The Cambridge City Council has a best-seller on its hands.
The council's civil defense pamphlet, which states the case for nuclear disarmament, is now in a second edition, with 10,000 more free copies ready for distribution. About 30,000 of the pamphlets were circulated throughout the city during the summer.
Requests for copies have come from as far away as Seattle, Wash., and as close as Winthrop. Councilor David Wylie, who, along with councilor Saundra Graham, originally proposed the unconventional brochure, said Monday that a number of cities, including Baltimore, Maryland, Sacramento, California, and Madison Wisc., have expressed interest in using Cambridge's pamphlet as a model for their own civil defense efforts.
The council decided to print the disarmament booklet last spring, after local and state civil defense authorities proposed distributing the federal government's civil defense guidelines. That plan required Cambridge citizens to travel more than 100 miles to Greenfield, Mass., in the event of a nuclear attack.
The idea of driving away from nuclear fallout and to Greenfield, was "partially misleading," Wylie said, because "if Cambridge is the target of a nuclear attack, then we've all had it." Wylie added, "We were determined not to mislead the public, but to give them the unadorned facts."
Council members contended last spring that if the public became informed of the full effects of a nuclear conflict and of the population's chances for survival, it would be more likely to favor disarmament. The federal government's civil defense guidelines gave the impression that most Cambridge residents would find a safe refuge in Greenfield, council members said.
The city has spent less than $6000 on the pamphlet so far, but last week the Cambridge-based Council for a Livable World, a group which advocates disarmament, contributed $1000 to defray the printing costs. Wylie said that many of the out-of-state requests for copies have been accompanied by donations of up to $50.
"It seems we've created a stir around the country and inspired some other cities to do the same," Wylie said. For a long time, Wylie said, he has believed that local governments must attempt to play a larger role in matters--such as disarmament--of national importance. "Matters are generally out of control in Washington, and we need to find a new voice," Wylie said, adding, "This is the first issue I've been able to prove that point on."