Letters to the Editor
... input from forum participants


Message for Peace -- Please forward to Rome

March 11th

Friends & Neighbors:

As the Administration rushes to war in Iraq, I am so grateful that at least our City Council, in Resolution 2165, adopted Councilman Garceti's Resolution against the war. Now, however, it appears that even that won't be enough.

Over the weekend, the news reported that the Pope was considering a speech before the UN this week, in opposition to a war.

He does not believe the Administration's proposed war meets the criteria of a just war as set down by the Catholic Church, and in addition that it would create a dangerous rift between Islam and Christiantity. (I am not entirely familiar with the Catholic criteria for a just war, but I do know there are several tests--the war must be defensive against an imminent threat by a power of equal or greater strength, there must be no other option, etc).

Because the Pope is the secular leader of Vatican City, he has this right to speak before the UN, and while almost nothing can stop Bush, perhaps he can. When I sent my initial email, the LA Archdiocese got back to me and recommended that they were most interested in our emails, and we could send them to the US Embassy for the Holy See at:

We can also send them info at:

Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo
202 / 333-7121
202 / 337-4036 fax
Vatican Embassy to the United States
3339 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008

You will find my message below. Feel free to use some or all of it if you want.

By the way, this is entirely my idea -- I am originating it -- so email this to everyone you know.

In peace,

Judith Dancoff
Los Angeles


PS: Regarding the e-mail address stated above ( ) ... when I sent my own message, I received an automatic response stating that the reader would not return until 3/17.

I took it upon myself to call the number we were given, and the person I spoke with in Washington explained that the Vatican itself does not receive e-mails (incredible!), but we can reach them directly by FAX at 011-3906-6988-5378.

The Washington number (for Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo) would also probably be receptive to phone calls, 202 / 333-7121.

The woman who gave me the info seemed very impressed with my opinion, and said she would pass it along. I imagine if she got a lot of phone calls it would definitely impress them.

So, I recommend any and all of the following:

a phone call to Washington
202 / 333-7121 -- phone
a FAX to Washington
202 / 337-4036 -- fax
a FAX to the Vatican
011-3906-6988-5378 -- fax
an e-mail the US Embassy to the Holy See
and an e-mail to the LA Archdiocese

Obviously, if you want someone to receive your message sooner, you should use all the phone numbers or faxes as listed ... but send the emails anyway (even if the email to the Vatican isn't received until Monday).

Here's my original message. Feel free to copy it, in all or part, or to write your own:

----- Original Message -----
From: Judith Dancoff
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2003 11:47 AM


Your Holiness, Pope John Paul:

As a resident of Los Angeles, California, and I am writing today to say that I am so pleased you are considering a speech before the United Nations, to voice your opposition to an American-led war against Iraq.

Of all people living on earth at this moment in history, I believe that you alone have the power to stop President Bush in his ill-conceived rush to war. Like you, I do not believe President Bush's Iraq War meets the criteria of a Just War, and in addition it will create a dangerous rift between Islam and Christianity. There is already enough danger and violence in this world; we do not need more.

By speaking before the United Nations, you will also prove the power of Christ's philosophy of nonviolence, which has influenced such great leaders as Ghandi and Martin Luther King. Though I am Jewish, I have long admired these ideas, and I believe that your speech can and will make the American president realize that WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER.


Respectfully submitted,

Judith Dancoff

Los Angeles, CA

LA City Council Anti-War Resolution
Adopted February 21, 2003




By a vote of 9-4 the Los Angeles City Council passed Councilmember Eric Garcetti's resolution calling on the Bush administration to pursue every diplomatic means available and opposing a unilateral war on Iraq. Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn concurred in the Council's action, signing the resolution the same day, February 21.

Councilmember Garcetti stated: "The City of Los Angeles has a long history of taking brave stands on international issues of conscience. We stood up against apartheid early on in that struggle; we passed resolutions in support of the Baltic Republics during the fall of the Soviet Union. War, moreover, is not only a matter of foreign policy. It will have direct effects on the Los Angeles -- from the hotel workers who will be thrown out of work when a war starts and our tourism industry halts to the federal anti-poverty and housing programs which will disappear as our government pours 9 to 20 billion dollars a month into a war effort."

Councilmember Garcetti continued: "This resolution makes Los Angeles the largest city in the country to pass a resolution opposing unilateral war. Whether in marches and rallies or in City Council meetings, the people's voices have been heard."

On two separate days, City Council chambers was filled to capacity with supporters of the resolution, and thousands of petition signatures were collected by grass-roots activist group Neighbors for Peace and Justice.

The full text of the final resolution, with critical leadership from Councilmembers Ruth Galanter and Tom LaBonge, is below.

The middle resolved paragraph (regarding Homeland Security and HR 764) was voted on as a separate matter and passed unanimously by all 13 members present. The last resolved paragraph (regarding funding for services for the homeless) was introduced as an amendment by Councilmember Jan Perry.

For further information, contact Josh Kamensky at 213 / 473-7013.




WHEREAS, any official position of the City of Los Angeles with respect to legislation, rules, regulations or policies proposed to or pending before a local, state or federal governmental body or agency must have first been adopted in the form of a Resolution by the City Council with the concurrence of the Mayor; and

WHEREAS, the Congressional Budget Office estimates a military action against Iraq will cost the taxpayers of the nation between $9 billion and $13 billion a month, likely resulting in further cuts in federally funded projects and programs that benefit our city and its residents at a time when state and local governments are in crisis; and

WHEREAS, that cost would be borne by the people of the City of Los Angeles, who rely on federal funds for anti-poverty programs, for workforce assistance, for housing, for education programs, for infrastructure, and for the increased demands of homeland security; and

WHEREAS, we recognize that Saddam Hussein has perpetuated great human rights abuses with aims contrary to peace, and that the United Nations Security Council accordingly approved a program of weapons inspections; and

WHEREAS, the strength of NATO and of the United Nations rests on consensus and the rule of law; and

WHEREAS, the United States should make every effort to work within the United Nations framework and leave war as an option of last resort; and

WHEREAS, war in Iraq would take the lives of untold Iraqis, the vast majority of whom would be noncombatants; and

WHEREAS, California is home to more veterans than any other state in the nation, and Los Angeles has 597 employees, including 271 Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers, on military reserve who stand to be called to active duty, and as veterans and patriots these brave men and women know well the consequences of war and the human costs involved; and

WHEREAS, we support and appreciate the U. S. military personnel and law enforcement officials serving at home and abroad against global and local terrorism; and

WHEREAS, this unquestionable pride in and support for these brave men and women, who know well the human costs of war, prevent us from sending them off to war easily or lightly before exhausting all diplomatic means to avoid combat, and

WHEREAS, the Council should work towards improving the quality of life for all and enhancing public safety in Los Angeles and improving the City's ability to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, with the concurrence of the Mayor, that by the adoption of this Resolution, the City of Los Angeles URGES the President of the United States to exhaust all diplomatic options available in dealing with the growing crisis in Iraq and exercise great caution before resorting to using military force; and OPPOSES a unilateral war against Iraq.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, with the concurrence of the Mayor, that by the adoption of this Resolution, the City of Los Angeles hereby includes in its 2003-2004 Federal Legislative Program support for federal funding for the initiatives outlined in correspondence attached to the file and support for H.R. 764, the First Responders Expedited Assistance Act, and any other similar legislation that would provide additional funding to first responders in the City.

RESOLVE to INCLUDE in the City's 2003-2004 Federal Legislative Program SUPPORT for federal legislation that acknowledges that veterans make-up 20% of the homeless on Skid Row; these veterans served our country bravely in past wars, sacrificing their mental and physical health only to be forgotten upon their return and left to fend for themselves; we must remember them and work to help them regain what they have lost. We must dedicate our attention to the needs of the homeless in our city, promote a renewed respect for these brave individuals AND make GREATER EFFORTS TO OBTAIN FUNDING FOR THEM FROM OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT and on a local level through the development of permanent, affordable housing utilizing both Prop 46 and Housing Trust Fund dollars.