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[whitespace] Forum Fury

Woolsey defends her war vote

By Greg Cahill

IT AIN'T EASY being a liberal in these volatile times: At a Santa Rosa High School forum on Sunday afternoon, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, defended her decision to back a congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against nations that support or harbor terrorists. Woolsey, a devout liberal in one of the most liberal districts in the Bay Area, admitted that the vote was a "difficult" personal decision. However, Woolsey said she wanted to stand firm against terrorism and insisted that the resolution doesn't give Bush carte blanche to wage war.

Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland cast the sole vote in the U.S. Congress against the resolution. Several of Woolsey's constituents expressed concern that military action will harm innocent civilians and further inflame anti-American sentiments.

In a published statement issued before the forum, Woolsey noted, "Clearly, these attacks demand justice, and it is essential that when the United States responds, we do it in a measured and deliberate way. We don't need to be the cowboy here. We need to work with the full support and cooperation of the international community."

Throughout the North Bay, hundreds of California Air and Army National Guard personnel, along with armed forces reservists, awaited call-up to active duty in the event the United States commences additional military operations overseas.

Meanwhile, the North Bay this week experienced firsthand the heightened security put in place after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. On Sept. 21, Santa Rosa police evacuated 30 homes after the FBI identified a possible link between a stolen Golden Gate Transit bus found in Santa Rosa and the theft in Sacramento of several barrels of highly explosive rocket fuel. The FBI is investigating the incidents. The night before, low-flying jets rattled nerves in Petaluma when two U.S. fighter jets buzzed the city after a small private plane reportedly switched off its transponder and "slipped off the radar." Authorities had assumed the plane had made an unauthorized landing at the local airport. Police questioned two pilots who had landed before the F-16s arrived. No arrests were made.

Protest Planned

OPPOSITION to a widescale, indiscriminate U.S. military action in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is mounting in the North Bay, where several antiwar demonstrations already have taken place. On Saturday, Sept. 29, a Women's March Against War is scheduled in conjunction with a National Day of Action against an armed solution to the current world crisis. The protest, at 11 a.m., will begin at the Federal Building, 777 Sonoma Ave. E., Santa Rosa. It is being organized by the Purple Berets, a Sonoma County women's advocacy group. In a Sept. 24 press release, the group noted that while members are "shocked and saddened by the events of Sept. 11," the Purple Berets are no less shocked by "the insistent drumbeat pulling the nation irrevocably toward war. . . . As women dedicated to the struggle for women's equality and liberation, we know that struggle is never served by military action, and cannot ignore the effect of such a war on the innocent women and children of the region." For details, call 707/887-0262.

Health Costs on the Rise

HOLD ON to your wallet: health-insurance costs are climbing in the North Bay. With no new state or federal dollars expected for a bailout, a summit meeting of Sonoma County business and healthcare industry leaders last week concluded that insurance premiums will rise and patients can expect higher copayments, responsibility for paying a larger share of premium costs, and a shift away from the managed care that some say brought costs down in the 1990s.

Meanwnhile, it also was announced last week that Medicare HMOs in several California counties--including Marin--will withdraw service from seniors next year, forcing the elderly to seek more expensive insurance coverage. PacifiCare, the second largest Medicare HMO provider in the state, plans to withdraw its Secure Horizons Medicare HMO coverage completely from the eight California counties it serves.

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From the September 27-October 3, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

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