City debates nuclear-free zone status

Oct. 10, 2011 at 6:58 PM
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BERKELEY, Calif., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The Berkeley, Calif., City Council is debating whether to repeal a law making the city a nuclear-free zone, with one member saying it's costing the city money.

Berkeley voters approved the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act in 1986 as a declaration against nuclear propagation. Signs popped up declaring Berkeley was a "Nuclear Free Zone," giving notice nothing inside the city limits would be associated with nuclear energy or companies in the field -- no government research facilities and no non-nuclear products from energy companies -- the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday.

City Councilman Gordon Wozniak says he wants to repeal most of the act, not the entire measure.

"Berkeley should declare victory and move on," Wozniak said. "It's had serious unintended consequences, and we have other battles to fight now."

Because the economy is in such tough shape, Wozniak says he wants to overturn the part of the act stopping the city from investing in U.S. Treasury bonds, bills and notes enabling the city's finance director to have more flexibility and options for safe investments.

Wozniak's tender has irritated some of Berkeley's politicians.

"I'll fight this in the streets, at City Hall, anywhere it needs to be fought," said Peace and Justice Commissioner Bob Meola.

It "is total nonsense that the act is a relic left over from the Cold War," he said. "The threat of nuclear war is very real and, unfortunately, will continue to be so as long as nations and unknown players have possession of nuclear weapons."

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