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Shameless Stereotype Watch: Berkeley

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Earlier this month, the Olgala Sioux Indian Tribe of South Dakota allowed itself to become the shocking embodiment of a stereotypical "Indian giver" by asking the University of Illinois to return the costume the tribe donated in 1982 for the school's Illini mascot.

Now, thoughtlessly perpetuating scandalous representations of outmoded geographical pigeonholing, citizens opposed to the University of California-Berkeley's proposed $125 million construction of a new training center and renovation of Memorial Stadium won a temporary injunction from an Alameda County judge today after nearly two months of literal tree-hugging by at least one person bearing the surname "RunningWolf":

In the four-page ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller said the plaintiffs - the city of Berkeley, Panoramic Hill Association and California Oak Foundation - made a sufficient case that the project violates the Alquist-Priolo Act, a state law prohibiting new buildings on earthquake faults.

Despite today's ruling, a half-dozen protesters roosting in an oak grove next to Memorial Stadium said they will not be coming down for at least another several months, when a trial will decide the fate of the proposed training center.

Zachary RunningWolf, who has been living in a redwood tree on and off since Dec. 2, choked up this morning when discussing the judge's decision.

"I'm very emotional," he said via cell phone from his perch in the tree. "It's been a long road - 59 days. But we're going to keep the pressure on. The lawsuits have helped, but we feel that we've been the pressure in this movement."

The San Francisco Chronicle has a slideshow of oak and redwood-bound protestors here, which surprisingly did not reveal the subversive presence of a certain someone attempting to "blend in" with efforts to "advance the cause"...unless he's just that good.


The only tree in Berekeley that can't get any love.
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In unrelated Cal legal news, The Man comes down on the Bears' side for a change when Alameda County prosecutor Kim Hunter tossed an assault case against NFL-bound running back Marshawn Lynch, citing inconsistent statements from the alleged victim:

A friend of both Lynch and the woman also told police that there had been no altercation, and the woman, who said she had been choked, didn't show signs of injury, and there were no photographs that could document what she said had occurred, Hunter said.

Taken together, Hunter said she didn't think prosecutors could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had occurred.

"No one is saying that the victim isn't entitled to the feelings she's having, but I have an ethical obligation," she said. "If I don't believe I can prove it to 12 jurors, then I can't ethically charge the case."

SMQ, for one is hardly surprised: our gifted friend Marshawn is nothing if not spiritual and generous, and hardly capable of anything approaching non-football-related violence.


Marshawn forgives the office of the Alameda County district attorney, for they know not what they do.
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