Morning Bell: What Really Happened in Berkeley

Conn Carroll /

According to the Los Angeles Times, “After Backlash, Berkeley Welcomes Marines,” and according to the Associated Press, “Berkeley Eases Anti-Marines Stance.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The San Jose Mercury News got it right: “Berkeley Council Becomes Home to Intolerance.” In order to arrive at their misleading headlines, here are just some of the facts the AP and LAT left out of their stories:

  1. The Berkeley City Council passed a resolution applauding residents and organizations that “volunteer to impede, passively or actively, by nonviolent means, the work of any military recruiting office located in the City of Berkeley.”
  2. The official council vote not to apologize to Marines was loudly applauded by Code Pink activists at the meeting.
  3. Anti-war protesters burned an American flag outside the city council meeting.
  4. The council changed none of its actual anti-Marine policies, including free parking for Code Pink in front of the Marine recruiting station.

Berkeley has the First Amendment right to pass all the resolutions it wants, but the city council does not have a right to federally funded gourmet lunches. Enter Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and his bill stripping Berkeley of more than $2 million in earmarks, including $243,000 for gourmet French restaurant Chez Panisse to create gourmet lunches for the Berkeley Unified School District. Pro-pork legislators are so scared of DeMint’s bill they have placed a secret hold on it in the Senate.

The fight over Berkeley’s fight to preserve its earmarks comes at a time when the pork-barrel spending issue is really starting to resonate. There are heroes and villains in both parties on the issue.

The Washington Post reports that John McCain has refrained from all pork-barrel spending while Hillary Clinton won $340 million for her home state and Barack Obama brought home $91 million in federal tax payer dollars.

In the House, the Los Angeles Times reports that despite a federal investigation, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) was among the top lawmakers securing money for special projects in this year’s spending bills. Meanwhile, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) recently announced that he would request no earmarks this year and called the process “out of control.” Unfortunately, the majority leadership in the House does not agree with Waxman and “have sent tens of millions of dollars to freshman lawmakers’ districts in hope of protecting the party’s new found majority come November.

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