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L.A. City Council calls for U.S. to end Afghanistan, Iraq wars

Janice The Los Angeles City Council called Tuesday for the federal government to end its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying money for those foreign wars should be invested instead in cities and other domestic needs.

The 12 to 1 vote puts the nation’s second-largest city on record in support of any legislation that would pay for the “safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and contractors,” according to the resolution. That view will now be incorporated into the city’s lobbying strategy in Washington, D.C.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who is running for Congress in a special election on Tuesday, said she had heard voters repeatedly express fatigue with the nation’s overseas combat missions. “This country, I believe, is war-weary,” she added.

The lone opposing vote came from Councilman Mitchell Englander, who took office on Friday, replacing eight-year veteran Councilman Greig Smith in a district that covers the northwest San Fernando Valley. Englander said he agrees with the idea of “bringing the troops home safe” but said City Hall should be focused on trimming trees, paving streets and stimulating economic development -- not national policy matters.

“I don’t think it’s the role of local government to weigh in on a federal issue,” he said.

The council’s vote took place two weeks after the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which currently lists Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as its president, took its own vote calling on President Obama and Congress to “speed up the ending” of the two wars -- and reallocate the funds toward job creation at home.

The city’s resolution also calls for cuts to non-essential funding in the Defense Department, without specifying what those are or how much money could be saved.

Councilman Paul Koretz, who co-authored the proposal with Councilman Bill Rosendahl, said the war in Iraq “never made sense.” He also argued that the U.S. has achieved its goals in Afghanistan by disrupting the terrorist group Al Qaeda and tracking down the terrorist Osama bin Laden, who was killed two months ago in a U.S. operation.

“These wars are now pretty pointless,” he said.

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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Councilwoman Janice Hahn. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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