The 3,000th Day the Sixties Died

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The People's Park in Berkeley may be losing its "Free Box"–where old possessions can be cast off in a good-karma way, and disturbing bums can fight over the right to take the stuff and sell it. Both Town, as represented by the Telegraph Business Improvement District, and Gown, represented by U-Cal Berkeley, want it gone. However, if the hippies keep rebuilding it, well, it will still be there. Until it gets torn down, burned down, or stolen. It's apparently a veritable endless twisting mandala of karmic action and reaction, as well as a place to fight with people of dubious if not frightening hygiene over old shoes.

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  1. Don’t judge a man unless you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.

  2. He may already be walking a mile in your shoes, or your girlfriend’s, judging by the story.

    Can we judge then?

  3. Reading that story led me to read the Wikipedia entry on the People’s Park protests. Unfortunately, it looks as though the article was written by someone with a fairly obvious bias, so I have a hard time determining its accuracy. Can a non-hippie explain to me how much of the information provided is factual? If the bulk of it is true, why on Earth is Ronald Reagan so admired among libertarians?

  4. From the Wiki article:

    In 1956 the University of California earmarked this piece of land for acquisition as part of the University’s “Long Range Plan for Expansion.” The University did not actually acquire the land until 1967, when it was finally able to raise the $1.3 million necessary to purchase the 2.8 acre plot of land from the residents it displaced using its power of eminent domain.

    I’d be more impressed with the ‘people’s park’ bit if they’d given the land back to those people they threw off of it the first place.

  5. in Portland Oregon people put stuff out in front of thier houses…i think there might even be a special “spring cleaning” day when there is a bunch of crap….but if no one takes the stuff then you take it back into your house or throw it away…..Just leaving your crap in the park seems like a good example of the tragedy of the commens.

  6. Hell, it is garbage or refuse, isn’t it?

    The moment you decide you want it gone, then you lose interest as to what happens to it.

    You can choose to pay to have it hauled away, or to dump it where somene else will take it away for free… What they do afterwards with it is not your concern

    (That reminds me of a story. One about some people who wante to get rid of garbage during a strike. They wrapped it in bright colored paper, and left if on the curb, and before they knew it, it was stolen. Problem solved…)

  7. I worked a block away from people’s park for seven years (thankfully that ended two years ago). The park is pretty much a trash filled toilet where the homeless go to buy and consume drugs after panhandling enough money on Telegraph avenue. While I’m sure a lot of the folks who get all misty eyed about the origins of peoples park are pissed that people are selling donated items, I think a lot of the opposition to the box has to do with the huge mess it creates. Many days the contents of the box are strewn about the park or in the street and there generally are a lot of fights in the park (I can’t confirm that they are over ladies shoes). If the box disappears, there are literally dozens of non-profits in the city of Berkeley (not to mention the surrounding cities) where items can be donated for the less fortunate. In closing, I would like to say I’m glad I now live in Santa Monica where the parks are clean and free of the homeless scourge.

  8. Santa Monica

    Didn’t their city motto used to be ‘Santa Monica, the home to the homeless’?

  9. I’d be more impressed with the ‘people’s park’ bit if they’d given the land back to those people they threw off of it the first place.

    A little microcosm of how some minds work: take away people’s property, give away trash, and feel smug.

  10. I have never been to SanFran, not sure I want to go…It sounds like South Park really nailed it on the head with their Hybrid Car episode.

  11. Santa Monica where the parks are clean and free of the homeless scourge.

    Bobo, you’re kidding, right?

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