April 2014

after 4/7/14 here after 4/18/14 here

Pierre Monteux

was the Honorary Fire Chief of Hancock Maine

he is also Pierre Monteux, Maître


April 1st is Berkeley's Birthdate. It is also the Birthdate of the Hell's Angels.


" A Return to a World Marx Would Have Known" Doug Henwood, nytimes.com.

(Doug Henwood is editor of Left Business Observer, host of a weekly radio show originating on KPFA, Berkeley, and is author of several books, including "Wall Street: How It Works and For Whom" and "After the New Economy.")

"I don't see how you can understand our current unhappy economic state without some sort of Marx-inspired analysis.

Here we are, almost five years into an officially designated recovery from the worst downturn in 80 years, and average household incomes are more than 8 percent below where they were when the Great Recession began, and employment still 650,000 short of its pre-recession high.

For years, excessive consumer borrowing muted the effects of stagnant wages. But low demand is stifling the economy, with no end in sight.
Though elites are prospering, for millions of Americans, it's as if the recession never ended.

How can this all be explained? The best way to start is by going back to the 1970s. Corporate profitability - which, as every Marxist schoolchild knows, is the motor of the system - had fallen sharply off its mid-1960s highs. Stock and bond markets were performing miserably. Inflation seemed to be rising without limit. After three decades of seemingly endless prosperity, workers had developed a terrible attitude problem, slacking off and, quaintly, even going out on strike. It's no accident that Johnny Paycheck scored a No. 1 country hit with "Take This Job and Shove It" in 1977 - utterly impossible to imagine today.

This is where Marx begins to come in. At the root of these problems was a breakdown in class relations: workers no longer feared the boss. A crackdown was in order.

And it came, hard. In October 1979, the Federal Reserve began driving interest rates toward 20 percent, to kill inflation and restrict borrowing, creating the deepest recession since the 1930s. (It was a record we only broke in 2008/2009). A little over a year later, Ronald Reagan came into office, fired the striking air-traffic controllers, setting the stage for decades of union busting to follow. Five years after Johnny Paycheck's hit, workers were desperate to hold and/or get jobs. No more attitude problem.

The 'cure' worked for about 30 years. Corporate profits skyrocketed and financial markets thrived. The underlying mechanism, as Marx would explain it, is simple: workers produce more in value than they are paid, and the difference is the root of profit. If worker productivity rises while pay remains stagnant or declines, profits increase. This is precisely what has happened over the last 30 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity rose 93 percent between 1980 and 2013, while pay rose 38 percent (all inflation-adjusted).

The 1 percent got ever-richer and more powerful. But there was a problem: a system dependent on high levels of mass consumption has a hard time coping with the stagnation or decline in mass incomes.The development of a mass consumer market after Marx died, with the eager participation of a growing middle class, caused a lot of people to say his analysis was obsolete. But now, with the hollowing out of the middle class and the erosion of mass purchasing power, the whole 20th century model of mass consumption is starting to look obsolete.

Borrowing sustained the mass consumption model for a few decades. Non-rich households borrowed to buy cars, buy food, pay medical bills, buy ever-more-expensive houses, and so on. Conveniently, rich households had plenty of spare cash to lend them.

That model broke apart in 2008 and has not - and cannot - be revived. Without the juice provided by spirited borrowing, demand remains constricted and growth rates, low. (See also: Europe.)

Raising the incomes of the bottom 90 percent of the population through higher wages and public spending initiatives - stifled since Reagan starting putting the squeeze on them - could change that. But the stockholding class has resisted that, and they have a lot of political power.

And an extraordinarily lopsided economy is the result. We didn't expect that the 21st century would bring about a return of the 19th century's vast disparities, but it's looking like that's just what's happened."




"Berkeley's Cheese Board collective supports Inkworks in hard times" Judith Scherr, contracostatimes.com.

"Businesses experiencing hard times are often on their own to face cutthroat marketplace competition.

But that wasn't the case when Inkworks Press, a 40-year-old collective print shop, found itself unable to rebound from the recession. Facing an uncertain future, Inkworks got support from the Cheese Board, itself a Berkeley collective since 1971.

In early March, the Cheese Board finalized the purchase of Inkworks' building on Seventh Street in southwest Berkeley and leased the building back to the print shop for two years, allowing the printers time to plot out their future.

Getting help from the Cheese Board 'feels so right,' said founding Inkworks member Erica Braun, noting 'ommitments of both collectives to workplace democracy and the 'stewardship of community resources."

'To me, the supportive energy and shared sense of values is kind of similar to our beginnings,' Braun said.

Inkworks' founders didn't see themselves primarily as printers entering a joint business venture, but as activists who learned the printing trade in order to create newsletters, pamphlets and posters for community and progressive causes. The collective likewise believes in a unionized and worker-controlled workplace.
These ideals are evidenced today in the lobby at Inkworks, where pamphlets on reproductive 'ights and green values are displayed near some of Inkworks' celebrated posters, one proclaiming 'No human being is illegal,' and another, 'I am Trayvon.'

Collective decision-making, especially on complex issues such as addressing the downturn in business, can be 'a long and arduous process,' said Nobuo Nishi, a collective member since 1981. Such decisions are made by a supermajority of the 11 members, with dissenters coming to accept the decision. Decisions are not 'ramrodded through,' Nishi said.

The decision to sell the building they'd owned since 1987 came after several years of losses. The recession 'was probably the dramatic turning point for us,' Nishi said. 'We weren't ready when the bottom fell out in 2009.

The recession hit Inkworks' nonprofit clients at the same time that technology made it easy for them to switch from printed materials to websites and online newsletters."

The real story here is that most likely in two years Potter Creek will have its own Cheese Board.



















"The Shocking Rise of Wealth Inequality: Is it Worse Than We Thought?" by Jordan Weissmann, slate.com.

"Economists Emmanuel Saez, of the University of California­Berkeley, and Gabriel Zucman, of the London School of Economics, are out with a new set of findings on American wealth inequality, and their numbers are startling. Wealth, for reference, is the value of what you own-assets like housing, stocks, and bonds, minus your debts. And while it certainly comes up from time to time, it has tended to play second fiddle to income in conversations about America's widening class divide. In part, that's because it's a trickier conversation subject.

Wealth has always been far more concentrated than income in the United States. Plus, research suggested that the top 1 percent of households had actually lost some of its share since the 1980s.

That might not really have been the case."



"Parking your Lamborghini in your Singapore Sky Garage " video at chonday.com.






"Berkeley considers soda, vacancy and parks taxes for November ballot" Judith Scherr at timesheraldonline.com.

"There were a half-dozen taxes the City Council would have liked voters to consider in November -- levies on commercial and rental vacancies, a sugar-sweetened beverage tax, increased rental housing and parks taxes."





"A Kosher Winery Grows in Berkeley:Wine Nomad Jeff Morgan Puts Down Roots" Leah Koenig, forward.com.

"Jeff Morgan's story is one best told over a glass of wine - preferably a robust cabernet by Covenant, the kosher wine company he has co-owned for more than a decade. A roving jazz musician and writer turned vintner, Morgan has spent most of the past 10 years working with California vineyards and wineries to produce some of the top kosher cabernet sauvignons, chardonnays and sauvignon blancs on the market. This year, the longtime wine nomad is settling into new digs: his first permanent winery in Berkeley.

For years, Morgan rented out production space at other wineries, knowing that he ultimately wanted a space of his own. 'We looked around and just could not find anything in Napa that made sense financially,' he said. It turned out to be a fortunate problem to have.

Last year, his wife and business partner, Jodie, suggested a different idea: moving Covenant's operations south, to the Bay Area. The company's associate winemaker was already commuting to the winery every day from Oakland ('a real schlep,' Morgan said). More to the point, the Morgans craved a vibrant Jewish life that Napa could not provide.

While driving through downtown Berkeley last fall, they spotted a 7,000-square-foot metal warehouse marked with a 'For Sale' sign. They stopped the car. Within minutes, Morgan was envisioning how he might outfit the space with wine tanks and barrels - then he noticed a large empty plot of land next door.

On closer inspection, he found a poster attached to the fence. It announced the plot as the new home of Urban Adamah - a Jewish educational farm that launched in Berkeley in 2010. 'A kosher winery right across the street from a Jewish organic cultural center!' Morgan recalled, excitedly. 'We could do events together and give them our organic grape skins and seeds to compost. It would be one happy family.'

Covenant's winery, which will enable the company to increase annual production over the next five years to 10,000 cases from 5,000, is scheduled to be up and running in time for the 2014 fall grape harvest."







"UC Berkeley switches to quarter system!?" Soyolmaa Lkhagvadorj, dailycal.org.







"Mike Montgomery pushes for Travis DeCuire as replacement at Cal" gantdaily.com.

"After announcing his retirement as Cal's basketball coach, Mike Montgomery is now pushing for the appointment of assistant coach Travis DeCuire as his replacement.

'We've got the guy in this room who should have the job ­ my assistant Travis (DeCuire). I hope Sandy comes to that conclusion,' Montgomery said in a Monday news conference at Haas Pavilion. 'Our players trust Travis. That is huge in today's business.' "









"Legacy of loss: In dust of WWII camps, how Japanese culture blossomed" Barry Bergman, newscenter.berkeley.edu.

The twist in Shirley Muramoto's personal narrative came when, as a teenager, she discovered how her mother, aunt and grandparents had spent the years after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

'I asked my mom where she learned how to play the koto,' a six-foot, 13-stringed zither" better-known on campus by her married name, And she'd say, "Oh, I learned in camp."And I said, "Wow, what a progressive summer camp you went to, to be teaching a Japanese instrument like this."I really didn't hear what that camp was until I was in high school." '

What it was, in fact, was a concentration camp." 


















"Robot symposium at UC Berkeley " David Pescovit, boingboing.net.

"Tomorrow, Friday (April 4), UC Berkeley is hosting a free symposium about 'Robots and New Media.' Organized by BB pal and Cal professor Eric Paulos, the lineup includes such robotics/design/media luminaries as Mark Pauline (Survival Research Labs), Hubert Dreyfus (UC Berkeley), Eric Stackpole (OpenROV), Ken Goldberg (UC Berkeley), and Carla Diana (U Penn.). This will be a mind-blower for sure. As JG Ballard said, robots are the ' moral degradation of the machine.' "  





The Beer Advocate rates our Rare Barrel beer.





"NorCal Fishing Meet May 17th at the Berkeley Marina, Berkeley, CA 94720" at calilancers.com.

"NorCal Luis Casas would like to set a fishing meet at the Berkeley Marina, Berkeley, CA 94720 on May 17th should be there around 10 - 11am. Basically like the title says it will be a day for fishing. "





"American Studies C132B 'Mass society versus totalitarianism ' " is the course video-download at toplike.us.









"City of Berkeley Advances Citywide LED Streetlight Upgrade to Save Energy and Reduce City Emissions" world.einnews.com.

"Berkeley's effort to upgrade approximately 8000 streetlights to LED was supported by the Bay Area Climate Collaborative's Next Generation Streetlight Initiative and the California Lighting and Technology Center at the University of California, Davis.

Berkeley's city council approved a contract to convert approximately 8,000 city streetlights to LED by the end of 2012. Streetlights currently account for approximately 1,000 metric tons of CO2 output annually or about 13% of the city's total emissions. An LED conversion is projected to cut emissions from streetlights by half, and will directly support Berkeley's ambitious Climate Action Plan goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions locally by 33% between the years 2000 and 2020 and 80% by 2050.

With the energy savings achieved by from streetlight conversions, Berkeley is expected to save nearly $400,000 annually, in addition to PG&E rebates estimated at a total of $650,000. San Francisco-based Tanko Lighting was selected as the winning vendor for the project valued at $2,921,064. The city will use a $3 million 1% interest energy efficiency loan from the California Energy Commission to fund the project, which will be paid back over 10 years through the savings generated from installing LED streetlights from vendors including Leotek, Sensity, Holophane and others."





BPD Ofc Jennifer Coats emails

The City of Berkeley
Police Department (BPD) would like to announce two arrests for the February
28, 2014 murder of Sylvan Fuselier. BPD Homicide Detectives have arrested
Michael Diggs, a 28 year old male, of Berkeley, and Kneitawnye Sessoms, a 40
year old female, of Berkeley.

On Friday, February 28, 2014 at approximately 11:48 a.m., the Berkeley
Police Department received a welfare check request from a community
member. The reporting party was concerned because they had not seen their
friend, Fuselier, a resident of an apartment on the 1100 block of Addison
Street, for several days. Officers obtained access to the apartment, and
subsequently discovered Fuselier deceased in the apartment. Further
investigation of the scene determined that Fuselier had been murdered.

Investigators have been actively working this case, conducting interviews,
following up on leads, and examining evidence. The investigators developed
information implicating Diggs and Sessoms as suspects in Fuselier's murder;
both Diggs and Sessoms were arrested on April 1, 2014 and are currently in
custody. The Berkeley Police Department is not searching for any further
suspects as a result of this investigation.

Berkeley Police Department homicide detectives presented their investigation
to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office on April 2, 2014. The District
Attorney's Office has filed formal charges against Michael Diggs for murder,
PC 187 and Kneitawnye Sessoms with murder, PC 187.

In the interest of maintaining the integrity of this on-going investigation, BPD
will not be releasing anything further details at this time.

The Berkeley Police Department would like to thank the Alameda County
Sheriff's Office Criminalistics Laboratory, California Department of Justice,
Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigative Services and Serological
Research Institute for their assistance in this investigation.

Ofc Jennifer Coats , Public Information


















Assemblymember Skinner Invites You To A Budget Town Hall. What budget priorities are important to you?

As Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, Assemblymember Skinner has a significant role in helping shape California's budget and she needs your help!

Should we increase investment in education, safety net services or environmental protection? Pay down debt? Or save for a rainy day?

Next 10, a non-profit organization, will lead an interactive "Budget Challenge" so you can weigh in on what California's budget priorities should be. Thursday, April 10th, 7 p.m - 8:30 p.m at the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC), 3075 Adeline Avenue, Berkeley 94703
RSVP at (510) 286-1400 or online at www.asmdc.org/skinner







"Alumni of the Year 2014 at a gala celebration" ihouse.berkeley.edu.

"International House at UC Berkeley-one of the largest multi-national residential and programming cultural centers in the world-will honor philanthropist Wendy Schmidt and inventor Dr. Ashok Gadgil as Alumni of the Year 2014 at a gala celebration Thursday, April 10th, in its historic east bay facility."





KALA 40: Anniversary Auction & Gala

We look forward to celebrating with you! Get your tickets in advance while they last!  
Auction Gala: Saturday, April 26, 6:30 - 10:00 pm.








"Bay Area Bike Share May Expand to Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville" Bryan Goebel, kqed.org.

"The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is considering expansion of the Bay Area Bike Share program to Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville. The MTC will vote on funding for the additional locations at its meeting next Wednesday. MTC staff have also recommended that additional locations be analyzed for further expansion.
The East Bay was not included in the bike share pilot that launched with 700 bikes last August in San Francisco and the Peninsula."




Cycling into the Future

15 Crazy Concept Bicycles








"UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra presents Mahler Symphony No. 2" sfgate.com.

"The UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and Music Director David Milnes present Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection", featuring soprano Ann Moss, mezzo-soprano Kathleen Moss and the University Chorus.

Mahler's monumental second symphony has been described as vast, all-encompassing and apocalyptic--you don't want to miss this performance! We hope you will join us for our final concert of the 2013-14 season.

Thursday, May 1 8:00pm, Hertz Hall, Berkeley, CA."




" 'I'm a Performer': Where Music is for Everyone" Molly Colin, sfcv.org.

"The San Francisco Girls Chorus joins the Berkeley Symphony for its annual 'I'm a Performer' family concerts in Berkeley on April 12. The Saturday morning performances, at 10 a.m. and at 11:30 a.m., are free of charge and open to the public. Berkeley Symphony education director Ming Luke conducts the program that will feature Ludwig van Beethoven's Ode to Joy and the orchestra's signature tune, I Am a Fine Musician."








"Hummingbird evolution soared after invading South America 22 million years ago" Robert Sanders, newscenter.berkeley.edu.

"A newly constructed family tree of the hummingbirds, published today in the journal Current Biology, tells a story of a unique group of birds that originated in Europe, passed through Asia and North America, and ultimately found its Garden of Eden in South America 22 million years ago."









 "As Illicit Pot Farms Resort to Rat Poison, They Are 'Wiping Out' Wildlife Populations" Glen Martin, berkeley.edu.

"A recent article in Mother Jones magazine calculates the impact of the illicit marijuana trade on global warming, and arrives at some pretty grim conclusions. U.S. dope production and distribution, the piece notes, emit as much atmospheric carbon as 3 million cars. In California, indoor grows suck up 9 percent of household electricity; outdoor plots consume more water than does the city of San Francisco."



















" Is the U.S. stock market rigged? Steve Kroft reports on a new book from Michael Lewis that reveals how some high-speed traders work the stock market to their advantage" 60minutes.com.

Brad Katsuyama

figures it is

"This month marks the fifth anniversary of the current bull market on Wall Street, making it one of the longest and strongest in history. Yet U.S. stock ownership is at a record low and less than half of Americans trust banks and financial services. And in the last two weeks, the New York attorney general and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission in Washington have both launched investigations into high-frequency computerized stock trading that now controls more than half the market.

The probes were announced just ahead of a much anticipated book on the subject by best-selling author Michael Lewis called 'Flash Boys.' In it, Lewis argues that the stock market is now rigged to benefit a group of insiders that have made tens of billions of dollars exploiting computerized trading. The story is told through an unlikely cast of characters who figured out what was going on and have devised a plan to correct it. It could have a huge impact on Wall Street. Michael Lewis talks about it for the first time."


on the other hand


here's our Milo and best friend Joe

at Saturday Soccer Match Half-time



















Last night, neighbor Adams and Chittenden Scientific Glass held their annual shindig.

During or after, pumpkinman Bruce Hermann lost his head and hat.

My driveway security cameras were on during this time. Interesting!

If you find it anywhere in the neighborhood, please return it!








eternally useful links

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

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out http://sv.berkeley.edu/view/ 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.



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.




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

Kimar finds Costco routinely has the lowest price.



Bay Area home prices from sfgate.com

Bay Area foreclosures from sfgate.com


Our City Council update is here.

Our Planning Commision update is here




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



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, Berkeley PD - 981-5774.

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

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

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






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