As you may have seen posted elsewhere on this site, there was indeed a court hearing scheduled for today in Hayward. From the Save The Oaks email:
1) COURT DATE ON FRIDAY JUNE 27TH 2:30PM
There is an important court date to attend tomorrow in Hayward. The
treesitters’ attorney will challenge the legality of the dangerous
extraction techniques employed by the University and their contractor Williams
Tree Service (“the arborists”), as well as the legality of denying
water and food to the treesitters.
Please come to support these valient Sheroes and Heroes in the trees.
They have stood so strong and this is a good chance to be able to help support them.
Friday, June 27th. 2:30 pm
Hayward Hall of Justice Dept. 510
24405 Amador St (near the corner of Winton Ave.)
Judge Richard Keller
Case # should be RG 07345190
Rides are leaving the Oak Grove at 1:30pm. You can also take BART to
the Hayward station and take the bus (#92?) to the Hayward Hall of
PS – if you have any video footage of UC’s dangerous extraction
techniques or extractors endangering treesitters or anyone else, please call
510-938-2109 and tell the treesit ground support so we can get it ready
for court tomorrow if possible.
Reading this, I was intrigued. I imagined the ridiculousness of the current oaks situation, and then I added a judge and an irritated bailiff. Sounds pretty entertaining to me. Seeing as how I don't work on Friday afternoons, I decided to drive down to Hayward and observe the spectacle.
Unfortunately, traffic on 880 sucked (Where the heck are all these people going at 2:30 in the afternoon? Is there a sale at Fry's Electronics?), and I arrived to the hearing twenty minutes late, fearing I might have missed the whole thing. I rushed up to the courtroom, only to discover that...nothing was happening. Some lawyers talking quietly in one corner, and about 15 hippie grandmothers chatting politely in the opposite corner. The Oaks attorney was even later than I was (by about twenty minutes, as it turned out), and while we all waited...uh, nothing happened.
It was a decidedly low-key event. Fifteen or so Oaks people (mostly grandmothers), some lawyers and other court personnel, a cameraman and a reporter. And me, a twenty-something dude in jeans and a t-shirt. With a laptop and recently-washed hair. I'm pretty sure that everyone in the room looked at me when I walked in and wondered, "What the...? Is this kid lost?" Oh, and GreyBear was there, but with his bushy mane (oh, to have such a fabulous beard! I am jealous!), he blended in quite nicely with the grandmothers. We chatted a bit, but I'm not sure he knew who I was, though if he's reading this, he probably does now.
And these grandmothers? I know most of the people on this site are tired of their silly arguments and continued support of the tree-sitters' ridiculous crusade, but meeting them, it's really hard to maintain an adversarial relationship with them. They're kind and sweet, just like the grandmothers in cookie commercials. They care about the oaks because they love trees, and they care about the tree-sitters' welfare because, besides loving oaks, they love people. That the oaks are on someone else's property and that the sitters are trespassing are besides the point to them. They're old hippies who just want everyone to get along, and I don't think any amount of argument would get them to understand why the University won't simply build a new stadium somewhere else. It's not that they're unreasonable people, or out of touch with reality, as many of the squatters at the Grove could be described. They simply have a set of priorities that are so different from the typical Cal Football fan that finding any common ground with them on this topic is nigh impossible.
Of course, not all the hippies there were grandmothers. Some were of the more typical vagrant type that we've seen at the grove, although they were, on the whole, disappointingly well-behaved. There was one tense moment when an old hippie wandered in with some sort of scarf wrapped around his head. The bailiff(?) then confronted him, and (roughly) this exchange took place:
Bailiff: Please remove your hat, sir
Hippie: What hat?
Bailiff: That thing on your head, whatever it is. Is it a do-rag?
Hippie: [Looks dumbfounded]
Bailiff: What is it?
Hippie: [More blank stares, possibly some mumbling]
Bailiff: If it's a religious thing, you don't have to take it off.
Hippie: [Thinks about this, and sees an opening] It's a religious thing.
Bailiff: Is it a religious thing? What is it?
Hippie: [More staring and mumbling]
Bailiff: You need to either take off your do-rag or leave.
Hippie: But it's a religious thing.
Bailiff: Oh, what is it?
Hippie: [Wheels turning slowly, trying to come up with an answer.]
Bailiff: You need to leave, sir.
Some of the other hippies tried to come up with the correct answer for this guy, or tried to argue with the bailiff, but to no avail. Hippie guy left and came back not wearing his scarf. Sadly, this was the highlight of the meeting.
After a while, the head grandmother held a meeting to inform the other hippies of recent events, including a supposed meeting between Oaks people and UCPD, among others, this morning. Decided at this meeting was UC's commitment to provide food and water to the tree-sitters. There was some concern as to what the food would consist of ("Are we talking McDonald's three times a day? Or are we talking Chez Panisse?"), but they seemed generally satisfied. The grandmothers were also glad to learn of UCs apparently commitment not to perform any more unwanted tree-sitter extractions. Which is nice and all, but I don't see us as being any closer to resolving this mess.
Finally, the Oaks' lawyer (not Volker, some other guy) showed up. He looked like a hippie in a suit. Come to think of it, he most likely was. There was some back-room discussions between the judge and the lawyers, and then everyone got up to leave, without any sort of public hearing taking place. Frankly, I don't know what happened. Maybe the guy just took too long arriving, or they needed more time for discussion than was available in the day at that point. I was utterly confused. The upshot? Nothing decided, and the hearing is now to take place Monday morning at 9am.
Wait, you mean I drove all the way out to Hayward, sat around for half an hour, and nothing happened? Nothing at all? What a waste of my time. I mean, moreso than usual with these people. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not terribly familiar with these things, but this seemed to be a pretty spectacularly stupid non-event. And now that you've read my whole account of it, I've probably wasted a good chunk of your time, too. I'm sorry. I truly am.
Next week, I'll bet the hippie saga gets longer and dumber. Man, football season can't arrive soon enough.