Group threatens to sue Berkeley over privately held city council meetings

A group is threatening to sue the city of Berkeley in response to private city council meetings that took place in November. 

The meetings were concerning a Gaza ceasefire resolution, the Berkeley People's Alliance shared in a press release. 

The Berkeley People's Alliance is a group aimed at advancing social, racial, economic and environmental justice in the city of Berkeley. 

The BPA says that according to California's Brown Act, all city council meetings "must be open and accessible to the public." 

The group says that Brown Act violations already occurred during the Nov. 21 and Nov. 28 meetings last year. 

Citizen protests took place at both city council meetings that concerned the Gaza ceasefire resolution. In both cases, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín recessed the council and held meetings in a separate location, where the public did not have access, BPA says. 

On Jan. 11, an attorney with BPA submitted a letter to the city of Berkeley asking officials to "cease, desist from, and not repeat these violations of the Brown Act." 

The letter went on to say that the City followed neither the "letter or the spirit" of the law in the council meetings. 

The same letter says the City has 30 days to respond with a commitment to ending the alleged violations, or face a potential lawsuit. 

Several other cities across the Bay Area have considered or already passed a resolution concerning a ceasefire in Gaza. 

In late November, the City of Oakland passed a ceasefire resolution. Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 to approve a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. San Francisco is the largest city in the United States to pass a resolution concerning a ceasefire.