Well, there you go. The Berkeley hippies win again. A judge has issued an preliminary injuction regarding the stadium project, halting contruction at least until a trial can be conducted, and that’s only if Cal wins. From there, due to the football schedule, construction couldn’t actually begin until next year.
The dirty hippies in the trees will cheer this as a victory, and it does mean that the trees will stay standing for at least another year, but for all the publicity they’re getting, I’d have to say they have very little do with the outcome of this case. In my (non-legal) opinion, the Berkeley City Council (and Panoramic Hill Association) always had a stronger legal leg to stand on; earthquake safety is a big, important issue in California, and I’m sure the judge wants to fully examine it. The hippies can sit in the trees for as long as they want, but only the person actually keeping them standing is a judge sitting comfortably on a bench in Oakland.
I think what angers me most about this whole mess is the relative ease and swiftness with which Stanford renovated their stadium. I’ve never been envious of their money, or the education which they supposedly provide (or the connections that they most certainly provide), but I am certainly jealous of their relative autonomy. Being able to throw up a stadium in 9 months because you’ve got the will, the money, and the authority is something Cal will never have.
I love Cal, but I could never live in the city of Berkeley again, and it’s politics like this that are the exact reason why.