Well I lived there for two years, while going to college in San Francisco. I miss it now of course, what with a huge organic produce and health food store down the block from me. Great restaurants to frequent and lovely weather during the spring and summer seasons.
But living there was intolerable at times. The "hippy-ness" in my opinion was seen in the way they let vagrants and homeless roam about freely, which I guess they are allowed to do. When you first go to Berkeley you see a homeless person and feel bad for them. Yet, after living there a while you see the same homeless person in the same spot over and over. And you begin to wonder whether giving out your change is going to actual change anything. I won't go into the whole debate of how to help the homeless here. I just want to point out that Berkeley is one crazy place on many levels.
It's so crazy and liberal that there is a parade where people try to show their "Berkeley-ness". Everyday I read the San Francisco Chronicle daily and it always brings back memories when I read the rants of Bay area people arguing over local stuff. So it is that I encountered an article about how this parade has been canceled due to the Berkeley government disagreeing with some of the things expected to go on during the parade.
"The city saw a bunch of long-haired people having fun and they said, 'Uh-oh,' " said organizer John Solomon, a retired Berkeley restaurant owner. "The city is being very controlling. They want to turn this into the Solano Stroll."