Burress added: “A press conference was never announced.”
He said Berkeley’s police chief, Michael Meehan, might be in attendance.
Said one person who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak about the topic: “There are 100 credentialed press people in town and we don’t want to have 100 people showing up,” about the reason for the invite-only meeting.
Berkeleyside was not invited to the meeting, but editor and co-founder Frances Dinkelspiel has informed the city that she will be in attendance.
Berkeleyside co-founder Lance Knobel emailed the city manager and mayor Tuesday afternoon to express frustration about how the event had been planned and marketed.
“I understand the severe space constraints you’re operating under,” he wrote. “But you should also understand that 100% of our attention is focused on Berkeley. We take a serious interest in everything that happens in the city. We’ve had far and away the most extensive coverage of the protests and I guarantee you we will have the most thorough coverage (often the only coverage) of whatever the next story to break in Berkeley will be.”
Knobel also wrote that the city’s approach to the event, by limiting attendance, was simply unacceptable, pointing out that it was undemocratic to exclude in its entirety print and online media.
“I think the proper behavior for the city would be to invite media without prejudice, rather than confining itself to a single medium. There’s something that strikes me as anti-democratic about your approach,” he wrote. “We treat city officials with respect and attention, and we expect to get the same in return. It’s absolutely unacceptable to plan a news conference without giving us and other online and print media an opportunity to participate.”
Berkeleyside’s managing editor, Tracey Taylor, said she thought the move would make the city look as though it is showing favoritism toward television news outlets: “Such a decision runs counter to the generally accepted practices around freedom of the press,” she said.
More protests have been planned for tonight, and the City Council meeting has been canceled.