MAY 2007

Jeff Grey and his Ford Rod--Jeff works at Consolidated Printing




Steve Smith emails

4th Street is hosting the 1st annual RetroMobile West Berkeley Classic Auto Show this summer [in early-September]. I am helping them put together the Alternative Fuels exhibition that will showcase a number of electric, fuel cell, and veggie burning (biodiesel and straight vegetable oil) vehicles.

In general, the show is being put together by Denny Abrams, Elliott Abrams, Stephen Block and Martin Swig benefiting the Berkeley Public Education Foundation. The bulk of the show (taking place in the parking lot adjacent to the railroad) is made up of approximately 65 classic collectables from Europe and N America. We're talking primo frame up restorations and race cars. It is going to be great.

Of course I'm working on some of the electric big boys. I have a tentative yes from Ian Wright of Wrightspeed with his X1. Check out his website and look at the specs.

One of Potter Creek's Elders, and business men, is John Phillips, harpsichord builder. John not only builds harpsichords but seems also to love them. Though, perhaps not as much as he loves trains. John is a quiet, reserved fellow though has recently displayed cahones of iron. So, here for him is something I wrote once-upon-a-time about trains and claviers. (It's ostensibly a review of Ralph Kirkpatrick's clavichord performance of J.S. Bach's Well Tempered Clavier recorded in 1963, Archiv 198311/12.)

In the great American folk art model railroading, the locomotive that runs the most slowly and quietly is the one that is the most sought after. The severe test of locomotive performance is just how slowly and quietly it can move, for slow and quiet running are thought of as qualities of excellence. Running a noisy engine around the track at breakneck speed is thought of as child's play. The mature model railroader spends much time and effort making his favorite locomotive creep along silently. The mechanically minded may even disassemble and fine tune the locomotive, and upon successful re-assembly and test running, boast that their engine runs so slowly that its movement cannot be seen. The like test for stereo equipment is to play quiet music, and value the hardware that renders it most accurately. These records of the Well-Tempered Clavier are of music, a performance, and a recording that lend themselves to such a test: a test of quiet excellence. This set of records sold well in the Berkeley of the 1960s, a time and place of some sensitivity. When I worked at Campus Records, I would often hear of their otherworldly beauty from those who apparently had spent all night listening to them. However, on casual listening in the shop they seemed boring; its playing there did not convince. But time has revealed these records to be music of subtle color and soft richness, and of a performance and recording of quiet excellence. The recording, above all, beautifully captures the clavichord's quiet rainbow hue and bell-like tone. The performance too is beautiful, and deeply felt.


Kruse' yard is no longer regularly vandalized. Perhaps, because as part of their last-year's redo they moved everything inside. The yard is now used only for parking. My memory is that just before the redo someone broke in and stole a fork-lift.

Perhaps we have crime and vandalism in Potter Creek because, almost unconsciously, it is WE who tolerate it--not the city or the police. Recently, I've heard from a few longer-time residents "I really like it just the way it is down here."





Sally emails

Sally Swing is being published again! This time in The Montclairian on this Friday w/article by Sheila Sabine and Judith Glass of the Grubb Co.


I'm told that 900 GRAYSON will be some-sort-of "Best Of" in Wednesday's East Bay Express.


Bob Kubik points out that "a failure in generalship" by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling appears in our Armed Forces Journal and begins with a quote from Frederick the Great "You officers amuse yourselves with God knows what buffooneries and never dream in the least of serious service. This is a source of stupidity which would become most dangerous in case of a serious conflict."


The German news service, DW-TV website is here. Check out this European perspecitve.

An unexpected story AND perspective is "Dutch Coffee Shops Close as Authorities Weed out Drug Tourists cannabis: Dutch authorities have come together to reduce smokers' opportunities.

Each year, thousands of German drug tourists cross the border into the Dutch town of Enschede, where soft drugs such as marijuana are sold openly. Now, a government crackdown is forcing many coffee shops out of business.A dense, sweet-smelling smoke fills the room in the De Molen coffee shop. Here in the Dutch city of Enschede, the streets are littered with places like De Molen, which openly sell soft drugs such as hashish or marijuana.

But dozens of coffee shops have had to close shop in recent months, reflecting a growing consensus in the Netherlands that the country's notoriously liberal drug policy is currently doing more harm than good."





A reliable source reports owner, Doug Hurst is negotiating with for the lease of his 90,000 sq ft former-manufacturing building on Fourth Street.

Well Ok then?!


There's a review of 900 GRAYSON in today's East Bay Express. It's on page 35. Here's a quote. "Sadly, one of the four partners (co-chef Sophina Uong) has moved on, but a recent brunch sparkled just as hard as earlier ones."


Regan Bice is the architect currently renovating a 300 year-old stone farm-house on Menorga. Menorga is an island in the Mediterranean off the Spanish coast.


Regan also has a flat for rent. It is upstairs from his office, is 1400 sq.ft., has 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, full laundry, eat-in kitchen with Wedgwood stove and a dining room with decorative fireplace. It is $2400 a month. His phone is (510)-220-8182.


This year, the Fourth Sreet Jazz Festival is May 20th.


The Wall Street Journal reports that consumer spending rose 0.3% in March, slower than the February pace, while personal income continued to post solid gains. The PCE inflation index was flat.


The Journal also reports that gasoline prices are nearing $3 a gallon on average and could move even higher this summer depending on refinery output, weather and driver demand.


The West County Times reports "U.S. consumer spending between 2001 and 2005, financing close to 3 percent of total personal consumption expenditures, according to a paper co-authored by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. In a paper dated March 2007, posted on the Fed's Web site Monday, Greenspan and Fed economist James Kennedy estimate that between 1991 and 2005, equity extracted through home sales, home equity loans and cash-out refinancings freed up about $530 billion per year in cash available for other uses, such as consumption and debt repayment." Read the full story here.







900 GRAYSON isn't just mentioned in the current East Bay Express, it is their Best New Restaurant.


KCSM-FM is now holding its annual Spring pledge drive. Check it out here.


The Wall Street Journal reports that "there's growing scientific evidence that global climate change is linked to dramatic rise in allergies and asthma in the Western world."


And the Journal reports on itself in "Dow Jones board said it was taking no immediate action on News Corps $5 billion offer, increasing the potential for tension between the controlling Bancroft family and shareholders pressing for a sale."


From a Chicago Tribune column

One day, a Native grandfather said to his grandson, "There are two
wolves fighting inside all of us -- the wolf of fear and hate, and
the wolf of love and peace." The grandson asked, "Which one will
win?" The grandfather replied, "The one we feed."









"Pacific Steel Settles with Air Quality District" reports Riya Bhattacharje of our Planet.


"SF JAZZ keeps Redman in touch with roots" reports Jim Harrington in the West County Times. "Joshua Redman's eyes grow wide and his voice quickens when he speaks of New York. It's a city that he dearly loves and clearly misses. Redman was born and raised in Berkeley, but it wasn't until he moved to New York City, the undisputed capital of the jazz universe, that his career as a musician quickly took off. As he drinks a decaf coffee at Caffe Trieste on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, not all that far from his childhood home, he remembers how exciting it was to live in the 'city that never sleeps.' 'When I was in New York, I thought I was going to die in New York. I just couldn't imagine living anywhere else,' the 38-year-old saxophonist says. 'When I first moved back to the Bay Area, I swore that as soon as I could afford it I'd be on the next plane out of here. But, thousands of planes later, I'm still here.'

Yesterday and today's Duke Ellington profile is the most informative radio of my recent memory. It's on KCSM-FM. Check out KCSM-M here.


" Zoning Board Backs Closing of B-Town Store" writes Riya Bhattacharjee of our Planet. "The B-Town Dollar Store at 2973 Sacramento St. could be closed if the Berkeley City Council decides to act on a recommendation passed by the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) Thursday. ZAB members voted unanimously Thursday to recommend that B-Town should be closed as a public nuisance immediately."


Our Heddy Riss emails about her Biological Diversity, Alternative Energy and Green Policies symposium.

The Carl Linnaeus Tercentenary Commemoration Symposium will be on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 from 8:45AM to 4:30PM in the Lipman Room, Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley

This symposium commemorates the 300th anniversary of birth of Carl Linneaus (1707-1778), great Swedish natural scientist. Known as the founder of taxonomy, Linneaus was not only a biologist but also an ecologist and environmentalist far ahead of his time.

Development of Alternative Energy Sources and Green Technology Initiatives
Extinction of Plant and Animal Species
Political Economy of Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation

Lunch Box lunches will be provided to all participants

Concert Collegium Cantorum Choir of the Cathedral of Uppsala will perform their American premiere of a piece composed for the tercentenary of the birth of Carl Linnaeus.
Movie Expedition Linnaeus by Folke Rydén
A documentary film commemorating the tercentenary of the birth Linnaeus


"Steel shortage woes unfounded "reports George Avalos in our Times. "Speeding tanker crash leads to fire, freeway collapse. Reports of a drastic shortage of steel to replace the fallen section of the East Bay maze appear to be overblown, steel industry executives said Wednesday."


Germany's DW website offers "Germany's Cheap Beer Tradition Under Threat from Biofuels. The popularity of biofuels is affecting the price of Germany's most cherished beverage. The popularity of biofuels is affecting the price of Germany's most cherished beverage

Germans will have to dig deeper in their pockets to enjoy their beloved beer in the next few months as barley is increasingly displaced in the country's fields by heavily subsidized crops used for biofuels." The full, sad story is here.


Hemmings Motor News reports in their June 2007 issue "Vintage Motorcycles Lead the Pack. Collecting, restoring and riding has reached new levels of respectability."


1973 Laverda 750 SF

This motorcycle is from my private collection and was purchased by me in September 1974. It now has 2156 original miles and is in mint original condition-I am its first and only owner.

More of my collection can be viewed at Fine Vintage Motorcycles





Berkeley's first 2007 murder is in west-Berkeley.

The AP reports "Berkeley police reported the city's first homicide of the year after a man was found dead Sunday morning. An employee of a local business discovered the victim in an industrial area near Interstate 80, police said. The man, whose name and age were not released, was pronounced dead at the scene, Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said.

His death is being treated as a homicide because of the nature of his injuries, said Kusmiss, who refused to go into more detail.

Police blocked off the street and kept workers and owners from entering their businesses as officers investigated."


"Pacific Steel, air district settle lawsuit: Berkeley firm agrees to pay $150,000, install device to curb pollution from one of its plants" reports Doug Oakley in our Times. "Pacific Steel Casting in Berkeley has settled a second lawsuit over allegations it is not doing enough to curb pollution at its Second Street foundry.

In the latest settlement, the company agreed to pay the Bay Area Air Quality Management District $150,000 and to install a hood to capture particulates coming out of one of its three plants. After Pacific Steel gets permits to install the new hood, it has nine months to complete construction, according to the air district.

'Even though the lawsuit is settled, we will be there to make sure the terms and conditions of the lawsuit are complied with and to ensure they are not violating any other emissions requirements through any of the permits they hold with the district,' said Karen Schkolnick, a spokeswoman for the air district.

Berkeley and Albany residents have complained for years about a foul odor emanating from the plant, an emission they suspect is unhealthy."


"Big plans for making [our] downtown a cultural hub $150 million hotel, conference center, art museum, more" writes Carolyn Jones, of the San Francisco Chronicle.


"Budget proposal difficult to predict: Fluctuating fiscal forecasts in recent months leave observers unsure of what to expect from city manager, budget director" reports Martin Snapp of our Times.

Will the glass be half-full or half-empty when City Manager Phil Kamlarz and Budget Director Tracy Vesely unveil the 2008 fiscal year budget to the City Council on Tuesday? In recent years it was easy to forecast what the budget would look like. But not this time."


"Plan would give summer jobs to all city residents, ages 14-23" writes Carolyn Jones of the San Francisco Chronicle. "Every teenager and young adult who lives in Berkeley would be promised a summer job under an ambitious plan the City Council is weighing.

The council will take the first steps Tuesday toward guaranteeing a summer job for every resident 14 to 23 years old. Many details remain to be worked out -- not the least of which is what the program would cost -- but if the plan ultimately is approved, the city expects to give jobs to 400 people by next summer. That's about 250 more than the city currently offers, said Julie Sinai, aide to Mayor Tom Bates."


"Social lending gains net interest" writes BBC reporter, Katie Ledger. "Pouring your cash into the far reaches of the world wide web may sound like a crazy idea.

Money Lending cash to others online can cut out the middleman. After all, the internet has seen its fair share of nasties from phishing e-mails posing as a bank to key logging software pinching our passwords and personal information, all in an effort to steal our identity and cash.

But now there is a wave of sites trying to convince people that the web is the place for their money.

The concept is called social lending and the idea is to introduce people who need money to people who want to lend some - cutting out the middlemen like banks and mortgage companies."




Early Monday, two Berkeley firefighters at Station No. 5 on Shattuck and Derby were stabbed when a man came to the fire-house wielding a knife after ransacking a nearby home. One firefighter was stabbed in the hand, the other in the abdomen while attempting to subdue the assailant. Both were treated at the hospital and released. The man, later found hiding under a porch, was arrested by Berkeley PD.



Gérard Laugier is a Potter Creek furniture-maker, wood-worker and member of the Heartwood Co-operative.

Here is his hand-carved work.

And, Gérard's website is here .

Gerard is now involved in serious restoration and preservation work. Soon, his very major project.



"The uke man maketh" writes Jennifer Modenessi in the West County Times. "You probably wouldn't guess it from the stacks of wood piled almost to the roof of his Berkeley workshop, but Michael DaSilva never set out to become a ukulele maker.

And, there's our own Pete Hurney at Pohaku Ukuleles jus' aroun' d'corner, in Potter Creek.



Steve Smith's Biofuel Oasis update

Biofuel Oasis have [now] secured a lease at 1441 Ashby--at the NW corner of Ashby and Sacramento-- the old gas station occupied by Candy-man, an auto detailer.

The Oasis is currently going through the use permit process. David Arkin of Arkin-Tilt Architects is providing planning and design services. The Oasis hopes to have their use permit by mid-August.

I had been working with the Oasis for over a year trying to find them a new location. It is/has been particularly challenging to find a site for their use. Gas station sites have either been leased up for a very long time by big oil companies or have been sold for residential development. We were fortunate enough to find a site owned by an environmental engineer who doesn't plan to sell or develop.

I am especially happy that we were able to have found a site in Berkeley, keeping them in Berkeley. I hate seeing tenants leave the city, especially green ones.


Steve, Norhiem and Yost


7:47 AM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in front room, burning eyes, burning mouth, light head, nausea, close door, use mask. So much for keeping the Dutch-door open on a Spring morning.

9:16 AM--irritant in front room, leave.

12:30 PM--irritant accompanied by "gas" odor in warehouse front, groggy. "I'm feeling a little sick" says Marsha. "I gotta get outta here." Leave.

3:30 PM--return, more than a whiff of ganja at the door. Weeeeell, . . . Ok then.





Miltiades Mandros emails

Thanks for telling me about that new place on Heinz - Riva Cucina. I was looking for a change of place and pace so I tried it for breakfast this morning, which turned out to be excellent. I sat in what I thought was a quiet corner, but right next to me was what [appeared to be] an unused door but turned out to be an entry into Wareham, the landlord's office. Traffice was heavy and they didn't know how to keep the lock unlocked, so for about a half hour there was a crowd standing next to me at work on the lock. I could have moved to another table, but I kept thinking the hubbub would end, which it didn't. Mostly in self defense, I got up and offered to help them. In about five seconds, I was able to manipulate the lock to remain open. The landlord's agent said that they ought to buy me my breakfast. I thought they were joking, but when I asked for the check, I was told the bill had been paid.


"Vegans Sentenced in Baby's Death" reports the AP's Greg Bluestein.

"[In Atlanta a] vegan couple was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for the death of their malnourished 6-week-old baby boy, who was fed a diet largely consisting of soy milk and apple juice.

Superior Court Judge L.A. McConnell imposed the sentences on Jade Sanders, 27, and Lamont Thomas, 31. Their son, Crown Shakur, weighed just 3 1/2 pounds when he died of starvation on April 25, 2004.

The couple was found guilty May 2 of malice murder, felony murder, involuntary manslaughter and cruelty to children. A jury deliberated about seven hours before returning the guilty verdicts."







Andrew and Kerstin are in Morocco on their Honeymoon.

Well, ok then!



Tak Nakamoto emails


I've harvested a lot of fresh fava beans from my back yard this
year. Despite my best efforts to eat them ourselves, give them away
to our neighbors on the 2400 block of 10th Street, our close
friends, etc, we are becoming inundated with these beans. I'm
afraid our friends and neighbors are starting to run away from us
when they see us coming.

I currently have enough favas to fill 2 case size beer boxes.

Help! Let me know if you know of anyone in Potter Creek interested
in taking some of them from us.

Contact us by email or by phone. I have a listed number.




This is Better Hearing and Speech Month.

CEID (The Center for Early Intervention of Deafness) is having an Open House on May 18 from 5-7:30 PM. The open house is at the school, 1035 Grayson. Among others, the beautiful director, Jill will be present.




"EBMUD proposes increases for rates: The East Bay Municipal Utilities District hopes to raise water rates
5 percent during the next two years to help pay for new dry-year water supplies, various district upgrades and higher employee wages and health benefits.

The increase is about 20 percent higher than normal, mostly because the first payments are due on the district's hedge against droughts, the $460 million Freeport Regional Water Project to tap the Sacramento River when supplies from the Mokelumne River prove insufficient, according to the district." Read the full story in our Times.




"Retailers post weak April sales as gas prices, housing market lead consumers to cut back" reports Anne D'Innocenzio of the AP. "Rising gasoline prices and the slumping housing market kept consumers out of stores last month, leaving many of the nation's merchants with disappointing sales results.

As retailers released their April sales figures Thursday, weak performers included Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which recorded a rare drop in business, as well as J.C. Penney Co. and Federated Department Stores Inc.

'Consumers are feeling pressured by higher gasoline prices and a sluggish housing market, particularly low and middle income consumers,' said Ken Perkins, president of RetailMetrics LLC, a research company in Swampscott, Mass."

"Housing woes to continue, expert says. Economist says downturn could weaken state's financial future"
writes the Times' George Avalos
. "The malaise in California home building will hound the state for a while longer, a top state government economist told an East Bay gathering Wednesday.

Even worse, California is particularly vulnerable to ripple effects because the state depends on housing and home building for a greater share of its economic activity than other regions, said Howard Roth, chief economist with the state's Department of Finance."



Don't fuck with Mother Nature!

Ron Faich, a New Mexico reader, sends this photo of Katrina over Mississippi.







Kava and family are back in Potter Creek for awhile while Dad and Mom are visiting the sisters in Germany.


Our Janine Johnson emails

Just a note to let everyone know that my latest CD, the
harpsichord solos from Telemann's "Der Getreue Music Meister" is
available for download online at :
The pieces contained therein are by Telemann
and his contemporaries. Some great music, and relatively unknown.
Worth a listen, anyway! Thanks and best wishes to all


Don Yost emails

This came off my Internet accordion [discussion] group. They were talking about street buskers (street musicians) and someone mentioned this Washington Post story.


And, my story about a street musician is Demicello's Story and is here.



"Sales reshape Berkeley landscape: Leading developer unloads mixed-use properties, generating millions for city coffers" reports Martin Snapp of our Times. "Developer Patrick Kennedy sold most of his Berkeley properties late last month, sending shock waves through the town's financial and political circles."


"Alice Waters' captures vibrant spirit of foodie revolution" writes Susan Salter Reynolds of the Los Angeles Times in a book review in our Times. "Alice Waters was 27 when she decided that what she wanted most was a place where she and her friends could gather around a few tables, eat good food, drink a little (or a lot of) wine, inspire one another, fall in love, talk and thereby divert the world from its terrible path toward destruction, hatred, war,
commercialization and alienation. Chez Panisse -- in many ways her baby, although she would insist it was a group effort -- was the astonishingly successful result of that simple desire. From the start, it was more than a restaurant; it was a quiet revolution, fueled in part by a vision of life in a Marcel Pagnol movie, an idea of France, an idea of what life should look like, an idea of what it means to be human.

One of the most charming things about Thomas McNamee's 'Alice Waters and Chez Panisse' (which is just as much about the restaurant as it is about the woman) is how clear it becomes that, in the 31/2 decades since the restaurant served its first meal on Aug. 28, 1971, the original ideal of building community by eating good food together has
become part of the culture of this country. It has rippled outward geographically, first to include the small-scale farmers and artisans working in Northern California, whose ingredients Waters always has insisted on using; then to the schools around the country that have benefited from the Edible Schoolyard, a program of the Chez Panisse
Foundation to create school gardens that grow ingredients for students."



"Plan spews debate over diesel soot: California construction leaders say it will cost too much to retrofit or replace engines spouting pollution under proposed timeline" reports Paul Rogers in our Times.

Seeking to reduce the health risks from diesel soot, California air regulators are proposing to require thousands of bulldozers, backhoes, cranes and other types of construction equipment that have been in operation for years to have their engines retrofitted or replaced entirely."




Before and after a building-painting back East.


"Strykers may no longer be the answer: Vehicles can't survive roadside bombs" report the AP's Robert H. Reid and Anna Flaherty. "A string of heavy losses from powerful roadside bombs has raised new questions about the vulnerability of the Stryker, the Army's troop-carrying vehicle hailed by supporters as the key to a leaner, more mobile force.

Since the Strykers went into action in violent Diyala province north of Baghdad two months ago, losses of the vehicles have been rising steadily, U.S. officials said."





Our Zelda B reports "Staff didn't have the audacity to remove the zoning ordinance's explicit prohibition on retail that's unaffiliated with industry. Instead, they were testing the waters, seeing how far they could go with a sneak attempt to undermine the businesses that depend on industrial zoning to keep their rents affordable: Berkeley's manufacturers, artisans and recyclers." Read what Z writes before and after this here.


"A group of parade participants-who said they were out publicizing bicycling and oil-dependency reduction-accused a Berkeley couple in their 70s of trying to run them over" writes Riya Bhattacharjee in our Planet. The full story is here.


"Cal will help clean up after students take off: University hopes trash bins, recycling centers will discourage dumping of items on city streets" reports Doug Oakley in our Times.

"It's become an annual ritual: When many of UC Berkeley's 18,000 students leave town for the summer, some inevitably dump couches, televisions, clothes and other items all over city streets. Now, for the first time, the university and city of Berkeley are joining forces to clean up after them. Starting Wednesday, they will provide large trash bins, extra trash pickups, a special recycling station and a trash hotline staffed by university workers."


"Cherry industry upbeat this year: Growers and packers anticipating a season with lots of good fruit" writes Reed Fuji in our Times.

"After two seasons in which bad weather plagued California's cherry crop, this spring offers hope for a strong supply of good-quality fruit, industry officials said Monday. Processors are now packing early ripening varieties and fruit from the southern San Joaquin Valley, while farmers in San Joaquin County, the state's leading cherry production area, expect to begin picking the premier Bing variety within a week or so."


Deutsche telecom is on strike in Deutschland. Read the DW/TV story is here.









"War-torn Iraq 'facing collapse'" reports the BBC. "Rival factions are struggling for local supremacy in Iraq.
Iraq faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation, UK foreign policy think tank Chatham House says."



"City aims to change climate: Saturday event starts drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent"
reports Kristin Bender of the Oakland Tribune. "During a five-year period, the city of Berkeley reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 9 percent, the equivalent of taking more than 12,000 medium-sized cars off the roads.
But with a voter-mandated directive to reduce greenhouse gases by 80 percent by 2050, Berkeley has a long way to go toward its goal."



"East Bay home sales hit 12-year low: As rates rise, first-time homebuyers priced out of area, as high-end home sales skew market median" reports our Times Barbara E. Hernandez in the best analysis that I've read of these stats.



"Housing market remains in a funk" writes Martin Crutsinger in our Times. "Home building posted a small gain in April, but permits for future construction plunged by the largest amount in 17 years, a sign that the nation's housing industry is still in a deep slump."



"Data indicate a slowdown ahead for the U.S. economy: Slumps in housing and core industries suggest hiring will decline as well" writes the AP's Candice Choi. "A gauge of future economic activity showed the U.S.
economy will slow in coming months, reversing recent gains and
suggesting that higher gas prices and a sluggish construction
industry are beginning to take their toll."








"The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development required the city to create an independent board the after HUD placed the Housing Authority under 'troubled' status. That followed charges of sloppy reporting about the way BHA has been spending HUD's money" reports our Times.

"Dirigible's visit was the talk of the town. Berkeleyans were afforded a brief glimpse of the huge Navy dirigible Akron at noon today when the big ship circled over the southern part of the city," the Berkeley Daily Gazette reported May 13, 1932. The full story is here.



"Longtime official remembers the early days. A May 10, 1932, Berkeley Daily Gazette article profiled 74-year-old Chris Engebretsen, deputy superintendent of streets for the city of Berkeley since 1899.

'Do you remember when -- Berkeley for the most part consisted of West Berkeley?' the article began."




"Renters who remodel: Investing a little of your money in a rental can pay dividends in better living.

When Maggie and Bryan Mason learned that they were expecting their first child, they decided to stay in their one-bedroom apartment. 'When I got pregnant, I felt like digging in and nesting, not starting over,' Maggie Mason said.

But realizing that changes would have to be made before Hank's arrival, they converted a breakfast nook into a nursery."

More from the San Francisco Chronicle here.



"Chronicle to cut 25% of jobs in newsroom" reports the Chronicle's Joe Garofoli.

"To cut costs and try to adapt to a changing media marketplace, The Chronicle will trim 25 percent of its newsroom staff by the end of the summer."





I had breakfast at Riva Cucina Wednesday morning. Arriving about 8:30, there was just one other person there and she seemed preoccupied with her lap-top. (The restaurant is neat, fresh, woody, and well-lit.) But while ordering from the polite, efficient server the place began fill. Miltiades Mondros showed up and we sat together, and Regan and friend sat down across the room--they had a light breakfast. (As Miltiades and I sat and talked, others began coming in for coffee and food-to-go.) I had Uova in nido, two poached eggs on top of bed of sauttéed spinach over a toasted half-roll--perfectly presented and served with grace, it was subtle and delicious. And the poached eggs were done perfectly. I was also served a tall glass of good, fresh water with ice and a lemon slice--ah, refreshing. Oops, the coffee was ordinary. As I talked with one of the owners, more customers came and sat down and others ordered at the counter. All-in-all a VERY pleasant and civilized experience, and I look forward to lunch and their early dinner. (The napkins are bright-white and cloth, and my Uova in nido was $6.50.)

Check them out!

Also check out their website,



Yesterday, I took a bike ride from Potter Creek a few blocks north to the 11th Annual Jazz at Fourth Street. Music filled the air along with delicious food-smells and a large, very hip crowed seemed to enjoy themselves on this perfect day. It was sunny with a slight breeze and cool . . . and very hip.






At 5:00 PM yesterday in 900 GRAYSON, two dozen or so people, mostly from the Potter Creek business community, attended a meeting about crime and vandalism in our neighborhood. Bob Kubik chaired. Stories were told of regular break-ins, car-vandalism, and muggings. Among those businesses represented were Acme Bread, Tulip Graphics and V&W Door. A member of Heartwood Collective was present as was a craftsman from Active Space and one of Potter Creek's instrument makers. People from the French School and CEID were also there. Two representatives from the City listened. I left early.

Bob Kubik emails

There were about 20 residents and business people at the meeting plus Angela and Ryan from the City Administration.

In summary there were mentioned:
16 instances of vandalism/tagging
14 of theft
12 of burglary/break-in
10 of car break-ins
8 of garbage dumping
4 muggings
4 drug dealing
3 car thefts
2 shootings
2 dead bodies
1 homicide

This is not a scientific compilation, but shows the perception that the group is seriously concerned about crime in our neighborhood.

There seemed to be agreement that we should report each instance as it occurs to Officer Frankel (981-5774), Angela and Ryan - in order to get attention.

A Neighborhood Watch was suggested by Angela. This has been suggested in the past and not found fertile ground. If anyone wishes to follow up on this and organize it - go for it!



"Berkeley dismisses Housing Authority staff in wake of fraud allegations" reports Doug Oakley of our Times. "Berkeley's Housing Authority paid federal rent subsidies to landlords for 15 dead tenants -- some for at least two years -- according to a pair of scathing reports delivered to the Berkeley City Council on Tuesday night. The council responded to the news by firing all 22 employees in the department.

City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque, who prepared the other report, said that in her 22 years as city attorney she had never seen such a large problem in any department. 'We have information that could constitute criminal wrongdoing or fraud,' she said. Albuquerque said she has no idea how much money was lost. She found fraud in every facet of the department, everything the housing authority does.'We have evidence they were just blatantly not following the rules, and it was very, very troubling.'"



Before dawn, someone hopped the fence behind 900 GRAYSON and stole all of the morning's butter and egg delivery.


Narssi David and friend had lunch at 900 yesterday.



Last Friday I went to the Open House at CEID, Center for Early Intervention of Deafness. Arriving early, I wandered by myself through the school. What a wonderful facility! Open, airy, light and colorful, it is filled with state-of-art equipment--computers, tv-monitors, electronic gadgets, all-sorts of play-stuff for kids, and testing equipment for deafness. It's all built around a courtyard playground for the children that is equiped with great and fun toys . . . and a SERIOUS slide. Privately funded, it educates deaf-children, has a day-care center on campus for both hearing and deaf kids and runs a community program throughout the Bay Area for hearing impaired kids. Certainly one of the loves of Jill the Director's life, it has become a great Potter Creek institution. If you'd like to make a donation or would like information email Becky Nuckolls here. Or call her at (510) 848-4800.



"A different twist on 'Oliver' Berkeley Rep gets creative with Dickens" writes Pat Craig in our Times.

"When the tattered curtain opens on a frighteningly serious cluster of spooky Victorian characters, you may be momentarily put off, concerned that you will be either assaulted by a Dickensian morality tale relevant to contemporary life, or faced with some die-hards from last winter's Dickens Fair, intent on administering a few more bitter doses of 19th century wisdom.

Fortunately, you are in for neither in this wildly innovative and thoroughly engaging new interpretation of Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist.' A dramatized presentation much in Dickens' own words, it is staged as it might have been in the early 19th century, when the author's novel about the plight of an orphan boy, swallowed into the wicked underbelly of London's criminal class, was the talk of the town.

Oh, and it's also as melodramatic as a high school romance and dripping with a no-nuance style of good and evil, which lets everyone know where they stand from the start." Read this full review here.



"The Berkeley Art Museum decided to close its doors." June 1, 1932. "Located in a building on Shattuck that still stands just south of the Central Library, the museum was a brainchild of local director, actor, businessman and impressario Samuel Hume."

"Greenspan fears China market fall" reports BBC News. "Banking on China's boom Chinese shares have fallen after former US Federal Reserve head Alan Greenspan said its stock market was overvalued and due for a
'dramatic contraction'.

His remarks had an impact on markets in the US, Europe and Asia, fanning already prevalent fears of a slowdown in China's booming economy.







Bob Kubik emails

I believe it is up to each of us to report what we see to the City in order to get and keep their attention. The contacts are below:

[AND, 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 people.]

Officer Andrew Frankel, Berkeley PD - 981-5774

Angela Gallegos-Castillo, City Mgr Off - 981-2491

Ryan Lau, aid to Darrell Moore - 981-7120

Darrell Moore, City Councilman


In response to Bob Kubik's email about the Wednesday's 900 GRAYSON robbery, Angela Gallegos-Castillo of the City Manager's Office emails

Thank you for the email Bob and I'm sorry to hear of this incident.
I'm glad Ofc. Frankel was emailed but I do hope they reported the
incident to the police.

I want to thank everyone for their presence at yesterday's meeting.
I know that being a mixed use residential area makes it challenging
to organize but I want to again encourage you to formally become a
neighborhood watch group, even if it's with with those that were at
the meeting yesterday. There is always room for organizing more
residents down the line. Again, let us know when you're
ready and we'll be more than happy to go out again with Ofc.
Frankel..he's on board...




"Berkeley council meeting ends at late hour amid confusion" writes Martin Snapp of our Times.

"Tuesday night's Berkeley City Council meeting dissolved in confusion and exhaustion shortly before midnight when two council members walked out to protest the lateness of the hour.

The lawmakers were debating Mayor Tom Bates' Public Commons for All Initiative, a combination of more social services and tougher law enforcement to curb anti-social behavior in the city's commercial districts."







"Berkeley residents healthy, life expectancy increasing" reports Kristin Bender in our Times.

"A health status report released by the city of Berkeley this week shows residents are living longer, healthier lives, but there still are startling inequities in health based on race, where people live, income and education. . . .

Asthma hospitalizations are high, particularly among African-Americans and those living in lower-income areas of southwest Berkeley."


And then Ms Bender offers a vegan survey in "Vegans, indulge!

Seven days a week, bakers at People's Donuts churn out blueberry, chocolate, vanilla cake, lemon poppy seed and other sugary sweet doughnuts without using any animal products."



"Local job market droops: East Bay workers optimistic despite slump" writes George Avalos in our Times.

The once-hot pace of job gains in the East Bay slowed in April, according to a state government report released [a week ago] Friday.







Today about 4:15 PM, five Berkeley PD officers responded to a domestic complaint in front of a parked camper on 8th and Heinz.


"The city of Berkeley offered a $15,000 reward Friday for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the city's first homicide of the year" reports the Chronicle's Henry K. Lee.

"About 6:30 a.m. May 6, Agustine Silva, 19, of Antioch was found dead near Second and Cedar streets. An autopsy by the Alameda County coroner concluded that Silva had been beaten, police said. Silva was found by an employee of a business in the industrial area near Cedar Street between Interstate 80 and the railroad tracks, said Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss."

Anyone with information is asked to call Berkeley police homicide investigators at (510) 981-5741.


"Insurance geared for bikes: Shop for a policy before buying a motorcycle" reports Eve Mitchell in our Times.

Hours can be spent debating the merits of a Harley-Davidson, a Kawasaki or a Honda. But before you fall in love with a particular bike, plunk down the money and ride it out of the showroom, think first about getting an insurance quote. It could save you a lot of grief."







Wareham continues to make external, cosmetic upgrades to its Fantasy property--flowers, newly striped parking spaces . . . oops, structural changes have begun with many new windows in the west wall.


Rick Auebach reports that École Bilingue has posted and closed its 8th Street Playground. Neighbors wishing access should call Antoine at the school--(510) 549-3867.


There will be a meeting of our Landmarks Preservation Commission, June 7, 7:30 PM at the North Berkeley Senior Center, MLK and Hearst, to consider making the 2747 San Pablo building a Structure of Merit. Don't know about this building, but Auerbach and Lipofsky still are waiting for their designation.



Though the City of Berkeley has offered a $15,000 reward for information about this month's west-Berkeley murder, Oakland has raised a $22,000 reward for information about the fatal shooting of 15 Goats-Are-Us, goats. Am I missing something here?



"Sgt. Pepper's' still turns us on. Beatles album forever changed way music is made, played" writes Tony Hicks in our Times.

"'How could they top ('Revolver')? Little did we know that ... we would not only be topping it, but sending all barriers crashing to the ground.' said Geoff Emerick, Beatles engineer.

The barriers crashed all right. It's probably no coincidence that the Beatles wanted the last impression from the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" -- the final, massive, slowly waning chord hit simultaneously on six pianos -- to last 'forever,' Emerick wrote in his book, 'Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Beatles.' It still rings four decades later, as the most memorable ending of possibly the most significant rock 'n' roll album ever recorded.

Released 40 years ago this week, (yes, go ahead and sing, 'It was 40 years ago today ...'), 'Sgt. Pepper's' changed ... just about everything. And it did it in a way that, given today's striated and instantaneous cultural landscape, can probably never be repeated." Read the full story here.

And read my "Musical Theater on Record" which includes Sgt. Pepper's here.



"NATO Sees Recent Cyber Attacks on Estonia as Security Issue. Estonian government websites were allegedly targeted by Russian cyber forces" reports DW-TV.

"Estonian government websites were allegedly targeted by Russian cyber forces.

The massive wave of cyber attacks which have hit Estonia's websites this month are a security issue which concern NATO, the Alliance's Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Friday.

'These cyber attacks have a security dimension without any doubt and that is the reason that NATO expertise was sent to Estonia to see what can and should be done,' he told a meeting of lawmakers from NATO member states held in Funchal on the Portuguese island of Madeira.



"China shares fall after tax rise" reports BBC News. "China's main share index fell 6.5% in Wednesday trading following Beijing's decision to triple the tax on stock transactions.

With the government aiming to cool the country's overheated stock markets, the main Shanghai Composite Index closed down 281.8 points at 4,053.1."

A week ago I posted

"Greenspan fears China market fall" reports BBC News. "Banking on China's boom Chinese shares have fallen after former US Federal Reserve head Alan Greenspan said its stock market was overvalued and due for a
'dramatic contraction'.

His remarks had an impact on markets in the US, Europe and Asia, fanning already prevalent fears of a slowdown in China's booming economy."


The Wall Street Journal reports that "consumer confidence rose in May as a strong job market and rising stocks kept Americans upbeat despite surging gasoline prices and weakening home values."


The Journal also reports "Big Internet players are focusing on the new business of trading in Web site ad space, hoping to create a dynamic market."


Part one of a Journal series is "'Subprime Aftermath: Losing the Family Home" by Mark Whitehouse. "Mortgages bolstered Detroit's Middle Class until money ran out" he reports. Read the full story in today's Journal.



"MGs set to roll out at Longbridge" reports BBCNews. "The Longbridge plant Longbridge produced 110,000 cars a year before Rover's collapse MG Rover's Longbridge factory in Birmingham is due to reopen on Tuesday under the Chinese ownership of Nanjing Automobile Corporation.

Three new MG TF sports models are expected to drive off the recommissioned production lines at the opening ceremony.

The West Midlands plant has been inactive since MG Rover collapsed in 2005 at a cost of about 6,000 jobs.

But some critics have doubts about how viable full-scale production will be."






A San Pablo Park neighbor emails

Thank you, I don't know how I got on your email list, but I appreciate the
info you provide.


Look for some serious remodeling from an Ole Time Potter Creeker, . . . sooner than later.


There are still squatters in some unoccupied Potter Creek buildings.



"Food for Victory" writes Jackie Burrell in our Times.

"War cake relied on the intense sweetness of dried fruit to cover the lack of sugar. It was one of the ways home patriots copes when meat, eggs and produce were scarce.

Long ago, U.S. citizens didn't show support for their soldiers by slapping magnetic yellow ribbons on their cars. They rationed their own meat, eggs a'd butter so the military could eat. They replaced flower borders with vegetables as liberty" and 'victory gardens" took root. And creative cooks improvised 'War Cakes' and other recipes that used no eggs and little leavening."



"Cup runneth over for Peet's chief President and CEO discusses move to Alameda, new roasting facility and how the company has grown" writes our Times, Blanca Torres.

Peet's Coffee & Tea Inc., a Bay Area favorite among coffee drinkers, is growing, but at it's own pace with as much care and consideration as the roaster puts into its coffee.

The company officially unveils today a $29 million roasting facility located along the Alameda shoreline overlooking the Bay and San Francisco.

Patrick O'Dea, the company's president and chief executive, said the new facility will help the company double its sales from $250 million this year to $500 million in the coming years."



11:35 AM, VERY SERIOUS irritant in front room, over-rides HEPA filters, leave. 2:06 PM, VERY, VERY SERIOUS irritant in front room, over-rides HEPA filters, burning eyes, burning mouth and throat, nausea, leave.


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.

Bob Kubik again stresses I believe it is up to each of us to report what crime we see, and/or are aware of, to the City in order to get and keep their attention. The contacts are below:

Officer Andrew Frankel, Berkeley PD - 981-5774

Angela Gallegos-Castillo, City Mgr Off - 981-2491

Ryan Lau, aid to Darrell Moore - 981-7120

Darrell Moore, City Councilman


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