Thursday, June 19, 2008

Judge: UC Training Center Must Stop

By Chris Thompson
Thu, Jun 19, 2008 at 5:42 AM

An Alameda County judge ruled that UC Berkeley cannot proceed with construction of the controversial sports training center near Memorial Stadium, prompting cheers from supporters of the adjacent oak grove, which was slated for demolition. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Judge Barbara Miller ordered Cal officials not to build the center until they can convince the court that construction will not violate state law. The law in question is a little tricky; it prohibits any additions or alterations of government buildings on major fault lines if these changes exceed half the value of the existing building. Of course, that's not what's really at issue here; rather, critics are upset that construction would wipe out the oak grove and add more parking and traffic to nearby congested, narrow streets. But that's the leverage the city, neighbors, and environmentalists had, so they went with it.

While lawyers waited for the ruling, Cal's hired arborists continued to take down the tree-sit apparatus that enviros had built in the grove. Two more protesters were arrested during the action yesterday, and roughly 200 supporters jeered at the cops and workers from behind barricades.

Although this is a technical victory for UC's opponents, university spokespeople have to be heartened by other elements of Judge Miller's ruling, in which she declared that the majority of the plans for the sports center didn't violate state law. All UC has to do is prove that those elements of the sports center that directly touch Memorial Stadium don't exceed half the value of the stadium, and they're good to go. Still, opponents of the new center declared total victory, for some reason.

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