Berkeley Council Fails to Pass Guantanamo Detainee Refuge Resolution

By Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Wednesday February 16, 2011 - 09:49:00 PM

The Berkeley City Council has rejected a resolution that would have invited "one or two" Guantanamo Bay detainees to resettle in Berkeley. 

Four council members voted in favor of the resolution late Tuesday night and only one member, Gordon Wozniak, voted against it. 

However, four members abstained and the measure failed because it needed five "yes" votes to pass. 

Mayor Tom Bates and Councilwoman Linda Maio proposed a substitute measure that would have postponed the issue on the grounds that, according to City Manager Phil Kamlarz, federal legislation prohibits detainees from settling in the U.S. But Bates and Maio were the only members to vote for that motion, with three members voting against it and four members abstaining. 

The resolution, which was proposed by the city's Peace and Justice Commission, stated that Berkeley should invite detainees who have been cleared of wrongdoing to move to the city because "the city has a longstanding policy in support of peace and justice, including previously welcoming refugees from other countries who unjustly suffered imprisonment, torture and related traumatic experiences."