Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Big Chill...

"The city as a center where, any day, in any year, there may be a fresh encounter with a new talent, a keen mind, or a gifted specialist. This is essential to the life of a country. To play this role in our lives a city must had a soul. A university, a great art or music school, a cathedral or a great mosque or temple, a great laboratory or scientific center, as well as, the libraries and museums and galleries that bring past and present together. A city must be a place where groups of women and men are seeking and developing the highest things they know."

-Margaret Mead

Baby it's cold outside! How cold is it? Baby, it's so cold that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a cold weather emergency for California. Yep, that's cold! Tonight, Friday/Saturday, the temperature around the Bay Area is expected to produce lows that will shatter the previous low temperatures of ten years ago. Farmers in Monterey and Fresno Counties, say they will be suffering millions of dollars of losses over the next few days, which means that the price of fresh fruits and vegetables from California will be reaching record prices I assume. Snow is not expected, the sky is crystal clear, but the frost tomorrow morning should be spectacular. Hopefully, I will be feeling well enough to try again for that perfect winter shot, from my own yard. Like I said we'll see.

The thing is, it isn't just the weather blowing cold air about, there are some mighty frigid attitudes blowing around the bay as well. Have you been following the drama surrounding the beating of members of the Yale Choir, the Baker's Dozen? You can read all about it here, but in brief, the choir members were apparently attacked outside a New Year's Eve party in San Francisco a couple weeks ago. Some of the members sustained some pretty serious injuries, including one member who had their jaw broken in two places. The San Francisco police were called, and that is where the true controversy begins. As far as I can tell, the police, including Chief Heather Fong, seems to be ignoring the obvious assaults on this group of men. One inspector, this past week, demanded that the Yale group pay their own way back to San Francisco, if they wanted to give a formal statement and press charges, stating, to one of the parents "The kids are affluent, so they can afford it."

This story has been in the news all week, and as of Friday morning, inspectors from the San Francisco Police department, had flown down to Los Angeles, where the choir members are finishing up their winter tour, and gave the victims a photo line-up where they could possibly identify their attackers. Why did it take 11 days after the initial assault for anything to be done on behalf of these young men? Do you suppose it is a blatant case of "The Have's vs. The Have Not's?" Or in this case, "The Have Not's vs. The Have's?" Was it a simple case of young men, going too far to "defend' their turf? The suspects have not been mentioned as belonging to any particular gang, so what's the real deal here? Is it the chill outside? This story has been presented on my local ABC affiliate, KGO 7, as an I-Team Investigation. During a particularly heated exchange between reporter Dan Noyes and San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom, other more interesting question arose, not just about this story, but also regarding a story previously published about Newsom showing up to the hospital bed of a fallen police officer, possibly inebriated. You can watch the exchange here, and read Dan Noyes blog entry.

Is it the weather? Do we get just as grumpy in cold weather as we do in the impossibly hot summer months? Tensions are running high in the area right now. Berkeley has been pretty quiet, except for the anti-war protest earlier this week, which seemed to be done without incident. The passive tree sitters, protesting the removal of some fabulous oak trees on the Berkeley campus are minding their "P's & Q's," although it did bother them that the police removed some of their belongings earlier this week, in an attempt to get them to vacate the trees. Sigh.

Classes at the university don't begin until next week, so all was really quiet downtown today. I happened to be out, for the first time in almost a week, and I looked up at this sign, one I pass all the time, but never really took the time to appreciate. It caught my eye today, for it's beauty and passive appearance. And hey look... autumn is still in the trees! Is that normal? I love book stores, and little coffee houses. I don't go out to this kind of place nearly enough anymore, what's up with that? Sigh. Berkeley has all the things mentioned in the above quote by Margaret Mead, so does San Francisco, but all this controversy reminds me of how easy it is to lose one's way, for the individual and the city. Sigh... again.

"Close To Home"
Bancroft Avenue
Berkeley, California
January 12th, 2007
Late Afternoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's cold here, too - 49 F at 5 PM. That's not cold by Syracuse standards, but for Tucson, brrr! I need to put on a sweatshirt just to sit at my computer!