Police Accountability

Nanci believes that the relationship between the Berkeley Police Department (“BPD”) and Berkeley citizens has been severely damaged by the actions and policies of the BPD.  She is firmly committed to calling on BPD to end state-sanctioned violence against black, brown, and poor people. Officers must be held accountable for committing, supporting, or concealing police violence.  Policies must be developed and enforced that identify and eliminate racism and race-based practices within the department.  To reflect a serious commitment to these changes, the Public Safety Officers’ Procedural Bill of Rights must be amended.

In addition, a bridge needs to be built between the BPD and the citizens of Berkeley. The essential first step is a clear commitment by BPD to transparency and accountability.  President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing pointed out that “the public confers legitimacy only on those whom they believe are acting in procedurally just ways.”  Nanci believes that in order for the residents of Berkeley to confer legitimacy on BPD, there must be a clear collaboration with the City Council and community leaders to establish a civilian oversight agency with the following powers:

  • To hire and fire officers for cause
  • To determine disciplinary action in cases of misconduct related to excessive and lethal force
  • To determine the funding of agencies
  • To set and enforce policies
  • To retain concrete means of retrieving information - such as subpoena power - from law enforcement and third parties as it pertains to to circumstances involving excessive, sexual, and lethal force, and other areas of police misconduct

Finally, BPD must dedicate resources to ensuring transparency.  It is essential to hold an open and honest dialogue with the public about problems that the community and BPD have identified, coming to solutions together.  This will not only demonstrate a commitment to open channels of communication, it will bring the BPD closer to being the kind of organization that reflects the will of the community it serves.

Housing as a Human Right

Nanci believes housing is a human right and advocates a compassionate and humane societal and governmental response to prevent people from losing their housing.  Nanci believes government process with respect to those who have already lost their home should be in comprehensive and service-based.  Nanci’s position on the state’s criminalization of the poor and homeless is that such criminalization must end now. 

Nanci advocates Community-First Development without Displacement.  This position places the housing needs of Berkeley residents ahead of the needs of developers who who place their profit margin ahead of Berkeley's residents needs.  Nanci encourages healthy and insightful development that provides affordable housing to Berkeley residents.  Nanci strongly opposes the Berkeley City’s “rubber stamp” development practices that have thus far threatened to and have forced out Berkeley’s residents who have made Berkeley such a wonderful place to live and who have a right to stay in the city they call home.  Nanci strongly supports the Affordable Housing Platform developed by the Berkeley Progressive Alliance, and believes the Housing Trust Fund to pay for more affordable housing in Berkeley must be fortified and revitalized by the City of Berkeley.  This is accomplished by increasing Developer Impact Fees, Housing Impact fees, allocating Property Transfer tax funds, and increasing Business License Taxes on large landlords.  With an increase in Housing Trust Fund funds, so should come more affordable housing ventures.

Nanci believes in stronger rent control protections.  To effect these protections, Nanci believes that the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act should be overturned.  Costa-Hawkins, a poorly drafted law that blocks Berkeley from effectively reforming its rent control policies, exempts a large number of Berkeley properties from rent control regulations.  This law has severely hampered the ability of Berkeley tenants to remain in the city as market forces create unhealthy demand for high price rentals.    

Nanci is a strong supporter of the Rent Stabilization Board in Berkeley whose mission is to  protect tenants from predatory landlords and greedy developers.  Nanci stands with the CALI pro-tenant slate for The Rent Stabilization Board - a slate that can be trusted to advocate for the tenants of Berkeley and to protect the right of many current tenants to continue to call Berkeley their home.  Nanci is united with the Berkeley Tenants Union in the effort to empower and educate tenants to advocate on their own behalf to preserve their right to stable, quality housing. 

Nanci believes that short term rentals, including those from short term rental services, must be regulated and taxed to prevent landlords and renters from turning Berkeley neighborhoods and communities into vacation rentals rather than communities with long term residents.  Since 2003, while limits have been placed on short term rentals in Berkeley, the limits are not being enforced. Without a commitment from the City of Berkeley to accountability and enforcement, landlords and renters in Berkeley will continue to exploit the market damaging the social fabric of the city.

Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club Endorses Nanci and the Progressive Slate

At their Annual Endorsement Meeting on Saturday, August 27, 2016, the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club gave their endorsement to Nanci Armstrong-Temple for District 2 Berkeley City Council.  This is an important endorsement from a progressive organization that seeks to build a grassroots movement for progressive change by transforming the Democratic Party so that it becomes a vehicle for mobilization of progressive values and political power.

The format for the endorsement process included a candidate forum, during which Nanci and her rivals for the District 2 seat, Darryl Moore (incumbent) and Cheryl Davila, were asked a series of questions.  Nanci cast a clear vision for justice for Berkeley residents and ethical leadership in city government in three areas:

  1. Housing:  Nanci laid out three important proposals to help deal with the crisis of increasing numbers of unhoused people
    • Declaration of a housing emergency
    • Put a moratorium on Rent Hike Evictions
    • Below Market Rate Housing
  2. Police Reform:  Nanci shared her vision for police in the city of Berkeley.
    • Immediately decrease the police budget by 35%.
    • Create an independent Police Review Board
    • Repeal the Police Bill of Rights that allows killer cops to stay employed
    • Create an independent dispatch system to reduce the number of calls which could be diverted to other community resources such as mental health services or other hotlines.
  3. Zero Net Energy and Zero Waste Goals: Environmental concerns are key to Nanci's platform. She was able to lay out several proposals, including:
    • Continue the collaboration with groups like STOPWASTE.ORG which has already brought a 50% decrease in waste since its inception.
    • Giving more attention toward providing for electric vehicles 
    • Increase local food sources, attending to community gardens and neighborhood food production

 

Nanci Endorsed by Berkeley Progressive Alliance

Nanci Armstrong-Temple filed her intent to run for the District 2 Berkeley City Council seat last Monday.

Armstrong-Temple was previously endorsed at a meeting of progressive voters that had taken place the Saturday before she announced her candidacy. . . In her response to a questionnaire written by the Berkeley Progressive Alliance, Armstrong-Temple stated that the primary issues she would address as a City Council member would be “affordable housing, gentrification/development for profit, and the militarization of the police.” She is also concerned about UC Berkeley’s use of public spaces for profit.

“There has been a deep disenfranchisement of the people in the city of Berkeley,” Armstrong-Temple said in the questionnaire. “There is a fast­-paced development and profit mindset that has taken over our city and made it more important to our city officials to get rid of things that make it ‘look bad’ rather than spend the time and energy to find real solutions to deep and long-­term problems.”

Read more at The Daily Californian

Why Berkeley Needs a New Police Review Commission—And Why it’ll Have to Wait Two Years to Get One

(Published in The Berkeley Daily Planet on August 5, 2016 by Andrew Beale.  Beale is a graduate student at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism. He's reported for national and international outlets including the Associated Press, Vice and al-Jazeera from the US, Mexico, Turkey and Palestine.)

On Thursday, July 21, the City of Berkeley’s Administration building was mysteriously under lockdown. Police officers on bicycles and plainclothes security officers ringed the building, refusing entry to Berkeley citizens. A city spokesman posted outside the building (which houses the mayor’s office, the City Council chambers and various other critical city functions) offered no clues, saying only “We’re having some security concerns, but we’re not discussing it broadly.” 

Around two o’clock in the afternoon, the source of the “security concerns” became clear: a small group of protesters was trying to enter the building to speak with City Council members about the council’s failure to reform Berkeley’s Police Review Commission. The activist group included students, an attorney and 2016 City Council candidate Nanci Armstrong-Temple. Despite an invitation from current Councilmember Kriss Worthington to meet with him, even Armstrong-Temple was prevented from entering the building. Hours later, Worthington eventually secured permission for the activists to come inside, but by then they had left, tired of standing on the steps of a city office building in intemperate chilly weather. (Armstrong-Temple and several other protesters penned op-eds for the Daily Planet about the experience.) 

Read More...

Berkeley City Employees Deny Right to Petition

This article was published in the Berkeley Daily Planet on July 29, 2016.

Last week some concerned citizens in Berkeley decided to petition the council to have a special meeting to put the issue of the police commission, by-right development, and the minimum wage on the agenda to be heard before the council went on vacation. We understood that by the time the council returned from vacation it would be too late to meet the deadline for the ballot. 

We were incensed at the callous disregard that the council showed in putting off the police review commission issue for the fourth time. In order to highlight the injustices perpetrated by the Berkeley police department, as well as to participate in the national call for actions in support of the Movement for Black Lives, we called on other community members to join us. 

As it turned out, three of our elected representatives agreed with our proposal and believed we could get additional signatures. 

A hearty group of 10 folks came to the Martin Luther King, Jr. building and expected to have a meeting with those representatives as well as interns from the CORO project. 

There was no covert or dangerous behavior. 

We talked with two additional council members outside of city hall who indicated their willingness to talk with us about our petition.

When we arrived at the city administration building it was clear that the police were waiting for a demonstration. The gate that is usually open was closed; people were told that they had to have an appointment to enter the building. 

But despite our appointment, despite our constitutional rights to gather to petition our elected officials for a redress of grievances, the City Managers office refused to let us enter into the building. Despite the fact that it was obvious that there was no threat and that the people present were there in good faith, we were blocked from entering the building.  

I was physically barred from entering the building, despite my request to talk with the police and with the City Manager. Personally, I was infuriated at being treated in the manner that I was. As a candidate for office, I was incensed that citizens and elected officials were ignored by city employees. And, as an activist, I was again shown why it is so important to continue to organize nonviolent direct action in the face of suppression and oppression.  

The City is currently under investigation for the actions of the Berkeley Police department during the 2014 protests; the last City Manager resigned from the city. Many believe it was due to their incompetent handling of that situation and their inability to side with the people of Berkeley in the face of injustices committed against them.  

This is not the way to treat your citizens. The people are the legal determinants of what happens here. The manager is supposed to uphold the values of the city and make sure that its affairs are managed properly, not prevent its citizens from having access to due process.  

There seems to be an idea in our country and in Berkeley that compliance to authority is the preeminent value. Those who disrupt business as usual are treated as dangerous or even criminal.  

I object to this characterization on two fronts.  

First of all, we disrupters of business as usual in the face of widespread and terrible violence and injustice help to push our country, and our city, ever toward the values that we espouse in our constitution. As a candidate for office, I am required to make an oath that I will uphold the Constitution of the United States. Is it not reasonable to expect that city employees would also be beholden to those values, even if not required to make such an oath? 

Secondly, the people of Berkeley are the ultimate authority and those in power are representatives who are accountable to the people. It is the job of the people to call city council to accountability, and for the officials and employees to answer that call.  

Not only did the City Manager's office not respond to that call for accountability, but they also blocked the council members who were willing to hear that call.  

This is out of line and cannot go unchallenged. I demand an apology from the city manager’s office, and a letter to the people of Berkeley that makes it clear that our rights will be respected by the current city manager.  

My hope is that the city of Berkeley can learn from this incident and move forward with better practices. The current City Manager has executed excellent judgement with a number of issues and seems, before this point, to be of good intention and action.  

KPFA Full Circle - A Dialogue: The American Criminal Justice System and Black Lives Matter

Hosts: Vika Aaronson, Ephraim Colbert; Theresa Adams
Panel: Allison Briscoe-Smith, PhD, Nanci Armstrong-Temple (APTP), Saturu Ned, Elizabeth Niedros (A4BL) and Uncle Bobby by phone

On July, 22, Nanci was a guest on KPFA's show "Full Circle." She represented the Anti Police-Terror Project on a panel discussion focused on the racist criminal justice system. Nanci tackles tough questions about why a truly safe community isn't achieved by adding more police officers.