Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Contra Costa Times: UC settles Tightwad Hill lawsuit

By Matt Krupnick

Contra Costa Times

BERKELEY — UC Berkeley has settled a lawsuit filed by the penny-pinching denizens of Tightwad Hill, which for more than 80 years has offered free viewing of Cal football games.  The university said Friday it would include the hilltop fans in discussions about alterations of the eastern side of Memorial Stadium. The school has proposed adding seats there that would block views from Tightwad Hill, which technically is the lower part of Charter Hill.  With other lawsuits tying up more imminent renovations of the 85-year-old stadium, the university essentially decided to let the Tightwad Hill issue go for now, said Bob Milano, an assistant athletic director.  "We just see this as an issue we'll deal with later," he said. "It just wasn't something we wanted to fight right now.

"They're all football fans anyway."  The settlement will not prevent the university from blocking the free views, but it requires UC to consult with the plaintiffs before altering the eastern side.   "It gives us a seat at the table, which is what we've wanted all along," said Dan Sicular, a 1981 UC Berkeley alumnus who led the legal fight. "Some kind of complete victory for Tightwad Hill was never in the offing."   The university had planned to begin construction west of Memorial Stadium by now, but lawsuits over seismic concerns and a grove of oak trees have tied up the project. Renovations to the eastern side are at least five years away, Milano said.

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