Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Berkeley vs the USMC - UPDATE

It was Feb 9th when I last posted that the Calvary was enroute to Berkeley in the wake of their "Marines uninvited and unwelcome here" letter and attitudes. That calvary was comprised of pro military supporters in the form of veterans, ex-veterans, military families, and private business that were threatening boycott of anything Berkeley.

The following week's council meeting... after hearing 125 speakers - pro and con - battle over the USMC recruiting office on University... resulted in the council opting to NOT send the letter to the USMC "uninviting" them. However they still refused to apologize for the rigamarow, and sealed the event with an official kiss and blessing - siding with the anti-war supporters.

Guess what... NOT GOOD ENUF! sez many with cash in their wallets.

Today's Contra Costa Times (thank heavens, a brief EX stomping ground for me...) sez
business in Berkeley is having trouble.

"We're hearing of folks canceling reservations and canceling hotel rooms, and we know there is a direct correlation. How big, I don't know. We're in a tough economic period anyway," said Ted Garrett, chief executive officer of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber has received an estimated 300 e-mails, letters and faxes from people upset about the council's action and its refusal to apologize, he said.


Mo Hallaji, owner of Pollo's at Shattuck Avenue and Addison Street, said his business has declined 10 percent to 15 percent this month because of the traffic jams and fighting associated with the protests.

"They are killing our business," he said. "Everybody is against the war, but that is not the right way to go about it if you want to accomplish something."

Quentin Moore, owner of Berkeley Hardware on University Avenue, is not far from the U.S. Marine recruiting center, at 64 Shattuck Square, and the protests might be causing a downturn in his business.

"I see maybe two or three customers in here, and maybe (the protests) are the reason," he said.


"The downtown is like a full-time circus right now. There isn't a day when we're not hearing the drums and the noise. I think it's off-putting," said Susie Medak, managing director of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.


Many were angered by the move that they viewed as anti-troop and anti-American. An estimated 30,000 e-mails were sent to City Hall, condemning the council's move.

Gee... wonder why? It appears that the council's half-hearted withdrawal of their insidious letter is not the only deterrent. Code Pink and their new cohorts in business/economic crime - the orange wearing The World Can't Wait (what a clash of colors...) are still on the warpath in the streets, trying to ram their agenda down the community's collective throats. To top it off, they refuse to take any responsibility for the business decline, blaming it on the economic downturn instead.

CodePink leaders, who went door-to-door Tuesday passing out sandwiches and pink window signs reading "Another Berkeley Business for Peace," deny that the protests are affecting downtown business.

"If they want to blame the downturn in the economy on a protest against the Marines, it's a pretty bad excuse," CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin said.

City Councilwoman Dona Spring also does not view the protests as a problem. She said only the businesses on the same block are being affected.

"Every anti-war group in the East Bay wants to come and protest. This is where the action is," she said.

Right... These people need to get a *real* job to fill their day.

The final two graphs are a real hoot...

Deborah Badhia, executive director of the Downtown Business Association, said the fallout and the protests have been a "hardship" on businesses.

"In spite of any political issues that are going on, we still want the public to know that they are welcome and invited in Berkeley," she said.

That is unless you are a USMC warrior, or any pro-military/veteran citizen in the USA.

H/T to Dinah Lord

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