Nuclear Free Takoma—more than just a statement

Takoma Park has been a nuclear free city since 1983, meaning that the city cannot support any businesses or policies that benefit the nuclear industry.

“It has been 34 years and the law is still going strong,” says Jay Levy, chair of Nuclear Free Takoma.

Levy took the strongest language from various ordinances and compiled them into a draft law of what would become the Nuclear Free Ordinance.

The law was amended to include a committee to help enforce the policy by making recommendations to the city council for socially conscious investments and purchases.

Their most recent recommendation was to divest from SunTrust bank, a suggestion the city has agreed to take.

“SunTrust has loaned out millions, if not billions to numerous nuclear related industries,” said Levy.

The recent choice is just one victory in the committee’s 34-year long run. There have been less than half a dozen exceptions to the law, the most notable ones being the inclusion of new library computers and Motorola police scanners.

Motorola is a company that is on the no-buy list due to its strong ties to the nuclear industry. These particular scanners, however, were required by the county in order to synchronize each fire department and police station.

“There is a waiver in the Nuclear Free Ordinance in case of emergency,” explained Levy.

City Attorney Susan Silber and Nuclear Free Zone Committee chair Jay Levy

Although the committee will always serve as a watchdog, they also are dedicated to community outreach.

With the new administration, along with Obama-era policies in place that allowed the creation of more direct nuclear weaponry, the committee wants to help educate the public.

Levy has spoken at the United Nations and various peace conferences around the world, all on his own dollar.

“They aren’t spending a lot of money to enforce the law, and it has given us a wider audience,” Levy said.

The committee primarily stays in Takoma Park, but has worked in the district and cooperates with anyone around the world interested in Takoma Park’s nuclear free model. When Levy was creating the draft law he wanted to go far beyond nuclear free zone activities of different municipalities.

“Many declare themselves nuclear free, but it was more of a philosophy than an actual law, which forbid anything,” said Levy. “It was just a statement.”

3 Comments on "Nuclear Free Takoma—more than just a statement"

  1. Once Takoma Park switches to Montgomery County’s new Project 25 radio system in a year or two, Motorola will no longer have a stronghold on the supply. But the county will likely insist on Motorola radios, ‘just because.’ But there are several competitors now for Project 25 radios, don’t let the county dup Takoma Park into thinking the city must have Motorola radios.

    The whole part of Project 25 was to create industry standards to avoid single-vendor contracts.

    Jurisdictions in Prince George’s County are facing the same problem. Some want to use non-Motorola radios on the county’s Project 25 radio network. But the vendors are offering to support and guarantee the radios even if the county will not.

    Best part is that the off-brand radios cost a fraction of the Motorola ones and quality is improving, hopefully… at least ask for a demo.

  2. Jeanne Duberstein | July 13, 2017 at 11:52 pm |

    Way to go Takoma Park Jeanne Duberstein

  3. Kitty Tucker | July 17, 2017 at 1:52 pm |

    SunTrust Bank granted loans and other forms of backing to Nuclear Weapons corporations in excess of EIGHTEEN BILLION DOLLARS from 2011 to Oct. 2016, according to records of the website Don’t Bank on the Bomb. from Nuclear Free Commitee of Takoma Park, MD member Kitty Tucker

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