Berkeley's public library will face a showdown with the city's Peace and Justice Commission tonight over whether a service contract for the book check-out system violates the city's nuclear-free ordinance.
The dispute centers on a five-year, $63,000 contract the library wants to sign with 3M, an international technology company based in Minnesota, to service five scanner machines library patrons use to check out books.
But 3M, a company with operations in 60 countries, refused to sign Berkeley's nuclear-free disclosure form as required by the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act passed by voters in 1986.
As a result, the library's self-checkout machines have not been serviced in about six months. Library officials say 3M is the only company authorized by the manufacturer to fix the machines, which were purchased in 2004.
The library asked the Peace and Justice Commission for a waiver, but at its Jan. 5 meeting the commission voted 7-1, with two abstentions, to reject the request. The library is now appealing the decision to the City Council.
For starters, I have difficulty understanding the purpose of a city's Peace and Justice Commission. It just sounds too much like South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, the purpose of which was to air out the truth hidden by decades of apartheid. Berkeley sounds a bit too--what's the word here? Arrogant?
And they're going to let the library falter because a company won't sign a form bowing to Berkeley's crazy political philosophies. Brilliant! I hope there's more of this.