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Oakland OEA To Challenge Jerry Brown/Oakland Police On Free Speech Rights

August 5, 2005

The Honorable Jerry Brown, Mayor
City of Oakland
One Frank Ogawa Plaza
(One City Hall Plaza)
Oakland, CA 94612

Re: Mandel, Bob/OEA - Oakland USD

Dear Mayor Brown:

I represent Robert Mandel communard2@juno.com on behalf of the Oakland Education Association. My co-counsel, Matt Ross represents him on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild. We are asking the City Council to take steps to protect his right and all of our rights to free speech in City Center and to support the campaign by the Oakland Education Association to have the corporations which profit from our community to contribute to its public education.

I am attaching a leaflet Mr. Mandel has been distributing in City Center and other public spaces in Oakland. On June 20, 2005, Mr. Mandel was told by a security guards from the Shorenstein Corporation that he was trespassing and after he insisted that he had a right to free speech, he was threatened with arrest by a police officer of the Oakland Police Department. The letter on the back of the leaflet is one addressed to Mr. Shorenstein from Ben Visnick the President of OEA, asking him to participate in convening a meeting of corporate and community members to discuss supporting legislation which would place higher taxes on the corporations to enable Oakland Schools to pay off it's debt, aid the schools and restore democratic control.

While it might be in the interest of Mr. Shorenstein corporation or other corporations interest to muzzle dissent, criticism and advocacy for change, we assume that the elected representatives of the citizens of Oakland have an interest beyond the profits of those corporations. We hope that you will take the time to place an urgency item on your agenda which supports the OEA and Mr. Mandel in this campaign and another item which declares that City Center is a public space that has a history of broad public use and that the City Council supports the right of unfettered political free speech in such areas and furthermore directs the police department of the City of Oakland to cease and desist from any enforcement efforts which would have the effect of chilling free speech in Oakland and specifically in City Center.

Mr. Mandel and others plan to once again distribute leaflets at the City Center at the upcoming public concert this coming Wednesday, August 10 [sic], 2005 at noon. The OEA welcomes and invites others to join in this campaign and will be inviting the local media to observe and witness whether the rights of Oakland citizens to free speech will or will not be protected, both by Mr. Shorenstein and by the City Council and Oakland Police Department.

Can you please let me know if you will support these items or, if not, the basis for your position?

Very truly yours,  
David N. Weintraub

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