The longest continually active Cal Bear blog

Archive for August, 2008

Comments re-enabled

After not getting a comment for a number of days I grew suspicious that something was up. So I logged out of my account to see what the blog looked like for average viewers. Sure enough, no comments allowed if you weren’t logged in. Long story short: the upgrade of the blog software changed my settings in a minor way tha prevented commenting by non-registered users.

I’ve fixed that now and comment boxes are open.

BREAKING NEWS! Request for retrial withdrawn

I’m at a complete loss for words at what has just came up on the SAHPC court case page:

Given Respondents’ clarification of Mr. Friedman’s statement and the other matters currently before the Court requiring the Court’s and the parties’ attention, Petitioners believe it is in the interest of the Court, the parties and the judicial economy to withdraw the motion for a new trial and motion to vacate the judgement

A document stating this was signed and submitted to the court today by Stephan Volker, lawyer for the Tree-Sitters, Michael Lozeau, lawyer for the home owners association, and Harriety Steiner, laywer for the City of Berkeley.

For those who don’t read legalese what that says is that the opposition has decided not to pursue their request for a retrial because it would be unlikely for them to win and they want to save everyone the time of going through the motions.

I find it nearly impossible to believe that Volker and company are withdrawing their motion because they believe it doesn’t have merit. That hasn’t stopped them with just about every motion/suit to date. In fact, they’ve stated publically that their STRATEGY is to delay as much as possible. There’s got to be a reason and I can’t say with any confidence what it is. Here’s my best guess:

Judge Miller gave them an ultimatium of some sort that basically said: “The appellate judge has said that you can’t appeal until I issue my final ruling. So here’s what I can do. I can give another order removing the injunction right now while I’m still sitting around waiting for the 25th to come and go. That’ll give the University 10+ days to cut down the trees while you can’t appeal because I have yet to make a final ruling. Since you don’t want that, here’s how it’s going to go… you guys withdraw your request for a retrial. The University will state that it isn’t going to file the stuff I allowed it to by 8/25. Then I’ll make my final ruling ASAP repeating what I ruled before and that gives you 7 days to re-file your appeal. That way this case is off my desk and you can file an appeal. Deal?”

To add to my theory, Cal submitted something themselves today: a statement saying they’re not going to file the stuff they were given until the 25th to file.

I could be WAY off in the weeds. It could be Volker found some judge he likes to take the appeal but he’s got to get that done soon for some legal reason. It could be there’s some other counter ticking we’re not aware of that he needs to speed things up for. It could even be that the grinch’s (AKA Stephen Volker) heart grew three times larger and he’s giving us back our athletic center. We’ll find out in the coming days.

What we do know is this: Judge Miller is pretty free at this moment to rule at any time and start the 27 day counter (7 days from Judge Miller before the injunction is vacated plus a 20 day automatic extension once the appeal is filed) until the trees can come down assuming some appellate judge doesn’t institute a new injunction.

The bad news, which we already knew, is that it is far less than 27 days until the first game at Memorial Stadium.

Any alternate thoughts on what just happened?

Preseason BlogPoll

The BlogPoll is the invention of mgoblog’s Brian Cook. He solicits the opinion of LOTS of different bloggers and other web-oriented college football fans. He explicitely notes the team loyalties of each of his pollsters.

This year I have been invited to participate in the poll. The “normal” schedule is to create the weekly poll on Sunday or Monday and post it to your own blog for feedback from your readers to be finally posted on Wednesday morning. The preseason poll has a slightly different schedule with it being due next Monday.

In any case, here’s my preliminary preseason poll:

Rank Team
1 Southern Cal
2 Florida
3 Oklahoma
4 Georgia
6 Virginia Tech
7 West Virginia
8 Ohio State
9 Missouri
10 Oregon
11 Texas
12 Clemson
13 Arizona State
14 Texas Tech
15 Auburn
16 Tennessee
17 Wisconsin
18 Illinois
19 Brigham Young
20 Penn State
21 Rutgers
22 Kansas
23 Oregon State
24 Michigan
25 Notre Dame


(It’s worth noting that the expected difficulty of a team’s schedule is not supposed to be a factor in this poll. It’s supposed to be about how good the team is, not how many wins they’re going to get. The opposite is true for the end of the season, it’s not about how many wins they got, it’s about how good they proved to be, so difficulty of schedule should be a significant factor.)

New Pick’Em League ready for sign-ups!

I bet just about everyone is wondering what in #$@@$@#! has been keeping me from posting lately. Well, in truth, there’s been a lot of behind the scenes work going on.

Today you’ll notice a new banner for the blog thanks to Jason, and you may also notice that the blog software was upgraded. But those both pale in comparision to the amount of work that has gone into getting the new Pick’Em league ready.

The new Pick’Em league is a lot like last years but a number of changes have been made. First and foremost, the scoring has been simplified. When two electrical engineers walked away with the contest last year, it was a clue to me that perhaps things like logrhythmic bonus points for picking games early in addition to the additional complexity of forcing people to pick scores not winners and a formula associated to how those scores were translated into points, was just too much.

So things are simplified. Now notice that I didn’t say they were simple. While the bonus points system is gone, you’ll still have to pick the score for the game and there’s still formulas to determine who did the best job of predicting the score. That said, picking the winner is now 50% of the score and that’ll make things simplier on their own.

Also added this year is automated e-mail sending that’ll remind you if you haven’t made your picks yet and will give you updates on the league if you so desire. Finally there’s now a method to have your password reset if you forget it and don’t want to be at my mercy to get back in.

In any case, this is your chance to prove that you’re better at predicting games than all the most sophisticated Cal fans out there, and me too. Sign-up on the Pick’Em tab.

SAHPC court case update

In my last update, on July 25th, I noted that the appeal had been filed in the case and that triggered an automatic 20-day extension on the appeal, extending it to August 18th from July 29th. Yesterday we got our first answer back from the appeals process:

Appeal denied!

But wait… before you go jumping in the streets to find the nearest watering hole, it’s not what you think, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Here’s the key text from the ruling:

Although one of the three challenged rulings is denominated a “Judgment,” it is clear from the record that there is no final determination of the rights of the parties.

The trial court authorized a supplemental return notwithstanding its conclusion that the University’s June 27, 2008 response demonstrated that it did not intend to pursue the three alterations. The 30-day period within which to file the supplemental return does not expire until August 21, 2008, and appellants’ Motion to Vacate Judgment and For New Trial also remains pending in the trial court.

In this case, however, the companion Judgment never took effect, and, hence, the preliminary injunction is not yet dissolved. Rather, it remains in place, subject to future modification by the trial court, as appropriate.

In other words, Judge Miller’s case is not yet over and the appellate court will not hear an appeal until Judge Miller finalizes her rulings. And just for fun, he’s ruling that the injunction is in place, so don’t nobody go cutting down no trees!

So what does this mean?

Frankly, it means more delays. It means that at a minimum we’re looking at another extension, as best I can tell, until September 10th, based on the logic that if the appellate court is correct and the trial court case can’t expire before August 21st, then the earliest the original injunction could be dissolved is August 21st and then tack on another 20 days for the “automatic extension” for Volker and company filing another appeal now that the case is wrapped up.

But all of the above assumes that Judge Miller does whatever it is she needs to do so that she clears up the problems that the appellate judge is complaining about. That likely means that the hearing originally scheduled for August 12th and now rescheduled for August 25th is now more important than ever… probably. I suspect that Judge Miller is not going to schedule another hearing between now and then and I doubt she’ll clear up the appellate court’s concern without another hearing. The worst case scenario is that she schedules another hearing for this stuff and because of how things go, that won’t happen until early September. Give her a few days to wrap everything up and make a FINAL ruling and tack on another 20 days and we’re looking at the beginning of October before the run on chainsaws down at Home Depot starts.

So it looks like the 20 of you who voted for a late August tree cutting party in the poll are going to be disappointed and the 19 of you who voted for during the season or later are looking pretty smart right now.

More info to come…

Back in business next week

Jason has been keeping the blog alive during my mysterious disappearance. Some have speculated that since my Looking Back series ended with Oregon, I must have done something terrible to myself when reviewing the Oregon State game. No such luck.

I’ve just been really busy wrapping my other hobby, Sailing, for the season with a final push to sail and organize regattas. That’s pretty much wrapped up now, so you should see me back in business now.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Blogging and Podcasting from Fall practice starting with next Tuesday’s practice
  • A new Pick’Em league (similar to last year with less math involved)
  • Wrapping up the Looking Back on ’07 series

That last one is going to be close on finishing before the season starts and will likely take a hiatus until after the season if I don’t wrap it up in time before the Michigan State game.

In The Days Before Tedford

As we prepare for another season, here’s a flashback to an earlier, simpler era. An era where you could get season tickets for pennies. Where you could stretch out across five seats at most home games. An era where Cal was absolutely terrible.

The year is 2001. The coach is Tom Holmoe. The stadium is empty.

Cal in the Pre-Tedford Era

It sure makes me appreciate the era we live in now, crowded and expensive though it may be.

(For the record, this particular final score was Arizona 38, Cal 24. The loss dropped Cal to 0-8.)