After the public was given a chance to comment, the Berkeley City Council met in a closed session to decide whether to join Save the Oaks and the Panoramic Hill Association in their appeal. After about an hour of deliberation, the council reconvened in public and announced that as of now they would not join the appeal and would not take action for 58 days (the last day they could join).
Although the council cannot reveal who voted for what, Mayor Bates did say that there were not enough votes to join the appeal. Because Betty Olds was not present and Donna Spring recently passed away, there were only 7 council members at the session – therefore requiring 5 out of the 7 to agree to appeal. Most likely, at least Gordon Wozniak, Kriss Worthington, and Laurie Capitelli were against appeal. In fact, while I’m speculating, I would also venture to guess that the council may not have enough votes even all members were present but in order to gain concessions, the council left open the option to join the appeal at a later date.
There is still some cause for concern as Stephan Volker filed an appeal Thursday morning with the California Court of Appeals and paid the requisite $5,200 to do so. Of course, this was done hours before the council failed to join. Now, Volker must go it alone – at least for a couple months – as he seeks a new injunction. Without such an injunction the current one will dissolve in 20 days, opening the door for UC to begin construction.
A final note on the scene at the meeting last night: it was surreal, but oh so Berkeley. UC supporters were far out-numbered by oaks folks – that could be the result of a far lower unemployment rate among UC supporters. The speakers were, for the most part, full of misplaced passion, conspiracies, and illogical arguments. One recent Cal graduate even called the UC evil fascists. Another speaker said the world was coming to an end in 40 days. Now that I think about it, he may just have been referring to a certain 44 oak trees that will be removed in 40 days.