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Berkeley on the brink?

By       Message Bob Patterson     Permalink
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In a university town that is home for a renowned school of journalism, where the Center for Investigative Reporting (this just in: It has relocated to Emeryville) is located, and where great news reporters have taught, it would be very ironic for good journalism to go missing in action, but that seemed to be the case this week in Berkeley.

At a city council meeting this week, witnesses report that a uproar occurred when a member of the city council attempted to get a vote on new wording for some new laws regarding the homeless without any public input. The measure was tabled after it was pointed out by other members of the city council that the change in procedures would be illegal, according to one source.

Allegations that an extensive cover-up to mask the details of the events that lead to the Berkeley Balcony Disaster is being implemented, should be sufficient motivation for some of America's top level journalists to come to Berkeley and then either substantiate the rumors or refute them completely.

If the city that was home to both the Berkeley Barb and the Berkeley Tribe can now stifle rumors of malfeasance, then perhaps the dire prognosis that Democracy in the USA is rapidly approaching "flat line" status is spot-on.

The world's laziest journalist had been tipped to the historic potential of this week's city council meeting by Mike Zint, who is the fellow responsible for the "First they came for the homeless" page on Facebook (among other political activist accomplishments).

We attended the rally that was held before the meeting began, but the time when we could work a full day, attend a city council meeting (back in the day when Culver City held the council meetings in the firehouse/city hall building) that evening, then go back to the office and type out a report before ringing out for the day was several decades ago. We left the scene before the newsworthy aspect of the night began to unfold.

According to an article in the New York Times, statistically speaking a shortstop's best year usually occurs when he is 28 years old. Could the same principle apply to a columnist's performance level?

We have heard that waiting until late in the meeting to bring up important issues is a favorite tactic in Berkeley but we were unprepared to reactivate the old college "pull an all-nighter" methodology of coping with the challenge.

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If the New York Times, Rolling Stone magazine, and Sixty Minutes don't have the resources (or motivation?) to cover the recent events in Berkeley, should local activists try to pitch the idea to Paris Match, Der Speigel, or Pravda?

Recently we acquired a DVD copy of the movie "Rum Diary," and were thrilled to see again the "Ink and Rage" sequence where the writer warns the bad guys that he does not have their best interests as his chief motivating factor in life.

We have, in the past, written a column detailing the fact that the portable typewriter used by the leading character during his soliloquy was one of our personal possessions before it turned up on the set in Hollywood and thereby made the "wannabe" aspect of the sequence particularly noticeable.

At this stage in our life, the world's laziest journalist would greatly prefer to abandon all reasonable expectations of following the Hunter S. Thompson strategy to achieve fame and fortune and, instead, just coast from one enjoyable feature story to another.

In a course at Santa Monica College, we learned that writing a solid magazine article takes about a month of work. Putting that much time and effort into a weekly column (or even a series of weekly columns) is way above our pay grade.

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Rather than do the heavy lifting to find out the specific details of the (alleged) shenanigans in Berkeley, we would rather concentrate on some innocuous bits of frivolous information that might make our readers smile and not try to inspiring them to change their vote in the 2016 Presidential Election.

If, however, one of our regular readers just happens to know a writer or assignment editor for a very influential member of the mainstream media, and sends them a link to this lament, we would not be adverse to playing a catalyst role in causing a chain of events which brings the focus of national attention to some of the hidden aspects of life in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We intend on seeing two movies this weekend. A restored version of "The Third Man" will be playing in Berkeley and word of mouth indicates that seeing "Ted 2" might be good for some laughs.

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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)
 

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