Arcata’s status as a self-proclaimed sanctuary for conscientious objectors and others opposed to the Persian Gulf War lasted just a week.
The City Council in the Humboldt County college town voted Wednesday to rescind its resolution, passed just hours after the war began, declaring that Arcata would not support the conflict. The resolution had said the good offices of the city would not be used to further the war, and it offered haven to soldiers who opposed the fighting.
Most of the council members remain opposed to the war, but a long week of protests, town meetings, soul-searching and even death threats forced them to back off the declaration.
More than 5,000 people signed petitions demanding that the sanctuary vote be dropped, and almost 1,000 people in the town of 15,000 showed up Wednesday for a town meeting to debate the point. Some residents said they endorsed the anti-war statement but disliked the idea of the town being viewed as not supporting the personal sacrifice made by troops who volunteered for war duty.
Since last week’s sanctuary declaration, some Arcata shops have been boycotted and some residents have purchased newspaper ads to say they were embarrassed.
Compiled by Times staff writer Eric Malnic from staff and wire reports.