ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Our View: Nukes treaty doomed — by Duluth City Hall?

From the editorial: "Constituents clearly want their councilors concentrating on us and our needs here. ... Work and razor-sharp focus are needed on our local challenges, and that can ... start with the council."

032023.op.dnt.nuketoon.jpg
Luojie/Cagle Cartoons

You can bet the international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is doomed now that the Duluth City Council, with a 4-4 tie vote last week, failed to support it.

Wait, nuclear weapons? The Duluth City Council? With ongoing snowplowing challenges, early springtime potholes everywhere, a caved-in roof at the mall, and violent crime continuing to grab headlines here, what are nuclear disarmament and the Duluth City Council even doing in the same sentence?

You wonder.

OK, in fairness, well-meaning local peace advocates brought the issue to our councilors, who didn’t ignore their legitimate and serious concerns. And who among us isn’t opposed to the possibility of a nuclear armageddon?

But every moment our elected councilors spend on matters over which they have no control or say is a moment they’re not spending on issues closer to home over which they have all the control and say — where distractions can’t be allowed to take away from their thoughtful dedication and actions.

ADVERTISEMENT

In 2004, the same Duluth City Council considered a resolution to support the federal legalization of marijuana. In July of that same year, councilors passed a resolution supporting the release of jailed Mamun al-Humsi in Syria. In December 2016, they voted to support pipeline protesters hundreds of miles away in another state. Have there been other instances? Regardless, time spent in Council Chambers those times, like the time eaten up last week by nuclear disarmament, was a “colossal waste of time,” to repeat a sentiment from a 2004 News Tribune editorial.

While an important issue that demands attention federally and globally, nuclear weapons is just not a local issue that should have been allowed to occupy local officials’ time. Some Duluth councilors refreshingly seemed to recognize that this time. The issue’s lack of local relevance was cited as a reason for the votes that rejected the resolution.

The council’s time, attention, and energy had already been wasted, unfortunately, when councilors could have more productively and effectively been working on better delivering basic services, holding down taxes, job creation, economic development, maintaining a healthier business climate, and more.

Constituents clearly want their councilors concentrating on us and our needs here. Duluth is great but far from perfect. Work and razor-sharp focus are needed on our local challenges, and that can always start with the council.

“Any vote or resolution on national or international matters is little more than an exercise in ‘feel good’,” one of those constituents, Darrell Anderson, wrote to the council in the wake of the nuclear-weapons public debate. “Were you elected so that you could politically grandstand, or to address the problems that seem to go unaddressed while you're all too busy grandstanding? …

“How much credibility do you think you really have if you waste time debating meaningless resolutions at the expense of Duluthians and their safety?” Anderson further wrote. “You know in your heart that nothing (you) say or do will prevent, or cause, a nuclear holocaust. But you do have the ability and power to do something about the safety and well-being of the people of Duluth.”

Should the international Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons be signed and enacted, as some Duluth residents want? Perhaps. But the Duluth City Council can’t do it — and shouldn’t waste its time as though it can.

our view.jpg
DNT

What To Read Next
Get Local

ADVERTISEMENT