A politically motivated and almost universally discredited "push" poll almost sucked the juice out of the ASUC's nearly unanimous vote to oppose Measure S, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates' anti-sitting law October 3rd, 2012, at the ASUC Senate meeting in Eshelman Hall.
Only four people in the packed chambers spoke for the anti-sitting law, including Craig Becker, owner of the Caffe Mediterraneum on Telegraph, and Roland Peterson, who works for the Telegraph
Merchant Association. Business Improvement District.
Peterson begged the crowd to disassociate the word "homeless" from discussions about Measure S, a request the author of the ASUC's measure to oppose the anti-sitting law, Senator Nolan Pack, soundly rejected. The standing-room-only crowd of students and community members clearly agreed that the measure targeted homeless or poor people and criminalized peaceful behavior.
The only disagreement seemed to be over the "survey", an on-line poll taken in 2011, which few seemed to realize was done at the behest of the Telegraph Merchants Association to lay groundwork for the anti-sitting law. Some students felt inspired to insert wording reflecting the poll's portrait of student opinion until someone in the crowd managed, through one of the senators, to inform the group that the poll had no scientific value. The motion failed.
The anti-Measure S crowd celebrated outside Eshelman Hall after the vote with a unity clap traditional in farmworker organizing.
[CORRECTION: Rae Cherones, writing on behalf of Telegraph Merchants' Association President Al Geyer, has informed the Planet that this article incorrectly identified "Roland Peterson as working for the Telegraph Merchant's Association (TMA), therefore saying the TMA is in support of Measure S." She said that "Although it is true Roland Peterson and Craig Becker are the main proponents from the Telegraph Area supporting this ballot initiative, neither Mr. Peterson nor Mr. Becker have any association with the TMA. Roland Peterson is the salaried executive director of the Telegraph Business Improvement District (TBID). Craig Becker is the elected president of the TBID Board of Directors.In fact, the TBID is not a merchant organization at all; you must be a property owner to fully participate. Al Geyer is the Chair of the TMA, which has taken no position on Measure S. It should be made known to the public that it was the TBID that was represented at the ASUC meeting, and the TBID that supports the initiative, not the TMA." ]