Sequel in Court

Effective community conversations essential to continuation of athletic center and stadium project.

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Amid the pandemonium in the oak grove last week, it's easy to forget that the dispute over the construction of the athletic center had its beginnings in court. Even though the battle in the branches is finally over, the battle in the judicial system continues-and it's unlikely to end unless old attitudes and approaches change.

Despite having had nearly two years to mull over the situation, the parties still involved in the legal conflict have taken nothing away from the mess. As they stubbornly persist in communicating past each other, we can only anticipate growing attorney and court fees.

For the university, patience is a lacking virtue time after time. Without completely hearing out the community, UC Berkeley has already announced its intention to begin seismic retrofitting of Memorial Stadium sooner than slated in the original plan. The decision is coated with arrogance, illustrating the campus's confidence in evading another thicket of lawsuits.

It's an especially rash risk to take, in part because of the Panoramic Hill Association's over-zealous tendency to drag out the process. Remember, this is the same the neighborhood organization that is still appealing the initial athletic center ruling rendered in the university's favor.

The Panoramic Hill Association takes it one unnecessary step further by demanding a new Environmental Impact Report even though the initial one suffices. With no major changes in the retrofitting plans, the request is an abuse of the rules and ensures longer postponement.

Deliberate defiance on the part of the university and redundant caution on the part of the Panoramic Hill Association can only lead to further construction delays to the much-needed athletic center and earthquake-safe stadium. To expedite the process, the court-approved plans should be heeded and pointless attempts to stall the project should be ignored.

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