Tag Archives: Sitting ban

Mayor Bates defends his handling of raucous meeting

While Mayor Bates and Councilmembers Laurie Capitelli, Linda Maio, Darryl Moore, and Gordon Wozniak stepped out of the council chambers for a recess while audience members were singing, Councilmember Jesse Arreguin clapped to "We Will Not Be Moved." Councilmembers Max Anderson and Kriss Worthington sang with the crowd. Photo: Natalie Orenstein
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Mayor Tom Bates said Thursday that the vote the City Council took on Tuesday during a raucous and unruly meeting was legal, and that he has no intention of bringing the matter back to the council, despite critics’ complaint that the vote violated the Brown Act.

Bates said that City Attorney Zach Cowan reviewed the tape of the meeting and determined that there were no violations.

“There is no need for a special meeting” to take another vote, Bates said from northern California, where he is on vacation. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley sitting ban goes to ballot after raucous meeting

Ann Fagan Ginger sits on the floor to emphasize her opposition to a proposed anti-sitting ordinance as she addresses the Berkeley City Council in Berkeley on Tuesday, July 10, 2012. Photo: David Yee
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While three councilmembers were singing protest songs with the audience, the Berkeley City Council abruptly voted 6-0-3 early Wednesday morning to place a contentious sitting ban on the November ballot – a move that was immediately challenged as illegal by its opponents.

The three councilmembers who abstained from voting are planning to challenge the legality of the vote because it was held before the council had debated the measure and before all public speakers had commented.

“I was stunned,” said Councilmember Max Anderson after the measure passed amidst the chaos. “I did not vote. It’s outrageous that they ran this thing through without any discussion. This illegal motion is the last in a series of anti-democratic positions taken by this mayor and his cronies.”

Councilmember Jesse Arreguín, who had been planning to presented an alternative proposal to the council that Bates did not allow to be discussed - but was not permitted by Bates to do so – said the spontaneous vote was “the most outrageous thing I’ve seen the council do.”

“We’re going to have to get lawyers to look at this tape and evaluate it,” said Councilmember Kriss Worthington, the third abstention and the first council member to join the impassioned community members in song. … Continue reading »

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Bond measures take steps toward ballot

City Council members listen during a five-hour meeting with several contentious issues on Tuesday night. Kriss Worthington taped the anti-sitting ban poster to the podium before the meeting began. Photo; Frances Dinkelspiel
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The Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday to place a $30 million streets and watershed bond on the November ballot, but will hold off on the final language and shape of the measure until next week.

The council also adopted a final EIR for the West Berkeley Project and indicated its support for placing a measure on the ballot, but also deferred a final decision until next week so city staff can figure out wording. … Continue reading »

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Opponents of Berkeley sitting ban gear up for fight

2merchant poster
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Opponents of Berkeley’s sitting ban launched a counter attack against the proposed ballot initiative Monday, but their plans for a sit-in fizzled.

After rejecting the idea of holding a protest outside Mayor Tom Bates’ house,  homeless and youth activists had planned to hold a sit-in at the City Council’s Agenda Committee meeting Monday afternoon. But the meeting was unexpectedly moved from a spacious sixth floor conference room to a smaller – but more visible – space on the first floor of City Hall, leaving too little room to sit down.

Instead, opponents of the sitting ban spoke passionately about why they objected to making it illegal to sit on the sidewalks in commercial districts between 7 am and 10 pm. The City Council will vote Tuesday night whether to place the item on the November ballot.

Youth “are just not the demons the press and some of the council members have made them out to be,” said Pattie Wall, executive director of the Homeless Action Center, which provides benefits and advocacy for the homeless in Alameda County.” She was one of about 20 people who spoke. “Passing this law sends the wrong message to anyone in a bad situation here in Berkeley.” … Continue reading »

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