Press Release: Bates and Berkeley Council Violated Brown Act in Measure S Process, Says ACLU in Letter

From Bob Offer-Westort, Berkeley Standing Up for the Right to Sit Down; Michael T. Risher, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California: 415 621 2493
Thursday September 06, 2012 - 02:38:00 PM

The ACLU of Northern California has sent a letter to the City Council, the Mayor, and the City Attorney alleging that Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and city councilmembers violated the California Brown Act when they approved the "sit-lie" ballot measure S this July. The letter was sent to the City Council on August 28, and was received this week.

In a letter sent to the city, the ACLU stated, "As a result of these violations, members of the public and of the Council were denied their rights to speak about this controversial proposal, and the proposal was adopted without the public debate by council members that is a crucial part of our democracy."

According to the ACLU complaint, during a heated July 10 Berkeley city council meeting at which councilmembers approved “sit-lie” for this November’s ballot, the council violated both the Brown Act and its own rules by voting on the measure before public comment was completed.