Code Stink: Berkeley City Council Edition
Semper Fi, Berkeley
By Sen. Jim DeMint
When you mention "Berkeley, California" to most conservatives, they picture a leftist community of graying hippies, radicals, and protesters. Activities in the last few weeks have only reinforced this image. The City Council of Berkeley last week voted to ask the U.S. Marine Corps to vacate their recruiting office in town, and that if they chose to stay they did so as "uninvited and unwelcome intruders."
During debate of the resolution, one council member called the Marines "the President's own gangsters" and "trained killers." Another said the Marines had given the country "horrible karma" and said they had a history of "death and destruction." In a document drafted to support the resolution against the Marines, the council stated: "Military recruiters are sales people known to lie to and seduce minors and young adults into contracting themselves into military service with false promises regarding jobs, job training, education and other benefits."
After voting to insult the men and women who fight and bleed for their freedom, the City Council cast another ridiculous vote in favor of giving the radical protest group Code Pink a parking space directly in front of the Marine Corps recruiting station. They also voted to give Code Pink a sound permit for protests in front of the Marine Corps building. The City Council stated in the resolution that they "encourage all people to avoid cooperation with the Marine Corps recruiting station" and to "applaud" Code Pink for working to "impede, passively or actively" the work of the Marines Corps in Berkeley.
This is disappointing, but in a republican form of government, it must be up to local voters to change their leadership. However, this particular case became the business of all Americans when they insulted our troops while coming to the federal government asking for special taxpayer-funded handouts. Over $2 million was secretly tucked away for Berkeley earmarks in the 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill, projects that were never voted on or debated. I do not believe a city that has turned its back on our country's finest deserves $2 million worth of pork-barrel projects. So, I will introduce legislation to revoke the funding.
Let me be clear, my bill does does not cut off all federal funds to the city of Berkeley, though I am sure most Americans would feel that is justified. My bill merely rescinds wasteful earmarks. Berkeley is free to compete with other towns and cities across America for merit-based federal grants.
Actions have consequences. When the Berkeley City Council decided to insult the Marines in a time of war, it was a $2 million decision. Especially in a time of war, we cannot just allow cities to play insulting games at our troops' expense while continuing to shower them with congressional favors.