Thursday, January 09, 2003

Berkeley liberals and free speech 

I was reading about the decision and punishment of the Berkeley mayor for stealing copies of the Daily Cal when I came across this passage:
[Mayor Tom] Bates, who said the crime was an irrational act of election fatigue, did not appear in court. He was represented by two attorneys, Malcolm Burnstein, former chief counsel for the 1964 Free Speech Movement, and Robert Cheasty, former mayor of Albany.
For the crime of taking 1000 copies of the (free) newspaper and trashing them (the Daily Cal endorsed his opponent for mayor), which was ruled as an infraction rather than a misdemeanor, he hires two lawyers? The maximum fine for an infraction is $250 and no time in jail -- he could have gone to jail for a year had he been tried and found guilty of a misdemeanor. And the guy who defends someone who trashes newspapers was chief counsel of the Free Speech Movement? Anyone? Bueller?

The Cal Patriot, a conservative student paper, provides coverage of a protest of Bates last month. It took almost a month to settle this in part because the eyewitnesses were, gasp!, College Republicans.

Three writers and an editor of the California Patriot said they witnessed the theft of the newspapers by Bates and reported the incident to both the Daily Californian and a UC police officer.

�He just scooped up the entire stack into his arms and dumped them in the trashcan,� said Andrea Irvin, treasurer of Berkeley College Republicans. �I couldn�t believe my eyes.�

Editors of the Daily Californian said they would not print allegations of Bates� involvement in the theft because of the alleged witnesses' affiliation with the Republican party.
Perhaps Berkeley could use some GOP Safe Space training.