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Friday, May 8, 2015

Oakland City Council looks at ways to avoid another disruption by protesters; No new date for disputed parcel sale

Although he stayed for the entire protest May 5,
Oakland Councilmember Noel Gallo wants the
council to be prepared for future disruptions.
OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | Following the early adjournment of the Oakland City Council meeting last Tuesday that was prompted by protesters opposing the sale of public land to a developer seeking to build luxury condos in Oakland, the council will hold a closed session early Monday afternoon to discuss how it can stop such disruptions in the future. The continuation of the cancelled meeting is also scheduled for Monday, May 11 at 3:30 p.m.

In a request to schedule the closed session item, Councilmember Noel Gallo seeks to clarify steps that can be taken by the body to remove protesters or members of the public who continue to speak despite their allotted speaking time elapsing.

While addressing the Oakland City Council Rules Committee Thursday, Gallo suggested the body establish policies over public access to meetings at City Hall. Included in the request is rules for metal detectors, drugs and alcohol, noise and weapons.

“We need to respect each other,” Gallo told the rules committee. He also urged for the city to publish a pamphlet outlining conduct for audience members who attend council meeting similar to a brochure available at the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s meetings.

In the event of incidents like Tuesday’s shut down of the City Council meeting by activists opposing the sale of the East 12th Street remainder parcel, which was to be decided that night, Gallo said the “room must be cleared, reporters let back in and then let in those not involved in the disruption.”

Earlier, Gallo had criticized Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney in a media report for her handling of the protest, asserting she had done little to quell it and was absent from the dais. Gallo’s tough words appeared to have dissipated by Thursday as he and McElhaney exchanged cordial words in the council chambers.

Meanwhile, the source of Tuesday night’s drama, the controversial $5.1 million sale of the one acre parcel near Lake Merritt, has not yet been rescheduled for a vote of the City Council.

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