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Voters consider changing Alcatraz to peace centre
February 5, 2008 / 8:11 AM / 10 years ago

Voters consider changing Alcatraz to peace centre

<p>A bird takes flight from a walkway formerly used by prisoners on Alcatraz, as a route to their cells, in San Francisco April 30, 2007. 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." REUTERS/Robert Galbraith</p>

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - 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.”

Reporting by Amanda Beck; editing by Adam Tanner and Todd Eastham

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