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daredtowork

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Bay Area, CA
Member since: Tue Aug 19, 2014, 11:02 PM
Number of posts: 3,732

Journal Archives

Note How This Reporter Reacted to the Cop Knocking on His Door

When a cop knocked on this reporter's door in the middle of the night, the reporter felt like he was having a panic attack:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/12/michael-meehan-berkeley_n_1340588.html

The cop was showing up to badger the reporter to make changes in a story.

(As a side note: normal people cannot change how reporters use or exploit them for a story once the reporter has their preferred narrative - usually a corporate PR war room one - in place.)

Kudos to the Berkeley Police Union from distancing themselves from this epic fail.

If a middle class reporter has this reaction from just one encounter with the police, just think of the PTSD induced at poorer levels from REPEATED contacts with the police as I attempted to chronicle in the following 2 DU posts:

My Experience With a Police "Welfare Check" (This one gives other examples of police contacts)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025979931

ARG! Supervisor Keith Carson Cuts Off Line Before Welfare (His Arena) Comes Up! (Discusses threats made to welfare applicants)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025975774

The police need to STEP BACK from general community social work and focus on criminal activities. Local governments and communities need to work on putting more appropriate mediators and mechanisms in place.

My Experience With a Police "Welfare Check"

I wrote such a long comment on a post about a police "welfare check" gone tragically wrong, that I thought I'd turn it into a post. It's interesting this came up now, because I was actually trying to get at the subject of police replacing traditional public infrastructure during my 2 minutes at the emergency Berkeley City Council Meeting dealing with the Berkeley #BlackLivesMatter Protests and increasingly fraught relations between the community and the police. My comment must have not come across very well because I was skipped in both the tweeting and the news coverage. I guess I'm not cut out to be a public speaker, hehe.

Anyway, if I had somewhat longer than 2 minutes to make my point, here is the point I wanted to make:

With the collapse of the welfare system and many public services, people at the lower end of the social scale are increasingly exposed to negative/stressful encounters with the police. This isn't just in regard to criminal activity - this relates to evictions, drug/alcohol escapism, suicide interventions, domestic disputes that weren't actually violence, noise/nuisance complaints, etc. As your life becomes more desperate, and there is nothing you can do about it (for lack of programs and advocacy options), the more the police are knocking on your door. They have become ad hoc social control.

And then there is the "welfare check", which is more or less a blank check for police to walk into your house in the name of privacy from your neighbors.

My consciousness was raised about this recently, because I have experienced it personally, and I am outraged to no end about it.

If you check some of my sig and my other posts, you will see that I have been through a horror story with Social Services. The petition in my sig doesn't even include the part about me losing Medi-Cal and the bureaucratic hell-wave that entailed. Anyway, I had to deal with a lot of Social Services hearings and paperwork - the whole thing was very nerve-wracking and time-consuming, and it took over my life at a time when I had just been on the verge of getting on with my life. When I finally got Medi-Cal back, the first thing that happened was the HMO that manages my Medi-Cal services rejected a procedure I had been working on getting for many months. I found out appealing involved *yet another* Social Services hearing.

I am a mild-mannered person who in the past let important things slip through the cracks at my medical clinic: at one point I lost my eyesight mainly because I wasn't speaking loudly enough about getting missing information into my medical record and getting treatment I knew I needed. As I viewed this situation: I was not going to go through one more Social Services hearing - I was going to demand my medical clinic find another way (either the doctor rewrite the referral, or they find another way to work with the HMO). I had to speak strongly because my medical clinic had a history of not hearing me, and in this situation there was a clock running on the procedure (the imaging for it was already a year old). Unfortunately for me, I put it in writing. I said up at the top why I felt I had to speak strongly. Then I said they had to find me another way. And then I said I would hold a sign and march out in front of city hall in traffic if they didn't.

Did this get me my procedure? Noooooooo. Actually helping to fix my medical problems might be giving into my spoiled little tantrum or some other psychological behaviorial crap. Instead they called the police to do a "welfare check".

This in itself is a very nerve-wracking encounter, even if you know you've done nothing wrong and aren't going to get arrested. The police are potent symbols of authority. You also have to figure that you're in their database and "on the grid" once they have to speak to you.

I had to let the police into my room, without any advance warning they were coming. My room was a mess.

I had to explain to all my curious neighbors why the police had come knocking at the door. I'm really glad my housemate wasn't around at the time.

I had been going to that medical clinic regularly for over 2 years. Not just for medical appointments: I went there almost weekly for acupuncture, women's health groups, nutritionist advice, social work, all the extra stuff they had. Will all the bureaucracy in my life, I did not need all those extra appointments. I had mobility problems - I was often struggling just to get there, and sometimes I used bus money even though I couldn't afford it. I'm an introvert: I'd much prefer to keep to myself, but I made that effort to keep going to that medical clinic. The ONLY reason I kept pushing myself to do it was when push came to shove, I wanted the people there to know my face, recognize me as a human being, and make a decision based on their knowledge of me as a person.

When that important moment came, they forgot I was a human being, and they fell back on their procedures. They treated me as an "it" that needed a "welfare check".

At least half a dozen people in that clinic should have known me well enough to understand what I had been through with Social Services, how I communicate, and what it would do to me if they called the police on me.

It's dispiriting to think how much time I wasted trying to develop some sort of human relationship with people there.

Anyway, this "welfare check" not only added a negative encounter with the police - it broke my relationship with my medical clinic as well. Think about that: people on the low end of the social scale may not have a lot of community ties. Do we need the police breaking the few they have left?

While the Berkeley PD does not have a bad reputation, there is some concern that a transgender woman named Kayla Moore died during a "welfare check" the police did on her last year.

Perhaps the police shouldn't be handling these "welfare checks". Perhaps they are a poor replacement for community outreach to isolated people with various needs.

***********

Here is the post where I originally made this comment:
Innocent (white) Man Raided, Tased, Beaten, & Shot By a Corrupt SWAT Team (who Lied to Get the Raid)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025978850


RIP Kayla Moore

ARG! Supervisor Keith Carson Cuts Off Line Before Welfare (His Arena) Comes Up!

This rant xposted from GD where I guess no one knows any of these politicrats I'm talking about, sigh: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025975774

I am so angry right now, and I'm the type of person who might write forcefully, but who doesn't get angry in person. But now I'm pissed.

Tonight I went to the "Moving Toward Change and Crafting Solutions" Town Hall that was supposed to give people a chance to discuss the police problems in the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, etc.) with our political representatives. The Town Hall was sponsored by State Senator Loni Hancock (married to Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates), Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, and an array of other local political luminaries. I particularly went because I wanted to directly confront Supervisor Keith Carson, who is particularly in charge of Social Services (welfare). While the event was billed as a Town Hall, it was strictly limited to two hours: there was only so much of the public speaking that our political representatives could take at one sitting, and apparently they were going to insist on taking up part of the time themselves, even though we could always go to their web site or look at their literature to see their platforms.

At the meeting the line to speak was really long as expected: people in the Oakland area have long been traumatized by police issues and have needed this kind of venue to explain their experiences and offer suggestions. I really wanted to speak, so I toughed out that line. And I wasn't the only elderly/disabled person to stand in that line for over an hour without a chair, waiting patiently for our turn to speak.

As I neared the front Supervisor Carson kept intervening with advice to keep comments up, but he was the one actually using up the time with his interventions. At this point I began to grow suspicious. I've attended County Supervisor meetings on General Assistance reform. Did he recognize me? Did he know I was about to blow the lid off of welfare issues in front of this nice middle class audience?

As I got closer to the mike, and Supervisor Carson kept stalling, some kids in the back panicked and pushed their way to the front, crying out: "Let black kids speak!" Since they were black kids, and this issue affected them the most, I let them in front of me. But then I regretted it. At least one of them turned out to be from San Francisco, and they came to spout general propaganda instead of offer suggestions relevant to the local issues. Black kids, or not, by grabbing the megaphone, they may have prevented the hearing of an issue that affected a large swathe of the Oakland community -the black community - that normally doesn't get a voice at all. No one else spoke on Social Services issues that night.

When I reached the head of the line, Supervisor Carson cut off public speaking. He suggested the people he cut off might get a chance to talk after the politicians got to do their grandstanding, so I remained in line the full two hours - and there was an elderly woman right behind me who tried to hold on, too - though she finally had to sit down some. Of course the politicians used up the remaining time, and we did not get to speak.

Here is what I had to say if I had had my two minutes, and I believe it was worth the public's time. The crowd was mostly middle class, and I believe the world of Social Services would have been news to many of them.

When applying for welfare, large numbers of people are herded into a room. They do not talk directly to their caseworker to go over their applications. They are presented with rules and circumstances which will be impossible to comply with, such as 2 day turn-around time for documenting any work they do. Then they are told they are all being investigated by the police because the State is cracking down on fraud. The investigators are spying on them and interviewing their neighbors.

People are being put in this situation because it's convenient for social workers, who have 900 cases apiece to process. But this is a recipe for paranoia about the police. And this paranoia is being set up in a population where the crumbling social infrastructure has increased their negative contacts with the police: the police show up at their door to evict them, to check for drugs, to intervene in suicide attempts, to deal with criminal (survival) activity, etc.

When people have fallen back on Social Services, they have fallen almost as low as they can go. This is the point where they need to start building trust in their community again, not the point where paranoia about the police should be generated. As part of the reform of Social Services, Supervisor Keith Carson's office should be sending "secret shoppers" to make sure how Social Services represents itself in County Supervisor meeting is actually want happens in their place of public operations at 2000 San Pablo.

Also, I wanted to accuse every single politician who was up on the dais of not responding to poor constituents who could only interact by email (because they didn't have a cellphone). I had tried to appeal to at least half of them about my welfare-to-work problem (see my sig) with zero response. I believe my MoveOn.org petition went to ALL of them. They all sat on the dais telling the audience how their office doors were open and how they were ready to help anybody and everybody with their problems. Well that has historically been a lie, and I wanted to publicly point that out. But I couldn't, because Keith Carson craftily cut off the public comment at my place in line. His office must have ignored a dozen emails from me - including ones that I started to copy to State senators, Federal Representatives and Senators, and eventually even the President. Sure the office door is always open, but no one is ever home. (ps. I know Keith Carson's office *got* my emails because the original one received a curt reception acknowledgement).

The above is the complete explanation of what I had to say: I would have had to condense my points into under 2 minutes. Possibly under 1 minute since people toward the back of the line got less time.

At the end of the meeting I went to the incoming Mayor Libby Schaaf, who offered to speak to people to try to tell her that Supervisor Keith Carson had cut the line right before I could speak on welfare - the topic that concerns his office/performance. Even if she wasn't the one to complain to, I just wanted to know where to complain. It was really upsetting not getting a chance to speak publicly on welfare issues: this world is so little known to people, and it seems very few people do speak up about it - at least in a specific, descriptive way. Well for once someone was on the spot, who could say something about it in front of a dozen elected officials and a largely middle class audience who was struggling to figure out why all these police confrontations were happening. And I was denied that chance - probably because Supervisor Carson had seen me at those Social Services reform meetings.

Unfortunately all the politicians there were in "shaking hands and kissing babies" mode, and I couldn't even get through their superficiality enough to find out who I could complain to.

I also tried to confront Supervisor Carson himself. I will document here that he denied seeing me previously at the Social Services meetings, but I don't believe him because I tried hard to meet his eye at them, too. When I brought up all the ignored emails, he had his assistant take down my information again to follow up. But where was he 3 months ago when I was kicked off Medi-Cal, and I found out the hard way that legally reporting work to earn money for basic necessities sabotages a rent check that goes to your landlord? Would have been nice to have someone "following up" then.

So now I'm back home, extremely bitter and cynical about the political process, and wishing my medical situation would at least allow me to drink. When I think how close I came to being able to tell all those politicians, to their faces, that people on welfare were being put in impossible circumstances and directly threatened with police investigation...I think it would have enlightened them a lot!!! And there was absolutely nowhere to complain about it.

Ps. As a minor addendum/annoyance: that same girl from San Francisco that cut in line kept trying to get the people who were trying to remain standing in line (to show they still wanted to speak) to "sit down" because she couldn't see. She could have moved. But even though she had gotten her chance to speak (by cutting in line), she was prepared to make a black thing of it because the white people in line wouldn't sit down on her command. By the way, there were still black people in line, too. Perhaps they also had something important to say that ended up being cut off by her all her "demands".

ARG! Supervisor Keith Carson Cuts Off Line Before Welfare (His Arena) Comes Up!

I am so angry right now, and I'm the type of person who might write forcefully, but who doesn't get angry in person. But now I'm pissed.

Tonight I went to the "Moving Toward Change and Crafting Solutions" Town Hall that was supposed to give people a chance to discuss the police problems in the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, etc.) with our political representatives. The Town Hall was sponsored by State Senator Loni Hancock (married to Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates), Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, and an array of other local political luminaries. I particularly went because I wanted to directly confront Supervisor Keith Carson, who is particularly in charge of Social Services (welfare). While the event was billed as a Town Hall, it was strictly limited to two hours: there was only so much of the public speaking that our political representatives could take at one sitting, and apparently they were going to insist on taking up part of the time themselves, even though we could always go to their web site or look at their literature to see their platforms.

At the meeting the line to speak was really long as expected: people in the Oakland area have long been traumatized by police issues and have needed this kind of venue to explain their experiences and offer suggestions. I really wanted to speak, so I toughed out that line. And I wasn't the only elderly/disabled person to stand in that line for over an hour without a chair, waiting patiently for our turn to speak.

As I neared the front Supervisor Carson kept intervening with advice to keep comments up, but he was the one actually using up the time with his interventions. At this point I began to grow suspicious. I've attended County Supervisor meetings on General Assistance reform. Did he recognize me? Did he know I was about to blow the lid off of welfare issues in front of this nice middle class audience?

As I got closer to the mike, and Supervisor Carson kept stalling, some kids in the back panicked and pushed their way to the front, crying out: "Let black kids speak!" Since they were black kids, and this issue affected them the most, I let them in front of me. But then I regretted it. At least one of them turned out to be from San Francisco, and they came to spout general propaganda instead of offer suggestions relevant to the local issues. Black kids, or not, by grabbing the megaphone, they may have prevented the hearing of an issue that affected a large swathe of the Oakland community -the black community - that normally doesn't get a voice at all. No one else spoke on Social Services issues that night.

When I reached the head of the line, Supervisor Carson cut off public speaking. He suggested the people he cut off might get a chance to talk after the politicians got to do their grandstanding, so I remained in line the full two hours - and there was an elderly woman right behind me who tried to hold on, too - though she finally had to sit down some. Of course the politicians used up the remaining time, and we did not get to speak.

Here is what I had to say if I had had my two minutes, and I believe it was worth the public's time. The crowd was mostly middle class, and I believe the world of Social Services would have been news to many of them.

When applying for welfare, large numbers of people are herded into a room. They do not talk directly to their caseworker to go over their applications. They are presented with rules and circumstances which will be impossible to comply with, such as 2 day turn-around time for documenting any work they do. Then they are told they are all being investigated by the police because the State is cracking down on fraud. The investigators are spying on them and interviewing their neighbors.

People are being put in this situation because it's convenient for social workers, who have 900 cases apiece to process. But this is a recipe for paranoia about the police. And this paranoia is being set up in a population where the crumbling social infrastructure has increased their negative contacts with the police: the police show up at their door to evict them, to check for drugs, to intervene in suicide attempts, to deal with criminal (survival) activity, etc.

When people have fallen back on Social Services, they have fallen almost as low as they can go. This is the point where they need to start building trust in their community again, not the point where paranoia about the police should be generated. As part of the reform of Social Services, Supervisor Keith Carson's office should be sending "secret shoppers" to make sure how Social Services represents itself in County Supervisor meeting is actually want happens in their place of public operations at 2000 San Pablo.

Also, I wanted to accuse every single politician who was up on the dais of not responding to poor constituents who could only interact by email (because they didn't have a cellphone). I had tried to appeal to at least half of them about my welfare-to-work problem (see my sig) with zero response. I believe my MoveOn.org petition went to ALL of them. They all sat on the dais telling the audience how their office doors were open and how they were ready to help anybody and everybody with their problems. Well that has historically been a lie, and I wanted to publicly point that out. But I couldn't, because Keith Carson craftily cut off the public comment at my place in line. His office must have ignored a dozen emails from me - including ones that I started to copy to State senators, Federal Representatives and Senators, and eventually even the President. Sure the office door is always open, but no one is ever home. (ps. I know Keith Carson's office *got* my emails because the original one received a curt reception acknowledgement).

The above is the complete explanation of what I had to say: I would have had to condense my points into under 2 minutes. Possibly under 1 minute since people toward the back of the line got less time.

At the end of the meeting I went to the incoming Mayor Libby Schaaf, who offered to speak to people to try to tell her that Supervisor Keith Carson had cut the line right before I could speak on welfare - the topic that concerns his office/performance. Even if she wasn't the one to complain to, I just wanted to know where to complain. It was really upsetting not getting a chance to speak publicly on welfare issues: this world is so little known to people, and it seems very few people do speak up about it - at least in a specific, descriptive way. Well for once someone was on the spot, who could say something about it in front of a dozen elected officials and a largely middle class audience who was struggling to figure out why all these police confrontations were happening. And I was denied that chance - probably because Supervisor Carson had seen me at those Social Services reform meetings.

Unfortunately all the politicians there were in "shaking hands and kissing babies" mode, and I couldn't even get through their superficiality enough to find out who I could complain to.

I also tried to confront Supervisor Carson himself. I will document here that he denied seeing me previously at the Social Services meetings, but I don't believe him because I tried hard to meet his eye at them, too. When I brought up all the ignored emails, he had his assistant take down my information again to follow up. But where was he 3 months ago when I was kicked off Medi-Cal, and I found out the hard way that legally reporting work to earn money for basic necessities sabotages a rent check that goes to your landlord? Would have been nice to have someone "following up" then.

So now I'm back home, extremely bitter and cynical about the political process, and wishing my medical situation would at least allow me to drink. When I think how close I came to being able to tell all those politicians, to their faces, that people on welfare were being put in impossible circumstances and directly threatened with police investigation...I think it would have enlightened them a lot!!! And there was absolutely nowhere to complain about it.

Ps. As a minor addendum/annoyance: that same girl from San Francisco that cut in line kept trying to get the people who were trying to remain standing in line (to show they still wanted to speak) to "sit down" because she couldn't see. She could have moved. But even though she had gotten her chance to speak (by cutting in line), she was prepared to make a black thing of it because the white people in line wouldn't sit down on her command. By the way, there were still black people in line, too. Perhaps they also had something important to say that ended up being cut off by her all her "demands".

Berkeley Kids Go to the Mayor (#BlackLivesMatter)

xpost from GD - my outsider view of local political process: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025970594

I love you, Berkeley.

The special Berkeley Council Meeting ostensibly held to address police misuse of force during the Berkeley protests was...interesting.

I've never been to a full council meeting before, so maybe this is normal. But if this is normal, I can see why people are in the mood to overthrow stuff.

Even though rain and obscure location reduced the size of what could have been a very, very angry mob, the Council still seemed to forget that the whole purpose of calling the "special meeting" was to hear the community speak. Instead they stalled for over half an hour.

It wasn't just the fact that they were obviously putting off hearing from the community, which was muttering (and occasionally shouting) from the peanut gallery. It was the way they did it. The old white Mayor - the very picture of the Evil White Man conspiracy from the X-Files - bloviated on this and that, setting agendas for agendas and meta-ing on meta of their own council. It was like Roberts Rules of Order from Hell! As the crowd got increasingly irked about it, he repeatedly threatened to adjourn the meeting so no one could speak at all. This was all the more threatening because he had already managed to delay the next Council Meeting until January 17th, leaving protesters unprotected from police actions until then.

Meanwhile, the people who wanted to speak had to stand in line this whole time. There were no chairs for the line (and I should mention there were a lot of stairs to get to the meeting place, too), so this situation was not disabled-friendly. I ended up taking out my ID card and my med list because I hadn't taken some meds when I should have, and I started to worry about getting a seizure between the stress of standing up for that long and the annoyance of listening to the Mayor over-indulge in the pleasure of hearing himself orate, when there was a whole room full of people who obviously wanted him to STFU for once.

The speakers themselves really brought it to the mic. They were articulate and succinct, with diverse things to say. Some spoke about the trauma of being tear-gassed, others spoke about who the police were supposed to serve, some spoke about the violation of their right to protest, and others spoke about putting property rights over human rights. One of the most memorable speakers was a high school girl who reminded the Council that the city's children had been among the peaceful protesters, and the city and randomly tear-gassed their kids. There were remarks that specifically addressed the black community - particularly how police abuse of power had intimidated people and made them hesitate to exercise their right to protest. Some comments drew chants of "Black Lives Matter!" and "No Justice No Peace!" from the meeting attendees. The people who were outraged over the next Council Meeting being delayed until January 17th got approving/outraged applause. The woman who ended her 2 minutes of speaking time by shouting that the Mayor should RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN! practically got a standing ovation. Great note to end on!

By the way, my sense that the black population of Berkeley had been going down (I wrote a post about this last week) was right. Someone on the Council said it has gone down from 30% to 10%. I would like to make a modest proposal that the Mayor's indirect policies to crush and drive out the poor had an unequal effect on race: those policies drove black people out first and, thus, were implicitly racist. Perhaps no city more than lily white Berkeley illustrates how the economic/class issue is a race issue.

Throughout this meeting, every time the audience got a little too rambunctious or started chanting, the Mayor would try to play block and tackle with threats to adjourn the meeting and not let people speak anymore. After calling a break, and speeding through a couple of unrelated agenda items, the Mayor didn't give members of the community much of a chance to regroup. He adjourned as swiftly as possible. I have a sneaking suspicion the Mayor is on the first plane he can find, since he is probably still imagining things will "cool down" if he can just stall long enough.



The Kids of Berkeley didn't exactly shut the Council Meeting down, but they persisted and insisted and had their say, and the Mayor looked like a real ass the whole time. Good for them.

ADDENDUM: I attended the second of two back-to-back meetings. I missed the first meeting, which was supposed to be stuffed with more Council calendar business. However, when I arrived, that meeting was ending with a roaring chant of "BLACK LIVES MATTER!" - so I imagine that one went more or less along the lines of the second one that I describe.

Berkeley Kids Go to the Mayor (#BlackLivesMatter)

I love you, Berkeley.

The special Berkeley Council Meeting ostensibly held to address police misuse of force during the Berkeley protests was...interesting.

I've never been to a full council meeting before, so maybe this is normal. But if this is normal, I can see why people are in the mood to overthrow stuff.

Even though rain and obscure location reduced the size of what could have been a very, very angry mob, the Council still seemed to forget that the whole purpose of calling the "special meeting" was to hear the community speak. Instead they stalled for over half an hour.

It wasn't just the fact that they were obviously putting off hearing from the community, which was muttering (and occasionally shouting) from the peanut gallery. It was the way they did it. The old white Mayor - the very picture of the Evil White Man conspiracy from the X-Files - bloviated on this and that, setting agendas for agendas and meta-ing on meta of their own council. It was like Roberts Rules of Order from Hell! As the crowd got increasingly irked about it, he repeatedly threatened to adjourn the meeting so no one could speak at all. This was all the more threatening because he had already managed to delay the next Council Meeting until January 17th, leaving protesters unprotected from police actions until then.

Meanwhile, the people who wanted to speak had to stand in line this whole time. There were no chairs for the line (and I should mention there were a lot of stairs to get to the meeting place, too), so this situation was not disabled-friendly. I ended up taking out my ID card and my med list because I hadn't taken some meds when I should have, and I started to worry about getting a seizure between the stress of standing up for that long and the annoyance of listening to the Mayor over-indulge in the pleasure of hearing himself orate, when there was a whole room full of people who obviously wanted him to STFU for once.

The speakers themselves really brought it to the mic. They were articulate and succinct, with diverse things to say. Some spoke about the trauma of being tear-gassed, others spoke about who the police were supposed to serve, some spoke about the violation of their right to protest, and others spoke about putting property rights over human rights. One of the most memorable speakers was a high school girl who reminded the Council that the city's children had been among the peaceful protesters, and the city and randomly tear-gassed their kids. There were remarks that specifically addressed the black community - particularly how police abuse of power had intimidated people and made them hesitate to exercise their right to protest. Some comments drew chants of "Black Lives Matter!" and "No Justice No Peace!" from the meeting attendees. The people who were outraged over the next Council Meeting being delayed until January 17th got approving/outraged applause. The woman who ended her 2 minutes of speaking time by shouting that the Mayor should RESIGN! RESIGN! RESIGN! practically got a standing ovation. Great note to end on!

By the way, my sense that the black population of Berkeley had been going down (I wrote a post about this last week) was right. Someone on the Council said it has gone down from 30% to 10%. I would like to make a modest proposal that the Mayor's indirect policies to crush and drive out the poor had an unequal effect on race: those policies drove black people out first and, thus, were implicitly racist. Perhaps no city more than lily white Berkeley illustrates how the economic/class issue is a race issue.

Throughout this meeting, every time the audience got a little too rambunctious or started chanting, the Mayor would try to play block and tackle with threats to adjourn the meeting and not let people speak anymore. After calling a break, and speeding through a couple of unrelated agenda items, the Mayor didn't give members of the community much of a chance to regroup. He adjourned as swiftly as possible. I have a sneaking suspicion the Mayor is on the first plane he can find, since he is probably still imagining things will "cool down" if he can just stall long enough.



The Kids of Berkeley didn't exactly shut the Council Meeting down, but they persisted and insisted and had their say, and the Mayor looked like a real ass the whole time. Good for them.

ADDENDUM: I attended the second of two back-to-back meetings. I missed the first meeting, which was supposed to be stuffed with more Council calendar business. However, when I arrived, that meeting was ending with a roaring chant of "BLACK LIVES MATTER!" - so I imagine that one went more or less along the lines of the second one that I describe.

Incredible Video of Shut Down of Oakland Police Dept HQ

Oakland (and neighboring Berkeley) has been rocked with protests against police abuses of power and racial discrimination for the past two weeks, and the police have regularly pumped up the cycle with unnecessary shows of authority and arresting protesters for failing to disperse (i.e., just protesting). People have marched in the streets, people have blocked freeways, people have invaded public gatherings to do "die ins", people have disrupted yuppie brunches to read names of the dead...

In my book, the shut down of the Oakland Police Department Headquarters by a coalition of local protest groups was the most powerful, most symbolic civic action taken yet. It included references to the Black Power movement of the 60s, it included a diverse human chain, it included replacing the OPD flag...well, anyway, watch the video, and prepare to be awed by the genius of this protest.



(Just try to top that, Berkeley...!)

Black Power Salute! Protesters Chain Selves to Oakland Police HQ: 25 Arrested

This is xposted from GD: I'm amazed at the lack of interest there. I think this is awesome!

Now that's what I call sending a message:

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-protesters-chains-oakland-20141215-story.html





To add my own note: I found it really disturbing that the Oakland police kept their distance during the media-covered Black Lives Matter Million March in Oakland on Saturday, but as soon as the spotlight was turned away, jackbooted police were marching in *battalions* to surround and arrest protesters. While there may have been people engaging in criminal activities, I'm confused over why the police don't just focus on arresting them? Why do they let one incident of misbehavior - which can be committed by an opponent to a demonstration - shut down the entire demonstration? And why do they have yet to grok that these are protests against abuses of police authority? That means if some student has just been hanging out protesting, and has been within their rights to protest, and they think they have the right to argue that point, the police DO NOT come down like some World War III platoon and kettle everyone in sight for resisting arrest!!!!

http://winstonsdiary.com/2014/12/15/front-center-at-the-oakland-protests-the-politics-of-a-police-state/

People do find arrest, or even direct confrontation with the police, to be a traumatic - possibly a scarring - experience. The police have to stop exposing people to that "for kicks". And this Movement means the first thing they have to do is stop exposing black people to this sort of trauma on a regular basis just "for kicks". The Oakland Police Department needs to refocus their confrontation and their authoritarian attitude ON THE CRIMINALS.

And then, just maybe, they won't have to deal with human chains outside their HQ.

Power to the #shutdownOPD!



GD post was here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025966312

Black Power Salute! Protesters Chain Selves to Oakland Police HQ: 25 Arrested

Now that's what I call sending a message:

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-protesters-chains-oakland-20141215-story.html





To add my own note: I found it really disturbing that the Oakland police kept their distance during the media-covered Black Lives Matter Million March in Oakland on Saturday, but as soon as the spotlight was turned away, jackbooted police were marching in *battalions* to surround and arrest protesters. While there may have been people engaging in criminal activities, I'm confused over why the police don't just focus on arresting them? Why do they let one incident of misbehavior - which can be committed by an opponent to a demonstration - shut down the entire demonstration? And why do they have yet to grok that these are protests against abuses of police authority? That means if some student has just been hanging out protesting, and has been within their rights to protest, and they think they have the right to argue that point, the police DO NOT come down like some World War III platoon and kettle everyone in sight for resisting arrest!!!!

http://winstonsdiary.com/2014/12/15/front-center-at-the-oakland-protests-the-politics-of-a-police-state/

People do find arrest, or even direct confrontation with the police, to be a traumatic - possibly a scarring - experience. The police have to stop exposing people to that "for kicks". And this Movement means the first thing they have to do is stop exposing black people to this sort of trauma on a regular basis just "for kicks". The Oakland Police Department needs to refocus their confrontation and their authoritarian attitude ON THE CRIMINALS.

And then, just maybe, they won't have to deal with human chains outside their HQ.

Power to the #shutdownOPD!

Berkeley "I Can't Breathe" Noose Hung by Artist Collective

xpost from GD...

As it turns out, the students who guessed that this was an "artistic gesture" in the tradition of Banksy and Basquiat were right:



Berkleyside, who has been closely following this issue, just posted an "artist's statement":

http://www.berkeleyside.com/2014/12/13/effigy-hung-from-sather-gate-before-berkeley-protest-march/



This post is an update for the original post here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025955939

I have mixed feelings about this.
If black people made the statement, then it's a comment on their own history, not racism.
They made the comment in THE iconic "place of free speech".

The potential for inciting violence/rioting/looting in this context, right before the Oakland Black Lives Matter Million March was pretty high, though. Was that message/intent deliberate?

Ps. GD post here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025961302
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