Council committee says no to antiwar resolution

Andrew Pritchard

A Minneapolis City Council committee defeated a resolution Tuesday opposing a war with Iraq.

The city’s intergovernmental relations committee decided by a 4-1 vote the resolution was beyond the city’s purview because it dealt with federal government policy.

University-area council member Paul Zerby co-sponsored the resolution, along with Dean Zimmermann, who represents the city’s Phillips and Whittier neighborhoods.

Zerby said he is consulting a lawyer about getting the resolution “discharged” – removed from the committee by the whole council. He would present that motion at a council meeting Thursday.

“What I would hope to do, at a minimum, is get this out of (committee) so that we can get a discussion going,” Zerby said. “I’d be optimistic beyond belief to believe this thing is going to get passed. The important thing is that there is discussion.”

The resolution claims Minnesota could pay $1.43 billion of the cost of a war and that Minneapolis’ Community Development Block Grant money could be reduced to finance the effort.

The resolution asked the council to declare the city “opposes the use of pre-emptive military force to overthrow the government of Iraq and encourages the federal government to actively pursue nonviolent alternative to war.”

Zerby, Zimmermann, council member Robert Lilligren and then-member Joe Biernat proposed a similar resolution Sept. 27.

Council President Paul Ostrow ruled the resolution out of order and was sustained by a one-vote majority of the council.

Dozens of cities nationwide have passed antiwar resolutions, including Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Seattle.

Although he has participated in public antiwar protests, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said Dec. 4 that he would veto any City Council resolution criticizing the war.

“We were not elected to run the country’s foreign policy,” Rybak said in an e-mail posted on the Twin Cities Independent Media Center’s Web site. “We were elected to run the city of Minneapolis, where we have huge issues on our plate. We need to keep focused on them.”