Day by Day

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Alcatraz - The Center for Peace

So far, over 10,000 individuals have signed a petition to remove the famous prison from the island and replace it with a Peace Center.

I'm not sure WHY they want that spot.

For one thing, I wonder about the symbolism of building a Peace Center that is accessible only by ferry - is Peace inaccessible to most?

Apparently, the plan would cost one BILLION dollars. Again, not sure of how it costs one billion dollars, but then, when you factor in inevitable governmental cost overruns, it could easily be another quarter-billion above that.

From the Reuters' news article:
San Francisco voters will decide on Tuesday whether to remove the famous Alcatraz Prison visited by thousands of tourists a day and instead create a "global peace centre."

The proposition sharing the presidential primary ballot comes from the director of the California-based Global Peace Foundation who gives his name as Da Vid. He says transforming Alcatraz will "liberate energies, raising the whole consciousness of the Bay Area."

Supporters would like to raze the prison and build a medicine wheel, a labyrinth and a conference centre for non-violent conflict resolution. Volunteers collected 10,350 voter signatures last year to put it on the local ballot.

But even in a city long famed for its embrace of counterculture, many are sceptical about he plan.

"Perhaps we haven't reached the proper stage of enlightenment yet, but we're more inclined to support propositions with defined sources of funding attached to them," the San Francisco Chronicle said in an editorial.

Alcatraz is San Francisco's second-most popular paid tourist attraction after cable cars, luring 1.4 million visitors annually on a short ferry ride into San Francisco Bay.

To sceptics Da Vid responds: "Like John Lennon, I may be a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

Good news - the voters defeated the plan... 72% against. Ouch. Well, at least they gave Peace a chance.

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