Cities v. Bush: Evanston joins crowd voting ‘no’ to war

Evanston City Council will vote tonight on a resolution condemning pre-emptive war with Iraq, following similar symbolic votes taken in other cities.

Detroit and Seattle are among those that have passed resolutions voicing opposition to a war. The Chicago City Council will vote on its own resolution Thursday.

“I think what most of council feels is we’ve got to do something,” said Ald. Steven Bernstein (4th). “(A war) could be the beginning of God knows what.”

Bernstein said he doesn’t know what impact the resolution will have on the government’s war plans, but said he is hopeful the various cities’ resolutions, when put together, will be more influential.

Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) proposed the Evanston resolution after hearing of the one pending before the Chicago City Council, according to Chris Granner, one of Rainey’s constituents who is affiliated with Neighbors for Peace, a local political advocacy group.

Evanston’s resolution is essentially the same as Chicago’s resolution, though some phrases were deleted, Granner said.

Last Tuesday, the aldermen voted 8-1 at a Rules Committee meeting to put the resolution on tonight’s agenda. Ald. Edmund Moran (6th) dissented.

Moran did not speak at Tuesday’s meeting and is expected to explain his dissent Monday night. He was not available for comment Sunday night.

Bernstein said he believes “most sternly” that war with Iraq would be inappropriate.

“I just don’t know where (the United States) gets off putting our hats on other peoples’ heads,” Bernstein said. “It’s ludicrous to me that our government has become terrorists.”

Bernstein said he is especially concerned that war, with either Iraq or North Korea, “immediately sucks money away from municipalities.”

The majority of Evanston residents probably do not support a war with Iraq, Bernstein said. Although he did not receive phone calls from constituents, Bernstein said he read e-mails from some activist groups such as Neighbors for Peace.

“I wonder if the people of Evanston feel as unable to communicate with their aldermen as I do with the government, if they have the same kind of skepticism and feel the same sense of futility,” he said.

Scott Gilbert, a member of Neighbors for Peace, said the resolution supported by the committee last Tuesday was “watered down a bit.” But it is still important, he said.

“When you tally (the resolutions) up, they generate a lot of media attention,” Gilbert said.

Mateo Hinojosa, a member of Northwestern Opposing War and Racism (NOWAR), said he is pleased the aldermen are addressing the war.

“I think it’s very important that leaders and institutions come out against the war, especially when their constituents are against the war,” said Hinojosa, a Weinberg sophomore.

“Anyone standing up against the war right now is really brave,” said Alison Pezanoski-Browne, a Communication freshman and member of NOWAR. “One of the most patriotic things is to try to make the country as best as it can be, and debate is very important.”

Also at tonight’s meeting, City Manager Roger Crum will present a report to the council on the effort to unionize about 300 city employees who are not currently members of the city’s other unions.

The council will meet at 8:30 p.m. tonight at Evanston Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.