Wednesday, June 25, 2008

News Flash: Berkeley Makes a Fool of Itself

By Chris Thompson
Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 7:37 AM

We tend to shy away from easy jokes at Berkeley's expense, mainly because the national media use all the same tired routines that were old fifteen years ago, and we think the town's more interesting and complex than it gets credit for. But the Berkeley City Council's latest absurdity has us rethinking our policy altogether. According to the Oakland Tribune, the City Council is terribly worried about the poor little tree-sitters who can no longer receive care packages while perched in the oak grove near Memorial Stadium. So at Tuesday's meeting, they ordered an assistant city manager and a deputy fire chief to drive up there, check on the tree-sitters, and report back to the council by the end of the night. These poor guys had to drive the five minutes it takes to get to the grove, jump out, and say, "Um, hi everyone, we're the city of Berkeley. Everything okay up there? Getting a little hungry, huh? Yeah? Could probably use a Clif Bar or something? But no one's, like, dead or anything, right? Okay, well, we'll just go tell the City Council." And here's the best part: the City Council already knew how the tree-sitters were doing. You know how? Because City Councilmember Kriss Worthington was talking to one of them on his cell phone during the goddamn meeting! For the record, Mayor Tom Bates and councilmembers Gordon Wozniak, Betty Olds, and Laurie Capitelli declined to participate in this ridiculous spectacle.

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