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The Pepper Spray Times is a monthly publication made possible by the natural comedy inherent in Berkeley, California's local political landscape and all its inhabitants, including you. We present you a few stories from our June 2001 issue...or try the June 2001 PDF file for the total PST experience.

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2700 Vote Explained by Experts by Dorian Dawatter

Puzzled neighbors of the oversized 2700 San Pablo housing project breathed a sigh of relief when experts finally determined the reason for the Berkeley City Council’s recent approval of a proposal which contradicted the pertinent area plans, provided less open space, parking, and affordable housing than required, and had nearly unanimous opposition from the surrounding neighborhood.
“We’ve discovered that an acute lack of long-term vision is affecting both progressives and moderates on the current council,” stated one expert. “The net effect is that of someone with his or her head up his or her ass.”
“I actually did have my head up my ass,” offered one council representative. “I was so distracted by the view that I neglected to consider that this project offered less than the required 20% affordable units.”
“I did, too,” chimed in another council representative. “I usually can’t quite get my head all the way up my ass, so I kept it there through the whole vote thinking it might be a good work-out, kind of like yoga.”
“You mean we already voted?” commented another council representative. “The Kennedy category is starting to confuse me. Was that our final answer?”
Experts agreed that unless the council manages to extricate their heads from their asses, the residents of these new, densely packed buildings will have to stretch their clotheslines from one dense building to the next and allow their children to play on the the fire escapes.
Kriss Worthington and Dona Spring defended their unwillingness to vote for the project, explaining that they were just as capable as anybody else of getting their heads up their asses , but were less practised at sidesteping the area plans.
“We’re relieved to hear about the experts’ opinion,” commented neighbor Howie Muir. “We’re all real sorry about the council’s long-term vision, of course, but in another way it’s good to know. We thought we’d done something wrong.” * * * * * * *


Dona Spring Sparks Bench-clearing Trend by Celeste Straw

Twenty-four benches in San Francisco’s U.N. Plaza were ripped out recently by Public Works to “discourage loitering and drug dealing”, following a trend started in Berkeley by District 4 City Council Representative Dona Spring.
“Nothing loiters quite like a bench,” confirmed Mohammed Nuru, deputy director of operations for SF Public Works. “We have more difficulty catching the benches actually dealing drugs, but better safe than sorry.”
Representative Dona Spring affirmed that the benches she removed at the corner of Haste and Shattuck also had no direct connection to dealing drugs, but neighborhood suspicion had been enough to enact their removal without a public hearing.
“Benches are essentially lawless,” she stated. “Besides, they don’t vote.” * * * * * * *


Regents Rescind Affirmative Action Ban by Guy Whiz

The University of California Board of Regents reversed their 1995 ban on affirmative action, a vote which included regent Ward Connerly, the author of the original ban.
“Proposition 209 makes the matter moot,” pointed out Connerly. “We’re always delighted when the left is satisfied with symbolic victories.”
“Symbolic victories are nice, I suppose,” answered one of a handful of African Americans studying at Boalt Hall. “It’ll just be nicer when we can muster enough people for a good game of poker.”
* * * * * * *


Silicon Valley Ghost Town by Don Gothere

Tourists are flocking to the once-bustling Silicon Valley, now a desolate strip of empty storefronts reflecting the demise of a dot-com economy now gone bust.
Exodus Communications cut 15 percent of its 4,500 employees, joining dozens of dot-com businesses who are slashing work forces as stocks plummet.
“Most of them are searching for a new direction now,” commented Peter G. Neumann, a scientist at SRI International as he watched a long wagon train of BMWs and Lexus’s move slowly through the valley. “They’ll be looking into more dependable options now, like psychic hotlines and the lottery.”
* * * * * * *


Tax Poverty, Not Wealth by Luz Bearings
Economists agreed recently that President George Bush’s economic program which focuses on taxing the poor has sparked support from both ends of the political spectrum, and has gained unprecedented support in Congress.
“There’s a lot more poor people than rich people,” pointed out one presidential advisor. “The laws aren’t geared toward disguising the assets of the poor, so they’re a lot easier to bleed than the rich.”
“The rich tend to have these very talented accountants,” agreed another economic forecaster. “The poor wander through tax laws unassisted, and don’t have enough money to qualify for the special protections created for the wealthy.”
“Nobody cares about the poor,” pointed out another presidential economic advisor. “They’re kind of interchangeable. The rich, on the other hand, tend to be pretty well known, especially around Capitol Hill. We’ve met these people, played golf with them, you know. We would really feel it if we inconvenienced them.”
“I sure don’t mind doing my part,” offered George P. Hollander at his usual post by the Ashby Avenue and San Pablo intersection median strip. “I don’t have much, but me and my brothers are glad to give.” * * * * * * *

Cops Just Want to Have Fun by Liz Dance
A May 11th People’s Park celebration of the reduction of the trespass charge, 647j, to the lowest police priority was joined by a group of local police officers who couldn’t resist the fun.
“It’s a long time between riots these days,” explained one officer. “We get kind of bored kicking the homeless around, and arresting nudes always makes the news.”
Critics argued that the police were more likely in People’s Park to protest their resistance to losing 647j, the all-purpose code customarily used to roust sleepers from parks and doorways.
“Police have their traditions, too,” explained Michael Reins, a local police advocate. “It may take them awhile to find another code with that same catch-all quality, and it would make sense they they’re feeling a little annoyed.”
“I think they just feel left out,” offered Deb Moore, whose nude performance seemed to be the focus of police attention at the party. “We want them to know they’re welcome to shed their uniforms and join us. Their bodies are probably just as beautiful as ours.”
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Pepper Spray Times comics by Roger Dondis.
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