published by WISE News Communique on June 22, 1990
(334.3337) WISE Amsterdam - In a 27 April ruling, Judge John Vukasin found that the ordinance interfered with the federal government's constitutional authority over national defense, atomic energy and shipments of hazardous materials. According to Oakland City Attorney Jayne Williams some of the positions in the opinion "go to the heart of ...local control and a municipality's ability to enact socially responsible legislation."
Oakland's Nuclear Free Zone, one of 163 in the US, limits nuclear-related work in the city, identifies acceptable routes, sets standards and demands public notification for the transport of nuclear materials, and gives preference to investments and purchases of goods and services from companies not involved with nuclear weapons - this goes well beyond the symbolic.
The Ordinance was passed by referendum in November 1988 with 57 percent of the vote.
In court documents, the federal government acknowledged that the city of Oakland is the West Coast's hub and that radioactive components of nuclear weapons are regularly transported through its streets, highways and port. The government's lawyers claimed the ordinance would "substantially disrupt and interfere with the military's network of supply, storage, transfer, repair and research of nuclear weapons". The city will soon decide whether to appeal the court ruling.
The federal suit is one of two NFZ suits faced by the city of Oakland. In May 1989, the Pacific Legal Foundation, a front for US corporate interests, filed suit on behalf of several private businesses and individuals who claimed that their businesses would suffer and that "national security" would be threatened as a result of the ordinance. That case is yet to be heard.
Source: "Guardian (US)", 23 May 1990, p7.