Public Comment

UC Berkeley’s Black Bloc Tactics

By Carol Denney
Tuesday February 21, 2012 - 06:52:00 PM

The university hired a non-union crew to bulldoze the community garden and remove trees and plants in the west end of People’s Park for “maintenance” over the 2011 holidays without notice to merchants, students, residents, the People’s Park Community Advisory Board, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Parks and Recreation Commission, Kriss Worthington of District 7, or the City of Berkeley.

This was only Phase I of a $220,000 three-phase project, which continues to be conducted in complete secrecy. 

People’s Park is a city landmark. The People’s Park Community Advisory Board (PPCAB) was instituted on the advise of expensive, publicly funded consultants so that controversial issues could have a forum. 

The alterations in the park may seem beneficial to some. But the deliberate exclusion of the community from any of the planning, the deliberate effort to silence and sidestep an advisory board tasked with People’s Park as its arena, needs a response from any member of the community who cares about the potential downside of having the university treat our city as something that just in its way. 

The PPCAB has repeated inquired about a meeting and has been ignored by the university’s new employee on park issues. It remains ready to meet and host an opportunity to discuss the park project under city auspices, and would be happy to join with any commission wishing to assist. 

If the relevant commissions in the city are silent on this point, it is an invitation to the university to ignore community input and involvement on many other issues affecting us as citizens. Should the university be allowed to use Black Bloc tactics to make unilateral decisions about our parks and neighborhoods? It’s up to you.