Milo and Byron

at Richard's Birthday Party



our Tak emails

The following is an edited and supplemented version of my postings to and

On March 4, our City Council representative Darryl Moore
arranged a meeting to introduce Berkeley's new Police Chief, Michael
Meehan. He comes to Berkeley from the Seattle Police Department though
he grew up in Southern California. The meeting was lightly attended
with only about 20 people present.

Having heard him speak and answer questions for over an hour, I am
both optimistic for the future of the BPD and saddened by his
assessment of its current state. Chief Meehan is a very frank, plain
spoken person. My impression is that his management philosophy is in
the mold of William Bratton, the former police chief in Los Angeles
and New York City. The latter was under NYC Mayor Rudy
Giuliani. He will bring modern, goal oriented management
principles to the Berkeley Police Department based on improved data
collection, analysis and interpretation.

Chief Meehan praised both the history of the BPD as a pioneer in many
police innovations and the professional quality of the men and women
of the force. But he pointed out that the innovations for which BPD is
known stopped almost a century ago.

He sees the current department as inward looking, based on routines
developed over time and not necessarily very effective ones at that.
He sees that the BPD doesn't communicate well on both the
technological level (via radio/net) or on the organizational level with
other law enforcement agencies. He sees that the department is
non-transparent, hesitant to open up and communicate or relate with others.
Chief Meehan is saying that there's a certain defensiveness in the culture of the department.

He points out that even he can't get good day to day data on what the
police department is doing or on what crimes are occurring. This means
that no one in the BPD is getting this information let alone the front
line officers on the street. Chief Meehan called this "policing by

While he praised the professionalism, qualifications and hard work of
the officers, he pointed out that they receive very little continuing
education and training. He pointed out that because there's no data,
there can be no specific quantitative goals for the individual
officers and for supervisorial staff to strive for. I interpret this to mean that he thinks that there's
a poor managerial culture in the department.

Chief Meehan said that he wants a department that is goal oriented,
respectful and accountable. He meant that in the interactions between
the police and the public, officers are to show respect to everyone.
Police officers should take actions based on the actual behavior not
on the way a person looks. He wants everyone in the department to be
accountable for achieving the goals that they set.

In looking at Berkeley, he pointed out that even excluding the crime
around the UC campus, that Berkeley has a total crime rate HIGHER than
Richmond. He thought that there was denial or complacency about this
glaring fact in the community.

These points are what I can remember of the long discussion. There
were many more points he made.

It is unfortunate that his grim assessment of the current state of BPD
rings true for me. I have only had very good encounters with
individual officers. I've found them to be personable and
professional. But it has always been frustrating to deal with the
police department as a whole.

Chief Meehan points out that he's "all in" on this job. He's moved his family to Berkeley. His two children attend Berkeley public schools. (He's not too impressed by his first impression of the schools his children attend.) He will not get a pension from Berkeley.

I think that the City Manager, Phillip Kamlarz and the City Council
made a good decision to look outside the department for a new police
chief. They deserve credit and our support for this choice. If Chief Meehan can carry out his reforms
in this terrible budget climate, I think that Berkeley will be better
off for it.

Tak Nakamoto


Both the new Chief and Tak's appraisal of Berkeley PD are not my experience of our force here in Potter Creek.

I've found that all, command staff, sergeants, and officers are responsive, respectful, efficient, and responsible.

Further, my belief is that respected law enforcement in Our Town, since The Insurrection has been difficult, given our city's last forty years culture of self-doubt, alienation, and arrogance.

Law enforcement is difficult in a society whose "recent" roots lie in insurrection and rebellion, a culture that on its fringe accepts, even promotes violence.


I can't speak to the department's internal structure.

Whatever might be the department's "downtown" problems, they've done a hell of a good job here in Potter Creek!RP




"'Berkeley Mafia' Now Has $514 Billion at Stake" opines William Pesek of Bloomberg at

"It's quite troubling that Sri Mulyani Indrawati has been roped into a corruption scandal."


"Brother describes Pentagon gunman's mental struggles" by Ian Shapira of the Washington Post at

"No one knows why Patrick Bedell, 36, traveled across the country from his parents' home in Hollister and opened fire Thursday at the entrance to the Pentagon, injuring two police officers. But these accumulating moments of paranoia in the early 2000s appear to signal the time when he started on the course that would end with him shot and killed by Pentagon police.

'There were symptoms of a mental disorder, approaching paranoid schizophrenia,' said Jeffrey Bedell, a former California deputy attorney general who is a financial adviser. 'I can only imagine the terror in his own mind. He believed there were people who meant to do him harm.'

Patrick Bedell was perpetually in and out of school, enrolling in undergraduate or graduate programs and sometimes auditing courses. In 1999, the brothers lived together in Berkeley, when Jeffrey Bedell was a senior on his way to law school and Patrick Bedell was auditing a physics course. 'It was fantastic. ... We would go to the café, and I'd be studying, he'd be studying. ... It was wonderful,' Jeffrey Bedell said.

The brothers parted ways when Patrick Bedell moved to Austin to live with a woman he met at a bookstore at the University of California at Davis."



"Oddball Amoebas Sprout Arms When Stressed" by Richard Harris at

"Step aside, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Here's a story about an organism that dramatically transforms itself when it's under stress. It turns from a lethargic amoeba into a sprightly, two-armed swimmer.

This unlikely single-celled creature is named Naegleria gruberi. It lives in the dirt, under the eucalyptus trees, on the University of California, Berkeley campus."





the Groove Yard's Rick Ballard emails

Groove Yard Jazz LPs/CDs
5555 Claremont Ave. @ Forest           
Oakland, CA 94618
(510) 655-8400
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11-6, Sun. 12-5
Greetings from Groove Yard.
In Store News
New in the bins this week - 1,000 jazz LPs, most priced under $10.00. I am always looking to buy quality jazz LPs.




"Support for solar: California doubles cap on credits for excess power" by Dana Hull,

"California's solar industry is celebrating a ray of good news: the cap on so-called 'net metering,' which allows homes and businesses to earn credit for any excess solar power they generate, has been doubled."



"YouTube adds video captions for deaf" by Maggie Shiels, Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley.

"YouTube is making the tens of millions of videos it hosts more accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing by putting automatic captions on them."




"Young People on Budget Cuts and Their Futures" is at

"On March 4, young people, parents and teachers in more than 30 states marched to protest budget cuts to public education. The demonstrations were particularly widespread in California, where massive budget cuts have crippled elementary schools, high schools, community colleges and universities.

Three young people--in Fresno, San Francisco and San Jose--speak to how the budget cuts are affecting them and why they supported the massive protests. "




"Steam locomotives, and their fans, to gather in Sunol" by Sam Richards, Contra Costa Times

"The Pacific Locomotive Association's Niles Canyon Railway plans to fire up and operate four steam locomotives at the same time on its rail line between Sunol and the Niles neighborhood of Fremont.

On March 21, passenger trains will depart both the Sunol and Niles station hourly starting at 10:20 a.m. (Niles) and 10:30 a.m. (Sunol) as part of "Steamfest II." The last trains of the day running through Niles Canyon alongside Highway 84 leave each station at 3:30 p.m.

This unusual gathering features four restored iron horses, besting by one the first Steamfest in 2007. Mason County Logging No. 7, part of a Willits-based private collection, will this year join three other similar-sized small steamers featured at the inaugural event.

Two of the other locomotives, Quincy Railroad No. 2 and Robert Dollar Co. No. 3, are kept at Niles Canyon Railway; the fourth, California State Railroad Museum's Granite Rock No. 10, will be trucked from Sacramento to the event."











Director, Peter Doctor is a 900 GRAYSON regular. Last night his animated film Up was awarded quite a few Oscars.



"Deli's efforts to go green stir up controversy" is a story at

"Put a California native and a one-time Chez Panisse chef in charge of a Jewish deli in Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto, and it's inevitable that the deli will make some efforts at sustainability.

Saul's owners Karen Adelman and Peter Levitt have been gradually greening the deli's menu since they bought the place in 1995. But at the end of 2009, they passed a point of no return when they stopped serving the iconic deli beverage, Dr. Brown's soda, in favor of house-made alternatives. A customer coup seemed imminent."

In the Day, Karen was a server at The Cup.RP



"Green Party in California trying to stem shrinking numbers" by Sharon Noguchi at

"Faced with diminishing numbers, a threatening ballot measure and the perpetual challenge of being a small third party in a two-party system, the California Green Party may be fading to chartreuse.

But that won't happen if a hardy core of delegates, who gathered in San Jose over the weekend for a semiannual state meeting, have their way. Still, the Greens couldn't even hold the attention of their own members. By Sunday, the meeting had shrunk by half to 40 people."




A litte activism mixed in with journalism or a little journalism mixed in with activism? RP

"100% of the Student Journalism Beat" is a story at

"Student journalist Cameron Burns was recently manhandled by police, handcuffed, tossed to the ground, and bussed off to jail. But he got the story. Late last week, the eighteen-year-old multimedia producer for The Daily Californian at the University of California, Berkeley, joined a large group of anarchists marching roughly eight miles from Berkeley to Oakland to protest public education funding cuts. His mission: capture video and eyewitness observations for a Daily Cal report.

At one point, without warning, a splinter faction of protesters veered onto an interstate highway, suddenly enmeshing Burns in the mother of all journalistic dilemmas: covering a riot without getting caught up in it. He did not have his press pass with him. He did not know what the group had planned. He had no assurances of personal safety. He hesitated only a split second. As his editor shouted into his cell phone, 'Go get the story -- go get it!' "

As a neigborhood reporter, I'm often in a similar postion. It's a hard call. Personally, I no longer am a member of a neighborhood group for this reason. Often, when reporting neighborhood events I rely on others' first hand accounts or talk to several involved people for a more balanced story.RP










ARRRGH, . . . soon, a "new and improved" Scrambled Eggs

With my new high speed DSL connection and new web program I will soon be able include audio and video features on Scrambled Eggs. 
And with my always-at-the-ready Flip cam I will provide audio/video of Potter Creek and other happenings. 
The audio/video capability will also allow interviews and my commentary--look for irreverence.

All this in addition to my irregular daily posts. 

"Damn, the Ole Fart's good!"



A minister, a priest, and a rabbi walked into a bar. The bartender looked at them and said, "Is this a joke?"




Pete Doctor brought his Oscar to 900 GRAYSON yesterday afternoon. He showed it to Anthony and then a little embarrassed covered it with his jacket as it stood on the table.

"Yes, it was heavy" Anthony said.



our Kimar recommends the food/wine blog


Check it out!





"A Missed Day of Action" by Peter Schrag at california

"If last week's demonstrations protesting funding cuts to California schools and colleges were aimed at getting media attention, they succeeded magnificently. Given the low number of demonstrators, they got a lot more ink than the turnout was worth.

But if they were designed to generate any real political action they got almost nothing. To their credit, the protests were for the most part both civil and directed at the politicians who were responsible for the cuts rather than the university presidents and chancellors charged with inflicting the pain.

But the frustrations were still misdirected, a missed opportunity. As the union people used to say: 'Don't complain; organize.' Despite all the marching, shouting, street blocking and sign-waving, this was not political action, . . . "




"Why newspapers will never be the same" is opinion by Yumi Wilson at

"A winter afternoon with former letters editor Bill Pates reminded me why I love newspaper journalism, and already miss it so."


Seattle reader Libby emails

Hey Ron,

I'm looking forward to the new features! I hope you're doing well. I'm doing pretty well, here in Seattle. I work at a private school and I just recorded a bunch of backup vocals for a CD of children's music!

take care,









Sophie Gross, friend and 900 GRAYSON food server has a web site about her paintings.

"The uniqueness of every painting was once part of the uniqueness
of the place where it resided. Sometimes the painting was transportable.
But it could never be seen in two places at the same time. When the
camera reproduces a painting, it destroys the uniqueness of its image.
As a result its meaning changes. Or, more exactly, its meaning multiplies
and fragments into many meanings."
-John Berger, Ways of Seeing

Check it out.


sketching out

the Ink Works wall-mural

more to follow in time




Ryan Lau emails

I just wanted to let you all know about a great fundraiser for the
Berkeley High School Parent Resource Center. The Parent Resource Center
is a place where parents can come and feel welcome, have a sense of
belonging and be reassured that their ideas, concerns, and opinions are
valued and will be addressed in a timely manner. Staffed with two Parent
Liaisons, the Center provides a safe and caring environment for growing,
learning and connecting. Throughout the school year the center will
offer a variety of workshops and training designed to increase your
capacity as parents as well as maximize the learning experiences of your
children. Visit for
more information about the BHS Parent Resource Center.

The fundraiser will be the Vukani Mawethu choir singing South African
freedom songs. Vukani Mawethu is not your typical choir. They've been
singing freedom songs since 1986, when the intense segregation of
apartheid still ruled South Africa. They sang out for the freedom of
Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid. Five years later, in 1991,
Mandela was freed, apartheid fell, and Vukani Mawethu is still singing!

Ryan Lau
Council Aide
Councilmember Darryl Moore, District 2


This concert will be held March 12, 2010 at 7PM in the BHS Little Theater. Suggested donation is $15 for adults and $5 for children. RP



"'Empowering Women of Color' conference this weekend" by Angela Hill, Oakland Tribune.

"The 25th 'Empowering Women of Color' conference gets under way this weekend on the UC Berkeley campus, honoring the legacy of women of color."




"Randle Pac-10 Player of the Year" is a story at

"After leading California to its first conference championship in 50 years, senior guard Jerome Randle was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year, the league office announced Monday."




"Berkeley's Fréchet to Head Research at KAUST" by Robert F. Service at

"Jean Fréchet, an organic chemist at the University of California, Berkeley, has been named vice president for research at the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia.

A multibillion-dollar-project of the Saudi leader, KAUST has replaced the traditional departmental structure with nine interdisciplinary research centers focused on economically relevant topics such as plant stress genomics, water desalination, and renewable energy. In his new position, Fréchet will oversee the current centers and help launch new ones."









Yesterday, the surviving WASPs (Women's Airforce Service Pilot ) received a congressional medal


On 3/6/05 I posted

I've known of Jerry Landis for decades--known him for 10 or 12 years--and we've been good friends for the last few years. A Berkeley citizen since the '60s, he's been actively involved in our community for almost as long. Jerry's older sister Jean was one of the first women to fly for the Army Air Force. She was a WASP ferry pilot during WWII and flew P-51s almost exclusively. Understand the P-51 was our hottest fighter, a challenge for a man let alone a "girl."


WASP (Women's Airforce Service Pilot), Jean Landis c 1944

"In July 1943 the growing numbers of women pilots being trained for AAF service were consolidated in the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, the WASPs. By the end of the program 1074 women had flown for the AAF, piloting every type of military aircraft from the B-29 to America's first jet, the P-59. Fighter aircraft, particularly the P-47 and the P-51, were ferried in great numbers by the WASPs. These women loved single seaters and considered flying fighters the essence of what it meant to fly. One woman fortunate enough to be assigned fighters for most of her wartime carrier was Jean Landis. Landis was sent to Brownsville, Texas, for fighter transition training, and when time came for her first flight in a fighter, she drew a P-51. . . .

Jean also flew a number of other types, including the P-47: 'The P-47 was a bucket of bolts compared to the Mustang; it was too heavy and sluggish. But when you got in a Mustang, it felt like you had just strapped the wings on. You didn't feel you had any fuselage around your body, you were a part of the airplane.'

Jean had the good fortune to be stationed at the Ferrying Division at Long Beach, California, flying nothing but P-51s. The new fighters were picked u p at I nglewood and flown all over the country, particularly to Newark, New Jersey, where they were prepared for shipping overseas. Reactions to a woman climbing out of a P-51 were: 'Varied, mostly startled. Once I few into a field that was off-limits but the weather was bad and I had a slight mechanical problem so l called in and asked for permission to land. I kept radioing "P-51 ready to land; awaiting final landing instructions." It was sort of garbled and they kept asking me to call in again and again. Finally they said: "Waggle your wings if you receive!" So there I was waggling away and pretty soon they came back: "Lady, the only thing we see up there is a P-51! Where are you?" I replied: "That's me! I am the P-51!" They couldn't believe it-they were looking for a Piper Cub or something. Finally, when I landed, what a welcome I got. Word got around that a gal was flying that thing. They were darlings. By the time I had taxied up to the line, following the little Follow Me truck, there were lots of guys around to see what kind of woman was flying this P-51. They'd never heard of us, the WASPs.'

'We had to pay for all our clothing, had no medical or insurance benefits or many other military benefits,' Jean recalls. 'The WASPs were subject to military discipline and lived in the Officers' Quarters, but they were not allowed most military privileges and received less money than men doing the same job. But we were there to fly and loved every minute of it.'"


In keeping with '60s stuff like, "You don't always get what you want but always get what you need" and "Time is what we invented to keep everything from happening at once," I discovered this story by accident while researching the P-51"Mustang" fighter. A little bored at paging through a book about the P-51, I stopped at a photo of a good looking woman standing on the wing of this fighter. Three days later, Landis showed up at my door, Xerox about Jean in hand with "I got something you should read about my sister."

Jean Landis, now retired, divides her time between Idaho and Southern California.


Jerry Landis emails


thanks for running Jean's article again. I was delighted to see that the WASPs have finally been acknowledged. Jean, now 91, is healthy and active, still commutes from our native town of El Cajon to Bonners Ferry ID for the summer. I visit her there for a week every year.




Pete Hurney emails

At Midnight today (California time) is the next thrilling rendition of "Midnight Ukulele Express" on KALX radio. Yes, tune in for an hours worth of all your favorite ukulele hits and a whole lotta stuff that you've probably never heard of before. The only thing for sure is that the little ukulele will be heard in every song that I spin during the hour.
    KALX can be found on the air in the Bay Area at 90.7 FM and can be streamed live on the web at
    That's Thursday night - Friday morning, March the 11th. Tune in, turn on, drop out.

remember; chocolate's not just for breakfast anymore




our BPD Ofc. Andrew Frankel PIO emails

Suspect Arrested In Over-Night
Vehicular Manslaughter Case

Berkeley, California (Thursday, March 10, 2010) ­ At approximately 9:05 p.m., on
Wednesday, March 10, 2010, the City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) responded to
a report of an injury accident near the intersection of Adeline and Harmon Streets.

Responding officers found the victim, a 58 year-old Oakland woman, just south of the
intersection in the southbound lanes of traffic. Berkeley Fire responded to the scene and
transported the victim to the Alameda County Hospital where she was pronounced dead
upon arrival.

The driver has been identified as Jesse Donald Kelly, 42, of Oakland. Kelly was arrested
at the scene and booked into the Alameda County Jail on charges of Gross Vehicular
Manslaughter While Intoxicated and Driving under the Influence Causing Injury or Death.

This is the first pedestrian related fatality of 2010.







"9th Circuit candidate's career marked by rapid ascent, wide-ranging roles" is a story at

"Berkeley professor Goodwin Liu, son of immigrants, would be youngest judge on the appeals court. He clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsburg and worked in government offices during the Clinton administration."



"TimeBridge today announced its addition to the Google Apps Marketplace™, " is a story at "Google's recently launched online storefront for Google Apps™ products and services. TimeBridge is a service that helps busy professionals schedule and run great meetings. TimeBridge spans the full lifecycle of a meeting to help the meeting organizer find a time to meet, set the agenda, add conferencing services, share documents, track action items and automatically send reminders to attendees via email and text messages. TimeBridge aims to make every meeting effective for the organizer and the attendees."



"Earnings roundup: Xoma" is an AP report."Biotechnology company Xoma Ltd. said its fourth-quarter profit fell as its contract revenue dipped."




"Coffee Grounds plus Spores equals a New East Bay Business" by Rachel Gross at

"Last year, in an ethics class at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business, Alex Velez and Nikhil Arora heard a visiting lecturer mention that women in Colombia and parts of East Africa were growing mushrooms from coffee grounds to fight malnutrition.

That classroom discussion has since led to the start of a company, BTTR Ventures, which uses coffee grounds to grow edible mushrooms, as described in a Daily Californian story in April.

Perhaps it is no surprise that in the few months it has been an entity, the business well, mushroomed, in the East Bay, where good produce, coffee and sustainable agriculture are each semi-religions. Adding to its green virtuousness, the company creates compost from the coffee grounds once the mushrooms are harvested and then sells the compost or gives it away to schools, ABC 7 reported.

BTTR, whose name stand for "Back To The Roots," sells not only gourmet oyster mushrooms it grows in its Emeryville warehouse but also a mushroom-growing kit. "




"California's tax tactics undermine prosperity" opines Jason Clemens at

"California's bond rating is the country's lowest. The state faces near unprecedented unemployment and underemployment. State government and most counties face deficits for the foreseeable future. The solution to this predicament, some Sacramento politicians believe, is more taxes."











"Jake Shimabukuro, 'Hendrix of ukulele,' hits Bay Area for 3 shows" by Jim Harrington at

When Jake is in the Bay Area, he occasionally visits with Pete and Geralyn.



"Bread and Music Were Staples of West Berkeley Block" is a story by Daniella Thompson at



"Funding squeeze spurs student backlash" by Matthew Garrahan in Los Angeles for the Finacial Times.

"After a 40-year absence, revolution is again in the air in California, with university students taking to the streets to mount noisy and increasingly angry protests directed against steep rises in tuition fees.

The campuses of UCLA and Berkeley were once the setting for passionate demonstrations against the draft and the Vietnam war. The anger this time is directed at state legislators and university administrators who have imposed swingeing fee increases of as much as 30 per cent to plug a funding gap of $1.2bn (£790m, ¤872m)."


"Berkeley Protesters Fight For Right To Party" opines Steve Lundin at

"If you squinted and sniffed, it almost seemed like 1969: smoke, fire, broken glass, yelling students, terrified bystanders, police presence; all the elements were there for a good old-fashioned University of California, Berkeley, political protest, except the politics.

Berkeley's most recent Day of Rage wasn't over troop deployments, the war in Afghanistan, sending support to Haiti or Chile or even the healthcare issue. It was over greenbacks: a tuition hike at what still is the biggest bargain in higher education. Like a 10th-generation Xerox, this protest had as much in common with the 1960s Berkeley brand of activism as a glass of water does with a pint of Guinness. "

Marx would disagree, believing that economic issues are the most fundamental. Let's give it time and see what happens if these issues are not addressed.


"Judge orders UC to repay $38 million in student fees" by Matt Krupnick, Contra Costa Times.

"A San Francisco judge has ruled the University of California must pay back $38 million in improperly raised fees for nearly 3,000 graduate students.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge John Munter on Thursday ordered UC to reverse up to three years of fee hikes for former professional-school students. Some of those students, such as UC Berkeley law and business students, paid thousands of dollars more from one year to the next."



"For Cal's women, it's all or nothing at the Pac-10 Tournament" is a story at




"Hit-and-run Accident Injures Bicyclist in Berkeley" by Riya Bhattacharjee, our Planet.

"Berkeley police said that a bicyclist was hospitalized after being in a hit-and-run accident at Sixth and Hearst streets Friday morning.".











My "new" imac with OSXv10.5.6 is fired up, AT&T replaced my copper wires with fiber optics at the junction box and website design freeway5pro is "on the way."

Sooner than later, my new and improved Scrambled Eggs and Lox.



" Berkeley Police Want Help in Finding Andronico's Robber" is a report in our Planet.

"Berkeley police are asking for the community's help in identifying a suspect who robbed an Andronico's Market Sunday.
Berkeley police are asking for the community's help in identifying a suspect who robbed an Andronico's Market in the city Sunday night. The robbery was reported at about 10 p.m. at the grocery store, located at 2655 Telegraph Ave., according to police."


"Man arrested in Berkeley bank robbery" by Doug Oakley, Contra Costa Times.

"Police arrested a man in North Berkeley on Friday afternoon after he robbed a Bank of the West at 1480 Shattuck Ave., police said."



"Berkeley zoning board member admits flouting city building rules" by Doug Oakley, Contra Costa Times.

"A Berkeley planning official who also is an aide to a City Council member has admitted to sidestepping the city's strict building and zoning rules while doing work on his home.

Ryan Lau, an aide to Berkeley City Councilman Darryl Moore and who was appointed to the city's influential Zoning Adjustments Board in January, said he stopped construction on his Carleton Street home and is seeking permits for it.

Lau's boss said he should have known better."


"Education symposium takes pragmatic look at state schools crisis"
by Katy Murphy, Oakland Tribune.

"As of Friday morning, more than 21,000 pink slips had been issued to teachers throughout California, by the state Education Department's count - just one more symptom of the state's ever-mounting, multibillion-dollar budget deficit.

But researchers who spoke at an all-day symposium Friday at UC Berkeley went beyond the startling figures as they assessed the state of California's public schools. They discussed whether taxpayers are willing to pay more for public education. They reviewed state laws that allow Californians to shape complex, far-reaching laws in the ballot box and explored the diminishing authority of government institutions after decades of public cynicism and scarce resources.

Graduate students from the Berkeley Review of Education organized the event in response to the funding cuts and political activism on campus. While some of the speakers bemoaned the crisis facing public schools, community colleges and universities, the tone of the event was more pragmatic than rhetorical."

"How the Campuses Helped Ruin California's Economy" opines John Ellis, President of the California Association of Scholars, and a Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Santa Cruz at

"All across the country there were demonstrations on March 4 by students (and some faculty) against cuts in higher education funding, but inevitably attention focused on California, where the modern genre originated in 1964. I joined the University of California faculty in 1966 and so have watched a good many of them, but have never seen one less impressive that this year's. In 1964 there was focus and clarity. This one was brain-dead. The former idealism and sense of purpose had degenerated into a self-serving demand for more money at a time when both state and university are broke, and one in eight California workers is unemployed. The elite intellectuals of the university community might have been expected to offer us insight into how this problem arose, and realistic measures for dealing with it. But all that was on offer was this: get more money and give it to us. Californians witnessing this must have wondered whether the money they were already providing was well spent where there was so little evidence of productive thought."



"Smith hired to work with offense" is an AP report at

"California has hired former NFL players Akili Smith and Ronnie Bradford as administrative assistants on the coaching staff.

Coach Jeff Tedford said Saturday that Smith will work with the offensive coaches and Bradford will work with the defense."


"Berkeley High advances in NorCal girls basketball playoffs" by Damin Esper,

"The clock ran out and Berkeley High's Elisha Davis smiled as wide as you can smile, clutching the ball as she headed off the court. The Yellowjackets had just beat visiting McClatchy-Sacramento 69-56 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the California Interscholastic Federation Division I Northern regional girls basketball playoffs. And it was time to celebrate."



"Squawking about Yelp" by David Morrill, Oakland Tribune.

"About once every six months, a salesperson for the San Francisco-based online review site makes a call to Berc Mener, owner of Zorba's Deli-Cafe and Catering in Hayward. And each time it's the same pitch, Mener says. If he pays a monthly fee, the salesperson tells him, Yelp would move good reviews to the top of his cafe's review page and move bad reviews down. "All they want is money, and I think it's wrong," said Mener, who has so far declined Yelp's offer."



"Head South By Southwest, young rockers" by Jim Harrington, Oakland Tribune.

"The dream lives on at South by Southwest.

That's what will draw hundreds of bands from around the world to the festival, which runs Wednesday through March 21 at dozens of clubs in Austin, Texas. Despite the upheaval in the music business, the annual confab, which also brings in record company execs and journalists and bloggers, is still seen as a place where an act can make a name and a future for itself.

Of course, the reality is that most bands will struggle for recognition amid the clutter of showcasing acts, with the only consolation being that they get a chance to hear some great music, enjoy some tremendous barbecue and knock back a few Shiner Bocks.

The Bay Area will be well represented at this year's SXSW, with more than two dozen acts spending the week in Austin. We've decided to profile three of these local acts - Bird by Bird, Judgement Day and Sleepy Sun - in part because we like their chances of turning the fabled SXSW dream into reality. We also picked them because they're important local bands that hometown readers should know about - before the rest of the world catches on."






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

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

Ryan Lau, aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120

Darryl Moore, City Councilman


More Scrambled Eggs & Lox, here


Stories about Berkeley and stories about recorded-music

are at

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

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