Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates to Plead Guilty to Theft





  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

The Alameda County District Attorney charged Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates Thursday with theft for stealing 1,000 copies of the Nov. 4 edition of The Daily Californian.

In a statement to the Daily Cal, Bates said he will plead guilty to the infraction charge, and will pay the $250 fine. The copies that Bates has admitted to stealing included the endorsement of his opponent in the November election, then-Mayor Shirley Dean.

In addition to the fine, Bates has made arrangements with the Daily Cal to pay a restitution of $500 to cover the cost of the trashed Nov. 4 Daily Cals.

"I feel terrible about my actions, and I feel this is a step toward restitution with the Daily Cal," Bates said.

Furthermore, Bates said he plans to speak to Berkeley public school students to help them understand that "impulsive actions have lasting consequences that can profoundly affect the rest of their lives."

"I want to help students understand the importance of their decisions, and that they are responsible for their actions," Bates said in a statement Thursday.

Daily Cal editor in chief Rong-Gong Lin, II said he would rather have seen Bates charged with a misdemeanor for a "very serious crime." But he said the fact that Bates was charged for stealing free newspapers was important, because past thefts of Daily Cals have not resulted in prosecution.

In response to the recent theft and a request by Lin, Bates agreed to propose a city ordinance and support state legislation specifically making the theft of free newspapers a crime.

While Lin said the successful investigation and prosecution in this case is an important step for free newspapers, publishers still have a very hard time persuading authorities in other jurisdictions that stealing free newspapers is a crime because the law is not specific enough.

"If we can codify this ... then free speech will be all the more preserved," Lin said.

Bates said there needs to be clarification about whether stealing free newspapers is a crime, which would be emphasized with this legislation.

"The Daily Cal has on a number of occasions been stolen by a number of different groups, and that's very wrong," Bates said.

While Lin concedes that Bates' hopes of passing laws on the local and state levels that make stealing free newspapers illegal is a "step in the right direction," he said Bates has still lost much of his credibility.

Although he has strong support and a good reputation with the people he works with, Bates said he will have to prove himself to the "broad middle" of Berkeley residents.

"My opponents will never forgive me. They would like my head on a stick," Bates said. "They would like me just not to govern."

But Bates maintains that he will still have the ability to implement the projects he said the people of Berkeley elected him to do.

According to the Alameda County District Attorney, Bates is being charged with an infraction because he has no previous criminal history. The Penal Code of California allows first time offenders to be charged with an infraction punishable by a fine.

Bates will be given a Notice to Appear at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

Tags:






Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
News
Image Student regent resigns after sex crime allegations
Jesse Cheng officially announced his resignation from his positio...Read More»
News
Image Pet shop may occupy planned Goodwill
After failed negotiations with the landlord and resistance from the busines...Read More»
News
Image Campus graduate takes new first steps
UC Berkeley's graduation day this year was symbolic for graduate Austin Whi...Read More»
News
Image Regents rescind part of approval
The ongoing legal battle surrounding revisions to the building plans for th...Read More»
News
Image UC spared additional cuts in budget revision
While the University of California escaped further funding reductions M...Read More»
News
Image UC Board of Regents wary of unreliable state funds
SAN FRANCISCO - Following the release of Gov. Jerry Brown's revis...Read More»
Right Arrow




Job Postings

White Space