The Write-Along Berkeley Reporter
by Steed Dropout
July 2, 2012
DROPOUT DOES BERKELEY, COMES UP WITHOUT A STORY
Remember those sing-alongs, or those follow the bouncing ball cartoons of the ’50’s, which were low-tech karaoke? You had to participate to entertain yourself. Now imagine that we are asking you to write our story for us — a sort of write-along.
We’ll provide some loose “facts” or details, and all you have to do is put it all together. We’ll make a recommendation. Maybe you’ll want to submit your piece to berkeleyreporter.com, where we will publish the best story we get, based on our write-along piece.
Publishing in Berkeley Reporter — BFD?
We can appreciate that response.
Follow the bouncing ball.
We noticed workers putting finishing touches last week to steps at Cal’s new football stadium, which will open this September. We recalled the stadium project had been stalled by a three-year tree-sit led by our friend Running Wolf, who is now running for Berkeley mayor.
Running Wolf recently got out of Santa Rita jail, where his usual bail-out squad failed to follow him because his case was listed under an alias, the authorities used to hide him. He did 36 days of “hard time,” he said, and emerged ten pounds lighter because the jail menu was pretty thin, according to him. Regular baloney.
This was his 89th arrest, but usually he’s out in a few days. This time it was different, and having been out of the Berkeley’s radical network more than a month, he’s “out of touch,” he said.
TAKEOVER IN BERKELEY’S PEOPLE’S PARK
Takeover is Berkelyese for denying the university’s right to make “improvements” in the park.
We caught the university in the act of adding additional lighting in the park, and digging up the sacred People’s Park soil to install new drains, which the grounds workers said would correct a perennial soggy field.
The university is readying the down-and-out haven for a selling point at an about to open new student dorm across the street from the park. Prospective parent renters: “look, hon, our kid has a view of drug deals and assaults.”
Past university interventions in the park have drawn opposition, as recently as December, when there was a park-activist outcry against the university’s “invading the park” on bull-dozers.
I have toured the park to see the new lights, photograph them, and assess their significance. There is now nowhere to hide in the park at night, and nowhere by day either, after the bull-dozers cut back foliage to give cops a through-view. The lights will provide some lucky tenants in the new dorms directly across from the West end of the park — million dollar views.
The lights and drains had been expected.
WHAT HAS BECOME OF DOWNTOWN STREET KIDS?
One night recently, the “kids” were surrounded by Bart vans, and had reportedly been told by police to move on, but we can’t confirm any of this.
I have asked the police, but my inquiries were perhaps too broad.
I have interviewed “kids,” and I have at least one operative keeping an eye on the scene.
One idle speculator blames the Block-by-Block green shirted “security ambassadors,” funded by downtown property owners, for “ethnic cleansing,” downtown.
One night the kids may have sought the protection of the city hall steps. According to two city-hall squatters we interviewed last year, you can’t beat the steps of city hall — and so close to the watchful eye of Berkeley police headquarters, which the squatters view as protective.
When we went downtown last week to see sup, we found a kind of Stepford or Pleasantville atmosphere. Everything was squeaky clean, and except for the weird popcorn offering (a hugh bag of puff on a bench), we thought we had been transported back to days past when downtown was placid.
FOLLOWING THE BOUNCING BALL
We’ve got Running Wolf.
We’ve got Cal’s Football stadium
We’ve got People’s Park
We’ve got Disappeared Street Kids
What if Running Wolf led a football squad out of People’s Park, perhaps after a pep rally there, to hunt down the street kids? Surely you can top this lame-ass goof. I’m not trying to win a Pulitzer, and besides, I’m publishing my fractured piece at berkeleyreporter.com, and so can you.
Even an outline, or story pitch would be welcomed. Most publications won’t give you a tumble, but we will gladly exploit your ideas.