Opinion

Editorials

ENDORSEMENT SPECIAL: Sitting Down Should not be Banned in Berkeley

By Becky O'Malley
Friday September 14, 2012 - 09:41:00 AM
Sitting the sidewalk on Pacific in Santa Cruz, a man whose sign describes him as a veteran begs passersby for money.  Sitting on the sidewalk is illegal in Santa Cruz, but the law is seldom enforced.

Here’s the big date: October 8.

That’s the day voters can get their mail-in ballots, and many Berkeley voters will eagerly jump the gun, get their ballots and vote on the spot.

Me, I have a nostalgic fondness for the ritual of walking to my neighborhood firehouse, seeing that nice lady who always knows my name even though I don’t always remember hers, placing that “I Voted” sticker on my shoulder. But realistically I know that mail-in ballots are safer and even easier for many, so decisions need to be made soon.

We’ve gotten the simple decisions out of the way here already: the council candidates, including the mayor. Or at least the top-rank candidates are apparent, though deciding the one-two order for mayor and District Two are not as easy.

This week we’ll ease into the rest of the ballot with a freeby, Measure S (Don’t Sit Down). -more-


Public Comment

But of Course, It Could Never Happen in Berkeley--or Could It?

By Osha Neumann
Friday September 14, 2012 - 10:15:00 AM

Editor's Note: The Daily Cal rejected this op ed saying it was "a significant departure from our typical op-ed style," and they preferred "a written format as opposed to a script."


A weekday afternoon on Telegraph Avenue. The year is 2013. A young woman, slings her book bag off her shoulder, sits down on the sidewalk, and takes off her shoes. A policeman walks up, stands over her, and takes out his citation book:

The officer: Get up! Get up! You’re breaking the law.

The woman (incredulous): My feet hurt. See these heels. I know it's just vanity but I like them. Where is it written that a woman whose feet hurt can’t sit down and take off her shoes?

The officer: Get up! It is written. Right here. (Pulls out a little blue book from his pocket and reads)No person shall sit on a commercial sidewalk between 7 AM and 10 PM.” Here you can read it yourself. -more-


Letter to Berkeley Mayor and City Council Regarding Brown Act Violations in Placing Measure S on the November Ballot

By Michael T. Risher, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California
Thursday September 13, 2012 - 02:48:00 PM

I am writing on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California to express our concerns about the procedure that the Berkeley City Council used in putting the sit-lie proposal to a vote on July 10, 2012. Specifically, we are troubled that in responding to disruption of its meeting, the Council violated both the Brown Act and its own procedures: it failed to follow the Act's procedures for addressing disruptive behavior and instead calling a recess at which a majority ofthe Council may have discussed the matter under consideration; and it then held a vote immediately after reconvening even though there were members of both the public and the Council who were on the list to comment on the proposal. As a result of these violations, members of the public and of the Council Were denied their rights to speak about this controversial proposal, and the proposal was adopted without the public debate by Councilmembers that is a crucial part of our democracy. -more-


Romney Follows His Own Rules

By Bruce Joffee
Friday September 14, 2012 - 10:34:00 AM

It is despicable that Candidate Romney issued a preemptive criticism of President Obama even as American Ambassador Chris Stevens was being killed in Libya. Not only was Romney misinformed and misguided, but he failed to adhere to a basic rule of American politics: politics stops at the water's edge. When our country is attacked, we stand behind our President, no matter what political party he belongs to. Romney's statements demonstrate how corruptly he values partisan politics over uniting around our country. He showed greed for power instead of patriotism. Romney seems to think that he is exempt from our common rules of decency. -more-


East Bay Tax the Rich Group Celebrates One Year of Weekly Rallies

By Carol and Harry Brill
Sunday September 16, 2012 - 07:13:00 PM

Last Monday the Eastbay Tax the Rich Group celebrated our one year anniversary with a party on the street. The group started on September 11, 2011 when 10 community people rallied at the top of Solano Avenue in Berkeley to protest the inequality of taxes in our country. We held signs saying “Tax the Rich” and “Tax the Big Corporations”. -more-