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Nuclear Weapon Ban Resolution

In a 3-2 vote the Lansing Town Board passed a resolution Wednesday calling for the United States to prevent nuclear war.  The resolution was moved by Councilman Joseph Wetmore, in response to a plea last November by Lansing resident Dennis Osika for the Town to mirror the City of Ithaca's resolution.

"I really strongly think that we ought to make a strong statement," Wetmore said. "I know everyone says they agree with this issue.  I think making a statement as a town adds meat behind our feelings.  I think it's important that, on some issues, we stand up as a town and say this is important to us.  I would like to move this and have us pass it and pass it along to our elected officials and hope that they listen to our collective voice more than they listen to individuals."

The resolution, borrowing liberally from a resolution that was unanimously passed by the City of Ithaca Common Council last October 3rd, calls on the United States government to renounce first strike capacity as an option; end the authority of the president to launch a nuclear attack without Congress's approval; take US nuclear weapons off 'hair trigger' alert; cancel a $1.7 trillion plan to replace the US nuclear arsenal; and pursue a verifiable agreement for nuclear states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

"I believe it's more political than anything," said Councilman Doug Dake.  "I don't want nuclear war any more than anyone else, but I think it's obvious that no one does.  I do believe it could be political, though.  No disrespect to anybody, but that's the way I see it."

The issue has been discussed in every meeting with the two Republicans arguing against passing resolutions on matters that are outside the Town's jurisdiction, concentrating, instead, on governing the town.  Wetmore in particular has advocated for the Town Board speaking with one voice.  His fellow Democrats Andra Benson and Katrina Binkewicz agreed.

"I think that from time to time it's important to weigh in on issues of public safety, even though they're not under our jurisdiction," Binkewicz said. "As we care for our town and townspeople, sending a message higher up is important, even though it may have no effect."

Lansing Supervisor Ed LaVigne has argued that individuals should certainly write elected federal officials to urge them toward nuclear disarmament.  But he seemed resigned Wednesday to the resolution passing despite his opposition to it.

"I don't want to get into this pitfall of debating this time and time again," he said. "At least three of my colleagues feel strongly about it.  I do not feel the same way, not that I'm not against nuclear war.  If you want to make a motion and pass it tonight we'll get it off the table and we'll move forward."

The resolution passed with Wetmore, Binkewicz, and Benson voting yes, and LaVigne and Dake voting no.

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