New rules limit crowd at Oakland meeting
Matthai Kuruvila, San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Hundreds of protesters angry over a fatal shooting by an Oakland police officer in May arrived at the City Council meeting Tuesday night to find nearly half the public seating off-limits and other measures in place to limit the number of people who could fit into the chambers.
The reduced seating resulted in the council chamber doors being closed at 5:23 p.m., seven minutes before the meeting began. More than 100 people were locked out. Police officers barred the doors as protesters inside and outside the meeting room erupted.
“Let them in,” protesters shouted, at times drowning out the meeting.
City Administrator Deanna Santana ordered the changes after a Sept. 18 meeting was disrupted by the family and supporters of Alan Blueford, an 18-year-old high school senior shot to death May 6 after he allegedly pulled a gun while being chased by a police officer. Council members adjourned early that night after protesters shouted down their attempts to move through the agenda.
Gallery seating gone
Santana held meetings with council President Larry Reid, police officials and city staffers over two weeks to come up with the new rules. The changes include eliminating seating in the chambers’ upstairs galleries and banning standing inside or just outside the City Hall meeting room. “No standing” signs, printed on paper, were posted on the chamber walls before Tuesday’s meeting. Continue reading