To the editors:
The Neighborhood News story on Chicago’s Peace Conversion Commission [August 19] correctly conveyed our mission–preparing a plan for the conversion of any prohibited nuclear weapons facilities to peaceful and productive uses. However, it gives the unfortunate impression that the city does not support this work. While our budget is small, we are currently receiving excellent cooperation from the city, particularly its Department of Economic Development and its Commissioner, Timothy Wright. At our recent public hearings Commissioner Wright pointed out how the goals of his department and of our Conversion Commission tie together. He testified to the negative impact of bloated military budgets on Chicago’s citizens and businesses. “Local development, here and in cities around the country, can surge forward if and when federal resources are freed up for domestic priorities.”
The Peace Conversion Commission’s goal is to work with city agencies and any affected facilities in preparing a conversion plan which will not adversely affect either workers or business but which, on the contrary, will aid the long-run economic development of our city. We would all be much better off if economic conversion from military to civilian production were part of national policy. We expect to continue our work and keep Chicago on the cutting edge of progress as the largest nuclear weapon free zone in the U.S.
Bernice R. Bild
Chicago Peace Conversion Commission