I was raised in Eugene, Oregon and spent my youth hiking and backpacking with my family. My father was a math professor at the University of Oregon. My mother worked as a school psychologist. I have a brother Abraham and a sister Ruth. My parents were avid gardeners and outdoors people. Eugene was an excellent place to grow up. In the 1970s when I was a boy, the city and the public schools were heavily influenced by a thriving counter-culture. In 1979 when I was in sixth grade, my first political act was opposing reinstatement of registration for the military draft.
My first job (1980-1983) was as a newspaper delivery boy for the Eugene Register Guard. It was an afternoon paper on school days and a morning paper on weekends.
In 1981 I got involved with two school activities at Roosevelt Junior High School that would influence the rest of my life: I began working on the Rough Rider school newspaper as a writer and editor and helped organize my first political protest march, against Reagan’s expansion of nuclear weapons. In 1983, my father took a one-year sabbatical at Indiana University in Bloomington and I helped start my first political organization there, Students Together Acting for Nuclear Disarmament (STAND). That year I also published my first political zine for STAND. I also worked on the school newspaper The Optimist and I began selling advertising as well as writing articles. I won the salesman of the year award in 1984 and have loved selling since then.
In 1984, the family returned to Eugene and I became active in Eugene’s radical scene. I joined Citizens Action for Lasting Security (CALS) — a peace / anti-nuclear weapons group that eventually changed its name to Peaceworks — and worked organizing protests and events. I began working on their newspaper, The Nuclear News Bureau and used my advertising sales skills to vastly expand the size of the paper. I also worked as a full-time door-to-door canvasser for two months for CALS. Talking to regular folks about anti-nuclear ideas day after day was great activist training.
I also began working with Clergy and Laity Concerned (CALC), a more mainstream peace group. I worked with their anti-draft / anti-military recruitment wing as well as on protests against wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua. I was the youth representative on their Board of Directors for a time. Through contacts at CALS, CALC and the Nuclear News Bureau, I got to know many of the alternative collectives in Eugene in the mid-1980s and I want to countless protests and events. I first went to the Oregon Country Fair to staff the CALS table in 1984. My first arrest for civil disobedience (1985) was for sitting in front of a train with about 100 others in Portland, Oregon that was carrying nuclear weapons for installation on missiles on US submarines based in Banger, Washington. My second arrest for civil disobedience (1986) was for occupying the Eugene Federal Building in a protest against US policy towards the apartheid regime in South Africa.
The adult activists in CALS and CALC mostly took me seriously even though I was only a teen at the time. Building groups that could have age diversity has been an important priority for me ever since.
Meanwhile, I attended South Eugene High School where I eventually became Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper The Axe. At SEHS I helped operate the Peace Club which organized protests on-campus as well as off-campus.
In 1986 I moved to Berkeley to attend UC Berkeley. I began working on Between the Lines, the newspaper for Campaign Against Apartheid. After a factional dispute, members of Between the Lines and I began a new paper called The Agitator. I was active in various protests and activist efforts at UC Berkeley. In 1987 I was arrested for a civil disobedience protest against homelessness and also at a protest at the Concord Naval Weapons Station against the Station’s shipment of arms to wars in Central America. (The protest was also against the maiming of activist Brian Wilson, who lost both of his legs when a train ran over him at a protest.) In 1988 I was arrested for trying to serve free food with Food Not Bombs in San Francisco. I was also arrested for blocking the Golden Gate Bridge with a large group protesting US military policies in Central America. I was a member of an on-going direct action affinity group called People with Jobs from 1987-1990.
On March 9, 1988, Slingshot began publishing around UC Berkeley and the Southside of Berkeley. I joined the Slingshot collective and merged The Agitator into Slingshot in April, 1988. Slingshot published weekly for a period, and then monthly most of the rest of the time I was a student. After the 1989 San Francisco Anarchist Conference, Slingshot served as the Committee of Correspondence for the national Network of Alternative Student Press.
I began living in a communal house in 1987 while I was a student at UC Berkeley. I helped start my first (rented) coop house with other Slingshot activists in 1988.
While at UC Berkeley I worked part-time for the university housing department doing building maintenance from 1987-1990. I started my own business making and selling batik and tie dyed t-shirts during the summer of 1988.
I began volunteering on a Pre-Post Security crew at the Oregon Country Fair in 1988.
I graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in sociology in 1990 and moved to Boston, MA that summer. I worked full time for Pearl Arts and Crafts for a few months opening their store in Central Square in Cambridge. In late 1990 I began working full time for the non-profit Conservation Services Group (CSG) doing administrative work for the Energy Fitness Program, which installed energy efficient technology (including early versions of compact florescent bulbs) in low income neighborhoods.
In the summer of 1991, I moved back to the Bay Area where I participated in several days of rioting over the University of California’s construction of a volleyball court at People’s Park. I rejoined the Slingshot collective and have been a continuous member of the collective since then. I became crew leader of my Oregon Country Fair Pre-Post Security crew over the summer. In October and November, 1991 I low-budget traveled around the People’s Republic of China. I worked on energy conservation related contracts for PG&E through CSG and other groups as well as working as an office temp during 1992 until I began attending Hastings College of the Law in the fall of 1992.
I helped found the Long Haul Infoshop collective in 1993, which opened an infoshop at Long Haul in Berkeley (3124 Shattuck) on August 13, 1993. I helped process Long Haul’s application for tax exempt status and was involved in on-going construction and renovation projects at Long haul from 1993 onward. I began staffing Sunday nights at Long Haul in 1993 and have kept that night since then to the present.
I won the award for “Best Brief” for my first year law school moot court competition. My third year of law school I served as a full-time judicial extern for US District Court Judge Lynch. I missed one of my professional responsibility classes when I was arrested in downtown San Francisco for serving free food with Food Not Bombs. I graduated from law school in 1995 and passed the bar exam later that year. I took my first solo bike tour down the Oregon-California coast from Florence, Oregon to San Francisco to celebrate. From 1995-2000, I worked as an associate attorney with Katzoff & Riggs in Berkeley.
In 1995, Slingshot published the first Slingshot organizer. I did not participate in creating the first organizer but I worked on the 1996 edition and every edition since then. Between 1995 and 1998, I was the Thursday night “Radical New House” DJ on unlicensed micro-powered radio station Free Radio Berkeley.
In 1998, two friends and I purchased a house on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley that would later become the Cathaus. I took time off work in 1998 to begin a renovation project on the house that lasted, on and off, for several years. We hired others to replace the roof, replace the foundation, install a woodstove and install a hot tub. I personally prepped and painted the entire exterior and interior of the house, replaced rotted siding and repaired many other features. I installed new fences, built a deck for the hottub, replaced all landscaping with gardens and fruit trees, built a bike shed, build a wood shed, gutted and replaced two existing bedrooms, built two new bedrooms, built an interior staircase to connect the first and second floors, installed a new half bathroom on the first floor, built a common space on the first floor, built an attic room, refinished all wood floors, installed bamboo floors on the third floor, and installed a solar hot water heating system. Seven people live at the Cathaus.
In 1999 I was present at the massive protests against the WTO in Seattle, Washington with a group of 40 Berkeley radicals who formed the Wingnut cluster. I wrote articles promoting the WTO protest that appeared in Slingshot and helped organize Reclaim the Streets protests that addressed globalization issues before and after Seattle. I also became a regular participant in Berkeley and San Francisco critical mass bike rides in the late 1990s.
As the Slingshot organizer became more popular, distribution moved to a room at the Cathaus and became my full-time job each October.
I began my own legal practice out of my home in 2000. I have focused on non-profit law and alternative legal organizational forms for shared real estate ownership ranging from Tenants-in-Common to coops to no-equity resident operated non-profit models. In 2004, I was arrested for doing street theater in the theater district of New York City during the 2004 Republican National Convention. In 2007 I bicycled across the United States beginning in Richmond, Virginia, passing through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and ending up in Eugene, Oregon.
On April 2, 2011, I married Kristi Kenney. She and I have a daughter named Fern who was born July 23, 2012.
Besides biking, doing house construction, taking care of Fern and working on Slingshot, I am an avid cook and gardener. I dry fruit from neighborhood trees in a solar fruit drier. My housemates and I also have a long-term relationship with an organic apple farm in Northern California (Pomo Tierra) where we go each spring to spread compost and each summer to harvest apples for cider.
You may contact me by phone at 510 549-1436 (work).