Public Comment

New: Berkeley City Council Considers Dropping School Board Appointees from Peace and Justice Commission

By Noah Sochet, Chair of Peace and Justice Commission
Tuesday March 05, 2013 - 08:58:00 AM

This Tuesday, March 5, the Berkeley City Council will consider a proposal by two city council members (Gordon Wozniak and Darryl Moore) that would dismiss the School Board appointees from the city's Peace and Justice Commission, and ban the School Board from making appointments in the future.  

The Peace and Justice Commission was established to "advise the Berkeley City Council and the Berkeley Unified School Board on all matters relating to the City of Berkeley’s role in issues of peace and social justice", and has worked with the City and the School District on many issues of importance to residents of Berkeley for the last 26 years. The School Board's appointees keep the commission engaged in issues that affect young people in Berkeley, providing an important bridge between Council and School Board on issues of peace and justice. The commission has worked with the School Board to support the 2020 Vision, observe a teen dating violence awareness month, alternatives to incarceration for youth, protecting students from JAMRS (Joint Advertising Market Research Studies – a Pentagon recruitment program), addressing child sex trafficking, and various other issues. 

The School Board appointees, historically more racially diverse and representing a broader spectrum of age and background than Council appointees, bring fresh perspective to the commission. Furthermore, all Peace and Justice commissioners are volunteers, who work hard to ensure that the valuable functions of the Peace and Justice Commission are carefully executed.  

At a time when the city's budget is strained, firing volunteers whose work will need to be picked up by City staff members is a shortsighted and misguided mistake. 

Community members are being asked to write to council members and voice support for the participation of the school board appointee on issues of peace and social justice. Berkeley residents are also encouraged to join peace and justice supporters at the city council meeting on Tuesday March 5 at 7:00 pm.