Tuesday’s City Council meeting to discuss Month of Inclusion, BPD, Board of Library Trustees

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The City Council meeting set to take place this Tuesday evening will discuss the proclamation of May 2017 as a Month of Inclusion and items related to the Berkeley Police Department and Board of Library Trustees.

Councilmember Ben Bartlett recommended the resolution to proclaim May 2017 as a Month of Inclusion in remembrance of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

The Month of Inclusion Resolution urges people to remember the harm caused by anti-immigrant sentiments of the past. The resolution states that there is a “direct link” between discriminatory policies of the past and the actions of the current presidential administration.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 — signed into United States federal law by President Chester A. Arthur — was the first significant law restricting immigration into the country. Chinese immigrants at this time were blamed for a number of the nation’s problems, such as the economic crisis, and were met with violence in extreme cases.

“Although it has been 135 years since the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, the Act still has deep resonance,” the resolution’s background reads. “President Trump’s Muslim travel ban similarly scapegoats ethnic groups for economic conditions using anti-immigrant sentiment and nationalism disguised as populism to vilify immigrant populations.”

Councilmember Kate Harrison said the city is currently considering the relationship it should have with the federal government in other areas as well, because of the Trump administration.

The council members will also review resolutions regarding BPD’s purchase of a specially equipped panel van and recommendations to appointing two individuals to the Board of Library Trustees.

BPD received approval for a plan to purchase a specially equipped panel van — an armored van equipped with steel ballistic panels—last December, and is now requesting permission to purchase a van from The Armor Group under a Federal General Services Administration, Cooperative Purchasing Agreement. This agreement would allow reimbursement for the equipment.

The recommendation, submitted by BPD Chief Andrew R. Greenwood, added that “(the) Specially Equipped Panel Van will increase the safety of officers responding to critical incidents” while providing a safer way for officers to rescue citizens and deploy officers in case of emergencies such as a hostile gunfire.

The armored van, however, has raised concern among community members who fear the van may contribute to militarization of the police and infringe upon feelings of community safeness and friendliness.

The meeting will also discuss appointments to the Board of Library Trustees. A resolution to appoint Elizabeth Hadzima Perkins to the Board of Library Trustees has been submitted by Heidi Dolamore on behalf of the Board of Library Trustees, and a resolution to appoint John Selawsky to the Board of Library Trustees has been made by Mayor Jesse Arreguín.

The council will gather for its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Christine Lee is a News Editor. Contact Christine Lee at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @christinejlee17.