Oakland Greek Festival 2012

May 18, 19, and 20 Ascension Cathedral once again presents the annual Oakland Greek Festival.
Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension
4700 Lincoln Avenue
Oakland, California 94602




Huffington Post Stephanie J. Stiavetti's appreciation of the

2011 Oakland Greek Festival

A meal worthy of the gods.

For the next two days, Oakland's Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension is hosting their annual Oakland Greek Festival. Besides being a gathering of some of the East Bay's most enthusiastic Greek residents, the festival is home to some of the best Greek food in the Bay Area.

Yesterday I hit up the festival's opening day. I was completely bowled over by the amount of food available -- up for grabs were every possible Greek delight you can imagine, prepared by local cooks. Within the culinary booths, you'll find everything from whole lamb on a spit to flaming cheese (seriously -- stand back when they set it on fire!).

For those who love to cook, Saturday and Sunday are filled with countless Greek cooking demonstrations. If you're in Oakland this weekend, can you think of a better way to spend a few hours?












there is an uprooted utility pole

at the Orchard Supply lot west entrance



Relatively new to Potter Creek is Verducci Entertainment.




UCBPD have now

cleared occupiers from the UC Berkeley Gill Tract



On this evening's council agenda there is an item about BPD Mutual Aid agreements. Mutual aid is a necessary part of modern law enforcement and in the past Berkeley has benefited from receiving it more than it has from giving it. Our "recent" history indicates it will be so in the future.

"We keep our cops on a short leash" someone recently said Downtown. "I don't mind being on a short leash " said someone else Downtown "As long as I have plenty of water and get fed regularly."

Also another one of the items suggests that the Urban Shield exercises are something they are not. They are simply competitions in which participating departments each bring their own expertise and style to solve 24 problems of modern urban policing.



"Navy christens cargo ship named for Cesar Chavez" at sfgate.com.

"The military has christened its newest cargo-ammunition ship for civil rights leader and labor activist Cesar Chavez, who served in the Navy during World War II."










"IP network based on xylophones" is a report at tjdaily.com.

"A University of California Berkeley researcher has created an IP network that runs between a pair of xylophones.

Stuart Geiger, of the university's Berkeley's School of Information, built the network using two Arduino microcontrollers, some sensors and a pair of xylophones with two people to play them, isolated in cubicles."




"Viruses can be tapped for electric power" at upi.com.

"U.S. researchers say electricity generated by viruses could bring devices that generate power from everyday human activities like walking.

A paper-thin 'viral' generator embedded in the sole of a shoe could charge a person's phone as they walk, scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said."



"Smartphones, Floating Robots Used To Track Water Flow" story at redorbit.com

"Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley want to make tracking the flow of a body of water as simple as tracking other phenomena, like weather patterns or the flow of traffic.

In the pursuit of this goal, they have developed the Floating Sensor Network project, a system comprised of 100 motorized devices that measure temperature, salinity, and other information as they drift along a water surface."
















newly painted Potter Creek Workman's

I'm told Pete Hurney was color consultant for what is as much an art piece as a repaint.




Jazz on Fourth Street is this Sunday, May 20th.

Mal Sharpe & Guys

from last year's Jazz on

Mal's the good lookiing guy behind the bell.


And remember this weekend is the

2012 Oakland Greek Festival.

As in years past, Potter Creek's John Victor of V&W Window, grills the lamb!

This year John has ordered 850 lbs of meat.








Scoop, . . .

Superman is Asian!


Better late than never. "Astronomers Start Search For Alien Life" reports redorbit.com.








In what is really a tiping point for west-Berkeley, Doug Oakley reports "Berkeley homeowners told to clean up act or face one-year eviction" at contracostatimes.

"The owners of a 9th Street home in Berkeley may have to vacate it for a year and pay fines if they don't put a stop to the crime, drug dealing, fighting, loud music, and fireworks that have swirled about the home for the last 30 years.

The City Council Tuesday night voted unanimously to prepare paperwork declaring the home at 1722 9th Street a nuisance and to draw up conditions for the owners to follow or be kicked out of the house.

The owners, Roberto and Ramona Alcala, also were told they need to tear down or legalize several additions to the house, including a kitchen in an outbuilding and two bedrooms in the main house city officials said were constructed without permits.

Six neighbors, who said they overcame their fear of retaliation to testify, said at the meeting that the criminals who come and go from the house have made their lives hell for over three decades."
















the only thing permanent

is change



"Virginia, Florida have most well-read cities in US" is a chicagotribune.com report.

"New York and Boston may strike many as more intellectual but Alexandria, a small urban area in Virginia just outside Washington, D.C., is the most well-read city in the United States.

Alexandria was one of three Virginia cities on the Amazon.com list of the 20 most well-read cities. It topped Cambridge, Massachusetts, the home of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Berkeley, California to take the top spot."

Oh my gosh!



"Occupy Protesters Target Bayer For Declining Bee Population" is a video report at sanfranciscocbslocal.com.

"Occupy protesters gathered at a Bayer facility in Berkeley on Wednesday, urging the drug maker to stop making pesticides that may be killing bees. Don Ford reports."

But they don't do pesticides here?!



"Berkeley murder suspect Daniel Jordan DeWitt breaks deputy's jaw" by Henry K. Lee at sfgate.com.

"The man charged with murder for allegedly bludgeoning a Berkeley hills homeowner broke the jaw of an Alameda County sheriff's deputy Wednesday, authorities said."












the mural

just painting on Mia Tierra Foods' south wall

Mia Tierra Foods, 2082 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley CA, 510-540-8946








Charlie Rose hour long conversation with Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense is not to be missed. A wise and perceptive man, Gates gives us a glimpse into the corridors of power which is, having served with President from Johnson to Obama, informed and revealing.





















"Berkeley will spend up to $24,000 to revamp media policies after chief sent officer to reporter's home"Kristin J. Bender, Oakland Tribune.

"The city is spending $20,000 to review its police department's media policies after the chief was widely criticized for sending a sergeant to a reporter's home in the middle of the night to ask for changes to an online story.

Cornerstone Communications in Irvine will spend the next six months auditing the department's policies and procedures on releasing public information and making certain the department is following state requirements for disclosure, said company founder Bill Rams. The contract also allows the city to reimburse Cornerstone for up to $4,000 in expenses.

'The goal here is to learn and for the police department to do the best it can,' said Rams, a former investigative reporter for the Orange County Register.

The move comes more than two months after Chief Michael Meehan ordered department spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss to the home of Bay Area News Group reporter Doug Oakley at 12:45 a.m. to ask that he change a story. The March 9 action was criticized by First Amendment experts who called Meehan's actions 'an attempt at censorship by intimidation and an abuse of power.' "



"One killled, two critically injured in solo car crash in Berkeley" by Chris De Benedetti at mercurynews.com.

"A woman was killed and two others, including a child, were critically injured in a one-car crash early Friday morning, police said.

About 1:15 a.m., a Cadillac carrying three Berkeley residents was northbound on California Street when it struck a roundabout near Allston Way, then crashed into a tree on the eastside of the intersection, Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said."





"The Berkeley City Council voted at its meeting Tuesday to postpone further discussion of the West Berkeley Project - a long-term plan that aims to expand the area's retail and multi-use space - to a special meeting next week.

City residents and councilmembers voiced mixed opinions during the meeting's public comment period and ensuing public hearing regarding the lack of community benefits and height limits of the project. . .

Mark Chekal-Bain, a representative of State Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, read a statement from Skinner expressing her approval of the project.

"I understand change is not easy for us Berkeleyans, but I believe these changes will help Berkeley thrive," he read. . . .

"(West Berkeley's) not broke," said Berkeley resident David Snipper. "Why do you have to change something that's not broke?"

The full story by Daphne Chen "Council postpones further action on West Berkeley Project to special meeting" is at at daily cal.org.


Saw our David, Margret and their beautiful grandchild at the Oakland Greek Festival 2012 yesterday morning. Also, while spending hours in the sun, mostly eating, drinking and talking, ran into some folks from our city hall. And all during that time, our John Victor and crew were serving up delicious lamb chops.





"Watch the annular solar eclipse in Berkeley this Sunday" Adelyn Baxter at dailycal.org.

"A rare annular solar eclipse will occur on Sunday, temporarily darkening the sky above Berkeley in the early evening.

During the eclipse, the moon will obscure most of the sun, creating a 'ring of fire' effect as the sun's outer ring - or 'annulus' - remains visible behind the moon's silhouette."




"TI donates $2.2 million for UC Berkeley design lab" at eetimes.com.

"Texas Instruments Inc. said Thursday (May 10) it donated $2.2 million to the University of California-Berkeley to revamp the school's electronic design laboratory."



"California lawmakers push for fracking rules" at latimes.com.

"Nechodom said that regulators were charged with ensuring the integrity of oil wells under existing law and that the state had no "reported evidence of fracking causing damage."

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) challenged that argument.

'If we haven't been inspecting and we don't have an adequate set of criteria, then we don't know yet if there's harm,' she said. 'We want to ensure that we've caused no harm to date, and if any harm has been caused, that we can remedy it as soon as possible, and that we don't cause any harm in the future.' "







"Ferrari Myth exhibition opens in Shanghai" is a small photo story at autoweek.com.

















The company hired by our Berkeley PD to revamp its media policies, Cornerstone Communications, is a PR firm (Public Relations.)

Well, Ok . . . but

perhaps BPD should have considered our own Radiant Brands

they are not only a branding firm, not precisely a PR firm, but happily seem also to be a brewery. And, they are the neighbor of one of our BPD officers--how convenient.

A missed opportunity?




is a fine, fine site.

Established by friend and Velocette authority Paul D'Orlean, it has over 750 articles. Paul is also the friend of a former Potter business owner, Camille


Camille owned magnet, 2508 san pablo ave








"Sandpit becomes high-tech 3D display" at news.ninemsn.com.au.

"Playing in a sandpit has been given a futuristic makeover with a mind-blowing use of the most advanced 3D technology.

Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley and the ECHO Science Centre in Vermont have developed what they describe as an augmented reality sandbox."

















Word on the street is that some of the current politics-driven-changes to the West-Berkeley Project would make this, the last part of the plan, "unworkable" or at the very least, would result in unpredictable consequences.


some thoughts

The MUP (Master UIse Permit) was originally designed to allow flexibility in development rules and the kinds of uses, in exchange for a focused list of things that West Berkeley and the community deparately needs: coherent transit connection, jobs training, arts community preservation.

The Council is now looking to attach rules, measures, standards and limitations in a haphazard manner, to quell concerns from the community, but not in a coherent way.  Further, the focused on community needs is being diffused by adding too many wants to the list, with the potential to bring many small pools of money for many expensive wants; a recipe that makes implementaiton of the benefits remote.
The unfortunate outcome could be a set of rules that confuses all involved; limits development patterns on large sites in ways that will cause "unitended consequences"; burdens development with an array of costs beyond reason; in short a plan with little chance of realistic implementation.



Potter Creek's Bob Kubik and others making a difference in Carolyn Jones "Berkeley citizens group, council try to curb debt" at sfgate.com.

"Berkeley is taking a double-barreled approach to its looming debt crisis: a pair of ambitious proposals aimed at curbing the estimated $1.2 billion in future infrastructure and pension costs.

Both proposals - one initiated by a residents group and the other by the City Council - would require the city manager to put forth a full accounting of the city's anticipated future debts, with a detailed plan to pay off the debt and with progress updates every two years.

'Berkeley is incredibly generous with its employees, which is great, but we need to start paying it down. We need to get the monkey off our back,' said Jacquelyn McCormick, a member of Berkeley Budget SOS, a residents group formed to address the city's debt issues.

McCormick's group is asking not just for a full accounting; it wants to stop the city from incurring new debt and imposing taxes or other fees unless a complete debt report is issued regularly.

The group submitted 4,000 signatures last week to place the initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot. The county requires 2,779 valid signatures."

Well over a year ago Bob was meeting informally with friends who now call themselves "Berkeley Budget SOS."



Is the University of California Berkeley planning a presence in west-Berkeley? Yes.



Berkeley Patients Groups most recent negotiations for a new Berkeley location have fallen apart. They are now reorganizing.



"George Lucas might build affordable housing" Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross, Chronicle Columnists at sfgate.com.

" 'Star Wars' creator George Lucas could, indeed, make good on his idea of building affordable housing right next door to the high-income NIMBYs who blocked his plans for a production studio near his Lucas Valley ranch complex.

His Marin County neighbors and conservationists have dismissed Lucas' musings as sour grapes, and say low-income housing could never be built in such a remote and environmentally sensitive location.

But those in the know disagree.

There's a feeling on the Board of Supervisors, which has final say over the project, that it fits into the county's desire for more low-income housing - and by the way, the land is already zoned for residential use.

The real question may not be political approval - it's whether Lucas can raise the money to make the project work.

Building is something Lucas appears to be very fond of doing, according to officials in San Anselmo, who say he is constantly buying properties around his home there and fixing them up.

He even buys commercial properties, tears them down and replaces them with miniparks."


Finally, a way to bring all of west-Berkeley together.

Follow Lucas' lead with Rich Robbins and Rick Auerbach working together to build affordable housing on one or two MUP (Master Use Permit) sites? The plan-tweaking necessary to build just affordable housing on these large sites would be well worth it?



Sunday afternoon many Potter Creekers stopped by to visit, among them Sarah and Milo, another Sarah, Regan, Steven Goldin, David, Tracy, and a young man who assured me my chair was in the perfect place to view the eclipse. Even our new Assistant City Manager walked by with his family and stopped for a bit.

Quotes of the Week

"Maybe it's that democracy is simple and it's that politics are messy" and "What have you been smoking man?"





















"Berkeley Police Chief calls on officers to track down son's stolen iPhone in Oakland" Kristin J. Bender, Oakland Tribune.

"When Berkeley police Chief Michael Meehan's son's cell phone was stolen in January, 10 police officers were sent to track it down, with some working overtime at taxpayer expense, police said Monday.

A police report about the theft of the teen's iPhone from a school locker was never written and the Oakland Police Department was never notified that officers on the department's drug task force were in North Oakland knocking on doors looking for the phone. Three detectives and a sergeant each logged two hours of overtime.

'If your cell phone was stolen or my cell phone was stolen, I don't think any officer would be investigating it,' said Michael Sherman, vice chairman of the Berkeley Police Review Commission, a city watchdog group. 'They have more important things to do. We have crime in the streets.'

The excessive use of resources comes at a time when Meehan, 50, is under intense scrutiny for his actions over the last several months. The city is spending $20,000 to make sure its police department's media policies are up to speed after the chief was widely criticized for sending a sergeant to a reporter's home about 1 a.m. on March 9 to ask for changes to an online story. The Berkeley police union criticized the move, saying Meehan's actions "do not represent the will, spirit or sentiment of the membership of the Berkeley Police Association" and called for an independent investigation.

The city has paid Rennie Sloan Holtzman Sakai law firm in San Francisco roughly $25,000 to investigate Meehan's move that March night. The results of that probe have not been released." 



And, in an indication that the story has gone viral, the Atlantic Magazine offers "If 10 Berkeley Cops Can't Get the Chief's Son's Phone Back, Your Vigilante Recovery Won't Work Either.

The iPhone comes with this great little app called 'Find My Phone.' Launch it from a computer and the software will use your phone's built-in communication tools to locate the device on a map. This is great if you've simply misplaced your phone. But what if it's actually been stolen?

Our own Jared Keller discovered the perils of tracking down your phone. He knew roughly where it was -- an apartment building in northeast Washington, DC -- but had no idea how to get it back. The Washington police were not interested in going door to door in a big apartment building looking for some kid's phone, and besides nine other cell phones had been stolen on the same night." 





In the May 9th East Bay Express we find among the letters "Robert Gammon Responds. Mr. Auerbach and WEBAIC can't have it both ways."Read Gammon's response and to-what here.

(Wow, . . . Rick's really polished up his writing.)



every neighborhood

has "patina"










The last few days I've been tracking our Chief's "stolen iphone" story. I found it mentioned by, among others: AP, CNN, FOX News, myfoxphoenix, ABC News, The Atlantic Magazine, and even the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Seems quite a bit of coverage, so I don't understand why our city is spending tens of thousands of dollars on a study to determine how Berkeley PD can better communicate. Communication doesn't seem to be the problem.

I've heard, specially now, of peoples' disbelief about those in the radical community who are also members of financial trusts worth millions, often including real-property holdings. And yet that these radicals vigorously oppose "the propertied."

Ironic perhaps, but not entirely new. Understand that Communist, Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union, was a privileged child of the middle class.









Comstock Read Aloud Book Award 2011

" Stand Straight, Ella Kate: The True Story of a Real Giant" written by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise.

"In this fictionalized biography, Ella Kate Ewing tells her own story about growing up to be a 'real, live giant.' By age seventeen, Ella Kate was eight feet tall."







Aw jeez, . . . read about Hitler's Very Own Jazz Band at smithsonianmag.com.








from our log

5/11/12-- 8:05 AM-- VERY SERIOUS irritant in front room, SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation, watery burning eyes, leave.

5/12/12--10:42 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation, watery burning eyes, leave.

5/16/12--8:05 AM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front and front of warehouse, VERY SERIOUS mucus membrane Irritation.

5/17/12 6:45 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation, watery burning eyes.

5/18/12 3:28 AM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front and front of warehouse, SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation.

5/19/12--11:46 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, dry burning air, SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation. 1:51 PM--similar. 9: 05 PM--similar.

5/22/12--725PM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front and front of warehouse, SERIOUS mucus membrane irritation. 7:45 PM--same.



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.