Friday, April 10, 2009

Open Letter to Mayor Johnson

Edit: I beg your ongoing forgiveness for wonky font and other problems as I acquaint myself with properly formatting pasted text on this blog...

Sacramento made national news today, as we are again eligible to receive much-needed federal funds. A settlement was reached by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, following a year-long investigation of a scandal involving improper conduct and mismanagement of federal grant money while at his non-profit organization, St. HOPE. The settlement, which requires repayment of grant funds, takes Johnson off a list of people who are unable to receive federal funds.

Mayor Johnson making the news prompted me to post this open letter I wrote on behalf of the Sacramento Coalition to End the War regarding US involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. We submitted the letter to both the Sacramento Bee and the Sacramento News and Review, but it was not published. We also have not yet received a response from Johnson's office on these issues. That doesn't mean the Coalition is giving up on this project - stay tuned.

The Coalition invites other peace and social justice groups to use the format of this letter to address similar questions to their own mayors or local officials. Be sure to check out the websites and resources cited. You can use to calculate the cost of the Iraq war and occupation to your own community.

I work with the Sacramento Coalition to End the War as a representative of Sacramento Area Peace Action and Sacramento-Yolo CODE PINK. Private citizens, as well as members of local organizations are invited to join the Coalition.


21 November 2008

Mayor-Elect Kevin Johnson

2030 16th Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Mayor-Elect Johnson:

The member organizations of the Sacramento Coalition to End the War seek your perspective on the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the possible invasion of Iran.

To date, the lives of six Sacramentan soldiers have been taken in the war and subsequent occupation of Iraq, and our state has sustained a total of 3,239 casualties, including 448 deaths (Data provided by, as collected from the US Department of Defense.) With the $779.1 million taxpayers in Sacramento will pay for total Iraq war spending approved to date, our City could have provided any of the following:

  • 13,919 public safety officers for one year OR
  • 2,332 affordable housing units OR
  • 291,234 children with health care for one year OR
  • 93,194 head start places for children for one year OR
  • 9,840 port container inspectors for one year.

(These data, along with many other budget tradeoffs, available at

The latest Gallup poll shows that 58% of Americans believe the war in Iraq was a mistake, a number that was recently as high as 62%. (From Even President Bush admitted there was no connection between Iraq and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. (From

Undoubtedly, you are looking forward to using your position as mayor to make a positive difference in our City. With this in mind, we, the member organizations of the Sacramento Coalition to End the War, ask of you:

Will you make a bold statement by becoming a member of Mayors for Peace, as your predecessor Mayor Fargo and so many of your esteemed colleagues from cities the world over have?

Will you continue to work in the spirit of Resolution 2005-805, Calling on President Bush to Commence the Withdrawal of American Troops in Iraq, passed by an overwhelming majority of eight to one by the Sacramento City Council on November 1, 2005?

(Resolution text available at ; City Council Meeting Agenda and Proceedings available at

Will you bring forward a resolution opposing military action against Iran, and advocate for its passage? (A sample resolution is included with this letter.)

Will you strongly and publicly support a resolution by the state legislature, such as the 2006 Assembly Joint Resolution 36, asking Congress and the President to bring our National Guard home?

Mr. Mayor-Elect, with both your admiration for President-Elect Barack Obama and your slogan “Together We Can,” you have promised us a mayor who will listen to his constituents and strive to unite us. You have also made it clear by promising to bulk up law enforcement that you are concerned with protecting the safety of Sacramentans. As such, the Coalition hopes you will use your position of power to bring about the end of the outrageous spending and egregious violence toward Iraqis and Americans of this illegal occupation, and to bring our troops home safely, so our National Guard may once again tend to our community’s needs.

While we realize you are quite busy, we would appreciate receiving your response by Monday, November 24.


The Sacramento Coalition to End the War

[Undersigned by representatives of member groups.]


Resolution Promoting Peaceful Resolution of US-Iran Issues

The Sacramento City Council directs the Clerk to send the following resolution to the President of the United Stated of America and the United States Congress:

1. That the Sacramento City Council supports a peaceful, diplomatic means to resolve the tensions between the United States and Iran as a result of Iran’s nuclear program.

2. That the Sacramento City Council calls for direct, unconditional negotiations between the United States and Iran with the goal of finding and implementing a peaceful resolution.

3. That the Sacramento City Council is opposed to preemptive military action by any nation against Iran.

4. That the Sacramento City Council calls for a renewed effort at all levels – people-to-people, interfaith groups, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and government – to help the United States and Iran eliminate the tensions that have existed between our two nations and to unite the American and Iranian people in a common effort to solve the problems of poverty, illness, and climate change.

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