BERKELEY, Calif. – Local officials in this liberal city say it's time for the U.S. Marines to move out.
The City Council has voted to tell the Marines their downtown recruiting station is not welcome and "if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome guests."
The measure passed this week by a vote of 8-1.
The council also voted to explore enforcing a city anti-discrimination law, focusing on the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
In a separate item, the council voted, also 8-1, to give protest group Code Pink a parking space in front of the recruiting office once a week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting once a week.
Marine Capt. Richard Lund of the recruiting office declined comment on the council action.
The recruiting office opened in Berkeley about a year ago, operating quietly until about four months ago when Code Pink began regular sidewalk protests.
"I believe in the Code Pink cause. The Marines don't belong here, they shouldn't have come here, and they should leave," said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates.
Code Pink is circulating petitions to get a measure on the ballot in November making it more difficult to open military recruiting offices in Berkeley if they are near homes, parks, schools, churches, libraries or health clinics.
Some employees and business owners aren't happy with the weekly protests.
"My husband's business is right upstairs, and this (protesting) is bordering on harassment," Dori Schmidt told the council. "I hope this stops."