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Taking Down Telegraph Ave's Last Hippie
by Dan McMullan
Sunday Apr 14th, 2013 2:22 PM
Persecution of Berkeley Street Vendor continues

Taking Down Telegraph Avenue’s Last Hippie

I have known Bob Meister for 25 years. I have watched him raise a family, and help homeless people regain a sense of their self-worth and restart their lives. I took lessons from Bob that helped me end my own homelessness, raise two children and start a new day in my life.

Bob Meister sits at his vendor table on Telegraph Avenue, as he has done nearly every day for 20 years. Photo by Dan McMullan


BY DAN MCMULLAN



A meeting was held last week to examine the woes of Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. This was only the latest meeting of about 20 I’ve attended through the years, so you will have to excuse many of us, on all sides of the issue, for not proclaiming a new dawn.

I voiced the same concern I have voiced over and over again for many years, namely, that heavy-handed persecution by the City of Berkeley and the police — at the behest of Real Estate Moguls — are ruining a vibrant political, intellectual and music scene that once was fabled on Telegraph Avenue.

A scene that once attracted visitors from around the world is now a dim, faded shadow that is threatened in a way not seen and understood since the rescuing of the California Condor in the 1970s.

One of these last “Telegraph Condors” is Bob Meister. I have known Telegraph Avenue Street Vendor Bob for nearly 25 years. I have watched him raise a family, and have seen him help homeless people regain a sense of their self-worth and restart their lives.

And I took lessons from Bob that helped me end my own homelessness, raise two children and start a new day in my own life.

I also watched a couple of months back while eight UC Berkeley police arrested Bob. By the way they were acting, I thought he might have been caught in some desperate act, so I was shocked to find out it was for his hemp cookies that we often liken to eating a bowl of Berkeley Bowl Hemp Granola.

But UC officials see this as a way to crush the last vestiges of that Telegraph Spirit and they’re not letting this opportunity slip by. He’s been hit with a boatload of felonies, their refusal to recognize a medical cannabis card (on a later home visit they made) and no plea deals whatsoever.

After witnessing this travesty, I went home and turned on the TV to the German news channel DW. In this crazy, upside-down America, now we have to go to Europe to find out about America.

It was the one-year anniversary of the death of Steve Jobs and there was a special called Apple: “It’s got to be cool.” The program speculated that it might have been the Berkeley counterculture that Jobs experienced while attending Berkeley (including a cookie or two?) that enhanced his education and influenced his unconventional thinking, and that led to a world-shaking revolution in technology.

When the TV program showed a scene of Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue to make this point, it was Bob Meister and his famous Telegraph vending table that came on the screen.

I was floored. Precisely what I’ve been saying for 20 years was writ large in a German documentary on the very day of Bob’s arrest. Yet, Bob was now facing four felonies for possession of a cookie.

His hearing was set for March 13 at 9 a.m. at Oakland’s Fallon Street courthouse before Judge Panetta (yes, CIA director Leon Panetta’s daughter-in-law).

I was planning to attend myself, and I asked anyone who cares about their freedom and the freedom of others to join me.

DDT is everywhere and our condors are dying. But there is still hope while good people stop and look and let them know we are watching.

COOKIE CAPER IN COURT
I haven’t been to court in awhile, so I had put away the memory of the horror of it all. And missing for me was that dread in the pit of your stomach that comes when you know your life is in the hands of people that make a living chewing up lives into human wreckage.

Fortunately, I get up really early in the morning with my boys for school, so it wasn’t a problem to make it to the court hearing that morning. But as I stood on the BART platform, I couldn’t help thinking, as I looked around at the people going to work, that they at least have a reasonable expectation of where they are going.

But when the system gets you, your future is a cipher, the crystal ball murky. To say the least.

By 9 a.m., I had been bomb-checked and was inside Department 11 of the Fallon Street Courthouse, sitting in my wheelchair, with Telegraph Bob sitting nervously nearby.

This is a court reserved for the big crimes, so me and Bob being here was way out of place. We watched the meat grinder do its magic of turning people into numbers for nearly two hours, when Bob’s attorney, James Rodriquez, poked his head through the door at the back, and motioned Bob outside.

I followed them, but kept my distance for a while to let them talk a little. Then I introduced myself. Bob’s attorney was a good man and knew his law. He was flabbergasted by the lunacy of the case. He said that all the letters that we could get to him on behalf of Bob would certainly help.

For the first time, Bob got to go over the police report. I was disgusted. The photos were out of some future farce movie, with an actual picture of two sides of a five-dollar bill in one. And Bob’s little cards that he uses to keep track of the colorful patches he has sold as a vendor on Telegraph, and must regularly replace, was portrayed as a drug dealer’s list.

Two female cops were pictured in Bob’s house with baking supplies piled on the table, and they had the smiles of a smarmy, successful deer hunter proudly pointing out their kill. The two male cops posing with Bob’s life savings were even more pathetic.

This is what billions of dollars in law enforcement gets us? Home invasions of the only person left on Telegraph that a visitor can take a photo with?

As I pointed out, Bob was recently featured in a televised special on the one-year anniversary of the death of Steve Jobs, as the program depicted the Berkeley spirit as what influenced Jobs to be such a free-thinking innovator.

So why is Telegraph sinking? Start with a police force that has no direction, working with another police farce that had two years of its “real drugs” like Methedrine, Heroin and Ecstasy stolen from its drug locker and sold back to kids on the Berkeley streets!

But we are asked to forget all that and look the other way while they cook a good, hard-working man, who adds tremendous value to his community.

Not me, and I hope … Not you.

SUPPORT BOB MEISTER
Show up at Bob Meister’s next court hearing at 1225 Fallon Street, Dept. 11, on Thursday, April 18, at 9 a.m.

Please send your letters on Bob Meister’s behalf to his attorney:
James Rodriguez, 1401 Lakeside Drive Suite 400, Oakland, CA 94612

You might also write on his behalf to the judge and the district attorney:
Judge Carrie McIntyre Panetta, Dept. 11, 1225 Fallon St., Oakland, CA 94612 General Court Phone: (510) 891-6000

Alameda County District Attorney, 1225 Fallon St., Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 272-6222
E-mail: askrcd-da [at] acgov.org
§Bob at Telegraph Table
by Dan McMullan Sunday Apr 14th, 2013 2:22 PM
bob_3__2_.jpg
bob_3__2_.jpg

bob_2.jpg
bob_2.jpg

§Update: Latest News on Taking Down Telegraph Avenues Last Hippie
by Dan McMullan Wednesday Apr 24th, 2013 3:37 PM
bob_button_pic.jpg
bob_button_pic.jpg

Old time Telegraph Street Vendor targeted in Telegraph Shopping Mall Gentrification Endgame.

Taking Down Telegraph Ave's Last Hippie
by Dan McMullan
Sunday Apr 14th, 2013 2:22 PM
Persecution of Berkeley Street Vendor continues



Taking Down Telegraph Avenue’s Last Hippie

I have known Bob Meister for 25 years. I have watched him raise a family, and help homeless people regain a sense of their self-worth and restart their lives. I took lessons from Bob that helped me end my own homelessness, raise two children and start a new day in my life.

Bob Meister sits at his vendor table on Telegraph Avenue, as he has done nearly every day for 20 years. Photo by Dan McMullan


BY DAN MCMULLAN



A meeting was held last week to examine the woes of Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. This was only the latest meeting of about 20 I’ve attended through the years, so you will have to excuse many of us, on all sides of the issue, for not proclaiming a new dawn.

I voiced the same concern I have voiced over and over again for many years, namely, that heavy-handed persecution by the City of Berkeley and the police — at the behest of Real Estate Moguls — are ruining a vibrant political, intellectual and music scene that once was fabled on Telegraph Avenue.

A scene that once attracted visitors from around the world is now a dim, faded shadow that is threatened in a way not seen and understood since the rescuing of the California Condor in the 1970s.

One of these last “Telegraph Condors” is Bob Meister. I have known Telegraph Avenue Street Vendor Bob for nearly 25 years. I have watched him raise a family, and have seen him help homeless people regain a sense of their self-worth and restart their lives.

And I took lessons from Bob that helped me end my own homelessness, raise two children and start a new day in my own life.

I also watched a couple of months back while eight UC Berkeley police arrested Bob. By the way they were acting, I thought he might have been caught in some desperate act, so I was shocked to find out it was for his hemp cookies that we often liken to eating a bowl of Berkeley Bowl Hemp Granola.

But UC officials see this as a way to crush the last vestiges of that Telegraph Spirit and they’re not letting this opportunity slip by. He’s been hit with a boatload of felonies, their refusal to recognize a medical cannabis card (on a later home visit they made) and no plea deals whatsoever.

After witnessing this travesty, I went home and turned on the TV to the German news channel DW. In this crazy, upside-down America, now we have to go to Europe to find out about America.

It was the one-year anniversary of the death of Steve Jobs and there was a special called Apple: “It’s got to be cool.” The program speculated that it might have been the Berkeley counterculture that Jobs experienced while attending Berkeley (including a cookie or two?) that enhanced his education and influenced his unconventional thinking, and that led to a world-shaking revolution in technology.

When the TV program showed a scene of Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue to make this point, it was Bob Meister and his famous Telegraph vending table that came on the screen.

I was floored. Precisely what I’ve been saying for 20 years was writ large in a German documentary on the very day of Bob’s arrest. Yet, Bob was now facing four felonies for possession of a cookie.

His hearing was set for March 13 at 9 a.m. at Oakland’s Fallon Street courthouse before Judge Panetta (yes, CIA director Leon Panetta’s daughter-in-law).

I was planning to attend myself, and I asked anyone who cares about their freedom and the freedom of others to join me.

DDT is everywhere and our condors are dying. But there is still hope while good people stop and look and let them know we are watching.

COOKIE CAPER IN COURT
I haven’t been to court in awhile, so I had put away the memory of the horror of it all. And missing for me was that dread in the pit of your stomach that comes when you know your life is in the hands of people that make a living chewing up lives into human wreckage.

Fortunately, I get up really early in the morning with my boys for school, so it wasn’t a problem to make it to the court hearing that morning. But as I stood on the BART platform, I couldn’t help thinking, as I looked around at the people going to work, that they at least have a reasonable expectation of where they are going.

But when the system gets you, your future is a cipher, the crystal ball murky. To say the least.

By 9 a.m., I had been bomb-checked and was inside Department 11 of the Fallon Street Courthouse, sitting in my wheelchair, with Telegraph Bob sitting nervously nearby.

This is a court reserved for the big crimes, so me and Bob being here was way out of place. We watched the meat grinder do its magic of turning people into numbers for nearly two hours, when Bob’s attorney, James Rodriquez, poked his head through the door at the back, and motioned Bob outside.

I followed them, but kept my distance for a while to let them talk a little. Then I introduced myself. Bob’s attorney was a good man and knew his law. He was flabbergasted by the lunacy of the case. He said that all the letters that we could get to him on behalf of Bob would certainly help.

For the first time, Bob got to go over the police report. I was disgusted. The photos were out of some future farce movie, with an actual picture of two sides of a five-dollar bill in one. And Bob’s little cards that he uses to keep track of the colorful patches he has sold as a vendor on Telegraph, and must regularly replace, was portrayed as a drug dealer’s list.

Two female cops were pictured in Bob’s house with baking supplies piled on the table, and they had the smiles of a smarmy, successful deer hunter proudly pointing out their kill. The two male cops posing with Bob’s life savings were even more pathetic.

This is what billions of dollars in law enforcement gets us? Home invasions of the only person left on Telegraph that a visitor can take a photo with?

As I pointed out, Bob was recently featured in a televised special on the one-year anniversary of the death of Steve Jobs, as the program depicted the Berkeley spirit as what influenced Jobs to be such a free-thinking innovator.

So why is Telegraph sinking? Start with a police force that has no direction, working with another police farce that had two years of its “real drugs” like Methedrine, Heroin and Ecstasy stolen from its drug locker and sold back to kids on the Berkeley streets!

But we are asked to forget all that and look the other way while they cook a good, hard-working man, who adds tremendous value to his community.

Not me, and I hope … Not you.

SUPPORT BOB MEISTER
Show up at Bob Meister’s next court hearing at 1225 Fallon Street, Dept. 11, on Thursday, April 18, at 9 a.m.

Please send your letters on Bob Meister’s behalf to his attorney:
James Rodriguez, 1401 Lakeside Drive Suite 400, Oakland, CA 94612

You might also write on his behalf to the judge and the district attorney:
Judge Carrie McIntyre Panetta, Dept. 11, 1225 Fallon St., Oakland, CA 94612 General Court Phone: (510) 891-6000

Alameda County District Attorney, 1225 Fallon St., Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 272-6222
E-mail: askrcd-da [at] acgov.org
§Bob at Telegraph Table
by Dan McMullan Sunday Apr 14th, 2013 2:22 PM

Latest Update: On April 18th there were about 5 of us out at 1225 Fallon Street Courthouse proudly wearing our "I'm HERE for BOB"
Buttons. Still they persist with 4 felony counts for a 5 dollar Hemp Cookie Sale. The case again was put off until May 16th same time, same place but now we have more time to get in letters and bring out the good people of the East Bay to let the District attorney know we have enough problems with real crime in Alameda County and Medical Cannabis is protected by law (Laws you are sworn to uphold.) in this State last time we checked.
See You there
Wednesday, May 15th!!!


§Bob at Telegraph Table
by Dan McMullan Wednesday Apr 24th, 2013 3:37 PM
bob_3.jpg
bob_3.jpg

§Bob Calling for two more Latte's
by Dan McMullan Wednesday Apr 24th, 2013 3:37 PM
bob_1.jpg
bob_1.jpg

§Bob's stand still making a stand.
by Dan McMullan Wednesday Apr 24th, 2013 3:37 PM


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Zachary RunningWolf
( runningwolf.zachary [at] yahoo.com ) Monday Apr 15th, 2013 8:13 AM
Just another case where instead of arresting the REAL KKKriminals of this City where are numerous the the police are instructed to go after the undesireables to Gentrify this City (going strong since the 60s). Here is some that should be arrested UC professor John Yoo (Torture), Mayor Bates and Councilman Laurie Capetelli (Stealing the election - Voter Fraud), the owner of the Building at the corner of Telegraph and Haste on Arson and I'll even throw in the Police Chief Michael Meehan (anti Free Speech FTP March) who should be Fired. I'm also going to Trial for running for Mayor while being Indigenous (April 26th) as the Berkeley Police (ie Brian Mathues should be fired) target my Campaign and added false charges. They had me on no bail and another charge which was construed while I was in Jail at that time which had to be dropped. The judge who saw me the next day realized the BS and released me and saying it was "Un American" to arrest someone while campaigning. My campaign was based on revitalizing Telegraph Ave. by closing down to pedestrian only like the Christmas Craft fair. The proposal was widely supported and even other candidates thought was a Great Idea. Meanwhile the powers at be continually are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic on this issue at the cost to the vendors, businesses and the City itself. It is time to welcome the old Bezerkeley back and stop harassing the people like Bob and I'll be there (court) unless in a tree (somewhere).