Judge rules for UC Berkeley in sports center case

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller Tuesday issued a ruling that allows the University of California, Berkeley to begin construction of a new sports training center next to the university's football stadium.

However, two plaintiff groups who filed suit to try to stop the university from building the new facility, which is projected to cost about
$140 million, are expected to rush to the state Court of Appeal to seek a stay that would continue to stop the project while their appeal of Miller's ruling is heard.

UC-Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said the substantive part of Miller's decision Tuesday is “identical” to her July 22 ruling that allowed the university to begin work on its controversial project because it had addressed her concerns about environmental and safety issues.

Mogulof said Miller also accepted the university's promise to refrain from construction activities until the Court of Appeal rules on the
expected request for a stay.

Michael Kelly, the president of the Panoramic Hill Association, which represents people who live near the football stadium, said his group will return to the state Court of Appeal to seek a stay that would bar the university from beginning construction.

“We feel like we have a strong case,” Kelly said.

Referring to Miller, Kelly said, “We believe that several issues were not adequately resolved by the current judge.”

Kelly said that because the football stadium sits on top of the Hayward earthquake fault, “It's urgent that we get this case resolved by the appellate court as soon as possible.”

Attorney Stephan Volker of the California Oak Foundation couldn't be reached for comment.

But after a brief hearing in Miller's court on Monday, Volker said he also planned to seek a stay if Miller ruled in favor of the university
again.

The California Oak Foundation and the Panoramic Hill Association filed a joint appeal with the Court of Appeal three days after Miller's July 22 ruling.

But the Court of Appeal sent the case back to Miller's courtroom on Aug. 7, saying that several legal issues needed to be finalized before it could consider the case.

Mogulof said legal observers believe the Court of Appeal could decide on a stay within in a matter of days after the two plaintiff groups file their renewed formal notice of appeal.

Mogulof said, “This arrangement means that if and when the Court of Appeal decides not to impose a new injunction, the university will be able to begin work immediately.”

He said, “Time is of the essence. Every additional day of delay will cost the university approximately $40,000, not to mention the additional time our student-athletes will be forced to tolerate entirely sub-standard conditions.”

Mogulof added, “Given the exhaustive, detailed ruling Judge Miller has issued, we feel very optimistic that the legal coast will soon be clear.” 

A UC Board of Regents committee approved building the sports training center on Dec. 5, 2006.

Shortly afterward, a group of people began living in a grove of oak trees next to the stadium to protest the project because it calls for
tearing down most of the trees. Four protesters remain at the site.

The city of Berkeley, the California Oak Foundation and the Panoramic Hill Association filed suit against the university in late December 2006 to try to stop the project on environmental and safety grounds.

Miller issued a preliminary injunction on Jan. 29, 2007, which temporarily halted the project. But she held additional hearings on the case late last year and earlier this year and on July 22 said the university could go ahead with the project.

However, she kept her injunction in place long enough to allow the plaintiffs adequate time to file an appeal.

The city of Berkeley considered filing an appeal, but at a July 24 meeting the Berkeley City Council couldn't muster enough votes to authorize an appeal.
   

Bay Area NewsBerkeleyLocalprotest

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read