Getting a City Council Resolution Against War with Iraq Passed in Your Community
The following is a simple guide to getting a City Council Resolution passed in your community. A City Council Resolution campaign is not a “one size fits all” type of effort but the following are ideas to get you started.
Gather a Coalition of Local Organizations to Support the Effort
The Orange County Peace Coalition is offering a network service. We will help put you in touch with others in your community willing to work with you on getting your resolution passed in your city. Enter your contact information here.
Think outside the box! Gather a host committee with representatives from different constituencies including faith-based groups, students and youth organizations, peace and justice groups, sympathetic business groups, groups that work on poverty, immigrant groups, racial justice organizations etc.
Call a first meeting to launch this idea.
Post your meetings, calls to action and campaign updates on The Orange County Peace Coalition website. Send your material to the email@example.com
Survey Your City/Town Council
If you are unsure about where your City Council stands on the war you may want to start by surveying the Council so you can assess who are your allies, swing members, and those that will pose a tough challenge. Call each office and ask the Council Members (or their staff) if they would generally support a Resolution Against the War. This effort can be divided amongst different members of your host committee. Make sure there is a point person who is collecting the results of the survey to report back at your next meeting.
Gather Public Signatures / Generate Support
If you already have a resolution draft in mind (sample resolution) that you would like to have the Council pass you may want to spend some time gathering petition signatures from the Council Peoples constituents. (sample petition). This will help leverage Council Members’ support and may help in getting similar language passed by the Council instead of a watered-down version. Ask the members of your coalition to each collect a stack of signatures.
Initiate a letter campaign to City Council Members and the Editor of your local paper. (sample letter)
Identify Council Member Allies
Identify your strongest ally(s) on your City Council and set up a meeting with him/her to discuss introducing a resolution against the war. Bring education packet to share with them including talking points against the war, copies of City Council resolutions from other communities, and signed petitions. Ask the Council Person(s) to take the lead in garnering the support of other Council Members. Ask the Council Person to approve the language in the draft resolution. Be prepared for this process to take a number of days and a fair amount of negotiating.
If the Council Person agrees to take the lead, set up a follow up meeting with the Council Person’s aid. To secure the support of other council members and to move the process along swiftly it is often easier to work with aids. ∑ If the Council Person is not willing to lead the effort to get a resolution passed, first assess the reasons why. Is it that the resolution you presented would prove impossible to get secure support? Is the Council Person afraid to take the lead on this issue? Depending on the reason you may want to try some of the following paths:
• Try a different member of the council.
• Plan actions to target the member.
• Negotiate on the draft resolution language
Set Up A Public Education Event or Town Hall Meeting
At any point in this process you may want to consider setting up a public event in your city to garner wider support for your initiative, to bring more citizen power into the effort, and to build the peace movement in your city. If there are forums or teach-ins already planned you may want to just work with the organizers of those events to get on the speaking docket and invite the public to your next planning meeting. One way bring City Council Members into this effort early is to set it up as a “town hall meeting” where you have a panel of people presenting the various arguments for (and against) the resolution and a panel of Council Members and citizens listening and asking follow-up questions.
Contact the Orange County Peace Coalition for assistance if needed. firstname.lastname@example.org
Outreach to the Media
The easiest way to make the resolution effort appealing to the media is to draw the direct impacts on your city. The National Priorities Project is available to help you crunch the numbers on how much the war will cost local taxpayers in your community. This, combined with the budgetary crisis facing many cities, makes a great hook for press.
A public education event or action is a great opportunity to inform journalists about the Cities for Peace campaign. If you are not holding a public education event, consider holding a press conference featuring City Council Members leading the effort and diverse members of your Coordinating body or coalition. If you don’t have allied Council Members you may want to plan the media outreach around an action designed to target the Council Member and expose their unwillingness to support this effort. You may want to hold a Candle Light Vigil at their home or conduct a sit-in at their office.
Draft a press release (sample release) and send it to your local and regional press.
If a Resolution passes successfully don’t forget to do follow-up media work. Hold a press conference and claim a victory for peace.
What to do when a City Council Resolution will not pass (or even get introduced) in your city.
It will prove almost impossible for many cities to pass a resolution. The following are some alternative options for expressing the support for peace in your city:
If you have any allied Council Members ask them to circulate a general letter against the war to other members and other officials in your City Government including the Board of Education, the Mayors office and other municipal departments. Any expression you can obtain against the war will help the antiwar effort to show national opposition to the war.
You can also try different bodies in your city such as University Resolutions against the war, Labor Union local resolutions, Parent and Teacher Associations, or other Civic bodies.
If you have a sympathetic Mayor in your city, ask him or her to issue a statement against the war.
Send Campaign Updates to:
The Orange County Peace Coalition at email@example.com
Cities for Peace! Is tracking the various efforts to get resolutions passed across the country. Attn: Amy Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or Karen Dolan at email@example.com
Acknowledgment: We want express our thanks and appreciation for the work of Cities for Peace. www.ips-dc.org/citiesforpeace/stepbystep.htm
Orange County Peace Coalition
A CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION AGAINST A WAR IN IRAQ
WHEREAS, citizens of ____________, being members of the world community, are concerned about safety from weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and international conflagration;
WHEREAS, people around the world oppose U.S. unilateral military action in regards to Iraq and support the full compliance of international law before any action is taken against Iraq; and
WHEREAS, a war with Iraq will jeopardize the lives of American soldiers and will kill countless innocent Iraqi civilians, who have already suffered enormously under Saddam Hussein’s tyranny and United Nations sanctions; and
WHEREAS, a war with Iraq would threaten to further destabilize the Middle East, possibly leading to a wider, regional war and increased support for terrorists, endangering the citizens of __________ and the world; and
WHEREAS, military conflict in the region has and will continue to create widespread environmental destruction, the effects of which have not yet been fully understood; and
WHEREAS, past military conflict in the region has resulted in widespread damage to civilian infrastructure of Iraq and widespread suffering and death; and
WHEREAS, the city of ____________ and the state of California are suffering fiscal crises with programs that benefit working people and the poor threatened by budget cuts; and
WHEREAS the cost of a war against Iraq will drain monies away from education, health services, housing, social security, energy independence; and other vital programs.
Now, therefore, be it resolved that the City Council of the great City of ________ , California:
HEREBY, opposes a U.S. invasion of Iraq, but instead supports a genuine, diplomatic approach to events in Iraq in full compliance with international law; RESOLVED, that the City Clerk shall forward copies of this resolution to President Bush, Senators Boxer and Feinstein, and our Congressional Representative.