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|Stop the Anti-Poor Laws in Berkeley - City Council Meeting|
|Date||Tuesday June 30|
|Time||7:00 PM - 9:00 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
|Berkeley City Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way|
|berkeleycopwatch [at] yahoo.com|
Berkeley’s new anti-poor laws come to the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. That’s the bad news. The City Council can squabble over the wording, suggest amendments, or even vote them down, but several weeks ago, on March 17, they voted for this set of anti-homeless laws by a 6-3 majority, and indicated their willingness to make it a crime to use a blanket between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., to panhandle near a parking meter, and even to put down one’s belongings on or near a planter.
These restrictions target poor and homeless people. No one else struggles with carrying belongings and bedding with them wherever they go. No one else risks committing a crime by resting or covering up with an outlawed blanket. No one else risks losing everything they own if they even use a bathroom for a moment.
Instead of addressing the need for shelter beds, low-income housing, public campgrounds, a moratorium on luxury housing, and storage space for victims of skyrocketing evictions, the City Council majority might, at its meeting on June 30, add to Berkeley’s embarrassingly massive edifice of already existing anti-poor laws.
We can stop them. We did it decade after decade in the 1980s, the 1990s, and most recently, in the 2012 election when a ridiculous anti-sitting law went down to resounding defeat by Berkeley voters, a measure that had been “sweetened” with promises of funding for various charities and non-profits. But Berkeley citizens were not fooled.
Let’s stop them now. The best way to stop them is at the Berkeley City Council meeting on June 30. While an overwhelming majority of speakers at the council meeting on March 17 strongly opposed this battery of anti-homeless laws, the few voices that spoke in support of the new anti-poor laws all cited behavior which is already illegal: assault, drug use, smoke-free violations, etc. The City Council majority knows this. It is struggling to find the backbone to tell its wealthy campaign donors that pointlessly hassling the poor is not its top priority, but it can’t quite find the strength.