CALIFORNIA — Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates pled guilty inan Oakland court today for his role in trashing 1,000 copies of the Nov. 4edition of University of California at Berkeley’s student newspaper, whichcarried an editorial endorsement of his mayoral opponent. AttorneyMalcolm Burnstein appeared in court for Bates, who was fined $100 for thecriminal infraction. The maximum fine was $250, and there was no possibility fora jury trial or jail time.According to The Associated Press, Burnsteinhad little to say after his brief court appearance. “Tom has alreadymade his statement,” he said in a Jan. 8 AP story. “He said he would pleadguilty and he did. We think the matter’s now over.”In November fourstudents witnessed Bates throwing the copies of The Daily Californianinto the trash and immediately informed police officials, said editor Rong-GongLin. Bates initially denied any involvement in trashing the edition, whichendorsed incumbent Shirley Dean for mayor in the November elections. However, helater released a statement in December apologizing for his actions.Thetheft occurred on Sproul Plaza, which is the birthplace of the 1964 Free SpeechMovement.Under public scrutiny, Bates said he would propose a cityordinance and support state legislation that would make it a crime to steal freenewspapers.
Read our previous coverage
- Berkeley mayor charged with criminal infraction for theft News Flash 12/20/2002
- Berkeley mayor admits to Daily Cal theft after police investigate News Flash 12/6/2002