Jeffrey Weiss is a political science educator and Education Director of Catholic Peace Ministry in Des Moines.Photo: AFSC / Jon Krieg
CITY OF DES MOINES ASKS CONGRESS, PRESIDENT TO BUILD OUR CITIES INSTEAD OF THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN
Mayor and Council pass resolution 5-2 answering calls of national and local organizations; Des Moines Mayor says we need to move from a war to civilian economy
(Catholic Peace Ministry news services) In a five to two vote (5-2) Monday evening, Dec. 3, 2012, the City Council of Des Moines, Iowa joined several other cities which have passed resolutions recently calling on the U.S. President and Congress to direct federal budget priorities to build our cities and meet human needs instead of the war in Afghanistan.
[AFSC in Iowa was one of many local organizations to sign on to the effort. To view Rodger Routh's video from the City Council meeting, click here.]
Mayor Frank Cownie, who is part of Mayors for Peace and who supported the National Conference of Mayors support of a similar petition, said that it’s time to move from a war to a civilian economy and "improve the lives of all Americans."
The petition was advanced by the Catholic Peace Ministry, but represented a coalition of faith, labor and community groups. It also included local Catholic, Methodist, and Episcopal Bishops and Des Moines Catholic Sister organizations.
The resolution passed by the Council called on Congress to “fund the safe and orderly withdrawal of US soldiers from Afghanistan, cut non-essential Pentagon budget appropriations, and redirect savings towards domestic priorities.”
“It’s time to weigh in,” said Jeffery Weiss, Executive Director of Catholic Peace Ministry, “time to build American cities instead of a war that has lasted longer than both World Wars combined.”
Carmen Lampe-Zeitler, Executive Director of Children and Family Urban Ministries cited increasing human needs in Des Moines and the lack of resources available to meet them.
“It’s time to stop the destruction of warring,” she said, “and invest in the resurrection of our city.”
Mayor Cownie, who brought a similar resolution before the US Conference of Mayors in 2011, was asked by Council members to speak first towards the resolution. (Weiss and Lampe-Zeitler presented as citizens.)
The other four Des Moines Council members who voted for the resolution were Chris Coleman, Skip Moore, Bob Mahaffey and Brian Meyer.
The only opposing votes were Halley Griess and Christine Hensley who both said they did not want to, as city officials, tell the Federal Government what to do.
In presenting the resolution, Weiss asked the Council to join the National Conference of Mayors and cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee who passed similar resolutions.
The resolution also urged federal lawmakers to respond to the physical and psychological needs of returning soldiers and their families from the battle fields.
After the vote, the small delegation present cheered in the Council and Chris Coleman joked that "if he knew you were going to cheer he would have put us higher on the agenda."
The conversation comes at an important time in our country as the discussion in Washington heats up over the Federal Budget.
The Catholic Peace Ministry and the sponsors of this organization urged other citizens to ask their cities to pass similar resolutions.
For more information: Jeffrey Weiss of CPM: 515 255 2465 or 515 554 7899 or Chet Guinn firstname.lastname@example.org