The City of San Jose deployed over a dozen police officers to its highly-anticipated December 4 City Council meeting, when public land near the Diridon Caltrain Station was sold to Google for $111 million. On the pretext of a “disruptive pubic”, Mayor Sam Liccardo ordered the city council chambers cleared and the public barred from re-entering. When similar protests broke out at the Mayor’s State of the City speech, police officers simply removed the disruptive individuals only, not the entire audience.
The city rolled out a whole host of barriers to discourage the public from attending the meeting on top of the menacing presence of dangerous men with guns. An unannounced “no bags or backpacks” rule blocked many from attending the meeting, especially those who arrived on the bus or by bicycle. Three rows of seats were blocked off with yellow police tape for no reason other to reduce the number of people allowed in the council chamber.
The 1953 California Brown Act, Section 54953(a) states: “All meetings of the legislative body of a local agency shall be open and public, and all persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the legislative body of a local agency, except as otherwise provided in this chapter.”
And nowhere else in this chapter is there an exception for arbitrarily-declared “disruptive” behavior by the public, as city leaders claim. The City of San Jose and Google have made it clear that they are not interested in hearing public opinion on the proposed 20,000-tech-worker mega office campus, and are willing to suppress it by any means necessary.