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Nuclear Free Act Waived for Library Computers

The Nuclear Free Takoma Committee was against the waiver.

Takoma Park City Council moved to allow a waiver Monday night of the Nuclear Free Zone Act so the Takoma Park Library could purchase Hewlett Packard computers despite the Nuclear Free Takoma Park Committee suggesting the waiver be denied.

The act prohibits the Takoma Park from doing business with companies who also produce nuclear arms.

The current computers cannot support the upgrades provided by Userful, which runs the library's system.

The Takoma Park City Council has waived the Nuclear Free Zone Act twice, according to Takoma Park City Clerk Jessie Carpenter.

The most recent was in 2002 to allow the procurement of Motorola radio equipment for public safety purposes. The police department began using 800 megahertz radios on the Montgomery County trunked radio system in 2002, Carpenter said.

"The system is a closed system, controlled by [Montgomery] County. Only Motorola equipment is authorized to operate on the system in order to ensure its stability," Carpenter said.

The Nuclear Free Committee reaffirmed the waiver at its meeting on Sept. 6, 2011.

This exception was different because the city was forced to buy Motorola equipment by the county, according to Nuclear Free Takoma Park Committee Chairman Jay Levy.

The committee felt it didn't get enough information from the Takoma Park Library to recommend the wavier.

"When it was first presented there was an open heart to look at the issue," Nuclear Free Takoma Park Committee Member Paul Gunter said. "Reasonable questions not answered."

Committee Member Julie Boddy thought the city had a duty to uphold the Nuclear Free Zone Act.

"The city has a reputation to uphold as a nuclear free city," she said.

But Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams disagreed.

"The reputation we ought to uphold is that we have a viable ordinance," he said.

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