SEPTEMBER 2007

 

Really, just who is this chil'?

He's Jack, Steve Smith's boy

 

 

 

9/1/07

Ben, Natalie, Tracy and Morgan have a Cal Banner hanging from an upstairs window.

 

Dozens and dozens and dozens of working artists in Potter Creek? I'd nominate all the men and women at Tippett Studios. They are not only artists but computer graphicists and . . . magicians.

And, just what are they working on now?

Scheduled for release on November 21 this year is Disney's Enchanted. Of it imdb writes

A classic Disney fairytale collides with modern-day New York City in
a story about a fairytale princess (Amy Adams) from the past who is
thrust into present-day by an evil queen (Susan Sarandon). Soon after
her arrival, Princess Giselle begins to change her views on life and
love after meeting a handsome lawyer (Patrick Dempsey). Can a
storybook view of romance survive in the real world?

In one scene, Prince Edward rides a bus through Times Square. In the
background a large poster can be seen advertising the musical play
"Wicked," which originally featured Idina Menzel, who plays Nancy in
"Enchanted," in the starring role.

Much more here.

 

And based on the Philip Pullman novel adapted by Chris Weitz, is Golden Compass. Again, from imdb

In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North
to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible
experiments by a mysterious organization. In leading roles are Nicole Kidman
and Daniel Craig.

It is scheduled for release 7, December this year.

More here.

 

Finally, the project for which Tippett Studios needs a generator to power additional computors is Spiderwicke, based on the Spiderwicke Chronicles, a series of childrens' books about which mumsnet writes
"Surely the Lemony Snicket books are the best books EVER to read aloud to your children?"

Read about these books here.

There is a SERIOUS year-end deadline for this project.

 

 

 

"Group says [Berkeley] steel plant emits toxic metal traces: Global Community Monitor contends tests show manganese, nickel from Pacific Steel Casting" reports Doug Oakley of our Times.

"Pacific Steel Casting is showering West Berkeley's skies with toxic metal traces that can cause cancer and neurological problems, according to a group of activists who have been monitoring air around the plant since May.

Global Community Monitor, a nonprofit environmental justice group based in San Francisco, started monitoring the air with a $25,000 grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The group released preliminary data Tuesday from 12 air monitoring sites around Pacific Steel Casting, which has been making steel parts such as fire hydrants, truck parts and bridge pieces in Berkeley since 1934. It found levels of manganese and nickel much higher than those deemed safe by the World Health Organization and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.

The group plans to continue monitoring through December, director Denny Larson said.

Larson and consultant Peter Guerrero called on Pacific Steel to shut down the plant or install additional pollution-control devices."

 

Pacific Steel Casting is featured in Zelda Bronstein's beautifully crafted mini-film about west-Berkeley manufacturing, Made in Berkeley. Also featured in her film are Potter Creek's Adams and Chittinden Scientific Glass and John Phillips, Harpsichord Maker.

 

 

Our Councilman, Darryl Moore emails about Labor Day crime in Potter Creek.

Ron,

We have sent your concern to our areawide police officer Officer Frankel. I have asked the police department to provide greater service to the Potter Creek neighborhood during the Labor Day weekend.

Darryl

 

 

 

 

9/2/07

Block Party today!

The 2800 block of 9th is closed for a barbecue between 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM--food and free music. It is being put on by the work-live units on 9th and Grayson.

 

Doc wants to know whaz up with Retromobilia? No website, no info?

And Susan Wengraf emails

Ron,
Can you please send me the link for the motorcycle event on Fourth St? I have a friend who is very interested and can't find the original info. Thanks very much.
Susan Wengraf

 

First day of École Bilingue's Fall Semester is Tuesday, September 4 with classes beginning at 8:30 AM. They ask for the neighbors' patience with their increased traffic between 8:00 AM --8:30 AM and 3:30 PM--4:00 PM. And, they're organizing carpools.

 

 

Acme has installed solar panels on the roof of the old welder's building.

Tippett is working on the roof-ventilating-units on the building they lease from Kava.

 

Right now Canned Food has in stock, Ben & Jerry's ice cream bars, Ball Park franks, and Johnsonville mild Italian sausages.

 

In a nationwide ESPN interview during the Second Quarter of the Cal/Tennesse game, a University of California official said bottom line, the new sports faciltiy will be built in the Oak Grove, probably off-season.

 

 

Ryan Lau emails to Bob Kubik about Tippett's generator

Hi Bob,
Just to give you the latest. We found out what the situation is on Tippett's side. Apparently they had some major PG&E equipment failure and were required to reduce the amperage that they were drawing from the grid. They were unable to get the turnaround that they needed in order to avoid shutting down the operation, so they had to install an emergency generator to satisfy their power demands, especially during these warm months when the grid is already heavily burdened. Darryl and the Mayor's office are working closely with PG&E toward expediting the service request and we are also working with planning to see what we can do about dampening the sound from the generator. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are working towards a speedy and positive resolution for all involved. Thank you for your patience Bob.

Sincerely,
Ryan Lau

 

Bob Kubik replies

Thanks for the follow up. And thanks for what Tippett is putting out as the cause of this problem. Their story is disingenuous at best! Now here is what really happened...
Over the last several years Tippett has been installing more and more computers in this building and also more air conditioning on the roof to cool the computers. Each piece of equipment is clearly labeled, by law, with the power it demands. One need only add up all of these power demands to see what the overall power demand is. Prudent practice is to do that when adding new equipment and compare that with what the utility service can safely supply. Then, when demand nears supply one asks the utility IN ADVANCE to upgrade the service. It appears that Tippett did none of this, but rather waited until they smelled smoke from charring insulation to realize their situation! This was actually a very dangerous situation that could easily have caused a fire which might have spread to the surrounding houses.
They seem to now be blaming PG&E for their lack of prudent planning. PG&E had no way of knowing what equipment Tippett was installing or when it would be turned on. It isn't PG&Es business to know when you turn on your computer(s) or how many you have!

 

 

 

 

 

9/3/07

Today is Labor Day

 

And a week ago Saturday was Cal Players Day

Our Natalie, Ben, and . . . Justin Forsett

 

 

Great Block Party yesterday held by the work/live folks on 9th--good food, music and pretty much 40 people at all times. At which, Lipofsky smart-cracked about Cal's 45-31 victory over Tennessee "Not this much excitement in Potter Creek since the Berkeley Bowl."

 

 

And, lots of stuff about our Bears here.

 

 

 

"Coffee revolutionary, Peet's founder dies at 87: Netherlands native brought specially roasted beans to Bay Area"
reports Blanca Torres of our Times.

"There was a time when most people were content drinking mediocre coffee. Cup by cup, Alfred Peet helped change that."

 

 

 

Last Monday, August 27th there was a meeting of west-Berkeley neighbors to discuss the proposed Community Benefit District for west-Berkeley. This district, according to its proponents "shall fund all of the services not provided by the City of Berkeley." These funds are to be raised by a weighted assessment based on property size and are to be paid along with, and at the same time, as the Property Tax. The proposed services are in the nature of security, transportation and maintenance. These services, and District policy in general, are determined by weighted vote based on property size.

The meeting was sponsored by an expanded Potter Creek Neighborhood Association, now an ad hoc group of Sarah, Rick and a dozen or so members--the usual suspects. The meeting was held in the École Bilingue facility on 9th and Heinz and began just after 7:00 and lasted until just after 9:00. Slightly over 100 attended, most from from the proposed District, including Michael Goldin and other Benefit District advocates. Notice of the meeting was given largely through leaflets, the area being canvassed by about a dozen leafleteers including non-resident, Zelda Bronstein. This new ad hoc group is called the West Berkeley Concerned Neighbors.

The meeting was chaired by Suzanne Herring, the owner of Potter Creek's Aerosol Dynamics. After Suzanne's introductory remarks, Sarah and Rick presented their group position which is outlined in detail in their op-ed pieces in our Planet--a link to Rick's can be found in my 8/4/07 post and a link to Sarah's in my 7/30/07 post.

After their presentation, Suzanne opened the meeting to discussion. (Of the 100 or so present I gauged roughly 65% to be residents and 35% to be business owners. About 30 of those present spoke.) Comments wove into these threads; the residents were not consulted and this was being imposed upon them, the weighted voting placed power in the hands of a few large land-holders, the City already provides services or should, as taxes are paid to the City for services. Also mentioned was that the assessment could be passed onto renters/lessors who would have no vote what-so-ever. There was general agreement among the speakers that no one wants more taxes and that they did not want to be part of the District. (Margret Elliott offered fact-filled, fresh comments. A link to her Planet letter which expands on her comments is here.) Often these opposition speakers were greeted with to-the-barricades applause.

Several advocates spoke, foremost Michael Goldin who said it was his intent to bring the community together through the Benefits District and that small property owners had been notified and invited to participate, that the services the District were proposing were needed, and that the City could not afford them--this was from first hand experience here as a resident, that an informal group had already met and cleaned up the railway rite-of-way which included a substantial $100,000 outlay from the Northern Pacific Railroad, and further that the group, including our Councilman Darryll Moore, had worked to reduce abuses by campers in west-Berkeley, and finally, that the Benefits District could have been better explained. He received no to-the barricades applause, though after he spoke the applause for others lessened somewhat.

Suzanne wound the meeting down about 8:30 and people left a little after 9:00 talking-together in small groups.

Though an emotional meeting it was by-and-large, civil.

There will be another meeting of the West Berkeley Concerned Neighbors, Monday, September 10 at 7:00 PM in the 9th and Heinz, École Bilingue Campus.

The Community Benefits District advocates are planning a mid-September public meeting to explain the district in detail.

 

Was this two hours of genuine grass-roots democracy or political theater? The activists are directors, no doubt. Still, there is a genuine and almost fully emotional resentment against what some small property owners perceive as being told what to do by land-Barons.

And so, they are, according to Karl Marx, class conscious.

 

 

 

 

 

9/4/07

Quote of the week on raising taxes, from an old Boston ward-politician as told to a young Barney Frank, now Massachusetts US Representative. "Kid, haven't you heard the news? Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die."

 

École Bilingue has a new combination-gate-lock on their 8th and Grayson playground-gate. The old access combination no longer works. And, over the long weekend a dozen or so Potter Creek residents were not able to get in thru the gate and play. This included David W; Tracy, Ben and Natalie; and me.

 

 

So, we decided yesterday afternoon to go down to Aquatic Park to read and relax in the shade. What I forgot is that the park is a Disc-Golf Course. We moved twice to get out of players' ways and thought we'd found safe haven behind a clump of bushes on a knoll, when a disc hooked around the corner and slammed into the ground some few feet from my head. We moved three more times before finding a sheltered spot in a grove of trees.

There are nude male sun-bathers in the south-end of the Park--beyond rude.

 

Our Sarah stopped running in the park after encountering an otherwise completely nude man dressed in women's undergarments.

 

 

"Berkeley rejects UC sports complex settlement: City officials say they turned down deal because it didn't address concerns" reports Kristin Bender of our Times. "City Council members late Tuesday shot down a proposal from UC Berkeley to settle a lawsuit over the university's plan to build a $125 million sports training center on a site straddling the Hayward fault.

The council voted -- 7-1 with one abstention -- against the settlement offer after a short closed-session meeting. It was a speedy vote on a proposal the university made earlier Tuesday."

 

 

More a celebration of Marin music culture than a business story, Joel Selvin writes "Renowned record store fading out: Legends, fans say bluesy goodbyes to Mill Valley's Village Music.

Joe Burgess, who used to live in Marin County 20 years ago, has come down from Truckee for one last visit to Mill Valley's Village Music, scheduled to close at the end of the month after more than 60 years
in business.

Burgess buys a couple of Village Music T-shirts sporting the familiar logo - a cartoon of Cab Calloway - and an old-fashioned long-player, 'The Best of the Pilgrim Travelers,' even though he admits he no longer owns a turntable and has all his other albums in storage.

'You're the reason I'm going out of business,' says owner John Goddard, not unpleasantly."

 

Fuzzy-warm nostalgia aside, John's out of business and I'm not. Fact is, there is an active world-market in collectible LPs with hobbyists in India, China, Argentina, Kuwait, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Germany and many, many other countries.

 

 

Portland based ScanianKemperBardCos bought the Berkeley Tower, a building on the corner of University and Shattuck.

 

 

 

 

 

9/7/07

Geralyn emails

Aloha,

Just a reminder that the San Francisco Ukulele Festival is
this weekend.

Jake Shimabukuro will be at Herbst Theater on Friday, September 7th.

Free music festival on Saturday, September 8th at Yerba Buena Gardens
from 11am to 4pm.

These events are associated with the Museum of Craft and Folk Art's
exhibit "Evolution of the Ukulele: The Story of Hawaii's Jumping
Flea", which will be on view through October 21.

A hui hou,
Geralyn

 

 

Curious that Bayer always and often, grooms and trims lawn and growth inside their barbed-wired compound but the shrubbery around their parking lot on 8th and Dwight is overgrown and unkept--in fact blocks the side-walk.

 

And the shrubbery, sidewalk, and street surrounding the French-American School on 8th and Grayson could use some maintenance. Of course, that's seen through German-American eyes.

 

"Coastal cleanup event open to all" reports Ned Mackay in his Times column.

"On Saturday, Sept. 15, thousands of volunteers will join in California's big annual Coastal Cleanup Day, removing trash and debris, much of it dangerous to wildlife, from beaches and shorelines throughout the state. If you'd like to help out, there are several local shore areas that will be part of the effort."

 

 

The AHA project on 9th and Ashby looks about ready for occupancy.

 

 

The trucks hauling dirt from the Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl excavation often exit onto Ashby thru the temporarily opened 9th Street, reducing traffic in Potter Creek. Well, Ok then.

 

 

"Merchants feeling trampled by Stroll, business association: Some Berkeley shopkeepers upset they pay BID dues but don't see additional revenue during the annual event" writes Martin Snapp in our Times.

The theme of the 33rd annual Solano Stroll this Sunday is 'Going Green -- It's Easy.' But some merchants on the Berkeley end of the street are seeing red.

A handful of businesses are planning to boycott the event, which draws more than a quarter of a million people each year. The decision culminates a year of division that has gripped the Solano Avenue Association, with several Berkeley merchants complaining that they've seen little return from the money they've pumped into the organization.

 

Let me see if I understand this. Berkeley merchants are boycotting a stroll in the sun celebtrating Green because they won't make enough money.

 

 

And, another Berkeley business owner is concerned about profit in Doug Oakley's "Tilden Park newt protection stirs debate. Part owner of Redwood Valley Railway says road closures costs her business thousands of visitors a year.

Ellen Thomsen thinks newts are cute, but closing a road in Tilden Regional Park for six months to save them from being run over is going way too far."

 

 

"Sea breeze to improve hazy East Bay skies: Haze from Moonlight fire in Plumas County still will linger a
little bit longer, officials say"
reports Scott Marshall in our Times.

"A sea breeze is expected to begin flushing the East Bay skies of wildfire smoke today, but the haze will hang around to some extent."

 

 

"State air board lists new emissions rules for 2010: Proposed regulations would be part of an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction law scheduled for the years ahead" writes Mike Zapler in the Times.

"Environmental regulators on Thursday proposed a slate of new emissions rules for the semiconductor, trucking and port industries -- measures designed to kick start the state's compliance with an ambitious greenhouse gas reduction law."

The new rules, which would go into effect in 2010, are among the first steps the state plans to take under AB 32, the far-reaching global warming legislation that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed last year."

The measures released Thursday by the state Air Resources Board represent just a sliver of the overall reductions needed to reach the law's greenhouse gas targets -- a roughly 25 percent reduction by 2020 -- but environmentalists nonetheless said the proposals represent a solid step forward."

 

 

"Office property may fall"
report Hui-yong Yu and David M. Levitt in the Times.

"U.S. commercial real estate prices may fall as much as 15 percent in the next year in the broadest decline since the 2001 recession as rising borrowing costs force property owners to accept less or postpone sales."

It also may not--this is NOT a news story.

 

 

Today's Racing the Republic Seminar information is

here and here

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/8/07

Labor Day weekend in Potter Creek was peaceful with lots of folks out walking, biking, skate-boarding, rollerskating and playing.

 

 

Tippett's behind-Bob-and-Carol's-generator is now fitted with a high exhaust stack--and for a while now has been running in what looks like a large shipping container.

 

 

In keeping with the better-late-than-never, Kruse Plumbing's August 22 Green Chamber of Commerce mixer was a smashing success with about 80 people in attendance from all over the Bay Area. It lasted three hours and began with Dave Kruse introducing founder James Carter who spoke about the organizations' goals--food and drinks were served.

Diana Whitehead, Kruse' Controller organized the event. Diana is also a member of the Green Chamber's Board of Directors. For information about the the Green Chamber check out www.greenchamberofcommerce.net. They plan to meet every 2 months.

 

 

Tulip Graphics has leased warehouse space across from Consolidated Printing.

 

 

Bill from Mobility Systems stopped by yesterday morning. In addition to providing transportation for the disabled for decades, Bill raced dirt cars in 1980s/90s. I've been trying to get photos of those days from him--he's still looking.

 

 

Our new mailwoman starts this week.

 

 

Claudia emails

Ron
Thanks for pointing out the landscaping needs at the French School's play yard. Sometimes I feel that I am being "attacked" by all those long vines and low tree branches and was hoping that with school starting that they would do something about that. That plus it simply looks so unkempt.
Claudia Kawczynska

 

Don Yost emails

Ron

Check out the DaSilva Ukulele Co. web site. Go to the schedules for this
Sunday and scroll down to Kimo's info. This should be a great event . . . either the
workshop or the concert.
Don

 

 

About a film edited in Potter Creek's Fantasy Studios Patricia Yollin writes " The making of a feel-good film: 2 Bay Area women trace the (shocking) history of vibrators

Bay Area filmmakers Wendy Slick and Emiko Omori never imagined that it would take more than seven years to make a documentary about one electrical appliance. They were wrong.

Their subject was the history of vibrators.

'Wendy and I both came out of the sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll
generation,' Omori said. 'We thought we knew it all. We hardly knew
anything.'"

I met Wendy and Emiko at lunch a week or so ago at 900 GRAYSON. I was with Marvin and Ruth, and Emiko, a friend of Ruth stopped at our table.

Marvin and Ruth were having Grayson Burgers.

 

900's Demon Lover recipe should be widely available soon--it's their waffle, fried-chicken and gravy.

 

 

I understand that Zelda Bronstein has requested information from the City about our proposed Community Benefit District under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/9/07

Marvin Lipofsky just had a Birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY you Ole Fart!

Find out a lot more about Marvin here.

And maybe more than you want to here.

 

 

There will be a meeting of the ad hoc committee opposing the west-Berkeley Community Benefit District, tomorrow, Monday, September 10 at 7:00 PM in the École Bilingue 9th and Heinz Campus. Organizer, Sarah Klise stresses that she wants the meeting to form a PLAN OF ACTION.

 

 

"We have met the enemy and he is us" Pogo.

 

 

 

 

 

9/10/07

Yesterday I talked to Amy for a while, a Potter Creek resident for a year and a half who is leasing a condo with her roomate in Kava's 8th Sreet complex. During our conversation she explained what she liked best about Potter Creek in order; it's quiet at night; there are lots of good restaurants here--she's a gourmet who has taken advanced cooking-classes; and there are great neighbors--we are friendly, helpful, etc.

What she doesn't like is the crime and vandalism. Even with her two dogs she doesn't feel safe walking at night in all parts of Potter Creek, and cars of residents in her and surrounding complexes are broken into regularly. Then, there was the "strange woman" at the corner of 8th and Heinz who bated her dogs last week.

She had to leave after ten-or-so minutes for her Italian roomate's folks were here from Italia and all were going to the Napa Valley for a Sunday afternoon of food and wine.

 

 

Seen at 900 during lunch today were Margret and David, Phil Tippett and guest, the Fantasy crew, and many more.

 

 

"Berkeley may tell U-Haul to pack it up: Neighbors are 'pretty much fed up' with parking problems caused by too many trucks in the lot" reports Doug Oakley of our Times.

"Berkeley may soon close the U-Haul on San Pablo Avenue after trying for 10 years to get the business to stop parking trucks on public streets.

"Neighbors have complained that overflow trucks from the business block their driveways and take up street parking."

 

 

Miltiades emails about the aftermath of his west-Oakland community meeting

Victor Ochoa, Dellums' Deputy Chief of Staff, who showed up in the mayor's stead at the West Oakland community meeting I organized in July and who made the comment that he wasn't aware that the MLK corridor was a particularly crime-ridden area - a comment which was reported in the press (by Chip Johnson) has been canned, along with Dellums' former press secretary. We all hope the "reorganization" has a salutory effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/11/07

Isa

Preparing to leave Mexico City for France, there to begin her Doctoral program.

Isa emails

I'm working so much right now, I need to finish my thesis, but that's
ok because I'm leaving in a month !
I'm sending you a few pictures taken during the last months.
Love and respect,
Isa

Perhaps a recipe will follow from Paris.

 

 

"French School Celebrates 30 Years" reports Riya Bhattacharjee in our Planet.

"Merci is a word that's thrown around quite a bit at Ecole Bilingue, East Bay's oldest bilingual school, and it's not just because its 500-odd students have a lot to thank their teachers for.

Conversational French is encouraged at this private French-American institution located in West Berkeley, and teachers, students and parents can be spotted talking fluent French at any given point of the day."

 

 

"Fiddling around in Berkeley: Fifth annual fest celebrates American music -- and irreverence" reports our Times.

It might be thousands of miles away from the Blue Ridge Mountains, but beginning Thursday, Berkeley's going to sound a lot like the heart of Appalachia.

Dozens of local and visiting performers and their fans will descend on venues throughout the city for the fifth annual Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, a free-wheeling celebration of early American music."

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/12/07

Last Saturday, Pete and Geralyn attended the Jake Shimabukuro ukulele performance at Herbst Theater in San Francisco. After the concert, Geralyn presented Jake with a lei, on stage BUT before the show, Pete recorded a Jake-Schimabukuro-ukulele-minute for his KALX Alternate Tunes series.

Pete's next Alternate Tuning features the machete, the uke's predecessor. I've heard an early mix and it's an extraodinary, fact-filled and entertaining effort. I believe Koelani, Geralyn, is the cohost. (Jake Schimabukuro's ukulele minute will be on a later show.)

Also, during this Saturday afternoon Herbst Theater show, Tippy and Uni performed on Pete's ukes.

 

 

"State Cites Health Hazards at Richmond Field Station" reports Richard Brenneman in the Planet.

"Hazardous metals and chemicals at UC Berkeley's Richmond Field Station pose potential threats to the health of children who play in its marshland and workers who dig in its soil, state scientists have concluded."

 

 

"East Bay primed for housing slump: Market is particularly vulnerable to a downturn that could be the
worst in 25 years, economist predicts"
reports George Avalos in the Times.

"The East Bay is among the regions most vulnerable to a slump in California's housing market, a downturn that could be the worst in a quarter-century, an economist said Monday.

A previous boom in residential construction and the subsequent collapse of home sales has imperiled fast-growing regions of the East Bay such as eastern Contra Costa County and the Dublin-Pleasanton-Livermore-San Ramon areas. And in a grim forecast, home sales activity could plunge more deeply by the end of the year, Robert
Kleinhenz, an economist with the California Association of Realtors, told a conference meeting in San Francisco."

 

 

 

 

 

9/13/07

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, a celebration of new
beginnings.

About 6:30 this morning there was an attempted break-in to the food-locker at 900 GRAYSON. Anthony, one of the owners, was notified by the alarm company at 6:39 and arrived at the restaurant about 7 AM--Officer White from Berkeley PD arrived just a little later.
The flood-lights above the locker-door were removed from their sockets and the door was pried open with a 4-5 foot crowbar. The burglar set off the motion-sensor and left, dropping the crowbar. Parts of a syringe were on the ground to the right of the door.

Berkeley PD CSI was called and examined the scene. Our Berkeley PD Area Co-ordinator, Officer Andrew Frankel will also be informed.

 

 

Of an expanding Potter Creek business Janis Mara writes in the Times "Founder of law self-help firm returns: Publisher in Berkeley adding to its online offerings, hiring workers as co-founder steps up."

"A pioneer of the do-it-yourself law movement is returning from semi-retirement to lead the charge at Berkeley's Nolo Press, which is expanding.

Ralph 'Jake' Warner, who co-founded Nolo in 1971 with his wife, Toni Ihara, and their fellow attorney Ed Sherman, has replaced David Rothenberg as the company's chief executive. Warner left day-to-day operations three years ago, though he continued to serve as chairman of the board of directors.

Warner had no comment as to why Rothenberg is leaving, but he praised the departed executive, saying, 'David Rothenberg was the best CFO we ever had. He stepped up and became CEO for a couple of years. We all
owe David a big debt of gratitude.'

With Rothenberg stepping down after more than 10 years, the company is beefing up its Web offerings, adding video and other Web 2.0 associated features. Nolo is also hiring, looking to recruit about a dozen new employees. The privately held company 'grew 10 or 12 percent last year, and we anticipate about 20 percent for 2007,' said Warner."

 

 

"Armed robberies spike around UC Berkeley" writes Doug Oakley in the Times.

"UC Berkeley students are being kicked, punched and robbed at gunpoint in an alarming wave of violent crime on and around campus since they started returning in late August.

Armed robberies on campus and in the nearby neighborhoods usually increase at the start of the school year, according to police. But this year, the number of robberies has gone way up."

 

 

"Forecast predicts short East Bay recession: Economists say housing slump will cause a downturn for East Bay in the next six months" writes George Avalos in our Times.

"The housing market slump is likely to shove the East Bay into a recession, albeit a short one, in the coming six months, a forecast released today predicted.

By late this year or early next year, the Alameda County-Contra Costa County area has a 75 percent chance of suffering from job losses and income erosion. The chances of a mild slowdown in economic activity are just one in four, according to the report by two California economists, including a former analyst with the closely watched UCLA Anderson Forecast."

 

 

"Incomes lagging behind home values" reports Stephen Ohlemacher of the AP in theTimes.

"An Associated Press analysis of new census data provides insight into the reasons for the slumping housing market: Since 1990, homeowners have faced a growing gap between their incomes and the price of their homes."

The widening gap in all but a handful of the nation's 500 largest cities helped make the recent boom in housing prices unsustainable, according to analysts. The rising prices were fueled largely by low interest rates and risky borrowing, rather than increasing incomes."

 

 

Listener sponsered KCSM-FM, jazz radio, is having its Fall Pledge Drive. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

9/14/07

Pete and Geralyn's next Alternate Tunings features the machete, the ukulele's predecessor. The show will air next Wednesday, September 21 at 9:00 AM on KALX. It's an exceptional effort, filled with information and music. Their interview with ukulele historian and player, John King is the program's highlight. Though most memorable are the pieces played by John and guitarist friend, Richard Long which were written for the machete and guitar in the 1800s, especially a 1846 Maderan waltz--remarkably like sophisticated Viennese music of the time.

Extraordinary stuff!

 

 

Why is this old white man linking to this Rap group? Because they're cousins of my young black friend who I respect. So, . . . check out 2heated here!

 

And our Koz is promoting TEASE-O-RAMA--October 5th and 6th, Bimbo's Club, San Francisco. "America's FIRST weekend-long convention dedicated to the foxy-fabulous and all-around over-the-top world Burlesque." Check the details out here!

 

 

 

This morning, a worker was policing the grounds outside the Bayer/City Parking Lot on 8th and Dwight. At the same time, a large machine was vacuuming up waste-paper which was spread all-over 8th Street south of Dwight.

 

Potter Creek's old clean-up-man was working yesterday, policing the area with his black bag and pick-up-stick.

 

And, last week, an old-scarfed-woman was sweeping the sidewalk in front of the building on the south-west corner of San Pablo and Ashby.

 

 

I noticed an increased police presence today.

City services in Potter Creek? Both City Parking Enforcement Officers and City Hazard Material Specialists have been working hard down here.

 

 

While looking at my 1940s' US Commemorative stamps, I was struck by a 1947, 3-cent Joseph Pulitzer issue. Emblazoned across it is "OUR REPUBLIC AND ITS PRESS WILL RISE or FALL TOGETHER." Seems right.

 

 

Thinking about going to Europe? Be aware, the WSJ reports that "The dollar hit its lowest mark on record against the Euro, which ended the session at $1.3906."

 

 

The European Central Bank pumped about $104 billion in three-month credit into money markets, its second injection of longer-term funding in recent weeks reports the WSJ.

 

 

And, the WSJ reports that a federal judge ruled Vermont can restrict vehicles' greenhouse emissions and that it is a decision likely to draw an industry appeal.

 

 

Our Councilman, Darryl Moore emails about events important to the Community

 

The first is a Shoreline Clean-up on Saturday, September 15th. Everyone should be ready at the staging area, the SeaBreeze Market on University Ave. and Frontage Rd, at 9AM. If you'd like to learn more about this, please visit: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/marina/marinaexp/cleanup.htm

 

The second is a public hearing on the U-Haul at 2100 San Pablo (at Addison) at Tuesday, September 18th at City Council. If you have been affected by U-Haul's operation, September 18th is a prime opportunity to address the City Council on whether or not the city should revoke the business' use permit. It is difficult to say what time it will come before City Council, but I would venture to say that 8PM is a safe time to show up. If you would like to learn more about the history of this case, please go to http://www.cityofberkeley.info/council2/UHaulStaffReport.pdf for the full
Zoning Adjustment Board staff report.

 

The third is a Community Action Forum on the 2007 Health Status Report on Tuesday, September 25th from 6:30 to 8:30PM at St. Paul AME Church, 2024 Ashby Avenue (at Adeline). As a response to the results of the 2007 Health Status Report, that demonstrated that we still have some significant health disparities in Berkeley and that despiteour past efforts we have not made as much progress as we would have liked, the Berkeley Public Health department is holding a Community Action Forum. This will not only be a community education experience to make people more aware of the type of public health issues that affect your community, but it will also be opportunity to become part of the solution. For more information, please go to http://www.cityofberkeley.info/news/print.asp?id=3D22362
And for a printable flyer, please go to http://www.cityofberkeley.info/council2/ActionForumFlyer.pdf

 

The fourth is a Town Hall meeting for the Public Commons for Everyone Initiative (PCEI) proposal. As part of the research and policy-making process for PCEI, the City is hosting a large public meeting to discuss our goals for our shared public areas, as well as our commitment to protecting people's civil rights and providing necessary services. It will take place on Saturday, September 29th, 2007 from 10AM to 1PM at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901Hearst Ave. For more information, please go to http://www.cityofberkeley.info/council2/PublicCommonsMeetingFlyers.pdf

 

The fifth is a Community Walk on Wednesday, October 3rd at 7PM at El Nopal, 3136 Sacramento St. The concept of the Community Walks really came as a response to much of the crime issues that have arisen lately, ie. shooting incidences, graffiti, property crimes. We thought that the best way to combat crime in a proactive way is to help build community and this way, as a community, we can approach the issue in a much more comprehensive manner. The route hasn't quite yet been hammered out, but as soon as we finalize it we will make sure to provide that for people. Remember, the best way to resolve problems is as a community, we hope to see you there.

 

 

 

9/15/07

Acme Bread has applied to Bay Area Air Quality for a Emergency Diesel Engine Powered Generator that will be used for providing mechanical or electrical work during emergencies. There is a 30-day period for a response to this proposal. Public comment ends October 12. Email echeng@baaqmad.gov or phone (415) 749-5122 Box 6.

 

 

Did you hear close-by-sirens around 10 AM this morning? Well, an independent production company was filming a bright-red Piedmont FD paramedic-unit for a movie on stroke prevention, the camera-man shooting the ambo driving north on 8th "responding to a call," then a few close-ups.

 

 

Yesterday at 900, Tippett's women-computer-graphicists filled the ten-top to overflowing--quite a scene.

Today, Tippett is moving equipment from the apparently overloaded 10th Street facility to their Grayson place.

 

 

I got a brief look into one of our artisits-work-live-units this week. But really didn't get much further than the foyer. There, as you open the door you see a high ceiling, ceiling-high "sculpture." It's a wonderfully preserved bare-aluminum tailplane of a Lockheed T-33 trainer mounted flat on the wall. Beautifully made with flush rivets, it is here covincingly presented as art, yet still it remains a important piece of aviation history. The T-33 was the trainer version of the P-80 "Shooting Star," our first really operational jet fighter. (They bought the tailplane surplus at the Oakland Airport.)

 

 

The Kruse girls and guys are going really Green, not just the now more-common, washing Green.

 

 

Two people from the City of Berkeley are taking a transportation survey down here--they're, fresh, young and real, and asking questions about how you get around.

 

 

I met CL Cook this morning, a Parking Enforcement Officer with the City of Berkeley and one of the best informed people I've recently met. A philosopher, economist and sociologist, he talks common sense. Seems that if I've thought about it, he's figured it out. Made my day! He also told me there are more unregistered vehicles and parking violators here than anywhere in Berkeley that he's worked.

 

 

Wareham Security was seen regularly on 8th Street today--probably driving between their 7th Street and 9th Street properties.

 

 

How to be heard by City Hall? A very thoughful member of our city government, with experience in hearings, suggests that rather than waiting for your three-minutes-of-expression at a city meeting, write a letter. He values them much more.

 

 

 

 

 

9/16/07

Ron,

. . . Friday night, gang members driving a car down 4th street near Channing crashed into my brother's car in the wee hours. Gina, Michael's little daughter climbed upstairs to [tell] her parents that there were a lot of flashing lights outside. It turns out the gang members abandoned the car but were not far off, as at least one of them seemed to be injured from the crash. . . .

Actually, this also happened last year, but Michael and Debra's car was parked inside. That time, with nothing to stop it from happening, car met building.

Take time to report crime!

Steve Goldin

 

 

The property between 9th and 10th on the north side of Parker is being cleaned-up--trimmed, vacuumed, swept-- by a worker this morning.

It's just west of our "Bakery Cafe" where you can get a delicious, traditional California Breakfast. The "Bakery Cafe" was greatly influenced by the Buttercup and The California Breakfast.

The Buttercup and The California Breakfast

And just what is The California Breakfast that Richards and Mike Haley invented? Well, it's most likely the eggs-breakfast that you now have when you eat out. (But, as breakfast is the lowly meal, you probably haven't even thought about that.)

Yet, it's important to remember that Richards and Mike Haley not only developed The California Breakfast but they made breakfast a proper and respectable meal out.

Mike, as long as I can remember, loved his morning meal best. When we lived together on Carl Street in San Francisco in the '50s, Mike would sometimes make breakfast for both of us, and I too came to love this meal.

Years later, when Mike and Richards lived together, Richards would make Mike's favorite, adding her own Georgian touch. An excellent cook from the South, Richards was well aware of the hearty country breakfast.

So in the '70s, when they bought the Buttercup Bakery and Coffee Shop on College Avenue and made it into a bakery and restaurant, it was only natural for them to make it into a breakfast-restaurant. (Understand, at that time there were coffee-shops and diners but not proper breakfast restaurants.) Simply, Richards knew about the Southern country breakfast and Mike loved breakfast best. This was the start.

If there was an exact moment when The California Breakfast Out came into being I suppose it was when Richard's started making Michael's favorites for the restaurant: Fresh-eggs, quality meats, home-fries with onions and sour cream, and a good toasted-bread were part of Michael's morning meal at home. (Occasionally I was at their house at breakfast time and it was always a treat.)

Then, I suppose if you own a bakery-restaurant it's natural to offer fresh baked-goods with the meal: And early-on you could substitute a pastry for toast. Bagels and croissants were also offered, but bagels and croissants were still popularly thought of as foreign food and breakfast is a very American meal. Also, it is important to remember that at this time breakfast out was pretty much a meal you had--often rushed--before your day's work. It was not so much a special meal--and social event--as it was just a way to get food before working. Kruse Plumbing was then down the street, and I remember some of the original customers were plumbers having breakfast before going to a job. There were also truck drivers who stopped before their run as well as milkmen taking their break.

(Perhaps the fruit garnish was added when it became apparent to all that breakfast was now social, even special.)

So there you have it; The California Breakfast Out. Was this just a variation of the country breakfast that, through good-timing, people found pleasure in eating in a restaurant? Is California Cuisine just fish and under-cooked vegetables?

Of course not.

Many people, other than Mike and Richards, were involved in making the Buttercup. Moe Moskowitz lent money and support, Mary Guenther provided heart and soul, Karl Mullis provided color and was a hard worker, Suze Orman found-herself and brought loyal customers, and Nancy Lawrence at Wells Fargo Elmwood was simply indispensable. She was always there. (Oh, Nick Victor, with failing health and eyesight, and preoccupied with his business and building two large warehouses, took time to give sound, solid business advice. ) Me? It was a place to hang out.

 

 

Cal banner's out at Ben's again.

 

 

 

 

 

9/17/07

Jim, glass-artist and former tenant at ActivSpace emails

Ron

About 3 1/2 years ago I was looking for studio space
in West Berkeley, wanting to settle in an arts-friendly
area. With the Sawtooth building having a two to three
year wait, I checked out the ActivSpace building.
After all, their signage read "Art - Hobby, and
Business". I talked to the then Manager, Jamie, and
she said 'we love artists here at ActivSpace'. She
said they had about 70 to 80 artists in the building
doing a wide variety of different artwork and
ActivSpace was all about supporting artists. I was
shown different spaces in the building and asked about
the spaces on the 7th street side of the building.
These were the Storefronts and the most expensive
spaces ActivSpace had. I was told that retail was not
allowed but as long as a person made the product on
site there would be no problem selling out of their
storefronts. Wow -- a dream come true, having a studio
to work and sell out of. The extra cost of the space
seemed a small cost compared to the benefits of
selling out of one's space.

It took a while for more artists and craftpeople to
make the move to the storefronts but things were
looking up. At one time there were 9 of us working
together utilizing display windows and keeping regular
business hours. We were attracting walk-in foot
traffic and people would stop, park and shop. We had
other artists in the building wanting to be a part of
doing business in the storefronts. When we lost an
active member of the group, another would take their
place to help us all collectively build our business.

The managers of ActivSpace assured us that they were
screening people to insure a good mix of unique and
one of a kind shops in the hopes of making ActivSpace
a destination not unlike 4th Street in the early days.
What happened instead was people would move in and
never be seen and the space would look empty.
Remember the cost of a storefront is charged at retail
prices so unless there's sales, it's hard to absorb
the cost. The managers seemed to be willing to work
with us on a number of issues but had to get approval
from the ownership and that's where things fell apart.

The suggestions offered were simple and of either no
cost or low cost to the ownership. 1) Public
directory, 2). separate list of rules governing anyone
wishing to rent a storefront, i.e., display, temporary
signage, regular business hours, etc. Also, many
people from a 2 to 3 block radius park their cars in
front of the building during the hours of 9:30 a.m. to
4:30p.m. because no one messes with their cars but
with little or no parking, customers stay away. The
ownership would not consider asking for a 1.5 hour
parking limit in front of the ActivSpace building.

ActivSpace has lost a lot of the artists over the last
2 years (partly due to rent increases) and is running
at about 75% capacity. There are about 4 or 5
vacancies of storefronts with several more being used
as storage space and another 3 spaces being used for
retail space. For a business promoting ART, it has
done little to support artists or the Arts. At a time
when many cities across America view the Arts and
Crafts movement as a valuable industry, why then is
the city looking the other way?

Best regards,
Jim



 

"Uncertain future: Berkeley store will be remodeled, may stay closed"
reports Martin Snapp of our Times.

"Elmwood Hardware, a Berkeley neighborhood icon since 1923, will close Oct. 1 for extensive remodeling, and owner Tad Laird said 'he chances are only 50-50 that it will ever reopen.

'The store isn't losing money,' he said. "But the property absolutely needs to have about $4,000 to $5,000 in upgrades, and I'm not sure I can afford that.'

Laird said the building, which was declared a city landmark last year, needs to be seismically retrofitted and brought up to standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

'Plus, we have no running water, our heat comes from a ceiling heater with an asbestos flue, and the electrical wiring is so old, every computer in the store is on a battery backup. So you hear a click every time we turn on the paint shaker.'

He had hoped to fund the remodeling by adding two senior housing apartments to the second floor.

But that was effectively blocked by the Elmwood zoning ordinance, the strictest in the city, which would have required him to go through the costly and time-consuming process of applying to the Zoning Adjustments Board for a variance.

'I've been told it could cost me $40,000 to $50,000 in legal fees, with no guarantee of success at the end,' he said. 'I don't have that kind of money.' "

 

 

 

Miltiades Mandros, architect, presevationist and west-Oakland activist writes about trains, train-stations and Oakland's old Central Station

My regular jogging (the reality: trudging) route through the mean
streets of Oakland takes me past the long-closed and extremely
decrepit main train station way out on the west edge of the city.
This stalwart survivor from the past was erected square in the
tradition of the great neo-classical behemoths built a hundred years
ago to trumpet the importance of a city when railroading was in its
primacy in America. This great sleeping giant is fully two-thirds the
size of Grand Central Station in New York. Similarly, it was called
Central Station.

On a number of occasions over the last forty years, it narrowly
escaped demolition, then slowly slipped away into not-so-benign
neglect. Every day I plodded by, I wished I could find a way to slip
into the boarded-up interior. I even snuck through the chain-link
fence on one or two occasions, but found no way inside - until today,
that is. Today, as I huffed and puffed by, I saw the gates
surrounding the abandoned property festooned with balloons - and
open! With not a second thought I detoured the hundred yards up to
the massive and now open front doors. Inside I basked in the sight of
the derelict but astounding central hall with its sixty foot high
ceiling. The musty hundred year old air was pure elixir. Barely
detectable traces of immense murals festooned the end walls along the
long axis. Photos of the building from its salad days were placed all
around. It seems that this noble relic is to be recycled into some
kind of urban shopping mart or arcade somewhat akin to what is done
in other cities that have managed to save their old railroad stations.

While adaptive reuse is certainly far preferable to demolition, for
me it's a bit sad to see such edifices not again used for their
original purposes. Oakland's current Amtrak station is little more
than a two-bit shed. There are worse, however. The station in St.
Louis is a prefab metal box.

When I used to visit my cousins in Steubenville as a young
kid, I would spend countless summer hours down by the tracks which
ran along the Ohio River watching seemingly endless freight trains
hauling coal and steel ore back and forth to the mills. Then, when I
was at OSU twenty years later, I used to regularly visit [a friend], who
worked at Columbus' humongous Corinthian-columned main station. By
that time it was closed as passenger station but was still open as a
freight depot. Going inside the belly of the beast was always a
treat, just the same.

 

"Ice loss opens Northwest Passage" reports the BBC. "The most direct route through the Northwest Passage has opened up fully for the first time since records began, the European Space
Agency (Esa) says.

Historically, the passage that links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Canadian Arctic has been ice-bound.

But the agency says ice cover has been steadily shrinking, and thisyear's drop has made the passage navigable.

The findings - based on satellite images - have raised concerns about the speed of global warming."

 


Of one England's largest mortgage lenders the BBC reports
"Northern Rock shares plunge 32%.

Shares in one of the UK's largest mortgage lenders, Northern Rock,have fallen 32% after it had to ask the Bank of England for emergency funding.

But experts and officials insist that Northern Rock, which has 113bn in assets, is not in danger of going bust.

Despite the reassurances lines of customers formed outside many Northern Rock branches around the UK."

 

 

"Hedgehog survives 40-degree wash" reports the BBC.

The hedgehog had been nesting in a pile of washing by the machine. A hedgehog is recovering after surviving a spin in a 40-degree washing machine cycle.

The female creature was nicknamed Lucky by staff who have been caring for her at the Brent Lodge wildlife hospital, near Chichester, in West Sussex.

Hospital manager Penny Cooper said the hedgehog wandered into a private home and burrowed into a pile of washing that was then put into the machine.

Lucky is now being cared for by a hospital volunteer in Hampshire'

Ms Cooper said she was undergoing rehabilitation care before being given a 'soft release' back into the wild."


 

 

 

 

 

9/18/07

Acme expects a 50% cut in their electric power cost with their extensive array of solar panels. However, some of this saving will be off-set by a recent 50% increase in the cost of flour.

Does Acme Bread, our Potter Creek bakery, need a back-up power generator for emergencies? Well, I've used mine half-dozen--dozen times in the last 10-15 years--really saved my tush on those two Saturdays with no PG & E service, what-so-ever.

 

 

Gene Agress' house and garden were recently filmed by HG-TV for a future show on the House and Garden Network.

 

 

The WSJ writes of CAL's Business School "HAAS takes new tack on investing" as "MBA students to begin focusing on socially responsible investing."

 

 

Bay Area personality and Trad-Jazz trombone player, Mal Sharpe emails about his band, Big Money . . . "Playing in the San Francisco Airport"

Well, we're actually going a few exits past the airport to
Burlingame-Broadway Exit. This Thursday night, Sept 20,
we will be at the wonderful Broadway Grill in Burlingame at 7:30. Lady
Mem'fis will be with us. She's from New Orleans by way of Baton Rouge.
She loves singing with our band. Dave Getz, the drummer with Big
Brother and The Holding Company will be there too---as well as the regulars.

My old friend, the publicist, Kenny Wardell helped set up this gig. We
worked together back at "The Camel" KMEL in the early 80s--- then he
was the publicist for KTVU for 10 years. He wrote a press
release which has some amusing personal inaccuracies plus an old
photo, which he grabbed online, taken at the historic Alligator Ball
in 1992. It's fun to see some of the band members who
are still with us. Kenny is the best and is working with the Broadway
Grill to make music a big part of their lifestyle.

Nick, the owner, who also runs Lefty O'Doul's in Union Square
told me, confidentially, that there will be other food options if you
cannot go for the big $50 Prix Fixe meal.

We are looking forward to this gig and to seeing you seated at a
place that has TABLECLOTHS!

 

Mal also has a program on KCSM on Sunday night.

 

 

 

 

 

9/19/07

On Wednesday, 19 September, 1893 New Zealand became the first country to introduce universal suffrage, following the women's suffrage movement led by Kate Sheppard.


"Property owners won't be bothered about graffiti : After calls from angry recipients, city is rewriting notice that threatens $500-a-day fine" reports Doug Oakley in our Times.

"Berkeley is trying 'a little more honey and a little less mustard' to get property owners to remove graffiti and has stopped sending out a Notice of Violation that threatens a $500-a-day fine.

 

 

"Default numbers continue to climb: Foreclosure filings more than double from last year as homeowners struggle with mortgages" writes Barbara E. Hernandez in he Times.

"The number of foreclosure filings reported in the United States last month more than doubled from last August and jumped 36 percent from July."

 

 

 

 

9/20/07

"Mortgage woes 'exceed forecasts'" reports BBC News "Losses from sub-prime mortgages have far exceeded 'even the most pessimistic estimates', US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has said."

 

Goldman's managers of the flagship Global Alpha hedge fund promised to better handle borrowing and shrink the funds size reports the WSJ.

 

 

 

 

9/21/07

Merryll will begin remodelling very soon and has posted part of the street in front of her property on 8th Street as a Construction Zone. As construction developes her entire frontage will be needed and Merryll has aquired and paid for the proper permits to post and use this entire area.

 

 

École Bilingue has a new lock on their 8th Street playground-gate. For the new access codes call Libby at the school between 8: 00 AM and 4:30 PM for an appointment. Her phone number is (510)-549-2851.You have to go to the Middle School and meet her.

 

Yesterday a maintenance crew was tidying-up the work-live property on the corner of 9th and Pardee.

 

 

Bob Kubik forwards an email sent to echeng@baaqmad.gov at Bay Area Air Quality.

I received your Public Notice on permit application #16277 in the mail. I have no problem with Acme Bread installing an emergency generator, but I do have a question. My neighbor Tippett Studio has installed a huge diesel generator that is running 11 hours a day 5 or 6 days a week. They said it was for an emergency that would last 3 weeks, but it has now run for 4 weeks and they can give me no date when it will be shut down. Don't they need a permit too?

 

 

Chris Readway writes about graffiti in our Times. "A communitywide effort in San Jose has resulted in a 99 percent-plus drop in tagging and other graffiti since 1997, according to Rob Boyles, who addressed the Richmond Beautification Committee this week.

Demand for the secrets and success of the San Jose program has been so great that Boyles and Rick Stanton, recently retired from that city's recreation department, have formed a consulting firm to start similar programs elsewhere. . . .

The reasons for an aggressive eradication program are well-documented, the two said. Graffiti lowers property values, instills fear, invites other crime and diminishes an area's self-worth. . . .

Boyles asked audience members at the committee meeting how they feel when they see graffiti; responses ranged from 'anger' to 'disgust' to 'violated' to 'sad' . . . [italics mine]

When Stanton was charged with setting up the San Jose program, his first step was to send city workers to every street to inventory all the tags. The initial count in 1997 was 71,541 tags.

'It was way more than everyone expected,' he said. By contrast, the 2006 survey counted 129 tags. Over that same time, the program grew from 124 volunteers to 3,221.

There is no single approach to tackling the problem and discouraging persistent taggers, they said. . . .

'If your strateg' is to paint it over as soon as it happened, it's not going to work," Stanton said. 'They're just going to come back over and over.'

What does work, he said, is a multifaceted approach that engages city agencies, outside jurisdictions such as BART and Caltrans, and strong community involvement. Stricter penalties for those caught tagging also must be enacted, they said. . . . [italics mine]

Asked if Richmond has the financial resources for such a program, City Councilman and Beautification Committee Chairman Tony Thurmond said, 'Personally, I do. If you can't use redevelopment funds to
eradicate blight like this, what can you use it for?'

 

In contrast to those asked who feel 'anger' to 'disgust' to 'violated' to 'sad' when they see graffiti, Rick Auerbach, one of our community activists, believes tagging sometimes inhances. A view shared by some in the "Art Community."

 

 

 

 

9/22/07

Geralyn reports that Pete's Potter Creek rain gauge shows .24 inches from yesterday through this morning.

 

Sally's off to Italia tomorrow.

 

Our Councilman, Daryl Moore emails

Dear South and West Berkeley Neighbors,
Some of you may have heard that my office, in conjunction with the Office of Economic Development, was planning a meeting to discuss the proposal for a possible of a Community Benefit District in West Berkeley scheduled for September 27th. We have decided to postpone the meeting because the Steering Committee of the West Berkeley assessment district (CBD) has decided to respond to feedback and concerns brought up at the September 10th meeting at the Ecole Bilingue French school. Although we would like to be as timely as possible, the Steering Committee is trying to be as responsive to the the community's concerns and needs time to integrate these changes into their proposal. The additional time will also allow us to give proper notice to the community and do additional outreach. The new date is Tuesday, October 16th at 7PM. We have also changed the location from Frances Albrier to Rosa Parks Elementary at 920 Allston Way (at 8th Street) to make the meeting more central to the assessment district.

 

The September 10th meeting of the ad hoc committee opposed to the Community Benefits District was about two hours long and attended by over 50 people, not the over 100 of their first meeting. Those opposed said the district was undemocratic, provided unecccessary services, was not accountable, and was a power grab. In contrast to the previous meeting, applause was lukewarm and several times the Chair asked "Where's the enthusiasm?" WEBAIC members spoke and said they were also opposed to the plan and that their interests and those of the residents were the same. The few advocates said their position was being caricatureized. A vote was taken and almost all those present oppose any district plan what-so-ever. Our Councilman, Darryl Moore was present and announced a Town Meeting on the subject to be held on September 27th. (This has been changed to October 16th.)

 

 

Bob Kubik emails

On August 27 Brennan Doyle of Tippett Studio told my wife and I that the diesel generator that had been installed next to our house would be needed for three weeks until a deadline was met. Now, four weeks later, it is still running 11 hours a day! And now Brennan tells us it will continue to run for an indefinite time even after their deadline is met! Tippett continues to blame PG&E.
The facts of the matter are that Tippett, (or a previous tenant perhaps), installed a service panel of much larger capacity than the service provided by PG&E! Predictably this eventually overloaded PG&E's wires since the panel's circuit breakers were rated for a much higher load than the service could safely offer. Tippet smoked PG&E's wires...
And now that the wires and their insulation are compromised Tippett can't even get enough current for normal operations.
We have the sound of a large diesel truck coming at us directly over the fence, being reflected from Tippett's building and also reflected from our neighbors building. We have the smell of the diesel all around us.
Tippett should shut this diesel down - they have had the chance to meet their deadline - we need the chance to live in our house and yard without noise and diesel pollution.

 

 

"Kavanagh Arrested, Charged with Five Felonies" reports Judith Scherr of our Planet.

"Berkeley Rent Board member Chris Kavanagh was arrested Friday morning by Oakland police and is currently (Friday afternoon) in Santa Rita jail, according to his attorney, James Giller. The date of his arraignment has not been set.

Kavanagh is charged with five felonies, according to Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff, who spoke to the Planet Friday afternoon.

"The first three relate to voter fraud," Orloff said. One is registering to vote where he is not eligible, the second is voting where he is not eligible to vote, and the third is filing a false declaration.

The fourth count is perjury and the fifth is grand theft, relating to having accepted a stipend and health benefits as a rent board member."

 

 

"East Bay: Then and Now ­ Orchids and Industry Thrived Side-by-Side in Berkeley" writes Daniella Thompson in the Planet.

"At the turn of the last century, wharves, lumber mills, farms, breweries, tanneries, and Victorian residences dotted West Berkeley. The largest employer south of University Avenue was the Standard Soap Company, which had occupied half a block between the bay shore and Third Street north of Allston Way since 1876.

The San Francisco earthquake and fire profoundly changed the area's character, filling it with industrial plants. Across the railroad from Standard Soap, the Van Emon Elevator Company built a factory taking up a quarter of a block on the corner of Third St. and Allston Way. Incongruously, the adjacent property was the flower nursery of Joseph Antoine Boirard, a Frenchman who had lived at 2216 4th Street since 1892 or '93 and would still be there in 1930.

Boirard was not the first nurseryman in the area. On the next block to the east, John Anthony Carbone (1865­1946) had been growing roses since 1888."

 

 

 

 

 

9/23/07

Want to know what was happening in Potter Creek two or three years ago? Or even five years ago? Check out Scrambled Eggs' Archive.

 

 

"Deputy cracks down on illegal dumping" reports Karl Fischer in our Times.

"Deputy Felipe Monroe slid on worn, leather gloves from his back pocket with the practiced air of a connoisseur.

A bulging bag of roadside garbage lay open on Giaramita Street, perhaps dislodged by rummaging recyclers. Damp, unidentifiable bits peeked out.

'Oh, I'm not digging through that,' the eight-year veteran of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office said after examining the contents.

Evidence rarely holds up in court when wet and reeking, and Monroe knows from experience that a soggy sack doesn't often yield the clues he needs to track down the owner -- and bust another illegal dumper who trashes North Richmond."

 

 

"Condo parking problem gets a lift: Father-son development team installs system that works much like an elevator for cars" writes the Times' Theresa Harrington.

"With parking in Walnut Creek getting tighter and the cost of land skyrocketing, developers are looking for innovative ways to fit more cars and residents into smaller spaces.

The father-son development team of Pat and Sean Joy from Orinda is betting that what works in urban areas such as Berkeley and San Francisco will catch on in the Contra Costa County suburbs.

They've installed Walnut Creek's first 'parking lift' system -- which works much like an elevator for cars -- in their'new Iron Horse Place condo development on Creekside Drive.

"We installed them because land is valuable and land is scarce,' Sean Joy said."

 

 

"Artists with Asian roots exhibit individualism" writes Robert Taylor of the Times.

The exhibit "One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now' brings the work of 17 young artists to the UC Berkeley Art Museum with all the spirit that the title suggests -- not to mention the 1978 hit song by Blondie that may ricochet through visitors' minds. It's not on a gallery soundtrack, but it could easily score the fresh, edgy, ingenious displays.

That title also describes the wide-ranging influences and material, and the determined individualism among the artists, including four who live in the Bay Area. Two other artists were born in San Francisco and Berkeley and now live and work elsewhere in the United States.

'One Way or Another' opened Wednesday in Berkeley and continues through Dec. 23, with several artists talks, tours, demonstrations and performances taking place throughout the run."

 

 

"French mime artist Marceau dies" report the BBC.

"The French mime artist Marcel Marceau has died at the age of 84, his family has announced.

The performer was known around the world for his portrayal of a white-faced clown with battered hat.

Born in Strasbourg in 1923, Marceau studied under mime master Etienne Decroux in Paris."

 

 

 

 

 

 

9/24/07

The Chronicle reports "Police are investigating Berkeley's third and fourth slayings of the year, both of which occurred on Saturday.

In the first case, a man was found dead about 4:30 a.m. outside his West Berkeley home after a friend called 911 to report that the man had fallen and hit his head.

Berkeley Fire Department paramedics found the man, described only as a Latino in his 30s, on the ground in the 1800 block of Eighth Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and police are treating the case as a homicide.

Police have detained several people for questioning and those people are assisting detectives, said Lt. Wesley Hester.

Neither police nor the Alameda County coroner's office would release the victim's identity so as not to compromise the investigation, according to Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.

Anyone with information about the slaying is asked to call police at
(510) 981-5741 or (510) 981-5900.

A second man was shot to death at 3:34 p.m. while walking at the intersection of 63rd and King streets, according to police.

Emergency dispatchers received multiple calls about the shooting. When police arrived, they found that the man, whose identity has not been released, had been hit several times in the upper torso, Hester
said.

The victim was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Though he was the only person hit, other people were nearby on the street, police said.

Police are interviewing witnesses, Hester said, and on the look-out for a faded dark-blue minivan, possibly 1980s vintage and perhaps a Chrysler or Dodge.

'We believe the van is somehow associated with the shooting,' Hester
said."

 

 

 

 

 

9/25/07

Our Kruse guys are in Milwaukee attending the "Catching the Green Wave" conference, through tomorrow.

 

 

Anthy and Mario just got back from three weeks in Italy--attended the Monza Grand Prix, toured the Ferrari and Lamborghini factories and ate. Ok, they did more stuff, too.

 

 

"West Berkeley Car Sales Tops Planning Commission Agenda" reports Richard Brenneman in our Planet.

"Planning commissioners meet Wednesday to hold their second and final vote on the zoning ordinance and plan amendments paving the way for car dealers to set up shop in West Berkeley."

 

 

"Center for Independent Living Still Strong at 35" writes Judith Scherr in our Planet.

" 'Independent Living isn't doing everything by yourself-it's being in control of how things are done.' "Independent living pioneer."

 

 

 

9/26/07

Bob Kubik emails

Tom, the facilities manager at Tippett Studio has his crew putting up more sound barrier around the diesel generator which helps a little. Also, after coming over and listening to the noise from my vantage point, he agreed it would annoy him too. At my request he sent over two pairs of noise canceling earphones so Carol and I can use our garden again.
I can't wait for this intrusion to stop, but at least, Tippett is making some effort to mitigate the noise. The diesel fumes are a given...

 

 

Gerard has found a auto repair shop that will, whenever possible, repair not replace. It's in Potter Creek--more about it later. And, check out Gerard and his '66 Chevy pickup here.

 

 

Geralyn emails

I just wanted to let you know that opera season has
started, and to kick it off, San Francisco Opera is presenting a
simulcast of "Samson and Delilah" at Giants Stadium this Friday
night. I have a total of 16 passes, so let me know if you'd like to go.

The American Dental Association is having their convention in SF this
weekend, so I'll be in the City and can meet you all at the stadium.
The gates open at 5pm. I'd like to sit in the field as opposed to the
stands, even if it'll be cold, so I'd like to get there early. We can
always move to the stands later on. The concession booths will be
open, so how can you beat the most excellent combination of peanuts,
beer and opera?

As for the rest of the season, I'm really looking forward to seeing "The Magic Flute", "La Rondine",
"Macbeth" this winter, and "Lucia di Lammermoor" in summer. I don't
think anyone should miss the world premiere of Phillip Glass'
"Appomattox"in October. Oh, and let's not forget "Madame Butterfly"
in December.

Geralyn

You can email Gerayln here at ronpenndorf@earthlink.net.

 

 

Need pictures, paintings, or photos framed? Check out our Barbara Anderson Gallery & Framing. She's at 2243 Fifth--right next to the Tomate Cafe--and her phone is 848-3822.

 

 

Merryll's crew is pruning and removing her bushes and vines this morning for the pending construction.

 

 

The WSJ reports "sales of existing homes tumbled 4.3% in August, and a measure of home inventories soared to an 18-year high. Meanwhile, Lennar posted a $514 million loss, the largest quarterly loss in its history. The worsening housing slump is raising fresh concerns about economic growth and is beginning to take a toll on retailers."

 

 

 

 

9/27/07

Ryan Lau emails

Hello South and West Berkeley Neighbors,
I wanted to invite everyone to join Councilmembers Moore and
Capitelli for the kick-off of the "Be Fit Berkeley" campaign. "Be
Fit Berkeley" came as a response to the grim news of the 2007 Health
Status Report and the alarming prevalence of chronic diseases related
to sedentary lifestyles and poor eating habits. It is an educational
campaign to promote healthy eating habits and physical activity that
will have regular events with Councilmembers and raffle prizes for
participants. The kick-off will be at noon on Monday, October 1st on
the front steps of City Hall at 2180 Milvia St. where the Department
of Public Health will describe the program and the Councilmembers
will do their first public weigh-in for the campaign and take a walk
around downtown.

I also wanted to remind everyone that we have a Community Walk coming
up on Wednesday, October 3rd but the time has been changed to 6:30PM
at El Nopal, 3136 Sacramento St. A Community Walk might seem
insignificant, given all of the recent crime, but the concept of the
Community Walks really came as a response to much of the crime issues
that have arisen lately, ie. shooting incidences, graffiti, property
crimes. We thought that the best way to combat crime in a proactive
way is to help build community and this way, as a community, we can
approach the issue in a much more comprehensive manner, much the way
that neighborhood associations function. The route is included on
the flyer and is intended to increase the visibility of neighbors in
community to demonstrate solidarity. Remember, the best way to
resolve problems is as a community, we hope to see you there.

Sincerely,

Ryan Lau
Council Aide
Councilmember Darryl Moore

 

 

 

 

 

9/28/07

The Westside Bar? I'm told that the Westside Cafe is applying for a liquor license. I'm also told I should try their oat-bran muffins.

 

 

Consolidated is printing election ballots right now. They also print for Nolo Press.

 

 

I've noticed an increased presence of Wareham Security in the neighborhood recently. Kubik says "They're all over, even up on 10th." Also seems there are more Bayer/Wareham shuttles these days.

 

 

Gerard has taken his '66 Chevy pickup to half-dozen garages for repair and maintenance, with little success. But he's finally found a reliable and competent repair shop for his old truck right here in Potter Creek. It's Laurie Bright's D&L Engines--Auto Repair, 2626 San Pablo. Laurie's phone is (510) 843-5797.

 

 

The City of Berkeley's asphalt patching truck has been at work in Potter Creek this week.

 

 

Cal plays Oregon at Oregon tomorrow--it's on Channel 7 at 12:30.

 

 

"Planners Approve West Berkeley Car Dealerships" reports Richard Brenneman of our Times. "Planning Commissioners Wed-nesday approved a modified plan and rezoning agenda that will open up the northern end of West Berkeley to car dealerships.

The measures, if approved by the City Council, will allow car dealers into land previously restricted for use by manufacturers, the city's only M Zone.

Mayor Tom Bates and the city's Economic Development staff have pushed for the changes because they say they are needed to keep the city's remaining car retailers from bolting the city, along with the sales tax dollars they generate."

 

 

The WSJ reports "Rising prices and surging demand for crops that supply half of the world's calories are producing the biggest changes in global food markets in 30 years, altering the economic landscape for everyone from consumers and farmers to corporate giants and world's poor."

 

 

 

 

9/29/07

David Snipper emails

I've used Laurie Bright's services a number of times but it was years ago. He's very good and is reasonable. I'm glad to hear he's still in business and has remained local.

David

 

 

Bob Kubik emails

Tom, the facilities manager at Tippett Studio, has seen to it that they have built an enclosure around the diesel generator from the ground to above the machine. It has measurably improved the noise situation. We still know it is there, but the situation is much better. Thanks Tom.

 

 

Ryan Lau emails

Hi South and West Berkeley Neighbors,
Just wanted to make a few more announcements.
The Berkeley Police Department need your help in the search for a suspect wanted in connection with the homicide last Saturday on the 1800 block of 8th Street.

The diligent work of our Berkeley Police Department has resulted in two arrests in connection with the Berkeley's first murder of the year. Berkeley Police Department (BPD) Homicide Detectives have arrested the two men responsible for the May 6, 2007 murder of Agustine James Silva Jr. at 2nd and Cedar Streets.

 

On a lighter note, Pools for Berkeley, a group of parents, lap swimmers, and pool enthusiasts, is sponsoring a meeting about the potential for an Aquatic Center at West Campus on Wednesday, October 10, 7PM, City of Berkeley Corporation Yard
Meeting Room, 1326 Allston Way. Berkeleys pools need more usage and popularity and an Aquatic Center at West Campus would be a big step forward. Come here our ideas and bring your own for an open discussion. Refreshments
provided.

 

Berkeley residents can get free energy-efficient light bulbs courtesy of Pacific Gas & Electric at three events hosted by the City of Berkeley.
Wednesday, October 3rd
10 a.m. --2 p.m.
Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza
Wednesday, October 3rd
5-6:30 p.m.
Francis Albrier Community Center
Saturday, October 6th
9 a.m. --- 12 Noon
Eighth Street Fire Station, between Dwight and Channing. Note: This event will also host a Lead Painted Toy & Jewelry Recall collection. Bring all toys, jewelry, or lunchboxes suspected of containing lead for proper disposal.

Sincerely,

Ryan Lau

 

 

 

 

9/30/07

Mixed use in name only. I'm told my Potter Creek mail-route serves 17 "residences' and "way, way over 100" businesses.

 

 

"Berkeley to modify graffiti notices: After property owners said citation and fine were too harsh, city will issue courtesy notices Oct. 8" reports Doug Oakley in our Times.

So, . . . you can verbally abuse our Council members and behave anti-socially in their Chambers but our City Administration has to honey-coat graffiti-removal notices sent to property owners?

You couldn't give me a city job.

 

 

 

How Berkeley Can You Be Parade's "founder becomes spectator: Wild, wacky parade began with a Piedmont man, but he has handed the reins to 'the next generation' " writes Martin Snapp in our Times.

And, . . . if the founder of our "How Berkeley Can You Be Parade" is a Piedmont resident, does that mean Patrick Kennedy, my favorite Irish developer, also a Piedmont resident, is as Berkeley as you can be?

 

 

 

"Bears a prime BCS contender: Upsets, win over Oregon should boost Cal to No. 3 in polls"
reports Jonathan Okanes in our Times. "History may show this was the weekend that changed
everything for Cal's football program."

 

 

 

Marin's Village Music is closing forever today. One of the great used-record stores, it's time has long passed. "The times they are a changin?" Actually, "The times they have changed!"

There is evidence too that Amoeba's day has passed.

 

Cameron emails

Hello Ron,

Knowing you are a jazz fan, and no doubt, an admirer of Max Roach ... Let me share a story.

Back in 1980s, a friend of a friend was the paramour of Max Roach. I visited her in New York, and came down to breakfast to find Max Roach having coffee. He was very gracious and warm. He invited us to see his double quartet at the Blue Note that evening and recommended we eat dinner at his favorite restaurant Sylvias (made more famous recently by Bill OReilly). Upon my departure, he kindly gave me two gifts a signed album by his double quartet and a book by Chester Himes. . . ., the music was phenomenal.

Cameron

 

My memories of Max are here in I Learned to Love Records.

 

 

 

"Advanced biofuels: Everyone seems to think that ethanol is a good way to make cars greener. Everyone is wrong" reports the Economist.

"Sometimes you do things simply because you know how to. People have known how to make ethanol since the dawn of civilisation, if not before. Take some sugary liquid. Add yeast. Wait. They have also known for a thousand years how to get that ethanol out of the formerly sugary liquid and into a more or less pure form. You heat it up, catch the vapour that emanates, and cool that vapour down until it liquefies.

The result burns. And when Henry Ford was experimenting with car engines a century ago, he tried ethanol out as a fuel. But he rejected it, and for good reason. The amount of heat you get from burning a litre of ethanol is a third less than that from a litre of petrol. What is more, it absorbs water from the atmosphere. Unless it is mixed with some other fuel, such as petrol, the result is corrosion that can wreck an engine's seals in a couple of years. So why is ethanol suddenly back in fashion? That is the question many biotechnologists in America have recently asked themselves.

 

 

 

And, the Economist laments "Bip, the world's quietest clown, died on September 22nd, older than he seemed.

"When the spotlight faded on Bip last week, leaving not even a hand or a flower illuminated, it caused only a sigh of surprise. Bip had tried many times to put an end to himself. He would cut his wrists with a blade, nicking and wincing away from it, in case his copious blood gushed over his pure white sailor's trousers. He would shake out into his palm a handful of pills from a bottle, open his wide red mouth, and fail to swallow them. Stepping on a chair that wobbled under him, he would knot a noose round his scrawny neck, test it, yank it, gyrate his neck like a pigeon and step out into the void. Nothing worked. He went on living."

 

Berkeley PD Crime Log for 94710 is here

 

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 that "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 AFrankel@ci.berkeley.ca.us

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

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

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

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