Public Comment

And Back to Jac--

Margy Wilkinson
Friday June 23, 2017 - 03:03:00 PM

Dear Jac:

The vote outcome on Tuesday was NOT the best that could be obtained – every council member should have vote to end Berkeley’s relationship with Urban Shield. I believe you when you say you did not know what was going to happen but it really felt like the majority of the council and the Mayor were not listening. The “substitute” training is available right now – and the city should start using it right now. More training can be found and/or developed.

I am interested to read what the vote meant – it wasn’t clear from what was said from the stage. 

How is the City divided? There were only 2 speakers out of about 200 who supported staying in Urban Shield – except of course for the Police & the Fire Depts. If there is strong public support for Urban Shield, then the Mayor and Council members need to share that. How many emails/phones did the Mayor/Council receive demanding that we stay in Urban Shield? 

Whatever was sent to the Stop Urban Shield Coalition prior to the meeting should have been the final agenda and should have been adhered to. After that dispute, the Mayor and Council majority never recovered the good will of the community members present. 

Who was in the audience? New people, yes. But many who have spoken countless times. Sometimes the complaint is “we always hear from the same old voices.” Now the complaints is that they weren’t “our typical passionate community members.” You can’t have it both ways – when we are discussing housing issues those who support endless building of “market rate housing” speak frequently. They are rude, shaming, bullying, and they lie. I have hissed when they have said particularly ugly things and been chastised by the mayor. Many of them do not come from “our community.” The speakers on Tuesday all agreed, were mostly young and many were not white. Do they all live in Berkeley? Who knows, who cares? They are passionate about an issue that doesn’t respect the lines of city limits. 

About time limits – I didn’t know that the police had been allotted 15 minutes until late in the meeting. I do know that their presentation seemed endless and extremely biased. It was a grave error for the Mayor not to call time on them. If the police, Harrison/Davila and SUS had all be given 15 minutes at the beginning of the discussion much of the tension and animus in the room would not have devloped. And by participants, if you mean those who spoke during public comment, it is simply not true that people went over their time limits. 

The events at the end could not have been unexpected. I did not hear anything during the course of the meeting, except from Cheryl and Kate, that would have made people feel calm about the situation.  

I am sorry that people I know and like personally were frightened but we live in frightening times and we need to figure out how to preserve our local democratic traditions while dealing with the dangers that abound. 

Finally when Milo comes back I think we should have a massive demonstration – everyone who lives and/or works in Berkeley should be invited to confront Milo and his crowd – not violently but passionately – telling him his hideous ideas are not welcome here.