May 2008

5/1/08, after 5/8/08, after 5/25/08


and graffiti

Grainger Industrial Supply is moving into the building on 7th and Ashby after an extensive remodel including new sidewalks.




"Sometimes Berserkeley isn't so berserk after all" reports Carolyn Jones of the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Many ideas spawned in Berkeley - and roundly mocked by the rest of the country - have taken root and have been adopted by cities everywhere. Among them: police radios, a ban on Styrofoam, health benefits for domestic partners and a switch to biodiesel for city cars.These and other Berkeley firsts are part of a painstakingly researched show at the Berkeley History Center that chronicles the city's long history of civic innovation."

Hmmm,. . . biodiesel for city cars? So that would mean we are in the forefront of a possible world food crisis?


Ms Jones and our Historical Society have missed several firsts.

Sometime in 1962, Al Braver, the owner of Campus SmokeShop and Campus Records at Bancroft and Telegraph, declared the Campanile to be the Center of the Universe--many professors agreed. Some of our original feminists took exception, however.

In the 1970s, Moe developed the used bookstore--it becoming not just a play-thing of otherwise unemployable intellectuals--and so Moe's Books and Records becomes a real business.

At Moe's in the 1980s, I invent the collectible LP. I figure, if Baldock and Wong can sell collectible books, I can sell collectible records. Customers protest at prices of $4 and $5.

Also in the 1980s, Mike and Richards Haley invent the California breakfast at The Buttercup. They also develop croissants, proving Americans will eat, even enjoy, foreign food.


"LSD inventor Albert Hofmann dies" reports BBC NEWS.

"Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who discovered the hallucinogenic drug LSD, has died of a heart attack at his home in Basel at the age of 102."

Before it was outlawed, the best "acid" in Berkeley was made by grad-students at the Biochemistry Department.


"El Cerrito man shows you can fight City Hall" writes Chip Johnson in our Chronicle.

" Who says you can't fight City Hall?"


Illigitimus non carborundum


"Week's Second Shooting Alarms North Oakland Neighbors" reports Richard Brenneman of our Planet.

"An early Monday evening running gun battle left one man critically injured and police searching for a lime green car which had struck several cars during an exchange of gunfire with a pedestrian.

The dramatic shootout happened on Whitney Street, between 59th and 60th Streets, and apparently concluded just doors away from the 59th Street home where a North Oakland man shot a burglar last week after he broke a front door window."



Our ActivSpace, 2703 7th Street, also has a website. Check it out here.


Midge Fox

designs, and imports folkart from Mexico

see it at ActivSpace 106 and email her here



"Museum to honor Latino culture and history advances:The House votes to create a commission to look into building the National Museum of the American Latino in the nation's capital." reports James Hohmann of the Los Angeles Times.

"Four years ago, a museum celebrating the history and culture of Native Americans opened at the east end of the National Mall. Within a decade, one honoring the contributions of African Americans will be erected on the west end, near the Washington Monument. Yet Latinos, the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority, have no museum of their own in the nation's capital.

But the National Museum of the American Latino came one step closer to reality Tuesday when the House, by a vote of 291 to 117, approved legislation that includes creation of a commission to study the feasibility of building such a facility."



"Puppets, video are opera's new bedfellows" reports Carolyne Zinko in the Chronicle.

"There are no lions and tigers and bears at the Berkeley Opera's latest offering, a double-bill program of Maurice Ravel's 'L'Enfant et les Sortileges' and Bela Bartok's 'Bluebeard's Castle,' opening Saturday. Nonetheless, audiences are in for an "oh my" of the sort uttered by Dorothy Gale in the land of Oz when they cast their eyes on oversize frog puppets, cartoon-like singing teapots and Impressionistic paintings that are projected and meld digitally in layers on a 14-foot by 24-foot screen behind the singers, doubling as moody backdrop and stage set.

Such theatrics - enlisting the talents of painter and computer artist Naomie Kremer for 'Bluebeard' and the Berkeley artist Ariel Parkinson for the Ravel piece - are not intended as mere technological antics, but to make the stories come alive for viewers."


"Rundown homes may bring fine" reports Barbara E. Hernandez of oour Times.

"Homeowners tired of foreclosed homes destroying property values with weed-choked lawns, vandalism and squatters, may get help from the state Legislature which could approve fines up to a $1,000 a day for those lenders who don't keep up their bank-owned properties.

Legislation authored by Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, would give notice to property residents that the foreclosure process has begun, provide tenants additional time to move from a foreclosed property and mandate maintenance of foreclosed properties to prevent harming values of neighboring homes."




"The US economy grew at an annual pace of 0.6% in the first three months of 2008, slightly faster than expected" reports BBC NEWS.

"The US Commerce Department figures exceeded analyst expectations of an annualised growth rate of 0.2% and eased fears of a recession."


"Many ways to share slice of the stimulus pie" report Anastasia Ustinova and Jill Tucker, in the Chronicle.

"On the one hand, a recession is looming; on the other hand, there's a sale on flat-screen televisions.
With the first federal rebates hitting bank accounts Monday, recipients are mulling over what to do with the windfall:

The president says spend it. Your mother says save it. And then there are those pesky bills to pay."

Canned Food has "Simply Enjoy : dessert assortment" for around $4-$5--"European pastries with custard, vanilla and cappuccino cream, enrobed in Belgian chocolate." Made in Holland.



"Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan" is a Times observation.

"Some prankster must have pasted a Post-it note saying 'kick me' on the back of Alan Greenspan's shirt. He seems to be getting the blame for the sub-prime mess because he failed to consider that unbridled capitalism has a tendency to eat its seed corn periodically.

His autobiography, 'Alan Greenspan - the Age of Turbulence' starts out by discussing his early days spent in the New York salon of Ayn Rand, the novelist and philosopher who wrote 'Atlas Shrugged' and 'The Fountainhead.'
Getting only that far, I set Greenspan's book aside and picked up a dog-eared 1,200-page copy of 'Atlas Shrugged.'

It was just as I remembered from my first reading about 40 years ago. Philosophically speaking, anyone working for the government is a bumbling idiot, and industrialists working in collusion with the government to create dysfunctional monopolies are even worse. The heroes are charismatic people who work independently and who manage to succeed in spite of government interference and the palace intrigue of what Eisenhower labeled, 'the military industrial complex.' In Ayn Rand's world, it was collusion between government and railroad people."



"US deep in debt and still digging:You're paying for the nation's debt addiction through both direct and indirect taxes. And unfortunately, Uncle Sam is going to need more money." reports Jim Jubak of MSN.

"A not-so-subtle reminder that nothing in life is certain but debt and taxes:The taxes you paid on your recently filed 1040 included roughly $4,300 to cover your household's annual share of the interest payments on the $9.4 trillion in public debt owed by the U.S. government.

That $9.4 trillion is just part of what we as a nation owe collectively. There's also the $700 billion trade deficit we ran up in 2007 as a result of importing more than we exported.

And then there's what we owe individually. Like the $950 billion in credit card debt we owed as of the end of March.

And the $1.6 trillion in auto loans and other nonrevolving debt.

Face it: We live in a debt-addicted culture.

One day, the bill for all that debt will come due."


"Low Spending Is Taking Toll on Economy" reports Peter S Goodman of the New York Times.

"Beleaguered American consumers appear to have succumbed to the pressures of falling home prices and shrinking


"GM posts loss of $3.3B on weak US auto market, charges" reports Yahoo News.

"General Motors Corp. struggled to a $3.3 billion first-quarter loss, due in part to a weak U.S. market, a strike at a major parts supplier and plummeting sales of sport utility vehicles and pickups.

The nation's biggest automaker also cut its industrywide U.S. sales outlook for the year. The company disclosed earlier this week it was cutting production of some of its slow-selling trucks and SUVs."




The First and Last Chance Scooter Club 

met at our Bakery Cafe before their 4/27 Sunday morning ride.

Check them out here.


Our Dave Kruse now, now-and-then commutes to work on his Vespa.



"Ansel Adams's Yosemite" by Miki Meek, Amy O'Leary and Tom Jackson is in the New York Times.

"Hear the back story on the photographer's iconic images from his former assistant."








Potter Creeker, Eva Brook emails

We met yesterday at the crime meeting. I have been reading your Potter Creek updates and I love it . . . very informative and I love your sense of humor!


Susan Brooks is having an Open Studio this Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 5PM and this Monday from12 to 5PM.

Susan Brooks' studio is at 2547 8th Street in 24a. Her phone is 510-845-2612. Check out her work on her website here. Her studio is always open on Thursdays from Noon to 5 PM and by appointment.

Susan emails "lots of jewelry and art."








"Huge rally in Cuba marks May Day:Thousands marched through Havana on May Day 2008" reports BBC NEWS.

"Hundreds of thousands of Cubans are attending a May Day parade in Havana honouring the world's workers." 



"Iconic Berkely shop slated to close" writes Kristin Bender in our Times.

"For the better part of a century, it was the place to go for a tuna melt and a chocolate malt or a tube of toothpaste. It was a drugstore, a pharmacy and a soda fountain all in one, and the place at College Avenue and Russell Street was like no other in the Bay Area.

It was loved by old guys who came daily for a strong cup of black coffee, youngsters sneaking an after-school chocolate bar and neighbors who could walk over to pick up some aspirin.

The pharmacy went first, about four years ago, along with the white-coated workers, victims of insurance company policies that had slowly cut back on reimbursements, making it financially impossible to continue refilling

Ozzie's Soda Fountain with its round, red vinyl seats and Formica counter where generations of people had eaten grilled-cheese sandwiches and sucked down lime rickies, closed last year.
In mid-May the drugstore, now called Elmwood Health & Mercantile, will also close." 



"One of the top nuclear engineering students at UC Berkeley was fatally stabbed in the chest early Saturday and within 12 hours investigators had arrested the man suspected of killing him with a buck knife, police said."
reports Kristin Bender in the Times.

"Christopher Wootton was slain in the rear parking lot of a Warring Street sorority a few blocks from the Cal campus, and police said a 20-year-old Berkeley man has admitted to the stabbing. Wootton, a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity, was set to graduate at the top of his class later this month, said Mark Hanna, the Sigma Pi chapter director.

Killings of UC Berkeley students are rare, with only two others slain in the past 16 years."



"Class action suit filed against steel plant" reports Doug Oakley of our Times.

"Seventy nine year-old Rose Evans has lived in west Berkeley for 47 years, but only recently did she figure out that the awful smell in the air might be coming from the steel plant down the street.

'Some times it smells so bad you start feeling sick and your eyes start watering,' Evans said. 'I didn't know what it was until those people came along and left a flier on my doorstep.'

The flier, left by community activists who are fighting Pacific Steel Casting, described the symptoms that she, her late husband, seven children and five grand children have experienced over the years: a dry cough, sore throat, itchy skin and a plain old wretched feeling."



"Man using stolen credit cards, police say" reports Doug Oakley.

"Police are asking for help in finding a serial thief who is using stolen credit cards to withdraw cash and go shopping . He has stolen $20,000 in cash and goods so far, police say.

Surveillance cameras have captured images of the suspect withdrawing cash from ATMs in San Leandro, Oakland and Berkeley.

The suspect is described as an African American man in his 20s or 30s, between 5-foot-8 and 5- foot-10, with a medium build and possibly sporting a goatee, police said. He also drives a gold Acura RL sedan.

Anyone with information can call Berkeley police at 510-981-5737 or 510-981-5900, and mention case 07-58035."



"Fed zeros in on credit card industry" writes the AP's Jim Abrams.

"The Federal Reserve and other regulators initiated steps Friday to end "unfair and deceptive" credit card industry

The proposed rules would be the biggest clampdown on the industry in decades, aiming at protecting people from credit card companies that arbitrarily raise interest rates or don't give borrowers adequate time to pay their bills.

The proposals would also restrict such lender practices as allocating all payments to balances with lower interest rates when a borrower has balances with different rates.

The Fed board voted Friday to approve the recommendations." 



"Buffett sees credit crisis easing" reports BBC NEWS.

"Investment guru Warren Buffett says the worst of the global credit crunch is over for Wall Street, but not for the man or woman on the street.

The chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway said there would be 'a lot of pain to come' for mortgage holders."


And BBC NEWS reports "US jobs data gives positive shock.

US job figures have surprised Wall Street, falling less than expected and shifting the balance of opinion towards analysts not predicting a recession.

The US economy lost 20,000 jobs in April, according to non-farm payrolls figures from the Labor Department.

Earlier in the week, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates, but reduced its stress on the risks to the economy.
As a result of the upbeat news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock index opened more than 100 points higher."




"Baby boomers, Latinos leaving California:Census data show groups increasing in numbers elsewhere" reports Mike Swift in the Times.

"California may be loosening its grip on two groups that helped define the Golden State during the 20th Century - aging, predominantly white baby boomers and Latinos.

New U.S. Census data being released today shows that the state's white population is shrinking - particularly in the Bay Area.

From 2000 to 2006, the San Jose and San Francisco metro areas saw their white population decline by more than 200,000, trailing only the New York City metropolitan area.

Meanwhile, Texas has replaced California as the leader in the nation's Latino growth surge. California is still adding Latinos - but the growth of that population in Texas from 2006 to 2007 outstripped California's by more than 40,000.

What's happening with the white population is not classic 'white flight,' demographers say, but a departure of middle-income people for economic reasons.

'It's kind of an ongoing middle-class flight in an area that's very pricey,' said Bill Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer who analyzed the Census numbers. 'I think the steady state for coastal California, especially the Bay Area, will be people leaving that can't afford to stay, given the housing prices and the cost of living.' Since the Bush v. Gore election of 2000, whites have lost their status as a majority of the voting-age population in California, with their share of the 18 and over population slipping from 51.9 percent in 2000 to about 47 percent in 2007.

For Latinos, too, the California economy is driving changes in migration patterns.
'California has become less of a magnet overall as Hispanics continue to disperse to other states, including Texas,' Frey said. 'The Texas economy has been strong during this period, and because housing prices have been lower, (the state) attracted domestic migrants as well as immigrants.' " 


"Foreclosures leave long trail of blight:Richmond City Council forms committee to tackle vandalism, trash, squatters, drug use" writes Katherine Tam of the Times.

"Overgrown weeds. Trash abandoned in yards. Vandals stripping homes of copper and whatever they can sell for cash. Squatters moving in. Drug use.

Foreclosed homes that go dark and neglected are leaving behind a trail of blight that Richmond officials and neighbors fear makes neighborhoods unsightly and attracts crime."



"France to double food aid budget" reports BBC NEWS.

"France is to double its food aid for poor countries this year, to counter a sharp rise in global food prices, President Nicolas Sarkozy has said.

President Sarkozy said the emergency food aid budget would rise to 60m euros (£47.5m; $94.5m).

He said 37 countries were 'going through a very serious food crisis'.

Earlier this week, US President George W Bush ordered the release of 127m euros (£100.5m; $200m) of emergency aid to counter the food shortages."










Today is Cinco De Mayo. Cinco De Mayo commemorates the defeat of the French army by the Mexicans
at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862. For more information see
Cinco de Mayo History.










Ryan Lau emails an important meeting notice

Hi Ron,
 The community crime meeting tomorrow will be a much broader discussion about crime than the Potter Creek meeting.  In fact, Angela from Neighborhood Services, Officers Frankel and Buckheit as our new and old Area Coordinator, a representative from the Oakland Police Department and a deputy district attorney have all confirmed. And we have invited Angela's Oakland counterpart from neighborhood services and I believe Lt. Greenwood from the Community Services Bureau is coming as well.  I think that it will be very useful information to people, partly because of the number of recent incidents, ie. the Subway Sandwich robbery that Ofc. Frankel mentioned at the Potter Creek meeting, but there was also a shooting incident this past Friday at Bob's Liquor on the corner of Sacramento and Oregon, but also for community members to hear about all of the proactive steps that the police department and the City is taking to address the escalation in crime.  Here are the meeting details again. 
Community Crime Meeting at San Pablo Park
In response to the string of recent takeover robberies in the District, Councilmember Darryl Moore will be holding a meeting at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, May the 7th at the Frances Albrier Recreation Center to address concerns of neighborhood residents and business owners in the area. 

Who: Councilmember Darryl Moore
What: Community Crime Meeting
When: 7:00 PM on Wednesday, May the 7th
Where: Frances Albrier Recreation Center in San Pablo Park, 2800 Park Street between Russell and Ward Streets
Why: To discuss the recent takeover robberies and general escalation in crime
Tensions have been running high with a number of takeover robberies throughout April and the seasonal spike in vehicle and home burglaries, drug activity, graffiti and vandalism.  Councilmember Moore will be bringing representatives from Neighborhood Services and the Police Departments from both Berkeley and Oakland as well as a Deputy District Attorney to discuss crime issues, including whether or not the recent string of robberies in Berkeley is related to the series of robberies in Oakland and what type of cross-jurisdictional cooperation is occurring to assist in the resolution of the Berkeley robberies, as well as proactive steps that the Police Department and the City are taking to address the escalation in crime.

Sincerely, Ryan Lau council-aide to Darryl Moore


Our Good Vibrations has posted a private guard.


Two interesting observations surfaced at last Thursdays' Potter Creek crime watch meeting--an estimated 50% of Berkeley crime is committed by those outside Berkeley-non residents--and crime was down from last years' in the months just before the recent epidemic.


Natalie's First Communion was Sunday.



"Drunken row preceded student's fatal stabbing" report the Chronicle's Demian Bulwa and Peter Fimrite.

"Berkeley police are investigating how an alcohol-fueled argument outside a UC Berkeley sorority house Saturday ended in the fatal stabbing of a Cal student.

In the sorority's dark parking lot before 3 a.m. Saturday, two groups of young men were shouting profanities at each other, while women in the Chi Omega sorority were watching and screaming, "Stop! Stop!"

But it didn't stop until Christopher Wootton, a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity, staggered out of the group, fatally wounded by a knife.

Like that, the events of a few minutes ended the life of a promising engineering student and put a Berkeley City College student in jail on suspicion of murder."



"A useful business/government partnership" writes Chip Johnson in his Chronicle column.

"Merchants and property owners on the north edge of downtown Oakland are tired of waiting for scant city resources for security and streetscape improvements - so they have banded together and decided to help themselves.

Former Mayor Jerry Brown's vision to build an artsy uptown district packed with coffee shops, wine bars and restaurants is starting to take shape, with private citizens and businesses taking the lead.

One example is a unique arrangement between business owners and city officials, who have granted a new wine bar exclusive use of Franklin Square, a small piece of land that city officials say is excess public property, in exchange for $40,000 in city funds to improve and maintain it.

The deal was struck between wine bar owner Rick Mitchell, who also owns the popular Luka's Taproom & Lounge across the street."



"Pork, chicken prices may rise in next wave of food inflation" reports Ellen Simon of the AP.

"Americans may be getting another helping of food inflation, and it seems likely to come from higher prices for chicken and pork.

Overall food inflation could double this year, lifted by the rising costs of fuel, corn and soybeans, some analysts predict."


"What's cooking? Chili competition in Castro Valley" reports Karen Holzmeister.

"It's time for the annual showdown to find the best of the Bay.

Chili, that is.

In a break from tradition, the 17th tastebud-tingling Chili Cook-off - a prelude to the Rowell Ranch Rodeo - will be held Friday in the rodeo grounds in Dublin Canyon."


"US mortgage firm deal 'at risk'" reports BBC NEWS.

"A deal for Countrywide Financial, the third largest US mortgage lender, to sell itself to the Bank of America may be at risk, analysts have suggested.

The bank may renegotiate the deal or walk away completely, some say."









Potter Creek crime-watch-meeting

Thursday evening May 1st, there was a Potter Creek crime-watch-community-meeting hosted by our Councilman, Darryl Moore. It was held in the new meeting-room at the Ashby Lofts on 9th. The meeting began at just after 7:00 PM. Over 20 attended, about half of which were Loft residents. Ryan Lau, Officers Frankel and Buckheit, and Angela Gallegos-Castillo were also present.  

Councilman Moore opened the meeting with a short introduction and then turned it over to Officer Andrew Frankel. Officer Frankel began by reading a Berkeley PD report on west-Berkeley-crime that included a new restaurant robbery--the Subway shop on University, east of San Pablo. He then introduced our new Area Coordinator, Officer Karen Buckheit. 

Officer Andrew then opened the meeting to comments. 

Most vocal were the half-dozen or so loft-residents. They passionately expressed the belief that the Lofts were being watched by "shady characters." (An observation shared by employees of the Wells Fargo bank, immediately across from the housing facility. In fact, I was told the previous week by the employees that they noticed an increase in loitering in the neighborhood and that Wareham Security, responsible for patrolling the Wareham building and parking lot, had "moved along" people sitting in parked-cars in the lot.)  The residents told of dumping, vehicles being broken into, vandalism around the Lofts--including window-breaking and the theft of their security cameras, the theft of a vehicle and perceived drug dealing around the Lofts.   

A few other Potter Creek residents told of similar experiences, including a city truck giving a ride to "known trouble makers" on 10th Street the previous Saturday. 

The Loft residents were also concerned about the vacant lot on the buildings east as it seemed to draw "unsavory characters." They believed the auto-yard (Husteads) and the parked campers did the same. 

Angela then took the floor and explained some of our city's outreach programs and the Neighborhood Watch Program. Residents expressed great interest in the Watch, one man exclaiming "Let's start this Saturday!" (These folks like their brand-new facility and desperately want a larger police presence and a reduction of crime.) 

Our Rick expressed concern over Charles, a Potter Creek icon who has lived in the empty lot to the east of the building for years. Rick was assured by the residents that, though Charles had been "moved out," he was now being helped by one of the residents. 

The meeting adjourned with most present wanting something-to-be-done, and done-now, with many eager to help--not just talk.

a picture is worth a thousand words

but this one doesn't show the couple's child, where Andrew's looking,

having just burst into our meeting with a really urgent problem for mom and dad


couple more pictures

of our Thursday evening crime meeting are here



ACTIVSPACE crime-watch-meeting photos are here

Merryll's workshop PG&E service was opened and its wires cut.

A while back the copper mailboxes and downspouts were stolen from the8th and Carleton condos.


There is an increased police presence in Potter Creek right now.







A reader emails

I am trying to locate a lady mentioned in your posting for Feb 2007, Dorothy Mitchell-Irwin, who attended a garden party and reminisced about her Pearl Harbor experience. She was "down from Redlands," a 91-year-old cousin of "Sally," who hosted the party. I am researching the civilian contractor group that she worked for at Pearl and would very much like to contact Dorothy. If you can give me any other information about her, or perhaps a last name and contact info for her cousin, Sally, I'd sure appreciate it.

 Bonnie Gilbert

I forwarded this to Sally



Eternally useful links

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

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out 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.


Best gas prices in 94710, as well as all of US and Canada, are here at

Kimar finds Costco routinely has the lowest price.


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

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

Ryan Lau, aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120

Darryl Moore, City Councilman


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