APRIL 2008



Don't be meek!

Make John Coltrane Park

in Potter Creek



April is Jazz Appreciation Month





Today is Berkeley's 130th Birthday




Seems it's also the 51th Anniversary of the Oakland Hell's Angels


Illigitimus non carborundum


Steel's up

at our Potter Creek Bowl

a Bob Kubik photo



Consolidated Printing is now working on our election ballots.



"Open to debate:Cal's QB competition at heart of spring practice" reports Jonathan Okanes of our Times.

"Nate Longshore greets a reporter for an interview and the discussion immediately turns to the competition to become Cal's starting quarterback.

Such discourse would have seemed laughable six months ago.

Much has changed for Longshore since the first half of last football season. He went from the returning, All-Pac-10, undisputed leader of the Bears offense to a senior-to-be fighting for his job and his future.

Spring practice for the 2008 season kicks off Monday at Memorial Stadium, and coach Jeff Tedford has opened up the quarterback position. Longshore will battle Kevin Riley for the right to lead Cal's offense next season."


Border's emails

40% off on inventory at Waldenbooks, Alameda

On 4/05/2008 we will be closing our Waldenbooks store at South Shore Center

*Excludes magazines, newspapers, gift cards and certificates, and all electronics."


Almost three years ago Tom Haydon closed Wessex Books and Records in Menlo Park. I helped Tom with the records in the '70s, at the very beginning.

Tom writes of the store's passing.

Wessex Books & Records
December, 1975 - June, 2005

So I am truly sorry that Wessex has reverted back to a fictional place. Finding a way to allow the bookstore to continue under someone else's ownership and direction was very important to me, but ironically, it turned out that an inventory that drew customers book-by-book had no buyers when offered whole.

The role of the printed word is now very different than it was in 1975,or even in 1995.

The place of books in people's lives and in their home has also changed radically: books haven't been replaced by something betterbut rather displaced by other media, ignored because of demands on timeand space, and passed by in favor of more-quickly digested media-bytes.

Add to that the simple fact that the great majority of books for sale in all brick-and-mortar stores can be "browsed" (to say nothing of bought) on line at any moment of any day, and the attraction, as a practical matter, of any
single aggregation of books, no matter how wonderful and unique and carefully selected, will just never again be what it was a few years ago. As a piece of technology the book can hardly be improved upon, but that's not the only
chapter in the story, unfortunately.

Yet it's been a wonderful thirty years; I'd do it all over again in a minute, though perhaps with a few changes along the way. I'm looking forward to the next thirty.

Much thanks to everyone,
Tom Haydon

Tom's whole essay is here.


I've just had a chance to play with a Kindle, the new bookstore and library?

It has over 100,000 books available for download plus journals, magazines that you can all rent or buy.



Cuban bassist, Israel "Cachao" Lopez died March 22 at 89-- a legend has passed.

KCSM, our FM jazz station, regularly plays him.



A movie about the Iraq War has just been released. It's Stop-Loss.

Of it, imdb offers "Decorated Iraq war hero Sgt. Brandon King makes a celebrated return to his small Texas hometown following his tour of duty. He tries to resume the life he left behind. Then, against Brandon's will, the Army orders him back to duty in Iraq, which upends his world. The conflict tests everything he believes in: the bond of family, the loyalty of friendship, the limits of love and the value of honor."

There is more at imdb





"36 Hours in Berkeley, Calif." a suggested tour by the New York Times.

"Anyone who thinks that Berkeley is just a hotbed of political radicalism is in for a surprise. College Avenue, the town's main drag, is packed with more hipsters with BlackBerrys than hippies with beards. The city's revamped shops can compete label-to-label with SoHo's sophisticated boutiques, and its restaurants match its bigger neighbor across San Francisco Bay. But the spirit of 1969 hasn't completely gone away. Walk down Telegraph Avenue and along one block you'll find activists for Free Tibet, patchouli-scented advocates of homeopathic medicine, and crusty purple-haired free-love followers, still eager to convert you to their cause. . . .

Old and new Berkeley, activists and high-tech workers, all head to Moe's Books (2476 Telegraph Avenue; 510-849-2087;) Founded in 1959 and piled high with used books, Moe's is a reminder that Amazon can't shut down all the little folks. You can wander its upper floors for hours, flipping through out-of-print tomes on everything from 1950s African history to kabbalah manuals. The store also has frequent in-store readings; check its Web site for coming dates."



"Solar hiring boom sheds light on training needs" reports Emma Ritch in the San Francisco Business Times.

"The solar industry is giving rise to a new crop of small businesses, but these companies are hitting roadblocks when it comes to filling their green collar' jobs."


"Documentary: Realities of war" is a movie review by Susan Young of Our Times.

"In the grainy green night vision light, the embedded camera on the military transport zeroes in on the truck in front as it hits an improvised explosive device.

The explosion from the IED jars the soldiers out of their mundane drive, electrifying them into hyperactivity. There's no thought of a camera trained on their actions, a recorder keeping track of their verbal response. Just gut reaction working on instinct.

Unlike a journalist embedded with the troops, the camera makes no judgements; no color commentary spews from its lens. Just hard reality 'hat viewers can filter through their own eyes.

Filmmaker Deborah Scranton ('The War Tapes") felt it was important to give soldiers a chance to press their own record button on the war."



And, "Real Food" is "A Q&A with Michael Pollan, author, amateur gardener and hero of the organic food movement" by Ashley Ball, with Matthew Cooke contributing for MSN.COM



"Lawmakers, White House push for home help plan. As lawmakers return to work the heat is on to push through a plan to help cash-strapped borrowers and ease the tight credit market" reports CNN.

"Congressional leaders are racing to push through an array of election-year housing measures that already have stirred
up much political wrangling and the White House is examining its own plan to further help homeowners caught in the mortgage meltdown.

With foreclosure signs prevalent and a Wall Street rescue reverberating, majority Democrats want the government to step in and
back up to $400 billion in troubled loans. The goal is to help strapped borrowers and thaw a credit market plagued by uncertainty about the value of subprime mortgages made to people with spotty credit or low incomes."


Allan Sloan, senior editor at large of Fortune reports on "Chaos on Wall Street:The big banks' fear of big losses is threatening to bring down the entire system, with dire consequences for all of us. Here's what's going on, and what we can do about it.

How would I mop up this mess? I have no magic cures, but I can offer a few modest suggestions.

Profit Sharing

If we taxpayers are going to subsidize Wall Street, as we're now doing, the Fed - or some agency the government sets up - should get a piece of the action for us in return for saving those firms.

Model: the $1.2 billion of Chrysler loans the Treasury guaranteed in 1980 and 1981. Chrysler repaid the loans, and the government made $311 million from stock-purchase warrants it extracted for issuing the guarantee. If firms can't raise the capital they need, Uncle Sam himself should recapitalize them, as Israel did for its banks in the 1980s, with an eye toward making a profit by selling stock when things improve.


If Wall Street is going to create its own banking system, let's regulate it - especially the hedge funds - or restrict what it can do. Otherwise, how can regulated banks, which need to follow rules and have capital, compete with the cowboys that don't have to worry about either?


Wall Street has made tons of money by selling and trading esoteric securities without informing investors in any meaningful way about the mortgages or other assets that underlie them. It's now in everyone's interest to disclose more, so these securities can be analyzed and trust in the market restored. I'd start with Richard Field, founder of TYI - it stands for 'trust your input.' TYI's programs let you track individual assets like auto loans, credit card debts, and medical receivables that are in
collateral pools. It's worth a look.


The one thing I won't try to do is solve the home mortgage problem that started all this. I'd like to save the truly innocent homeowners, while punishing speculators and imprudent lenders. Alas, I have no idea how to do that quickly, cost-effectively, or well.

What in the world is going on here?

Why is Washington spending billions to bail out Wall Street titans while leaving struggling homeowners to fend for themselves? Why are the Federal Reserve and the Treasury acting as if they're afraid the world may come to an end, while the stock market seems much less concerned? And finally, what does all this mean to those of us who aren't financial professionals?

Okay, take a few breaths, pour yourself a beverage of your choice, and I'll tell you what's happening - and what I think is going to happen. Although I expect these problems will resolve themselves without a catastrophic meltdown, I'll also tell you why I'm more nervous about the world financial system now than I've ever been in my 40 years of covering business and markets.

Finally, I'll tell you why I fear that the Wall Street enablers of the biggest financial mess of my lifetime will escape with relatively light damage, leaving the rest of us - and our children and grandchildren - to pay for their misdeeds.

We're suffering the after effects of the collapse of a Tinker Bell financial market, one that depended heavily on borrowed money that has now vanished like pixie dust. Like Tink, the famous fairy from Peter Pan, this market could exist only as long as everyone agreed to believe in it."









Rick Ballard of The Groove Yard emails

As part of Jazz Appreciation Month, San Jose Jazz is exhibiting the work of four jazz photographers- Tom Ehrlich, Peter Maiden, Andy Nozaka and Walter Wagner- at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in San Jose. Every Tuesday at 7:00 PM, there will be a lecture on jazz. The schedule is as follows: 

Apr.1  producer Orrin Keepnews
Apr.8  journalist Richard Scheinin
Apr.15  radio DJ and musician Bob Parlocha
Apr.22  percussionist John Santos
Apr.29  musicians Dave Ellis, Dayna Stephens, Terrence Brewer and Jonathan Poretz
For more information visit www.sanjosejazz.org


April 1, 2008 from the PBS NEWS HOUR.
"Reporter Profiles Army Unit in Remote Afghan Outpost

Soldiers in Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. In the fall of 2007, New York Times Magazine contributing writer Elizabeth Rubin and photographer Lynsey Addario shadowed U.S. forces in the Korengal Valley in northeastern Afghanistan, an area along the Pakistani border known for its insurgency. Warning: Some of the photographs in this slide show contain graphic imagery.

Tonight on the NewsHour: Jeffrey Brown talks to Rubin about her experiences and the tough decisions commanders have to make every day in war zones.

You can ask Elizabeth Rubin your questions on Afghanistan in an Online NewsHour Insider Forum or read her report for the New York Times Magazine."



"Air district brings back rebates for fireplaces:Agency's new rules likely will make it easier for residents to qualify" reports Our Times' Denis Cuff.
"Bay Area residents have another chance at a $600 rebate if they replace wood-burning fireplaces with gas stoves or fireplace inserts, and they might make it easier to qualify for the money this time.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District will begin accepting requests next week for the next round of rebates aimed at reducing unhealthy soot in the air.

On Monday, the air district will post online application forms, which can be returned electronically or by mail, in order to reserve a rebate that will paid by the district after installation.

Consumers will have more opportunity and advance notice than they did in the first round in January, when all $100,000 for rebates was used up in about 30 hours."



"Seeing the Positive Reality of Change in West Berkeley" observes WBBA member, Steven Donaldson in our Planet.

"West Berkeley, according to a West Berkeley Artisans and Industrial Companies (WEBAIC), John Curl, Rick Auerbach and their host of experts at a recent meeting on the West Berkeley Plan and Sustainablity Berkeley, is a thriving industrial area in balance with the economy and the environment, supporting artists and living wage jobs. They claim there are 7,000 well-paid industrial jobs in West Berkeley. This portrayal of West Berkeley is far from accurate. What little facts they had did not represent the real employment figures or land use in West Berkeley. The presentation was glaring in its lack of specifics and in ignoring the real uses and changes going on in West Berkeley.

What's the nature of this change? The simply reality is that in the last 20 years, large-scale blue collar industry has disappeared from West Berkeley and much of the Bay Area, making way for new well-paying jobs across many sectors that are changing the face of the Bay Area economy and the economy of Berkeley particularly. The change and potential of new manufacturing businesses in West Berkeley-pharmaceutical processing, lab and research along with innovative and unique small manufacturing companies such as Timeworks and Berkeley Mills, Swerve, Meyer Sound, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Trumer Pils-all reflect specialization, smaller scale and a focus on unique, highly valued products with a national or international customer base."



"Jules Dassin - director abandoned Hollywood during blacklisting era" writes the AP reporter on Dassin's death.

"American director Jules Dassin, whose Greek wife, Melina Mercouri, starred in his hit movie 'Never on Sunday' and six more of his films, died late Monday at an Athens hospital, officials said. He was 96.

The cause of death was not made public. A spokeswoman for Hygeia hospital said only that he had been treated there the past two weeks.

Mr. Dassin, a leftist activist whose more than 20 films also included 'Topkapi,' abandoned Hollywood in 1950 during the Communist blacklisting era.

Five years later, he won wide acclaim for 'Rififi,' famous for its long heist sequence that was free of dialogue. The movie won him the best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival, where he met Mercouri.

He married the actress-politician in 1966 and settled permanently in Athens. Mr. Dassin directed his wife in seven films, including 1960's 'Never on Sunday,' in which she gained international notice for her portrayal of a kindhearted prostitute.

Reacting to news of the director's death, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis called Mr. Dassin 'a first-generation Greek.'
'Greece mourns the loss of a rare human being, a significant artist and a true friend,' Karamanlis said in a statement. 'His passion, his relentless creative energy, his fighting spirit and his nobility will remain unforgettable.'"




"UBS had warned that 2008 would be a tough year" writes the BBC's Robert Peston.
"Swiss financial giant UBS has reported that its writedowns as a result of the sub-prime crisis have more than doubled to about $37bn (£18.5bn).
It is the largest writedown by any bank since the credit crunch began.
UBS also announced that its chairman and former chief executive Marcel Ospel would not be seeking re-appointment.
The bank has announced $19bn of fresh asset writedowns on top of the $18.4bn it wrote off in 2007, as the value of its assets has plummeted.
UBS added that it was seeking to raise 15bn Swiss francs ($15bn; £7.5bn) in capital by issuing new shares.
Today's announcement will alarm both UBS shareholders and the markets
Its losses dwarf those declared by US banks such as Citigroup ($21.1bn) and Merrill Lynch ($22bn)."







"Man hospitalized after Berkeley daylight gunfire' reports Doug Oakley of the Times.

"An El Cerrito man was hospitalized Wednesday after he was hit by gunfire in a lunchtime shooting in south Berkeley.

Police responded to numerous 911 calls of gunshots in the 3300 block of Adeline Street near the corner of Stanford Avenue at 12:22 p.m., Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said.

About a minute later, police got a call from security personnel at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley about a gunshot victim there, Kusmiss said.

She said the victim was shot while he was driving a white Ford Mustang convertible and may have been involved in a driving gun battle.

After he was hit, the man drove himself to Alta Bates; he was transferred to Highland hospital in Oakland with nonlife-threatening injuries, Kusmiss said.

The victim is known to Berkeley police as someone who frequents the southern area of the city, police said.
Police were looking for the driver of a silver or gray four-door sedan that was seen in the area of the shooting, Kusmiss said.

One of the witnesses believes the two were driving along shooting at each other,' Kusmiss said. No gun was found in the victim's car, she said.

"Daylight shootings in Berkeley are very rare," Kusmiss said. 'It's troubling because there were people all around including a mom with young kids.'

No one else was injured, but at least one parked car near the corner of Stanford Avenue had a bullet hole in it."



Our Annie Kassof has a story in the Planet. "My friend Peter has mice. Not pet mice, but uninvited ones, who, he tells me on the phone, have snuck into his cupboards and are ravaging his dry goods quick as they can. Until he figures out the best way to get rid of them, do I want some of the food that the critters haven't discovered yet? I tell him sure, and drive to his house where he loads up big bags of kasha and hot cocoa mix and rice vermicelli and penne pasta and more. I figure the kids will enjoy eating (and drinking) some things I don't ordinarily buy, and I'll save money on the grocery bill this month." Her whole story is here.


"Food Prices Soaring Around The World" reports Russia's St Petersburg Times.

"If you're seeing your grocery bill go up, you're not alone.

From subsistence farmers eating rice in Ecuador to gourmets feasting on escargot in France, consumers worldwide face rising food prices in what analysts call a perfect storm of conditions.

Freak weather is a factor. But so are dramatic changes in the global economy, including higher oil prices, lower food reserves and growing consumer demand in China and India.

The world's poorest nations still harbor the greatest hunger risk. Clashes over bread in Egypt killed at least two people last week, and similar food riots broke out in Burkina Faso and Cameroon earlier this month.

But food protests now crop up even in Italy. And while the price of spaghetti has doubled in Haiti, the cost of miso is packing a hit in Japan.

'It's not likely that prices will go back to as low as we're used to,' said Abdolreza Abbassian, economist and secretary of the Intergovernmental Group for Grains for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO. 'Currently if you're in Haiti, unless the government is subsidizing consumers, consumers have no choice but to cut consumption. It's a very brutal scenario, but that's what it is.' "




"Washington's housing fix taking shape" reports CNN.

"Senate Democrats and Republicans, under election-year pressure to do more about the mortgage crisis, worked around the clock Wednesday to draft a bipartisan housing bill that has been fast-tracked for a debate and vote.

Some details on the agreement were released Wednesday evening, and the bill may go before the full Senate for discussion Thursday.

The legislation is expected to contain funding to help borrowers avert foreclosures and help boost activity in neighborhoods with vacant properties. It's also expected to include a business tax break and possibly some measures designed to make loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration more accessible.'




Email Rick Ballard at The Groove Yard for his free-tickets-to-jazz-concerts-contest.

John La Grou writes about the "World's Largest Audio-Visual Archive"

"Will the music of Charlie Parker and Ella Fitzgerald be heard 100 generations from now? A major gift from David Packard has greatly increased the long odds on that. David's $150M bequeath, the largest private gift ever to the U.S. legislative branch, launched the just-opened National Audio-Visual Conservation Center (NAVCC) of the National Library of Congress - the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts, sound recordings, and media collateral.

With stunning architecture both inside and out, the NAVCC becomes the world's most advanced A/V archiving and restoration facility - Alexandria for the information era.

The new facility atop Mount Pony VA is built into a converted cold-war era bunker previously used to store billions of paper dollars for distribution after a national emergency. When finished consolidating the Library's massive A/V collections, the NAVCC will contain more than 4 million historic film, video, and audio recordings lining more than 90 miles of shelves across nearly 1/2 million square feet beneath 45 acres. Counting scripts, posters, and photos, the archive will host over 6 million items of historical interest.

The Library of Congress asked me to design the analog electronics that will adapt a century of legacy audio formats for digital archival storage. The electronics had to exhibit world-class performance and be self-adaptable to every known historic release format, including Edison cylinders, acoustic and electric 78s, stereo 33s, and more. For me, it's one of life's profound opportunities to serve an integral role in the Long Now.

I recently spent an entire day touring the near-complete NAVCC facility: giant storage rooms crammed full of every known media playback machine (including my friend Les Paul's multi-track prototype tape machine), a commercial-scale film development lab, one entire wing dedicated to media cleaning and restoration, scores of dedicated A/V archival transfer rooms, endless catacombs hosting 124 temperature controlled nitrate film vaults, and an authentic reproduction of David Packard's beloved boyhood movie theatre in Palo Alto."








"Civil rights leader Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, 40 years ago on 4 April 1968.
A year later, James Earl Ray admitted to being the assassin. Because of that guilty plea there was no full trial. But Ray changed his story almost at once and until his death in 1998 insisted he did not murder Dr King. So was he the killer? And if so, did he work alone?" asks BBC NEWS. Some answers here. 



"Berkeley business man jailed for pollution" reports Doug Oakley in our Times.

"People who pollute in Berkeley are going to jail. . . .

The city took the message to heart. In the most recent case, it used a city law forbidding the dumping of toxics into storm drains to put Ghahyaz in jail. . . .

In the case of Ghahyaz, the city has been prosecuting him for a little more than seven years.
In 2000, he paid a $50,000 fine and was put on five years probation for dumping toxic waste in the city's landfill.

Carrie Estadt, a hazardous materials specialist for the city, said it all started when a warehouse Ghahyaz owned on 4th Street burned down. He got in trouble when he dumped the remains, including oily engine parts, at the Berkeley dump.

Since then, Estadt said Ghahyaz has had numerous violations for allowing coolant and oil from engines stored outside his 5th Street shop to wash their way into the storm drains when it rains.

'He had hundreds of engines stored outside, and we got numerous complaints of a sheen of oil running down the street from his shop,' Estadt said. 'He is very close to the Bay, so it goes right into to the Bay. And he also had other hazardous waste violations.'

Those problems from 2002 through 2007 constituted a violation of his probation, Estadt said, and resulted in jail time."


"Fix Potholes, Not U.S. Policy:Calls renewed to fix Berkeley's citizen boards" writes Carolyn Jones of the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Berkeley is finding that having its own foreign policy isn't cheap. The city's recent dustup with the U.S. Marine Corps has so far cost the city more than $200,000, while businesses say they've been slammed by related protests.
And that's on top of the $1 million the city spends annually on domestic and foreign policy matters hatched by its 45 citizen commissions, which outnumber those in virtually every other city in America and debate everything from regime change in Iran to the plight of nonneutered dogs."

"Berkeley: a Look back" from our Times.

"Would - or could - Berkeley stay 'dry'? That was a big municipal issue 75 years ago, as sale of beer or wine up to 3.2 percent alcohol by weight became legal across the nation, following partial repeal of Prohibition.

The City Council has spent countless hours on the matters of a beer bill license law,' the Berkeley Gazette reported April 6, 1933.
Local historian William Warren Ferrier found a city charter provision prohibiting the sale of 'spirituous, malt, vinous or alcoholic liquors.' Voters adopted the ban in 1909, but the wording had been misplaced in printings of the charter.

The council proposed that Berkeley voters decide on the June ballot if 3.2 alcohol sales should be legal."



"Food prices drive India inflation" reports the BBC.

"Inflation in India has hit a three-year high as a result of spiralling food and energy costs, official figures show.
India's wholesale price index, released weekly, hit 7% for the year up to 22 March, the highest since December 2004.

The government has been taking steps to control prices, banning exports of non-basmati rice and scrapping import duties on cooking oils and maize.

Economists said the data could trigger a rise in interest rates this month, earlier than many had expected.
India's Economic Times says the government is considering a price ceiling on commodities if all other measures fail to bring down inflation - a law last used in the 1970s."

our Sally emails

Hi Ron
My friend who owns a bakery, says cost of a bag of flour has doubled since last year and eggs doubled in a few months all due to farmers planting corn instead of wheat . . . . all for bio-fuel. My friend . . . says her newspaper writes we will import wheat for the first time ever?








Planning Commission reports on zoning changes in west-Berkeley

I just received a copy of the Planning Commission staff report--3/26/08-- on the March 1 Flexibility Tour of west-Berkeley. It contains eight recommendations for changes in commercial and art/crafts use here. Noticeable for its absence, is any reference to residential use--curious because the suggested commercial and arts/craft changes affect residents.

An earlier staff report--12/12/07-- contains this proposed action. "Inform non-industrial uses that are considering moving into industrial areas that truck traffic, 24 hour operations, and noise up to legal limits are common and accepted in industrial areas. Non-industrial uses are expected to adjust to the practices of industrial operations."

My many years experience in Potter Creek, a mixed use area, is that here similar "industrial-uses" have taken precedence over the residential.

Though this is a mixed-use-residental area, the title is almost academic. We butt-up against the manufactures and interact with them--that is, 18 wheelers regularly use our streets, we are down-wind of an electroplating facility, and next to printers.

Now is the time to review and resolve.

I would suggest beginning by carefully studying an aerial-map of west-Berkeley, in order to get a real sense of its nature and our interaction. Looking at the zoning map only causes confusion and obscures contemporary reality.



The square block between 9th and 10th and north of Pardee has sold for over 6 mil. Escrow closed a few weeks ago.



"Tree-sitters keep campus police busy" reports Doug Oakley of Our Times.

"UC Berkeley police have spent $300,000 and taken more than 200 police reports while managing a group of protesters living in campus trees for 17 months, says Cal Police Chief Victoria Harrison."



"Layoffs of CBS veterans signal industry in crisis: Decline in audience, economic slump force TV stations to downsize" reports the Times' Chuck Barney

"When CBS 5-TV (KPIX) laid off five veteran on-air journalists this week, it didn't take long for the dismal news to spread, viruslike, to television stations across the Bay Area.

'The e-mails were flying back and forth all day. There was a lot of shock, a lot of sadness,' said Lynn Friedman, president of the Northern California chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and an ABC 7 (KGO) employee. 'There was so much buzz about it, that I'm amazed the various newscasts got on the air that night.'

For television insiders, it was just a taste of what newspaper journalists have been experiencing recently as the industry downsizes in the wake of changing consumer habits and an ongoing economic slump."



"Asian states feel rice pinch:Asian countries have been struggling to cope as the cost of rice has reached record levels" reports BBC NEWS.
"The price of the staple crop has risen by as much as 70% during the last year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Shortages have begun to hit some importing countries.
Factors contributing to the price rise include:
     Poor harvests resulting from extreme weather
A rise in demand in some rice-importing countries, where populations and incomes are growing
    The expectation of further price increases - resulting in hoarding
   Low stockpiles and a long term lack of agricultural investment

The spike is also part of a general surge in food costs worldwide, so the option of switching to cheaper foods is often not available." 



"Bear Stearns rescue backed amid concerns" reports the AP's Martin Crutsinger.

"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Bush administration on Thursday defended the decision to rescue Bear Stearns amid questions by lawmakers about why the government was helping Wall Street investment houses but not people on Main Street.

Bernanke and Treasury Department Undersecretary Robert Steel said that the consequences to the U.S. economy and financial system would have been far more serious had the government allowed the nation's fifth largest investment house to go bankrupt.

'Given the exceptional pressures on the global economy and financial system, the damage caused by a default by Bear Stearns could have been severe and extremely difficult to contain,' Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee." 

On 3/18/08 I wrote with some confidence.

In the last week or so, I've posted economic events at the expense of almost all else. For, in-the-economic, we have moved from our past as surely as our Democratic party have moved from theirs. 

Our financial markets were on the verge of collapse.

Our leaders at first denied the problem, then tried to fix it with national not international solutions--we are after-all a global economy. Finally, with cooperation of other central banks and the private institutions of other capitalist countries we have, for now stopped, the bank run and the world-wide market drop. But things have changed forever.  



"Rural communities hit by foreclosures" reports the AP's Evelyn Neives

"The end came in a blink outside the Merced County courthouse.

Only six people showed up for the foreclosure auction, Janice Pimentel and her son Nick included. By chance, the Pimentels' dairy farm was the first property offered.

The auctioneer, a young man in aviator sunglasses and blue jeans, read their address and paused for bids. When none came, the Joe T and Janice R Pimentel Dairy Farm, 21 years in the life of the family, officially became the property of its main creditor, a local lender.

'Well,' Janice Pimentel said, 'that's that' ".









Today is Billie Holiday's Birthday



My memories of Moe Moskowitz can now be found on the store, Moe's Books website, Check out Moe's bio
and scroll donwn to

"Ron Penndorf remembers his time at Moe's buying and selling records."



In addition to walking around Potter Creek, Planning Commission members can see us another way.

It is now possible, with the use of global positioning hardware and software to view Potter Creek, indeed all of west-Berkeley anew, either as if seen from a high flying aircraft or from a helicopter hovering just above ground, and anywhere in between. More importantly, you can see it as a whole. Our zoning maps, based now on decades old information, on the other hand, encourage thinking in a box, both literally and figuratively. West-Berkeley is organic and fluid and should best be seen that way when making decisions about its future.

David Bowman emails
This Tuesday night at 7pm at the North Berkeley Senior Center there is a public hearing on new rules lowering permissible building heights on commercial corridors such as San Pablo Avenue. There are also other new rules all of which are intended to lessen the impact the large new buildings on the corridors have on their residential neighbors. . . .
My post from the Planning Commission agenda for the Tuesday, April 8 meeting which was in their April 3 Update
Following the public hearing, the Planning Commission may vote to recommend 
adoption, modification, or rejection of the proposed amendments. The proposed 
amendments will be forwarded for action to the City Council. 
Project description : Proposed amendments to Title 23 (Zoning Ordinance) of 
the Berkeley Municipal Code to modify the lot and development standards for mixed- 
use, residential, and commercial projects in the commercial zoning districts including 
but not limited to amendments that:  
 Restrict open space on building rooftops;  
 Limit use of "parking lifts" for required parking spaces through minimum 
standards for at-grade spaces;  
 Increase setbacks on commercial lots from abutting residential districts;  
 Prohibit most residential uses on the ground floor in mixed-use buildings;  
Add minimum size requirements for ground floor commercial spaces; and  
 In the C-W District, reduce the maximum mixed-use building height to three 
stories and 40 feet and increase open space requirements.  
The amendments are designed to provide building mass transitions where they are 
adjacent to a residential zoning district and increase the City's control over building size 
and shape.  

Kubik emails
Here is your chance to protest big developments on San Pablo.




"Less corn being planted root of higher prices" reports Mary Clare Jalonick of the AP.

"From chicken nuggets to corn flakes, food prices at grocery stores and dinner tables could be headed even higher as farmers cut back on the land they're planting in corn this spring.

Corn prices already are high, and a drop in supply should keep them rising. Combine that with the huge demand for corn-based ethanol fuel - and higher energy costs for transporting food - and consumers are likely to see their food bills going up and up.

Farmers are now expected to plant 86 million acres of corn this year, the Department of Agriculture predicted Monday, down 8 percent from last year, which was the highest since World War II.

Corn is almost everywhere you look in the U.S. food supply. Poultry, beef and pork companies use it to feed their animals. High fructose corn syrup is used in soft drinks and many other foods, including lunch meats and salad dressings. Corn is often an ingredient in breads, peanut butter, oatmeal and potato chips.

Corn components are even used in many grocery store items that aren't edible - including disposable diapers and dry cell batteries. "

Car Guy, Jerry Victor hipped me to this possibility years ago.


"Is India facing a food crisis?" asks the BBC's Paranjoy Guha Thakurta.

"This question is vexing policy makers and analysts alike even as creeping inflation - around 7% now - is sending jitters through the Congress party-led ruling coalition.

To be sure, India has not yet experienced riots over rising food prices that have hit other countries like Zimbabwe or Argentina."







Ron Faich emails

Newspaper demographics

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country. 
2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country. 
3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles. 
4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country, but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts. 
5. The Los Angeles Times is read by Liberals who wouldn't mind running the country if they could find the time and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it. 
6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country, and did a far superior job of it, thank you very much. 



The Planning Commission meeting, April 8

a Bob Kubik summary
Under discussion were two proposals for development standards along the commercial corridors, (including San Pablo Ave.)
1. from the city planning commission
2. from a joint subcommittee of ZAB and others that is more restrictive of developers - ie. greater setbacks, more open space, less dense, lower heights.
The meeting had a few rowdies, particularly two women speakers who just wouldn't abide by the time limits and wouldn't shut up.  But, no shouted insults.
Most speakers were respectful and to the point.  Developers wanted the least restrictions, flat land residents felt the more restrictive standards were the best they could hope for.
   One of the more interesting speakers was Zachery Running Wolf - candidate for mayor - who spoke of the sacredness of trees and water.

p.s. an interesting sidelight - a speaker said that the new condos at 2700 San Pablo had had two price reductions, no sales, and had $192,000 in mechanics liens against the property!


"Pending Home Sales Hit Low in February" writes Alan Zibel of the AP.

"Homeowners and investors hunting for any indication that the housing market has bottomed out didn't get it Tuesday, as the latest home sales data from a real estate trade group moved that sign further down the road to recovery.

The National Association of Realtors said pending U.S. home sales fell in February to the lowest reading since the index began in 2001. The trade group's seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes fell to 84.6 from January's upwardly revised reading of 86.2. A year earlier, the index stood at 107.6."



The San Francisco Chronicle reports

Results (sort of) : day 82
Paving the way: The cracked, potholed roadway at Bolivar Drive and Potter Street in Berkeley, which leads to an on-ramp to eastbound Interstate 80, has been patched up - well, parts of it, at least. The busted-up roadway, which is just over the Berkeley border from Emeryville and intersects with a path that cyclists use to get around Aquatic Park, has mixed responsibility. The on-ramp is Caltrans' job, while Berkeley is responsible for the city street section. Both areas had serious divots. On a recent visit, the highway on-ramp was smooth, and potholes on the immediate approach had been freshly patched. Caltrans says it finished up its area on Thursday. But plenty of potholes and rough patches remain on the rest of the roadway. ChronicleWatch tipster Bryce Nesbitt, a dedicated cyclist, observed motorists dodging and weaving around potholes while heading to the on-ramp when he alerted us to the problem in January. On Friday, ChronicleWatch saw cars still swerving around rough patches, sometimes straddling the double line. But at least the final approach to the freeway was smoother.
Who got it done: Bijan Sartipi, Caltrans District 4 director, (510) 286-6444; bijan_sartipi@dot.ca.gov

and the Chronicle also observes

"Saul's in Berkeley is . . . hosting a Passover bazaar for last-minute prepared foods.
On April 18-20, Saul's will tent over the parking area in front of the deli to offer to-go foods for Passover Seders, including chicken soup, matzo balls, chopped liver, Freund's gefilte fish from Brooklyn, horseradish, kugel, charoset and Niman Ranch brisket. Macaroons from Grand Lake Bakery in Oakland will also be available.
On the third night of Passover, April 21, Saul's will also host a fixed-price Seder dinner for about $40 (price was not set as of press time). Saul's, 1475 Shattuck Ave. (near Rose), Berkeley; (510) 848-3354.

The Pasta Shop also has Passover items to go, as well as complete dinners, which can be ordered online. Two menus are available - traditional Ashkenazi (Eastern European) and Sephardic (Mediterranean). The menus will be available April 18-20. The Pasta Shop, 6566 College Ave. (in Market Hall), Oakland; (510) 547-4005; and 1786 Fourth St. (near Hearst), Berkeley; (510) 528-1786 ."

and informs about

"Alternatives to the Aerial Spray Program

A forum on the dangers of using pesticides to eradicate the light-brown apple moth and a discussion of alternative approaches. 7-9 p.m. Thurs. Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. (510)548-2220."www.ecologycenter.org.




"Asian Inflation Begins to Sting U.S. Shoppers" reports Justin Mott for The New York Times.
"Bat Trang:Vietnam - The free ride for American consumers is ending. For two generations, Americans have imported goods produced ever more cheaply from a succession of low-wage countries - first Japan and Korea, then China, and now increasingly places like Vietnam and India." 


"IMF slashes world growth forecast:Analysts forecast the US will briefly go into recession" reports BBC NEWS.
"The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that the world economy will grow much more slowly in the next two years as a result of the credit crunch.

In its latest economic forecast, the IMF says that world economic growth will slow to 3.7% in 2008 and 2009, 1.25% lower than growth in 2007.

The downturn will be led by the US, which the IMF believes will go into a "mild recession" this year.
Growth in the UK will slow sharply to 1.6% in both 2008 and 2009.
Its UK forecast is substantially below the Treasury forecast of around 2% growth this year and 2.5% next year made at the time of the March Budget.
The greatest risk comes from the still-unfolding events in financial markets (which might lead to) the current credit squeeze mutating into a full-blown credit crunch. . . .

The IMF admits that the global downturn might be still more severe than it is currently predicting, and says that there is a one in four chance of a "global recession" when world growth falls below 3%. "









Last week, Pete Hurney went to the Ukulele Noir Show in Shirley, Mass--a BIG event, check out the link. Many of the performers own and play his ukes.

I also just heard some of the pilot for his new KALX production, Unfortunate Dating, by the new KALX Barrow's Basement Radio Theater. Their "Quinby Product's Karaoke Gun" episode is fall-down funny.


Our Tracy forwards an email

"Ask Not"

"Ask Not" is a rare and compelling exploration of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.  The film exposes the tangled political battles that led to the discriminatory law . . . .  As wars in the Middle East rage on, "Ask Not" reveals personal stories of gay Americans who serve in combat under a veil of secrecy.

"Ask Not," will have its world premiere on Saturday, April 26th at noon at the San Francisco International Film Festival. . . . The first showing will be at the world-renowned Castro Theater.  

The film has also been selected to broadcast nationally on PBS as part of the 2008-09 season of "Independent Lens" . . . . I'll let you know the airdate once it's announced.

I'd love to have as many of you as possible at the world premiere . . . Please pass the word to your friends.  Tickets go on sale soon. . . .  I'll send you a reminder email in a couple weeks.
I look forward to celebrating with you soon!




Our Darryl Moore emails

Potential Bond Measures for November 2008

Here is the link to the special meeting where the City Council discussed the possible bond measures which could come before voters in November.  You can find the staff report and a copy of the presentation here.

I am interested in your thoughts about the various bond measures before our City.  Please e-mail me what you think are priorities for community investment at rlau@ci.berkeley.ca.us.


East Bay Track Club Sign-Ups 

Jim Hines:Gold Medalist 1968 Mexico Olympics, former World Record Holder in the 100 meter
Willie White:Legendary Berkeley High Track Coach
Come meet them for an autograph signing and running demonstration ! 
 Sign-up for the Berkeley East Bay Track Club for kids 5-15 years of age.
Thursday, April 10, 2008 at 6PM at the Rosa Parks Elementary Track Field at 920 Allston Way.


High Blood Pressure Drop-In Clinic:Celebrating Our One-Year Anniversary

Thursday May 8, 2008
Time: 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
Over 60 Health Center (Terrace Level)
3260 Sacramento Street
Free Food-Free Blood Pressure Screening-Free Giveaways


6th Annual Bike Rodeo

The City of Berkeley Injury Prevention and Chronic Disease Prevention Programs are sponsoring the 6th Annual Berkeley Bike Rodeo!
The theme of the event is "Live Smart, Eat Smart, Ride Smart!" 
 It will be held on Saturday, May 10th from 11am-3pm
at San Pablo Park and Frances Albrier Community Center - 2800 Park St (at Oregon St.) in Berkeley 
 The Bike Rodeo is a free family celebration of bike safety and physical activity - geared towards elementary school kids and their families.
Activities include an obstacle course, mock city, bicycle tours, face painting, performers, bike maintenance and fix-a-flat stations, blood pressure screenings and lots of other activities and health resources!  
 We need volunteers to help from 10am-3:30pm with jobs such as set-up, face painting, parachute games, distributing water, etc. It's a really fun event to help out with! We also need volunteers to distribute posters about the event in mid-April (flexible days and times).
Each volunteer will receive a free t-shirt plus breakfast and lunch at the event. To volunteer, please contact Amy at or 981-5326.


Model City for Solar Award at Solar Summit 1.0 
I, as Vice-Mayor, will be accepting the Model City for Solar Award at Solar Summit 1.0 on behalf of the City of Berkeley for its first initiative, Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology, the sustainable energy financing district that is set to launch its pilot phase in June 2008. 

Councilmember Darryl Moore




Kubik's April 9 summary didn't mention the vote taken by our Planning Commission last Tuesday. Our Planet's Richard Brenneman does in his detailed, fact-filled "Planning Commission Endorses Tighter Density-Bonus Controls."

Here are some excerpts

"By a 5-4 vote, Berkeley planning commissioners voted Tuesday night to endorse the recommendations of the Joint Density Bonus Subcommittee over a more developer-friendly staff report. Both documents will go to the council, which will chose what--if any--measures to enact prior to the June 3 election, when passage of Proposition 98 could impose potentially harsh penalties on new land regulations by local and state government.

Commissioners acted to give the City Council a chance to enact a law that would give city planning staff and the Zoning Adjustments Board more control over the size and massing of large mixed-use housing projects, so that it could be in place in case the statewide ballot initiative passes.

The measure would contain a built-in sunset clause, so the measure would expire if the ballot measure fails. If 98 passes, the commission and council could subsequently modify the law. Critics of Proposition 98 contend that it would effectively forbid any kind of downzoning, ending the ability of city, county and state government to limit such construction projects. . . .

Poschman said that by recommending the subcommittee proposals to the council, the commissioners would be giving the city's top elective body the most options for staving off the most adverse potential impacts of the ballot measure."


So let me see now, . . .

Both measures will be sent to our Council, our Council may or may not approve one or the other, but the one that the Commission recommends would not become law if Prop 98 fails.

Recently, I've asked some people "in the know" about the Commission and west-Berkeley--those asked were a diverse group. The responses are best be summed up by one "They haven't got a clue."

Prop 98, depending on who you listen too, would or would not restrict rezoning.

Oh ya, someone said "Poschman knows the ins-and-outs, and works them."




"Searching for Bernard" by Jon Carroll in the San Francisco Chronicle is a story not so much about Christian Science as it is about building-preservation.

"So I was invited to give 'remarks' at a benefit to raise funds to complete the restoration of Bernard Maybeck's impossibly lovely First Church of Christ, Scientist, on Dwight Way in Berkeley. My expertise in architecture is on a par with my expertise in particle physics, but surely 'remarks' imply that the speaker is just making small talk until something interesting happens.

It was at night, when the building somehow transforms the glow from the streetlights into a heavenly nimbus - the building is full of magic tricks like that, just one reason to cherish it - and I got to sit where the Christian Science readers (they are not, definitely not, preachers) normally sit, on a concrete platform behind what would be an altar if the Christian Scientists believed in that sort of thing. Call it a podium."



"Economy tops Bay Area concerns" reports Erik N. Nelson of the Times.

"Bay Area residents are more worried about the economy than they are about housing, crime or education, a poll by the business group Bay Area Council has found.

The resurgent fiscal concern even supplanted worries about transportation, which has been the top problem since 2004 in the organization's annual poll.

While the poll, which has a margin of error of 4 percentage points, suggests that Bay Area residents are losing faith in the economy, the financial data have yet to indicate a regional downturn." 



"Apple Inc. has gained unlikely allies in its bid to boost iPhone sales:Smugglers Help Boost Popularity of iPhone" reports Alex Nicholson of Russia's St. Petersburg Times.

"The device isn't sold by Cupertino, California-based Apple in Russia and it can't be used legally on local networks. Still, about 250,000 people own one, more than any other country except the U.S. and China, according to Eldar Murtazin, chief analyst at Moscow-based Mobile Research Group.

That popularity has turned into a bonanza for traders who sell the phones in kiosks and on the Internet for $1,000 each, more than twice the U.S. price. Hackers say they charge as much as 2,500 rubles ($105) to 'unlock' them so they work locally.

'It's an icon for Russians,' said Timofei Kulikov, a lawyer and buyer of electronic products for X5 Retail Group NV, Russia's largest supermarket chain. 'If you see two businessmen at lunch in Moscow, they'll both have iPhones on the table.'"



"BlackBerry Available For First Time in Russia" reports the St. Peterburg Times.

"VimpelCom became the first operator to introduce the BlackBerry service to the country, selling a contract to the Russian unit of the world's second-largest cigarette maker, British American Tobacco.

VimpelCom said Friday that its customers would use the 8700g model, a wireless handheld device produced and sold worldwide by Canada's Research In Motion. VimpelCom, the country's No. 2 mobile operator, is in talks with 40 more potential corporate clients, spokeswoman Yekaterina Osadchaya said."








"Darling calls for economic action:Mr Darling is leading calls for the G7 nations to collectively act" reports BBC NEWS.

"Chancellor Alistair Darling has described the credit squeeze as the 'biggest economic shock' the world has seen since the 1930s Great Depression.

Speaking in Washington DC before the start of a meeting of the G7 group of most industrialised nations, he said the seven had to take 'urgent action'.

Yet Mr Darling also cautioned that such action meant better regulation rather than the temptation to simply add more.

G7 ministers have gathered before World Bank and IMF meetings at the weekend.
The G7 finance ministers are tipped to debate proposals including better oversight of banks and how to maintain access to capital.

They are also expected to address the wide variation in currency exchanges, particularly the weak US dollar." 




Bay Area Icon, Jass-trombone-player and KCSM disc-jockey, Mal Sharpe emails

Forwarded from my daughter, Jennifer . . . ,

It's a great radio piece on her part and loaded with a
startling slide show, photos and video and an essay of hers, called
"Reporters Notebook."(Sandra [Ms Mal] and I have a revealing part in this)
This is an aspect of the new direction NPR is going in with extensive
use of the Web. I think if you have the whole experience, you'll get
the picture.

In case you missed the story on air, here are the links to the
archived Source Family story online:

The Birth of Organic, Polygamous Spiritualism
web extras: audio slideshow

From Source Restaurant to "Cosmic" Commune
web extras: book excerpt

A 70s Spiritual Rock Commune Reunites
web extras: yahowha 13 music video, reporter's notebook essay

Things went extremely well for this series. It made NPR's "Story of
the Day" on Monday. Part Two was the number one clicked on story at npt.org on
Tuesday, and the whole thing is still being featured on their front
page. Yesterday, the series also became a feature on the front page of
the NPR music site.



"By them, the bells toll:Select few make music echoing from Campanile" reports Jackie Burrell of our Times.

"Every day, the music from Berkeley's iconic Campanile echoes from the Berkeley hills, filling the air with rippling triplets, shimmering sound and the sonorous tones of the 10,500-pound Great Bear Bell. But it never occurred to Jennifer Pham that there was a human at the keyboard until the night she heard a student carillonist make a mistake.

'Wait,' the molecular cell biology major remembers thinking, 'automated clock towers don't make mistakes.'
The Campanile is one of Berkeley's most beloved and photographed landmarks, and it's also one of the nation's largest musical instruments, played by professorial carillonists, their students and, this June, carillonists from around the world.

On a recent morning, in a ritual enacted three times a day, every day, university carillonist Jeff Davis adjusted the cables connecting each bell's clapper to the elaborate wooden batons of the instrument keyboard, as a chilly breeze blew in from the Golden Gate. The tower rumbled as the giant clock hands moved toward the 12. And inside, propped against the keyboard, a Radio Shack digital clock counted down the seconds until showtime.

As the Great Bear tolled the 12th stroke, Davis took a deep breath and dropped his loosely clenched fists onto the batons, ringing out the opening notes of a Scherzo by his mentor, former Cal carillonist Ronald Barnes."

Pete Hurney devoted one of his KALX "Alternate Tunings" to the carillon complete with recorded performances by Davis. Sadly they don't seem to be archived. But still, check out http://kalx.berkeley.edu/



"Berkeley sports field nears completion" reports our Times' Doug Oakley.

"A $7 million sports field complex for soccer, baseball and softball will open in September in Berkeley more than a year behind schedule, according to Berkeley officials.

Artificial turf on two soccer fields is in at the Tom Bates Regional Sports Complex just west of Interstate 80 at Gilman Street.

The fields were named after Berkeley's mayor in February by the East Bay Regional Park District." 


"Marines issue may cost Berkeley" is not really what Steve Harmon Times' story is about.

"The lone Republican Bay Area lawmaker wants to withhold state transportation funding from the city of Berkeley until it rescinds a resolution that grants protesters a parking space in front of the U.S. Marine Corp's recruiting office.

Assemblyman Guy Houston, R-San Ramon, said the Berkeley City Council is making a political war zone out of what should be a public right of way for those who want to join the military.

His bill, AB2615, would suspend $3.3 million in local road and street funding in the next two years from Proposition 1B. It's scheduled to be taken up Monday in the Assembly transportation committee, but is unlikely to get through the Democratic-controlled panel - particularly because the new chairman, Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, opposes the bill."

The bill that proposed cutting Federal funding for Berkeley was defeated in Congress.




"GE loss shocks market investors" writes Stephen Singer of the AP.
"General Electric Co. CEO Jeff Immelt was expected to tell the world Friday how the conglomerate's global strategy had paid off and allowed it to ride out the credit crisis.
Instead, he found himself defending the company's business model after GE shocked investors with lower-than expected earnings and a profit warning that wiped $46.9 billion off GE's value and sent the overall market slumping." 


"Huge losses ahead at WaMu?

Washington Mutual (WM) is under the gun again. Shares fell 7% in early trading Friday after analysts at Goldman Sachs said the Seattle-based thrift could be looking at $14 billion in additional loan loss provisions this year. The comments come just days after Washington Mutual managed to raise $7 billion by selling stock to a group led by private equity firm TPG, which is run by David Bonderman, a former WaMu director who as part of the deal agreed to rejoin the board.

Goldman likes that deal, saying in Friday's report, 'The good news is that we believe WaMu's $7 billion capital raise should prove sufficient.' But the bad news is that even after $3.5 billion in loan loss provisions for the first quarter - nearly double the thrift's forecast of just three months ago - WaMu could be facing more problems in its mortgage book."



"Hoarders blamed for Philippine rice crisis" writes Jonathan Head of BBC NEWS.
"As global prices for rice surge to ever higher levels, the world's biggest importer, the Philippines, shows all the signs of being gripped by a rice crisis.

Huge queues form wherever government stocks are being sold at subsidised prices.
The government has been scouring the international markets for new supplies to replenish its stocks, paying record prices.

Rice dominates the newspaper headlines every day, and seems to be consuming the government's energy.
But this crisis is not all it seems. 'There's no shortage,' Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap told me. 'The problem is not with supplies, but with price.' "










an example of mixed-use in Potter Creek

Pete and Geralyn's

to the west, Aerosol Dynamics; to the east, Inlite Corporation; immediately behind, "a lighting fixture manufacture"; far behind, Acme's flour solos.


a study in scale in Potter Creek

a commercial building on Pardee

with a condo to its west on 8th, and a two story commercial building to its east



Our Swerve is showing at a funiture/equipment trade show at Chicago's Merchandise Mart in June. Check out NEOCON World's Trade Fair 2008. Not that NEOCON?!


"Documentary shines light on mambo king Cachao" writes Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle.

"The music of the late Cuban bassist and composer Israel 'Cachao' Lopez is a treasure, but one that rarely sparkles outside the collections of Cuban-jazz aficionados. That may soon change for the man known simply as Cachao, the father of the mambo.

More music lovers will be exposed to Cachao's delightfully intoxicating jams and charming, self-deprecating personality with the April 28 premiere of 'Cachao: Uno Mas' at the San Francisco International Film Festival. The 68-minute documentary is the first production of San Francisco State's Documentary Film Institute, and features a March 2005 Cachao (pronounced kah-CHOW) concert at San Francisco's Bimbo's 365 Club. The film serves up a scintillating musical education on the 89-year-old legend who died March 22."


"IMF head gives food price warning" reports BBC NEWS.

"The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that hundreds of thousands of people will face starvation if food prices keep rising.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn said that social unrest from continuing food price inflation could cause conflict.
There have been food riots recently in a number of countries, including Haiti, the Philippines and Egypt.
Meeting in Washington, the IMF called for strong action on food prices and the international financial crisis.

Market turmoil

Although the problems in global credit markets were the main focus of the meeting of the IMF's steering committee of finance ministers from 24 countries, Mr Strauss-Kahn warned of dire consequences from continued food price rises.
'Thousands, hundreds of thousands of people will be starving. Children will be suffering from malnutrition, with consequences for all their lives,' he told reporters.

He said the problem could lead to trade imbalances that may eventually affect developed nations, 'so it is not only a humanitarian question' ".








Last week, there were two auto burglaries in Potter Creek on the Tuesday the 8th--one at 8th and Pardee at 10 AM the other an hour later in the 900 block of Grayson. And on Friday the 11th, there were two police actions--one around 4 PM in front of Cafe Clem the other after 6PM in the 2700 block of 9th with two responding radio-cars and a crime-scene unit.



"QB Riley a fan favorite in Cal's open practice" reports our Times.
"Several thousand fans showed up on a sunny and unseasonably warm day to watch Cal's only spring practice open to the public.

When Riley's name was announced before the scrimmage's first series, fans gave him a loud welcome.
Riley got the biggest cheer of the day, but running backs Tracy Slocum and Covaughn DeBoskie carried most of the offensive load Saturday during a controlled scrimmage at Memorial Stadium."



"Saving money on grocery bills" writes our Times' Eve Mitchell.
"Frances Borrecco has noticed higher prices for everyday grocery staples, which is all the more reason she pays attention to sale items when shopping for food.

Prices for coffee, bread, milk, fresh tomatoes and other produce items have gone up in recent months, Borrecco said while placing her groceries in the trunk of her car after shopping at Nob Hill Foods in Walnut Creek.

'I watch for the sales. Sometimes I'll see something on sale and buy it ahead of time if it's something I'll use all the time,' said Borrecco, a Walnut Creek resident.

The food prices are climbing due to rising transportation costs, more demand for meat and dairy products in emerging overseas markets and increased use of corn to produce ethanol, an alternative biofuel.
Taking advantage of sales is one of the shopping strategies recommended by experts."


"Motorcycle guru's life has been quite a ride" writes Meera Pal in our Times.

"At times, even Arlen Ness is blown away by the ride he has taken.

From humble beginnings as a kid growing up in San Leandro, to a young family man bringing home the pay by driving a furniture delivery truck for his father, Ness used his interest in classic vehicle design, his eye for sleek lines and his skills with a spray paint gun to create a life built atop a multimillion dollar custom motorcycle empire.
'It surprises me sometimes,' Ness said one morning last week, as he looked over the second-floor motorcycle museum at his Dublin world headquarters.

Today, the man who many call the 'King of Customizers,' oversees a company with annual sales of more than $20 million, a worldwide catalog business and showrooms worldwide that sell Arlen Ness originals for as much as $120,000."



"Youngstown, Ohio has long been on the decline and now is being hit by the foreclosure crisis. Its answer: Razing abandoned buildings and tearing up streets" reports CNN.

"Youngstown, Ohio, has seen its population shrink by more than half over the past 40 years, leaving behind huge swaths of empty homes, streets and neighborhoods.

Now, in a radical move, the city - which has suffered since the steel industry left town and jobs dried up - is bulldozing abandoned buildings and tearing up blighted streets, converting entire blocks into open green spaces. More than 1,000 structures have been demolished so far."




"French push for EU food response" reports BBC NEWS.

"France is urging EU countries to come up with a global initiative on food security in the wake of violence linked to price rises in basic foodstuffs.

Agriculture minister Michel Barnier said Europe could not remain passive and leave the situation to the markets.

As he spoke, UN special rapporteur Jean Ziegler accused the EU of agricultural dumping in Africa.
He said producing biofuels, a key part of the EU's plans to tackle climate change, was a 'crime against humanity'.


"World Bank echoes food cost alarm" reports BBC NEWS.
"The rapid rise in food prices could push 100m people in poor countries deeper into poverty, the head of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, has said.

His warning follows that from the leader of the International Monetary Fund, who said hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of starvation.

Mr Zoellick proposed an action plan to boost long-run agricultural production.
There have been food riots recently in a number of countries, including Haiti, the Philippines and Egypt.
'Based on a rough analysis, we estimate that a doubling of food prices over the last three years could potentially push 100 million people in low-income countries deeper into poverty,' Mr Zoellick said." 



4/15/08 and following are here



Eternally useful links

In our rainy season you can find more information about our current weather conditions than is good for you at www.wunderground.com

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out http://sv.berkeley.edu/view/ This very hip site was in an email from reader and contributor, Tony Almeida. Read Tony's Jimi Hendrix story on the only page that routinely gets more hits than Scrambled Eggs.


Richmond Ramblers' motorcycle club member, Cliff Miller emails A very

useful link

If you ever need to get a human being on the phone at a credit card company or bank, etc., this site tells you how to defeat their automated system and get you to a human being within a few seconds.



Markets is not just a reference for Berkeley-Hills radicals with 1.5 mil homes and considerable portfolios.


Our City of Berkeley Boards and Commissions page is here--redone and friendly.


Our Berkeley PD Site with crime statistics and more is here.


Crime Log for 94710 is here

This site is NOT affiliated with Berkeley PD.
Take time to report crime!

All reports of crime-in-progress should first go to Berkeley PD dispatch--911 or non-emergency, 981-5900. THEN make sure you notify EACH of these City people.

The contacts are below:

Officer Andrew Frankel, Berkeley PD - 981-5774 AFrankel@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Angela Gallegos-Castillo, City Mgr Off - 981-2491 agallegos-castillo@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Ryan Lau, aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120 rlau@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Darryl Moore, City Councilman dmoore@ci.berkeley.ca.us


More Scrambled Eggs & Lox, here


Stories about Berkeley and stories about recorded-music

are at

Journal of Recorded Music 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11



The original owner of all scanned material retains copyright. The material is used only to illustrate