by Carol Denney

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]uckle your seatbelt for more anti-homeless laws in Berkeley. Just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the City of Berkeley is turning its back on the Department of Justice and Housing and Urban Development guidelines, as well as best practices.
Instead, it is embracing more anti-homeless laws which will “increase nighttime enforcement” in parks and severely curtail the amount of belongings people can have with them.
These anti-homeless laws will be considered at the City Council meeting on the evening of Tuesday, November 17.

Art by Mike “Moby” Theobald
Art by Mike “Moby” Theobald

A new wave of oppressive prohibitions is in store for homeless people: “…placement of personal belongings on sidewalks and plazas covering more than 2 square feet or, for a mobile unit, no more than 6 square feet (i.e. a standard shopping cart), during the day, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (storage to be provided). 3. Any person soliciting another who is making a payment at a parking meter or pay station. 4. Lying inside of planter beds and on planter walls. 5. Personal items affixed to public fixtures including poles, bike racks (except bikes), planters, trees, tree guards, newspaper racks, parking meters and pay stations. Pet leashes exempt only as not prohibited in BMC 10.12.110. 6. Placement of personal objects in planters, tree wells, or within 2 feet of a tree well to enable tree care and to protect tree trunks….”

Come to the City Council and speak out for justice on Tuesday, November 17, 2015.

The U.S. Department of Justice could not be clearer in its August 6th statement of interest: Cities which criminalize the inevitable results of a lack of housing are in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 8th Amendment against cruel and unusual punishment.
These are the councilmembers most likely to vote for the anti-homeless laws:
Mayor Tom Bates: 510 981-7100,
District 1 Linda Maio (510) 981-7110,
District 2 Darryl Moore (510) 981-7120,
District 4 Jesse Arreguin (510) 981-7140,
District 5 Laurie Capitelli (510) 981-7150,
District 6 Susan Wengraf (510) 981-7160,
District 8 Lori Droste (510) 981-7180,
But the real power behind this move is the Downtown Berkeley Association and the developers and property owners on its board. This unaccountable, undemocratic group of out-of-towners control the council majority and make up the bulk of political contributions in elections.