Prohibit the Use of Violence by UCPD Within Albany City Limits
  • Petitioned Albany City Council

This petition was delivered to:

via Eileen Harrington, Deputy City Clerk, City of Albany, CA
Albany City Council

Prohibit the Use of Violence by UCPD Within Albany City Limits

    1. Albany  Farm Alliance
    2. Petition by

      Albany Farm Alliance

      Albany, CA

We, citizens of Albany, California respectfully petition the City Council of Albany to:

1. Prohibit the use of firearms, tear gas, pepper spray, and/or any other crowd control agents by the University of California Police Department (hereinafter "UCPD") within the city limits of Albany, California including UC Village, Oceanview Elementary School and the Gill Tract; and

2. Prohibit the use of violence by the UCPD against any and all members of the Occupy the Farm movement on the Gill Tract Farm.

HISTORY:

The Gill Tract Farm is currently the subject of a peaceful, disciplined protest action, the likes of which have not been witnessed by local residents in recent memory. Urban farmers, including UC graduates, Albany community members, and other East Bay residents, have been clearing weeds, planting seed starts, and demonstrating their genuine desire and support for an urban farm space in their community. The Gill Tract Farm’s growth and evolution as a community farm is materializing before the eyes of the public.

Families from the East Bay have brought their children to the Gill Tract Farm to engage in lessons that up until this past week have never been available in their community: to plant seeds, to learn about permaculture and to grow their own food. To date, the farmers have built a temporary schoolhouse for workshops, planted a children’s garden across the street from Ocean View Elementary School, and have even screened movies such as “The Lorax” for local children. Through the implementation of these projects, Occupy the Farm has meaningfully demonstrated the positive impact of the Gill Tract Farm to our Community, and have earned our support.

While the UC currently allows research to be conducted on the Gill Tract Farm, they have simultaneously exploited its exceptionally fertile soil through its endeavors with Capital Projects, the development arm of UC Berkeley. Furthermore, since 1928 (when the Gill Tract arrived into the trusted hands of the UC) the UC has parceled, sold and developed ninety percent (90%) of the 104 acre plot.

Such actions on the part of the UC have deeply wounded the possibility of good faith negotiations between Albany residents, advocates of the Gill Tract, including Occupy the Farm, and UC itself. For over a decade and despite the UC’s egregious conduct, the Community faithfully pursued meaningful dialogue through appropriate channels with the UC in the hopes of transitioning the Gill Tract from a research site (which allowed the UC to close it to the public) to an urban agricultural site, open to the community.

Unfortunately, the UC continued to barricade the Community’s efforts toward meaningful negotiations at every opportunity. The Bay Area Coalition for Urban Agriculture (“BACUA”) initially submitted a proposal in 1997, and subsequent efforts in collaboration with community organizations and individuals in 2000, 2005 have fallen consistently, without fail, upon UC’s deaf ears.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 200 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Mark Graham ELK GROVE, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      Years ago the UC provided a free college education. Now in the time of a massive education funding crisis the UC uses money for violent, brutal, unnecessary police actions against students and the community. That money could go toward education. What a concept!

      Thanks to the 2 young women UC students who talked to me and my friends at the Whole Earth Festival in Davis about this issue.

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    • Mary Gomes BERKELEY, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      I am a neighbor of the farm (about a mile away), and have been impressed with the level of care and thoughtfulness the Occupiers have shown throughout the process. Use of violent tactics on the part of law enforcement would be completely unacceptable.

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    • Joshua Shepherd SAN FRANCISCO, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      I was a student who did a lot of investigating into the worsening situation in California with regards to access to a college education. It became very evident that the University of California is no longer primarily concerned with the education of its students, rather with money. Lots of money. This requires complicity with power structures that have nothing to do with the advancement of education.

      I served my country for six years in the US Navy and have been appalled since my departure at the blatant corruption of our governing bodies in their protection of bureaucracies and financially lucrative circumstances at the expense of their constituents. I was a victim of wrongful arrest, unlawful use of chemical agents, and my friend and fellow veteran Scott Olsen was nearly killed by police when he was shot with a 'less-lethal' projectile. I am still baffled at how such things are justified in the minds of the powers that be. THEIR POWER IS VESTED IN ME. AND EVERY OTHER CITIZEN.

      There is NO reason to initiate violence against folks who ARE GROWING FOOD. I urge you to do the right thing and let them be. They are a boon to our community and to our health.

      -Joshua Shepherd

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    • Rev. Kurt Kuhwald OAKLAND, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      I am a faculty member at Starr King School for the Ministry, a member school in the Graudate Theological Union. The GTU has an official reciprocity relationship with Cal Berkeley. I am signing this petition, eventhough I am not an Albany resident, because I am concerned about UCB's possible use of violence against these farmers, and within a city adjacent to Berkeley where I teach.

      In addition, the University can ill afford to engage in further use of violence and militaristic tactics against peaceful protesters, in this case farmers. It's reputation is already badly tarnished from it recent violence against students--not to mention UCDavis' equally, or worse, egregious recent violent behavior against students.

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    • Steven Tupper BERKELEY, CA
      • over 2 years ago

      The UC administration has a long and sorry history of arrogance and violence, repeatedly trampling on the University community and surrounding communities, but apparently learns nothing from its past mistakes. They need to get out of the Gill Tract and leave it to researchers and community farmers.

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