June 28, 2006

Berkeley, California, to vote on Bush impeachment

By Jim Christie

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The municipal council in the
liberal California city of Berkeley plans to give voters a say
on a measure calling for the impeachment of President Bush and
Vice President Dick Cheney, the mayor said on Wednesday.

A number of local governments across the United States have
pressed resolutions urging impeachment, but the Berkeley city
council's goal is to be the first to put the issue directly to
voters, Mayor Tom Bates said in an interview.

"This is basically giving the people a chance to talk, to
join the debate," Bates said. "The issues go way beyond
impeaching the president. They go to safeguarding the
Constitution. This administration has run roughshod over the

Cheered on by globe-trotting Iraq war protester Cindy
Sheehan, who has moved to Berkeley, the council voted
unanimously Tuesday night to have the city attorney review the
measure to place it on the November ballot.

The measure was urged by the Berkeley Peace and Justice
Commission, which advises the city on civil rights issues. The
commission accuses the Republican White House of intentionally
misleading Congress to justify an unnecessary war in Iraq,
pursuing unconstitutional surveillance programs and permitting
torture of detainees suspected of links to terrorism.

Bush and Cheney "have acted in a manner contrary to their
trust as President and Vice President of the United States and
subversive of Constitutional government, to the great prejudice
of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of
the People of the United States of America," the commission
said in a statement.

Berkeley has seen its politics march steadily leftward
since the 1960s, when the Free Speech Movement and Vietnam War
protests at the University of California, Berkeley, drew
progressives to the city.

Bush received 4,010 votes in Berkeley in the 2004
presidential election, compared with 54,409 votes for
Democratic challenger John Kerry.

Berkeley resident Albert Sukoff said he was not surprised
by the council's decision.

"I think they overextend themselves and get into things
that aren't their business," said Sukoff. "Berkeley has always
had a foreign policy, the national one notwithstanding."