Rally ‘round the mayor – she deserves it

Sam Herbert
Friday September 28, 2001


I was horrified to read that the Mayor, and her office, had been targeted for political profiling, of the worst and most unfair variety, in the incident over the removal of flags from the Fire Department vehicles.  

For all those who rush to defend those wrongly accused for (supposed) political attitudes and alliances with America’s enemies, because of their ethnic identities, consider this: We are unlikely to ever contribute to the causes of peace and rational problem-solving in the world arena, when we are so quick to accuse our own, in such an unreasonable way. Mayor Dean is the last person in the world to deserve such libelous accusations. 

As it happened, I went over to the Mayor’s office on a personal errand, on Sept. 11. The mood in the office was somber, concerned, and conscientious, that the City of Berkeley respond to this national tragedy in a way that would support all those injured by the terrorist attacks.  

In addition to responding as heart-connected individuals, who wanted to do everything in their power to help, the Mayor and her staff was also mindful of the symbolic role of the city’s leadership. In particular, I was told that Mayor Dean’s first comment, upon arriving at City Center that day, was to be alarmed that the U.S. flag in front of the building had not already been lowered to half mast, in respectful honor of those killed, and the nation’s sorrow.  

Not only was Mayor Dean unreasonably accused of being responsible for the removal of the U.S. flags, she is the last person I can think of, who would have WANTED them removed. 

Those talk show hosts who attributed the act to her were more than irresponsible.  

I am shocked that they would pass on a clear and obvious lie, without any effort to ascertain the truth of the matter.  

I am surprised that their attorneys would let them expose themselves to a lawsuit for libel, just for the sake of a few cheap gibes at Berkeley’s expense.  

We ought to be rallying around our Mayor, who works like a dog to keep this unruly city grounded and functioning, instead of allowing her to be cruelly attacked by cheap pundits.  

Truth is, we don’t deserve a Mayor as good as Shirley Dean. 


Sam Herbert