Berkeley tree sitters face fines

Thomas Lifson
Accountability is a difficult concept for some. The Berkeley tree sitters who have no respect for property rights seem to think that free speech means no consequences. The San Francisco Chronicle's Matier and Ross write:

Berkeley's infamous tree-sitters have been hit with a rude surprise since they came down to earth: Judges are socking them with thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees.

Ironically, much of the money - which could total more than $10,000 per sitter - is going straight to the University of California, the very institution the tree-sitters were protesting as they tried to save a grove of trees outside Memorial Stadium.

"It's really vindictive," said an attorney for some the sitters, Dennis Cunningham. "They don't have this kind of money."

Maybe, but university lawyer Michael Goldstein isn't making any apologies.

"We've asked the judge to throw the book at them," Goldstein said flatly.

I hope that they are not able to escape the fines by declaring bankruptcy. And I hope those who dropped bags of urine and feces on police face charges of criminal assault and jail time, if convicted.

Aside from costing the university $800,000 in police and security costs, they have delayed traffic -- something which has affected me personally many times. They most certainly enjoyed all the attention, and those cars and busses stalled endlessly on the only road bordering the eastern side of campus had no choice but to sit there stopped and watch them in their trees. Oh yes, and smell them, too. They stank. No bathing will do that to you.

Clearing away the trees has exposed more of the beautiful classic façade of the stadium, by the way. An aesthetic improvement in my eyes. Those live oaks grow all over North Berkeley. There is only one Memorial Stadium. And now that they are out of the way, new construction will improve its utility, train and care for athletes, and ultimately lead to the renovation and seismic reinforcement of this beautiful landmark.

Hat tip: Ethel C. Fenig
Accountability is a difficult concept for some. The Berkeley tree sitters who have no respect for property rights seem to think that free speech means no consequences. The San Francisco Chronicle's Matier and Ross write:

Berkeley's infamous tree-sitters have been hit with a rude surprise since they came down to earth: Judges are socking them with thousands of dollars in fines and legal fees.

Ironically, much of the money - which could total more than $10,000 per sitter - is going straight to the University of California, the very institution the tree-sitters were protesting as they tried to save a grove of trees outside Memorial Stadium.

"It's really vindictive," said an attorney for some the sitters, Dennis Cunningham. "They don't have this kind of money."

Maybe, but university lawyer Michael Goldstein isn't making any apologies.

"We've asked the judge to throw the book at them," Goldstein said flatly.

I hope that they are not able to escape the fines by declaring bankruptcy. And I hope those who dropped bags of urine and feces on police face charges of criminal assault and jail time, if convicted.

Aside from costing the university $800,000 in police and security costs, they have delayed traffic -- something which has affected me personally many times. They most certainly enjoyed all the attention, and those cars and busses stalled endlessly on the only road bordering the eastern side of campus had no choice but to sit there stopped and watch them in their trees. Oh yes, and smell them, too. They stank. No bathing will do that to you.

Clearing away the trees has exposed more of the beautiful classic façade of the stadium, by the way. An aesthetic improvement in my eyes. Those live oaks grow all over North Berkeley. There is only one Memorial Stadium. And now that they are out of the way, new construction will improve its utility, train and care for athletes, and ultimately lead to the renovation and seismic reinforcement of this beautiful landmark.

Hat tip: Ethel C. Fenig