Move over, San Francisco. Oakland, the city of 420,000 people just ten miles away on the other side of the Bay Bridge, has shoved you aside for the title of Loony Left Capital of the country.
Hasta Muerte, an Oakland coffee shop whose name means “Toward Death” in Spanish, is refusing to serve police in uniform in order to show concern for the “physical and emotional safety of our customers and ourselves.” All over the country, coffee shops love to serve up coffee and doughnuts to cops knowing that customers appreciate the security their presence represents. But at Hasta Muerte Coffee, an employee-owned co-op, the message to the men and women in blue is: Take a hike.
Local liberals have been remarkably silent over Hasta Muerte’s policy. After all, California laws require businesses to serve the public without regard to race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. But they are silent about a “suspect” person such as Robert Trevino, a Hispanic sergeant, who was surprised to be refused service last month. Ironically, he happens to be the president of the Latino Police Officers Association of Alameda County.
For their part, Hasta Muerte’s owners are also mum, except for a post on their Instagram account that showed a photo with writing in Spanish that says, “Talk to your neighbors, not the police.” Accompanying the post was an X’d-out police badge.
“We need the support of the actual community to keep this place safe, not police. Especially in an area faced by drug sales and abuse, homelessness, and toxic masculinity as we see here on this block.”
The Hasta Muerte owners weren’t done by a long shot. Writing about the Oakland Police Department, they went on:
OPD’s recent attempts to enlist officers of color and its short term touting of fewer officer involved shootings does not reverse or mend its history of corruption, mismanagement, and scandal, nor a legacy of blatant repression. The facts are that poc [people of color], women, and queer police are complicit in upholding the same law and order that routinely criminalizes and terrorizes black and brown and poor folks, especially youth, trans, and houseless folks. For these reasons and so many more, we need the support of the actual community to keep this place safe, not police.
The Oakland police responded to this provocation with extreme — bordering on craven — restraint.
For their part, the Oakland police responded to this provocation with extreme — bordering on craven — restraint. “I think their position is very clear that they don’t want the police in there, and I can respect that,” Sergeant Bryan Hubbard, who runs the city police’s training academies, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “If they do call the police for any need, we’re going to respond professionally and give them the same level of service as anyone else regardless of their position.”
This is the second time in a month that Oakland has made Loony Left headlines. In February, Mayor Libby Schaaf publicly warned illegal immigrants of a pending ICE raid in northern California. Her action may have helped hundreds of illegal immigrants, including those convicted of violent or sex-related crimes, evade capture and deportation. Of the 232 illegal immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area who were captured despite the mayor’s warning, ICE reported that 180 were either “convicted criminals, had been issued a final order of removal and failed to depart the United States, or had been previously removed” from the country and had come back illegally. ICE director Tom Homan likened Schaaf’s actions to those of a “gang lookout.”
All of this, along with Governor Jerry Brown’s formal declaration that California is a “sanctuary state,” and won’t cooperate with federal immigration laws, prompted U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to sue the state for violating the U.S. Constitution.
“California, we have a problem,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a speech in Sacramento on Wednesday. “Here’s my message — how dare you. How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical, open-borders agenda.”
In a comment that must have stung California officials, Sessions went on to compare the state’s flouting of immigration laws with the “nullification” arguments that southern states made in the 1800s to defy the federal government on the issues of tariffs and slavery. Describing the role of federal law, Sessions quoted Article VI of the Constitution to the Golden State rebels:
There is no nullification. There is no secession. Federal law is “the supreme law of the land.” I would invite any doubters to go to Gettysburg, to the tombstones of John C. Calhoun and Abraham Lincoln. This matter has been settled.
Governor Jerry Brown was having none of it, accusing Sessions of “initiating a reign of terror” on illegal immigrants in his state. It’s the first time I’ve heard of a U.S. attorney general being likened to a terrorist since A. Mitchell Palmer, President Woodrow Wilson’s head of the Justice Department, engaged in a wave of unwarranted arrests and illegal searches against antiwar radicals during World War I – later known as the First Red Scare.
I don’t think it will be hard to pick the political winner in this current dispute. On the one side, you have liberals who are thumbing their nose at legitimate law enforcement. Their allies include the mayor of Oakland and the owners of Hasta Muerta, who have contempt for the rule of law and those who enforce it. On the other side, there’s the admittedly controversial Trump administration. But it has a powerful argument that transcends partisan politics: If you don’t like the law, work to change it. But don’t prove your membership in the Loony Left by spitting on it and pretending that makes you virtuous.