Holding Pattern

June 23, 2008

No way will I attempt to replicate the reporting done by CGB. Frankly, it is a lot easier to pull that off with a blog that has multiple authors and community features. On the other hand, I can do what most blogs tend to do, peddle reactionary commentary to the self loathing Cal masses.

Last Wednesday, Judge Barbara Miller ruled that, for the most part, the University of California complied with CEQA and Alquist-Priolo. Most importantly, the SAHPC is a separate entity from California Memorial Stadium (CMS), the University adequately took into account biological and anthropological consequences, and the SAHPC is not located on a fault line.

Despite the University’s almost total compliance, Judge Miller did find that three elements to the SAHPC constituted alterations to CMS and the University did not provide an adequate explanation for the need to stage more non-football related events at CMS.

With regard to the alterations, the University must file a Writ of Mandamus to determine whether the valuation of the three proposed alterations exceeds 50% of the value of CMS.

The Plaintiffs allege (1) the proposed alterations will cost the University in excess of $200 million and (2) that CMS is worth nothing. The University on the other hand says the alterations will actually cost around $250 thousand and CMS is worth nearly $600 million. It’s extraordinarily unlikely that Judge Miller would disagree with the University’s alleged cost of the alterations, all they have to do is provide the price quotes they have already received from their contractors.

The debate is whether the University is worth anything at all. Common sense would say of course the University is valuable. In fact, a strong argument could be made that CMS is priceless given its placement on the National Register of Historic Places. Moreover, even Judge Miller tipped her hand by (1) discounting any application of replacement cost as a valuation method and (2) indicating that California Evidence Code (CEC) section 820 may be more appropriate. Specifically, CEC 820 measures the cost of replacing the existing improvements less whatever depreciation or obsolescence the improvements have suffered. While the former method would without question support the University’s position, the later method is not prohibitive either.

Given the strong likelihood that the University will provide an adequate valuation method showing they have complied with Alquist-Priolo, the real impediment to the project is that the injunction preventing Cal from breaking ground is still in place. As of today, although University officials remain optimistic that the injunction will be lifted any day, some commenters have pointed out that an all out appeal might result in a stay, again prolonging the project for at least another year.

The prospect of delay should strike fear into the hearts of every Cal football fan. Already the costs of delay have resulted in prolonging the embarrassment that are Cal’s facilities. The scariest aspect of delay is the potential departure of Jeff Tedford. The University’s failure to break ground may leave the ever patient Tedford with no choice but to move on to a more hospitable environment (i.e. anywhere but Cal). And, honestly, who could blame him for moving on if this project is delayed 12, 18 or 24 months?

There is however yet another glimmer of hope: the prospect of settlement. The City of Berkeley simply cannot afford a drawn out appeals process. Most likely, neither can the Panoramic Hills Association and Save the Oaks. While there is probably nothing the University can do to appease the tree sitters, they can provide carrots to the other plaintiffs (i.e. limiting the number of non-football events at CMS and giving the City money that would cover their legals costs and then some). Whatever the University chooses it has to be expedient. As important as Sandy Barbour is to Cal athletics, Jeff Tedford is exponentially more vital.

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Cha-Cha-Cha-CHa-Changes

June 18, 2008

Ryan Anderson, out.

I really don’t have much to add beyond what has been said over at CGB. But, while I think Monty is going to have a much harder time turning things around, I still think there is enough talent on the team to improve. A lot of the improvement will have to come from the point position, but I have to think more Boykin is a better thing. And, Theo’s defense will fit Monty’s system perfectly.

Trees . . . out or in?

As of 3:24, we are all waiting a ruling from Judge Miller and wasting away our day at work. Thank you Judge Miller for lowering my productivity level to about zero.

Blinn Junior College, in.

Cal continues it’s raid of under-recruited Texas players by landing Jarred Price for next year’s class and Bryant Nnabuife for this year’s class. While Price is a somewhat undersized LB’er that only has 2 to play 2, Nnabuife is a 6’2″ DB that will have a chance to play this year and has 4 to play 3.


When Steve Levy Attacks

June 11, 2008

This will be hard for some of you to accept, but former Cal QB3 Steve Levy recently [allegedly] battered our beloved Oski. You’re probably saying to yourself, “This guy is out of his mind, isn’t Levy in jail for illegal beer mug disposal?” Well, I wish he was confined to a cold and lonely cell. Unfortunately, for Oski, when it’s grillin’ time, it’s killin’ time [allegedly]:


Goodbye Tom Hansen

June 9, 2008

Well, the good folks at Fire Tom Hansen get their wish, sort of. The AP is reporting that Hansen will retire, effective July 1, 2009. No word on replacement candidates.

For most Cal football fans, this is pretty good news. For too long the Pac-10 brethren have suffered from a lack of leadership. Despite the recent resurgence of USC as a national power, the reputation of the Pac-10 has fallen considerably, with regard to football. Continually, Pac-10 teams have been hurt by the BCS despite worthy resumes (e.g. Oregon in 2001 and Cal in 2004). What those teams were left with was a bowl game beneath their stature. In most years that means a trip to San Diego for the Holiday Bowl.

A great deal of this drop in prestige, in my view, is the result of poor national coverage. ESPN covers and reports on the games they put on the air. That means teams in the Big East and ACC usually get more coverage than they deserve. And, while the network plays lip service to the Pac-10, it undeniably hurts the conference when games on that network have been so few and far between up until very recently. Also, not having a second team play on New Year’s Day affects national perception of the quality of play out West. Although the Holiday Bowl does have the advantage of playing in prime time without any other competitor, not having the game on New Year’s day has led many to believe the conference fails to get the publicity it deserves for its solid bowl game track record.

26 years is a long time to hold any position, particularly a leadership position. Hansen likely did much greater work than I am giving him credit for, but I think every agrees – even Hansen – that is has been time to go.


The Powe Show

June 8, 2008

poweshow

Leon Powe has impeccable timing.  On a night where his incredible path to the NBA would be featured at half-time, Powe scored 21 points in 15 minutes – again showing once again that the Celtics are MUCH better when Powe is on the floor.  While I was disappointed Leon and the Bears never made it deep into the NCAA tournament, he is without question one of my favorite Bears and yet another example of the quality of athletes and individuals Cal tends to recruit.


The Marshawn Situation

June 4, 2008

I’ve avoided talking about this because frankly, there isn’t much to talk about.  Marshawn’s car was involved in a hit and run and there is nothing in the police report that implies Marshawn was driving the vehicle.  I did want to reiterate what others have already said.  It is not obstruction of justice to not speak to the police.  That’s Marshawn’s constitutional right to remain silent.  The police have the responsibility to build their case to the point where they could charge someone.  After that, the burden falls on the prosecution to prove all the elements of the crime.  Marshawn does not have to help them in either endeavor.

 In addition, I also think the claim that Marshawn is receiving special treatment to be extraordinarily absurd.  So, if a car I own is involved in a hit and run, the police will hold a press conference to say the ball is in my court?  There are going to be articles in the Buffalo News that cast premature judgment and call for me to talk to the police, to forgo my constitutional rights?  I highly doubt it.

None of the above is meant to absolve whomever was responsible for the alleged crime.  If it is true and if the Erie County DA’s Office proves all the elements, then that individual should be held accountable.  Until then, let’s try to refrain from judgment, however hard that may be.