Berkeley in the 60s

Aaron Bady and Mike Konczal have a piece up at Dissent on the reuse of the Reagan playbook at the University of California, linking the 1960s to the 2000s.

The last few years that point has been broadly made several times and in several different ways, much more than it had when I started researching the University of California and the Master Plan during my graduate work. But one thing that I think is still under appreciated is the state’s use of violence and force against students. I have read numerous accounts of students and faculty getting teargassed whether they were involved in protests or not, and it was quite striking to me — and I emphasize this when the topic comes up in classes — when I realized that in the most heated days, the most straitlaced students, those going to classes and keeping with the most conservative traditions of education, were getting gassed even in the classrooms because the gas attacks was so widespread and severe.

Frank Newman, the dean of the law school (later state Supreme Court justice) includes an account in his oral history for Berkeley here.

N:[...]Well, Vasak was fascinated by all this, and we were concerned with the human rights implications, specifically those affecting civil liberties. So he and I did a lot of poking around. He taught me how to use a wet handkerchief for tear gas. On one occasion he and I, after running with one of the mobs, found ourselves all alone, in one comer of the big lower plaza of the student center; and a cop came up and fired tear gas at us.
H: At you?
N: Yes. And we were dressed nicely; we were always careful to do that so we would be segregated; and I learned to handle tear gas.1

  1. Frank C. Newman, Oral History Interview, Conducted 1989 and 1991 by
    Carole Hicke, Regional Oral History Office, University of California at
    Berkeley, for the California State Archives State Government Oral History
    Program.

Just a Note

With the release of the film Milk, a great deal of publicity and interview promos (eg Terry Gross), make mention that Harvey Milk, member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, was “the first openly gay man to be elected to public office” in America. He was elected in November of 1977.

This is strictly true, but should contain an asterisk. In the April 1974 city elections in Ann Arbor, Kathy Kozachenko, a member of the Human Rights Party, won election to the Ann Arbor City Council for the 2nd Ward to become the first openly gay person in the U.S., male or female, to be elected to public office. She subsequently left Ann Arbor and moved to the Pittsburgh region where, if I remember an old Ann Arbor Observer article correctly, she works in staffing and human resources development and is affiliated with the labor movement.

Both Milk and Kozachenko were elected because of the ward-based election system. Milk lost twice under a city-wide election before the rules were changed and he won the Castro District, where he lived and ran a camera store. Kozachenko won because of the strong student presence in the 2nd ward — much of the backing for the HRP — and the alliance between the HRP, labor unions, and Ann Arbor minorities. While there was a gay population in Ann Arbor, it was nowhere near large enough to carry a ward.

I’d love to see some Kozachenko interviews with national publications come out in the next month or so.

Mapping Out My Dissertation



BerkeleyVALUE1980
Originally uploaded by urbanoasis

I don’t rightly remember if I ever explained what I’m doing for my dissertation. Once my dissertation proposal is approved I’ll put it up here, but until then suffice it to say that I’m conducting 4 case studies of city-university relationships in the 20th century to illustrate the effect of federal student housing subsidies on campus-community relationships.

In terms of methods, I hope to combine what I’ve learned from history, planning, and architecture to develop a multifaceted consideration of the design, planning, economic and political aspects that shape the built environment, as well as how the built environment affects those structures in turn.

Right now I’m doing background research and reading on a few of my case study communities, including mapping demographic and real estate changes. Pictured here is a map showing the changing value of owner occupied units in Berkeley, CA, from 1970 to 1980. Almost everywhere, they’re going up (even more than inflation, which was significant). Feel free to check out some more of my maps on Berkeley. These are mostly for reference right now — I’ll improve upon them once I get into the more detailed and grimy archival and geostatistical work.