SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The Santa Cruz City Council (search) is considering becoming the first local government in the country to ask Congress to look into impeaching President Bush.
"It seems to us as lay people and elected officials that Bush has committed impeachable offenses," Vice Mayor Scott Kennedy said Tuesday.
Specifically, city leaders say Bush violated international treaties by going to war in Iraq, and that the president manipulated public fears to justify the war and undercut constitutional rights.
If approved by a majority of the council later Tuesday, the city of Santa Cruz would be the first community in the country calling for Bush's ouster.
Political stands aren't unusual here.
A year ago, Santa Cruz became the first of what would swell to 165 city councils to oppose the war against Iraq. Santa Cruz was also one of more than 100 cities declaring its opposition to the Patriot Act (search).
In April, the city and county of Santa Cruz sued the Drug Enforcement Administration (search) and Attorney General John Ashcroft, marking the first time a public entity has sued the federal government on behalf of patients who need medical marijuana (search).
White House spokesman Ken Lisaius, responding to Santa Cruz's current proposal, said Tuesday that the president "welcomes the fact that we live in a democracy and that people are free to make their opinions known."
"The president understands that peaceful protest in any form is the strength of our democracy," said Lisaius. "That being said, it's important to point out that there are large numbers of people in this country who very much support this president and what this president is doing to keep Americans and the people of the world safe."
Francis Boyle, a University of Illinois law professor who has founded a national "Impeach Bush (search)" campaign, said local city council resolutions can have a significant impact in grass roots movements. Anti-apartheid resolutions, among others, have sparked policy reforms, he said.
"I think this will take off too, and a lot of cities will give serious consideration to what Santa Cruz has done," he said in advance of the council meeting.
Arcata, another California coastal community about 350 miles to the north, will be considering a similar resolution calling for impeachment next month.
Mark Primack, an architect by trade and the lone voice of opposition on the Santa Cruz City Council, has urged his colleagues to focus on local, not national, issues.
But Boyle said Bush's policies are everyone's issues.
"President Bush wants to waste another $87 billion in Iraq," he said. "That could pay for a lot of stop signs in Santa Cruz."