Berkeley's Fourth Street

Apple Store, constructing

Look for a mid-Summer opening



Penndorf's Miscellaneous Ramblings

With all the talk and concern now about our unfunded liabilities, I'm reminded of the reaction to Bob Kubik and the few others who appeared before the council* over a year ago. They were met with a "polite" response but were later dismissed as a group of conservative discontents. Seems the chicken's come home, Boz.

*Actually an evening city staff/community meeting at San Pablo Park. Bob Kubik


I've just begun "destructive generation: second thoughts about the sixties" by Peter Collier and David Horowitz. A revisionist history of the decade, it features familiar Berkeley players--some still active in politics.


our Tak emails

Your comment about KDFC's current programming reminded me of the classical music station in Milwaukee circa early 1970s. I was spending the summer with my family there over school break, worrying about the draft and drinking Old Milwaukee fresh from the Schlitz brewery.

The classical music station had gone to a top 40 format with cuts only 3 to 4 minutes long just like rock stations except that they played only classical music. . . .

Tak Nakamoto


Charlie Rose half-hour conversation with cartoonist Gary Trudeau is here. Trudeau's Doonesbury Retrospective book is the conversation starting point.



end Miscellaneous Ramblings



posts from the past


Some guy named Willi Paul has a letter in The Planet about Pacific Steel's emissions, and more. Filled with fire brand and often over the top, he writes "There is a four-headed toxic spin machine spewing caustic air and ugly lies on Second Street. . . . . Shut down Pacific Steel . . . . And don't believe any of the crap coming out of Dion Aroner's mouth." (Damn I miss Zelda's column, she does class fire-brand and over-the-top.) Ironically, Zelda's film "Made in Berkeley," an appreciation of Berkeley manufactures, features Pacific Steel.

I believe Pacific Steel Casting to be Berkeley's environmental embarrassment.

There's a debate between Tom Bates and Zelda Bronstein on Thursday, October 19 at 7:30 PM in the Le Conte School cafeteria.

And Z's got a Birthday coming up, October 20.


end posts from the past




"Berkeley Crossings bought by investors for $15 million" by George Avalos, Oakland Tribune.

"A group of investors has snapped up Berkeley Crossings, a big research and office complex in the East Bay, and the group plans to offer the property to tech or other cutting-edge firms.

An affiliate of Strada Investment Group paid $15 million for the 132,000-square-foot project a few weeks ago, agents for Grubb & Ellis Co., a commercial realty firm, said Tuesday.

'It's the type of building that would be right for a tech company,' said Steve Golubchik, a vice president with Grubb & Ellis. 'It's tough to find a building of that size in Berkeley.'

Grubb & Ellis agents Golubchik and Nicholas Bicardo arranged the deal.

The building previously had been valued at about $28 million, based on public records. The property is located at 1608 Fourth St., near Cedar Street."



"HUD approves Berkeley's public housing disposition scheme" is a report by Lynda Carson at

"Berkeley's poor are about to lose their public housing units to privatization and to one or more greedy non profit developers, as public housing tenants across the nation are fighting back against the latest schemes to privatize our nations 1.2 million public housing units.

Like many cities across the nation that have decided to make a profit by privatizing and selling off their public housing units, Berkeley is seeking one or more non profit housing developers that are willing to buy Berkeley's 75 public housing units, in a scheme that allows the developers to kick-back money to the City of Berkeley. Berkeley is desperately trying to cut back on it's spending budgets, and to bring in more additional revenues to the city.

On Tuesday January 4, 2011, Berkeley's public housing residents received the latest Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) news letter, that among other things mentions that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has approved the BHA's proposed scheme to dispose of Berkeley's 75 "three and four bedroom" town home public housing units, to one or more local non profit housing developers."




"City Works to Sell Itself as Site for Lawrence Berkeley Lab" reports the Alameda Patch.

"The dity is working on a response to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's call for communities to pitch their merits as a location for the lab's new facility."


"The so-called 'Amazon bill' is back" is a report at

"Assembly Bill 153, introduced yesterday by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would require online-only out-of-state retailers to collect state sales taxes for purchases sold in California.

The Berkeley Democrat's office estimates the change could generate $300 million in state and local revenues as the state looks for ways to fill a projected 18-month deficit of $26.4 billion.

This isn't the first time legislators have considered mandating sales tax for the online shopping hubs -- the concept has been pushed both in legislation introduced by Skinner in 2009 and during past budget negotiations. Previous efforts faced major opposition from online retailers, including, and eBay. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it out of a 2009 budget bill."




"Berkeley City Council Postpones Vote On Sex-Change Surgery Funding" reports

"The Berkeley City Council Tuesday night postponed a vote on a staff proposal to appropriate $20,000 a year to pay for sex-change operations for city employees.

Council members on Tuesday decided to delay a final decision on the issue until Feb. 15."






Penndorf's Miscellaneous Ramblings

Mayor's aid, Calvin Fong and guest had breakfast at 900 GRAYSON yesterday morning.


"Haven't heard from Zelda lately." "Zelda's disappeared." "Where's Zelda?"

Well, . . .

"Massive West Berkeley Rezoning on Council Agenda" by Zelda Bronstein at

"On January 25, the council will twice consider sweeping changes to West Berkeley zoning will be that would open the district up to high-rise, high-density, Emeryville-style development. In the works for three years, the proposed changes will come to the council for the first time at a 5:30 worksession. Then they are the subject of a public hearing at the council's regular meeting, which starts at 7 pm. Both meetings will take place at Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr., Way.

The changes originated in a council directive that asked city staff and the planning commission to devise ways to facilitate the development of six large industrial sites in West Berkeley. But what the planning commission approved 7-2 last October with virtually no discussion goes far beyond the original directive: It would allow housing in West Berkeley's manufacturing zones, stand-alone offices in the Manufacturing Zone, unlimited expansion of master use permit sites, and open up all wholesale trade and warehouse space in the Mixed Use-Light Industry and Mixed Manufacturing Zones to research and development. "


The West-Berkeley Project as it now stands, for better or worse, is a product of many years and of the many.

Here are some links to the tremendous effort and diligent work involved;

Planning Commission reports by year

Some presentations

Some Council updates from '09

Maps for all to use/see

Access to WB Project



California Closets is moving into a 29,500 square foot facility north of our Fourth Street commerical district at 1716 4th St. They will be manufacturing custom home furnishings with ancillary offices and a small retail showroom, and should be moving into the space in Spring.



end Miscellaneous Ramblings




"Is it hard to do business in Berkeley?" asks Frances Dinkelspiel in her story at

"On May 5, 2010, Robin Dalrymple walked excitedly into Berkeley's Planning Department to apply for a use permit. She wanted to convert the vacant Ritz Camera store on Solano Avenue into an ice cream parlor.

Eight months later, her store is still not open.

Veronica Bradley signed a lease in April 2010 to transform what had been Left Coast Cyclery on Domingo Avenue into a store selling olive oil from around the world. After working with five city departments - building and safety, health, zoning, public works and engineering, and fire prevention ­she finally got a permit in November. The store opened Dec. 24.

It took Jim Meyers only six weeks to launch his store, Wine Thieves, in Lafayette. It hasn't been that easy in Berkeley. He has been trying since March to open a branch on Domingo Avenue. He is crossing his fingers that he can open the store next week.

"We have had the most difficult time," said Bradley, who said she paid more than $50,000 in rent before Amphora Nueva opened. "We heard this about Berkeley, but we had no idea it would be so challenging. I blame it on the city of Berkeley. Given the vacancies you would think they would do whatever they could to make the process a little less painful, a little less costly. In other parts of the country cities bend over backwards to help business."

Berkeley has long had a reputation of being a difficult city in which to do business. There are many factors contributing to this perception, including complex zoning laws, neighborhood business quotas, and a 60's era desire to give neighborhoods, rather than the planning department, discretion in saying what kinds of businesses can move into nearby commercial districts."


A cracker-jack story, . . . . yet keep in mind that one of the threads of Berkeleysides upcoming busimess forum is something like "It's hard to do businness in Berkeley." RP




"Berkeley Cabbies Take on City Hall" reports Judith Scherr at

"Taxi companies and drivers are banding together to battle what they say are unfair city practices."




"Newswoman Belva Davis reflects on her life" Julian Guthrie, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"There is the public side of journalist and news anchor Belva Davis: her 43 years in television, her calm demeanor and balanced approach, and her milestones, including being the first black female news anchor on the West Coast.
With the publication of her new memoir, 'Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman's Life in Journalism,' Davis' private life is made public. The story of little Belvagene Melton, born to a 14-year-old laundress in Louisiana, is harrowing and redemptive, replete with abuse and neglect, determination and pluck."



"Changes at S.F. classic music station alters Bay Area radio scene" by Jim Harrington, Oakland Tribune.

"Don't touch that dial: A series of recent radio station changes revolving around classical music station KDFC-FM is shaking up the Bay Area broadcasting world.

In the short term, the changes could spell bad news for classical fans in the South Bay and some portions of the East Bay.

The changes began Tuesday, when the University of Southern California bought KDFC, the Bay Area's only classical music station, from its longtime owner, Entercom Communications. Financial terms of the sale, which must be approved by the Federal Communications Commission, were not disclosed.

The first move of KDFC's new owners will be a big one -- moving the station on the FM dial from 102.1 to 90.3 in San Francisco and 89.9 in the North Bay.

Adopting a nonprofit model was deemed necessary for the long-term health of KDFC. It's also in keeping with the industry trend for classical stations, according to KDFC vice president Bill Lueth."




"3D 'makes millions of people sick'" is a report at

"Hollywood studios and technology companies are pinning growth hopes on a 3D future, but one major drawback with the format is that it makes millions of people uncomfortable or sick.

Optometrists say as many as one in four viewers have problems watching 3D movies and TV, either because 3D causes eye strain or because the viewer has problems perceiving depth in real life. In the worst cases, 3D makes people queasy, leaves them dizzy or gives them headaches."




"Marginal land could be significant source of biofuel crops" by Kris Bevill at

"Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have published the results of a study aimed at identifying the amount of marginal land available worldwide for biofuel crop production. Partially funded by BP's Energy Biosciences Institute and co-sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the study focused on determining what types of land are suitable for biofuel crops, where that land is located and what the current land cover is, according to U of I civil and environmental engineering professor Ximing Cai."




"GM, Detroit Pinning Hopes for Future on Chevy Volt" is a video report at

"As part of his ongoing reporting on 'Making Sen$e' of financial news, business correspondent Paul Solman travels to Detroit for an update on General Motors' electric car, the Chevy Volt, and examines how the company and the city are hoping it will usher in an economic revival."









Penndorf's Miscellaneous Ramblings

All the talk of LBNL's second campus brings up the question "Is a west-Berkeley location a real possibility or simply a hopeful dream?"

Or more bizarre, simple hubris.

Certainly, it is the perfect culture-fit but do the math and economics work?


All other issues aside, for sure what is hopeful is that though the economy has been working against meeting OurTown's unfunded liabilities, it seems now it is beginning to work reducing them. For hints abound that the economy is picking up.



Collier and Horowitz classic revisionist work "destructive generation" has a thirty some-page chapter about Our Town, "Slouching Towards Berkeley; a Tale of Socialism in One City." It begins with

"But I don't want to go among mad people" Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can't help that " said the Cat. "we're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad" said Alice.

"You must be" said the Cat. "Or you wouldn't have come here." Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.



end Miscellaneous Ramblings





"NCKU Urban Planning Department Draws Attention with '2050, Nangang Brownfield Greendesign' Project" is a report at

"Like many other contemporary Asian cities, Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is technologically advanced, but one of the city's most pressing issues is what to do with their manufacturing residue and post-industrial sheds."


"The other Edible Schoolyard: garden teacher Kim Allen offers youth space to grow" by Sarah Henry at

"For four years Kim Allen has served as garden program manager for Berkeley Youth Alternatives (BYA), which provides a minimum-wage, internship program for socio-economically challenged adolescents ages 14 to 18. Some come to the garden through word-of-mouth from family or friends, others as part of mandated community service.

During the school year Allen's youth garden crew, typically a group of six to eight, work and learn alongside her in two community garden plots in West Berkeley."






posts from the past


Bob Kubik forwards an email originally written to his friend

Marines and Berkeley

I'm surprised that you, . . . , haven't yet given me a hard time about the latest Berkeley "news event".  I will try to defend myself before you can go on the offensive.

1. The Berkeley City Council approved this ill-conceived motion by a vote of five to three showing that a strong minority did not support and indeed objected to it.
    2. The Council is now trying to worm their way out of this.
    3. Perhaps, to me the most stupid part of this was to attack the Marine Corps!

General Smedly Butler (1881-1940) who twice won the Medal of Honor and was the most decorated and influential Marine of his time perhaps best summed up the early history of the Corps."I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

The Corps since then has seen to its public relations in an exemplary fashion.  It has branded itself as the preeminent branch of the service - more selective, braver and more capable than the army, navy or air force.  Stunts like the reenactment that led to the iconic photo of raising the flag on Mt. Surabachi were pure PR genius.  
    After WWII when the Army, the Air Force and Harry Truman wanted to disband the Marine Corps the Corps defeated them soundly - (did the Berkeley City Council think the could win when the combined effort of the Army, the Air Force and the President couldn't prevail?)
    Now before you get me wrong I am not dissing the Corps.  I'm just saying they know how to handle perceptions.  Indeed, they have distinguished themselves as war fighters.  They did more than their share of the toughest fighting in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the First Gulf War.  The casualties they received demonstrate that.  Typically, in the First Gulf War the marines had the hardest job - attacking straight ahead against mine fields and prepared defenses - while the army did an end run around the defenders.  

Getting back to my main point - the ill-conceived motion by the Berkeley City Council - I take it as self evident that one should not get into arguments with large groups of people with guns and also not get into a pissing contest with a group that understands public relations better than Procter and Gamble.


Want to find out about General Smedly Butler's War is a Racket and more? Do it here.



With all the tsuris I forgot that February 9, 1938 is Da Boz' birthdate.

Zo, . . .


Boz, next time please pick a fight we can win--go after the Coast Guard.

end posts from the past







Alameda County District Attorney's Office press release,

"Major operation has been complete against Bay Area prostitution ring.

On January 20, 2011, a team of 125 law enforcement personnel assisted the Hayward Police Department (HPD) in serving search and arrest warrants at ten locations in Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties. Participating agencies include Hayward, Oakland, Berkeley, Sunnyvale, Newark, Danville, and San Jose Police Departments, Contra Costa and Santa Clara County Sheriffs Offices, California Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Attorney's Office, and the Alameda County District Attorney's Office (ACDAO). Yesterday's joint effort was intended as both an enforcement and rescue operation. Eight people were arrested for their role in operating the ring. Ten adult females were recovered, provided with support services, and all but one taken into custody. Asian Community Mental Health, Standing Against Global Exploitation, Bay Area Women Against Rape, Women Inc., Community Violence Solutions and an ACDAO H.E.A.T. (Human Exploitation and Trafficking) Unit advocate participated in the operation. The investigation as well efforts to further identify victims and suspects is ongoing. 

This operation is the culmination of a year-long investigation by HPD uncovering a sophisticated ring of brothels where scores of immigrant Asian women were exploited to further the ring's lucrative enterprise. The investigation began when an HPD patrol officer looked into neighborhood complaints of suspected prostitution in a local residence. Attentive HPD officers eventually uncovered evidence supporting the claim. An in-depth undercover investigation ensued, establishing that the home in question was a clandestine brothel and part of a larger ring of similar brothels. Investigators estimate dozens of women have been brought into the United States from Taiwan and China, placed on the prostitution circuit in this country, and cycled through these targeted Bay Area brothels. In addition to crimes associated with operating brothels, investigators continue to determine the degree to which human exploitation and trafficking is involved in procuring and enslaving the women recovered from these brothels.  

H.E.A.T. is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in this country. ACDAO's award-winning H.E.A.T. Watch Program is nationally acknowledged as a model response. Recognizing that H.E.A.T. knows no borders ­ locally, nationally, or internationally ­ heads of all 29 Alameda County law enforcement agencies as well as San Francisco and Contra Costa county law enforcement leaders, joined ACDAO last July as committed participants in H.E.A.T. Watch. Yesterday's multi-agency operation, stemming from the HPD investigation, is a testament to this regional commitment. 'This is a historic operation because so many agencies from all over the Bay Area came together under the umbrella of H.E.A.T. Watch for what represents the first multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency Regional H.E.A.T. Watch operation. Efforts of this magnitude and this degree of collaboration by local, state and federal law enforcement and service providers are unprecedented and bode well for future efforts to successfully combat the H.E.A.T. epidemic plaguing our region,' said Sharmin Bock, Assistant District Attorney in Charge of Special Operations and Policy Development. "  




"Berkeley shelter damaged by fire reopens" by Doug Oakley, Berkeley Voice.

"The Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society has reopened its Ninth Street building that was heavily damaged in a fire last year, but it still has a long way to go before it can resume full operations, the executive director said."




"Consistent taste is key to success of Berkeley's Bison Organic Beer" by David Morrill, Oakland Tribune.

"Sometimes the best way to make money isn't always the best way to do business.

Daniel Del Grande, owner of Bison Organic Beers in Berkeley, refuses to cut corners to make an extra buck. He says using more expensive organic ingredients, for example, is one key to his success.

'It's a point of pride. I want to operate in a way that we can be proud of,' says Del Grande, 42.

Officially, he calls himself a contract brewer who uses space at other facilities -- Mendocino Brewing Co. in Ukiah and Black Diamond Brewing Co. in Concord -- to concoct the batches that flow into dozens of grocery stores and restaurants in the Bay Area and in 15 states."





At "berkeleyside.sfgate" (Jeez, am I missing something here? ) we find "Berkeley agrees to landmark 'keep it local' deal with trade unions" by John C. Osborn.

"The Berkeley City Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to enter into a landmark agreement with a number of trade unions that would give Berkeley and Green Corridor workers top priority for most contracted city projects."







Penndorf's Miscellaneous Ramblings

"But I don't want to go among mad people" Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can't help that " said the Cat. "we're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad" said Alice.

"You must be" said the Cat. "Or you wouldn't have come here." Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.


Fay Stender

Huey P Newton

After Fay Stender was shot in an assassination attempt, a mutual lawyer friend moved his law office to the far end of a vacant Embarcadero pier where you had to very visibly walk hundreds of feet in the open empty warehouse space to reach his area. And his secretary quit suddenly so my friend Kimar helped him out for a time.

Incidentally, Stender was an accomplished classical pianist who I remember bought records on The Ave. Physically, she was a small person.


In all the writing I've done about The Ave in the 60s and '70s I haven't till now mentioned the Insurrection. In the late 70s as political protest fell into simple violence, I remember an afternoon working at Moe's when a junkie who had locked herself in Moe's bathroom overdosed. She couldn't be aroused through the locked door. But no one called the police, for they were still "The Pigs."



In the '90s after the Southern California shootout between police and heavily armed men in body armor, Berkeley PD requested and received selective-fire German Heckler and Koch weapons. BPD had originally requested the US made M-16s but were refused by the city council because they had been used in Vietnam. And, some members of the council wanted the HKs to be "painted pink" believing they would be "less intimidating." BPD convinced the council that this would invalidate the warranty.


end Miscellaneous Ramblings




post from the past


More than a year ago I had a conversation with an Alameda County Sheriff Deputy-a Sargent and an ex-Marine who was retiring. We were talkiing about the "Berkeley Insurrection" and he offered "The demonstrators today are soft-not what they used to be. I was working a demonstration downtown and explained to a young woman that I was going to have to arrest her. She started crying! I didn't even touch her. I was just explaining." He seemed to think it was another reason to retire.



Back in The Day: Selling Records on Berkeley's Telegraph Ave

I just listened

Albert's recurring nightmare was that all the music would disappear from his records and he'd be left in the plastics business. You see, his first wife's folks thought that plastic was the business to get into. Albert probably didn't like that. I know he didn't like the plastics business and he probably didn't much care for his wife's parents advice either.

But Albert loved music, and it's this deep consuming love that he gave to all who would listen, whether it was a guy who stopped in front of the shop, or one of his daughters, or me, or the other fellows who worked for him. With the joy of a two-year-old shoving his toys at you, Albert would share his music discoveries.

When the Bach Accompanied Violin Sonatas by Menuhin, Malcolm and Ambrose Gauntlett came out, Albert found true love. "Listen to that note," he'd say. "Listen to the way he shapes it." The store's speakers were up toward the ceiling, on either side of a 14x10 foot window and in order to better hear the music he'd face the window, cup his hands over the back of his ears and look skyward. "Listen," he'd say, "Like this!" And he put his hands over his ears.

I'd listen. At first with some skepticism and embarrassment. After all, I was standing, looking at the ceiling with my hands over my ears, next to a guy who looked a little like Bogart with a goatee, who was looking toward the ceiling with his hands over his ears. And we were doing this in front of, or behind, a large window that looked out on the busiest corner in Berkeley.

After a while I just listened. I found there was a lot to hear. I heard not only how Menuhin shaped a note, but how he and Ambrose Gauntlett played notes that were of different pitch and color and yet sounded the same. I listened to how, in the violin sonatas, the violin accompanied the accompanying instruments, whether the gamba or the harpsichord. Finally I heard the players "get it right."

Sometimes when we were listening a customer would come in, and Albert being quite persuasive, would get him to put his hands over his ears and look skyward. Then there were three of us listening.

At most you could get four or five people between the speakers in front of that window, and there were that many there at the beginning of Albert's playing of the St. Matthew Passion- a favorite conducted by Karl Munchinger. Albert, almost immediately became carried away by the power of Bach's soloists, full chorus and orchestra, and he turned up the volume on the old Scott. The magnificent sounds rolled down over us all. I can remember being both exhilarated and stunned. The outside speaker was on and people streamed into the shop. Many had never heard these kinds of sounds before, and during the twenty-some-minute performance, though the shop was packed, the assembly was totally silent. Albert tended the amplifier, making a slight adjustment to bring a soloist forward, or to quiet a chorus or to prevent speaker damage. Now and then he'd make a gesture as if he was conducting- maybe he was.


end post from the past




"Vinyl records: Five places to get into the groove" Audrey Medina, Special to The Chronicle.

"Purists claim it's the sound quality of vinyl records that makes them superior to tape and CDs. For those of us with impaired hearing from cranking the stereo up way too loud, it's the cover art, the liner notes, the history, or watching a club DJ that makes vinyl records more than just a listening experience. Here are hot spots where vinyl is still groovy."



"Ninth Edition of Moon Fiji from Avalon Travel Publishing" at

"Moon Fiji by David Stanley is the original travel guidebook to the Fiji Islands. The ninth edition has just been published by Avalon Travel of Berkeley, California.

Avalon Travel Publishing has launched the 9th edition of Moon Fiji, the original travel guide to the 322-island Fiji archipelago. Since 1985, Moon Fiji has been the leading travel guidebook to Fiji. Author David Stanley has been writing about the South Pacific since 1979, and over the years tens of thousands of Pacific travelers have used his guides to Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, Micronesia, and the South Pacific."



"California Universities Feel the Squeeze:Governor Jerry Brown's budget cuts imperil the tech industry's job incubator" by Oliver Staley at

"California's role as the incubator of talent that powers Silicon Valley and Hollywood owes much to a university system that has produced 56 Nobel Prize winners. Now, as Governor Jerry Brown tackles a crippling deficit, his plan to slash higher education spending by 16 percent is raising concerns that the state may be jeopardizing the future of its high-tech and entertainment industries-and by extension the country's growth.

From the University of California, Berkeley, ranked the nation's top public university by U.S. News & World Report, to San Jose State University, which each year graduates more than 1,000 engineering students, the state's 33 public institutions are the birthplaces of companies and the sources of upward mobility for 650,000 students. That talent pool may be limited if the university system can no longer guarantee admission to the top 12.5 percent academic performers of California's high school seniors, and applicants are deterred as annual tuition for residents, less than $4,500 a decade ago, rises to at least $11,124 in the next school year."



"U.C. Berkeley Looks to the World Bank for Financial Help" by Sajid Farooq at

"U.C.Berkeley is turning to the World Bank to help navigate the muddy waters of budget shortfalls.

But the public university is not looking for a loan, instead the University of California, Berkeley announced it has hired former World Bank economist John Wilton as the school's vice chancellor of administration and finance."



Tonight at 7:00 PM Berkeleyside is holding its business forum, downtown at Freight & Salvage. Check it out!









Penndorf's Miscellaneous Ramblings

Given the politics and the players, we have a West-Berkeley Project of its time, a camel* perhaps but a working and good one.

*A camel is a racehorse made by a committee" Leon Trotsky

end Miscellaneous Ramblings


Berkeley High graduate "Jack LaLanne, fitness pioneer, dies at 96", Matthai Kuruvila,Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writers.

"Jack LaLanne, the Bay Area native whose gospel of fitness stretched 75 years and changed the way Americans thought about working out and eating right, died Sunday at his home in Morro Bay (San Luis Obispo County). He was 96.

The Godfather of Fitness died of respiratory failure due to pneumonia, his family said."

"Berkeley Symphony Orchestra, Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, California" by our Allan Ulrich at

"To appreciate the health and vitality of the San Francisco music community, one must examine the scene around the edges. The continuing saga of the Berkeley Symphony both epitomises the college town's abiding delight in restructuring the cultural universe to reflect its own values and its seething interest in unorthodox programming. That reputation attained its apogee during the 31-year tenure of Kent Nagano, who placed the music of his time at the centre of his repertoire, building a legend for daring and retaining this Berkeley post, even while he struck out for more prestigious posts in Europe.

financial times photo

Nagano's successor, Joana Carneiro, came aboard two seasons ago. She seems imbued with similar artistic ideals. "




"Hackers and hippies: The origins of social networking" by Rory Cellan-Jones at

"People that have been to see last year's blockbuster The Social Network, could be forgiven for thinking that the rise of sites like Facebook started just a few years ago.

But to find the true origins of social networking you have to go further back than 2004.

In a side street in Berkeley California, the epicentre of the counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s, I found what could well be the birthplace of the phenomenon.

Standing outside what was once a shop called Leopold's Records, former computer scientist Lee Felsenstein told me how, in 1973, he and some colleagues had placed a computer terminal in the store next to a musicians' bulletin board - of the analogue variety."


"Davidson Hotel Company to Manage Hilton Garden Inn San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge:Marks Operator's Ninth University-related Property and First Bay Area Hotel in Management Portfolio",

"Officials of Davidson Hotel Company, one of the nation's largest independent hotel management companies, today announced that the company has signed an agreement to manage the 278-room Hilton Garden Inn San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge on behalf of owner, J.P. Morgan. It is the first property Davidson will manage for J.P. Morgan and the operator's first property in northern California.

'The Hilton Garden Inn San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge is the company's first managed hotel owned by J.P. Morgan, and we look forward to building on the relationship in the future. We are confident we can help this property capitalize on its significant competitive advantages.'

'This hotel is well located adjacent to Oakland and Berkeley, at the foot of the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge, convenient to San Francisco, the East Bay and the Silicon Valley,' said John Belden, president and CEO of Davidson Hotel Company. 'With its proximity to nearby University of California-Berkeley, the property also does significant universit' y-related business, a niche where we have substantial experience and a proven record of success."




"GRIN plasmonics: A practical path to superfast computing, ultrapowerful optical microscopy and invisibility carpet-cloaking devices" is a report at

"They said it could be done and now they've done it. What's more, they did it with a GRIN. A team of researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley, have carried out the first experimental demonstration of GRIN ­ for gradient index ­ plasmonics, a hybrid technology that opens the door to a wide range of exotic optics, including superfast computers based on light rather than electronic signals, ultra-powerful optical microscopes able to resolve DNA molecules with visible light, and "invisibility" carpet-cloaking devices."





posts from the past


Deep Winter Sunset in Old Potter Creek by Rick Auerbach [copyright]



Want to buy an original Auerbach? He has originals for sale--email him.



"The Food Critic's Favorite" is a review at

900 GRAYSON: Diablo checks in with San Francisco magazine food critic Josh Sens about the burger at Berkeley's 900 Grayson.

You included 900 Grayson's burger as one of your 50 favorite meals in the Bay Area. What's so special about it?
It's made with grass-fed beef, which, granted, is pretty much standard at any self-respecting restaurant around these parts. What makes it unusual is the range of toppings. Bacon, white cheddar, shoestring-style fried onions, and tangy barbecue sauce are great complements. Best of all, the bun-to-beef ratio is reasonable, so you don't feel as if you're just eating bread.

Did any fancy-pants restaurants that didn't make your list feel slighted that they were bested by a burger?
If anyone had hurt feelings, they didn't tell me. If anything, I imagine they have bigger things to worry about these days, such as an economy that threatens every high-end restaurant with the prospect of having to turn into a burger joint.

If you can't go to 900 Grayson, what's your backup burger in the East Bay?
It's far from a gourmet burger, but for nostalgia's sake, I like Oscar's, that old smoke-belching burger house in Berkeley at Hearst and Shattuck. It's a bare-bones burger, but it's charbroiled and full of flavor. And I like the throwback look to the place and the fact that they serve old-school malted milk shakes. Basically, it's hangover food for the college crowd, or hangover prevention food for people who find themselves awake late and still hungry.
900 Grayson, 900 Grayson St., Berkeley, (510) 704-9900,; Oscar's, 1890 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 849-2164.


end posts from the past





Penndorf's Miscellaneous Ramblings

gutted interior

Nexus building, 8th and Carleton ready for a remodel


end Miscellaneous Ramblings



"Arhoolie Records' roots showing on 50th birthday" Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Correspondent.

"Chris Strachwitz remembers when giants walked the earth.

He shakes his head as he recalls recording Mississippi bluesman Big Joe Williams, king of the nine-string guitar, at the very beginning of Arhoolie Recor's, the Berkeley folklore recording empire over which he has presided for a full 50 years.

'Afterward he just disappeared," Strachwitz says. 'Ran off. Left his wife and their baby in this fleabag hotel on San Pablo Avenue. It was the worst kind of atmosphere you could imagine, and she was no beauty, I'll tell you that.'

Last year, guitarist Ry Cooder, appearing in a benefit for the Arhoolie Foundation at the bootstrap Mexican folklore center in Richmond, Los Cenzontles, spoke about buying the Big Joe Williams album as a teenager and learning to play his "Sloppy Drunk Blues." The admission astonished Strachwitz."



"Realty turf war grows in East Bay" by George Avalos, Oakland Tribune.

"Grubb & Ellis Co. said Monday that it will broaden its expansion by opening a new commercial realty office in Oakland.

The new office, which is set to open next month, will be managed by Edward Del Beccaro, who currently heads the real estate brokerage's Walnut Creek operations. Del Beccaro jumped ship from Colliers International to Grubb & Ellis in 2010; over the months, he has wooed away agents from other brokerages to beef up Grubb's East Bay operations.

More expansions are in the works, executives said."



A new Targé will be a stones-throw from Potter Creek reports George Avalos, in "Target reveals store opening dates.

Target Corp. intends to open two East Bay stores this year, part of a rollout of 21 stores by the retailer, the company said Monday.

On March 6, a Target store on the Oakland/Emeryville border is slated to open its doors, company officials said. That store would be located partly in both communities."




"Local Business Forum: a call to action" by Lance Knobel at

"Over 300 business leaders, politicians, policymakers and interested Berkeleyans came to the first Berkeleyside Local Business Forum last night. Over the course of two hours, they engaged in a lively, civil discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing business in Berkeley."

Sources I talked to said there were about 200 in attendence--one said there are 440 chairs of which about half were filled-- and thought it a civil exchange. I'm told of those present in the audience about twenty spoke. RP



"Redfish Technology speaks on Transitioning from High Tech to Green Tech, Sponsor of Green Jobs & Entrepreneurship Fair, February 16 Berkeley CA" is a press release at

"The Green Jobs & Entrepreneurship Fair is an opportunity for talent and cleantech companies to meet. Redfish Technology, executive recruiters in high tech and green energy, will be at the inaugural Green Jobs & Entrepreneurship Fair. Redfish CEO Rob Reeves will be discussing the green tech and alternative energy job market. Be there: February 16th from 1:30 to 5:30 pm in Berkeley, California at the Green Jobs and Entrepreneurship Fair.

Redfish Technology is proud to sponsor this event put on by Green Jobs Network. 'We are excited to partner on this event with companies such as Green VC and Triple Pundit. It will be an exciting event that should help give job seeking professionals some direction in the green energy and cleantech industries' Redfish CEO, Rob Reeves stated. 'Our goal is to help green tech companies leverage the pool of high tech talent that is in our network and that we can directly recruit.' "




On 10th just north of Potter Creek "Berkeley police arrest knife-wielding woman" reports Doug Oakley, Berkeley Voice.

"A knife-wielding Berkeley woman who allegedly assaulted a U.S. letter carrier, threatened to kill her neighbors and made threatening phone calls to the office of U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee was taken into custody Saturday after more than 10 attempts to arrest her, Berkeley police said.

Groups of police tried to arrest the woman starting Jan. 12, the day she allegedly assaulted the letter carrier, police said.

Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said because the woman was usually armed with large kitchen knives and would retreat into her apartment when they approached, officers did not want to force a confrontation where they might have to shoot her."

"We got her when she went for cigarettes" said an officer I talked to Monday. RP



"Checking the Stats: How to Verify NYPD Data" by Sean Gardiner at

wjs photo

"Franklin Zimring, a law professor from the University of California at Berkeley, says when it comes to recording crime statistics police departments are a little like an umpire officiating a game he has a bet on.

'That makes people deeply suspicious, and they should be,' said Zimring.

Critics of the New York Police Department's crime statistics want to revive the sort of audit done in 1997 by former state Comptroller Carl McCall, as The Journal reported. Those pushing for new review point to allegations from a Brooklyn police officer named Adrian Schoolcraft, who went public last year with secretly taped recording that showed that some police supervisors in his Bedford-Stuyvesant precinct may have been downgrading crime complaints or refusing to take them at all."







Penndorf's Miscellaneous Ramblings


good friend Eli and our Ben's

Barmiztvah, 2010


BB Simmons' video-interview with Doris Moskowitz, "Doris Tells Moe's Story" is here and worth checking out. A slightly funky effort, yet a revealing portrait of both Doris and Moe, I''m reminded how much Doris is like her Dad. For with both "What you see is what you get."




Potter Creek now has its very own used record store in Dave's Record Shop at the corner of Carleton and San Pablo

down the street from Black Oak Books, at 2634 San Pablo Ave. Berkeley. Dave's phone is (510) 666-0336


In The Day, after Albert Braver closed Campus Records, for a while he worked at Leopold's but he quit shortly after he was hired.

He didn't like their business practices, and "The manager carried a 38 caliber revolver" he said. It came to mind while reading this BBC story.



I'm told that Berkeley Patients Group has out-grown its present space because "business is over capacity."



end Miscellaneous Ramblings





"Berkeley Cannabis Commissioner Applies for Albany Dispensary Permit" by Becky O'Malley at

"A story in the Albany Patch online newspaper reports that Mark Rhoades, the former Berkeley Planning Director, has applied for a permit to open a marijuana dispensary in Albany. Rhoades was listed as a voting member of Berkeley's previous Medical Cannabis Commission in the minutes of the commission's November 2010 meeting, although the Berkeley City Clerk's office was unable to confirm his membership in the current commission, which replaced the former one after the November election.

He is a partner of developer Ali Kashani in the Citycentric development company, and Kashani is also listed as a partner in the Albany dispensary venture."



And more like "the minutes of a meeting" yet an excellent report, is "What Business Wants from Berkeley:The Berkeleyside Business Forum" by Steven Finacom at

"[This is an experiment. This article is much longer than the ordinary Internet offering, but it's worth the time it takes to read it, since what businesses and the local officials who support them want Berkeley to become concerns everyone who lives here. ]

On Monday the Berkeleyside website hosted a forum on local business at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in downtown Berkeley.

About 200 people attended by my count, comprising an audience heavy with business people, Berkeleyside readers, developers, some City staff and officials, and a noticeable contingent of University administrators and staff.

The event was, by turns, a lively discussion of innovation and business financing on a regional and global scale, a confrontation between a frustrated merchant and a City Councilmember, a litany of attacks by political and business leaders on unnamed Others who allegedly oppose all change in Berkeley, an exploration of small business concerns from "street behavior" to parking and Internet competition, and a tent revival meeting preaching the gospel of changing city zoning rules and planning policies to promote development, particularly in West Berkeley and downtown."









Penndorf's Miscellaneous Ramblings

Earthlink, my server was performing maintenance Tuesday PM/Wednesday AM. My site was off-line during this time.


Clif Bar folks lunched at 900 yesterday afternoon.



We Fight Blight in South Berkeley-North Oakland

Blight: The state or result of being blighted or deteriorated; dilapidation; decay; urban blight. Something that impairs growth, withers hopes and ambitions, or impedes progress and prosperity. To have a deleterious effect on; ruin.

Berkeley Blight Ordinances
Abandoned/Inoperable Vehicles, BMC 12.98
Berkeley Anti-Blight Ordinance, BMC 12.92

Berkeley Blight Programs
Berkeley Housing Code Enforcement
Berkeley Neighborhood Services
Berkeley Blight/Code Enforcement
Berkeley Abandoned Vehicle Program

Berkeley Blight Contacts
BART Customer Service 510-464-7134
Berkeley Police Department 510-981-5911
Councilmember Max Anderson,, 510-981-7130
Drug Houses/Drug Dealing 510-843-2677
Graffiti Removal Private Property 510-981-2489
Graffiti Removal Public Property 510-644-6620
Neighborhood Services Liaison Jim Hynes,, 510- 981-2493
Public Works Customer Service--Streets, Sidewalks, Sewers, Litter, Storm Drains, Street Lights 510-981-6620
Tree Trimming/Planting Forestry/Parks 510-981-6660




When Kimar, Moe, I and several others flew to London in the '80s, Kimar, my old friend, had Pan Pam's flight attendent serve me Twinkies as we flew over the North Pole. I've loved Twinkies since childhood in Milwaukee.

"Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated into

What America Eats



end Miscellaneous Ramblings




post from the past


"Writer strips the Twinkie of all its secrets:Man overcomes nature, 'vice president of cake' to learn snack's origins" reports Suzanne Bohan in our Times.

"When Steve Ettlinger donned a hard hat, a head lamp and emergency breathing equipment before his alarming descent 1,600 feet into Wyoming mine shaft, he wondered whether his quest to find the natural sources of all 39 ingredients in Hostess Twinkies'had gone too far.

'As a food writer, I'd really gone astray,' he told a crowd of about 100 Google employees earlier this month at the company's Mountain View headquarters.

To complement the author's talk, chefs at Google prepared organic versions of Twinkies for the event, using locally-raised or procured products to make the almond-flavored, cream-filled pastries.

Ettlinger traversed the country and hopped the globe, touring plants, mines and refineries to find the actual origins of the almost unpronounceable ingredients used to make Twinkies. His young daughter's puzzlement over a strange-sounding one called polysorbate 60 listed on her ice cream bar label inspired his quest, which led to the publication of his book, 'Twinkie, Deconstructed.' The hardcover version was released last year, and the softcover book is due out on Feb. 26.

'This is a terrific book that really opened my eyes, and I don't know of another book quite like it,' said Michael Pollan, the Berkeley-based best-selling food and nature author, most recently of 'In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.'

Although Ettlinger chose Twinkies for his in-depth exploration on food additives, he's quick to point out that the book is a treatise on processed foods in general."


Hostess Twinkie's ingredient list:

Enriched bleached wheat flour [flour, ferrous sulfate, "b" vitamins
(niacin, thiamine, mononitrate (b1), riboflavin (b2) folic acid)],
sugar, corn syrup, water, high fructose corn syrup, partially
hydrogenated vegetable shortening (contains one or more of: soybean,
canola or palm oil), dextrose, whole eggs, contains 2 percent or less
of: modified cornstarch, cellulose gum, whey, leavenings (sodium acid
pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), salt, cornstarch,
corn flour, corn dextrins, mono and digylcerides, polysorbate 60, soy
lecithin, natural and artificial flavors, soy protein isolate, sodium
stearoyl lactylate, sodium and calcium caseinate, calcium sulfate,
sorbic acid (to retain freshness), color added (yellow 5, red 40).
May contain peanuts or traces of peanuts.


Google alternative recipe:

Organic cake flour, sugar, organic cream, organic butter, organic
eggs, organic milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, almond
extract, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt. RP


end post from the past





"City's Plastic Bag Ban Faces More Delays" by Soumya Karlamangla, Daily Cal Staff Writer.

"Choosing 'paper or plastic' just got a lot harder for the city of Berkeley.

A ban on plastic bags will not be approved anytime this year, city officials said this week. What originally appeared to be a simple way for the city to become more "green" has become increasingly complicated over the last five years, as some environmentalists question the benefits of using paper over plastic, and opponents of the ban look to stall progress through a number of lawsuits."



"Odwalla Moving Distribution Center to San Leandro, California" is a report at Binghamton's

"Juice and smoothie maker Odwalla is moving its Berkeley, California, distribution center to a less expensive site in San Leandro, the Daily Californian reports.

'Their lease was up in Berkeley and because of the large amounts of space available in South County, they discovered they could rent for a lot less down there," said Dave Fogarty economic development project coordinator for the city of Berkeley.' "





"Politics in California:It's a man's world...or is it?", story at with video.

"Woven into some of the many conversations Comrade Marinucci and I had with folks at last weekend's political geekfest -- aka the look-back at the 2010 Guv's race by the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC-Berkeley -- was a feeling that the panelists there were not demographically representative of California's political class. The panelists were predominantly white and male. Or as one observer put it: "It was a snowstorm up there." Here's some background about other blowback about the conference and their response.

Now there's an online video making the social media rounds among California's political consultant/pollster class that speaks to this feeling: "




"Research proposal, music video win prizes in DNA contest" is a story-release at

First prize winner Juliana Green

ucb photo

a freshman from Davis

"Three University of California, Berkeley, freshmen have won prizes for their creative and often inspired reactions to last fall's 'Bring Your Genes to Cal' program, which involved a campuswide discussion about DNA testing and personalized medicine.

The first-place winner is Juliana Green, 18, from Davis, Calif., who submitted an eight-page research proposal that at first stumped, and then wowed, the judges and led to an offer by biochemist Michael Marletta to join his lab and train to conduct the research.

'I was very impressed with the level of sophistication and originality in Juliana's proposal,' said Marletta, the Aldo DeBenedictis Professor of Chemistry.

Green, a member of UC Berkeley's track and cross-country teams, proposed to develop a method to test athletes' saliva for a biomarker ­ nitrite ­ that may predict blood pressure and exercise tolerance. Nitrite is both a source and a byproduct of the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO), which is known to dilate blood vessels and improve endurance."




"New evidence that asteroid, not comet, struck Jupiter in 2009" by Robert Sanders is a story-release at

ucb photo

"On July 19, 2009, amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley discovered a dark spot near Jupiter's south pole, which he attributed to an impact on the planet. Three days later, astronomers Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley, and Heidi B. Hammel of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., and AURA in Washington, D.C., used the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii to obtain this infrared image of Jupiter showing the impact site glowing at the thermal wavelength of 9.7 microns. White colors indicate the highest temperatures, as well as the presence of hot ammonia upwelling from deep in Jupiter's atmosphere."





"Winning innovation projects to improve campus climate" by Andrea Lampros, is a story-release at

"A program to raise awareness about student veterans and another to bring Muslim and Jewish students together for a meal and frank conversation are among 13 projects selected at the University of California, Berkeley, to receive the campus's first Innovation Grants."




Another story-release is "UC-Berkeley Invites International Journalists" at

"Applications are being accepted through March 14 for a unique program providing mid-career journalists from outside the U.S. an opportunity to pursue advanced professional training and academic study at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.

In the non-degree Visiting Scholar program, participants can audit courses offered at the journalism school and in other disciplines, drawing upon the extensive resources and community life of a major research university.

Journalists accepted to the program can participate for either the entire 2011-2012 academic year or for a single semester of their choice."







post from the past

Moe left you alone . . . sometimes

Moe's Books in Berkeley is what you would call an institution. Moe prided himself in the '60s on being one of the few Telegraph Avenue merchants that didn't have his window broken by The Demonstrators. In the '70s, however, I think some drunk fell through it. Anyway, in the '60s, not to have your windows broken by the demonstrators was an achievement. At the very least it meant that Moe was skillfully and politically in tune with the times, and at the most it meant that he was a mensch. Most certainly it meant that he had been put to, and survived, a test of character.

If Moe's was an institution, Moe was its leading inmate. I worked for him in the '70s and like to think that I built a few tables of old records into a serious used record department. Then the store was still called Moe's Books and Records. Though Moe was a bookman, he wisely saw used records as a natural addition to his store. He also loved music, claiming to have been the world's most committed and worst violin student. He probably was.

Moe has always said that he had only one good idea. That was to pay a customer a decent price or give him a decent amount of trade for used books. In a business that was characterized by dealers who paid almost nothing, that was revolutionary. In fairness, he also paid his people extremely well. And he left you alone . . . sometimes.

I applied his one good idea to used records and it worked. Moe's basement,The Pit, filled with old records. New bins were built, filled up with used records, and more were built. Used book tables were taken down or pushed aside. We even displaced Moe's friend who sold used comics there on Saturday morning. More and more records came in, and went out.

It seemed that at least one copy of every record ever made showed up at that store. With the volume we did, this must have been true. Sometimes on a Saturday, and with two or three people working, we would still fall behind in buying and would literally become surrounded by old records. They would be stacked on the floor, on the counter, next to the counter and under the counter, and still people would stand in line five or six deep offering us arms full of old records.

So many records came in, that the ones we couldn't use were given to the L'Chaim School for Dropouts (another Berkeley institution), or were put in a free box, or were thrown out. I remember, when Fantasy Records reissued some of the Prestige Catalogue on Two-fers, a customer came in with some originals for trade, convinced that the reissues were better. The ones that we couldn't use he threw out; among them an original Tenor Madness, with John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins. With classical records, we seldom discriminated between different issues and I remember pricing first label RCA stereo records at $3.00, and receiving complaints when I suggested raising the price to $4.00 or $5.00. The classical collectibles of the time were the old monos from the early '50s, these commanding the hefty price of $10.00 to $15.00. They sold, the RCAs sold, the old jazz sold, the rock sold. Everything sold.

As record sales, and more importantly the book sales, became greater, Moe talked more and more about building his own building and about having the biggest used store on the West Coast.

And he began not leaving me alone. . . . But that's another story.


More about Moe's at Back in The Day:Selling Records on Telegraph Avenue.


end post from the past





Penndorf's Miscellaneous Ramblings

Some of those who attended Berkeleyside's Business Forum commented that though they enjoyed the evening and found it informative, the assemblage "lacked color." Others commented that "younger white folks" were well represented.


In February, as the business/building community prepares, with city support, to submit their qualifications for LBNL's second campus here in west-Berkeley, we will find information becoming available about their qualifications and the process. Some will be fact, much self-serving, and some propaganda. It will be important for us in west-Berkeley to intelligently question and even to doubt.

In Tavis Smiley's conversation with Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sir Anthony talks about how doubt has been an important, even a driving force, in his life. For this alone, the conversation is worth watching. But when you add his life-story-tales and his not-quite-exact, but fascinating, question-answers, the "evening" becomes irresistible.


Sir Anthony at 73 is the same age as Our Boz.


Merryll forwards an email from Lisa Bullwinkel

 Exercise for People over Fifty

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of
room at each side.

With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from
your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full
minute, and then relax.

Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit
longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato bags.

Then try 50-lb potato bags and then eventually try to get to where you
can lift a 100-lb potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight
for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level.)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag.



Who are the "newish/new movers" in the business/builders community? Stay tuned.


I've noticed that recently Wareham have marked their Potter Creek properties with "Aquatic Park Center" banners. Once I had a Bassett hound, Horace, who did something similar. Horace was an Aires.


The West Berkeley Bowl Cafeteria remodel will more like happen in March than February.



end Miscellaneous Ramblings

 discovers the source of my favorite Chicken Soup in Stacy Finz's "Gallego's in Berkeley: traditional Mexican food.

This Mexican restaurant in Berkeley recently moved to bigger digs on San Pablo Avenue, a good thing because at lunch - especially on Saturday - the place can get packed."




Aw jeez "Berkeley Man Living In Tree Arrested For Attempted Murder" is a report at

"University of California at Berkeley police arrested a man who's been living in a tree early Friday morning after he allegedly tried to a cut another man with a knife, a police lieutenant said.

Matt Dodt set up a makeshift home in one of the trees in Berkeley's People's Park at Haste and Bowditch streets several weeks ago, possibly as a form of protest, police Lt. Marc Decoulode said.

The victim said Dodt invited him up into the tree to talk, but a dispute broke out, and Dodt allegedly tried to cut the man's neck with a knife, Decoulode said."





"City eyes West Berkeley for local startup hub" San Francisco Business Times, Blanca Torres.

"Hoping to harness more startups spawned at University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National lab, the city is considering changing zoning in West Berkeley to allow larger, taller development and loosening some other restrictions."



Da Boz emails (excerpt)

Berkeley's Local Business Innovation

I would like to highlight one our newest and most exciting initiatives.  The Berkeley Startup Cluster (BSC), a collaboration between the City of Berkeley, UC Berkeley, the East Bay Green Corridor, the Downtown Berkeley Association, and private sector companies, intends to provide a natural home in downtown Berkeley for startup companies spinning out of the Campus and LBNL. 

The BSC's goal is to establish the area in downtown Berkeley -- that is walking distance to the Cal campus -- as a thriving destination for technology-oriented startups as well as tech-oriented established companies, investors, entrepreneurs and supporting businesses.






Penndorf's Miscellaneous Ramblings


is Black History Month

Don't be meek!

Make John Coltrane Park

in Potter Creek

Tony Almeida emails


I thought you might like this Dick Cavett column (blog). My older son gave me Cavett's book, "Talk Show" for Christmas and it included this. I love when someone points out the specialness of something you had been aware of all your life, but not appreciated; in this case the poetry of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".

Younger son Bobby (helped move Harold Lawrence) has just been reelected as a State Democratic Party delegate. The day of the election, when State Assembly member Joan Buchanan arrived to speak to the gathering, it was the first anyone became aware of the shooting in Arizona. While votes were being tallied, we all watched a Tuscon newscast via another candidate's laptop.

See you next time I bike-ride up Wildcat and down into Berkeley,


Like your Miscellaneous Ramblings; ramble on . . .


Tony's Jimi Hendrix story page gets a hits-volume second only to Scrambled Eggs.



our Cameron emails

Hello Ron,

A couple of things ... Claudia and I had breakfast at Gaumenkitzel, the new German Restaurant-Bakery on 2121 San Pablo Ave. (in the old Metro Lighting bldg) - the place was bustling with customers and the light, airy interior was a welcoming environment for a Sunday morning meal. We had baked eggs, great bread, and delicious oatmeal. It's a European style breakfast, light and healthy. For those seeking mounds of home fries and gigantic omelets, look elsewhere. The service is cheerful, though, like all new restaurants, they're feeling their way so don't be in a rush ... for now. They offer an interesting lunch menu as well. This is a delightful addition to the neighborhood.

From "Ze Germans are Berkeley"

"A new bakery-restaurant called Gaumenkitzel, featuring the cuisine of Northern Germany and helmed by a couple from Hamburg, is opening later this month at 2121 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. As SFoodie reports, the name means "tickle the taste buds," and husband-and-wife team Kai Flache and Anja Voth are planning to serve breakfast starting at 7 a.m., including brötchen, German open-face sandwiches with sweet and savory fillings. Service will extend through the day to include an "early dinner" that ends around 6 p.m. After getting fully staffed, they plan to do later dinner service too." is from SFoodie.

Plus, a new Italian restaurant named Luca Cucina Italiana down the street from the Post Office at the corner of Addison (the Jamaican restaurant spot) and it looks like a reasonably priced little gem. Have not tried it yet.

lots happening in the 'hood!

Cameron Woo


One other thing that I though you'd enjoy ... a small tribute to health buff Jack LaLanne - and his dog Happy. Check out the video.





"Berkeley tests concept of backyard cottage" is a story by Roger K Lewis at

"If you live in a subdivision home, there's a good chance your rear yard could accommodate an accessory dwelling for one or even two people. Visualize a tiny cottage behind your house occupied by a teenager, an adult son or daughter who has returned home, a grandparent, a child-care provider, a housekeeper or a rent-paying tenant. But what are the pros and cons of this idea?

To answer this question and show that this is an idea whose time has come, the University of California at Berkeley reports that a real-world test of the accessory dwelling concept is underway. A prefabricated, 420-square-foot cottage has been built in the Berkeley back yard of Karen Chapple, associate professor of city and regional planning."

Is this the same UC Prof, Karen Chapple whose grad-students wrote a "questionable" study on change in West-Berkeley. A report submitted by our Rick Auerbach at one of the city's stake-holder meetings? Questionable or not, my memory is that the report was withdrawn after some telling criticism.


In "City eyes West Berkeley for local startup hub" San Francisco Business Times, Blanca Torres, after quoting Swerve's Michael Goldin, writes "The Goldins would not directly benefitfrom a change in zoning rules but would so indirectly . . ."

Actually the Goldins would directly and significantly benefit "from a change in zoning rules," not from their ownership of Swerve, but from their extensive west-Berkeley property ownership.



Since I've begun posting "Penndorf's Miscellaneous Ramblings" our daily volume regularly reachs four-and five-thousand hits per day. This is up from just over three-thousand.



end Miscellaneous Ramblings





"Civil rights leaders honor Oakland activist" by Sean Maher, Oakland Tribune.

"Fred Korematsu on Sunday made history a second time, becoming the first Asian-American to have a day named after him by a U.S. state.
The inaugural Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution drew enough people to pack Wheeler Hall on the UC Berkeley campus in honor of the man's fight against the World War II forced internment of Japanese-Americans."




"Berkeley looks to open up industrial zone" by Doug Oakley, Berkeley Voice.

"Berkeley officials are pushing for new rules allowing research and development in the city's dilapidated industrial zone and easing protectionist rules for manufacturing to create new jobs and revitalize the area.
Though officials say the changes are vital for job growth and competition, some businesses benefiting from the current rules worry rents will rise as a result, and they'll be pushed out.

Despite rules adopted in 1993 that protect manufacturing and discourage other uses, the area lost 2,754 manufacturing jobs over the past 20 years, according to a city manager report urging the City Council to make changes to zoning rules for west Berkeley.

'Instead of employment growth, there's been employment loss,' said Dan Marks, director of planning and development during a Berkeley City Council meeting Tuesday. 'Protecting manufacturing space does not protect those jobs. We've had many Berkeley (research and development) startups move to other locations because they were unable to expand, and the building stock in the area has declined.' " 



"Two state legislators push for new pot laws, including restrictions on firing medical marijuana patients"

"The Legislature's two most marijuana-friendly lawmakers told activists gathered in Berkeley over the weekend that they are continuing to press for legislative changes in Sacramento.

State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) noted that he introduced a bill last week to prevent employers from firing most medical marijuana patients who test positive for the drug, and he pledged to reintroduce a bill to allow California farmers to grow industrial hemp.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) said he would try again to move his bill to legalize marijuana sales, but that he was also considering a piecemeal approach.

About 300 activists gathered for the conference Saturday sponsored by sponsored by the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws."



With a significant theme and variations on the story that our Daily Planet broke, "Berkeley Cannabis Commissioner Applies for Albany Dispensary Permit" our, the heart and soul of berkeleyside, Francis D offers "Berkeley exports its cannabis expertise".




"Intel Spreads Its University Research Bets" by Steve Lohr at

Computing in general is increasingly applying the old engineering dictum, divide and conquer. Look at the engines behind cloud computing - vast, distributed armies of server computers. Even at the chip level, the wave of the recent past and the future is, as they say in the industry, multicore - microprocessors with multiple data-processing cores, for lower-power consumption and better performance.

So Intel, the chip giant, has decided to take a more distributed approach to financing university research. The company said this week that it would pour $100 million over the next five years into projects at universities. Each of the projects will involve a few Intel researchers, typically four, with far-flung teams of researchers from several universities.

Some of the money will be additional financing, but Intel is also shutting down its previous company-university collaborations. These were small labs set up in partnership with three institutions - Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Washington and the University of California, Berkeley. They were called 'lablets,' and they were stand-alone facilities."




"California Watch launches media network" at

"California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, today [1/28/11] launched the California Watch Media Network and announced its first members, which include some of the state's largest and most reputable news organizations.

Joining the network are the San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, San Diego Union Tribune, Orange County Register, Bakersfield Californian, and the Fresno Bee.

The news organizations that are part of the California Watch Media Network will receive stories and daily news posts from California Watch, the state's largest investigative reporting team. The new group also will work to find ways to collaborate together on investigative reporting projects."



"Cutting Redevelopment Funds Could Affect a Lot More Than Redevelopment" opines Zusha Elinson of Bay Citizen at

"Seventeen police officers in Oakland's worst neighborhoods have an unusual and potentially doomed employer: the city redevelopment agency.

A nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization providing local coverage of the San Francisco Bay Area for The New York Times. To join the conversation about this article, go to

Facing a police shortage during a 2007 crime wave, Ron Dellums, then the mayor, pulled the officers from their post at Oakland International Airport and moved them into the streets. But the city could not afford the officers' salaries, which had been paid by the Port of Oakland. So officials devised a novel solution: They used redevelopment money to pay the officers.

Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to plug the state budget deficit with the help of $1.7 billion in property tax revenue that now goes to redevelopment agencies has municipal governments screaming foul. The pots of money were created to combat urban blight and pay for things like infrastructure improvements and lower-cost housing. Mr. Brown, during his eight years as Oakland mayor, relied on the funds to spur downtown revitalization. Redevelopment agencies across the state are now scurrying to spend the money before Mr. Brown can take it away.

But what has gone largely unnoticed is how hard-pressed cities like Oakland also rely on redevelopment money to cover myriad other expenses, including some that appear to be only tangentially related to redevelopment. "




Bauer, bummed by Vegas, still manages "Highlights of Las Vegas" at

"For years friends have been telling me that to find the best food in Las Vegas I needed to get off the strip and try one of the many Asian restaurants, including the Lotus of Siam.  In the last few years, Lotus has gotten about as much press as Joel Robuchon. While I had been to Lotus, I hadn't been to three of the places that Las Vegas food critic John Curtas took some of my colleagues and me to last week."

February 2011 here



from my log

1/19/11-7:01 AM--burning natural gas odor in front room. 9:34 AM--irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, watery eyes, light head. leave.

1/21/1--5:46 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, dirty dry air, cough, short breath, watery eyes.

1/25/11--7:49 AM---irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, watery eyes, light head, cough attack, leave.

1/27/11--6:02 AM--irritant in front room, strong burning gas odor. 10:53 AM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, watery eyes, light head, wear respirator. 11:10 AM--dirty dry air in front room, itchy skin, chills, wear respirator.

1/28/11--11:59 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, dirty dry air watery eyes, light head, use respirator. 1:06 PM--similar.



Eternally useful links


Bay Area home prices from


Bay Area foreclosures from

Our City Council update is here.


Our Planning Commision update is here



You can find more information about our current weather conditions than is good for you at

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out This very hip site was in an email from reader and contributor, Tony Almeida. Read Tony's Jimi Hendrix story on the only page that routinely gets more hits than Scrambled Eggs.


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

Kimar finds Costco routinely has the lowest price.


Richmond Ramblers' motorcycle club member, Cliff Miller emails a very

useful link

If you ever need to get a human being on the phone at a credit card company or bank, etc., this site tells you how to defeat their automated system and get you to a human being within a few seconds.


Markets is not just a reference for Berkeley-Hills radicals with 1.5 mil homes and considerable portfolios.


Our City of Berkeley Boards and Commissions page is here--redone and friendly.



Berkeley Police reports at insidebay are here.


Our Berkeley PD Site with crime statistics and more is here.

Crime Log for 94710 is here

This site is NOT affiliated with Berkeley PD.
Take time to report crime!


All reports of crime-in-progress should first go to Berkeley PD dispatch--911 or non-emergency, 981-5900. THEN make sure you notify EACH of these City people.

The contacts are below:

Our Area Coordinator is Officer Karen Buckheit, Berkeley PD - 981-5774

AND check out BPD feature "Who are these Crooks."


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

Ryan Lau, aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120

Darryl Moore, City Councilman


More Scrambled Eggs & Lox, here


Stories about Berkeley and stories about recorded-music

are at

Journal of Recorded Music 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

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