MARYLAND

Takoma Park makes exception to nuclear-free policy

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The purchase of upgraded computers for Takoma Park Library has sparked a debate about the community's nuclear-free policy.

About 130 communities nationwide have such an ordinance. But, Takoma Park is considered one of the most restrictive.

Ellen Arnold-Robbins, the Takoma Park Library director, said "It was HP (Hewlett-Packard) computers, and we didn't know it until they arrived."

Hewlett-Packard might be a popular line of computers for some consumers, but it's a red flag for the Takoma Park community.

The library says the delivery came through its longtime vendor, Userful.

Nuclear-Free Takoma Park Committee Chair Jay Levy explained, "From a pencil to a police car, nothing can be purchased from a company that's a nuclear weapons producer or contracted with the government."

Since Hewlett-Packard had ties with U.S. nuclear weapons programs, the company went against the city's nuclear-free ordinance.

The issue went to city officials who discussed and voted for a rare waiver after public input.

Takoma Park City Council Member said, "Our library staff did do the due diligence necessary. They did the research, and they established that there wasn't any alternative."

The decision to allow the computers to stay was met with opposition from the Nuclear-Free Takoma Park Committee.

Levy said,  "We don't feel that we are totally not vindicated, because the granting of the waiver was specifically for this current one time only purchase."

The city's nuclear-free policy has been in place since the 1980s. Many say it's a system that's been working for them, and it makes the community unique."

Levy added, "It's making a statement about nuclear weapons producers, and it's not gumming up the works of our city government's concern."

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