my thirty-seventh year in Potter Creek
"Novel of Green Utopia Moves Closer to
the Taiwan United Daily News.
"Sometimes a book, or an idea, can be obscure and widely
influential at the same time. That's the case with 'Ecotopia,'
a 1970s cult novel, originally self-published by its author, Ernest
"Berkeley farm sells organic produce in
is a report by Kristin Bender of the Oakland Tribune.
"Spiral Gardens is a windfall for many low-income, older
and minority residents in South Berkeley, volunteers and staff
A nursery, community farm
and community harvest project at Sacramento and Oregon streets,
the garden center sets up an organic produce stand on Tuesday
afternoons, selling everything from apples and oranges to eggs,
summer squash, walnuts and giant bulbs of garlic - at cost.
'We are trying to encourage
people to eat healthy because in this neighborhood a health assessment
study has shown that folks are dying up to 10 years earlier than
(in other neighborhoods),' said Daniel Miller, executive director
of the nonprofit garden center, which has been around for 15 years.
'Strokes, diabetes, heart disease and cancer are also prevalent.'
The city's 2007 health status
report found African-Americans have twice the death rate as white
people in Berkeley."
Kubik emails of gardening
"Gardening is not a
hobby, and only non-gardeners would describe it as such. There
is nothing wrong with having hobbies, but most hobbies are intellectually
limited and make no reference to the larger world. By contrast,
being wholeheartedly involved with gardens is involvement with
life itself in the deepest sense. Indeed, for could it ever be
said about, say bridge, that the way you play a hand has implications
for the environment, American cuisine, biological diversity, drug
policy, and national identity, not to mention the nature of time
and the meaning of place? A garden, whether we know it or not
connects us to the world in many strange and wonderful ways."
Kubik also emails a link
to our Berkeley Bowl
"Firewood sales drop dramatically as Spare
the Air law takes hold"
is a story by Ken McLaughlin, Mercury News.
"A new law that bans burning wood in fireplaces, stoves and
outdoor pits during Spare the Air alerts is dramatically chopping
into firewood sales.
As critics continue to attack
the law as unjust and even un-American, local businesses that
sell firewood say sales have plummeted about 75 percent since
the law took effect in November. And businesses that sell wood
stoves say the law has accelerated a consumer trend toward burning
natural gas rather than wood."
"Passive houses guard against waste of
heat energy" is
a report by Elisabeth Rosenthal in the International Herald
"Nabih Tahan, an architect
who worked in Austria for 11 years, is completing one of the first
passive house for his family in Berkeley, California, and heads
a group of 70 Bay Area architects and engineers to encourage adoption
of the standard.
'This is a recipe for energy
that makes sense to people - why not reuse this heat you get for
free?' he said.
But ironically, when California inspectors came to assess whether
the house met green building codes (it did) he could not get credit
for the heat exchanger, a device unknown in the United States."
"Oakland's Fox Theater returning to life" is a story by John King, Chronicle Urban
"It's difficult to say
what is more remarkable about the hallucinogenic interior of the
Fox Oakland Theater: the Moorish details that flood the ceilings
and walls, or the fact it survived decades of neglect.
'It's a wonderful glimpse of the past,' said Kurt Schindler, a
principal of the Berkeley architecture firm ELS. 'These picture
palaces were about glitz. They were designed to take you into
another era, offering fantasy and escape.'"
"India, US cos join hands to electrify
is a report in the India Times.
"Fancy owning cars painted
with particles that will cool your vehicle drawing solar power
and still not leave a trace of carbon in theair?
Or buildings that remain
cool while consuming far less energy than they do now?
These and several other sustainable
energy solutions for a wide variety of everyday needs could become
a reality with India and the US deciding to bring together scientists
in both the countries with support from corporate groups.
The ministry of science and
technology is all set to launch 'BIJLEE' or the Berkeley-India
Joint Leadership on Energy and the Environment, under which the
US government will spare its top scientists and engineers to develop
sustainable energy solutions for India, said an Indian government
official, who declined to be identified."
"Learning the family business in Berkeley"
writes Jeff Faraudo in
the Mercury News.
"John Montgomery was 3 years old - not even big enough yet
to become a ballboy - when his father, Mike, was hired as men's
basketball coach at Stanford.
By 1998, when the Cardinal
beat Rhode Island to earn a spot in the Final Four, John was 14
and fully invested in his dad's program.
'Me and my sister and my mom all cried,' John recalled of the
moments after that NCAA regional final. 'I was at the perfect
age. I wasn't in high school yet, where you're a little too cool.'
Certainly Mike Montgomery
was above all that.
'I was cool until I saw them,'
the coach said. 'Then I lost it.'
This was the hoops Camelot
that John Montgomery knew growing up. While the Cardinal marched
to 10 consecutive NCAA tournaments, John was able to poke his
head into the huddle, listen in on halftime talks in the locker
room and pick the brains of his father and his players.
Now 25 and the director of
basketball operations for his father's staff at Cal, John Montgomery
has wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps for as long as he
"Cal beats Miami in Emerald Bowl" is a story by Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff
"Two of Cal's seniors
saved their best for their last collegiate quarters, and in so
doing, saved a 24-17 Emerald Bowl victory over Miami on Saturday
night at AT&T Park.
Three plays after Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 34-yard field goal
that would have given the Bears a 20-17 lead in the game's final
five minutes, senior outside linebacker Zack Follett got the ball
He sprinted off the edge,
chased down quarterback Jacory Harris from behind and jarred the
ball loose at the 9-yard line. Defensive end Cameron Jordan scooped
it up and rumbled seven yards. Then, senior quarterback Nate Longshore
tossed a 2-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller for the go-ahead
score with 2:41 remaining."
colleges squeezing their alumni" writes Gale Holland
"As the economic downturn
shrinks endowments, big institutions may be affected more than
smaller schools that rely more on fees. Officials try to strike
a balance in the messages sent to graduates.
The first e-mail to alumni was encouraging: Syracuse University
would be cutting costs but remained 'solidly positioned' to weather
the financial downturn, college president Nancy Cantor said in
mid-November. In fact, a $1-billion college campaign was on track,
with $600 million raised and $200 million earmarked for scholarships,
Three weeks later, the mood
had darkened: 400 students would have to drop out of school unless
alumni contributed $2 million in emergency aid, Syracuse fundraising
co-chairman Howard Phansteil warned.
'Without additional scholarship support -- they won't be back
at SU in January,' Phansteil said in the e-mail. 'So please give
now.' The last two words linked to a page listing payment options.
A Syracuse spokesman said
the campaign money was intended for long-term obligations, including
future financial aid, while the scholarship appeal was for emergency
shortfalls. Still, the mixed messages reflect the difficulty many
colleges are having in responding to an economic dive that remains
very much a moving target.
Walking a narrow ledge between
reassurance and realism, college presidents and chancellors have
struggled to assess the effect of a slow-motion slump that has
no clear beginning or end."
"Americans Resolve to Save Money in 2009" is a press release by our "Canned Food
Store" at newsprnewswire.
Outlet Helps Families Slash Grocery Spending in Half.
On January 1, millions of
Americans will make the same resolution: to save money. In 2009,
trimming budgets will take priority over trimming waists, and
Grocery Outlet, the largest "extreme-value" grocer in
the U.S., is supporting the cause. The typical American family
spends 15-20% of their household budget on food -- making grocery
shopping the biggest opportunity for people to save money."
homeless in high school is tough" writes Doug Oakley
of our Times.
"But a new bicycle will
help lessen the sting for 90 Alameda County youngsters this holiday
season, said education officials who handed them out at 16 homeless
The Alameda County Office
of Education spent $4,000 on new bikes and delivered 11 of them
to kids at the Ursula Sherman Village, a homeless shelter for
individuals and families, on Harrison Street in Berkeley."
(Note--In Africa, children
of the poor are commodities, often traded like cows or donkeys
by adults who value their labor. This story on child maids is
the third in an occasional series on the exploitation of African
children. Each story stands on its own.)
"Late at night, the neighbors saw a little
girl at the kitchen sink of the house next door" is the beginning of a story in the International
"They watched through
their window as the child rinsed plates under the open faucet.
She wasn't much taller than the counter and the soapy water swallowed
her slender arms. To put the dishes away, she climbed on a chair.
But she was not the daughter
of the couple next door doing chores. She was their maid.
Shyima was 10 when a wealthy
Egyptian couple brought her from a poor village in northern Egypt
to work in their California home. She awoke before dawn and often
worked past midnight to iron their clothes, mop the marble floors
and dust the family's crystal. She earned $45 a month working
up to 20 hours a day. She had no breaks during the day and no
"Publicity-shy philanthropist 'a great
lady'" is a story
by Charles Burress, Chronicle Staff Writer.
"Alba Witkin may be
89, but she takes youthful delight, and deep joy, in quietly giving
away the small fortune that continues to flow from the life work
of her late husband, renowned legal author Bernard Witkin.
She avoids publicity, but
those who know her and the many Bay Area programs and institutions
benefiting from her support say she deserves a huge measure of
'She's a great lady!' exclaimed
Mary Ellen Himell, executive director of development and community
relations at UC Berkeley, whose child-care programs rank among
'She's to me a real role
model - her compassion, her good common sense, her empathy for
those who have less than she,' Himell said. 'She really wants
to change society for the better.'
'She's just amazing,' said
Joan Graff, director of the Legal Aid Society - Employment Law
Center in San Francisco, one of the beneficiaries. 'She doesn't
seek publicity or recognition. She operates steadfastly and generously,
and quite under the radar for most people.'
Children's programs, agencies for the disadvantaged, social justice
efforts and legal education were major categories for the 105
grants and contributions made by the Berkeley-based Bernard E.
and Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation in 2006, when giving reached
its highest yearly total of $733,400, according to foundation
secretary Kenneth Kuchman, who is Witkin's son."
"A drought of student loans is good for
Jeremy Bearer-Friend at sfgate.com.
"In the last 25 years,
few prices have gone up as much as housing and college tuition.
We know what happened to housing. So when will we hear the pop
of the college-tuition bubble?
There are many competing
explanations for why tuition has more than quadrupled since 1982,
but one simple economic principle underlies them all: Universities
can only charge as much as students and their families will pay.
Sure, the University of California
may have doubled its fees a few times over, but students kept
Much like housing, where
ever-rising prices were sustained by an overabundant and predatory
mortgage market, universities have been able to ramp up prices
year after year because they could count on student debt. As long
as administrators knew that students had access to credit and
private loans, universities didn't have to think twice about raising
tuition and fees. And while private industry focuses on improving
efficiency in order to grow, many universities finance their growth
by escalating student debt.
Now, thanks to the recent
drop-off of student credit, these same university administrators
will have to face the consequences of their own business model."
"The Global Credit Crisis as History" is an opinion at wsj.com.
an economic historian at the University of California at Berkeley
whose scholarly work showed how the international affection for
the gold standard deepened the Great Depression, wondered: Why,
given this is a global crisis and recession, have policy makers
in other countries failed to move as aggressively as the U.S.
to fight it?"
"Mechanics Bank not burdened with subprime
loans" reports Tom Abate,
Chronicle Staff Writer.
presides over Mechanics Bank, a 103-year-old institution that
has been relatively unscathed by the collapse of the
credit bubble that has plunged the financial industry and the
nation into its worst crisis since the Great Depression.
Even so, the recession has
hit different parts of its service area with varying degrees of
severity, with Sacramento suffering the worst. 'The
further you get from the ocean the worse things get, Buster said.
A veteran of more than 30
years in banking, Buster believes the U.S. and Bay Area economies
will rebound - but not until government and business
leaders calm the fears that have caused consumers to cut spending
and businesses to delay investments.
'All of this has to do with
confidence,' said Buster, who has been bank president since
2004. 'Everybody is waiting on the sidelines.' "
"US singer Eartha Kitt dies at 81" is a BBC NEWS report.
"American singer, dancer and actress Eartha Kitt has died
at the age 81, her friend and publicist has said.
Kitt died of colon cancer on Thursday, Andrew Freedman said.
She was one of the few artists
to be nominated in the Tony, Grammy and Emmy award categories
and was a stalwart of the Manhattan cabaret scene."
Anthony Sulnier's father-in-law
is a Marine colonel stationed in Hawaii. While working out
at the base facility this week he heard "Good morning sir"
from the man on the next machine. Turning, he found Barack Obama
and replied "Good morning to you, sir." Anthony is one
of the owners of 900
Potter Creek's Maurice Levitch
made the Chron with "Featured
Property: 2 green condos in Berkeley" by Tracey Taylor.
"Every house has a story to tell, but when the home is newly
built you don't expect it to be a very long one. Architect and
builder Maurice Levitch is determined, however, that whoever buys
one, or both, of his recently completed condos on Seventh Street
in West Berkeley will know as much as there is to know about the
history of the land and whatever it is that came before them.
'I like to acknowledge the past in a new home,' he says. 'It gives
the structure a story and places it in the context of its location.'
This focus on heritage also sits well with Levitch's desire to
build homes that salvage and reuse materials as much as possible
and have a minimal impact on the environment.
A visit to the two four-bedroom,
three-bath townhouses at 1411 and 1413 Seventh St. therefore includes
the opportunity to see a small display of the artifacts unearthed
during their construction, as well as information on the 240-square-foot
home that was built on the site in 1895. It is believed to have
belonged to Jennie Morris, dressmaker, which may well explain
the rust-encrusted hand iron that can be examined in the mini-exhibition.
"Berkeley Schools Top Bad Air Quality List" reports Kristin McFarland in our Planet.
"Last week's USA Today report that placed three Berkeley
schools in the first percentile of schools with bad air quality
has activists, community members and school directors in an uproar.
The report studied industrial
pollution outside 127,800 nationwide schools for eight months.
Thirty-nine Berkeley schools made the list, all within the worst
55 percent. The Black Pine Circle School, the Via Center and the
Nia House Learning Center, all located in West Berkeley, were
in the first percentile, meaning that the air outside
the schools is worse at only 377 other schools around the country.
Berkeley High fell in the eighth percentile, with worse air at
only 9,722 schools.
Since the article's publication,
the issue has received wide media coverage with all involved parties
pointing fingers at probable causes. For many, it's one more example
of the health hazards caused by Pacific Steel Casting Company;
for some, it's a sign that the Berkeley government should take
a more active role in improving its own environment. . . .
. . . the USA Today study
was more comprehensive than any study to date because it included
levels of manganese and other metals. The study, he said, was
not conducted by 'people running around with test kits,' as Pacific
Steel representatives have suggested to other publications, but
with science approved by the air-
However, Larson also said
that the study's results are limited because it monitored the
air quality for only eight months of the year; with a longer study,
more schools might have made the list because of changes in the
prevailing winds. . . .
California Sen. Barbara Boxer,
chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has
called for government action in monitoring the air quality at
Potter Creek's French School
was not mentioned in any west-Berkeley school air quality reports
that I have read.
Here is the full
report. Check it out!
"Toxic air and Americas schools" is a Special Report on USA Today.
Our French School was apparently
monitored at the 9th and Heinz campus.
Here are the results.
E Bay French/Amer/Ecole Biling.
National Rank 25th percentile
(So, 75 % of the schools
monitored had better air?)
31,506 of 127,800 schools
have worse air.
Exposure to cancer-causing
Ranked 5 of 10
Exposure to other toxic chemicals
Ranked 3 of 10
More and a School Finder
"UP kids call California for an English
lesson. Malihabad Project promoted by UC Berkeley gives children
in UP village phones uploaded with English software" is a report at expressindia.com.
"Every afternoon, a
group of children in Kannar village, about 30 km from Lucknow,
gather in a school to learn English -- through cellphones. In
a village where even teachers cannot speak the language fluently,
each of these 25 children can be heard repeating English words
-- with an American accent -- after hearing the voice coming from
MotoRazr V3m mobile handsets, which they get to operate for an
hour or two every day, with facilitators monitoring their progress.
The handsets are loaded with
e-learning games -- designed by students of the Dhirubhai Ambani
Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DAIICT),
Gandhinagar -- with many levels. A student can reach the next
level only after learning the educational content taught in the
A brainchild of Matthew Kam,
a PhD candidate from the Berkeley Institute of Design at the University
of California, the novel project is called MILLEE (Mobile and
Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies). Far from
the limelight, MILLEE, which aims to complement formal schooling
in rural areas by English language training through mobile games,
has been on for about a year, run by a group of students from
"Jeff Tedford is staying as head football
coach at California through the 2015 season after signing a two-year
contract extension, as announced by athletics director Sandy Barbour
on Thursday" is
a report at sportsnetwork.com.
"In seven years at Cal,
Tedford's Bears have posted a 59-30 record with the last six seasons
ending in bowl appearances.
Cal's 24-17 victory over
Miami in the Emerald Bowl last Saturday completed a 9-4 campaign
and moved Tedford's postseason record to 5-1.
'Jeff Tedford's leadership of our football program'has placed
us among the nation's finest in combining on-field success with
academic and community excellence," Barbour said. 'He truly
represents 'Athletics Done Right.' The Cal football program has
become an integral part of the comprehensive excellence of the
Berkeley campus. I'm pleased that we've agreed to this mutual
long-term commitment.' "
Da Boz, Tom Bates' photo
is on the sports front-page of last week's Chron. Check
out 1959 ROSE BOWL
"WBC #11 ranked super bantamweight Ana
'The Hurricane' Julaton is currently in training, but not for
a professional boxing match" reports
"Julaton (4-1-1, 1 KO)
of Daly City, California is currently preparing for her final
exam to earn a Bok-Fu Black Belt. Bok-Fu is a style of Kenpo Karate
which combines aspects of Chinese Kung Fu and Japanese Fu.
Julaton, who has an extensive
Taekwondo background, gravitated to the Bok-Fu style because of
its focus on aggressive self defense. 'The whole idea is that
you never want to start a fight, but if a fight finds you, you
want to put your whole self forward,' says Julaton. While working
late shifts and going to school, Julaton began learning Bok-Fu
at the WestWind School in Berkeley, California. On December 31st
Julaton will aim to become a member of the select fraternity to
earn Bok-Fu Black Belts. 'In the over forty-year history of Bok-Fu,
there have been less than one hundred Black Belts,' says Julaton.
According to calculations, a student testing for the Bok-Fu Black
Belt must perform no less than 14,000 carefully orchestrated steps
in a two-hour time period."
our Barbara S emails
HI Ron I was surprised
to see a paragraph about Ana "Hurricane" Julaton, the
boxer and martial artist. Our son is the Head Instructor
at the Berkeley West Wind Karate Dojo and he has taught with Ms.
Julaton for many years. She is an amazing martial arts teacher
and an accomplished professional boxer, besides being drop-dead
"Messrs. Sherwood and Guzyk are at the
forefront of a small but growing automotive insurgency" is a story, in part about west-Berkeley at onlinewsj.
"While Toyota promises
to deliver a factory-built, plug-in electric car by late 2009,
and General Motors Corp. says it will bring its Chevy Volt plug-in
car to market in 2010, impatient mechanics already are making
them with off-the-shelf parts.
'I don't know if Toyota meant
to do it, but they gave us a car that's easy to hack into and
easy to improve,' says Mr. Sherwood, an electrical engineer and
co-owner with Mr. Guzyk of 3Prong Power Inc., which has set up
shop in a defunct Cadillac dealership building in Berkeley, Calif.
It charges about $7,000 for the conversions, one of several such
shops in California doing such work."
"Three Decembers, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley,
California" is a
review at ft.com by Allan Ulrich.
"Instead of assigning
stars to this two-hour wallow in New Age bathos, one should really
award the project sugar bowls and give it the maximum. Hovering
in that peculiarly American no man's land between chamber opera
Broadway tunefest, Jake Heggie's
saga of a dysfunctional family, glimpsed at 10-year intervals,
lacks the inflammatory urgency of his wildly popular Dead Man
Walking, and in this West Coast premiere, emerges a bland confection
enlivened by passing lyrical pleasantries."
"California Lab's Effort May Be Example
for U.S. Obama's Energy Pick Seeks Clean Energy" by Kenneth Chang and Andrew C. Revkin of the
International Herald Tribune.
"The Joint BioEnergy
Institute, which encompasses the fourth floor of a high-technology
office building here in a neighborhood of biotechnology companies,
radiates a sleek ecological modernity: floorboards manufactured
of recycled materials and laminated to look like bamboo, trendy
office furniture and laboratories stocked with new equipment.
It even has a hip nickname:
Jay-Bay. That is how everyone pronounces JBEI. The institute has
the look and feel -- and organizational chart -- of a start-up
venture, not a federal research laboratory.
But JBEI is financed by the
Energy Department -- $135 million over five years. And JBEI is
under the purview of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
in nearby Berkeley, whose director, Steven Chu, has been selected
by Barack Obama as the next energy secretary."
"Economy takes a toll on mental health" reports Edward Guthmann, Chronicle Staff
"In a typical week,
Berkeley psychotherapist Don McKillop sees a variety of clients
with a range of emotional issues. But these days, all of his patients
have one thing in common: financial stress.
'In the last week,' McKillop said, 'every one of my clients mentioned
anxiety over the economy.' "
"The next bubble to burst?" is a story by Jeff Milchen at sfgate.com.
"When economic growth stalls, some businesses fail to survive,
so our recession inevitably is accompanied by such failures. When
it comes to retail, however, the trickle of store closings last
year may soon become a torrent now that the temporary stimulus
of the holidays is past. As with the collapse of housing prices,
the economic downturn is not the root problem, but simply exposed
a long-building bubble.
During the past two decades, retail square footage has increased
at triple the rate of population growth and consumer spending
combined. As Stacy Mitchell documents in her book, "Big Box
Swindle," retail capacity more than doubled between 1990
and 2005, driven overwhelmingly by chain store proliferation.
Yet, even as Internet sales
increased, the retail building frenzy has continued - about 140
million square feet of new development will be completed this
year. As a result, we're awash in shopping space, with nearly
double the area per capita of any other large nation (and almost
10 times that of many European nations)."
"Rare 1937 Bugatti supercar found in English
garage" is a report
by Gregory Katz of the AP.
"It was the equivalent of finding an old Picasso or an unknown
Beatles tape hidden away in your uncle's attic.
Relatives of Dr. Harold Carr found an extremely rare 1937 Bugatti
Type 57S Atalante - a Holy Grail for car collectors - as they
were going through his belongings after his death."
"City of Berkeley working to improve problem
by Doug Oakley of our Times.
Wilbur Brown says his seven
vintage cars are financial assets, just like stocks or bonds.
The city of Berkeley calls them liabilities.
Brown's home is one of 12
"problem properties" the city is trying to clean up
and one of 86 open cases citywide.
Berkeley stepped up enforcement
of blighted homes in the south and west neighborhoods after a
double murder and subsequent near-fatal shooting on Derby Street
The idea, known as the broken-window
theory, is that looking bad sends a message that residents don't
care if criminals do their dirty deeds nearby.
In addition to adding police
to the neighborhood, hauling away trash on the streets and fixing
street lights, cleaning up problem properties was highlighted
as a way to fight crime."
"Confronting Islamophobia" is a report at socialistworker.org.
"Over 70 students at
the University of California at Berkeley participated in a teach-in
on Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism in early December following
hate crimes committed by members of the Zionist Freedom Alliance
(ZFA) against Palestinian students.
During a ZFA music concert,
three Palestinian students responded to some of the hateful lyrics
by hanging a Palestinian flag from a building in protest. At this
point, three members of ZFA attacked the
students, making racist anti-Palestinian remarks. The next evening,
unknown attackers assaulted another Palestinian student.
While this hate crime is
repugnant in and of itself, the school administration's lack of
action following the attack spoke volumes about anti-Arab racism
on campus. Chancellor Robert Birgeneau has so far remained completely
"Left adjusts to a new patriotism under
Obama" is a story
by Sasha Issenberg, the Boston Globe at International Hearld
"The hundreds who massed
at the University of California campus here on election night
responded to Barack Obama's victory by heading off on a route
that has been for a generation the sacred way for the activist
left: out the campus gates, through Sproul Plaza, and down Telegraph
Avenue toward People's Park.
By the time they arrived
at the intersection of Telegraph and Durant avenues, where a tie-dye
vendor occupies one corner, it became clear they did not come
to challenge the system now preparing to consecrate
a new regime in Washington. At one point, a man scaled a lamppost
and unfurled the Stars and Stripes. The crowd broke out in the
'People finally felt like
our generation had reclaimed patriotism,' said Haley Fagan, 24,
a Berkeley paralegal who got stuck in a car trying to cross the
street as the crowd surged. 'It was a moment that we felt comfortable
with it.' "
"Balboa High football coach leaves to take
over at St. Mary's-Berkeley"
reports Will McCulloch, Chronicle Staff Writer.
High has a new football coach for the second time in the past
year. Former Balboa coach Keith Minor has accepted the coaching
duties and a physical-education teaching position at the school,
replacing Dan Ferrigno, who has departed to be an assistant coach
at San Diego State."
"Quirky Bay Area movie houses offer pizza,
samosas and charm" report
Jackie Burrell, Jim Harrington and Pat Craig, Contra Costa
There's more to the moviegoing
experience than merely hitting the cineplex. Whether you favor
the grand theater experience of the Paramount or the Grand Lake,
with their sweeping staircases and matinees that feature the Wurlitzer
organ and movie singalongs; or the Bollywood charm - and samosas
- of Fremont's Naz; or the cushy
couches and piping-hot pizzas of the Parkway, there's a quirky
movie-house treasure to suit every taste. Here's a rundown:
The Parkway and Cerrito Speakeasy
Why they're cool: Pay no
mind to the frayed carpet or slightly down-
at-the-heels ambience. These great Oakland and El Cerrito hangouts
boast cheap seats, great eats and
movies we meant to get to
- 'Quantum of Solace' and 'Secret Life of
Bees' - but somehow missed during their too-short runs at the
cineplex. Get there early to score cozy, love-seat-size couches
coffee tables sized just right to hold those mammoth Na' Cho'
Ordinary Nachos platters or a hand-spun pizza and pitcher of beer.
And as you order these wonders at the nondescript concession stand,
ignore the rapidly cooling pizza by the slice - you want the whole
pie, piping hot and delivered to your seat, along with a big bowl
Pete and Geralyn saw the
Bond flick at the Cerrito and had a great time.
"WSJ(1/5) Experts' Rx On How To Get Out
Of Economic Mess' is
a report at alibaba.com.
"Nothing focuses the
mind like a crisis, and the global financial crisis and the recession
that it produced have focused the minds of economists like no
other event in their careers.
At the American Economic
Association's meeting in San Francisco over the weekend, an annual
event that draws economists from around the world, there were
dozens of panels devoted to examining aspects of
the global downturn -- to say nothing of the hundreds of informal
discussions that popped up along hotel hallways and over cocktails
The overarching question:
How are we going to get out of this mess?
Here are 11 prescriptions:
Barry Eichengreen, University
of California, Berkeley: There needs
to be a two-pronged approach. First, an additional $300 billion
banks and a mechanism for removing toxic waste from their balance
sheets. Second, a minimum of $800 billion for fiscal stimulus.
would like to see mainly payroll-tax cuts and block grants for
states,' he says. 'Infrastructure means bridges to nowhere.' "
chefs, Eric and James
a Bob Kubik photo
a link to Lot 6224 at liveauctioneers.com.
Watercolor, L.P. Latimer,
Framed watercolor, ''House-Studio on Channing Way, Berkeley,
California,'' 1937, by Lorenzo P. Latimer (Californian, 1857-1941),
signed lower left, inscribed and dated verso, sight: 10.5''h x
13.5''w, overall: 12''h x 15''w
"Stacey's Bookstore closing down in S.F."
is a report at sfgate.com.
the iconic San Francisco shop that called Market Street home for
all of its 85 years and had carved out a niche for technical publications,
announced Tuesday evening that it would close
Like other independent book
sellers, Stacey's had been hurt over the past decade by the rise
of national chains, like Barnes & Noble, and Web-based booksellers,
such as Amazon.com. The store's general manager, Tom Allen, said
sales had dropped 50 percent since March 2001."
"German billionaire Adolf Merckle threw himself in front
of a train after his business empire, which included interests
ranging from VW cars to pharmaceuticals to cement, ran into trouble
in the global financial crisis, his family said Tuesday"
"Economists Warm to Government Spending
but Debate Its Form"
writes Paul Sakuma, Associated Press.
"Frightened by the recession
and the credit crisis that produced it, the nation's mainstream
economists are embracing public spending to repair the damage
- even those who have long resisted a significant government role
in a market system.
Infrastructure projects should
be part of any stimulus, many experts agreed.
Janet Yellen, president of
the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, said economic thought
was undergoing a major shift.
But there is not much agreement
yet on what type of spending would produce the best results, or
what mix of spending and tax cuts.
'We have spent so many years
thinking that discretionary fiscal policy was a bad idea, that
we have not figured out the right things to do to cure a recession
that is scaring all of us,' said Alan J. Auerbach, an economist
at the University of California, Berkeley, referring to the mix
of public spending and tax cuts known as fiscal policy.
Hundreds of economists who
gathered here for the annual meeting of the American Economic
Association seemed to acknowledge that a profound shift had occurred.
At their last annual meeting,
ideas about using public spending as a way to get out of a recession
or about government taking a role to enhance a market system were
relegated to progressives. The mainstream was skeptical or downright
hostile to such suggestions. This time, virtually everyone voiced
their support, returning to a
way of thinking that had gone out of fashion in the 1970s."
Postcard from Christmas Past
A Soviet New Year card from
the 1960s celebrating advances in space
From Russia's St Peterburg
is no Christmas on Dec. 25 in Russia, and foreigners celebrating
on that day have long felt the absence of the typical trimmings
and trappings. However, as a motley medley of foreigners have
found over the centuries, all you really need is Christmas cheer.
Besides which, there is only
a week to wait before the biggest Russian holiday of them all
? New Year?s."
"Flash in Heavens Has No Earthly Explanation" is a story by Clara Moskowitz at blog.wired.com.
this one under: Things that go flash in the night.
While conducting a routine
search for distant supernovae, astronomers observed a bright burst
of light that they can?t account for. On Feb. 21, 2006, the Hubble
Space Telescope first imaged the source of light, which continued
to brighten over the next 100 days, peaked, and then finally faded
to oblivion over another 100 days."
"Learning More About Levitation" is a story by Jeffrey Kluger at time.com.
"Physics always seems
to want to come out to play. Just when this most technical of
sciences starts to seem impossibly arcane, it goes goofy on you,
as it did last year with the announcement that physicists at the
University of California, Berkeley, had developed a tiny working
model of an invisibility cloak. This week, the physics magic shop
announced yet another wonder: levitation.
this week, EBMUD repaired
on 10th, across from the
secret movie studio, down from Pardee
a Bob Kubik photo
Kubik reports that last week,
AT&T repaired an underground-short on 10th and Pardee "caused
by" a water leak.
I reported last month that
Bayer was rebuilding their "tin warehouse" at the north
east corner of their compound. In fact, the building was razed
for parking--check out the corner of 7th and Dwight.
"Berkeley Needs to Protect its Air and
its Children" opines
Maggie Riftik at berkeleyplanet.com.
Schools Top Bad Air Quality List' . . . , Kristin McFarland
writes that the air quality in Berkeley schools is among the worst
in the nation, as reported recently by USA Today. As a Berkeley
parent, I am deeply upset about this, especially given Berkeley's
reputation as one of the greenest cities in our country. I am
particularly shocked at how long our local government has let
Pacific Steel Casting (PSC) pollute our air. I would like to comment
about a few items from Ms. McFarland's article."
My 37 years experience in
west-Berkeley leads me to conclude that Pacific Steel is just
the tip of the iceberg--all be it, large.
Patrick Kennedy, my favorite
Irish builder, forwards this opinion. It is also published in
"Berkeley Is About
to Blow it Again" by Russ Mitchell.
"Take a walk through Berkeley's West Side manufacturing
and light industrial district, north of the fancy Fourth
Street retail strip where the swells go to shop. You'll see
a few industrial plants puffing their last breaths, and plenty
of weedy lots surrounded by chain link fences with plastic bags
blowing around inside.
Berkeley's Planning Commission
is now debating how the city should control development in these
zones. The city's efforts thus far have led to a sorry lack of
development and a dimunition of the revenue that comes with thriving
business and job growth. Property taxpayers are expected to fill
Even as the world economy
crumbles, fortune is smiling on Berkeley, offering a chance
to develop the city into a world class center of alternative energy
research, development and production. The University of California-Berkeley
already does top-notch work in this area, as does the federal
government's Lawrence Berkeley Labs. The labs' director, Steven
Chu, is about to be named Energy Secretary in the Obama administration,
and if it plays its cards right, the City of Berkeley could reap
an economic bonanza, seeing the creation of new private-sectors
jobs and filling the dwindling coffers of the city, the school
district, and other governmental entities.
All signs indicate that Berkeley is
about to blow it. The Planning Commission's recent deliberations
over the so-called 'West Berkeley Project' is the latest manifestation
of the reality distortion field that subverts high-technology
economic development in Berkeley and sends companies to fleeing
to Emeryville and elsewhere.
In most cities, setting policies to move high-tech research from
a nearby university into the local economy would be a no-brainer.
Our planning commmission is frittering its time debating whether
child care centers should be allowed in industrial zones near
the freeway (zones that are the same distance from the Interstate
80 as Rosa ParksElementary School) and whether mini-storage
businesses should be kicked out.
Activists who are now pushing
to preserve these zones for artisan crafts and "green collar"
jobs like those provided at Urban Ore are stuck
longing for a utopia that will never exist. Urban Ore is
a cool place and if the city wants to preserve it, fine; that
by itself won't stall economic development. But those who think
that a belt of junk shops and jewelry makers will in any meaningful
way improve Berkeley's economy and employment rolls are smoking
Other Berkeley residents,
those who complain about the city's activist fringe and its control
of local politics, share the blame for the city's failure to grasp
economic opportunity: if you want the city to become world class
center of high tech green technology development, and lower your
property taxes, too, you'd better get involved, now.
There is always talk of economic
justice when industrial zoning issues are debated here. The
best cure for poverty is jobs. Social justice activists should
be cheering on modern economic development in West Berkeley, while
pressuring government, industry and the university to provide
money, time and talent to Berkeley's struggling schools.
Then kids might grow up with the chance to become a high-paid
scientist at one of West Berkeley's alternative energy laboratories,
instead of being stuck taking over Dad's job sweeping sawdust
at Urban Ore.
Berkeley resident Russ Mitchell is a longtime journalist
covering business, economics, technology and science."
What ever, . . . but ya gotta
love the "40-year-old weed" allusion.
"Biotech classes target minorites" is a report by David Morrill, CCT Staff
" Juan Munoz has seen
his share of resumes cross his desk.
After 25 years in the biotechnology
and microbiology industry, many of them seem alike. 'When applicants
are out of college, they have a lot of theory on their resume
but not the actual hands-on experience,' Munoz said.
Now the founder of Microbiology
and Quality Associates in Berkeley hopes to change that. At the
end of this month, he will launch a program that will train between
five and 10 minority students with a science background.
But this won't be your typical
The students will be able
to get their hands on some equipment that cost more than a car,
and techniques that will match expertise needed if they work in
a microbiology testing lab.
Each course is 6 weeks, and
costs about $3,800. They will be held evenings starting Jan. 26."
"No Native American artifacts or human
remains found on UC Berkeley's new sports training center" is a story by Kristin Bender at insiderbayarea.com.
"UC Berkeley has finished a geoarchaeological survey of the
ground beneath the former oak grove and has found no evidence
of prehistoric American Indian artifacts or human remains where
a $125 million sports training center will be built, university
officials said Thursday.
Workers from Orinda-based
William Self Associates, which was hired by the university, spent
three weeks digging 31 holes - ranging from 15 to 50 feet deep
- at the 1.5-acre site to check for American Indian remains and
artifacts, university officials said.
During the 21-month tree-sit,
many protesters argued that artifacts and remains are buried on
the site adjacent to the western wall of California Memorial Stadium."
"University of California to Accept Fewer
Students" is a report
at the University of California have not finished reviewing applications
for 2009. But the record number of applications that have arrived
almost certainly means that more applicants than ever will be
"Commerzbank is part nationalised" reports BBC NEWS.
"Germany's second biggest
bank will now be part state-owned. Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest
bank, has said it is to be partly nationalised, with the government
taking a 25% stake, plus one share.
The bank is to receive 10bn
euros (£9bn; $13.7bn) in a second injection pf capital from
the German banking sector stabilisation fund, Soffin."
Buttercup alumni, Suze Orman's
new book, 2009 Action Plan, can be downloaded for free at http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20081119_tows_bookdownload
Rick Ballard of our Groove
Commemorating 70 years of great jazz, Blue Note Records'
all-star septet performs at Cal Performances Thursday, January
15 at 8:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall. Under the musical leadership
of pianist Bill Charlap, and including trumpeter Nicholas Payton,
tenor saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, saxophonist/flutist Steve Wilson,
guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist Peter Washington and drummer
Lewis Nash, they will be stopping in 51 cities throughout
the United States. In conjunction with the birthday tour,
the label has released Mosaic: A Celebration of Blue Note Records,
a collection of its classic repertoire arranged and performed
by members of Blue Note 7 band. The Berkeley concert will
include works from the CD plus other material; program to be announced
from the stage. Through good times and lean times, Blue Note Records
has earned the reputation as "a recording company that retains
its integrity and dedication to jazz" (All About Jazz).
I have five pairs of tickets to this show. The first five people
to email me with the correct answer to the question below win
a pair of tickets. The question is: in what year did Blue Note
Records issue their first records?
email Rick at email@example.com
Art Fair" is a notice at villagevoice.com.
Who's to say what's good art? Or even who's an artist and who's
not? Organizers of the Outsider Art Fair don't require an MFA
from artists of this exhibition-and it's been that way for the
past 17 years.
Bay Area home prices from sfgate.com
Bay Area foreclosures from sfgate.com
Our City Council update is
Our Planning Commision update
You can find more information
about our current weather conditions than is good for you at www.wunderground.com
Want to see weather coming
in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out
This very hip site was in an email from reader and contributor,
Tony Almeida. Read Tony's Jimi Hendrix story on the only page that routinely gets
more hits than Scrambled Eggs.
Best gas prices in 94710,
as well as all of US and Canada, are here
Kimar finds Costco routinely
has the lowest price.
Ramblers' motorcycle club member, Cliff Miller emails a very
If you ever need to get a
human being on the phone at a credit card company or bank, etc.,
this site tells you how to defeat their automated system and get
you to a human being within a few seconds.
is not just a reference for Berkeley-Hills radicals with 1.5 mil
homes and considerable portfolios.
Our City of Berkeley Boards
and Commissions page is here--redone
Police reports at insidebay area.com are here.
PD Site with crime statistics and more is here.
Crime Log for 94710 is
This site is NOT affiliated
with Berkeley PD.
Take time to report
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.
Our new Area
Coordinator is Officer Karen Buckheit, Berkeley PD - 981-5774
City Mgr Off - 981-2491 firstname.lastname@example.org
aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120 email@example.com
City Councilman firstname.lastname@example.org
Scrambled Eggs & Lox, here
Stories about Berkeley and stories about recorded-music
Journal of Recorded Music 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
The original owner
of all posted material retains copyright. The material is used
only to illustrate