News in Brief: twLF Members Charged With Courtroom Disruptions



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Numerous members of the third world Liberation Front face misdemeanor charges in Alameda county court today for allegedly disrupting a hearing last semester.

More than 20 UC Berkeley students are charged with contempt of court, said Kim Malcheski, one of the attorneys handling the case. He added that the students will file a motion to dismiss the charges.

"The charges are vague and broad," he said. "We are asking the judge to dismiss the case because the charge is not specific enough."

Malcheski added that the prosecution's case is weak.

"In the police report, most of the defendants weren't even named," he said. "The district attorney has to prove the defendants disrupted a court while it was in session. I don't believe they can do it."

The liberation front members were protesting a pretrial hearing for six students arrested during last spring's Ethnic Studies protest.

Most of the students involved in the incident are expected to present their case today. The rest of the students will go before a judge at a later date.

Speakers Debate ‘None of the Above' Initiative

Two speakers came to campus yesterday to debate the merits of Proposition 23, a March ballot initiative that would give voters the option of voting for "none of the above."

A proponent of the initiative said it would allow voters to voice their discontent with candidates in a specific election.

"We believe that as Californians, you need a way to express your dissatisfaction when you don't like any of the candidates," said Teri Shugart Erickson, who works for a political action committee dedicated to enacting electoral reform.

Erickson said her interest in electoral reform stems from her father, who ran a dog in a Monterey congressional election when he did not like any of the candidates.

"The (Federal Election Commission) found out he was a dog and they came up with some obscure law that you have to be a human," she said.

Erickson argued that giving voters the option of "none of the above" would increase participation.

"We believe more citizens will register to vote," she said. "It's not going to cure all voter registration problems, but it's a step and it doesn't cost anything."

But Rebecca Kaplan, a Green Party candidate for the Oakland City Council, said Proposition 23 does not go far enough and that the election system needs an overhaul so that the two major parties do not dominate elections.

"It creates the danger of giving people the false illusion that we have created electoral reform without really doing it," Kaplan said. "It could be used by people who want to defend the status quo."

Citizens vote for mediocre candidates out of fear, she added.

"We're afraid that if we vote for someone we like, then the person we don't like will win," Kaplan said.

Architecture Class

To Feature

Working-class Homes

In a departure from the traditional teachings of architecture, a UC Berkeley professor is teaching a class this spring which focuses on small working-class homes.

Paul Groth, a professor and architectural historian, has also researched an area of West Oakland adjacent to the Cypress Freeway for CalTrans.

His current research includes workers' cottages, both originals and with additions, bungalows and studio, or efficiency, apartments. Groth said in a statement that the history of the apartment is still largely unstudied.

"I'm interested in the small house because I think we (as an American society) need to downsize," he said.

Groth said while small homes are everywhere, very little research has been devoted to them.

"There's no House and Garden for the working-class people," he said.

The Bay Area is particularly interesting to Groth because of the wide range of housing available, from the multimillion-dollar homes of Silicon Valley to the cooperative housing situations in Berkeley.

"We're finding out that there are a lot of different ways for people to live," Groth said. "If we appreciate (the small home) and learn to live with it, it may teach Americans that bigger isn't necessarily better."

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