$80.00 donated in past month
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Environment & Forest Defense
Support the Berkeley Tree Sit!
It's time for the community to come out in full force in support of the tree sitters & Mother Earth. Think Peoples Park. The University MUST be made to see the error of its ways. NO COMPROMISE IN DEFENCE OF MOTHER EARTH!
(10-29) 15:11 PDT Berkeley - -- UC officials can remove all the tree-sitters at Memorial Stadium, even if police can't identify the protesters by name, a judge ruled Monday.
"This ruling means it's all but impossible for reasonable people to see this protest as something benign," said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof. "It's an illegal and dangerous occupation of university property."
UC officials are "evaluating" how to proceed, Mogulof said. Tree-sitters and their supporters could not be reached for comment on the ruling.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Richard Keller's ruling amends his order a month ago that gave UC police the authority to remove only tree-sitters who were identified by name.
At the time, UC officials could identify only one of the protesters, David Galloway, 36, because the other dozen sitters wear masks and would not give their real names. Campus officials asked the judge to broaden the ruling to include unnamed protesters.
"The court finds that the ends of justice would be served by modifying the order ... to insert the phrase, 'and all other persons acting in concert or participating with them,' " Keller wrote in his new ruling, referring to the tree-sitters.
The protesters have been perched in part of an oak grove next to the stadium since December in an attempt to block the university's plan to cut down about two-thirds of the grove to build a $125 million athletic training center.
Since the protest began, UC police have issued about 200 citations for trespassing, and officers have complained of degenerating health and safety conditions at the grove, including spilled buckets of urine and feces. A few protesters have fallen, without serious injury.
Protesters argue that they have kept the grove clean and safe but have been hampered by an 8-foot-tall chain-link fence the university erected around the site in August to create a buffer zone between football fans and tree-sitters.
The sitters say the fence prevents their 24-hour ground crew from efficiently tending to the tree-sitters' food, water and waste needs.
Meanwhile, the tree-sitters have expanded their network of platforms, tarps and ladders to form a small village in the foliage, complete with propane stoves, musical instruments and an elaborate highway of ropes and pulleys.
Monday's court order gives UC police more authority to arrest, cite and detain the tree-sitters, who are in violation of campus lodging rules. Tree-sitters could face $1,000 fines and five days in jail for violating the order.
The university wants the tree-sitters to come down voluntarily to comply with the judge's ruling, Mogulof said. "We'd like to see this end peacefully, but it's up to them how it will be resolved," he said.
Whether UC can build the training center could be resolved by another Alameda County Superior Court judge, Barbara Miller, who is expected to rule by mid-January on a lawsuit filed by the city, tree advocates and neighbors who seek to block plans for the center.
UC asked Miller to postpone a decision until after the Cal Bears' last home football game, on Nov. 10 against USC, because of possible confrontations between fans and protesters.
Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writer
E-mail Carolyn Jones at carolynjones [at] sfchronicle.com.
This article appeared on page B - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle