San Fran. officials vote for impeachment

San Francisco supervisors last week flared on the national political stage when they asked their Democratic congressional delegation to push for the impeachment of President George W. Bush on grounds of failure to perform his duties.

Supervisors cited leading the country into war in Iraq, weakening civil liberties, and being involved in other activities the board considers improper.

The vote for the resolution was 7-3, making it a sure target for right-wing radio and TV talk shows. San Francisco became an object of superconservatives’ scorn last November when it adopted a non-binding vote on barring military recruiters from the city’s public high schools. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly called for the city to be bombed as a result. More recently, there was an uproar when Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval suggested on Fox News that the U.S. does not need a military.

The resolution dealing with that suggestion also calls for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. Supervisor Chris Daly said that resolution is justified because of the administration case for and handling of the Iraq war, the inadequate federal response to Hurricane Katrina and recent disclosure of a secret wiretapping program.

Daly said: “I think the case is clear, and I think it’s appropriate for us to weigh in.”

Mayor Gavin Newsom told the San Francisco Chronicle he hasn’t decided if he will sign the legislation to impeach. “On the list of one to 3,000,” he said, “it’s not even on that list of priorities for me to sign a resolution—that will have no force and effect—talking about impeachment.” Newsom is a Democrat and a frequent critic of Bush policies.

U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos of San Mateo, whose district includes a small portion of San Francisco, told the newspaper: “Real change in the direction of our country will come about when the Republicans no longer control the executive and legislative branches. We need to take control of the House, elect more Democratic senators and take control of the White House in 2008.”

At a town meeting in January, House Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi was asked about her stance on impeachment. “Win the election,” she said. “Then you can change the policy of our country.”

The editor of Talkers Magazine, Michael Harrison, said the resolutions may not bring derisive comments from broadcasters. “I don’t think the vote will be a joke,” he said, “because George Bush is in more trouble with his conservative backers than ever, particularly talk radio hosts.”

A large number of conservatives are angry with the president over such issues as the Dubai ports deal, the secret spying program and the vice president’s shooting of a hunting buddy.

Mayor Newsom is not worried the board’s position will harm the city’s reputation. “I don’t think it damages the city in any significant way,” he said. “I think the things we’re ridiculed about…are some of the proudest moments in the city in terms of advancing our values—and they tend to transcend our borders.”

From the March 8-14, 2006, issue

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