Berkeley Free Speech Now

Posted in People's Park, Telegraph Avenue on September 15th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Sept. 14, 2014

“A bottle of beer half-spills out of a brown paper bag onto a tree’s roots and the tree gets cited for drunkenness”–Berkeley Poet Laureate, and veteran of the People’s Park riots, Julia Vinograd.


Grizzled activists who were “Berkeley in the Sixties.” were interviewed for a film named after them twenty years after they defied Reagan and the National Guard. They offer surprisingly self-critical assessments of their movement, perhaps the first mass student uprising in U.S. higher education.

Lynne Hollander Savio, Mario Savio's widow (they met in the movement), right, next to filmmaker far right. Photo by Ted Friedman

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Saving Berkeley’s People’s Park

Posted in People's Park, The Berkeley Scene on September 9th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Sept. 8, 2014

Saving People’s Park in 1969 was easy if you were prepared to die.

Close to half a century after its salvation by townies and students, the park has become a living memorial to its bloody birth.

People's Park Owner's Shack. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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The Monster Stalking Telegraph Ave

Posted in Med Heads & Cafe Culture, Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on August 30th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Aug. 29, 2014


Helen Bachinsky is a 93 year-old coffee house habitué, who is now confined to her apartment. “Our Berkeley professors warned us off Telegraph in the Fifties,” she told me years ago. “they saw the avenue as a bad influence.”

By design or not, Cal Berkeley seems to have tried various schemes to keep students safely on university property, offering a wide array of services competing with Telegraph stores and cafes.

One need only glimpse the scope of Cal’s lower Sproul development, as it now rises from demolition and assumes the outlines of completion, to see that a refurbished student union building catering to students’ 24 hour needs will impact Telegraph.

24-hr. student center; appetite for Telegraph. Photo byTed Friedman.

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Who Won The Latest Berkeley F the Police Demo

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on August 27th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Aug. 27, 2014


From Ferguson to Berkeley: Hands Up; Don't Shoot. Photo by Ted Friedman.

From Ferguson, Mo: “When protesters would try to follow police commands to leave an area, they’d be faced with another group of police pushing them back in the direction they’d come from.”–a Berkeley pastor’s report from Ferguson.

A UC Berkeley research study of 211 Occupy protests concluded demos: “tend to turn violent when officers use aggressive tactics, such as approaching demonstrators in riot gear or lining up in military-like formations.”
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Writing For The Berkeley Reporter Audience

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on August 25th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Aug. 25, 2014

'I'm no dummy,' a reader writes. Photo by Ted Friedman.


My first audience is a Google robot. I don’t know the bot’s name but I’ve psychoanalyzed her personality–an algorithm.

The bot doesn’t know me from Hemingway. To the bot, Hemingway and I are just two equal writers. Rank is decided by search results, not by quality. Whew!

I write headlines for the bot and the bot has been good to me, bringing me as many as 1,500 “unique visitors,” daily. Our CEO, an SEO (search engine optimizer) is a magic carpet delivering our content to your screen.

My readers are both palpable and not. I’ve met my Berkeley readers at demos/events, and at my office, the Caffe Med, on Telegraph.

One day, while I was on a hot BBQ story, a woman overheard the name I wrote under at the Berkeley Daily Planet, where I was something of a cut-up.

She plopped herself at a table where I was gnawing on a rib. “So you’re Ted Friedman,” she repeated, after pauses. I had to re-assure her. That was all she said. “So you’re Ted Friedman.”

After that, I met more and more of my readers around town. They all liked what I was doing, whatever that was.
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Blaming the Victim in Latest People’s Park Rape Charge

Posted in People's Park on August 21st, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Aug. 21, 2014

“Police are investigating a sexual assault that occurred in Berkeley Monday morning, according to the University of California Police Department. [from Berkeley Patch]

The female victim contacted police saying that she woke up to a man sexually assaulting her while she was asleep at People’s Park near the University of California at Berkeley campus.

The victim began screaming and the suspect, who is known by the victim as a person who frequents the park, fled the area.”


According to a reliable People’s Park source, the alleged victim was “Heather, who had been dancing topless in the park all day, giving a green light; she’d been drinking all day and passed out with some guy next to her. She woke up screaming and yelling rape and how she was pregnant.”
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Trapped in Demo by Cops on Telegraph Ave.

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on August 18th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
August 18, 2014


Somehow, a visiting Oakland demonstration blocked by a wall of cops on Telegraph Avenue Friday, managed to re-group in downtown Berkeley, although surrounded and seemingly out-numbered by police from four departments.

Protesters numbered no more than fifty when they re-grouped downtown.

From Shattuck, Avenue where Berkeley Reporter caught up to them, the demonstrators straggled up Haste Street to Telegraph for a celebration and pep rally to protest the killing by a cop in Ferguson, Mo of an unarmed 18-year-old black male.

Protesters chanted, “hands up, don’t shoot, and fuck the police…we are the 99 percent,” while giving the finger and the bras d’honneur in the direction of crawling police cars behind them.

Demo Motto. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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Berkeley Progressives Dodge Bullet

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on August 12th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Aug. 11, 2014


Worthington Files to Run at Last Minute. Photo by Ted Friedman.

As he filed his application, Thursday, for a fourth run for South Side city councilman, Kriss Worthington told me no student candidate had filed to oppose him. Filing deadline was only minutes away as we spoke inside City Hall. Outside, his supporters were gathering on the steps of City Hall.
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Rage Behind Attack on Telegraph Ave.

Posted in Telegraph Avenue on August 7th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
Aug. 8, 2014


Crime Scene. Photo by Ted Friedman.

According to numerous eye-witnesses, he called attention to himself with his loud mutterings and admonitions, Tuesday, at Berkeley’s leading hot-spot, Caffe Mediterraneum. In addition to capsizing marble tables and several chairs, the troubling man caused $500 damage to Med windows and raised hackles.
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Who’s Cracking Down on Peoples in People’s Park

Posted in People's Park on July 29th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
July 28, 2014

Ankle-high Peoples Park Grass. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Crackdowns in People’s Park are part of its rhythm as well as its legacy.

The ankle-high grass of Berkeley’s People’s Park was recently mowed-down by university groundskeepers along with a bunch of people-park-people who got stay-away orders from university police. Park drug busts have burgeoned.

At Camp Hate, in People’s Park, Hate Man and some of his fellow campers got seven-day stay-aways. Ecclesiastes tells us: “…a time to keep and a time to throw away.” For the university it was time to throw away people’s belongings in and around Camp Hate, which over-flows to Hillegass/Dwight Way, across from two of Berkeley’s oldest churches. The churches turn its other cheeks to the campers.

Such are the seasons in People’s Park where there is a time for everything. A time for busted pot deals, a time to grow campsites, and a time for the university to throw them away.

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