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Santa Monica City Council Poised to Take Nuclear Stance

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By Jorge Casuso

August 9, 2019 -- The City Council on Tuesday will do its part to help prevent a nuclear war by endorsing a list of policy solutions to reduce the "risks posed by nuclear weapons."

"The City of Santa Monica has a long history of supporting nuclear disarmament including most recently becoming a member city of Mayors for Peace in 2011," reads the Councilmember discussion item.

Placed on the agenda by Mayor Gleam Davis and Councilmembers Kevin McKeown and Ted Winterer, the item calls for adopting a resolution endorsing Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War.

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According to the website for the national grassroots initiative, "The danger of nuclear war is real and growing-- we are marching to the brink of a catastrophe that threatens all of humanity. We need to act now."

Mayor Davis said that although the Council typically focuses on local issues, a wider vision is called for during "turbulent and uncertain times."

"It is important to remember that the hard work we do to make Santa Monica a sustainable city of wellbeing and a wonderful and livable place means nothing if our national and international leaders recklessly careen towards nuclear war," she said in a statement sent to the Lookout

"For that reason, I felt it was important to take a strong stand against the further development and potential use of nuclear weapons," she said. "Our children and grandchildren deserve a world without such weapons; they deserve peace."

"Back from the Brink" lists a five-point set of "common sense policy solutions that would greatly reduce the real and immediate risks posed by nuclear weapons."

The solutions include "renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first" and "ending the sole, unchecked authority of any president to launch a nuclear attack."

They also include "taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, canceling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons and actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals."

Councilmember Winterer said that since the 2016 Presidential election, the Doomsday Clock, which is updated annually by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, "is back at two minutes before midnight, the level seen during the height of the Cold War in the 1950s."

"The current administration has backed out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, cozied up to North Korea despite threats of missile launches, withdrawn from the INF treaty with Russia, modernized our nuclear arsenal and contemplated the offensive use of nuclear weapons," Winterer said.

The policies and initiatives coincide with a rise in "nationalist leaders," "regional instabilities" and "ongoing terrorism concerns," he said.

"It's clear we and others need to call for saner policies to back the world away from the prospect of nuclear annihilation."

McKeown -- who cited similar concerns that "make the issue freshly urgent” -- noted that for years Santa Monica has been on record against nuclear weapons and proliferation.

But he added that "this particular resolution we were asked to endorse was more specific and timely than the general positions taken over the years by past City Councils."

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