For the first time in perhaps decades, the smell of marijuana didn't fill the air during the lunch hour at Berkeley's Provo Park, which is located directly across the street from Berkeley High School. The culprit: Heavy police presence to keep watch over the crowd as former Vice President Al Gore gave a sobering speech about the need to vote for Prop. 87, the oil tax initiative.
Gore arrived at the Berkeley City Hall parking lot 45 minutes late being driven in an enviro-friendly car with "100+ MPG" painted on the side. Mayor Tom Bates greeted Gore and the two stood in front of the car - about thirty feet away from the assembled group of twenty reporters and photographers -- just long enough to let the camera-people get their shots. Phil Matier shouted, "Are you going to run for president?" Gore, however, refused to answer any questions and was quickly taken inside City Hall while reporters were led away by Prop. 87 staffers.
A few minutes later, after actress Maria Bello said a few words to the crowd, Gore took the stage and the man once described as a "human-like object" delivered a passionate speech. Gore even got a little conspiratorial, suggesting that the oil companies had purposely lowered gas prices before the election. Gore said the oil industry has two goals: One, make profits and two, "manage the political will of the country."
and Will Harper