I didn’t know the Hate Man well, perhaps no one did, but in a strange way I had a big impact on his life. It began when I was having a conversation many years ago (1968), about what to do with the parking lot that became known as People’s Park. It was located in back of our coffee shop the Caffè Mediterraneum. This was an important event for the Hate Man because he later lived outdoors in that park for almost thirty years.
That early conversation was with Bill Miller and Michael Delacour about what to do with the vacant lot owned by the University of California. The UC had taken it legally by eminent domain and torn down the houses on the property but they ran out of money to rebuild it to their needs. Thus it lay empty for over a year and functioned as a free parking lot for the public. The UC authorities then tried to reclaim it for their use but the public resisted. Blood was shed, some of my friends were shot. George Pauly, the owner of the local art theater, was shot while standing on his theater’s balcony, and a man standing near him named James Rector, who was unknown to me, was shot and died.
My earlier participation consisted of suggesting to Bill and Michael that the way to get the public involved in defending that property was to get them physically involved in innocent things like planting a garden for food and flowers. Within minutes Michael had procured a shovel and we were out in the field digging. After a couple of shovelfuls of dirt, I went back and worked on drinking coffee and talking to brilliant people for the next forty years. I was around for many of the various Free Speech conflicts, Anti-War protests and the People’s Park conflicts with Ronald Reagan, but not conspicuously so, although I did escape from Sproul Hall down a rope from the high balcony with police in pursuit. To the cheers of thousands below.
My decades-long friend Ted Friedman got involved with our local underground newspaper and used a photo I took for his article about George Pauly. He put his byline on the photo. That didn’t bother me one bit but I am here returning the favor by posting this picture of the Hate Man in my blog without a byline.
A big-hearted piece of Berkeley died when the Hate Man died.