park and hope to live here some day when I’m able to. As a resident of a city that’s not as politically active and politically cohesive, I see Takoma’s supporting an impeachment petition as not only something positive for the country but also as setting an example for cities like Germantown that do not have a lot of activism for things that residents believe in. I spend a lot of my time in Takoma. I shop at all the stores in Takoma.. I go out of my way to come here, because I really do take pride in the way this city runs and would really like it to continue doing that by supporting impeachment. Thank you.

Hi I’m Colleen Cordes. I’m also here to speak in favor of a resolution to impeach Vice President Cheney and President Bush – I agree with the order – and I just feel so strongly about the torture issue. That’s the one for me, because I grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance, with “liberty and justice for all.” It just strikes at the very core of what America is about. I have a couple of things that I think are so strong, from Sunday’s paper. There was a story about the Army two star general who led the first investigation into the abuse of Abu Ghraib prisoners. “He believes that senior Defense officials were involved in directing abusive interrogation policies,” and it says that he was forced to retire early, and he was shunned and made fun of by Rumsfeld and others when he complained about it. He said, “I know that my peers in the Army will be mad at me for speaking out, but the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Conventions. We violated our own principles, and we violated the core of our military values. The stress of combat is not an excuse, and I believe that even today those civilian and military leaders responsible should be held accountable.” I think that what happened with the Military Commissions Act in November was that they were trying to cover their asses. They tried to make sure that everyone responsible for their war crimes, all the way up, would not have to suffer the penalty. So, I think that we can see that Congress has been intimidated by the President, and by the whole national security apparatus, and that it’s the place of local governments like Takoma Park, who don’t suffer the same intimidation, to stand up and create some groundswell so that Congress understands that the people are behind this. Thank you all so much for serving on the council of Takoma Park, which is a great city.

I’m Robert Lanza. I’d like to point out a couple of things concerning impeachment. The first thing I’d like to point out is that last month Congress overwhelmingly voted to support the Iraq War, including members of the Maryland delegation, including Senator Mikulski and Senator Cardin.. If you’re going to have an impeachment resolution, you should also be calling on the Maryland Congressional delegation to reverse their support for Bush’s war and vote like they oppose it. The other thing I’d like to point out is that if you’re going to pursue impeachment the resolutions should explicitly say that Vice President Cheney be impeached and removed from office first. Otherwise, Chief Justice Roberts will simply swear Vice President Cheney in as President Cheney. I’m sure no one in this room wants Vice President Cheney to be President, even for twenty-four hours. So, I would explicitly put that in the resolution, that Vice President Cheney be removed from office first and then President Bush be removed from office, so that neither one of them can pursue any of their policies. Thank you.

I’m Nina Falk. I’m also here to support a resolution to impeach the Vice President and then the President. I agree with everything that everyone has said. I’m particularly proud of my neighbor Thomas Nephew. For me, it’s very broad. It started, of course, with the first day that these people took office. I think of the people in other countries and how, when their rights are taken away, sometimes they just take to the streets, and they go and they just insist on being heard. I feel like we’ve gone to so many demonstrations, and yet he just does whatever he wants. I feel like calling for impeachment is the very least we could do. Every day that I live – I just love my life – I think, what right do I have to walk and enjoy the flowers when I know that halfway around the world, this carnage is happening in our name? So, I would be very, very grateful if this is carried forward.

I’m Michelle Bailey. I have a quick update on the news that we’ve scooped this past week on impeachment. We now have eight cosponsors to Rep. Kucinich’s bill to impeach the Vice President. We now have Representative Maxine Waters of California, who became the eighth cosponsor to the bill to bring articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney. Another thing I wanted to tell everyone is that we just put the Jamie Raskin video up on our web site about a week and a half ago, and we’ve had almost 500 hits on that so far, so I know that people are watching that. Last week I mentioned that Alexandria is working on a similar resolution for impeachment, and now Charlottesville, too has joined the effort. Tonight some activists in Charlottesville will be meeting with their councilmembers to consider a similar resolution. So are they going to beat us on this in Virginia? We’ve really got to get this going. I think there are about eighty cities now, and they are adding up. So I know that we can really do this here in Takoma Park. I also want to mention that this Saturday at George Mason University, they are hosting a grassroots Town Hall forum called “Should Impeachment Be on the Table?” It’s from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M., at the Mason Hall Conference Center. I know I’m going and a number of us are going. I have a flyer listing who the speakers are if anyone is interested. We will also post that on our web site at http://www.takomaparkibc.wordpress.comThank you.


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