Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A SIGN THAT THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON US

How about Judge Barbara Miller! Her sex (or lack thereof) had nothing to do with it, I'm sure, but one does wonder how Whizzer White might have ruled on this “Only in Berkeley” case.
Are we the indulgent generation, or what? The children have taken over. We adults have ceded the world to them and we are getting just what we deserve.
Read who’s leading the save the fake trees (planted by gardeners in the 1920’s) charge? None other than Zachary Running Wolf (I’m not making this up). No doubt this Old Testament Indigenous person is a direct descendant from the So-Sue-Me tribe.
Where does a grown man get a name like that? And how come we listen to him. Two words come to mind when one has to deal with such childish tantrums.
“Water” and “Boarding.”
How about his friends who are camping in the trees? Ayr must be thrilled—to say nothing of “Redwood”, “Limb” and “Burlap.” Ayr (pronounced "Air'') must be dancing on Ayr. One tree sitter, a non-student from New Jersey (where there are lots of Coastal Oaks, no doubt) says the tree she’s sitting in is named “Ya-mah”—a reference to an African Goddess. Isn’t that cute. Strike one up for the African Goddess and screw the African American kids whose only financial ticket in to college may be via athletics.
At least in our day we were demonstrating for civil rights, women’s rights, gender equality, ending poverty, social justice, and just trying to make the world a better place. (We’ll leave Vietnam out, of the moment).
These kids are playing “grown up.” They’ve got cute names and play cute games (hauling thee chemical toilet up and down), and worship cute gods (Ya-mah)—all while hurting minorities who would benefit from the facility being planned.
These are the people Judge Miller has sided with.
Screw the young black and female athletes who are actually attending school and trying to make something of themselves—trying to achieve something and become productive citizens. Let’s punish them and reward the non-students—the phonies who think trees (which can be replanted and replaced) are more important than children.
(And how about Mayor Tom Bates—a former footballer. Newsflash Steve: You’ve lost something. A couple of things, in fact. Maybe those squirrels in the oaks are storing them for next winter).
If you want to get them back, you might remember that the folks who settle all these questions regarding earthquake faults, are the pros at Cal—the one’s you think did an inadequate job.
There’s a lot to criticize when it comes to college athletics. There is corruption, agents and under the table payments. Some kids are thugs, women bashers (and beaters) and druggies. Certain coaches the have the moral fiver of Caligula.
But with all its faults, college athletics gives more opportunities to children of color and women to actually get a higher education than any other field—arts, science, theater, music, you name it.
Football coach Jeff Tedford’s first class has an 85% graduation rate. 11 of them just graduated last December. If only the rest of the departments of the University of California could claim such numbers.
Now if you were to ask Ayr, Lone Wolf, and Burlap, they would be appalled at the suggestion that they are racists. They may not be. But their actions have racist repercussions. Here in the Napa Valley the elitists are thrilled every time they can deny a vineyard in the hills—forgetting that with each vineyard they stop, they are taking jobs away from Hispanic workers. Somehow that never gets into their computer.
This plan does not despoil the environment. It does not cut down priceless old growth. The trees are new—most planted when the stadium was built n the 20s. It actually opens up Strawberry Creek (cemented over for 80 years) and adds more trees. We can plant ten trees for everyone which is removed.
But this is America. And these days, the children always get there way. Not discipline. No punishment. No accountability. Let’s just indulge the little darlings. We certainly wouldn’t want to injure Burlap’s self-esteem by telling he has to sacrifice what he wants for the greater good of society.
Replaceable, scraggly trees first. Children of color and women 2nd. At least now we know who we are and what we stand for.
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From the Chron:

UC Berkeley's wide-ranging plans to upgrade Memorial Stadium and its environs came to a halt Monday when a judge sided with a group of tree-sitters, the city of Berkeley and irate neighbors opposed to the project. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller granted an injunction stopping UC from moving forward with plans to build a $125 million athletic training center, a 911-space parking garage and a building for the law and business schools. The order also blocks the seismic retrofit of the crumbling stadium, which sits atop the Hayward Fault. The case is expected to go to trial in three to six months. Though media attention has focused on oak trees threatened by the project, the chief issue in the court case is compliance with state laws on earthquake safety and environmental impact analysis. The California Oak Foundation, the city of Berkeley and the Panoramic Hill Association sued UC last month over the project's environmental impact report, which they said does not adequately address the seismic risks of building on or near an earthquake fault. They also want to see the 140-tree grove preserved. In her ruling, Miller said the plaintiffs showed "sufficiently strong ... likelihood of success" in their claims that the project violates the Alquist-Priolo Act regulating new public buildings on or next to earthquake faults. She also said that allowing the project to go forward before the trial would cause more harm to the plaintiffs than blocking it would cause to UC. "We're elated. This is a great day for the environment," Oak Foundation attorney Stephan Volker said after a press conference in the oak grove next to the stadium, where half a dozen tree-sitters have been roosting since Dec. 2. "This is sacred ground ecologically, culturally and historically, and we're not going to stop fighting until it's saved." The tree-sitters plan to stay in their perches at least through the trial, said Zachary Running Wolf, a former Berkeley mayoral candidate who has been sitting in a redwood tree. "I'm very emotional," said a choked-up Running Wolf upon hearing news of the injunction. "It's been a long road. The lawsuits have helped, but we've been the pressure in this movement." The delay could cost UC $8 million to $10 million because of rising construction costs, Vice Chancellor Nathan Brostrom said Monday. "We're very disappointed, but we consider this a temporary setback," Brostrom said. "We believe this project meets all the safety, seismic and environmental standards, and ultimately we will prevail in court." The university wants to move the 400-500 staff members and athletes who regularly use the stadium into the new training center, which would require removal of trees next to the stadium. The next step would be to retrofit the stadium. The other plans, including a parking garage and a stadium expansion that would block the view of the football field from Tightwad Hill, are preliminary and could easily change, Brostrom said. UC is still considering whether to appeal the injunction. Meanwhile, the ruling allows the university to continue gathering bids and drilling holes to determine the exact location of the fault branches, or traces. The fault traces were a major issue in last week's injunction hearing. Geologic tests showed no traces under most of the proposed training center, but two of the tests were inconclusive because the ground contains a lot of fill. The judge said that because of the inconclusive tests, UC could not definitely say the structure would not be on a fault. On Friday, the plaintiffs and UC will meet for a mandatory settlement meeting. City officials said they'd drop their suit if UC agreed to scratch the parking garage, move the training center elsewhere and retrofit the stadium first. "We're not crowing about this. We're open to discussion," said Mayor Tom Bates, who played on Cal's last Rose Bowl team, in 1959. "I care about Cal and about athletics, and I'm sorry we've locked horns on this. I hope at the end of the day we're all happy." The city's primary complaint is that the project would bring hundreds of cars and people to an earthquake zone in a part of town with poor access. The stadium, on the eastern edge of campus, is served by only a two-lane road. Neighbors on Panoramic Hill also were worried about safety. In the event of an earthquake or fire during a football game, they fear they would be cut off from rescue personnel. Cal football fans were enraged by the ruling. Head football coach Jeff Tedford, who last month led the No. 21 Bears to a Holiday Bowl victory and a 10-3 record, has said a new training facility is critical to his staying at Berkeley. "It's infuriating that so few people can hold up a project," said Ken Montgomery, a football yell leader at Cal in the early 1990s. "I think the tree-sitters and especially the neighbors are being disingenuous and obstructionist. They seem to have a knee-jerk reaction to everything the university proposes." At the oak grove, the mood was celebratory. Tree-sitters sang and played guitar, burned incense and prepared for a party tonight. Joining them were former Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean, Councilwoman Betty Olds and Save the Bay co-founder Sylvia McLaughlin, the three grandmothers who grabbed national headlines last week by climbing an oak with the tree-sitters. "You don't get an injunction against the university very often," said Dean. "This is a biggie." Some students seemed uninterested in the turmoil around Memorial Stadium. "I don't want the stadium to fall down when people are in there," Will Watts, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, said as he ate lunch on Sproul Plaza. "But it's a nice building. I hope they can save it." E-mail Carolyn Jones at caroylnjones@sfchronicle.com.


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Tedford's reaction: 'I'm not panicking'


Injunction halts plans for Cal's $125M facility
- Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

When Chad Nightingale went on his recruiting visit to Cal, he was led into Memorial Stadium. "It was one of the most beautiful facilities I had ever seen," he said. "I remember thinking, 'There may be bigger weight rooms, but nothing can compare to this site.' " But that was more than 20 years ago. Nightingale, who lettered for the Bears in 1988 and '89, has become the head football coach at Salesian High. Meanwhile, few upgrades have been made at his alma mater. Now it appears that current Cal players might have to wait a year or more for new facilities. Plans to retrofit Memorial Stadium and add a $125 million high-performance athletic center were delayed Monday, when a judge issued a preliminary injunction that blocks construction and brings into question the effect the decision will have on the future of head coach Jeff Tedford, who has guided the program's turnaround over the last five years. "Anybody who's asking those questions is very uneducated to my feelings to Cal and this program," Tedford said. "My commitment is unwavering. My commitment is 100 percent to Cal. I'm not panicking. I'm not fazed by this at all. "I want those statements to be clear to our players, our recruits and anyone else who is wondering." The project is the subject of several lawsuits, claiming nothing should be built so close to the Hayward Fault and trying to protect a grove of oak trees, among other contentions. Cal officials counter, saying their seismic evaluation proves the new facility will enable staff and athletes to move into a safe building and promising to plant three new trees for every one removed. UC attorneys, who have yet to decide whether to seek an appeal, said the injunction could delay the project at least a year. The bigger point of interest for Cal football fans is if the project ever will get under way and how to keep Tedford, who repeatedly has spoken about the importance of facility upgrades. Tedford has agreed to an extension through 2013, but the contract won't be made public until it is approved by the UC Board of Regents. It has been widely speculated that Tedford, who has been sought after by NFL teams and higher-profile colleges, will have outs regarding a lack of facility upgrades in his newest extension. "There's no doubt that this project is terribly important to Jeff's vision of success for this program," Cal athletics director Sandy Barbour said. "He understands, believes and sees the commitment to getting this project done." She said there is "nothing different in the extension than in the previous contract" regarding the stadium upgrades. In his last contract, Tedford received bonuses for staying with the program as each of the planned phases reached completion and his buyout of the contract became more expensive for each. Tedford, who was on the recruiting trail, admitted that the injunction couldn't have been announced at a worse time. "I mean, we're a week away from signing," he said before quickly recovering, "but there are still positives. "It's a chance for me to say that I'm extremely confident that this project is going forward. This is a temporary setback, but I remain confident that our current recruiting class will be able to utilize and enjoy these new facilities." UC Vice Chancellor Nathan Brostrom said the university will go ahead with the bid process and any possible site preparation that the injunction allows. It does, however, put Tedford in a predicament when answering recruits' questions. "The questions are usually about ground-breaking, and I am honest with them," he said. "It's not going to get started on the timeline we envisioned, but that's not say it won't be finished when we thought." In comparison to some other national powerhouses, Cal's facilities are sorely lacking. That hasn't stopped Tedford from grabbing receiver/return specialist DeSean Jackson from USC's backyard two years ago and nabbing this season's top-notch local talents such as St. Ignatius High lineman Matt Summers-Gavin and Salesian tailback Jahvid Best, who received a letter Monday that he was one of 58 players named to the Parade All-America team. "UC and its athletics department need, and more importantly, have earned and deserve a new facility," Nightingale said. "The fact is you can solidly stand behind the program and, in particular, coach Tedford. He has won with excellent players, who graduate at an amazing level and go on to represent the university well." Tedford said that the Bears lose some prospects who have seen other schools' facilities. "Facilities are a huge part of recruiting, and our facilities are old," he said. "The shape of our facilities is nowhere near our competition, and our student-athletes deserve a place to come to everyday that has all the amenities of 2007. "We have fallen behind the times quite a bit." The 142,000-square-foot Barclay Simpson High-Performance Center is supposed to be the solution to that. Along with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities within the building, the center's roof would serve as a 68,000-square-foot plaza, which would be open to ticketed fans on game days and give Cal extra concession opportunities. That hasn't been enough to convince the opposition pushing for the facility to be built at a different location. Brostrom said during the last six or seven years, the university has looked at a number of sites as far away as Albany and none is better than the current plan. "It is the optimum site to preserve the historic nature of the stadium and integrate athletics and studies," he said. The proposed plan would house 13 of the school's 27 sports. "That's a huge point that has been missed by the masses, because they think this is just about what coach Tedford is asking for," Barbour said. "This will positively and directly impact 13 programs on a daily basis, and in many ways, will impact all 900 of our student-athletes." Many of whom are like Nightingale and his running back. "Jahvid has his head in the right place," Nightingale said. "I think he would love to have a beautiful weight room, but he's focused on other things. Academics, the coaching staff and his future teammates made Cal the obvious choice for him." E-mail Rusty Simmons at rsimmons@sfchronicle.com.


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From Sandy Barbour: Dear Friends,

Earlier today the timeline for construction of the Student Athlete High Performance Center suffered a temporary setback due to Judge Barbara Miller's ruling, which imposed a preliminary injunction against the project until trial. The University of California, Berkeley administration remains united in its position that ultimately it will prevail on the merits and that this ruling is only temporary.

Nathan Brostrom, Vice Chancellor, Administration responded to the judge's ruling earlier today,

"We were very disappointed to learn of the judge's ruling regarding the preliminary injunction, but I want to make clear that we consider this only a temporary setback. We believe strongly that this project meets all state environmental and earthquake safety requirements and that we will ultimately prevail in court. Our goal and our priority must be the safety of our student-athletes and employees and we believe that this project ensures their safety while also meeting all state environmental and earthquake safety requirements."

Specifically Judge Miller is concerned about the project's compliance with CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and APZA (Alquist-Priolo Fault Zoning Act). Compliance and adherence to these two State statutes have been at the forefront of our planning effort from the beginning, and we believe we have met and exceeded these requirements in all cases. Our engineers, using modern materials and designs, are steadfast in their convictions that this building will be safe even with the proximity to the fault.

The City of Berkeley has provided documentation to suggest that there may be a question about the seismic activity in the far Northeast corner of the project's footprint. Our experts continue to maintain that the footprint is clear of trace fault activity, and we will further explore the remaining 5% of the footprint that is in question to solidify our position that the site
is seismically safe.

I want to reiterate that we will continue to be steadfast in our planning and preparation so that when we ultimately prevail on the merits of this case, we will be able to proceed full steam ahead.


Please see this video link outlining my official remarks

Head Coach Jeff Tedford, while also very disappointed with the judge's decision, remains upbeat and confident that once this temporary hurdle is cleared, the construction timeline will once again get back on track.

Although the delay is terribly unfortunate, and potentially moves back the day when we will have the opportunity to move our student-athletes and staff into improved facilities, it will not derail this project. We remain highly confident that we will move forward with the SAHPC project in the foreseeable future.

As always, thank you for your passion and commitment to our coaching staff and to the Student-Athletes at Cal.

Regards,

Sandy Barbour