Public Comment

The Upside of the New Anti-Poor Laws

Carol Denney
Friday March 20, 2015 - 03:02:00 PM

1. At least we can finally dismantle the peculiar façade Berkeley likes to wave around that it’s the “home of free speech” or whatever it is people fooled by Berkeley’s skin-deep liberalism like to say. The Free Speech Movement happened in 1964 because of the repression of free speech information tables and fliers, not because the University of California or the City of Berkeley embraced free speech principles. The university has a vice chancellor sitting on the board of the Downtown Berkeley Association that wrote and promoted these new laws. Nothing has changed. 

2. At least we know the new version of “some of my best friends are black” thanks to Downtown Berkeley Association’s CEO John Caner’s passionate speech to the Berkeley City Council begging for more anti-poor laws but being sure to mention that once he volunteered at a soup kitchen. 

3. At least we know which downtown businesses to boycott: any that don’t very publically state their opposition to the new anti-poor laws with a letter saying so right in their store window. 

4. At least we know what to expect from Councilmember Linda Maio and Councilmember Jesse Arreguin if either of them had any ambitions to run for Mayor. 

5. At least we know how long that ringing “Black Lives Matter” sentiment lasts at the Berkeley City Council; about a month, with special exception made for the eloquent objections of those who did not vote for the new anti-poor laws. The issues of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness disproportionately affect people of color, but by golly the council majority simultaneously forgot all about that! 

6. At least we know that District 8’s new council representative Lori Droste is enthusiastic about how going to jail is kind of like finishing school and really improves your life! Let’s all go! 

7. At least now that you can’t do this or that or the other thing within three feet of this or five feet of that or ten feet of the other thing we’ll all be too confused to figure it out and all end up in jail together and really get to know each other better! 

8. At least now whenever we’re downtown and need to go to the bathroom we know we can just go down the stairs to the left at the entrance of Shattuck Cinemas to the Downtown Berkeley Association’s offices and they’ll be glad to let you use theirs! Just kidding! 

9. At least we know that despite being relatively intelligent, competent people we’ve all been really, really bad at knowing how to “deploy” our blankets! Who knew! 

10. At least we know the latest, trendiest new yoga posture as presented by Downtown Berkeley Association’s CEO John Caner, who manages to have two houses but still finds room in his heart to confiscate the blankets of the poor. Don’t you wish you were that limber