Adding to the Mess

Multiple groups are at fault in the athletic center conflict, and Wednesday's court decision may be the only solution.

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The Memorial Stadium ordeal has been unreasonably prolonged because of blunders committed by every group involved along the way.

What's really at stake is not only the oak trees but being able to ensure the safety of stadium visitors and to provide seismically retrofitted facilities for Cal athletes. But attempts to start earthquake-safe constructions have been put off by the convoluted legal situation.

The university should have extended a warmer invitation to the city to discuss design ideas, and more communication could have led to ways to adhere to seismic regulations. However, both parties had a hand in delaying the compromise, and the university haughtily attempted to charge ahead with its own plans.

There are also concerns about traffic flow in the area, a safety point raised by the Panoramic Hill Association. But instead of throwing themselves into the lawsuit mess, the practical approach would have been to compromise with the university.

Meanwhile, the California Oak Foundation literally cannot see the forest for the trees. By focusing on saving the 26 oaks, they've shifted attention away from broader environmental impacts that result from cutting down thousands of other trees elsewhere.

The tree-dwellers should have abandoned their arboreal homes once the injunction to protect the oaks was enacted two months after the sit-in began. It is unacceptable for the tree-sit to be drawn out for this long.

Each group's guilt ranges from wasting valuable police resources and creating health and safety hazards to draining hundreds of thousands of dollars from the university.

It's disappointing that the 19-month-long debacle has persisted to the verge of absurdity. Unfortunately, it's come down to a court ruling to settle the matter for good.

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