posts from the past

Humphrey Bogart

a Mary Morris photo


"Mary Morris Lawrence, known around the news-photo world and several music capitals as Morrie, will stir lively memories in seasoned news writers and readers. She was the Hollywood columnist for New York's progressive and fairly innovative tabloid, PM. She did notable work for Associated Press, photo stories for Look Magazine, award-winning projects of many kinds in a world-roving career . . . " (The quote is from an old Buffalo Evening News article.) Morrie is surrounded here by her PM colleagues of the early 1940s.





Our Eva emails

Hi Ron:
I have to say WOW after attending my first Berkeley City Council meeting last night. When I rented an apartment in  Elmwood I thought Berkeley was so cool - all the resolutions that were passed about which the rest of the state and country made fun of did not bother me - it was all just funny.

Then we bought a little cottage and moved to West Berkeley which I had frequently visited and considered a changing but very interesting area (more interesting than Elmwood because it is so multicultural), and within a year and a half our street was taken over by drug dealers and gang members that were invited in by tenants (and absentee landlords) living in 2-3 apartment building on our block. For the last 4-5 months we and other neighbors have tried to work with police, the city manger's office, and our city council member to end the drug sales, noise, trash, graffiti, obstruction of the street by 8-15 drug dealers/gangs who will not let your car pass and tell you to back up . . .

Oh I forgot that even a shot was fired one night and an automatic rifle was recovered in the dumpster of one of the problem buildings. 
And I could go on and on about the various problems and challenges West Berkeley faces from potholes, to sewer flooding, to crime, to development . . .
Our Officer Frankel, former West Berkeley Area Coordinator, received an honorable mention at yesterday's meeting, so Jarad and I decided to attend to show our support. We stayed on for another hour to witness City Hall being taken over by tree-supporters - for some reason 4 out of the 5 commentaries on non-agenda items came from them - the names are supposed to be drawn from a lottery. They managed to convince the majority of the city council (I believe the convincing must have come before the meeting) that the tree sitters are facing an emergency, that their lives are endangered, and that this constitutes a Public Health Emergency in the City of Berkeley (this received a majority vote). The whole hour was a spectacle - a circus setting - I was wondering where are the regular people that live in Berkeley. I understood well for the first time how resolutions get passed that threaten the removal of federal support - after watching this one hour, I really understood. 
I would like to say that I am not against civil disobedience, and I love trees BUT I think the City of Berkeley has some huge problems that need to be addressed - how about dealing with gangs, drugs, infrastructure and all the issues that ones hope the City Council would address to help provide quality of life and community. I am pretty certain I have been a liberal all of my life but what is happening here is a farce, and can probably turn one into a conservative.
10th Street






Eva Brook emails today

My perspective from the 2300 Block of 10th Street since Nov. of 2006
Absentee Landlords and Bad Apples
My husband, Jarad, was alerted when we checked out our current house because he saw all the tenant buildings on our block, and thought that was not a good thing. I did not really understand his concern because I had been a tenant, and while perhaps tenants do not take as much care as an owner would, I was not concerned. Now it is clear that many of the buildings on our block are owned by absentee landlords, often not even living in the state, who ideally rent out to section 8 because they get a lot more money that way. A new landlord on our block just told us that. I am not opposed to people receiving help, not at all really since I grew up in Austria which has an excellent social system that is very supportive of those in need, but it became very clear that some of the Section 8 people around here are tied to gangs, drug-dealing and prostitution. Once you have a situation like this, houses on your street that will be filled over and over again with bad apples, and a landlord that just wants to collect money, you are in a dire neighborhood situation. The City of Berkeley has been negligent in addressing this issue in West and South Berkeley. This is not just my opinion ­ the city was held negligent by an Alameda Court Decision on these exact issues. Often just a few bad apples sour the entire neighborhood.
Drug Dealing and Violence
Last spring suddenly there was an outbreak of drug activity on our block, gang meetings, gang parties, and some gun shots were fired. Concerned neighbors got together, a first meeting was held with Darryl Moore and our Beat Cop at the time, and we felt that we were being heard and that this could be resolved. We were told straight out by the Police that what we could hope for is that the gangsters would move to another block ­ at the time that seemed an outrageous idea because idealistic as we were we wanted to resolve the problem at the root and not just cut a few branches off. I would say that helped get the gangs off our block was the constant pressure from the few concerned neighbors and the incredible help from the police. I was never particularly fond of the police in general, maybe because I don't like authority too much, but I came to like the Berkeley police quite a bit. We met some really cool officer who came over and over and over again when we called for help. I think it was this interference in the end that made the drug dealers move to another area. Guess where they moved? 7th and Allston ­ we saw them there many times and let everyone know.well, that is where the shooting took place this year. My kudos goes to the police for resolving the immediate problem we had. It certainly did not resolve the bigger issue but that is another discussion.
Community Building and Group Dynamics
I see that the phrase "community building" is thrown out a lot now ­ "we need to build community." Interesting. Maybe there is more incentive now that three people have been killed.  When the problem first arose in the Spring of 2008, we had a that first meeting at the Senior Center ­ basically residents from the 2300 Block of 10th Street. Thereafter we felt that we need to engage other parts of the neighborhood to really address these issues ­ we reached out to the 2400 Block which was not having the same issues at the time but we felt it was really only a question of time. A second meeting was held in Tak's backyard. That second meeting had a lot more people, and again our representative, Angela G. Castillo, and a police officer. Nothing new came from the meeting (it took a few of those meetings to get tired of them) but a decision was made to organize a street festival/barbecue on the 2300 and 2400 Block that summer. A person from the 2400 Block was in charge and other signed up as helpers,  including me. After everything was quiet for 6 weeks or so, a few of helpers sent emails to ask and there was dead silence. The person that volunteered never spoke up again and the barbecue never happened.
When it came time to go to the City Council Meeting when the issue of the neighborhood problems were going to be addressed in South and West Berkeley, it was a "fight" to actually get some people to attend. What I see is that when something big happens, like 3 murders, then you got the flow going for a while, more meetings, more outrage, more "we must do something" and then it dies down again. There are always just a few active people and rest ride the wave. I work with a lot of groups and I see the same dynamic all the time. As long as you got leadership that does not tire or get bitter, I guess it's okay ­ but it is not community building. In order to have community building, you have to have active participation from the community as a whole. Nobody should have to be coerced or woken up to do so. What I see is a lot of fancy words, and not much follow when it really comes down to it. That is why some people that have lived in this area for a very long time don't take the time to participate again.
Real Change
 There is a very interesting and long article in last week's New Yorker about gangs, what has been tried, what some new approaches are, and the complexity of it all. I would highly recommend it. What we are experiencing in West Berkeley will not stop unless some real changes are made. Have you ever wondered why Elmwood does not have the same problem? Why does the drug dealing  and gang turf stuff happen here? Because the gang members are connected to this neighborhood, they grew up here, they have relatives living here, because the community is weak, because the city until recently claimed that there are no gangs in Berkeley, that we are just talking about gatherings, and really they are non-violent. Well, oops. What we had been pressing for is not just meetings and blah, blah, blah but the creation and implementation of real policy/real action, and the measurement toward the goals we are looking for. We pressed Darryl Moore last year on creating a non-loitering code ­ first he said that this kind of code would never fly in Berkeley, then he said he was introducing one regarding liquor stores. Never heard back ­ notice how many liquor stores we have in a very small stretch of San Pablo Avenue. We told Darryl Moore that he could call on us any time to come before the Council to support him etc ­ he never asked. Anyone who has ever thought about this topic understands it is a very complex one and needs to be addressed on many different levels ­ but to do that you would have to first acknowledge the problem which was not done until recently, and only because three people died. You have to create a strategy, an implementation plan and you have to measure and evaluate to see what results you are getting. That is how any competent entity would go about it. As Darryl Moore is concerned, we probably expect too much from his position ­ he gets paid 20K or something and unless one is retired or independently wealthy, one has to have another job. That probably does not leave enough time to be as active and pro-active as possible. And, there was not really much choice out there when it came to the election ­ we considered him to be the better of the two candidates.
Darryl's Problem?
I found it most interesting that when we attended the city council meeting where we spoke up about the problems in our neighborhood, one of the council member commented to Darryl Moore that she felt sorry for the heavy burden and problems in his district. What she really did was distance herself seeing it as "Darryl's district and Darryl's problems." Well, if that is how the city sees it, no wonder no coherent strategy has been developed.
with kind regards,
Eva Carleton


"Berkeley schools work on plan to fight drug, alcohol abuse by students" is a report by Doug Oakley of the Berkeley Voice.

"Berkeley's school district will take a more proactive approach to fighting alcohol and drug use among its students in response to a survey that shows kids are going to school drunk and high at twice the state and national rates."





the Bowl Pre-Opening 5/30

Berkeley Councilman, Max Anderson

more Pre-Opening photos here





"Cubs agree to terms with top Draft pick:Jackson the No. 2-ranked athlete among collegiate players" is by Carrie Muskat at mbl.com.

"The Cubs agreed to terms Tuesday with first-round Draft pick Brett Jackson. He will join the Class A Boise team once he passes a physical.

Jackson, an outfielder from the University of California, Berkeley, was the 31st player taken overall. He was ranked as the second-best overall athlete among all available college players in the 2009 Draft class by Baseball America and named to the 2009 All-Pac 10 team after hitting .321 with eight homers, 17 doubles and 41 RBIs his junior season."




"Recession survival advice, Berkeley-style" is a story at consumerreports.org.

"You may know Berkeley, California as home of the '60s hippie movement that advocated illicit drug use, free love, and music; Code Pink's war on the local U.S. Marine recruiting; and occasional major foreign policy pronouncements from the city council.

Now comes some advice about how to get 'hrough the recession in ways that require little or no money. 'Berkeley has always been the place for thinking outside the box,' says Olaf Egeberg, author of "Coming Home: A Crossover Bible for Christians, Muslims, Jews, and members of other religious faiths, as well as for thoroughly non-religious persons,' available free at www.changesahead.net.

Egeberg, 71, who developed much of his thinking about how to stretch his dollars during 25 years living in Berkeley, starting in 1963, has spent a lifetime living economically, largely by exchanging his carpentry skills for housing on the east and west coasts.

While the advice is short on the kind of dollar-oriented tips you ordinarily read on this blog, the softer, more philosophical approach­which boils down to people helping each other­is worth packing in your complete bag of recession survival tricks."




"Berkeley sculpture garden constantly changing" Demi Bowles Lathrop, Special to The Chronicle.

"On a cool afternoon, Marcia Donahue, sculptor and avid gardener, opens her Berkeley garden to a visitor. Sh' waves at the stretch of trees and shrubs, a living screen that blocks out the street. 'I've placed all this stuff, this sieve, this barrier against my house,' she says. 'All of a sudden, bam, there's a jungle."

Donahue screens the front of her 1880s shingled Victorian so well with Snow Gum eucalyptus, Mexican weeping bamboo, a weeping form of Monterey cypress and a Chinese Pearlbloom tree, that 'we don't need curtains.' Given that Emerson Street dead-ends in her front garden, that's saying something. 'This is self-defense gardening here,' she declares."



"Gear & guides: 'Road Trip USA'" is an AP book review at mercurynews.com.

"If you're thinking about a road trip and you need more than a map to help you plan, Avalon Travel Books of Berkeley is out with a new edition of its guidebook."





"A Tale of Two Depressions" by John Mauldin of Outside the Box.

"This week's Outside the box looks at some very interesting research done by two economic historians, Barry Eichengreen of the University of California at Berkeley and Kevin O'Rourke of Trinity College, Dublin They give us comparisons between the Great Depression and today's downturn."




Global or Verbal Warming is Ben Wattenberg's Think Tank interview with Bjorn Lumberg, not your usual "environmentalist."

"Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg is a half-hour weekly discussion show focusing on deeper trends, conditions, and ideas behind the week's headlines. Think Tank has been broadcast nationally on PBS each week since 1994 and is now available online." The program is also broadcast on KCSM-TV

A transcript of the Lumberg interview is here.





lives up on 7th and Dwight and rides by regularly and has for the last decade














Patti Siri forwards an email sent to Officer Karen Buckheit, Angela Gallegos-Castillo, Ryan Lau, and Darryl Moore, City Councilman


I have your contact information through Ron Penndorf, who sends out blurbs about the neighborhood and Berkeley happenings.

We live in West Berkeley and were robbed last Thursday, 6/18/09, when someone came into our home and stole my husband's laptop and work bag from the first floor while I was home with my baby and housekeeper on the second floor.  We live in a rental unit - one of eight lofts/townhomes that share a courtyard.   The units are beautifully built and we have generally felt safe here.

Until now!

Our unit is in the interior of the courtyard and has a gate in the front with a small garden. My husband works on the first floor and while he was out on an errand , someone snuck in and stole our property while I was at home.  The audacity!!!  Admittedly, our front door was unlocked and the sliding door open (the screen door was shut) - testimony to how safe I have felt here.  We rarely have the front door unlocked but on this particular day, we did not lock it.  Obviously, that was the critical mistake.  My housekeeper saw someone come into our home - and had assumed it was my husband.  She saw only a leg of someone who was wearing cargo shorts.  She said that the leg was my coloring.  I am Asian.  We reported the crime to Berkeley PD and Officer Tu followed up (report number 09-321115).   After the robbery, when my husband and I went on a walk, we noticed pink flyers from China Hut (4021 Broadway Ave, Oakland 510-601-6868) distributed on our neighbors' doors and throughout the neighborhood.  We did not receive a flyer.  We have a sneaking suspicion that the person delivering these flyers may have been the one who trespassed onto our private property and seeing the opportunity, came into my home to steal.  We are grateful that nothing more serious occurred and that we were all safe and without physical harm.  But you can imagine how this makes us feel!

Whoever stole the computer took credit card information from the laptop to charge $1600 to Comchek, some sort of cash advance company for which there is limited information on the Internet, but apparently, there is a branch in Oakland.

I have left messages with Officer Tu and will continue to call him until he is able to return my call.  I've also called China Hut who has said that they subcontract the flyer delivery.  They said that they would call me back to tell me who the subcontractor was, but they have not done so yet. 

I report this to you because I hope sincerely that there will be follow up.  I recognize, of course, that this is a petty crime, but it is a CRIME, and it would really be nice to know that criminals are pursued.

thank you in advance.

Patty Siri Tarino


On the 14th we were scouted.

In mid-morning a young, well dressed and spoken, black male, in his 30s came in our open door running the old "Could you spare four or five dollars for gas, my car is just down the street, etc. . . "

He was also [really] checking us out.


I believe the Bowl will bring in petty criminals along with more law abiding consumers.




" 'Capitalism Will Fail,' Marijuana Leaf Part of California School Mosaic" is by Joshua Rhett Miller at foxnews.com.

"Symbols of communism and marijuana and a prediction that 'capitalism will fail' aren't exactly the sort of end-of-year messages you'd expect from an eighth grader.

But that's precisely what some students at the Black Pine Circle School, a private school in Berkeley, Calif., chose to include in their 'Class of 2007' mosaic."





"Buffet says economy remains flat" is an AP report.

"Billionaire Warren Buffett said Wednesday the economy has not yet had any bounce and will take some time to recover, but he complimented the government's efforts over the past year to solve the problems."



"Value of commercial real estate is back to 2004 levels" is a report a sfgate.com.

"Commercial real estate values have fallen to 2004 levels according to the newly released Moody's/REAL National All Property Type Aggregate Index.

Specifically, the index shows that, nationwide, the value of offices, apartments, hotels, warehouses and malls have dropped to September 2004 levels. The index hit 135.31 in April, down 8.6% from March and 25.3% from 2008. (100 on the index equals December 2000 prices.)"


What is commercial property worth in Potter Creek and west-Berkeley? Since property value is determined at sale and "none" is selling, it cannot be known. Or more extremely, it has presently "no" market value. Of course, it retains its potential.



post from the past


In his Berkeley Daily P story, "Developer Gives First Look at West Berkeley Project Plans," Richard Brenneman writes "A San Mateo developer presented the city staff with plans for a 212-unit, five story West Berkeley housing complex with ground floor commercial space, which would fill the entire block between University Avenue and Addison street and between Third and Fourth streets. . . . Kava Massih, a noted Berkeley architectural firm, is designing the project for . . . the Urban Housing Group . . . a subsidiary of Marcus & Millichap, a leading national real estate investment brokerage firm . . . "

Kava, how about designing in a little green space? Don't just, as our Amer-indian brothers and sisters say, "cement over our Mother's face."





"East Bay green group draws $76 million to region" writes San Francisco Business Times, Blanca Torres.

"Coming into its second year, the East Bay Green Corridor Partnership continues to grow and estimates it has drawn $76 million to the region in investments for sustainable programs and projects.

The group, which holds its second annual summit Friday, formed at the end of 2007 to attract green jobs and businesses to the East Bay. The original partners include the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and Emeryville along with U.C. Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory."



"Air quality board to consider fee on emissions" is by David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"Many California businesses could soon face the nation's first state fee for emitting greenhouse gases, under a proposal state air quality regulators will discuss today.

The fee - about 12 cents per metric ton of carbon dioxide - is not designed to penalize emissions. Instead, it would pay for creating and enforcing the state's global warming regulations, the result of California's landmark 2006 law to fight climate change.

If approved by the California Air Resources Board, the fee would not apply to every California business or industry. "


"Amazon.com Threatens California" is a story at eastbayexpress.com.

"Amazon.com has sent a letter to the governor and the state Legislature threatening to sever its contracts with California businesses if a tax bill authored by Berkeley Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner becomes law, according to the Wall Street Journal. Skinner's bill would force Amazon.com to start collecting sales tax in the state. Skinner introduced the bill earlier this year because of the devastating effects the giant online retailer has had on small retailers, especially because it doesn't charge consumers sales tax."














post from the past


Salvador Dali

a Mary Morris photo





Joe Slusky's "Helios" Chariot of the Sun at 7th and Grayson

just across from 900




Apparently because of their "Demon Lover mention in last week's Chronicle, 900 had a party of sixteen yesterday all ordering this waffle, fired chicken and gravy dish.

And, 900 keeps packin' um in!


Merryll has some of her woodturning in a show in Albuquerque this weekend. Among the works are Harvest:Crate of Bowls, Water's Edge and Light Weight's:Set of Dumbells. Merryll is also receiving the 2009 Merit Award of the Professional Outreach Program "in recognition of her long, established career as a woodturner and artist."

Well, Ok then!



Sally's "thirty-nine" today and has a new roof.






Taking a break from working with volatile gases or high-speed machinery, and smoking ganja is

a.Cool man, have a hit.




e.No man, it's really cool, have a toke, . . .







"The Bard of Berkeley" is a story by Michael Judge at wsj.com.

"One benefit of being a poet -- as opposed to, say, a politician or talk-show host -- is that you can be the most celebrated person in your field, a virtual rock star among those who study, read and write poetry, and still remain anonymous in just about any public setting.

The thought occurs to me as I stand outside one of this city's finer Japanese-fusion restaurants (a fancy joint called Yoshi's) chain smoking and awaiting the arrival of Robert Hass, a poetry rock star if ever there was one.

Last year alone the 68-year-old Berkeley professor won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his collection of poems 'Time and Materials.' From 1995-97 he was America's poet laureate, and he used the post in innovative ways to promote literacy. From 1997-2000 he wrote the popular 'Poet's Choice' column for the Washington Post, introducing readers to his favorite poets each week. His translations of Japanese haiku and the works of Czeslaw Milosz -- the late, great Polish poet, winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature -- are read the world over.

Still, for the life of me, I can't remember what he looks like. So, after approaching a few slightly startled gentlemen in his age bracket, I'm relieved when a pleasant man with a warm countenance, wearing blue jeans and a black windbreaker, extends his hand and says simply, 'I'm Bob.' "




"Eccolo" is a review of a Fourth Street bar by Jane Tunks at sfgate.com.

"With restaurants like Cafe Rouge, Tacubaya and O Chamé, Berkeley's Fourth Street has quietly been drawing food lovers to West Berkeley for a while now. (The Crate & Barrel outlet doesn't hurt either.) But until Eccolo's wine director, Shannon Tucker, and bar manager, Jarrett Adams, retooled the restaurant's cocktail menu, it had never been a destination for cocktailians.

That's all changed, with a rotating list of 11 cocktails that feature artisan spirits and house-made ingredients. Tucker and Adams have collaborated on several new drinks, giving cocktails the same handcrafted, seasonal spin that chef Christopher Lee gives his menu."


"Who Ruined California?" asks Bob Burnett at huffingtonpost.com and answers, in part, "Although Californians have historically been narcissistic, their self-centeredness didn't affect the state's finances until 1978 when Proposition 13 was passed. The 'People's Initiative to Limit Property Taxation' capped property taxes at one percent of assessed value and mandated that increases would require a two-thirds majority at both the state and local level. The 'taxpayer's revolt' signaled the beginning of 'free beer' myopia, where residents of the Golden State believed they could continue to enjoy public services without paying for them."



"New HGTV show gives homeowners the cold truth" reports Carolyn Said at sfgate.com.

Forget about 'Fear Factor"'stunts like eating worms or escaping from underwater tanks.

The scariest reality show on television these days could be one over on the Home and Garden TV cable channel. There is no decorator fluffing or staging, no talk about color palettes, no soft-focus lifestyle.

'Real Estate Intervention,' which premiered Thursday, offers tough love for people in denial - helping home sellers grasp what their place is really worth. Hint: It's a lot less than they think."




"From software battle victories to war on drugs" by Brandon Bailey at cctimes.com.

"There's a lot of distance between a tony office on Palo Alto's University Avenue and a working cattle ranch in Wolf Creek, Mont. But since he sold his namesake software company to Oracle four years ago, Tom Siebel has been hanging his hat in both Silicon Valley and Big Sky Country. "




"Auto-Ban: German Town Goes Car-Free" is by Tony Paterson of the Independent UK here at truthout.org.

"Vauban hopes to forge a model community without that great staple of modern life - the car. Now the sound of birdsong has replaced the roar of traffic and children can play in the street.

The Germans may have given the world the Audi and the autobahn, but they have banished everything with four wheels and an engine from

the streets of Vauban - a model brave new world of a community in the country's south-west, next to the borders with Switzerland and France. "











Bob and Carol's

two new kitties





posts from the past

6/26/03 Yesterday morning I was taken to Rick and Ann's for breakfast. It was pretty much "round up the usual suspects" -- another variation on the California Breakfast theme. A theme to which I can speak with "authority" as I worked at the Buttercup Bakery in the '70s when Richards and Mike Haley invented the California Breakfast. (They invented it at much the same time Alice Waters invented California Cuisine -- in its lowest form, undercooked vegetables and a piece of fish.) But I was struck by how much Rick and Ann's offering was much the same as the Buttercup breakfast of thirty years ago.

Now, for a fresh approach to breakfast out, I again recommend Bacheeso's -- an American breakfast with a Mediterranean and European flair. This is a breakfast skillfully prepared from the freshest ingredients by the Assli family. The fruit-side is always fresh and juicy, the deep-fried potatoes are golden-brown outside and creamy inside, the flat bread fresh, the home-made jams sweet and tasty, the eggs cooked just right, the portions fair, and the prices very reasonable. I have come away several times wondering how breakfast can be such a treat with such subtlety and variety. And I'm amazed at how the ingredients of a simple breakfast can combine into these wonderful tastes.

Bacheeso's is at 2501 San Pablo Avenue and their phone number is 510-644-2035. (Make sure you have their flat-bread with the homemade preserves.)




"Building through books" is a story at cctimes.com.

"The kids were out and the pages were turning when Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates . . . handed out books at James Kenny Park in Berkeley on Thursday. "



"Berkeley woman marks 30 years as executive director of an agency where she was once a client" is by Kristin Bender, Oakland Tribune.

"Boona Cheema remembers the sign that changed her life like she saw it yesterday.

She was round with pregnancy, poor, and a refugee new to the United States. 'I had no idea where to go to have the baby. I was walking up Bancroft Way (in Berkeley) and the sign said, 'If you need help, come in today. If you need a miracle, it takes a week.' "




"Grad school at Berkeley had its oops as well as its rewards" writes Charlotte Langford special to the arizona daily star.
"I've never told anybody this before. In 1957, I went to the University of California-Berkeley for grad school because I'd seen President Eisenhower waving at the crowds during a motorcade in San Francisco.

California looks like fun, I said to myself, and sent in an application. I arrived with a heart full of nonchalance and naive confidence. Grad school - just another bunch of English classes and another degree. As it turned out, however, I had a few surprises waiting for me."



"Revived snack bar brightens Lake Anza summers" a story by Marta Yamamoto, Times Correspondent.

"An amazing metamorphosis has taken place at Tilden Park's Lake Anza. After three-plus years of shuttered windows, the snack bar, long a lake tradition, has re-emerged like a shiny penny.

Gone is the dark, dim interior, the pink-brick popcorn and flamingo cotton candy. In its place, bright white walls and gleaming stainless-steel fixtures; colorful inflatable float-tubes and whales suspended from the ceiling; on a shelf, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head flanking a bright orange bucket; and windows hung with neatly arranged snack options, from chips and candy to teas."



"Recurring deadly explosions mar early history of Bay Area dynamite company" by Nilda Rego, Contra Costa Times Correspondent.

"It's a quiet place, especially during the week. The scenery changes almost step by step from meadows to eucalyptus groves to rocky beaches and unforgettable views of San Francisco Bay. It covers more than 2,000 acres (800 of land and 1,200 of water) and is one of the gems of the East Bay Regional Park District, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline.

Its very isolation was the reason that Julius Bandmann chose it in late 1892 as the spot to rebuild the Giant Powder Company plant, which blew up July 9, 1892, in West Berkeley on the Bay.

The San Francisco Call described it as the "greatest dynamite explosion which has ever occurred in the United States." The blast killed five workers and blew out $25,000 worth of windowpanes, including 70 at UC Berkeley's North Hall and South Hall. People as far away as Sacramento felt the shock.

The July explosion wasn't the company's first. It had been blowing up with great regularity ever since its creation in 1866."








Merryll's back from Albuquerque with her

Major Award



Don Yost emails an addition to the 6/26/09 "post from the past," a period, 2004, Daily Planet story by Richard Brenneman.

post from the past

In his Berkeley Daily P story, "Developer Gives First Look at West Berkeley Project Plans," Richard Brenneman writes "A San Mateo developer presented the city staff with plans for a 212-unit, five story West Berkeley housing complex with ground floor commercial space, which would fill the entire block between University Avenue and Addison street and between Third and Fourth streets. . . . Kava Massih, a noted Berkeley architectural firm, is designing the project for . . . the Urban Housing Group . . . a subsidiary of Marcus & Millichap, a leading national real estate investment brokerage firm . . . "


from Don

Ron, Kava wasn't the architect for 4th and University. He did do a design but it was rejected as too modern.


I would add, Kava is pretty environmental both in his design and in his life. RP





"Cafe Rouge offers style, quality and professionalism" is a review at examiner.com.

"In a society where food is king and taste can be easily swayed to a fast food menu board from flavorful prix fixe tasting menu based on price alone, carving a niche for your concept is often a struggle. Marsha McBride, owner and executive chef of Café Rouge, in Berkeley, California, has managed to not only carve a niche, but she has developed a following and clientele that is envious of many. And, she has done this on two fronts with two complimentary concepts: A restaurant serving house butchered meats and prepared sausages and pates, and a meat market offering a variety of specialty items that cannot be found elsewhere."




"Pot-related crimes hit Castro Valley" is a report by Tyche Hendricks, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"A slain Castro Valley businessman who sold supplies for growing marijuana, tomatoes and other plants was identified Sunday as Christopher Bolton, 31."




"Fiscal crisis puts Prop. 13 up for discussion" Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"About this time every year, as the Legislature and governor wrestle over how to pass the state budget, somewhere, somebody blames Sacramento's stalemate - and the state of the California's mediocre schools and crumbling roads - on Proposition 13.

The wail usually echoes unanswered for a simple reason: Thirty-one years after California voters overwhelmingly passed the law that fixed the rate of property tax increases and required a two-thirds majority of the Legislature to raise taxes and approve state budgets, polls show that Prop. 13 is as popular as ever."



"Exempt businesses from Prop. 13, critics say" reports Michael Cabanatuan, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"With the faltering economy starving California's budget, some political leaders suggest it may be time to slaughter one of the sacred cows of state politics - the provision of Proposition 13 that has kept

The so-called split roll is an idea that has been around since voters enacted Prop. 13 in 1978. It would preserve the limits on property taxes for owners of homes and apartments that the initiative put in place, but would raise the assessments on property owned by businesses and corporations to market value, and could allow them to be taxed at a higher rate."








post from the past


New Potter Creekers email

I'm sorry we haven't met in person yet but I wanted to tell you how much I have been enjoying your postings. We moved into the house on Grayson last fall and feel really grateful to have landed in such a wonderful neighborhood. And we've learned a lot more about it thanks to your website, which I check regularly -- so thank you!. In the nine months that we have been here (I can't believe it's already been that long) we've met so many wonderful people and feel part of a neighborhood and a community for the first time in many years. And we are eternally grateful to Susanna, who told Andrew about the house last summer (they used to be colleagues). We have some major projects coming up with the house this summer -- the roof, reshingling and painting, etc. -- but we're in it for the long haul and, again, are so very happy to be here. We hope to meet many more folks in the neighborhood this summer.

On your recommendation, we're off to Riva Cucina for breakfast (our 16th wedding anniversary).


Karen and Andrew






Doug Herst emails about "his" Seacology

   I thought that you should be aware of tomorrow's [6/30/09] first pitch in the A's game.
Our own Berkeley Non Governmental Organization managing director, Duane Silverstein, is going to throw out the
first ball.  Seacology is being recognized & honored for its good work on Islands all over the globe. As a village chief in Raja Ampat, Indonesia said in welcoming us, "Our government tells us what we need, Seacology listens to us & provides what we ask for."
 Cheers, Doug


An Oakland A's press release

This Tuesday, June 30, [Duane] Silverstein will throw out the first pitch prior to the Oakland A's vs. Detroit Tigers game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. 

In the last 400 years, the majority of the planet's plant and animal extinctions have taken place on islands, prompting biologist Dr. Peter J. Bryant to call this unprecedented rate of island species extinctions "one of the swiftest and most profound biological catastrophes in the history of the earth."  Seacologysearches for win-win situations where both the local environment is protected and islanders receive some tangible benefit for doing so.  Seacologyhas provided the funding for many schools, community centers, fresh water delivery systems and solar energy projects in exchange for the establishment of marine and forest reserves.  Seacology has now launched well over 100 projects on islands throughout the world, preserving more than two million acres of threatened forests and coral reefs.  It has built 85 schools and established over 35 scholarship programs benefitting indigenous peoples around the world. 


I believe Doug will bring his environment sensibilities to his west-Berkeley project. RP





forwarded from Rick Auerbach.

Hello neighbors,

There will be a joint hearing of the Zoning Adjustments  Board and the Landmarks Commission on Thursday July 2nd at 6:00 PM (arrive on-time) at City Council chambers at 2134 MLK to decide whether to give Wareham Corporation permits to:

 1.Demolish the landmarked Copra building at 740 Heinz.
 2. Give Wareham a Variance to build a 72 foot high spec R & D building.   45 feet is the existing allowable height.
 3. The FAR (Floor Area Ratio) on this building is close to 4.  The allowable FAR is 2.  Wareham recently changed their FAR calculation on this building from  about 4 to LESS THAN 1. They did this by saying that all their parcels on that block were under one ownership,  so they could calculate the FAR by spreading out all their buildings on all their nearby properties.  This was done after describing this property as a distinct entity for years.

 Please consider coming to this hearing and weighing in.

 If you are concerned about the building and development standards for your West Berkeley neighborhood this hearing is important, as what happens here will almost surely set precedent for the future.  What Wareham gets to demolish and build here will likely be replicated all over West Berkeley in the not-distant future.  Along with being totally out of scale, the building will significantly shade Magic Gardens across the street and shade the Durkee Building and its artist tenants to the east.
 Additionally, the building is proposing to provide way less parking than a structure of that size is required to supply.

 Wareham has continually expanded since they first bought the Durkee site (Aquatic Park Center) in 1985 and immediately gave all the businesses and artists on that site eviction notices. They now own at least 25 buildings in West Berkeley on at least 16 acres.

 They bought the Fantasy block a couple years ago and along with this came property across from the B of A on Parker and along San Pablo. Next they made an offer to the owner of the ENTIRE Block south of the Fantasy that he couldn't refuse - it wasn't even for sale. Your blocks may be next. Wareham (Rich Robbins) is, and will likely continue to be the largest aggregator of property in West Berkeley. What they're planning to do on their properties is the template we can expect on many sites.

 To receive the height Variance it's seeking Wareham must make the case to the ZAB that these two conditions have been met:

 "1. There are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the land, building or use referred to in the application, which circumstances or conditions do not apply generally to land, buildings and/or uses in the same District;

  2. The granting of the application is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of substantial property rights of the subject property's owner;"

 The only "exceptional or extraordinary circumstances" applying to the property is Wareham's desire for greater profit than present standards allow.

 There is NO NECESSITY of this height or mass for an R & D biotech or Physical Sciences building.  There are numerous buildings already in West Berkeley dedicated to these uses that don't require this height or mass.  Certain biotech facilities, such as those at Bayer, have a demonstrated need for expanded heights, but these needs are related to specific production requirements and aren't
 necessary for R & D. The only need for this height is the need for greater profit at the expense of the livable and workable built environment of an existing vibrant neighborhood.




Social activism or gettin' in other people's business?

Go to the meeting and decide for yourself.


Copra Building

740 Heinz

the building is essentially surrounded by Aquatic Park Center





"The 10 Greenest Cities in the U.S." is by Tom Schueneman at sustainablog.org.

"The Mother Nature Network has just published their list of the ten greenest cities in the United States.

7 - Berkeley, California: A recognized leader in innovation in clean energy technology and development, Berkeley also has an abundance of organic and vegetarian restaurants. The city is known as a leader in sustainability."

An "abundance of organic and vegetarian restaurants?"

Aw cheez.



"Wilco makes for magic night at Greek Theatre" a review by Tony Hicks, Contra Costa Times.

"A couple of songs after telling Saturday's sold-out crowd at UC Berkeley's Greek Theatre 'I have to tell you, I think this is our favorite place in the world to play,"'Wilco's notoriously-deadpan frontman Jeff Tweedy felt like taking a jab at the locals."

"Times, UK: Four Stars for Wilco's New Album; 'A Definitive Work' " is a Nonesuch press release.


from my log

5/15/09--3:35 PM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in front room, over rides HEPA filter, wear mask.

5/16/09--5:54 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, over rides HEPA filter, wear mask, leave. All AM SERIOUS irritant IMMEDITATELY in front of warehouse and in warehouse front.

5/17/09--6:49 PM--irritant IMMEDITAELY in front of warehouse plus "chlorine" odor.

5/20/09--5:55 AM--irritant in warehouse plus "chlorine" odor, air out.

5/21/09--4:48 PM--irritant in front room.



6/4/09--11:00AM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse and STRONG "chlorine bleach" odor, leave.

6/5/09--3:46 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, over rides HEPA filters.

6/9/09--1:47 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, over rides HEPA filters, wear mask, leave.

6/10/09--off-and-on all day periods of SERIOUS irritant in front room, burning eyes,mouth, overrides HEPA filter.

6/11/09--6:47 AM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in warehouse, air out. 10:06 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, leave.

6/14/09--Off-and-on irritant in warehouse front and IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse. 150 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, overrides HEPA filters, light head, headache, "chlorine" oder, leave.

6/15/09--off-andon all day serious irritant in wearhouse, wear mask.

6/17/09--6:15 AM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse, air out. Off-and-on all day--irritant in warehouse wear mask.

6/20/09--7:18 AM--SERIOUS irritant IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, eyes burn, cough, "chlorine" odor, wear mask. 8:18 AM, similar.

6/21/09--10:23 AM--irritant IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, leave.

6/22/09--1:09 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, over rides HEPA filters, wear mask. 4:30 PM--VERY, VERY SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front, light head, nausea, over rides HEPA filters, wear mask, leave. 5:12 PM--"chlorine" odor IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse.

6/23/09--4:10 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room.

6/24/09--6:47 AM--irritant in front room.

6/28/09--8:49 AM--irritant in warehouse front and SERIOUS irritant IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse, nausea, light head. Off-and-on all day, irritant in warehouse front.



Eternally useful links


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



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.


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.


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 area.com 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 kbuckheit@ci.berkeley.ca.us

Angela Gallegos-Castillo, City Mgr Off - 981-2491 agallegos-castillo@ci.berkeley.ca.us

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

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


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.