Local Peace Activist Faces Prison
Thursday, October 10, 2002
Longtime Salinas peace activist MacGregor Eddy has been ordered to appear in a Santa Barbara court Oct. 18 to face charges of trespassing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, where she was one of two demonstrators who "crossed the line" at a May anti-war protest. The 53-year-old homecare nurse could face a fine and/or six months in prison.
Although she has been demonstrating against war since 1968, this was the first time she chose to be arrested. "I''d thought about it for a long time," she says. "My children are grown, my job is flexible, I''ve been doing this for 37 years and it''s my turn."
Vandenberg AFB is the nation''s center for testing missile defense systems. Protests are held there twice a year, in May and October, with participation by a wide coalition of anti-war groups.
Eddy is the founder of the Salinas Action League, which holds a peace vigil every Friday outside the Salinas post office on West Alisal Street. This Friday''s demonstration marks the group''s one-year anniversary, making it the longest regular anti-war vigil in Monterey County since the Vietnam War.
"We had vigils that went for at least a year during the Gulf War, but they weren''t weekly," says Monterey peace activist Joyce Vandevere.
The Salinas Action League is the newest member of the Peace Coalition of Monterey County, which holds vigils Sunday from noon to 2pm at Monterey''s Window on the Bay park.
State Threatens Golf Plan
Seaside Resort, a planned 84-acre development on Fort Ord including a hotel, spa, restaurant, bungalows, timeshares and residential area, has been gathering questions and comment from state and local agencies and organizations. Groups ranging from the water district to State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to local activists have weighed in during the public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Report.
DTSC clangs the alarm bell most loudly. It threatens to place restrictions on the project unless one section of the golf course is cleaned of toxic substances-pesticides.
In addition, the county health department has questions about potable water, noise pollution and wastewater management.
The Sierra Club has filed detailed complaints against the resort plan. Right off the bat, the group questions the removal of hundreds of trees, including 257 coastal live oaks and 441 Monterey cypress.
Although straying a bit from saving trees, the group also wants to know if the resort means fewer tee-times for local golfers on Black Horse and Bayonet.
Out of Time
On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Sam Farr was heading into 17 hours of debate over Iraq on the House floor. And he felt fairly certain of the outcome of the vote expected on Thursday.
"Essentially there are three options here: to do just UN inspections; to do UN inspections and then act depending on what the UN does; then there''s a third one, the one that''s gonna pass by about 75 percent of the vote," he said. "It''s about four to one right now."
Farr has said the American public is skeptical about war with Iraq. Asked, then, why the public''s elected leaders in the House seem unlikely to oppose the President on this issue, he answered, "Well, when it started it was zero [in opposition]. Nobody wanted to speak out without doing their homework first. There''s that old adage that you have to be careful what you say because you might have to eat it someday. Then the issue to push the vote off until after the elections was dropped, so we''re now down to the moment of where one has to make a decision."
Just days after President Bush televised his case for an attack on Iraq, the Monterey Bay chapter of the United Nations Association will hold a free seminar on "The Challenges of Peacekeeping."
The panel discussion will take place 7-9pm, Oct. 10 at the Monterey Institute of International Studies'' Irvine Auditorium, 499 Pierce St. It will address the challenges of peacekeeping and moving from peacekeeping to a lasting peace and stable government.
Speakers include Naval Postgraduate School''s Dr. Karen Guttieri and Colonel Surinder Rana, as well as Colonel Dan Layton, U.S. Department of State special coordinator for de-mining, and MIIS Professor Dr. Jan K. Black.
Larry Levin, president of the local UNA chapter, will moderate the panel. "When a conflict begins to wind down, a peacekeeping mission can be an important transition between war and peace," he says. "But establishing one is very complex, and making it work effectively is a real challenge. This program should help us all understand this important process." For more information, call 625-9414.
-Sue Fishkoff, Andrew Scutro, Traci Rae Hukill, Jessica Lyons