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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Government & Elections | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Berkeley Gov Holding Special Meeting for "Urgency Ordinance"
Ahead of the upcoming Alt-Right rally and the opposition Rally Against Hate, there will be a special meeting at Berkeley city council chambers on an "Urgency Ordinance" granting special powers to the city manager.
The meeting is tomorrow, August 18th at 3PM, at 2134 MLK Way, second floor.
Berkeley city council has a proposal to grant the city manager special authority to set rules and limits over rallies and protests that occur without official permits. This meeting is a pre-emptive response to upcoming August 27th rallies in Berkeley. In Civic Center Park, Alt-Right groups will be rallying, while a few blocks away there will a Rally Against Hate.
After a defeat in Charlottesville, Alt-Right groups vowed to take their frustrations out on the cities of San Francisco and Berkeley. A small Alt-Right rally against perceived "Marxism" in Berkeley had already been planned, but after a retreat in Charlottesvilles, it is expected the Berkeley rally will have larger Ultra-Right-Wing turn-out, as they attempt to incite more conflict. Counter-demonstrators will be in the Park to stand against the Alt-Right.
There will be a concurrent Rally Against Hate rally. This other event will be at the semi-circular lawn on the western edge of UC Berkeley campus. This rally is expected to stay at that area. While the city does not have power of UC property, the city does have authority over adjacent sidewalks and streets. In a recent press release, the mayor of Berkeley called for citizens not to hold opposing rallies, stating alternative events would divert police resources.
Typically, city council meetings are held at night, as to allow opportunity for greater public comment. In this case, the Urgency Ordinance will be debated at 3PM, which is not opportune for people who may have daytime obligations. Proposed ordinances will usually be specific proposals, with allowances for details to be decided in council chamber. However in this case, the Urgency Ordinance is lacking in basic specifics as to any limitations of the city managers emergency authority, and how the police and other police agencies will respond to the manager's authority.
Berkeley has placed new guidelines on the Berkeley police department after the tear-gas attack by law-enforcement on the 2014 Black Lives Matter protest. It is not known at this time if the Urgency Ordinance will repeal the police's new guidelines on handling protesters, and what effects there will be on public's right to document and report on rallies/protests.