The Bear Insider Blog: June 2008

Opinion and commentary by Bear Insider staff writers. Reader's comments are welcome.

Way Too Late
Chris Avery, Publisher, The Bear Insider
June 3, 2008

Judge Barbara Miller has taken way too long to make a decision on Cal's High Performance Center.

After hearings concluded on October 12th last fall, Judge Miller took 8 weeks to review the record before deciding that she needed additional expert testimony on whether the new center was independent of Memorial Stadium or an upgrade to it. Some surmised that she had already arrived at the substance of her decision and needed the expert testimony only to wrap up a few key points.

That hope was obviously misplaced.

She ordered the expert testimony on December 12th, hoping to finish that phase by the end of the year, but in fact it took 14 more weeks for the comments to be submitted and a final hearing conducted. On the last day, March 20, 2008, Judge Miller promised a decision before the statutary 90 days within which rulings are required from a superior court in California

Well it's been 72 days since then, and still there's no ruling. Not counting the time when active hearings have been conducted, she's had a combined total of 22 unfettered weeks to study the testimony, about five months.

The University has incurred millions of dollars of costs as a result of the lawsuits, and millions more as a direct result of Judge Miller's glacial pace in arriving at a decision.

By way of comparison, how much does her time cost? How much would additional support staff time cost the court system to help arrive at a decision sooner? Millions of dollars? No way. This is badly out of balance.

UC supporters can hope that Judge Miller is crafting a rigorous (and favorable) ruling that will decrese the chances of an appeal by the plaintiffs, but that is just a hope; meanwhilew, the millions of dollars of costs are real.

Yes, a decision will probably happen before June 21, so UC and its supporters do not now have long to wait. After enduring the lawsuits and their consequences for 18 months, a few weeks more may not be impossible to bear.

Still, the lengthy delays and associated costs virtually require this to be said for the record: this court and this judge have acted irresponsibly to the great cost of the University, Cal athletics, and to the fans and donors who support the project.

A decision is way overdue.

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