- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A cadre of city leaders in Berkeley exchanged ideas for quelling violence by left-wing activists, which includes “quiet conversations,” “empathy tents,” “bubbles” and “laughter yoga.”

Violent protests that have rocked the University of California, Berkeley in recent months have the city’s elite searching for solutions. Documents obtained this week through a Public Request Act highlights some of the unorthodox suggestions for dealing with “antifa” activists who target conservative speakers.

“Do you think there is a possibility of having quiet conversations with leftist activist groups to see is they would be willing to stand down and not show up for May 2 and/or other events?” Downtown Berkeley Association CEO John Cainer asked officials in an April 20 letter, Heat Street reported May 2. “I know it is probably a long shot, but there would seem to be little risk in quietly doing so.”

Berkeley volunteer Commissioner Phoebe Anne Sorgen suggested empathy tents, which were provided on April 27.

“Envision Wavy Gravy, bubbles, singing, laughter yoga! Occupella. Buddhist Peace Meditators. Fencing with sponge noodles,” she wrote, Heat Street reported. “Will Edwin set up the Empathy tent? How about a volleyball game in the middle of the park and/or a square dance? Will Code Pink pls bring peace symbol cookies to pass out, and daisies.”

Documents obtained by the website indicate that many Berkeley Council members, including Mayor Jesse Arreguin, belong to a Google group called “Occupy Bay Area Trainers.”

“Don’t malign the black bloc,” Ms. Sorgen wrote. “Tho they have their bad apples, and provocateurs take advantage of the (tear gas protection) bandana look regrettably, most were ok and, as usual, they also provided the medics last time.”

Protesters destroyed property and shut down an event hosting pundit Milo Yiannopoulos on Feb. 2.

Similar threats forced conservative commentator Ann Coulter to cancel an event schedule for April 27.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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