December 2004




Seems the Kruse plumbers have a new found interest in paper work requiring them to spend more than the usual time in the office.


The house at 2817 8th is still for sale--too many contingencies for the developer, it seems.


The Café Cacao Open House photo-page is now complete--check it out.


For great Soul Food, check out "A Taste From God" at 16496 East 14th Street and 165th, San Leandro, 276-3830. I had the links-basket with potato salad and orange pop.




Bob Kubik reports that "The City Council will be meeting Tuesday night [December 7] to discuss further financial aid to the developer Jubilee Restoration. (Jubilee wants the city to guarantee a three million dollar loan to buy the property [at 2612 10th--in previous posts, 2600 San Pablo] )." See my 11/20/04 post for background.

Bob further reports that "next Wednesday night at 7:00 the San Pablo Neighborhood Association will devote an evening to this project--at the meeting hall in San Pablo Park. They are glad to have us . . . there. Their meetings are well conducted and informative."


Zelda Bronstein emailed reminding me that Kava is presenting his Berkeley Bowl project to the City of Berkeley Planning Commission Wednesday, December 15 at 7:00 PM. The meeting will be held at the WEST Berkeley Senior Center, 1900 Sixth Street at Hearst Avenue.

There is also a future meeting planned to consider amending the General Plan to accommodate his project.


Our Mayor's November report includes

Berkeley tax measures come up short and the City faces $7.5 million deficit for "earlier this month, voters turned down Berkeley Measures J, K, L and M - the tax measures that would have helped protect city services from budget cuts. In response, the City is beginning another round of belt tightening and service reductions. By the end of the December, the City will eliminate or reduce funding to 19 community agencies - including some youth, housing, and arts programs. In June, the Council will need to eliminate another $7.5 million from the General Fund budget. I respect the decision of the voters and hope that the conversation we began during the election season can continue as we set priorities and make cuts. I'll soon be asking for your help and advice as we plan for a very difficult budget year."

In the past five months the "Sustainable Business Working Group [of] nearly 100 people - representing businesses, UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, city government, community agencies, and other governmental bodies - joined to develop strategies and recommendations to build Berkeley's green economy . . . . On November 9th, the City Council unanimously adopted the recommendations from this group in principle."

According to the Mayor you can read this report here. However when I try, I get Error 404--seems right, somehow. I haven't read the report but only a few years ago Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory--one of the report's contributors--was storing low-level nuclear waste in the building at 7th and Pardee.




Ex-Potter Creek guy makes good.

"Committee members lavished praise on Berkeley architect Kava Massih, who gave the panel its first look at his plans for the new Berkeley Bowl planned for 920 Heinz Ave in West Berkeley" reports Richard Brenneman in the November 23rd Berkeley Daily Planet's"Design Panel Pans One Project, Offers Praise for Three Others."

Potter Creek lore has it that long ago and before our architect-elder-statesman gave Kava a break, another Potter Creeker steered Kava toward his old earthquake retrofitting biz. Hey Big Guy, how about some more green space and some aromatic Persian cuisine?

It'd be hip!


The Rickster was unable to find any reference to Jubilee Restoration in yesterday's newly released agenda for our City Council meeting of December 7th. He spent one and one-half hours looking.


Our Potter Creek CEID School needs computers. If you can donate one, contact Jill at It's a very worthy cause!




While receiving conflicting information about Jubilee Restoration's appearance at the December 7 City Council meeting, Bob Kubik received this email from the Mayor's office "Jubilee Restoration is tentatively scheduled to come back to Council twice in January. The HUD Section 108 Loan Guarantee for the Jubilee Village project at Parker and San Pablo is set for Jan. 11. Jubilee Restoration's social services contract is on Jan. 18. You should understand that these are two different issues though they are related because Jubilee is involved in both of them."

After more investigation, the Rickster is confident that Jubilee Restoration is not on the December 7 City Council agenda. "Of course, anything can be brought up."


The venerable John Curl emails "The West Berkeley Bowl project is scheduled for a Berkeley Planning Commission 'special' meeting Wednesday, December 15, 7:00 pm at the West Berkeley Senior Center, 1900 Sixth Street (at Hearst Avenue). This is the community's first important opportunity to weigh in on the issue of keeping traffic out of the neighborhood by having no vehicle assess from Heinz. At this meeting, after a presentation by the architect, Kava Massih, the planning commission is expected to set a public hearing for Wednesday, January 12."




Has insturment maker Pete Hurney lost his mind? Well, no more than usually.

More to follow.







Kruse Plumbing's Annual Christmans Rock Concert?

More to follow.




This week's meetings of note

There is a Berkeley City Council meeting, Tuesday, December 7th see the City of Berkeley Website for details.

The San Pablo Neighborhood Association will have a meeting about the Jubilee Village project at the Francis Albrier Community Center in San Pablo Park, 2800 Park Street on Wednesday, December 8 at 7:00 PM.







A Richmond Ramblers M. C. reader sent this holiday recipe.

"This is a wonderful recipe, and it's just in time for the Holidays. Enjoy!

With the holidays coming, here's a fruit cake recipe that will help
take the stress out of this normally stressful time.

1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups dried fruit
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
3 ounces lemon juice
1 cup of nuts

First, sample the vodka to check for freshness. Take a large bowl.
Check the vodka again to be sure it is of the highest quality.


Turn on the electric mixer, beat 1 cup of butter in a large fluffy
Add water, eggs and 1 tsp. sugar and beat again.

Make surr the vodca is still OK. Cry another tup. Turn off mixers.
Chuck in the cup of dried fruitt or something.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets struck on the beaterers, pry it loose with a

Sample the vodka to check for tonsistancity. Next, sniff 2 cups of
salt. Or . . . Who cares? Check the vodka. Now sniff the lemon juice
and strain nuts.
Add one Table.

Of sugar. Whatever.
Grease the oven.
Turn the cake ttin 350 degrees.
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Whip the bowl out the window.
Check the vidka again.

Ah, . . . forget it. Nobody likes fruitcake anyway."


There are many artists and crafts people in Potter Creek. They are now having open studios. Check them out!

Our firehouse -- B.F.D. Fire Station 1 -- collects gifts for children during these Holidays. The firehouse is at 2442 8th Street and you can drop off gifts there anytime. You might also drop off something for our firemen and firewomen.





Yesterday, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was asked by a Spec-4 Guardsman why his vehicles going to Iraq did not have the proper armor. On October 30, 2003 I posted "Do our troops in Iraq have the proper equipment? Well, there's a vehicle available specifically for internal security operations and we don't have it. It offers much greater protection than our soft skinned HUMVEEs. It is the Reumech OMC Casspir. A writer for Jane's offers 'A unique feature of the Casspir is that it has been designed to give its crew a high degree of protection against anti-tank mines and for this reason the vehicle has a very high ground clearance with the hull having a V-shape to help deflect the blast from any mines.' More information and a photo are at Jane's Land Forces."


Bob Kubik emails "It appears that Jubilee [Restoration] will try to sell the Tenth St. portion which is zoned 'mixed use' to another developer, and take a lower profile as it lets its big developer partner take the lead with the commercially zoned San Pablo frontage."

Other sources have confirmed that at this moment, Jubilee Village will not be built and weeks ago Kimar, on seeing their handout, wise-cracked "It'll never happen!"




Scrambled Eggs Babe of the Year July-December 2004

Potter Creek's newest citizen, Milo What's-His-Name.





Kimar emailed the results of a San Francisco Chronicle dark chocolate test. Scharffen Burger Bittersweet came in second. First place was given to Dagoba Dark, an organic dark from Oregon--around $2.25 an ounce from Whole Foods.

Martin Snapp of the "West County Times" offers a too-long-in-returning "Christmas Tradition Enjoys Rebirth." Sundar Shadi's Christmas display is back thanks to, among other volunteers, members of the E.C.F.D.





This week's meetings of note

Kava Massih Architects email

"This week there are two scheduled meetings for the proposed West Berkeley Bowl project.

Planning Commission: [Wednesday,] December 15th at 7:00.
Meeting location: West Berkeley Senior Center, 1900 Sixth Street. West Berkeley Bowl is on the agenda to discuss the project and give a review presentatiion.

Design Review: [Thursday,] December 16th at 7:30.
Meeting location: North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Avenue. This is the second meeting for Preliminary Design Review."




A friend of Potter Creek's Janine Johnson is Eileen Moderbacher. A fine art painter, her show at the Mill Valley Community Center has been censored--foam covers being placed over some of her paintings by the Art Commision with block letters reading CENSORED. Janine emails "I spoke to Eileen Moderbacher today, regarding the censored paintings and was surprised to find out which ones they were, as I have seen them before! They had four complaints from parents. . . . The big pieces removed are a series of four paintings (which are the very ones that got Eileen into the show in the first place . . . ) I think they are quite beautiful and mysterious. [They make up] a night scene, with a big rig in the background, running and taillights glowing. Each painting has progressively more people (or bodies depending on your interpretation) lying face down on the ground. No blood. Very serene. They could easily be asleep, . . . I don't know. It is a show called 'Cruisin' America', after all. I never asked Eileen what her intention was with the people, as it would spoil the mystery. The people are fully clothed. There is no obscenity. The other painting which was covered I could understand a little better, as it was of a fist fight in the street. . . . The fact of the matter is that the Commission did not adhere to their contract, but removed the paintings (later rehung and covered) without saying a word to Eileen. She arrived for her opening show . . . to find the paintings gone! Very bad. Very weird, too. The paintings are mild, and darkly pretty."

"Report Forecasts effects of Bay Area 'Smart Growth'" writes Kiley Russell in this morning's West County Times. "Smart growth is an urban planning philosophy that calls for cities to focus higher density development around transportation hubs and existing urban areas, among other things, to reduce commute times, preserve open space and create neighborhoods with a mix of residential, commercial and retail uses." Conversations with some of Potter Creek's "activists" lead me to believe that they are not enthused. Perhaps being an activist too long is like a politician being in office to long. Of course the beauty of our Democracy is that we can vote the rascals out. Perhaps we should elect our community activists.

Channel 2 reported on Potter Creek's Berkeley Bowl project this morning. Interviewing people at our Broom Brush the reporter concluded that the traffic issues will be resolved and that a Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl would be a good thing.

Well OK then.


And remember the venerable John Curl emailed on 12/4/04

"The West Berkeley Bowl project is scheduled for a Berkeley Planning Commission 'special' meeting Wednesday, December 15, 7:00 pm at the West Berkeley Senior Center, 1900 Sixth Street (at Hearst Avenue). This is the community's first important opportunity to weigh in on the issue of keeping traffic out of the neighborhood by having no vehicle assess from Heinz. At this meeting, after a presentation by the architect, Kava Massih, the planning commission is expected to set a public hearing for Wednesday, January 12."


The inimitable Rickster adds

". . . tell folks that the ONLY official chance to speak to the Bowl issues will be at the open mike period at 7:00 because this is not a public hearing, but a presentation from Kava and a staff report. A turnout by the neighborhood for this is IMPORTANT [caps mine]. During their discussion, commissioners can ask individuals in the audience their opinions but this is rare and generally discouraged so the only real chance to speak is at the beginning."




Our Bill of Rights became law on this date in 1791.

Former Planning Commission Chair Zelda Bronstein is passionate about community involvement. In an email she advocates "that the community. . . step up to the mike at public comment [in tonight's Planning Commission meeting} and ask that the Planning Commission reject the staff recommendation to hold a public hearing on this project in January and instead institute [a] community-based planning process that should have been running from the start, instead of huddling for two years behind closed doors with the applicant. . . . the proposed General Plan amendments [should be made] . . . in consultation with everyone who has something at stake--not just the property owner and his developer. As Rick [Mr. Auerbach] points out, public hearings don't allow for any dialogue. It's just speak for your three minutes, then sit down and be quiet until spoken to by a Commissioner. The community needs a format . . . that encourages dialogue among interested parties. [The Community should ask for] meetings in West Berkeley 2005 run by city staff--not by Kava the applicant's representative."

Well OK then.

My sense is that another script has already been written--perhaps by those like The-Suits planning west-Berkeley's future at the table next to me in the Bakery Cafe a year or so ago.

The Rickster shall hence forth be referred to as Mr. Auerbach--or not.

Richmond Ramblers Motorcycle Club member Cliff Miller sends this from a 1954 "Mechanics Illustrated"




"Critics in a Lather over Berkeley Workers' Health Club Deal" write Matier and Ross at


The December Mayor's report includes

"It is critically important that the City Council, city staff, and members of the community have an accurate understanding of how the city government is performing. Through the work of the City Auditor, annual budget review and workshops, and other steps, Berkeley does regularly review performance in many areas. However, other cities have moved towards a more complete review of service performance throughout city operations. The cities of Portland, Oregon and Palo Alto, California both conduct annual reports on city government that use a variety of quantitative and measurements to gauge performance. In October, the Council unanimously adopted my recommendation that the City examine doing a similar performance review here in Berkeley."

"In another step towards reclaiming our position as a national environmental leader, the City adopted a new purchasing policy that requires environmental attributes be taken into account before new purchases are made. The new policy is rooted in the Council's recently adopted 'Precautionary Principle,' which helps guide the City towards policies and procedures that minimize the threat to public, employee, and environmental health. The City's analysis found that it costs no more to buy environmentally preferable products, and in some cases, costs less. 'We thought the change would cost more money and take more time, and in fact, found quite the opposite,' said Rene Cardinaux, director of public works."

Speaking of green, and since charity begins at home, how about finding out what that green ooze is that forms a puddle in, and during our rainy season overflows onto, Ashby Avenue in the East-bound lane just after the railroad overpass?


"Activist Teens Prove Caring for World is Part of Youth" is a heartening report in this morning's West County Times and "Home of Perata's Son is Searched" is not.




Lipofsky reports that Wednesday's Planning Commission meeting was pretty much on script with Kava's presentation, and even with the activist's views presented on open-mike and residents expressing fears over increased traffic. (But he wasn't sure about Kava's new doo.) And Marvin, a Potter Creek resident for years, wasn't so sure that terminal fears over traffic represented Potter Creek as a whole. Of course there's no way of now knowing for sure. But a fairly conducted survey could give an accurate view of the fears and of their nature.

Of the same meeting, Zelda Bronstein, now activist and journalist emails "The overwhelming majority of speakers professed enthusiasm about a neighborhood grocery store but extreme apprehension about the regional supermarket that's being proposed. Many people called for a public workshop that would allow an open dialogue over traffic, parking, pollution, noise and other issues instead of the public hearing recommended by City Staff. The legal authority of a public hearing would add momentum to an approval process that has taken on the dimensions of a steamroller. Unfortunately, the Planning Commission voted for a public hearing--albeit one formatted along the lines of a workshop, and one that could (and should) last more than one evening. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, January 12."


What does Potter Creek think of its proposed Berkeley Bowl? Frankly, right now no one really knows. Rather than listening to reporters, activists, meeting attendees or ole farts, have a professional survey taken. After all, reporters have deadlines, activists, agendas, meeting attendance is self-selecting and old farts, . . . well. If a survey is not taken, all is conjecture--some informed, some not. Want to know what Potter Creekers really feel? Ask them. Until then, as my Working-Class, Ole man, Max would say, we are all just "pissing into the wind."


One of the Buttercup favorites in the '70s, were Granny Fenster cookies. Thought to be from a relative of mine, in fact, their recipe was found by manager, Mary Guenther in a 1940s Wisconsin Gas and Electric Cook Book--the Gas Company's. Further confusing their origin, during one of the first bakes, Haley, unknown to me, taped a large handwritten sign to my back reading GRANNY FENSTER

Granny Fenster Cookies

pre heat oven to 375

1 cup Butter (2 sticks)
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Raspberry Jam, Dickinson's seedless (sometimes strawberry is used)
2 cups fairly finely chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in yolks and vanilla. Gradually add flour and salt until blended. refrigerate 1 hr.
Shape into 1" balls, roll in beaten egg whites (left over from the yolks used in cookies), then roll in chopped pecans. Place on lightly oiled cookie sheet, (I use parchment paper, you can use nonstick spray also) about 2" apart, gently make indentation.
Bake 5 minutes, remove from oven, you may need to press the indentation again, fill with jam and bake another 10 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen


You really can make a difference and San Francisco Chronicle reporter, Meredith May does. Read her"California Charter School Chiefs Held in Finance Probe" at


CBS News reports that Holiday sales are up only because the high-end retailers are doing much better than last year but the low end-stores are doing significantly worse, Stores like Target, K-Mart and Walmart are down five to ten percent. There's a lesson there, somewhere.

"Well OK then."


Target is selling an AUDIOVOX portable disc player for $9.99--get one! Used with my SONY in-ear phones, the sound is as good as my $100.00 Sony disc player. Ah, . . . consumer capitalism.

During a discussion about Bernie Kerik's withdrawn nomination as head of Homeland Security on the PBS News Hour, one of the commentators wondered if cheating on your mistress was a violation of Family Values.




Tony Hicks of the West County Times profiles KPFA's Roy Campanella II. Though Campanella has no radio experience, he did produce episodes of TV's "Lou Grant."

Is Racism a part of Jubilee Restoration's problem--of course.

A female bicyclist was seriously injured in an accident with a big-rig at 7th and Carelton before 8:00 AM this morning. Berkeley PD was still on the scene at 11:30AM.








Jill Ellis emails "CEID is installing a Pediatric Audiology Suite today and we have a very large garbage bin out front. If you need to dump extra trash please feel free to do so. We ask that you not dump any illegal materials--paint, oil, etc. It will be picked up on Wednesday, so have at it!

All of us at CEID wish you a very happy holiday season."


Berkeley PD reports that on Monday December 20 at 7:30 AM a hit and run accident between and bicyclist and a tractor-semi-trailer occurred on the corner of 7th and Carleton. The cyclist--a female--was taken to the hospital with critical--life threatening--injuries. The truck and truck driver were found by police and the driver was arrested for felony hit and run.



Zelda Bronstein emails concerning the Berkeley Bowl Planning Commision meeting in January "community members [should] send all their questions and concerns [about Potter Creek's Berkeley Bowl] to John Curl at John will forward [them] to the Planning Commission. Timing is crucial--public hearings are required to be noticed two weeks in advance. . . . the notice for the public hearing will be sent out on December 24 at the latest. By then, the agenda and format of the public hearing will also have been determined."





Potter Creek gardens on Christmas Eve


Some of Berkeley's best traditional Christmas decorations are found on Wallace Street between Ward and Russell--this year the festive lighting has spread to many of the surrounding streets. (Wallace is just east of, and parallel to, San Pablo Avenue.) Though the decorations are not in Potter Creek they're close, just a few blocks walk. And, this year there some good decorations in Potter Creek itself.









Our Person of the Year, 2004 is Bob Kubik--he made a difference. He is followed closely by "Irish" Steve Dunn, who also made a difference.

A Lifetime Award goes to "Flash."

If I'd selected a Person of the Year for 2003 it would have been "Jerry the Recycler." Regularly seen in Potter Creek with his shopping cart full of things that he'd picked up here and there, Jerry could see value in what others had thrown away. The last I saw of him he had a healing razor-cut across his forehead, . . . and I haven't seen him this year. Jerry loved to talk with his hands and I shot a roll of color during one of our evening conversations, hoping to capture his excitment and their beautiful purpleblack. I blew the roll. Jerry also knew a whole lot about all sides of Potter Creek and would share it gladly, . . . often with aggitation.


Andrew La Mar's "Perata's Troubles Stuff of Dreams" starts out as a story about Dapper Don and finishes as a important primer in local, city and state politics--it contains a VERY informative chart. Read it in the West County Times!





Bob Kubik emails "I would nominate Jill Ellis the Executive Director of the Center for the Education of the Infant Deaf. She brought that great institution and all the good work it does to our neighborhood [and] a fine building that fits well into its site."






Deep Winter

in Potter Creek



Former Potter Creek resident Edward "Fast Eddie" Saylan has died. Though the Nazi's couldn't shoot him down over Europe in WW II, The Reaper finally caught up with the big-hearted, tough-guy yesterday morning.


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