Wednesday, June 26, 2013
U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously adopts resolution Calling for U.S. Leadership in Global Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Redirection of Military Spending to Domestic Needs
Contact: Jackie Cabasso, Mayors for Peace North American Coordinator [510-306-0119] [email@example.com]
2013-06-26 "U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously adopts resolution Calling for U.S. Leadership in Global Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Redirection of Military Spending to Domestic Needs":
Mayors for Peace congratulates the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) for its unanimous adoption of a bold resolution “Calling for U.S. Leadership in Global Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Redirection of Military Spending to Domestic Needs.” The resolution, passed by the Conference on June 24 at its 81st Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, calls for constructive U.S. engagement in new international disarmament forums and reorientation of U.S. national priorities by reducing military spending and redirecting those funds to meet the needs of cities.
The USCM is the nonpartisan association of American cities with populations over 30,000. As explained by its outgoing President, Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, who chaired the final plenary: “Resolutions, if passed, become the official policy of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.”
The resolution was adopted on the heels of President Obama's June 19 Berlin speech in which he declared, “so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe,” and announced his intention to seek further bilateral nuclear weapons reductions with Russia. The resolution was introduced by Akron Mayor Donald Plusquellic, a former USCM President and Vice President of Mayors for Peace, and had 29 additional sponsors. It highlights several important new multilateral disarmament initiatives not mentioned by Obama in Berlin, and calls on the President and the U.S. government to demonstrate good faith by constructive participation in those initiatives:
* The first ever High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament, to be held on September 26, 2013 at UN headquarters in New York;
* A UN working group open to all member states “to develop proposals to take forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations for the achievement and maintenance of a world without nuclear weapons;” and
* A follow-on conference to the February 2013 Oslo Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, to be hosted by Mexico in early 2014.
The resolution expresses the USCM 's “deep concern” that both the May session of the new UN disarmament working group and the Oslo Conference took place without the participation of the United States or the other four nuclear-armed Permanent Members of the UN Security Council.
As set forth in the resolution, nearly a quarter of a century past the end of the Cold War, an estimated 17,300 nuclear weapons, 94% of them in the possession of the United States and Russia, continue to pose an intolerable threat to humanity. Massive spending is underway on programs to modernize U.S. nuclear weapons systems.
As the resolution notes, nuclear weapons spending is emblematic of Pentagon spending. In 2012, during a time of continuing domestic financial hardship, the U.S. spent $682 billion on its military, accounting for nearly two-fifths of the world total.
Further, the budget sequester enacted in March is impeding the economic recovery in cities by making deep cuts to vital federal programs that help fund essential services. In contrast, Pentagon spending has grown by 50% in real dollars in the last 12 years, not including war spending, and nearly all of the “cuts” up for debate are, in reality, reductions in the spending growth rate.
The resolution concludes that our nation's deep economic crisis can only be addressed by adopting new priorities to create a sustainable economy for the 21st century. To that end, the resolution calls on the President and Congress to reduce nuclear weapons spending to the minimum necessary to assure the safety and security of the existing weapons as they await disablement and dismantlement; to redirect those funds to meet the urgent needs of cities;
and to reduce military spending to reinvest in programs to provide basic human services, create jobs, rebuild infrastructure and meet the needs of America's cities.
The full text of the resolution is available at wslfweb.org/docs/uscmres2013.pdf. (Official version at usmayors.org/81stAnnualMeeting/media/resolutions-adopted.pdf)
Mayors for Peace, an international organization, founded in 1982 and led by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is working through its 2020 Vision Campaign for the global elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. Mayors for Peace membership has grown by more than ten fold since 2003, as of June 1, 2013 counting 5,645 cities in 156 countries and regions, with nearly 200 U.S. members – in all, representing some one billion people.
The USCM resolution was sponsored by Mayors Donald L. Plusquellic of Akron, OH; Ed Pawlowski of Allentown, PA; John Hieftje of Ann Arbor, MI; Tom Bates of Berkeley, CA; Matthew T. Ryan, Binghmton, NY; Henrietta Davis of Cambridge, MA; Mark Kleinschmidt of Chapel Hill. NC; Satyendra Singh Huja of Charlottesville, VA; Franklin T. Cownieof Des Moines, IA; Michael A. Tautznik of Easthampton, MA; Kitty Piercy of Eugene, OR; Ed Malloy of Fairfield, IA; Joy Cooper of Hallandale Beach, FL; Alex Morse of Holyoke, MA; Mark Stodola of Little Rock, AR; Paul Soglin of Madison, WI; John Stefano of New Haven, CT; David J. Narkewicz of Northampton, MA; Chris Koos of Normal. IL; Frank Ortis of Pembroke Pines, FL; Michael Brennan of Portland, ME; Gayle McLaughlin of Richmond, CA; Ardell Brede of Rochester. MN; Stephen Cassidy of San Leandro, CA; Helene Schneider of Santa Barbara, CA; Bruce R Williams of Takoma Park, MD; Neal King of Taos Ski Valley, NM; Richard D. Schneider of South Pasadena, CA; Laurel Lunt Prussing of Urbana, IL; and Geraldine Muoio of West Palm Beach, FL.
Ask your Mayor to co-sponsor a bold new resolution, Calling for U.S. Leadership in Global Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Redirection of Military Spending to Domestic Needs”!
The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the nonpartisan association of U.S. cities with populations over 30,000, will be considering this resolution at its June 21 – 22 annual meeting in Las Vegas. The resolution’s lead sponsor is Mayor Donald Plusquellic of Akron, Ohio, a past President of the USCM. Mayor Plusquellic is also a Vice-President of Mayors for Peace, an international association lead by the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with over 5,600 members in 156 countries - 197 in the U.S. To see the growing list of co-sponsors on the resolution, click here [wslfweb.org/docs/uscmres2013.pdf].
The USCM has regularly adopted resolutions since 2004 calling for the commencement of comprehensive nuclear disarmament negotiations to be concluded and implemented by 2020, as proposed by Mayors for Peace. For the past three years, the USCM has also called for deep cuts in nuclear weapons spending and redirection of those funds to meet the needs of cities, and in 2011 adopted an additional resolution, “Calling on Congress to Redirect Military Spending to Domestic Needs.”
This year’s resolution breaks new ground by combining all of these elements in a comprehensive package. The resolution is a fact-filled educational resource that can be used at the local level as an excellent organizing tool! Read the resolution here [wslfweb.org/docs/uscmres2013.pdf].
Help us get as many co-sponsoring mayors as possible! Your mayor does not have to be a member of Mayors for Peace to be a sponsor, but this is a great opportunity to ask her/him to join.
Ask your mayor to endorse the resolution! You can download a terrific “Dear Colleague” letter from Mayor Plusquellic here [wslfweb.org/docs/plusqcoverletter.pdf]. Please have your mayor send an e-mail message stating her/his desire endorse to both Akron Deputy Mayor Rick Merolla at [RMerolla@akronohio.gov] AND to me at [firstname.lastname@example.org] by COB June 20.
To find out if your mayor is a member of Mayors for Peace and see what year the city joined, click here [www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/membercity/northamerica/united_states_of_america.html].
If your mayor is not a member of Mayors for Peace, ask her/him to join! It’s easy. For instructions, click here [www.mayorsforpeace.org/english/outlines/join.html].
For more information about Mayors for Peace, see [www.mayorsforpeace.org] and [www.2020visioncampaign.org]. For more information about the USCM see [www.usmayors.org].
Still have questions? Need help? Contact me! - Jackie Cabasso [email@example.com] [510-839-5877], Mayors for Peace North American Coordinator; Executive Director, Western States Legal Foundation; Convener, UFPJ Nuclear Disarmament/Redefining Security Working Group
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