News

Berman curses during heated hearing on 'unprofessional conduct' bill

Assembly member apologizes after telling speakers to 'follow the f---ing' rules

State Assembly member Marc Berman speaks during a press conference outside of the Ford Greenfield Labs in Palo Alto on Jan. 26, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

State Assembly member Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, apologized Tuesday after cursing out loud at public speakers who were complaining about a proposed bill that pertains to "unprofessional conduct" by doctors.

Berman, who chairs the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, was facilitating the discussion of Assembly Bill 2098, which is authored by Assembly member Evan Low, D-Campbell, and which seeks to designate the spread of COVID-19 disinformation by physicians and surgeons as unprofessional conduct.

The hearing turned heated when numerous speakers came to the microphone to complain about the legislation, as well as about broader efforts by public health officials to encourage vaccination against COVID-19. Berman appeared to lose his patience after one man, wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "Good luck with your vaccines," came up to the microphone and told the committee that "anyone who supports this bill will be held accountable under Nuremberg Code," referring to a set of ethical principles pertaining to medical experimentation.

"Be warned, we are watching very closely," the man said.

"Hey, check it out," Berman responded. "I need everyone to follow the f---ing rules! Give your name, the organization you're with and your position on the bill."

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After the reprimand, numerous speakers alluded to Berman's outburst by saying that they "f---ing oppose the bill." When they finished testifying, Berman apologized for cussing earlier in the hearing.

"I should not have done that," Berman said.

The bill ultimately advanced out of the committee by a 12-5 vote.

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Gennady Sheyner
 
Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

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Berman curses during heated hearing on 'unprofessional conduct' bill

Assembly member apologizes after telling speakers to 'follow the f---ing' rules

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Apr 20, 2022, 11:42 am

State Assembly member Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park, apologized Tuesday after cursing out loud at public speakers who were complaining about a proposed bill that pertains to "unprofessional conduct" by doctors.

Berman, who chairs the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, was facilitating the discussion of Assembly Bill 2098, which is authored by Assembly member Evan Low, D-Campbell, and which seeks to designate the spread of COVID-19 disinformation by physicians and surgeons as unprofessional conduct.

The hearing turned heated when numerous speakers came to the microphone to complain about the legislation, as well as about broader efforts by public health officials to encourage vaccination against COVID-19. Berman appeared to lose his patience after one man, wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "Good luck with your vaccines," came up to the microphone and told the committee that "anyone who supports this bill will be held accountable under Nuremberg Code," referring to a set of ethical principles pertaining to medical experimentation.

"Be warned, we are watching very closely," the man said.

"Hey, check it out," Berman responded. "I need everyone to follow the f---ing rules! Give your name, the organization you're with and your position on the bill."

After the reprimand, numerous speakers alluded to Berman's outburst by saying that they "f---ing oppose the bill." When they finished testifying, Berman apologized for cussing earlier in the hearing.

"I should not have done that," Berman said.

The bill ultimately advanced out of the committee by a 12-5 vote.

Comments

Anne
Registered user
Midtown
on Apr 20, 2022 at 12:31 pm
Anne, Midtown
Registered user
on Apr 20, 2022 at 12:31 pm

Yet another reason to replace Berman when we get a chance.

Although I support the bill.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 20, 2022 at 12:44 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Apr 20, 2022 at 12:44 pm

Speaking of "unprofessional," Berman's continues to stonewall the accusations of sexual harassment in his office WHILE sending investigators after the victim just like he stonewalls constituents who question him about his positions on forthcoming bills and ignores them even while they read him the portions of the bill he's too "busy" to bother reading.

We deserve better and the local Democratic party needs to pay much closer attention to their endorsements.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Apr 20, 2022 at 5:16 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Apr 20, 2022 at 5:16 pm

These Berman stories give me hope that he will be voted out of office; he never should have been elected in the first place. We could have had a far more qualified woman, Vicki Veenker, representing us in the Assembly.


Thomas Paine
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 20, 2022 at 6:04 pm
Thomas Paine, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on Apr 20, 2022 at 6:04 pm

Just Berman rehearsing for his Saturday Night Live audition. He truly is a joke.


DC
Registered user
Los Altos
on Apr 20, 2022 at 8:39 pm
DC, Los Altos
Registered user
on Apr 20, 2022 at 8:39 pm

Bergman’s conduct is an embarrassment. He should resign.


RPopp
Registered user
Monroe Park
on Apr 20, 2022 at 9:49 pm
RPopp, Monroe Park
Registered user
on Apr 20, 2022 at 9:49 pm

Really? So what. Politicians are human like the rest of us. I totally emphasize with his frustration when constantly dealing with uninformed or blatantly false statements. He’s a smart guy who will get my vote every time.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 21, 2022 at 12:34 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Apr 21, 2022 at 12:34 am

@RPipp, of course you do. You're an architect and one of his developer supporters with a vested interest in his positions. I'll bet he even takes your calls and emails.

Unlike the rest of us who get to spend hours listening to his Zoom hedging and then a few more hours trying to get answers from him, his staff -- all 200+ of us for just one meeting.


commonsense
Registered user
Professorville
on Apr 21, 2022 at 11:00 am
commonsense, Professorville
Registered user
on Apr 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

This is hilarious. Fire him for using the F word? You gotta be f'ing kidding


SRB
Registered user
Mountain View
on Apr 21, 2022 at 11:26 am
SRB, Mountain View
Registered user
on Apr 21, 2022 at 11:26 am

Not the best manners for an elected official, but I can't help think this serves as a distraction from Berman handling of harassment allegations within his own office ....

Berman's silence, lack of leadership and lack of support for his own staff are truly f*ing unacceptable.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 21, 2022 at 11:27 am
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 21, 2022 at 11:27 am

I think that this episode illustrates Berman's lack of judgment. In isolation it doesn't strike me as enough to replace him, but in combination with a record of other incidents, I think it does.

In particular, as previous commenters mentioned, I am deeply concerned by Berman's refusal to address the credible (IMO) claims of sexual harassment made against his office. Responsibility here (as in all places) appropriately rolls up to him, whether or not he is directly accused.

Additionally, it is disturbing to hear reports that he may be attempting to stifle (and/or harass? threaten?) the claimant. I do not know if this is true, but if it is, that is hardly the way for an elected leader - or any human being - to act, I think we can agree. I think we deserve to hear more about these claims.

Further, it is troubling to witness Berman's lack of preparedness when it comes to answering questions about proposed legislation (and other matters). It is not unreasonable to expect a legislator to be familiar with the legislation on which he is representing us with his vote.

I supported Vicki Veenker in Marc Berman's initial race due to her greater number of years of experience, and her history of exercising good judgment on important matters of public consequence. Although I think it is common for young elected official to grow into their roles successfully, and emerge as strong forces in emerging lawmaking (we have many fantastic examples of strong, effective leadership in Congress, for example), I am not sure that Berman has demonstrated that kind of growth.

If we had stronger term limits and campaign finance limits, it would be easier to replace elected leaders when they underperform elections. I hope we can put those policies in place so that more candidates - of all ages - have a chance to prove themselves when current elected leaders fail.


Green Gables
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 21, 2022 at 12:01 pm
Green Gables, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Apr 21, 2022 at 12:01 pm

I never liked him when he was on Palo Alto City Council. He's rather jerky.


What Will They Do Next
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 21, 2022 at 3:51 pm
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 21, 2022 at 3:51 pm

Get rid of him and Assembly Bill 2098, which is a veiled attempt to ban dissent on the topic of COVID information that is not in lock step with Fauci and the CDC.


David Rosenberg
Registered user
another community
on Apr 21, 2022 at 6:07 pm
David Rosenberg, another community
Registered user
on Apr 21, 2022 at 6:07 pm

The commenter is Nick Clifford, a anti-vaxxer living in Santa Cruz county, who considers this worldwide pandemic a hoax, perpetrated by a satanic cabal.

Berman's outburst was understandable.


Forever Name
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2022 at 7:19 pm
Forever Name, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 21, 2022 at 7:19 pm

It's a matter of public record (simple google search) that Berman's largest donors are labor unions and Calif teacher unions. He serves his largest donors, not his constituents.

To the detriment of PA and thousands of students, he voted to keep CA schools closed through 2021 and into 2022, in spite of PA parents/students protesting to open in person, and some Stanford and UCSF doctors petitioning to open them for the health and well being of Palo Alto children. It's well documented now how destructive school closures were to all children (learning loss, emotional social health, lost college opportunities, future income loss, etc), and especially harmful to low income and minority families (also well documented on a national level). CA youth sports, schools, activities should have fully reopened by Aug 2020 like other states around the country. We’re so disappointed Assemblyman Berman was largely complicit in these acts serving teachers unions instead of students, who schools were intended to serve. (Hence the recent news about mass exodus from CA public schools).

Berman also voted to continue the State of Emergency in CA Feb 10, 2022, while adults are partying at the SuperBowl, bars and restaurants, and the Governor has been on a two week vacation in Central America. That's some Emergency!

Many SCC parents, Democrat and Republican alike, will never forget or forgive the year of lost school experience driven by Democratic politics from the likes of Berman, instead of prioritizing childrens' and public health needs.

Berman's behavior as an Assemblyman is beyond unprofessional. And his unwillingness to address the credible charges of sexual harrasment in his office, with employees under his watch, is both unethical and I would also presume illegal.

Looking forward to voting him out.


NeilsonBuchanan
Registered user
Downtown North
on Apr 22, 2022 at 6:57 am
NeilsonBuchanan, Downtown North
Registered user
on Apr 22, 2022 at 6:57 am

As I scan these comments and think about Mr. Berman performance starting with Palo Alto City Council, I wonder what the super majority of Democrats want for the future of this region. There is a lot of talent to be tapped for better candidates for this district.

The Republican brand does not seem viable for the foreseeable future. The burden of change is upon us dissatisfied voters to produce better candidates and pick the best one. November 2022 is almost too late. The real opportunity for everyone, including me as an "independent", will be November 2024.


Anonymous
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 22, 2022 at 11:20 am
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Apr 22, 2022 at 11:20 am

Berman caters to small and/or politically correct constituencies.
How about respecting the mainstream of Silicon Valley and representing their interests?!
He could do much better.
We pay huge taxes, are productive for this state, country and the world.
I have not observed Berman caring about that and people are tired of this attitude.
Vote in more interested, informed, better representation to the CA state assembly!
Check voting record SB9 etc.


Fritzie Blue
Registered user
Stanford
on Apr 22, 2022 at 6:48 pm
Fritzie Blue, Stanford
Registered user
on Apr 22, 2022 at 6:48 pm

I live for this sort of thing.


Tecsi
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Apr 30, 2022 at 9:53 am
Tecsi, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Apr 30, 2022 at 9:53 am

Berman has refined his skill to have as little dialogue with his constituents as possible. He engages with those who like his votes, kisses up to the CA Democratic Party leadership, and tries to avoid everyone else.

As a Democrat, I find Berman’s "Party above Constituents" approach a real problem. I want leaders to represent "we the people", not their Democratic Party career path.


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