Council Condemns Attacks that Cause Berkeley Councilmember to Step Down
Citing ongoing political “harassment, stalking and threats” from members of the community, Berkeley City Councilmember Rigel Robinson on Monday announced he is stepping down from his position, saying the attacks have caused him and his family untenable stress, fear and exhaustion. Robinson’s decision comes as concerns grow nationally about worsening political violence.
The Bay Area Council strongly condemns any and all forms of political harassment and violence, which are unacceptable and antithetical to a civil and democratic society no matter the issue. There is always room for disagreement and debate, but there is no room for violence, threats or harassment. Robinson said many of the attacks he has experienced were related to housing issues and, in particular, his support for UC Berkeley’s plans to build student and homeless housing at People’s Park. The Council was proud to stand with Robinson and many others in supporting this badly needed housing.
The Council’s own Chair, Kristina Lawson of Hanson Bridgett, knows well the impact of political violence. As President of the Medical Board of California, appointed by Govs. Newsom and Brown, Lawson was the target of stalking and intimidation at her home and office, and received numerous threats online from extremists. In a statement responding to Robinson’s announcement, Lawson said:
“I commend Rigel Robinson for his exemplary service to the City of Berkeley and to our beloved region. He has been an incredible leader, and his resignation is a signal to us all that our political system is at an inflection point. The relentless harassment and threats against appointed and elected officials pose a serious threat to our institutions of government, and it is crucial that we speak up against these terrorizing tactics and take real steps to eradicate them. No one who dedicates their time and energy to public service should live in fear of being harmed.”