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Week of September 25 2006
by Stephanie Westbrook
Emergency Paper Ballot Legislation
And on Tuesday, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California introduced a bill in the Senate to "amend the Help America vote Act of 2002 to reimburse jurisdictions for amounts paid or incurred in preparing, producing, and using contingency paper ballots in the November 7, 2006, Federal general election. "
The bill currently has two co-sponsors, Sen. Chris Dodd and Sen. Russ Feingold. Similar legislation was introduced by Rep. Russ Holt in the House. See NYT article: Senators Propose Funds for Paper Ballots to Back Up Electronic Ones
Better late than never. As Friedman put it, "we're delighted to see this legislation move forward! Delighted to see the Times' coverage. And just delighted in general that someone in Washington D.C. is finally recognizing the dangers to democracy that we're facing in the upcoming mid-term election!"
URGENT - Take Action: There is little time left to act. Call or write your Senators and Representative and urge them to support this legislation. See these sites for one click activism, but it's much more effective to call or write your own message:
Plans for Iran
Take Action: If you haven't already, sign the Don't Attack Iran petition.
Take Action: See the recent appeal [in italiano] by Italian medical professionals and researchers regarding use of "new" weapons in Lebanon and Gaza, and contact the working group if you or someone you know can help.
Read the article on Raw Story.
Declaration of Peace
Read a report of the USC4P&J solidarity action at a cluster bomb factory outside of Rome. And our site is also now #3 in google for simmel difesa, the name of the cluster bomb producer. Numbers 1 and 2 are the official Simmel web site.
Meanwhile, 50,000 protesters filled the streets in Manchester last Saturday at the Labour Party Conference. See the Stop the War web site for photos, reports and video.
Yet Another U.S. Military Base in Vicenza, Italy
In the city of Vicenza, Italy, there are plans to build yet another U.S. military base.
In opposition to these plans, local residents have formed 6 committees and for the past 3 months have petitioned the Italian government to refuse the authorization.
The entire affair has been conducted in a disgraceful manner. The request was initiated by Vicenza Mayor Hullweck and City Council member Cicero, in cooperation with the previous Berlusconi government, without ever informing the citizens of Vicenza nor was it discussed in City Council (and has yet to be discussed!). In May 2006, news of the plans started to leak out and concerned citizens began to act.
The citizens of Vicenza are strongly opposed to the construction of the new base for the following reasons:
1) Militarization of the city. Vicenza is currently home to various bases and housing facilities for the U.S. military (Camp Ederle, the bases of Longare and Tormeno, a residential village and various depots and warehouses throughout the city) not to mention headquarters for the European Gendarmerie. All this in a city of 110,000 inhabitants. The construction of a new base would make the city of Vicenza the largest U.S. Military base in Europe. This is in contrast with the rest of Italy and Europe, where the U.S. military presence is diminishing.
2) Protection of our territory. The area in question for the construction of the base is a vast green area completely surrounded by the city. Some houses will be no more than 30 meters from the base! Currently, the area includes a small civilian airport, a flying club, and the only rugby fields in the city.
3) Urban impact. In total, approximately 600,000 cubic meters would be built, the equivalent of 1900 apartments of 100 m2 each, adding more construction to an already heavily developed city lacking green areas.
4) Social impact. The new base would accommodate 2000 additional soldiers along with their families as well as civilian employees of the base. This would bring in an additional 15,000 people to a city of 110,000 inhabitants!
5) Economic impact. Italian taxpayers cover 37% of the operating costs for U.S. military bases in Italy, amounting to hundreds of millions of Euro per year. Another base would increase this figure.
6) Security issues. The soldiers housed at the new base would be part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade (some of which are already lodged at Camp Ederle) and are currently stationed in Germany. The 173rd is an airborne rapid response force. They were the first to parachute into Iraq at the start of the war. The presence of these troops creates problems of security for the city; both as a possible target for terrorist attacks as well as problems associated with soldiers returning from war zones. In this regard, the city of Vicenza has already experienced problems with fights and brawls as well as cases of rape concerning soldiers returning from Iraq. (see http://tinyurl.com/rd5us)
7) Acoustic and environmental impact due to the military vehicles and aircraft used at the base.
We believe that the future of our city (one of the most productive in Italy) should be aimed at development of the local economy, employment and research, not towards further militarization.
The Italian government will make its decision by the end of September.
We ask that the government maintain coherence with the ideas illustrated in their electoral platform and have the courage to respond to the request with a clear and decisive NO.
The construction of a new military base would be a serious loss for the entire city, and, we believe, for Italy as well.
Take Action: Write to the Italian Minister of Defense with your thoughts on the new base. The decision will be made by the end of September so please send your message as soon as possible. Address the messages (in English or Italian) to the attention of Minister Arturo Parisi: firstname.lastname@example.org. Send a copy of the message (either BCC or separate message) to the local organizers at: email@example.com
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Copyright © 2006 U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome, Italy