Guest opinion: Imagine Pleasanton as a City of Peace | August 31, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - August 31, 2012

Guest opinion: Imagine Pleasanton as a City of Peace

by Fred Norman

I propose the creation of a new commission for the city of Pleasanton. I refer to it here as the Pleasanton Peace Commission. Volunteers representing a cross-section of Pleasanton's population will staff it. Its purpose is to nurture the concepts of peace and non-violence.

Examples of its duties might include sponsoring lectures and writing contests in the community, especially in the schools, working with peace groups and veterans to promote peace and veterans' well-being, working with police departments and schools to promote non-violence and tolerance among students, and even something as simple as marching in a parade under the banners of peace.

Its exact duties, of course, will be determined by its membership and city guidelines, but its mission is to make Pleasanton into the premier City of Peace and Non-Violence in America, a city to which other cities and governments look for advice and guidance on these subjects, a city of which we can all be proud.

The Pleasanton Peace Commission is not meant to be an anti-war commission. I have strong anti-war beliefs, and I detest the illegal and immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that have killed so many American military and innocent civilians, and continue to do so, and I detest drones, and I detest our armies fighting in Africa and the Philippines and Colombia, and I cringe when I think of the legacy I'm leaving for my grandchildren, but the Pleasanton Peace Commission is not Fred Norman. Instead, it is Pleasanton. The only criterion for being on the commission is the desire to promote peace and non-violence, and there are many people in Pleasanton who have that desire. Because of my radical views, I may not be asked to serve on such a commission, but I will proudly support those who do.

Imagine what an effective Peace Commission might do. Pleasanton is a city that strongly supports the troops, but I see little sign of Pleasanton opposing the wars. Imagine a city that supports the troops and at the same time, and as loudly, opposes the wars that kill and maim the troops, and the loudness comes about as a result of Peace Commission activities. Imagine schools in which the Peace Commission roams the halls as freely as military recruiters do now, its commissioners offering and explaining options to students who feel the military is their only path to success. Imagine constructive opposition to violent video games. Imagine the elimination of bullying. Imagine a city led by the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus Christ. This is the city that I see in my imagination.

Pleasanton has historically formed and used commissions and committees to make it the wonderful place in which to live that it is today. For instance, think of the Civic Arts Commission when you're enjoying an event at the Firehouse Arts Center. Think of the Library Commission when you visit the library. And now, think of peace and non-violence. What might a Peace Commission do for Pleasanton and for our country? The choice is ours. Please contact the Pleasanton City Council to express your views.

--Fred Norman, a 22-year Pleasanton resident, is a U.S. military veteran with 10 years service in the Marines and Air Force and a published author who now writes only on peace and anti-war themes.


Posted by Nomad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Fred - in one sentence you say this is not an anti-war commission and later say that to be effective it would loudly oppose the wars. Make up your mind before wasting tax payer dollars with your proposal.
I would support you taking all the commission members first to Chicago, home of the President and bring peace to that city. And if any are left, go to the Middle East and show the religion of peace, what that looks like.
Being 'loud' here isn't going to make Pleasanton any more peaceful. It just might produce the opposite of what you are intending.

Posted by peace thru strength, a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 16, 2012 at 8:09 pm

yes, given that peace is achieved thru strength, i propose that pleasanton be the site of a nuclear missles, a new strategic defence and intelligence base, several training camps for all branches of the military, and very tight restrictions on coming into and leaving pleasanton.

to hell with the pacifists who just "hope" everyone will just get along. strengthen our military, promote more freedom throughout the world, and America will be safer.

btw: what is the obama doctrine? bend over and apologize to our enemies? how's that working out?

Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Sep 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Indeed, obamas pacifist, let's all get along approach is naive at best, but considering the state of the world today, he borders on treason.
No one respects a pussyfist since they don't respect themselves.

Posted by really?, a resident of Hacienda Gardens
on Sep 16, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Mr. Norman- I certainly respect your service and your opinion, but there is NO WAY IN HELL I want my tax dollars going to some kumbaya commission that has no ability to do anything other than get together, hold hands, and sing. why don't we make Pleasanton the world's leader in green energy? how 'bout the world leader in organic foods? or better yet, the world's leader in lead free paint? let's start taxpayer funded commissions for all the them!


Posted by peace thru strength, a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 17, 2012 at 6:43 am

Agreed Mr. Really,
I submit that if we follow Mr. Norman's recommendation, that Pleasanton will actually become a target of our enemies.

Mr. Norman's naivete is breathtaking and dangerous.

Posted by Jim Toobin, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2012 at 7:55 am

Didn't all that peace and love stuff go away with the 60s? Free market capitalism demands that its citizens be prepared to contribute to war efforts by giving their lives. War to expand property, oil, hegemony, markets, values, and ideas. It's a beautiful thing to die for capitalism.

Posted by Freedom..., a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2012 at 9:21 am

Hey Jim ... This country was built on Free Market Capitalism! and you better Thank from the bottom of your heart those patriots willing to fight and die for your Freedom! If it weren't for them we would be all wearing the same clothes (gray), driving the same cars (tiny electric), making the same salary (minimum wage), staring at paintings of our "dear leader" on every street corner, the same news cast on every channel telling us how our "dear leader" is saving us, having one child per family (a boy), afraid to speak what's on your mind, have free health care (if you don't die first), living in tent cities .... I better stop it's beginning to sound familiar ... God Bless American Exceptionalism!

Posted by Jim Toobin, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2012 at 9:33 am

Of course, I'd be first in line to volunteer that my kids forfeit their lives for my right to shop. That's what the Romney family has done, after all, with all his military age boys serving us proudly in the Middle East. I'll tell ya, the thought of my older brother dying in Vietnam for our shopping rights just sends a warm tingle all the way down my spine. And all the brave ones who died recently in Iraq defending America's exceptional right to take oil whenever and wherever it wants too. And all the PTSD cases; and brain trauma injuries. Yes, all because our Christian Founding Fathers wrote free market capitalism into our Constitution. Fill her up premium!

Posted by Freedom..., a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2012 at 10:04 am

Jim... It's too bad you don't appreciate your FREEDOM! ... God Bless your brother and God Bless everyone who has given there life for this Country!

It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you. - M. Grundler

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself. ~Thomas Paine

Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves. ~D.H. Lawrence

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. ~George Bernard Shaw

You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man's freedom. You can only be free if I am free. - Clarence Darrow

Posted by Jim Toobin, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2012 at 10:21 am

My brother did not die for his country. He died for America's desire to control a region so that God-loving capitalist corporations could go in and its natural resources. Fortunately, the US is filled with platitude gushing patriots who are all too willing to repeat history's tragedies. (But of course we know that the loudest platitude gushers are also the cowardly ones who avoid combat at all expense.) BTW, since you're gushing platitudes, why are you citing ones that have no relevance to capitalism and its always present need to expand by military means?

Posted by Freedom..., a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2012 at 10:43 am

Jim ... feel FREE to blame Kennedy and Johnson for your brother's death ... you are FREE to do so ...

as far as Capitalism is concerned there are two quotes that sum it up for me ...

“What kind of society isn't structured on greed? The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm; capitalism is that kind of a system” - Milton Friedman

“Capitalism is what people do if you leave them alone” - Kenneth Minoque


Have a Great Day...

Posted by Jim Toobin, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2012 at 11:41 am

My brother died during the Vietnam War shortly after Nixon started bombing Cambodia.

Thanks for the platitudes from those great Founding Fathers of the US, Milton Friedman and K. Minoque, the former having correctly argued that capitalism is most compatible with rightwing dictatorships such as that of Pinochet in Chile. But of course you've never read Friedmam; you just thought the quote was cool, right? Are you going to put streamers on your bike this afternoon, or are you going to put a bubblegum tattoo on your knee? Aren't 5th graders supposed to be in school today? Where are your parents? You must have broken their hearts....

Posted by Freedom..., a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

Predictable ... here comes the name calling, belittlement and the pompous I'm more educated than you crap!!

Don't have to read it ... Lived It my friend and I appreciate my FREEDOM and this great country!

Learn to appreciate your FREEDOM young man...

Have a Great Day ...

Posted by Jim Toobin, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Well, he isn't able to discuss Friedman or the Founding Fathers or capitalism's cozy relationship with rightwing dictators or Pinochet or anything else of substance. No, we're left with FREEDumb. Like I say, what a parental heartbreak this guy must be.

Posted by Freedom..., a resident of Downtown
on Sep 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm


Exercise your freedom... take a risk, start a business, grow a business, get out of your mom's basement, get your head out of a book, make a friend, raise a family, get out of your comfort zone, fight for something , get a bloody nose, volunteer ... take advantage of our Great Country!

Have a Great Day...

Posted by Jim noobin, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Freedom, love your posts.
Something tells me that Jim has had more than one bloody nose in his lifetime with his attitude and the big chip on his shoulder (not to mention the childish name calling). That's the way many leftists roll.

Posted by KPETRY, a resident of Mohr Park
on Sep 19, 2012 at 1:09 am

If you want to help find peace, start by helping our children who attend schools where bullying and being stalked is a way of life and where school administration doesn't give a damn and aren't even held to the board approved district policies. It's a joke if you aren't one of the school's chosen ones and the superintendent only has time to help the families of friends of other staff members while others of us are flat ignored.

These children, mine included, are getting used to burying their friends who have been lost because our community and district let them down. My child has lost three times the number of friends I Have even though shes a teen and im almost 50. These children shouldnt be dying and i am pleading with you to Use funds to create peace ar our schools for ALL students, not the chosen few. Let's help our kids find some peace and provide them the safest places to learn and where they can be at peace. I can't think of another group more deserving, not that PUSD cares.