Tuesday, June 05, 2007

And now, the best editorial ever!

On the State of Schools and Schooling
On solid ground
by Gregory Fenves and Jack Moehle

This story ran as an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday, June 1, 2007

The city of Berkeley is suing the University of California to block construction of a student-athlete center next to the historic Memorial Stadium. The lawsuit alleges the new building would be unsafe in an earthquake. With top geologists now reaffirming that there are no active faults under the proposed center, the city's allegation is unfounded from our perspective as earthquake engineers. In fact, the city's lawsuit, filed last December, has the potential to jeopardize the safety of Cal athletes by delaying and possibly derailing the first step of a critical project to seismically retrofit the 83-year-old Memorial Stadium.

The Hayward Fault cuts through Memorial Stadium, which means that a large-magnitude earthquake could severely damage the structure and endanger lives. Each day, nearly 500 students and staff members use the stadium facilities. In addition to training and sports medicine services, the aging edifice houses offices for programs such as football, field hockey, rugby, crew and lacrosse.

Before the retrofit of the stadium can be launched, students and staff must vacate the premises and move into a new, seismically safe building. That is the purpose of the proposed new Student-Athlete High Performance Center. The plans for the center have met rigorous state environmental and earthquake-safety requirements.

Although the student-athlete center will be built near the Hayward Fault, it does not cross it. To confirm this, the campus hired a top firm, Geomatrix Consultants of Oakland, to dig trenches and drill boreholes to investigate the geology at the site. In response to the city's concerns about the study, the campus hired the geologists to return and investigate the site in greater detail.

The results of that examination substantiate the conclusion that there is no fault under the site. Thus, the design is in complete compliance with the Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act, a state law prohibiting new buildings on earthquake faults. Furthermore, seismologists and engineers know from studies of past earthquakes that the level of ground shaking is approximately the same right next to a fault as it is anywhere else within two miles of the fault. Thus, the new student-athlete center is unlikely to experience ground motion greater than any other building on campus or in downtown Berkeley should a major earthquake occur on the Hayward Fault.

The center has been designed by a leading Bay Area structural engineering firm Forell/Elsesser Engineers. That firm is well known for its earthquake strengthening work on many buildings using advanced technology, including Berkeley Civic Center, San Francisco City Hall, the Asian Art Museum and Oakland City Hall. To further ensure seismic safety, the student-athlete center's design has been subject to rigorous independent review.

Among the experts who have scrutinized and approved the project are Loring Wyllie, chairman emeritus of Degenkolb Engineers and member of the National Academy of Engineering; Craig Comartin, past-president of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute; and UC Berkeley's Seismic Review Committee, which is made up of faculty experts in seismology, geotechnical engineering and structural engineering.

Since 1997, UC Berkeley has invested $500 million in retrofitting nearly 70 percent of its campus buildings identified as seismically at risk. Furthermore, UC Berkeley's goal is to reopen the campus within 30 days of a major earthquake, keeping to a minimum the disruption of classes, research and community services. Indeed, university campuses play an important role in disaster recovery efforts, as was the case with UC Santa Cruz following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Likewise, UC Berkeley will be a key player in the aftermath of a major earthquake along the Hayward Fault. Given what is at stake here, and UC Berkeley's painstaking attention to seismic safety, it is vital that the campus proceed with construction of the Student-Athlete High Performance Center.

Cal athletes and athletic staff deserve the same level of protection as occupants of other seismically upgraded campus buildings. Let them move out of the Memorial Stadium and into a state-of-the-art building that meets meticulous earthquake safety standards.

Gregory Fenves is chair of UC Berkeley's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Jack Moehle is director of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center at UC Berkeley.

Study confirms no active faults under site planned for new Cal student-athlete training center

Independent geologic consulting firm releases study results
May 31, 2007

From the Cal Football Site
BERKELEY - An independent geologic consulting firm has found no active faults under the planned building site of a student-athlete training center slated for construction west of the University of California, Berkeley's Memorial Stadium. The Oakland firm Geomatrix Consultants Inc. released the results of a follow-up study of the site last week.

Last October, Geomatrix gave the site a clean bill of health after extensive exploration that included trenching and numerous borings, and the campus hoped to begin construction early this year. After reviewers from the California Geological Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey suggested additional field exploration to confirm these conclusions, UC Berkeley requested an additional trench and several deeper borings in two small areas of the building footprint where deep fill limits geological investigation.

The new explorations turned up no active fault traces in the planned construction area, confirming the company's earlier conclusions. Geomatrix's conclusions were also supported by the seismic consulting firm William Lettis & Associates Inc., which conducted peer reviews of the 2006 and the 2007 studies.

"The Student-Athlete High Performance Center is an essential element to improve conditions for the success of our student-athletes," said UC Berkeley Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. "The safety of our students, coaches and staff are of utmost importance, and the Geomatrix findings confirm our belief that the center will be built on a site in full compliance with Alquist-Priolo statutes. With the results of this study, I am confident that we will be able to move forward with the project and will prevail when the facts of the case are presented to the court."

The Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Zoning Act is a California law that prohibits the construction of new buildings on an active earthquake fault. Three lawsuits currently are challenging construction of the center, alleging that it would violate provisions of the act. While the Geomatrix study removes one possible barrier to construction of the center, the pending lawsuits challenge other aspects of the project.

The Student-Athlete High Performance Center, a 132,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art strength and conditioning and sports medicine center, will serve 13 of Cal's 27 intercollegiate sports, including football and 12 Olympic sports. The center is critical to future plans to renovate and retrofit the stadium, which straddles the Hayward Fault and is in seismically poor shape.

Last October, Geomatrix submitted to UC Berkeley its seismic study of the site, concluding that no active fault traces run through the planned construction site. The report was included with the environmental impact report (EIR) submitted that same month to the UC Board of Regents. The Regents certified the EIR and approved the project in December.

Nevertheless, the city of Berkeley filed a lawsuit in December alleging that the student-athlete center would be unsafe in an earthquake. In January, two other lawsuits were filed alleging the same thing and challenging plans to cut down trees to build the center. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller combined the original lawsuit with the lawsuits by the Panoramic Hill Association and a consortium that includes the group Save the Oaks at the Stadium. On Jan. 26, she issued a preliminary injunction barring any construction or preparation for construction until the lawsuits could be heard in trial. No hearing date has yet been set, but one is expected in late summer or fall.

In her decision, Miller alluded to the city's challenge that UC Berkeley's plans would violate the Alquist-Priolo act. Although the first Geomatrix report concluded that there were no active faults under the planned building site, the campus asked Geomatrix to conduct additional trenching and boring to confirm that fault traces were not present beneath the sediment and fill along the easternmost part of the planned footprint of the building.

"We are very pleased that the results of the original and the supplementary field exploration programs provided such extensive data to evaluate the continuity of sediments beneath and adjacent to the building footprint, and to show where the active trace of the Hayward Fault passes though the south end of the stadium to the east of the training center," said Donald Wells, the engineering geologist in charge of the project for Geomatrix.

Professor Gregory L. Fenves, chair of UC Berkeley's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, reviewed both Geomatrix reports and has concluded that the design is in complete compliance with the Alquist-Priolo act. The building will be built with the most modern structural engineering technology to protect UC Berkeley athletes from the ground motion expected during a large magnitude Hayward Fault earthquake, he said.
"Seismologists and engineers know from studies of past earthquakes that the level of ground shaking is approximately the same right next to a fault as it is anywhere else within two miles of the fault," Fenves said. "Thus, the new student-athlete center is unlikely to experience ground motion higher than any other building on campus or in downtown Berkeley should a major earthquake occur on the Hayward Fault."

In contrast, Memorial Stadium, where student-athletes train on a daily basis, is in dire need of seismic retrofitting. That retrofitting cannot begin, however, until the student-athlete center is completed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Blog that brought you the truth about the Oaks will be back soon with an interesting article on the latest maneuvering of the anti-establishment/athletics bunch.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Listen to me everyone! I have a bullhorn so you have to, whether you want to or not! Never mind there is no need for the thing because there are only ten of us here, it looks better for the photo op! I have to start stumping early for the next mayoral election! GOD! I love the sound of my own voice! I am SO MUCH better than all of you! Oh yeah, I HATE JOCKS! I get to say that I am going to murder Police officers (which I intend to do) and these people below all rush to bail me out. I am above the law of the average citizen! Man I ROCK! Did I mention I am the leader of 85,000 Bay area Natives? Yeah, lets flaunt the fact that Berkeley is “Berserkley.” I love the fact I am damaging the image of the city I live in. What I love more than anything though, is the fact all of these people are out here fighting to protect my great views of the San Francisco Bay. I moved into my house shortly after the end of the free speech movement. I knew then the football team was going to be a problem for my posh living arrangement. I just had no idea anyone would actually care about stupid jocks. We are so much better than the stupid jocks. They are after all, just stupid jocks! SEND THEM OFF TO OAKLAND NOW!
This must be that student rally they are always telling us about. Yeah man, you definitely have the support of all the students. From the looks of it you haven’t been able to graduate in over 50 years. Shouldn't you be worried about your studies more than protecting rich peoples property?
You just wait and see, one of these idiots is going to fall. And guess what their first move will be? Never short of a legal team, they will immediately sue the University. Just wait and see, I almost guarantee it!
Hi there! I am one of the MANY student protesters tacking part in this effort to save the oldest forest in recorded history. If we don’t save this place, there will be like, no other trees anywhere! Oh by the way, I love to pose for pictures!
More wonderful photos of these dedicated professional protesters to come…

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Brought to us by the special land interests of Berkeley, California

East Bay Express
Give Cal Plan the Ax

Retrofitting Memorial Stadium for a quake will be a futile waste of countless millions.

Take a half-dozen granola-and-sandals activists, give them surnames like "Runningwolf" and "Butterfly," stick 'em in a few trees, and sic the University of California on them, and you've got the makings of a perfect Berkeley story. And so the national press has waggled after the latest town-gown controversy, in which university officials want to build a $120 million athletic training center to boost their newly bemuscled football program, and crunchy eco-acolytes (and even a curmudgeonly ex-mayor or two) have put their bodies on the line to stop them. Last month, the city successfully snagged an interim injunction against proceeding with the construction, which would have done away with a smallish oak grove and apparently struck at the heart of a key part of what made this town the "third most sustainable city," according to the eco-wonks at SustainLane.com. It also would have highlighted UC's imperial arrogance, made dozens of squirrels homeless, contributed to global warming via the sweat of middle linebackers; you know the drill. But as usual, the most important element of the story — the true folly of the university's plan — went unnoticed.

But where to play? How 'bout the Coliseum?
The issue isn't really the training center, which could be located in any number of different areas in or around campus. It's the California Memorial Stadium itself, which is the heart of the sports complex university officials want to reinvigorate. The stadium is an 84-year-old seismic deathtrap, built right on top of the Hayward fault, and the western half of it is slowly moving north, ripping at the foundations. Officials need to build the training center so they can move their jocks and coaches out of the stadium before a massive quake hits and buries them beneath a pile of rubble that used to be bleacher seats. Fine and good; since they work there five days a week, getting them out of the complex would surely save their lives. But then Cal administrators want to do something truly stupid: spend a fortune retrofitting the stadium itself.

No one truly knows just how much that would cost. UC Berkeley spokeswoman Marie Felde claims that Cal's engineers haven't even done the math yet. "They're not that far into the design process," she said. "Nobody wants to guess." But according to Craig Comartin, a structural engineer who has studied the schematics for UC Berkeley, the project would probably cost in the order of "tens of millions." For Cisco de Vries, a spokesman for Mayor Tom Bates, the university's very refusal to finish designing the retrofit and related projects is exactly the sort of irresponsible and arrogant planning that prompted the lawsuit in the first place. "Until there's some understanding of what it will take for the stadium to be safe, how can we be making decisions involving hundreds of millions of dollars?" he said. "That's a big part of our concern. The mayor says we want them to figure out at the very least what they're going to do with the stadium first."

But this much we know: The university's stated objective is to save the lives of the approximately 73,000 fans who could be caught attending the Big Game when the Big One hits.
Take a closer look at those odds. Seismologists claim that in any given year there's a 1 percent chance of a major quake along the Hayward fault. Cal plays between six and eight games a year at the stadium, and once the training facilities and administrative offices are relocated, these games are the only times a significant number of lives will be at risk. In other words, the university is about to spend tens of millions of dollars to prepare for a disaster that has a one-in-25,000 chance of happening.

But where would we play football, you ask? Where would we watch Jeff Tedford's Bears crush Stanford's spirits for a generation? Funny you should ask. University planners don't just want to retrofit the stadium; they want to beef up its concession outlets and slap on some new lights, luxury boxes, and press offices. There just happens to be a facility that already boasts all of these amenities, and its owners — you and me — will be desperate for new tenants very shortly.

It's called McAfee Coliseum, and now that the Oakland A's are planning to split for Fremont, Saturdays just happen to be free. With one lease agreement — and given Oakland's pathetic history of giving away the store, Cal officials can count on that agreement being very lucrative indeed — the university could have a massive football complex, complete with luxury boxes and garlic fries, for a fraction of what it would cost to modernize Memorial Stadium. And here's the bonus round: It's not sitting on a fault.
According to UC Berkeley's Felde, such a scheme won't fit in with the university's long-term plans. "When the campus looked at how to revitalize the southeast quadrant of campus, one of the main points was that the goal was to integrate the athletic experience with the student experience to a greater level than it is now," she says. And the fact that the stadium is across the street from the academic centers of campus is very important."

Well, it works for UCLA, whose stadium, the Rose Bowl, is located all the way in Pasadena. And moving Cal's games to the Coliseum wouldn't jeopardize Tedford's contract, which reportedly stipulates that the training center — and only the training center — be built. Felde claims the retrofit would be financed solely by alumni contributions and ticket sales, but make no mistake: Sooner or later you'll pay for this. When the Big One does strike, public money will be used to repair the stadium, and in the meantime, the redirection of ticket revenue would only increase the athletic department's multimillion-dollar budget deficit.

More than ten years ago, Oakland and Alameda County officials signed one of the worst sports deals in history to get the Raiders back, and it cost them millions and the departure of their baseball team. UC Berkeley planners have a chance to shake off the delusion that costly stadium construction projects are the only way to save their football program, and avoid the catastrophic mistakes made by their neighbor to the south. They just have to tell their alumni that beer tastes just as good in Mount Davis.


Your right, Cal football should be played in Oakland--by seceding from the city of berkeley. The University and its surrounding neiborhoods should either be annexed by Oakland or any other city that would demonstrate cooperation, appreciation, and respect for having the distinct priviledge of hosting the premier research and educational institution in the world. In the spirit of Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks, I'm ashamed that Cal is the city of berkeley. I'm ashamed Tom Bates is a former Cal football player and alum. As a Cal alum, I ashamed to be a voting resident of the city of berkeley.
Comment by Nicolas — February 20, 2007 @ 10:53PM

Terrible idea. Let's just go ahead and p*ss away 80+ years of tradition and the most authentic sporting experience in the bay area. The masses of blue and gold faithful surging up Durant, Bancroft Ave. & the campus, then descending back down into the apartments, bars, eateries, and elsewhere after the game is a one of a kind experience. The picturesque setting and backdrop of the stadium is unmatched. The sightlines of every seat in that stadium are good, far better than the hole in Oaktown.You conndradict yourself in your own article too you moron:"In other words, the university is about to spend tens of millions of dollars to prepare for a disaster that has a one-in-25,000 chance of happening."then..."Sooner or later you'll pay for this. When the Big One does strike, public money will be used to repair the stadium, and in the meantime, the redirection of ticket revenue would only increase the athletic department's multimillion-dollar budget deficit."Well, is it a one-in-25,000 chance?, or an inevitable event? Leave your bad ideas and multipurpose stadiums in LA where they belong.
Comment by Andrew — February 20, 2007 @ 10:55PM

You forgot to mention one thing: The Oakland Mausoleum sucks. Nobody, not the A's, Raiders, or anybody else, wants to play there. The Mausoleum is Oakland's problem, not Cal's. The University should not be expected to bail out the city, and should be free to solve its problems on its own terms. If the stadium gets retrofitted, it will be designed to withstand a massive earthquake, and the eventual cost would be far less than the cost of a disastrous event in the stadium as it currently stands.Your opinion piece is uninformed at best, sensational at worst.
Comment by Kevin Adams — February 20, 2007 @ 11:41PM

Well then, maybe nothing should be retrofitted - the homes on Panoramic Hill next to the stadium, student dorms, freeways, San Francisco City Hall, the Bay Bridge. It cost money. Just let them all rot.If anything, UC has been a better neighbor to the city of berkeley than vice versa. Any other university would have developed People's Park by now, but no, we have to let it remain the dump it is because of the same people sitting in the trees. And the new stadium plans are lessening the danger with the reduction of seating from the existing 73K to 65K. It's a crime that what can be such a great amenity to the UC and the city of berkeley, can be obstructed by lies, distortion, NIMBYs, jobless tree sitters with "groovy"' nicknames, and residents who just want to get rid of Cal football.
Comment by Eddie — February 20, 2007 @ 11:43PM

when did you abondon reason for madness?
Comment by Jack — February 21, 2007 @ 04:41AM

Moving Memorial stadium anywhere is a terrible idea. We need to build and expand the current stadium. It will be constructed with the most modern plans and technologies. The new Memorial stadium should be left exactly where it is. Sadly, all of these people calling for it to move have no understanding of the rich history and tradition of the stadium and it's current location. Furthermore, the stadium is the center of the University's athletic program. To say you can just move it away is simply foolish. Don't listen to these anti-social "protesters". They have their own agenda and it has nothing to do with reality. BUILT IT NOW.
Comment by Timothy Smith — February 21, 2007 @ 07:26AM

Wow.Just plain poor research!Did you actually speak to Sandy Barbour, Jeff Tedford?Do you know any Cal ALums who would support your flimsy ideas?Besides not being in touch with your consituency, and doing poor research, you have a really valuable opinion.wink wink,
Comment by Richard — February 21, 2007 @ 07:40AM

A not-so-bright article for a not-so-bright idea.. You obviously didn't graduate from Cal. Get away from the sensationalized claims and foolhardy ignorance and you'll see quite a different picture. For example, "it works for UCLA"??? Depends on who you ask and your opinion certainly does not equate to fact. The situation for Cal is not directly comparable to that of UCLA's and much can be argued against for a stadium located so far from the main campus. If I was writing this piece, I'd also filter out any silly quotes from the office of that looney of a mayor, Tom Bates. Those quotes alone make me feel dumber after having read them.
Comment by andy — February 21, 2007 @ 11:48AM

Chris Thompson is, I believe, a Cal alum.Though I think he was never much of a football fan.Chris, try to imagine what playing at Oakland Coliseum would be like:--Less than half the students who currently attend will bother to make the long journey down BART.--Alumni/homecoming weekend will be dramatically hurt.--Local businesses will suffer from those 7 weekends of year of big business.--If we played in Oakland, this year, for instance, Tennessee Volunteer fans won't need to step foot in Berkeley at all.--If, god forbid, we ever suffer a pre-Tedford-like down year, the stands will become empty. With the stadium right on campus, there is at least an incentive to attend games.
Comment by Jon — February 21, 2007 @ 12:32PM

"...But as usual, the most important element of the story — the true folly of the university's plan — went unnoticed."Indeed it did. Attending a football game at Cal is special in large part because it is a collegiate experience. Remove the "college" and you're left with something considerably diminished. Cal’s vibrance sets it apart. A vibrance fueled in part by the unique proximity of the various elements that make up one’s college experience - the living, and studying and playing that make up college life. My days at Cal, were greatly enhanced by its athletic programs and to consider that a facility so central to that experience could be so casually relocated across town reveals an ignorance so elemental to be considered folly – true folly.One can only wonder your suggestion should Doe Library become seismically compromised.
Comment by Andrew Golan — February 21, 2007 @ 12:53PM

Bad idea. Why not move all of the East Bay off the Hayward fault? Let's start with you guys.
Comment by Michael Poe — February 21, 2007 @ 12:59PM
I hear there's a large stadium in Athens that's been empty since the summer of 2004 and it would probably cost less than McAfee Coliseum. Oh wait, Greece has earthquakes too. Nevermind, let's just scrap Cal football altogether.
Comment by Nate — February 21, 2007 @ 03:11PM

And what do we do with Memorial Stadium? Tear it down? Whoops! Here come the preservationists demanding that the university restore this historic structure!
Comment by Wayne — February 21, 2007 @ 03:13PM

Please do some research. UC Berkeley isn't trying to "save" their football team. The team status is great. If you really wanted to know what team needs saving look across the bay into the Palo Alto area. So before you start rambling about saving programs, realize Cal is looking to upgrade (not saving) and has the resources to do it.Oh, and spare the fault excuse. Technology does wonders when you have the opportunity to apply it.
Comment by Scott — February 21, 2007 @ 03:20PM

NEWS FLASH! This project is PRIVATELY FUNDED. Nice job of "journalism", amateur. Why don't you do even a modicum of research before you go spouting your nonsense ideas? You can start with this article, which describes the specific technology being utilized in the retrofit of the stadium: http://california.scout.com/2/613967.htmlYour contention is that we should prevent the spending of PRIVATE money to retrofit the stadium before the Big One hits, because down the road we will have to spend PUBLIC money to repair it after the Big One? That's some solid logic there Voltaire. Cal playing in the Oakland Coliseum is possibly the worst idea anyone anywhere has suggested. That piece of garbage stadium isn't fit to host Pop Warner, let alone College Football. You are now free to crawl back to the deep dank hole you climbed out of.
Comment by The Spirit of Oski — February 21, 2007 @ 04:20PM

Good lord, where do you get your information? This so-called "article" has more holes than GW's plan in Iraq. The Coliseum is NOT a viable option for so many reasons. First off, Cal doesn't need or want a pile of luxury suites, as you so confidently claim. In fact, the new stadium renovation is unusually thin in such pursuits. The Rose Bowl does not work as well for UCLA as you believe. While it draws a significant crowd from the millions of Southern Californians that reside in the area, their fan base from the campus is extremely weak. Most students opt to stay home, rather than make the long trek to the stadium. UCLA football has little or no connection to college athletics, rather it takes the place of an absent professional franchise for most residents in that half of the hellhole we call LA. Relocating basketball games to the Oakland Arena was a huge failure for the campus, drawing only a handful of students to the games and rarely selling tickets in the upper deck. We should take a lesson from this and understand how important it is to keep the games on the campus, where the collegiate athletics experience can continue. Your agenda is quite clear and it's distressing that you feel so entitled to dig for headlines with such trash. Why don't you try doing your job instead of vomiting such propaganda?
Comment by Chris L — February 21, 2007 @ 05:22PM

Thank you. I've been waiting for someone to write this story. It's the elephant in the room.
Comment by Janice Thomas — February 21, 2007 @ 10:01PM
Janice, the only thing "elephant"-like in this room is your head if you think your petty needs outweigh the future of the Greatest Public University in the World. I won't bother to ask where you live because you make it abundantly clear. Go find something else to complain about like your neighbor's selection of paint color or the teenage kid's loud music across the street.
Comment by Mike Lewis — February 21, 2007 @ 10:38PM
Bottomline: retrofitting the stadium is going to be less expensive then building a new one or a long term lease at the Oakland Coliseum (amortized over the expected longevity of the new renovation).
Comment by jimmy — February 21, 2007 @ 11:17PM

Wow. Do you even think before you write? Or do such ill conceived "thoughts" just leak out of you when you least expect them?You state that "...moving Cal's games to the Coliseum wouldn't jeopardize Tedford's contract, which reportedly stipulates that the training center — and only the training center — be built." Oh, really? You might want to give that ludicrous statement just wee ponder. Do you really think that Tedford would stick around for the long haul if forced to play at that dump? And do you really think his contract would determine that outcome? I'm trying to be reasonably civil here, but you're just not very bright, are you? (Ditto for Janice Thomas.)
Comment by Wally — February 22, 2007 @ 01:41AM

Thank you for an excellent article. This is a sensical and disarmingly simple analysis.
Comment by Ignacio Chapela — February 22, 2007 @ 08:11AM

Wow...where to begin? First, Scott is correct that Cal's football program does not need "saving." Of course, that would change if Cal were to follow your advice and move its games off-campus.Second, you state without any proof at all that an off-campus stadium "works" for UCLA. I doubt many UCLA fans would agree with that statement. The Rose Bowl may be an improvement over the team's prior home (the LA Coliseum), but most UCLA fans would love to have an on-campus stadium. If you think off-campus stadiums are such a good idea, check with Minnesota fans -- the team's move to the Metrodome almost killed that program; that's why it is moving back on campus in 2009.Finally, the only elephant in this room is the question as to why someone would move next door to a football stadium, then express shock that the university might actually hold its football games there.
Comment by Bill — February 22, 2007 @ 09:31AM

It certainly is a "simple" analysis.
Comment by Ferdinand — February 22, 2007 @ 10:08AM

Thank you for the very incisive and "right-on" article about UC Berkeley's plans to retrofit California Memorial Stadium. You left out one very important point, however. The EIR issued in support of this retrofit/development outlines a way to pay for it by having an unlimited number of other "capacity events" at the 62,00 seat stadium. So the stadium becomes no longer alumni's much-beloved Cal Stadium, but a large, commercial venture with possible rock concerts, etc. In the event of an earthquake it would not be just the occassional football fan who would be a risk but the public in general- not to mention what this plan would do the the surrounding residential neighborhoods.
Comment by Joan Barnett — February 22, 2007 @ 10:28AM

McAfee Stadium stinks as a football venue. Cal is a tremendous place to watch football.The college atmosphere is unique and a fantastic experience. Tens of thousands ofCal fans and alumni are sick and tired of the naysayers. Just go ahead with the project and get it done! It will be great for the University and the Bay Area.Spending a day on the Cal campus and watching a game in Memorial is so far aboveanything "Mount Davis" has to offer. You're comparing the White House to the outhouse.Jeff AndersonTurlock
Comment by Jeff — February 22, 2007 @ 10:35AM

Your ideas are not too far fetched. The only problem is moving the games off campus. You site UCLA's plan as working. They have a very hard time getting students to go to the games. The Rose Bowl is usually half full at best. And they aren't the only example. San Diego State used to have a highly successful football program. They moved the game of campus and the whole program has gone downhill. Off campus sites might work for non-student fans, but future fans need to come from the student body to get the kind of support a college football team needs. Making it difficult for students to get to games is bad news.
Comment by Jill Moore — February 22, 2007 @ 10:43AM

EBE, I'm a dedicated supporter of the tree-sit and I just want to say "Thank you" for this article. You touch in on some essential issues that many other newspapers have intentially avoided. For example: "UC arrogance", the availability of alternative sites, the $ incentive for UC and the resulting $ problems for the Berkeley comminity. I never even thought about McAfee Stadium, but it is a great idea! It would also make travel easier for visiting teams (Oakland Airport access), and there's PLENTY of parking! A long shot, but a great idea nontheless.My only concern, will Raider fans and Cal fans get along???
Comment by K Lim — February 22, 2007 @ 11:14AM

Dear Panoramic Hill residents,Inspired by this article, I feel we need to address problems that stretch far beyond the borders of Memorial Stadium. After giving it careful thought, it's become clear that you should no longer eat meals in your homes. The fumes created from your ill-advised "enchilada night" are not only a nuisance to your neighbors, but threaten the lives of an "ancient" breed of endangered "Common House Cat." The subsequent trash from said cooking increases traffic of garbage trucks through the hillside. Besides, these kitchens are now deemed seismically unsafe, as they were built decades ago. I know you'd love to remodel and create a kitchen that keeps your family safe and happy, but think of the cats.My resolution: Cook and eat meals in the kitchens of West Oakland homes. They have perfectly good kitchens already. Don't waste your money on maintaining your personal identity when you can simply rent someone else's. I'm sure your little rugrats will be happy to make the journey to the West O. Bon Appetit!
Comment by Chris L — February 22, 2007 @ 12:43PM

Good article. As a retired architect I would add that there is no way that an athletic training center could cost $1000 per square foot, unless there is a substantial hidden cost to make its structure part of the needed support for the west side of the stadium.
Comment by Christopher Adams — February 22, 2007 @ 04:09PM

Yes, of course. Let's relocate the football program even though the stadium was there before the Panoramic Hill neighborhoods were developed. I'm going to buy a house near AT&T Park tomorrow and force the Giants to move back to Candlestick because I don't like the noise, traffic, and potential damage in an earthquake.Funny, there were no complaints from neighbors and this "newspaper" when the Haas Business School was built and Wurster Hall was retrofitted, both literally across the street from the stadium.
Comment by Eddie — February 22, 2007 @ 04:24PM

Dude, Chris Thompson, your idea would actually make sense and restore a rough sense of proportionality between the priority we accord football and the priority of spending public money.This of course means, your idea is disqualified from the start. Especially in this state.Only ideas that can be b!tched about ad nauseum or which make life perfect for one of the numerous psychotic, deranged groups of wackjobs with nothing better to do than sit in trees, participate in bureaucratic pissing matches, gripe about their property values, or participate in some mass delusion of togetherness at a sporting event are permitted, Chris. Shame on you for insulting the petty fascists who pay your salary, mister. You should have known that the most costly solution is the one that accomplishes nothing of value, and that is the one they want :)
Comment by Die Bearded Liberals — February 22, 2007 @ 10:24PM
Your idea is so stupid, I got to puke now, thank you for ruin my breakfast, and lunch today.
Comment by John Hoang — February 23, 2007 @ 10:41AM

Terrible research. Horrible logic. Sounds like someone who doesn't like football and who has drank the Panoramic Hills association coolaide. As a Cal alumni, I am extremely disappointed by the the city's lawsuit against the University. The flagship University in the great state of Californiadefines the City of Berkeley. It is not the city that defines Cal. Why can't we have a great academic University as well as a great sportsUniversity? Both are possible and your misguided efforts to support some tree supporters is very disappointing. The University hasdone an excellent job in preparing for this renovation (why wouldn't they?) and new athletic facilities. The Stadium is 84 years old. We need new facilities. You should be ashamed of yourself as a fellow Cal alum. We will win and our sports programs will excel just like our academic programs. Go Bears!
Comment by Hamlet K. — February 23, 2007 @ 02:31PM

Memorial Stadium in Berkeley is one of the best places to watch a football game on the planet. Not one bad seat in the house (except for the ones closest to the field), and views are to die for. McAfee/Network Associates/Virus Scan Coliseum is one of few reminders of an era of monstrous multipurpose bowls, and is an awful place to watch almost any event by comparison. The seats on top of Mount Davis are even worse than the "visitor" section in the LA Coliseum. Why anyone would entertain moving from a gem to a sh*thole is beyond me.
Comment by Jon — February 23, 2007 @ 06:03PM

WOW. As a Berkely native, I hate to say I have read dumber things but not by much. Off campus stadiums have not worked for college football. Moreover, the move to oakland would HURT attendence and make the deficits that you speak of even larger....football turns an important profit to help support the rest of the athletic department. You also need to address the question of "now what" since demo'ing Memorial is out of the question given its historic significance. I
Comment by Erik — February 23, 2007 @ 08:41PM

This comment is directed to Chris Adams, who said:------------"As a retired architect I would add that there is no way that an athletic training center could cost $1000 per square foot, unless there is a substantial hidden cost to make its structure part of the needed support for the west side of the stadium."------------Uh, Chris...have you been following this situation at all? There is absolutely nothing hidden about the cost nor the plan to include shoring up the western wall of Memorial as part of phase 1 of the project (which refers largely to the construction of the SAHPC).To quote DIRECTLY from university documents in a description of the project: "This building will be placed partially below grade so that the top of the building forms a plaza at the exterior promenade level of the stadium." The document continues: "Construction of the underground space for this building will require significant shoring of the existing west stadium wall, thus providing the first phase of seismic reinforcement to the stadium itself."What's being hidden here?
Comment by Justin Williams — February 24, 2007 @ 11:57PM

Joan Barnett writes:"The EIR issued in support of this retrofit/development outlines a way to pay for it by having an unlimited number of other "capacity events" at the 62,00 seat stadium. So the stadium becomes no longer alumni's much-beloved Cal Stadium, but a large, commercial venture with possible rock concerts, etc."-------------Hey Joan, I've not seen the document that refers to the unlimited number of "capacity events" at the 62,000 seat stadium, but I've got to ask you...exactly how many events per year (outside of a measly 6-7 football games) do you think stadiums that hold 62k persons are booked for? By simply perusing ticketmaster's site, it sure doesn't look like many. Giants Stadium (a football stadium serving the NY market) is booked for one concert (The Police) thus far for this year. ONE CONCERT. The LA Coliseum and Rose Bowl currently have NO bookings. So even if they were to use it as a commercial site, the demand simply doesn't exist for an unlimited number of non-football events. Your argument fails to apply logic beyond that of hysteria.
Comment by Justin Williams — February 25, 2007 @ 12:10AM

Number of errors in this subjective story.A's stadium was over 30 years old; A's wanted an entirely new and fancy "downtown" stadium in Oakland. It wouldn't have mattered if the Raiders were there or not, as the A's wanted out of there.Oakland refused. So the A's sought the riches of the Silicon Valley, which they probably were really after all along.
Comment by Ed Jamison — March 1, 2007 @ 12:02AM

Property Address: 15xx FRANCISCO ST, BERKELEY CA 94703-1215 Owner: LIM KENG L & KAM C Losers...
Comment by Snoop — March 1, 2007 @ 08:30AM

Give UC Berkeley a break. It is 1.2 acres of planted Oaks. The smart thing to do would have been to demand "mitigation", where UC Berkeley buys 5-10 acres of umperiled (i.e. to development) oaks elsewhere (ideally on the edge of an existing East Bay Park) and donates it to the East Bay Park system. That would actually add good habitat to a much larger chunk of intact habitat. This "Oak grove" is pretty low value habitat. This is something that could have been worked on in conjunction with other environmental causes. This maximizes the time and energy of activists.The dumb thing to do was to waste 100% time and effort for months for 1.2 of degraded oak habitat (take a walk in Tilden, then take a walk in the grove if you don't know what I'm talking about). This has tied up the time and energy of dozens of activists. Any victory is a loss if the true goal is to preserve habitat.
Comment by John — March 10, 2007 @ 04:11AM

I've been a Cal football season ticket holder for over ten years and I'm hoping the stadium renovations occur. However, I have to admit that many of the comments by the pro-renovation folk are childlike. Calling the author names and assuming your opinions are the only valid ones is pretty egotistical. We need voices of dissent so that the projects we undertake take all negative impacts into consideration.
Comment by Lorenzo Dodaro — March 14, 2007 @ 11:54PM

"Childish?” Wow, ok. So how exactly are we supposed to respond to such a childish article? With maturity? No, these Panoramic Hill types who move next to a stadium and then express outrage over the use of said stadium are the insane ones. This is nothing more than a classic example of the continuing efforts of the City to degrade the sovereignty of the University. They have done a wonderful job of making Cal out to be the bad guy, when in actuality they are. The other great point is the fact that Memorial cannot simply be torn down, so what are we to do with it when we move to Oakland? I have heard rumors that the Panoramic Hill Association plans on turning it into a massive party site, where underage prostitutes and drugs run rampant. I say we send in the National Guard and forcibly remove these residents. Send them to reeducation camps where perhaps they could learn a thing or two. God help us all, God help us all indeed!
Comment by Rich Sanchez — March 20, 2007 @ 01:54PM

Is anyone starting to see what an insane and self-righteous group of people we are dealing with? I sure hope so! The University of California can use all the help it can get in fending of these malicious lies and attacks perpetrated by the special land interests of the Panoramic Hill Association and the City of Berkeley. Please start today by saying enough is enough, and calling your local representatives to complain about the situation. Maybe we can get some real lawmakers on our side, instead of the tyrannical despotic city regime of Berkley.

Thursday, March 01, 2007





What began as an attempt to gain national notoriety and fame, has now digressed into pure greed. Running Wolf, or (Zach Brown as his legal name states,) announced today that he will sue the University for violating his civil rights. I await with great anticipation the fame seeker who will represent him pro bono. Said Running Wolf, “I’m totally going to fight this! I’m not backing down from the tree protest. It is a burial ground of my people.”

Yes, it is a burial ground for your people, and what evidence have you to corroborate such outlandish comments? NONE! Anyone interested in seeing a real Native burial ground can go to Midpines, CA, where most of my family is buried.

Further more Running Wolf, you fake, where is your Native ID Card? Real Natives get these from the Federal Government, but I have yet to see Zach Browns! In some cases Natives are unable to get these, because their tribes are not federally recognized, but they still have what is called an Indian ID number.

Running Wolf has shown us none of these. Yet he claims to be a Native leader of some 85,000 Natives. I intend to contact the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) office in Sacramento to see who this guy really is! I will expose you RUNNING WOLF!

With the judicial system as crazy as it has become in California, it would not surprise me in the least to see a large unwarranted settlement thrown his way. The money that he is to be rewarded with for breaking the law, will come from yours truly. Not just me though, you to! Instead of our hard earned tax dollars going to the students, it will go to Running Wolf. This will certainly be good for Running Wolf, as he is completely broke.

Just to close, I am not saying Running Wolf is not Native. He may be, who knows at this point? He certainly doesn't represent me or any of my tribe though. I am sure many feel he is furthur tarnishing the image of Native Americans, I know I do.

Don't you just love Berkeley?

Stay tuned for the latest on this breaking story.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Well, this out of control situation just gets worse and worse. It now appears that the hero of the so called “peoples protest” Zachary Running Wolf, would like to murder UCPD officers in cold blood. Unconfirmed sources have said the threatened officer has a family, including two young children.

In other news, the mainstream media continues its campaign of disinformation and attempts to whitewash the entire incident. In this article the reporter appears to give credence to the theory of one hippie that this was just a big misunderstanding.

Please expect the truth on this in the near future. In the meantime read this blog that is also fighting for the truth.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


The recent barrage of false lies leveled against the University is particularly troubling. As I am of Native decent, Sierra Miwok Band, (proudly more so than “Running Wolfe” could ever hope to be) I find the recent tactics of the Panoramic Hill Association downright scandalous. Haven’t the Native people been victimized enough? Apparently not.

The Panoramic Hill Association, showing they are willing to do whatever it takes to enforce their Nimby priorities, no mater the moral implications, have now dragged in Natives who honestly have no idea what the issues are. I sincerely doubt they would willingly support rich white land interests, like they are now doing, if they in fact knew the reality of the situation. I will ask this of the association, have you no shame? I mean, what level of depravity will you not sink to?

As with any society or culture, you will find elements that exist solely to self promote and obstruct. They do this because it makes them feel important, and powerful over the silently subjugated masses. This is what they do, and they do it very well. They feed off the attention and become emboldened to continue their travesty of lies and DOMINATION.

No, we will not shut our face Panoramic Hill Association! We will continue to fight for truth and justice! You will never crush our free spirit!

I find it even more disturbing that the San Francisco Chronicle would attempt to legitimize these false allegations. Caroline Jones, who wrote the article, has written one subtly negative piece after another. She has continually placed blame on the University, while showing no objective journalism during the process. What information are you basing this assumption on Ms. Jones? As I understand, no test of ethnicity was done on the body. So there can be no verified claim of Native remains. Stealing a page from your book, I conclude the following: One Spanish conquistador does not constitute a Native burial ground. This conquistador is in fact responsible for the systematic genocide of the Native peoples in the area. This body is in fact that of a Native baby killer!

I wish I could devote my life to dispelling the lies of the Panoramic Hill Association, for a lifetime it would take. The truth has become a serious problem for the Panoramic Hill Association, so they breed false lies of a never-ending nature. You see each time one of their far fetched lies is set free by the truth, they tell another lie. Most recently with the fictitious Native burial ground. They have learned much from Fox News. Their attacks have been textbook obstructionist policy, and they have been very successful. At the rate they are spinning lies, the truth will never be heard.

With the limitless funds of the Panoramic Hill Association and the taxpayers of the City of Berkeley, this river of lies may flow forever!
Another thing that I found particularly disturbing in recent days was the claim by one land owner that the University was encroaching on the City. Wow, I must use every muscle in my body to not go crazy over such statements. Statements that were run in the mainstream media. How exactly is the University encroaching on the City? This plan for Memorial is all situated within preexisting land allotments. Land that was allotted for the State of California and its citizens, NOT fringe radicals left over from the Sixties.
Sorry "Wavy" but the Sixties have been over for a very long time. Your lies are no longer accepted as the truth. People are too smart for your self promoting propaganda.

The really scary thing that I am just now starting to realize is whom we are really dealing with. These people in the Sixties helped bring the war in Vietnam to an end, a very noble cause which I salute them for. Now they abuse their power to dominate the UC, because they just happen to live nearby and are keenly sensitive to their property values. I suppose if anyone still had respect for them they would be protesting the war in Iraq. Sadly as no one does, they attack the UC. An institution founded on and dedicated to the education of people around the world. An institution dedicated to environemntal awarness and social justice!

We are living in dark times, reminiscent of the dark ages. Fueled by innuendo and lies, the Panoramic Hill Association has officially hijacked the Memorial Stadium Master Plan. Their property values are more important than the needs of the most populous state in the country. No wonder the rest of the country laughs at us. Who is willing to do what is right? To fight for truth and justice? Start today by letting these special land interests know how you feel. Go to the grove and voice your grievances directly! In a democracy such as ours, such things are still legal. Though, I will warn you, they are not a friendly bunch.

I will be posting a response to these most recent fabrications soon. Remember, never lose hope! Sometimes JUSTICE and the TRUTH can win. Though, with a well funded PR team employed by that of the Panoramic Hill Association, justice and truth for the first time may be in doubt.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A letter from Athletic Director Sandy Barbour.

Finally some truth in a sea of torrent lies!

Dear Friends of Cal Athletics:

I want to ensure you that despite a recent ruling granting a preliminary injunction against the entirety of the Southeast Campus Integrated Projects, including the proposed Student-Athlete High Performance Center , we remain completely committed to the project. We fully believe it is only a matter of time before our state-of-the-art facility is completed adjacent to historic Memorial Stadium.

We consider Judge Barbara Miller's decision to postpone work on the project until a summer trial only a temporary setback and that we will succeed on the merits of the case. The suits brought by the City of Berkeley, the California Oak Foundation and the Panoramic Hill Association are only serving to delay building a center that will improve the life safety and everyday conditions for the hundreds of Golden Bear student-athletes, coaches and staff who use Memorial Stadium on a daily basis.

The court, which had only a few days to review a large set of complex issues, had concerns about the project's conformity with CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and APZA (Alquist-Priolo Fault Zoning Act). Compliance with these two state statutes has been at the forefront of our planning process from the very beginning. With our team of expert geologists and engineers, we believe we have fully complied with the law and will prevail when the court case is heard.

Last week, after a short hearing in Superior Court, Judge Miller finalized the Preliminary Injunction prohibiting us from “taking any further action to implement the Southeast Campus Integrated Projects including … the Student Athlete High Performance Center, if such action would result in change or alteration to the physical environment.” This ruling does allow us to continue the essential design, planning, soils testing, contracting and bidding elements of the High Performance Center and preserves the University's authority to manage and operate the site as it has done for decades.

The High Performance Center was designed with a budget of $125 million, and we have raised nearly $100 million so far. Over the ensuing months, we will continue our planning and fundraising for the High Performance Center so that when we do get the go-ahead, we will be ready to move forward as soon as possible. Once we are able to break ground, we anticipate construction lasting 20-24 months.

We cannot let the plaintiffs' actions or the preliminary injunction slow down our momentum for this important first phase of the Memorial Stadium renovation. However, with construction costs in the Bay Area constantly rising, the delay means an increased cost to the project, although it is hard to give an exact figure at this time.

We are currently developing a new Web site for the stadium project that will contain press releases, frequently asked questions, renderings, video statements from UC staff, and updates on fundraising and naming opportunities. This site will be accessible through CalBears.com, and we expect to have it completed by the end of the month.

If you have any questions concerning the Student-Athlete High Performance Center , please contact the Athletic Development office at (510) 642-2427 or via email at bearback@berkeley.edu.

Go Bears!
Sandy Barbour
Director of Athletics


What does the preliminary injunction issued by Judge Barbara Miller Jan. 29 mean to the Student-Athlete High Performance Center ?

We are certainly disappointed in Judge Miller's decision to issue an injunction and move the case toward the trial phase. We believe that the campus has done very thorough work with regards to seismic and environmental impact issues, and that we will eventually prevail on the merits of the case. It is unfortunate that we are going to be delayed starting on a building that will improve the safety and the everyday conditions for the students, student-athletes and staff who use Memorial Stadium on a daily basis. We will continue our planning and fund raising for the new facility so that when we do get the go-ahead, we will be ready to move forward as soon as possible.

Why did Judge Miller issue the injunction?
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 Hayward Fault. The judge was asked to rule on a complex issue in a short amount of time – the campus will prepare up to 45,000 pages of documents for the court to certify for the trial phase – and we trust that a full review will confirm our belief that we have fully complied with the law and will be able to proceed with the project.

What is the primary issue contested by the plaintiffs?
The City of Berkeley has provided documentation to suggest that there may be a question about the seismic activity at the extreme edges of the High Performance Center's footprint. Our experts maintain that the footprint is clear of active faults. We will further explore the remaining 5 percent of the footprint that is in question to solidify our position that the site is seismically safe. All of the work that we are performing is being done with safety as the driving force.

What are the next steps in the case?
The court's ruling means that the case is headed towards trial. After close consultation with the Office of General Counsel and appellate court experts, the university decided not to appeal the decision. An appeal, if accepted, would likely take a year or more to resolve, during which time the trial court hearing and resolution would be on hold awaiting the appellate court decision. We expect the case to be heard in early to mid-summer and a ruling issued shortly thereafter.

Does this ruling jeopardize the Student-Athlete High Performance Center?
No, the recent ruling granting an injunction only sends the case to the next stage of the legal process. We remain steadfast in our belief that we will prevail on the merits of the case when they are presented at trial.

How much will the ruling delay the project and add to its cost?
Unfortunately, the judge's ruling means that there will be a delay in moving our student-athletes, faculty and staff into a facility that will improve their everyday and life-safety conditions. Once we are given the go-ahead, we anticipate construction lasting 20-24 months. With construction costs in the Bay Area constantly rising, the delay will mean an increased cost to the project, although it is hard to give an exact figure.

What actions can take place during the injunction?
Although the ruling prevents the University from taking any action that would implement the project at the site, it does allow us to continue the essential design, planning, soils testing, contracting and bidding elements of the High Performance Center and preserves the University's authority to manage and operate the site as it has done for decades.

What is the recent construction activity at Memorial Stadium?
Geologists dug a short trench at the south end of Memorial Stadium Feb. 1 and several borings will be drilled near the northwest edge of the site as part of a focused investigation to compliment existing data. The testing is being done to confirm the suitability of the entire site for the High Performance Center and is specifically allowed under terms of the preliminary injunction.

What is the budget and how much money has been raised for the project?
We currently estimate that the Student-Athlete High Performance Center will cost $125 million. To date, we have close to $100 million gifts and pledges and expect to raise the balance in the very near future.

Why is it important to build Student-Athlete High Performance Center next to Memorial Stadium? Why can't it be built some place else?
A high priority was put on placing the center close to where student-athletes train, practice, compete and study, more effectively integrating their athletic and academic endeavors and ensuring efficient use of their time. Specifically, the selected site will become the hub of student-athlete activities and provide an ideal geographical relationship with Maxwell Family Field, Witter Rugby Field, Levine-Fricke Field, the Golden Bear Recreation Center and Memorial Stadium.

In recent years, the university looked extensively at other sites; these included Witter Field, below ground east of the stadium, the site of the Athletic Ticket Office at 2223 Fulton St., near Golden Gate Fields in Albany, and within the current west wall of the stadium. The selected site best serves students and best meets the goals of the project. It also solves important issues of access and circulation around the stadium by creating a broad plaza atop the student-athlete center. The planned center is about improving conditions for the success of our student-athletes and ensuring the life safety of the students and staff who use the stadium 365 days a year.

Why not put the center on Maxwell Family Field?
Future development of Maxwell Family Field will address parking and sports field needs identified and approved in the campus 2020 Long Range Development Plan. Further, Maxwell Field is intensively used by students in intercollegiate programs, club sports and intramural activities, as well as for pick-up soccer and other games.

Wouldn't it be safer to build the student-athlete center someplace else?
UC Berkeley — and much of the Bay Area — has to deal with building near earthquake faults. The structural engineer for the project reports that the design requirements for seismic safety for a building on this site are no different than if the building were in downtown Berkeley. Haas School of Business was built just across the street from the stadium, and UC Berkeley's newest, most modern science building (Stanley Hall) is just down the street, also close to the fault. Proximity to faults — and designing to mitigate the hazard — is a reality of living in the Bay Area.

Why do so many trees need to be removed from the site?
The campus cares deeply about its trees. Our first priority, however, is the safety of our students and staff. The new Student-Athlete High Performance Center will move student-athletes into a modern facility that will be engineered for seismic safety. Unfortunately, some of the trees on the site will have to be removed to make way for the center. Nearly all of these trees were planted by the university when the stadium was built in 1923 – it is not an ancient grove as has been erroneously reported – and the campus will plant three new trees for every specimen removed as part of the plan for the new center.

What should be understood about the oak trees?
In developing any project, you have to weight costs and benefits. The Student-Athlete High Performance Center is about improving conditions and life safety for student-athletes, coaches and staff who will use the facility. After weighing all of the priorities and looking at many different options, the planned center is clearly the best and only viable option. In order to mitigate the loss of trees being removed for the project, the plan calls for three trees to be planted for every one removed; 142 new trees will be planted around the stadium. Of those, 61 trees are to be planted at the site of the High Performance Center.

Is this an old-growth oak grove? How old are the oldest trees?
No, this is not an old-growth oak grove. As part of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the campus had an historic landscape report done. It found that most of the trees in the area were planted when the stadium was built in 1923. Before that, the site was part of a residential garden, a cultivated landscape. Four trees on the site — three oaks and one redwood — are believed to pre-date the stadium.

How are seismic safety concerns related to the stadium being addressed?
By building the student-athlete center first, we are addressing the most significant life-safety threat by moving the students-athletes, coaches and staff who train and work in the stadium every day into a new, safe building. It is the necessary first step in future plans to renovate the stadium. The Hayward Fault does run through part of Memorial Stadium, and the second phase of the master plan for the stadium addresses seismic safety and other improvements to the stadium.

Thursday, February 15, 2007



The extremely wealthy land interests of Berkeley, in collaboration with the despotic city regime and rash hippies, have fabricated many malevolent lies about the University and this project. Their reasons for doing this are clear; stop the University from fulfilling its duty as a sovereign public institution of higher education. By degrading the image and standing of the University they become able to control it by proxy. These nefarious elements are set on this end and will stop at nothing.

The motto of the City of Berkeley

I hope to dispel some of the popular misconceptions surrounding this project. My sources and means of compilation are unimpeachable, and I gladly welcome anyone to argue otherwise.


Fabrication #1: These trees are part of an ancient Oak Grove.

Answer: Contrary to the popular misconception spun by the well-funded legal team of the Panoramic Hill Association and City of Berkeley, this is NOT an ancient or otherwise old growth forest. Actually the University artificially planted this grove in 1922, shortly after the stadium opened. It was designed to be simple landscaping, and to that end they have served their purpose exceptionally well.

So where do the attorneys and advocates of rich land interests get off telling us this is an ancient grove? This tells me is they are under the impression that most people are either apathetic to the situation, or too stupid to know better. Either way they disrespect every Californian. The silent partner in this, that is perhaps more guilty than all parties is the mainstream media that sits by and feeds us this garbage. Freedom of the press apparently only applies to those with ultra liberal policies and deep pockets. What about the common good?

Fabrication #2: The tree sitters have done a great service; they are respectful and never belligerent.

Aleast this tree sitter had the courage to tell the truth. Apparently he has been hired as one of the full time "protesters."

Answer: Well to those of you who actually believe this all I would ask is that you take a trip to the grove. There (after the police leave) you will see drug usage of the most hardcore kind, in front of young children. Alcohol drinking into the wee hours of the night. And a belligerence towards the opposition that can only be described as tyrannical. No, they have not done a great service; they have in fact done a great disservice, to not only their own kind but also the one University that has for years defended them. This is the way you show your gratitude?

Fabrication #3: The tree sitters are all students, these are not street people or professional protesters.

Yeah, that sure looks like a bunch of students.

Answer: Dead wrong. I have been to the grove on numerous occasions and each time I have been there I have never seen a student. Aside from I house down the way there are not even any students in the vicinity. On one occasion when I asked who among them was a member of this “student protest” none came forward. They later grew angry and asked why I was asking. They stopped short of attacking me or forcing me to leave, but I have a good idea this merely because of the watchful eye of the UCPD.

Fabrication #4: The UCPD is harassing the tree sitters.

Answer: Well this would be laughable if it were not such a serious matter. The UCPD has done everything in its power to accommodate this blatant disregard for the law. The tree sitters have responded by taunting, spitting, and jeering at the officers. The tree sitters apparently feel they are above the law, and as such not subject to law. It is sad that because of the negative media the police have had to force themselves to violate the oath that they swore to uphold, which is the law.

Fabrication #5: This center can easily be moved somewhere else.

This is a lie that the rich land interests have done a great job of legitimizing. See the real deal with the tree sitters is the fact that they are paid insurgents of the land interests. The land interests have no problems with the facility being constructed elsewhere, so long as it is not put near their homes. Meanwhile, more houses have been constructed near the stadium over the past few decades. They continue to encroach on what precious few parcels of land that are left for the flagship of higher education in the most populous state in the Union.

Don’t believe the lies of this consortium of injustice. The University has done thorough studies that have determined there is no suitable alternative, despite what the land interests claim. Furthermore, this land was set aside as land for the higher education system of this state. This is not a retirement playground for old radicals. Furthermore the mission of the UC has never been to be a wildlife refuge, not that this small parcel of land could ever be confused as such. The rich land interests would like you to believe that.

Fabrication #6: The hippies are just trying to save some trees. It is not like there are any other trees in the area of significance facing destruction.

These Redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains stand to be felled. Yet there has not been one word from these so called "environmentalists"

Answer: No, that would not be true at all. In fact there is a major Redwood forest in the Santa Cruz mountains that awaits destruction as we speak. In this case we are talking about many, many acres of a truly ancient grove. Instead these so called environmentalists are attacking a small grove that was planted about ninety years ago. This is the part where you are supposed to become enlightened and realize wow, this is just the rich land interests.

Due to a severe lack of time and patience, I am unable to elaborate further on the above falsehoods. However, I encourage with the greatest enthusiasm anyone from the special land interest bunch to try and debunk my factual conclusions. I hope to make this a regular segment of the blog. The people have a right to know the truth. Special land interests and a city government bent on domination can only hold down the people for so long. Stand up and demand the truth!

This is about money, power, and domination.
Some things never change in Berkeley.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Parallel Realities
Attorney Stephan Volker has done a wonderful job of misleading the public. From telling us repeatedly that this is an "ancient Oak grove" to now telling us how a Judge ruled, he has sought to deceive the public. Well, he has done a terrific job thanks to a lazy media unwilling to vet out lies.
One based on fiction, the other in fact.

As lawyers go, Stephan Volker is not a very good one. Somehow he has greatly misconstrued what Judge Miller clearly stated. While the Judge said no permanent structures could be constructed near the site, she left open the option of erecting a temporary fence to keep out the lawbreakers. Attorney Volker though interpreted it as a clear cut victory. This from the same individual who has continually labeled this modern Oak Grove planted by the UC, an ancient one.

Wow! This is an “ancient Oak Grove?” How do you figure that Mr. Volker? It seems you have failed to read the guidelines by which truly ancient groves are governed. Aren’t you supposed to seek out justice as an officer of the court? Instead you have perpetuated lies that have caused irevocable harm to the University and this state. Your ego is bigger than Memorial Stadium.

As stated by CBS 5 News:
“Volker said Miller, following a two-hour court hearing last week, refused to limit the scope of her preliminary injunction to bar only "permanent" changes to the environment.The order therefore prohibits the university from barring the public from the oak grove by building a "temporary" fence.Miller's original preliminary injunction was issued on Jan. 29.”

Interesting, nowhere did I interpret the ruling to mean no temporary fence could be constructed. Apparently Mr. Volker specializes in adding insult to injury.

Cal Media relations director Marie Felde had a decidedly different interpretation of the ruling, backed up by UC attorneys. "The judge did not accept the petitioners' proposed language that sought to limit the university's entry into contracts and rejected their language that sought to restrict the campus from securing the site by installing temporary fencing or other temporary means.”

This is very interesting. The question becomes who can you trust? A not so slick talking lawyer out to make a name for himself, or a selfless campus official tasked with defending the truth? I'll let you decide.

Tell us Volker, who is really funding your smear campaign? Is it the tree sitters? No, I seriously doubt the bunch together has much more that thirty seven cents. No, it must be these rich folks. The protectors of property values. Whatever happened to doing something for the greater good? You make me sick!

Now what makes this so upsetting is the fact that the mainstream media gladly perpetuate these lies by offering the attention seeker Volker the spotlight. Rather than accept the truth, they seek sensationalist stories, such as the ones Volker is only too happy to offer.

This is merely the opening salvo of justice that will seek to hold Mr. Volker and his woefully malicious falsehoods in check. Someday the truth will be known and people like Mr. Volker will have to seek fame elsewhere.