MORE ON HIPPIES, TREES & EARTHQUAKESJudges grant preliminary injunctions stopping the actions of a defendant for two reasons:
1. The relevant law suggests that a suit against the defendant is likely to succeed
2. The politics surrounding the case make it advisable to grant the injunction (and the law is murky at best)
It's a reasonable bet that Superior Court Judge Barbara Miller was working off of option #2 this morning. Think about her constituency (and yes, superior court judges are elected with six-year terms). The professional protesting class would have done their level best to knock her out if she had prevented their cases from even going to trial.
Her ruling hasn't been released to the public, but the Chronicle report suggests that she found a likelihood that the stadium project would violate the Alquist-Priolo Act, which forbids the state from building new buildings on active earthquake faults. The University submitted a number of tests to the court, some of which showed no seismic activity under the project and others that were inconclusive. So, in essence, the judge has assigned homework to all parties to do more testing and come up with a conclusive result.
We can't wait to get our hands on her ruling, but so far there's been no press mention of hippies sitting in oak trees or the cheap bastards on Tightwad Hill or the Panoramic Avenue NIMBYs. If her ruling is indeed confined to the Alquist-Priolo issue, then that could be a small ray of sunshine in an otherwise bleak day. Assuming, that is, the University can submit a conclusive round of seismic testing.
Cal will appeal this ruling, for all the good that will do. After that's disposed of, we're looking at a trial beginning sometime during the summer in which the court will evaluate each of the four suits brought against the stadium project. We obviously need to wrap this up before next off-season, or things will get a little bit dicey.
Or, we cut a deal with the City. If we can give up the proposed parking garage in exchange for them selling out the hippies in the trees, then there might be an accommodation that obviates the need for a trial. We're not hopeful, but the University shouldn't close any doors to further negotiation.
One last thing - please keep the comment section clean and constructive.