Join Amazon Watch, Diablo Rising Tide, Greenpeace USA, Idle No More SF Bay, and Sunflower Alliance in Richmond at Chevron’s gates to protest its brutal violations of environmental and human rights at home and all over the world.
ROAR is a free conference, focused on Revolutionary anti-racism, solidarity, and strategy, rooted in the legacy of anti-colonial, anti-fascist, anti-imperialist, feminist and queer movements and fighters who have come before us.
- Our medical debt erasure campaign with RIP Medical Debt is doing well (but needs more signal-boosting). We joined another Alameda County campaign, and together we’re more than halfway to our minimum goal. Our donation page is here. The online version of our flyer, with live links, is here. Our FAQ is here. We can also link you to a printable version of the flyer if you have places to hand them out.
- Continuing our discussion group on new economic thinking.
- Organizing for public banking in the East Bay! Public Banking East Bay (which overlaps significantly with our group) is also an active member of the California Public Banking Alliance. The Green New Deal envisions financing through public banks! AB857, which will pave the way for local and regional California public banks, is in committee hearings next week in Sacramento.
- Supporting student debt resistance, working with our sister organization, The Debt Collective. At the end of last year, the Debt Collective won a huge victory against Betsy DeVos and the Trump Department of “Education.”
- Supporting the progress of bail reform law, better than the 2018 California law (including the new end of cash bail policy in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Charlotte’s county), while also fighting modern day debtors’ prisons and exploitative ticketing and fining schemes
- Helping out America’s only non-profit check-cashing organization (an Oakland institution) and fighting against usurious for-profit pay-day lenders and their ilk
- Advocating for postal banking, now a national conversation because of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s bill to restore it to U.S. law
- Fighting the current proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, while promoting single-payer / Medicare for All to end the plague of medical debt
- Organizing for Tiny Homes, better sanctioned encampments than Oakland is now currently creating, and other ways to help homeless people get housing and support
- Promoting the concept of universal basic income
- Bring your own debt-related project!
If you are new to Strike Debt and want to come early, meet one or two of us and get a briefing on our projects before we dive into our agenda, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Strike Debt – Principles of Solidarity
Strike Debt is building a debt resistance movement. We believe that most individual debt is illegitimate and unjust. Most of us fall into debt because we are increasingly deprived of the means to acquire the basic necessities of life: health care, education, and housing. Because we are forced to go into debt simply in order to live, we think it is right and moral to resist it.
We also oppose debt because it is an instrument of exploitation and political domination. Debt is used to discipline us, deepen existing inequalities, and reinforce racial, gendered, and other social hierarchies. Every Strike Debt action is designed to weaken the institutions that seek to divide us and benefit from our division. As an alternative to this predatory system, Strike Debt advocates a just and sustainable economy, based on mutual aid, common goods, and public affluence.
Strike Debt is committed to the principles and tactics of political autonomy, direct democracy, direct action, creative openness, a culture of solidarity, and commitment to anti-oppressive language and conduct. We struggle for a world without racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and all forms of oppression.
Strike Debt holds that we are all debtors, whether or not we have personal loan agreements. Through the manipulation of sovereign and municipal debt, the costs of speculator-driven crises are passed on to all of us. Though different kinds of debt can affect the same household, they are all interconnected, and so all household debtors have a common interest in resisting.
Strike Debt engages in public education about the debt-system to counteract the self-serving myth that finance is too complicated for laypersons to understand. In particular, it urges direct action as a way of stopping the damage caused by the creditor class and their enablers among elected government officials. Direct action empowers those who participate in challenging the debt-system.
Strike Debt holds that we owe the financial institutions nothing, whereas, to our friends, families and communities, we owe everything. In pursuing a long-term strategy for national organizing around this principle, we pledge international solidarity with the growing global movement against debt and austerity.
Punks With Lunch is a non-profit organization run by volunteers dedicated to building community by providing life-saving services, along with harm reduction resources to underserved and marginalized individuals.
Our vision is to promote consistent access to basic living necessities and harm reduction services for those in need – with non-judgmental unconditional compassion. Our volunteers engage in direct community outreach while encouraging destigmatization of drug use and poverty. By connecting with our program participants, we empower and provide a safe space for individuals to make informed decisions regarding their own lives.
CALL TO ACTION
Contact us if you would like to be part of our ever-expanding team of volunteers. We fully endorse efforts to start your very own chapter in support of your surrounding community.
No outside beverages.
Sun, May 12
Turkey at the cross roads of imperialism
Turkey is struggling to find a new and better position in the world while fascism erodes the economy, human rights, freedom of press and all opposition. New “elections” on March 31 is only a sham as mounting evidence of corruption piles. Turkey has lost on Syria, a quagmire it planned on winning big with the bog guys. As Turkey oscillates between European Union, the USA and Russia, it finds itself more and more irrelevant. Contrary to the big plans of becoming a leader in the Middle East, Turkey has been relegated to a position where it is only trying to find who to follow. Such is the position of those who accept imperialism instead of standing up to it. ICSS member Mehmet Bayram will present and lead our discussion. TENTATIVE
Sun, May 19
Mexican President Díaz (1876-1880 and 1884-1911) famously commented: “Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States.”
Diaz got it at least half right. Mexico has suffered in the shadow of the Colossus of the North, but Mexico is not poor. Mexico is rich in many ways, yet it also has been impoverished. And Mexico has been greatly underappreciated by North Americans. This presentation will emphasize the many poorly known accomplishments of Mexico, while uncovering the role of US imperialism.
Mexico is bucking an international right-wing tide, shifting its government from right to left-of-center with the presidential inauguration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on December 1. Speaking for international capital, The Economist is worried. The other 99% of humanity is hopeful.
Roger Harris will present a PowerPoint-illustrated cautionary history of this trice conquered land. A longtime activist with the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library, Roger is on the board of the Task Force on the Americas (http://taskforceamericas.org/), a 33-year-old human rights organization, and is active with the Campaign to End US-Canadian Sanctions Against Venezuela (https://tinyurl.com/yd4ptxkx). He last visited Mexico in March.
MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
Sun, May 26, 2019: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Report from Venezuela Delegation
Venezuela is in the cross hairs of imperialism. It has the largest oil reserves in the world, but more than that, Venezuela is determined to use its resources for the benefit of its own people instead of handing them over to transnational corporations or imperialist rulers. In the age of imperialism, these trends are enough to make any country the target of imperialist plunderers. We are under a media barrage of lies, misinformation, and open US propaganda about Venezuela. With this intense muddying of waters it becomes very hard to know and understand the events happening around this Latin American, Bolivarian, country.
In order to observe what is really going on there, recently Bay Area residents Mehmet Bayram, ICSS member and journalist, and Laura Wells, Green Party Congressional Candidate, visited Venezuela with the “End Venezuela Sanctions” delegation. They will present their experience and lead the discussion afterwards.
Sun, June 9, 2019: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Allee
After 24 years in the USA, 38 years in the (East) German Democratic Republic as a McCarthy-era exile, then nearly 30 years in unified Germany, Victor Grossman, the ex-pat journalist and author examines the rise and fall of a socialist experiment as he observed and participated in it. He tries to clear through a fog of misinformation and distortion regarding it, describing its achievements, its successes as well as its blunders and negative aspects. Its position regarding Nazis and fascism is compared with that in West Germany. Its school system, women’s rights, both models in many ways, cultural questions and other matters are examined from a personal, anecdotal and sometimes humorous perspective.
The book then turns to a broader examination of possible lessons to be learned when searching for solutions to present-day problems: the growing gap between rich and poor, alarmingly malevolent dangers for a crippled environment, the menace of racism and new fascist movements, the almost ignored danger of atomic annihilation – and who is to blame for them. But the book also looks at newly invigorated hopes for a better, a socialist future despite the many barriers to its realization – seen through the prism of a veteran of the “old Left” in the USA, Communist rule and the Cold War in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, and expresses his views on current fears and hopes on both sides of the Atlantic – and the Pacific.
(Copies of Victor’s book will be available for purchase, cash or checks only, NO CREDIT CARDS.
Sun, Jun 16, 2019: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Constitutional Referendum and grassroots political processes.
Cuba is always described as a “dictatorship” by the mainstream media and the U.S. government, thus providing a pretext for the economic blockade and talk about regime change. But Sharat G. Lin found a remarkable democratic process in the recent Constitutional Referendum in Cuba and months of nationwide discussions involving millions of voters. (Awaiting confirmation)
In this third in our series of workshops to create alternatives to relying on policing, we’ll work together to identify elements of white supremacy culture, police and law enforcement culture. Then we’ll engage with just transition culture.
We’ll examine the cultures of our own organizations and map them toward a just transition. We’ll imagine together some steps in that journey.
ABOUT THE TRAINER
We are thrilled to welcome Patricia St. Onge (Haudenosaunee and Quebecois, adopted Lakota) to lead us in this work. Patricia is the founder of Seven Generations Consulting and brings over thirty five years of experience leading and working with nonprofit and public sector agencies. In all of her work, she provides training, consulting and technical assistance in the areas of community organizing, social justice advocacy, organizational development, cross-cultural effectiveness, consensus building, as well being as spiritual & executive/personal coach.
Patricia serves on the board of directors for Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee. Prior to launching Seven Generations Consulting, Patricia was Executive Director of several nonprofit organizations. She writes and speaks on an array of issues and is the lead author for Embracing Cultural Competency: A Roadmap for Nonprofit Capacity Builders published by the Fieldstone Alliance; she has also written chapters in books written by Joanna Macy, Marie Weil and Donald Gerard, as well as numerous articles.
ABOUT THIS WORKSHOP SERIES
A growing coalition of organizations in the Bay Area is coming together to explore alternatives to calling the police to our campuses and into our neighborhoods. Over the coming year, we will be offering a series of workshops to explore alternatives to calling the police. Some of these workshops, like this one, will provide deepening analysis and a grounding in alternative ways of thinking about safety. Others will provide practical skills. All of them will lift up a transformative justice framework and emphasize the importance of self care.
The Coalition includes First Congregational Church of Oakland, Kehilla Community Synagogue, Agape Fellowship, Qal’bu Maryam, Jewish Voice for Peace, Skyline Community Church, Oakland Peace Center, Oakland LBGTQ Community Center, the Omni Collective, and Black Organizing Project. We are eager to partner with additional organizations so please contact us if you are interested!
The space is wheelchair accessible, and there are ADA restrooms on site. Please come scent-free; for information on how to do that, see this FAQ: https://eastbaymeditation.org/resources/fragrance-free-at-ebmc/. Scented cleaning products are sometimes used in the space but will not have been used in the space for 24 hours. No incense or sage will be burned. If you have other questions about accessibility, please contact us at email@example.com.
As many of you know, the UN just recently released a report showing that one million or more species are at risk of extinction due to a number of factors, not the least of which is climate change. We are in the midst of an emergency that requires us to rebel against business-as-usual.
Are you ready?
We need rebels of all kinds!
Bring your energy, your amazing talents, your commitment to justice and, perhaps most of all, your joy! We’ve got great work to do as we rebel for life!
The XRSFBay Team
To help us best prepare and know how many people are going to be there:
Please reply to our event on Facebook!
The Occupy Oakland General Assembly meets every Sunday at 4 PM at Oscar Grant Plaza amphitheater at 14th Street & Broadway near the steps of City Hall. If for some reason the amphitheater is being used otherwise and/or OGP itself is inaccessible, we will meet at Kaiser Park, right next to the statues, on 19th St. between San Pablo and Telegraph. If it is raining (as in RAINING, not just misting) at 4:00 PM we meet in the basement of the Omni Collective, 4799 Shattuck Ave., Oakland. (Note: we tend to meet at 3:00 PM during the cooler months from November to early March after Daylights Savings Time.)
On every ‘last Sunday’ we meet a little earlier at 3 PM to have a community potluck to which all are welcome.
OO General Assembly has met on a continuous basis for over six years, since October 2011! Our General Assembly is a participatory gathering of Oakland community members and beyond, where everyone who shows up is treated equally. Our Assembly and the process we have collectively cultivated strives to reach agreement while building community.
At the GA committees, caucuses, and loosely associated groups whose representatives come voluntarily report on past and future actions, with discussion. We encourage everyone participating in the Occupy Oakland GA to be part of at least one associated group, but it is by no means a requirement. If you like, just come and hear all the organizing being done! Occupy Oakland encourages political activity that is decentralized and welcomes diverse voices and actions into the movement.
General Assembly Standard Agenda
Welcome & Introductions
Reports from Committees, Caucuses, & Independent Organizations
(Optional) Discussion Topic
Occupy Oakland activities and contact info for some Bay Area Groups with past or present Occupy Oakland members.
Occupy Oakland Web Committee: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Strike Debt Bay Area : strikedebtbayarea.tumblr.com
Berkeley Post Office Defenders:http://berkeleypostofficedefenders.wordpress.com/
Alan Blueford Center 4 Justice:https://www.facebook.com/ABC4JUSTICE
Oakland Privacy Working Group:https://oaklandprivacy.wordpress.com
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity: prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/
Bay Area AntiRepression: email@example.com
Biblioteca Popular: http://tinyurl.com/mdlzshy
Interfaith Tent: www.facebook.com/InterfaithTent
Port Truckers Solidarity: oaklandporttruckers.wordpress.com
Bay Area Intifada: bayareaintifada.wordpress.com
Transport Workers Solidarity: www.transportworkers.org
Fresh Juice Party (aka Chalkupy) freshjuiceparty.com/chalkupy-gallery
Sudo Room: https://sudoroom.org
Omni Collective: https://omnicommons.org/
First They Came for the Homeless: https://www.facebook.com/pages/First-they-came-for-the-homeless/253882908111999
Sunflower Alliance: http://www.sunflower-alliance.org/
Bay Area Public School: http://thepublicschool.org/bay-area
San Francisco based groups:
Occupy Bay Area United: www.obau.org
Occupy Forum: (see OBAU above)
San Francisco Projection Department: http://tinyurl.com/kpvb3rv
Liberated Lens invites you to a screening of short films across the Black Diaspora with a post-screening discussion with Aldane Walters & Marna Paintsil Anning. This event is free and food will be provided! Doors open at 4:30 pm on Sunday, May 19th at Omni Commons. This event is wheel chair accessible. For more information go to LiberatedLens.org or contact (510) 863-4331.
Meeting of homeless activists and homed supporters from around the Bay Area.
Monday, May 20, 2019
6:30 pm SHARP Rally
During Public Comment Period
at the City Council Meeting
Pittsburg City Council 65 Civic Ave Pittsburg, CA 94565 (One block North on Railroad Ave Exit off HWY 4) (Railroad Drive Stop at End of Line BART Extension Trolley)
Contact Info: 510-674-8181 or 925-565-8393 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Demand Number One: FIRE KILLER COP DILLON TINDALL
The people of Pittsburg are NOT safe with trigger happy cop Dillon Tindall on the police force. He has shown bad judgement in killing Terry Amons without just cause. At the very least, he must be fired to prevent further tragedy.
Demand Number Two: PASS THE RICHMOND ORDINANCE
District Attorneys work closely every day with the police and rely on them to get convictions. More often than not they turn a blind eye to police misconduct. We need laws and policies that hold trigger happy cops accountable. The Richmond City Council, responding to public pressure, passed. an ordinance to have an INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION of all police killings, to avoid this conflict of interest. Pittsburg and other cities must pass similar laws as a first step to justice.
Terry Amons, Jr., a 43 year old Black man, was. shot and killed by Pittsburgh police late Friday night on January 12, 2018, while eating dinner inside his car outside of Nations Burgers in Pittsburgh, as was his habit before going to work on his night shift job as a delivery driver for Presidential Propane Company. The police claim that Terry was reaching for a gun, but body cam video, which clearly shows Amons attempting to comply with shouted contradictory orders from two cops with guns drawn and aimed at him. At no time did Amons make any move toward the holstered pistol that was in plain sight in the central storage area between the front seats.
The video shows Amons complying with orders to place his hands on the steering wheel, then attempting to comply with frantic commands to “get out of the car” before being senselessly gunned down while attempting to comply.
We hold the Pittsburgh PD responsible for murdering an innocent Black man. Terry’s mother, Sandra, said: “They executed my son. The Pittsburgh Police Department (PPD) illegally, without a warrant, searched Terry’s home after they killed him.”. The PPD did not provide Terry’s family with the names of the officers involved. The Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights is the legal justification for withholding this information. Only months later did the Oscar Grant, Committee learn the names of the Police Officers involved: Dillon Tindall, who fired, the shots, and Jesus Arellano. According to the East Bay Times, the body cam video, shows Terry being shot by Tindall after. shouting “Do not reach for that fucking gun.” As Terry falls out of the car he continues fo say, “I wasn’t reaching for nothing, swear to God.” Then the officers handcuffed him. Terry died at John Muir Medical Center in Martinez.
The police claim they were responding to a drug dealing complaint that provoked the initial contact. No drugs were found on Amons or in his car.
The family is considering filing a lawsuit.‘ Family and friends of Terry Amons have launched an on-going struggle for. . Justice4Terry, along with the OGC, SURJ (Stand Up for Racial Justice), and others. So far, three monthly protest actions have been held with up to 60 energetic people involved. Monthly meetings to plan ongoing events are open to the public.
Join the struggle, for more info contact: 510-674-8181 or 925-565-8392
Or email: email@example.com
The Oscar Grant Committee . Justice4Terry Amons Committee
You can help! Join the Oscar Grant Committee Against Police Brutality and State Repression
Born from the struggle for justice for Oscar Grant, murdered by BART police on Jan 1, 2009. We organize working class resistance in support of families whose loved ones were murdered by police.
JOIN US, our meetings are normally on the First Monday of every month at 7:00 PM at the Niebyl-Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph Avenue in North Oakland
Confirm time at: www.oscargrantcommittee.org . firstname.lastname@example.org
A 6-week series to help us develop a deeper analysis and to call attention to the kinds of changes needed in the City’s budget and policies.
4/15 – Housing
4/22 – Economy
4/29 – Education
5/6 – Public Health
5/13 – Neighborhood Life
5/20 – Public Safety
The first week’s workshop on the Housing Indicators is the first of a 6-week series to help us develop a deeper analysis and to call attention to the kinds of changes needed in the City’s budget and policies.
Join us for this deeper dive into the Equity Indicators Report for the City of Oakland. Released last year, it clearly shows the effects of white supremacy on our community. Oakland posted a failing score of 33.5 out of a possible 100 across all indicators. This was the lowest score of all cities that participated in this national study.
Carroll Fife, the founder of Black Women & Elected Leadership, the Executive Director of Oakland ACCE, and one of the founding members of Community READY Corps, will join us as a guest speaker to provide some deeper analysis of the report’s findings and point us to actual solutions that will advance racial justice and equity in our housing market.
Tuesday May 21: Turn out for a rally and press conference followed by public comment. We need you to help us push #AuditAhern forward. The abuses committed by ACSO are unacceptable. We will not be silent. We will not be complacent. pic.twitter.com/WpsviplSC6
— Ella Baker Center (@ellabakercenter) May 16, 2019
We don’t have to wait to repeal Costa Hawkins to fight displacement and stabilize the homes of thousands of tenants in Oakland NOW.
Oakland City Council has the power to remove rent-control exemptions on thousands of currently owner-occupied duplex and triplex units in Oakland and protect the futures of families in thousands more. It’s time we demand they take action to stop displacement and rent gouging.
Closing the rent stabilization loophole for owner-occupied 2-3 unit buildings would immediately:
• Protect an estimated 5,100 tenants already living owner-occupied duplexes or triplex units by allowing them to re/gain rent stabilization;
• Qualify these tenants for protections under Oakland’s Tenant Protection Ordinance, which protects tenants from harassment and “bad acting“ landlords who are refusing to make necessary repairs;
• Make these tenants eligible for relocation payments for no-fault evictions
• Preserve the affordability of approximately 11,000 additional units vulnerable to losing rent stabilization and coverage under the Tenant Protection Ordinance and Uniform Relocation Ordinance.
Learn more about the fight here https://cjjc.org/mediapress/closetheloopholes-to-defend-and-expand-oaklands-rent-stabilized-housing/
And join us
Tuesday 5/21 @ 5:30pm First full City Council Vote – 3rd Floor Oakland City Hall
Tuesday 6/4 @ 5:30pm Final vote 3rd Floor Oakland City Hall
Also up for a vote on 5/21 – demand transparency and accountability from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department https://www.facebook.com/events/395420811306185/
Come join us make public banking happen!
Local public banking bill moves ahead
May update: AB 857 has cleared all Assembly committees and will be coming up for an Assembly floor vote in late May.
Local public banking is coming to California! State Assembly Bill 857, which will enable cities and counties to more easily establish their own banks, passed two crucial votes this week: on Monday, the Assembly Banking and Finance committee voted to pass it, and on Wednesday, the Assembly Local Government committee did the same. Next, our bill is headed to the Appropriations committee before going to the full Assembly; then, of course, the debate will move to the Senate.
The text of the bill, plus analysis and details on the committee votes, can be found here.
Support for AB 857 is building; Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Oakland, and Berkeley – as well Santa Cruz Countty and Santa Clara County – have all passed resolutions supporting itt. Our grassroots movement to divest from Wall Street and keep our money local is growing ever more powerful. Onward!
Info Time for public banking �
Have questions about public banking? Want to find out more about what we’re doing to make our own East Bay bank a reality? Come to Info Time! Volunteers will be available to talk with you from 5:30 to 6pm on Monday, April 29, at 2044 Franklin Street, Oakland. Drop on by for a chat—and bring a friend!
Tell your assemblymember: Yes on 857!
On Monday, April 8, California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) volunteers from all over the state will converge on the Capitol to press for lawmakers’ promises of support for AB 857.
But lobbying can’t do the whole job. Now is the time for all of us California supporters of public banking to call our assemblymembers and tell them to vote YES on this crucial legislation!
Calling your elected officials is quick and easy. You can talk to the staffer who answers the phone or leave a voicemail. Say something like this:
“My name is _________, and I live in District [number]. I’m calling to ask Assemblymember _______ to vote YES on AB 857, the public banking bill. I strongly support establishing a public bank in my community.”
Below are phone numbers for all assemblymembers whose districts include part of Alameda County. Wherever you live in the state, if you’re not sure who represents you, check this finder.
District 15�Buffy Wicks (916) 319-2015
District 16�Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (916) 3119-2016
District 18�Rob Bonta (916) 319-2018
District 20�Bill Quirk (916) 319-2020
District 25�Kansen Chu (916) 319-2025
And remember, everyone you know in California can call their legislator. Please ask them to call, too. It could make a real difference!
Help make our East Bay bank happen
We’re planning on doing a lot more tabling at markets and street fairs through the spring and summer, and we could really use some help. Tabling is a great way to get out of that cyber-bubble and talk to actual fellow citizens about creating the vibrant local economy we all want to see. You don’t need a finance background – just a couple free hours and an ability to explain the basics.
You can also help by suggesting places for us to table. We need to connect with folks all over Alameda County so we can point to broad grassroots support for our bank as we push the Board of Supervisors to make it happen.
If you’re interested in tabling or have an idea for a venue, please don’t wait to shoot us an email at email@example.com. Thank you!
The Josh Pawlik killing in March 2018 is a key event conditioning responses to this request to approve the acquisition of a second Bearcat. In that event, OPD deployed its existing Bearcat, as well as officers armed with AR-15 assault rifles. Compliance Director Robert Warshaw and the Executive Force Review Board pointed out that “officers did not use the armored vehicle as cover. They utilized it as a shooting platform.” (see attached, p. 2) The killing was wholly preventable. Yet OPD’s review of the event made no reference to the Bearcat deployment rules included in Chief Kirkpatrick’s supplemental report – which had been re-distributed to OPD commanders only 11 days before the killing of Mr. Pawlik.
- The Department has no use policy for the Bearcat or other armored vehicles, only “rules for deployment,” and even those apply only to the Tactical Operations Team, not other officers who use the Bearcat.
- The deployment rules state that neither the Bearcat nor Armored Suburban will “be deployed for incidents that do not involve actual, threatened, or suspected violence, related to loss of life or serious bodily injury, or crowd control situations unless articulable facts dictate the need to deploy the equipment.” Yet the report says that “The Bearcat is frequently deployed to planned events to deter attacks or respond to attacks if they do occur.” This interpretation of “articulable facts [that] dictate the need to deploy” the Bearcat renders the rules for deployment wholly meaningless.
- The reasons given for deployment and rationale for obtaining a second Bearcat also broaden the permitted uses outlined in the rules for deployment. These include blocking in vehicles to prevent drivers pursued by police from fleeing.
- Studies indicate that police departments in the United States that acquire military-grade equipment are more likely to use violence and are no more successful in reducing crime than those that acquire less such equipment.
Questions raised or that remain unanswered by the supplemental report:
- How many deployments of the Bearcat in each of recent years were to events other than critical incidents of “actual, threatened or suspected violence”?
- What impact does frequent deployment of the Bearcat have on relations between OPD and community members? The supplemental report says OPD receives positive comments when it is deployed to special events, but this clearly does not reflect community members who feel intimidated and scared of OPD or do not voice their concerns directly to OPD.
- By what date will Chief Kirkpatrick commit to the incorporation of deployment rules for the Bearcat and Armored Surburban into policy for both a) tactical teams and b) other officers?
- How are deployments of the Bearcat documented and evaluted? Who is responsible for such documentation and evaluation?
- If the Bearcat is deployed or used in a manner that violates the rules for deployment, what process does the Department to discipline those responsible for this violation?
- Did the OPD consider application of the state COPS grant for other expenditures, such as other cities have done – such as overtime or juvenile justice programs? If not, why not? If so, why did OPD conclude that the Bearcat was a higher priority for this application?
In light of the fatal misuse of OPD’s Bearcat in the killing of Josh Pawlik, the Council should not approve the acquisition of a second Bearcat, at the very least, until OPD has incorporated a use policy for the Bearcat, applicable to all members of OPD, that is considered and approved by the Police Commission.
Moreover, the Council and Police Commission should direct OPD to apply for other uses of the state COPS grant, more consistent with the community’s needs.
Other points: A Public Records Act request was file for records of OPD’s deployments of the Bearcat and other armored vehicles since the beginning of 2016, including reasons for deployment, demographics of those contacted during the deployments, and any harms documented. Their response was extended and is now due on June 1.
State legislation last year (AB 3131) would have required, for police departments’ acquisition from any source of all military-grade equipment, including Bearcats: use policies, reporting on use, and approval by city councils. The Senate and Assembly approved the bill, but it was vetoed by Governor Brown. Similar state legislation is expected to be re-introduced next year.
We need to tell the Richmond City Council to phase out coal operations at every meeting of the council. A couple of people speaking at each meeting can be effective in keeping council members aware of the urgency of this issue and the popular support for the ordinance phasing out coal, presently with the city attorney’s office. In addition, it publicizes the issue to those who watch the televised (and archived) meeting or read the on-line minutes.
The opportunity to speak up about coal is during the Open Forum. This time slot, very early in the meeting, allows residents to address the council about items not on the agenda. To speak in Open Forum, you must complete and file a pink speaker’s card with the City Clerk prior to the commencement of Open Forum. These cards are available at the meeting. The amount of time allotted to individual speakers varies: if there are 15 or fewer speakers, a maximum of 2 minutes; 16 to 24 speakers, a maximum of 1 and one-half minutes; and 25 or more speakers, a maximum of 1 minute. After that you can go home!
Here are a few suggestions for topics:
* Encourage the council to move this item to the Planning Commission ASAP.
* Thank the council for its April 23 action.
* Question why the city has been unable to locate a Conditional Use Permit for coal operations at the Levin-Richmond Terminal.
* Advocate for phasing out the shipment of coal from the terminal with the Richmond Coal Ordinance.
* Share your concerns about coal in your community.
If you are planning to speak, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and put NCIR Comment in the subject line.
This can be a brief but high-impact action for No Coal in Richmond!
Socialist Night School takes a post-convention breather on May 21 for our first film night, the second session in our three-part series on imperialism and internationalism. We’ll be holding a special screening of Part I of Patricio Guzman’s The Battle of Chile, the legendary documentary about the social revolution that brought Salvador Allende to power in Chile in the 1970s and its violent repression. Here’s your chance to see what the Village Voice called “the major political film of our times.” We will also have LaCroix and snacks!
A trial will be held to determine whether the City of Berkeley persecuted First They Came for the Homeless, aka The Poor Tour, a group of politicized homeless individuals, for their political activities.
Jury selection commences on the 20th.