.Council Passes Resolution For Peace, Declines To Call For Ceasefire

The Santa Cruz City Council meeting erupted in emotion early Wednesday morning as attendees supporting a council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Gaza war lambasted the city council for passing an amended version.

At around 3 a.m.—after 10 hours of a public comment period that began at 5 p.m.—the city council passed a resolution in a 5-2 vote that did not call for a ceasefire, but “affirmed our shared humanity and wish for peace,” and emphasized the city’s commitment to peace. 

The original resolution, drafted by council members Sonja Brunner and Sandy Brown, included language supporting a ceasefire. On Dec. 9, the city council directed Brunner and Brown to draft a resolution that delineated the city’s stance on the Israel-Gaza war. The direction came in response to hours of public comment where attendees called upon the council to formally declare a ceasefire.

The initial version of the resolution called for “a permanent, sustainable, and immediate ceasefire by all parties such that a future can be created where Palestinians and Israelis can live together with dignity in peace, equality, and justice.” Additionally, it urged for the release of all hostages and for humanitarian aid to be let into Gaza.

Around 300 people spoke during public comment, with the majority making statements supportive of the ceasefire resolution as it was originally drafted.

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Sometime around 3 a.m., council member Scott Newsome made a motion to replace the original resolution with a substitute version drafted ahead of the meeting. No language related to a ceasefire was included in that version.

In response, pro-Palestinian activists in attendance then proceeded to shout at the council members in a show of dismay over the move. In a video posted to Palestine Solidarity Central Coast’s Instagram page, people can be heard in the council chambers yelling and denouncing individual council members.

There were multiple police officers at the meeting, and as the crowd became agitated, officers stepped in to clear the chambers. During the uproar, individuals in the crowd also threw objects at council members. 

“Officers were on scene all night, people were throwing food and their signs,” said Santa Cruz Police Department spokesperson Joyce Blaschke.

Blaschke also said that two windows were broken inside the council chambers. 

After the chambers were cleared, the council approved Newsome’s motion and proceeded to vote on the amended resolution. The council voted to pass a ‘Peace Resolution.’ Brunner and Brown opposed the resolution.

Mayor Fred Keeley was among those that voted in favor of the amended ‘Peace Resolution.’

“We received 10 hours of testimony on both sides of this and then the council made their decision. I’m comfortable with the decision I made. I very much support peace in the Middle East. I think it is a resolution that makes it clear that Santa Cruz is on the side of peace. I can also understand the disappointment of those who wanted a ceasefire resolution rather than a peace resolution,” Keely said.

“I took the vote that I’m comfortable with that states my values,” he said.

Meanwhile Brown said she was disappointed with the vote’s outcome.

“It’s hard to find words to describe the feeling of last night’s council meeting. Of course I was disappointed by the outcome, after spending so much time in dialogue to try to craft a resolution that responded to differing perspectives and concerns. However, I’m heartened that so many people showed up (many standing outside in the rain and cold for over 7 hours) to share their experiences and pain over the violence, suffering, and profound humanitarian crisis unfolding in Palestine and Israel,” said Brown. 

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Brown and Brunner for doing the right thing in opposing genocide. This disappointing (although not surprising outcome) from the City Council confirms what we already know about those in power here. Let’s get to organizing and voting more compassionate and progressive folks into office!

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  2. I’m disgusted by the City Council’s lack of a spine. How could anyone find fault with Brunner and Brown’s original resolution? What the council burped out has the whiff of an oxymoron to it, and it seriously stinks.

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  3. People warned the council that this issue would increase divisiveness in the city and it absolutely has. Unfortunately most of the people in the audience have a limited understanding of the role and impact of local government on international issues. The appropriate place for this to have happened is J Panetta’s office, not city council. Now these disappointed people are claiming the city council members are pro genocide which is entirely false. Just because you want the conflict to end (we all do) doesn’t mean council can do anything about it. This symbolic and completely performative gesture has ripped our community apart. Peace starts at home.

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    • Appreciating your point. Peace does start at home and within and also hearing you about J Panetta’s office, not city council being the appropriate place for this. I am personally Pro-humanity, peace and not for this war, or any war in any way.
      I am also curious about how all that is unfolding currently appears to be being used as weapons of mass division & distraction, when we have a great need to find and nurture common ground. I can identifyand empathize with the anger, sadness and natural outrage at the violence and disdain for human life we’ve been witnessing in the Israel/Palestine-Gaza war and I ask us, is acting in violence, throwing signs and dividing further amongst our own communities really us? Is this the peace we seek?

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  4. 81% of the comments were in support of the Ceasefire Resolution. The majority of commenters in support of the resolution were from marginalized backgrounds. After 10 hours of public comment going until 3AM. Council members (except Sonja and Sandy) did not even discuss the resolution or acknowledge public comments but instead outright rejected the proposed Ceasefire Resolution which included community input from all sides on the issue.

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Aiyana Moya
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