Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Berkeley’s Million Dollar Foreign Policy

Poor old Berkeley: it wants so badly to distance itself from the United States that it tries to act as a sovereign state, granting itself powers that a city of its size outside of the Bay Area would never dream of embracing. Unfortunately for the tax paying portions of the Berkeley populace, their city’s foreign policy costs them roughly 1 million dollars a year. From the San Francisco Gate:
“Berkeley is finding that having its own foreign policy isn't cheap. The city's recent dustup with the U.S. Marine Corps has so far cost the city more than $200,000, while businesses say they've been slammed by related protests.

And that's on top of the $1 million the city spends annually on domestic and foreign policy matters hatched by its 45 citizen commissions, which outnumber those in virtually every other city in America and debate everything from regime change in Iran to the plight of nonneutered dogs.

45 commissions to address issues the city council has absolutely no say or business in? What an absolute disgrace.
"We in Berkeley have one of the top universities in the world, which brings in people from more than 100 countries. Delving into foreign policy is unavoidable," said Mike Sherman, a longtime member of the Peace and Justice Commission”

No Mike, it is not “unavoidable.” In fact, it’s rather easy to avoid seeing how it’s not the city’s job to pass resolutions on things like the War on Terror or the plight of Mongolian mongoose. Having a good university in town doesn’t give the City Council the right or the ability to become a sovereign state. But the most important point that should be drilled home to someone like Mike Sherman is the one made by City Councilman Gordon Wozniak:
“I think it's out of hand," Wozniak said of Berkeley's commissions, most of which meet monthly and have two or three subcommittees that also meet regularly. "When we spend a lot of time debating things like the Marines issue, we're not spending time on the serious problems in this city, like fire station closures. It's easier to tackle international issues than deal with messy local problems."

I know it’s asking a lot from Berkeley, but for the love of all that is holy, get your collective heads out of your collective asses.


jams o donnell said...

A rather pointless use of money. Leavign aside other uses for the money perhaps it could be better spend on cultural activities that celebrate Berkeley's diversity

Roland Dodds said...

That would surely be a step up from how it’s being spent presently Jams. I don’t know what the taxes are like in Berkeley, but I bet they are pretty high. It would be great if that million dollar foreign policy was returned to the tax payers in town.