ANN ARBOR - Ann Arbor will soon have a new sister city in Nicaragua. It all began last spring when a group of Ann Arborites involved in Central American issues, started talking about how to get such a relationship established. The group chose the citizen ballot initiative process as a way to bypass City Council and put this issue directly before the Ann Arbor voters as it was feit that the high profile of an election campaign would be educational for the citizens of Ann Arbor, and that traditional rumblings about City Council looking into international issues could be avoided. The proposed ordinance: "Initiatives for Peace in Central America" was fashioned after an initiative which had recently passed in Seattle. The fïndings section made the following eight points: l.Vast expenditures are made in Central America which only increase the bloodshed there, while beneficial programs at home are cut back; 2. The U.S. government supports regimes where gross human rights abuses continue; 3.0ur tax dollars fund the contra terrorists; 4. The massive U S. arms build-up and maneuvers in Honduras are destabilizing that country; 5. The U.S. is supporting the ongoing aerial bombing of civilians in rural El Salvador; 6. The U.S. is undermining the neutrality of Costa Rica; 7. The U.S. is engaging in actions illegal under International Law; 8. The people of Ann Arbor, as citizens and taxpayers share in the responsibility for these actions. The ordinance itself has two sections. The first directed the city clerk to convey a statement to our representatives in Washington, declaring that the people of Ann Arbor cali for constructive, not destructive uses of our tax money in Central America, that we support self-determination in Central America, that we respect International Law and the World Court, we oppose military aid to the región, and that we oppose the efforts to overthrow the government of Nicaragua. Section Two established the Sister City Task Force to expedite sister city relations with a city or cities in Central America. To put the issue on the city ballot, 4,000 valid signatures of Ann Arbor voters had to be obtained. It was a lot of work, but many people came out to help, and we did (sce Sister, page 8) Update Sister (Continued f rom page 3) iL Next was the campaign. No group was willing to debate the issues with us. It got to the point where we were sccking someone to argue against our proposal so that we could make a presentation before such groups as the League of Women Voters (which requires that both sides be presented.) The Arm Arbor News , which had previously endorscd Reagan, endorsed our proposal. Come election day, we won handily with 61%. The Ann Arbor News cited strong bipartisan support. The Central America Sister City Task Forcé has been meeting since May to establish the structure for our sister city relations. Alter much discussion we recently decided to invite the city of Juigalpa, Nicaragua, to enter into a sister city relationship with us. As this paper goes to press we are awaiting word from the Mayor of Juigalpa to formalize the relationship. While our federal govemment is waging war against the people of Nicaragua, Ann Arbor has voted to establish peace and mutual cooperation with the people of Nicaragua. In the future there will bc local projects in support of the relationship. We also hope to establish friendship relations in El Salvador and Guatemala. The nature of these relationships is under discussion at our meetings, which are open to public participation. We have invited our current Congressman Cari Pursell to meet with us to discuss Ann Arbor and the issue of Central America, and to let him know what his constituents are doing. This body is a city commission, and while Pursell has not refused the request of the commission, he has not been in any way cooperative.
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