DHS stuff at the Berkeley City Council
Homeland Security & the Berkeley City Council
by Daniel Borgström
On March 14, 2017 the Berkeley City Council considered renewing some of the agreements with Homeland Security and with other police agencies. There are several parts in this, and the matters of NCRIC (Northern California Regional Intelligence Center) and UASI (Urban Areas Security Initiative) which will come up at a later date, on April 25.
Berkeley's acting police chief, Andrew Greenwood, was there to recommend renewal of the programs; he presented his case to the council. He showed a tourniquet which BPD had gotten through the program, and spoke eloquently on it at some length. (One of the public speakers later pointed out that they could get the same wonderful, wonder-working tourniquet from the Red Cross.)
Thirty or thirty-five people spoke during public comments, telling the council it was bad idea, especially now with the Trump Administration in power. It was mentioned that San Francisco has broken with that police deal. Everybody there spoke really well. I have to say I was impressed with our speakers.
Several KPFA people were there and spoke, including Tracy Rosenberg, Steve Martinot, Mark Sapir, Andrea Prichett, David Welsh
Not a single person (during public comments) was there to speak in favor of renewing the agreement.
Nevertheless, the renewal of this police agreement seems to be a routine thing, a done deal, and I expected the council to immediately say yes. We do have a supposedly "progressive" council, but last December these "progressives" gave the BPD a tank, (only Cheryl Davila voted no).
Linda Maio began the council members' discussion. She wanted to get a better sense of what was in the 900 page agreement, she said.
Lori Droste (who always seems to go along with whatever bad thing is handed down) asked for more info. She didn't seem quite ready to just say yes.
The next council member to speak, Ben Bartlett, also wanted more info, about NCRIC. And he said that with Jeff Sessions now being AG, he had some reservations.
So one after another, the council members seemed to be hesitating, expressing reservations, each more openly than the one before. Sophie Hahn who spoke next, and asked about "alternatives" to the program. She worried about "entanglements with a very dangerous administration" in Washington. The audience applauded her.
Cheryl Davila seconded that, saying that's about what she had intended to say. Then she showed photos of a police T-shirt reading: "Black Guns Matter."
Linda Maio spoke again, saying she had "concerns."
They were all referring to Trump, which of course many of our speakers had brought up.
Finally Mayor Jesse Arreguin spoke, making it clear that he was very much in favor of the agreement.
Hahn and others spoke again, more reservations, but our supposedly "progressive" mayor was determined to push it through. Finally he persuaded the council to accept the agreement. (Except NCRIC and UASI which will come up in April 25.)
THE BERKELEY MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEMBERS
Jesse Arreguin, Mayor
District 1 - Linda Maio
District 5 - Sophie Hahn
District 2 - Cheryl Davila
District 6 - Susan Wengraf
District 3 - Ben Bartlett
District 7 - Kriss Worthington
District 4 - Vacant
District 8 - Lori Droste