Around Town | July 19, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 19, 2013

Around Town

PEACE OUT ... Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff has withdrawn from the Mayors for Peace, an international organization headquartered in Hiroshima, Japan, after nearly 30 years of Palo Alto mayoral endorsement, he has confirmed. Late Mayor Jim Burch endorsed Mayors for Peace in 1985, after appeals by hundreds of local citizens, according to Paul George executive director of the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center. Prior to Burch's action, the City Council approved a resolution endorsing a freeze on nuclear weapons. But subsequent mayors haven't passed along the mantle. Scharff said he first became aware of the city's membership after receiving emails from the organization to attend a conference in Hiroshima. Scharff said the council did not vote in a resolution to join the group. He strongly believes a city's role is to its constituents. "My job is filling potholes," he said, referring literally to road repairs. If the council were to pass a resolution supporting the membership, Scharff said he would follow that resolution. Flying to Hiroshima at taxpayer expense is also a no-go, he said. But George said the proper response "would be a polite 'no,' not canceling Palo Alto's membership. The bigger question here is a familiar one: Is it appropriate for a city council to take a stand on issues that do not seem to be directly related to city business? ... We live in a representative democracy, and council members are elected representatives. On occasion, those whom they represent will ask to have their voices amplified on important issues of the day. When something means so much to so many local residents, it becomes a local issue, regardless of the broader context. We hope the mayor will reconsider his decision," he said.

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