9th and Parker looking west

Parker is being resurfaced, including the removal of the center-of-the-street railroad tracks

a Bob Kubik photo


A west-Berkeley Elder quipped "SP stopped using these tracks thirty years ago."










"City told to review laws" reports the Berkeley Voice.

"The city of Berkeley should make sure it has the laws to get rid of owner occupied drug houses, according to an Alameda County Grand jury report issued this week. A complaint by South Berkeley resident Laura Menard alleged that the city has been 'derelict in its duty to safeguard public safety and has shown willful intent to not enforce local and state laws pertaining to abating public nuisances.' Her complaint was linked to a house at 1610 Oregon St., which has a 30-year history of problems.

In April 2006, the owner of the house lost an appeal of a small-claims lawsuit and was ordered to pay more than $70,000 to neighbors who say they have lived with shootings, late-night fights and vandalism over the last three decades. That was the second judgment linked to the home won by neighbors since 1992. Although Berkeley city code allows officials to order homeowners to hire a resident manager or security guard, install secure doors at the front and rear of the building and post no trespassing signs, the complaint alleges the city has not done enough to get rid of problem drug dens. In the report, the grand jury recommends the city apply the same standards to abate owner-occupied drug houses as it does for tenant-occupied properties and commercial properties. It also directs the city to review its laws and make sure it has the proper tools to abate owner-occupied drug dens. If not, it should adopt new city ordinances to get rid of drug houses."



"Study: Albany, Berkeley 'greenest' in state" writes Shelly Meron in our Times.

"Albany and Berkeley rank as the two 'greenest' cities in the state based on residents' membership in the Green Party and support for environmental initiatives, according to researchers at UCLA.

The researchers, who released their findings in the spring, also looked at whether residents in cities that are considered politically 'green' follow through in their lifestyle choices by studying the concentration of registrations of Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles and LEED building certifications."



"Film Shows Dona Spring's Public and Personal Courage" writes our Planet's Judith Scherr

"In Lindsay Vurek's film, 'Courage in Life and Politics: the Dona Spring Story,' the 15-year Berkeley councilmember's fierce advocacy for the environment, animals, the downtrodden and the disabled shines bright.The 70-minute documentary, to be shown Friday, 7:30 p.m. at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, at Cedar and Bonita streets, uses photographs, archival TV footage, and interviews of dozens of the councilmember's friends and supporters, to show how Spring developed from a child who loved hiking and fishing, rode horses and even sky dived to the adult environmentalist and peace activist, who grew into an honored city leader, even as she faced the personal struggle of grappling with painful rheumatoid arthritis that increasingly debilitates her body."


"Conlon Nancarrow's Studies for Piano Player" a review by Josh Kosman of the Chronicle.

"Conlon Nancarrow's elaborate, witty and diverse studies for the player piano are among the great treasures of 20th century music, and most of us first encountered them through a series of path-breaking LPs issued by Charles Amirkhanian on the Berkeley label 1750 Arch. Now those discs have been digitally remastered and packaged together in an indispensable set. The sound is superb, and the opportunity to savor Nancarrow's brilliance en masse is a welcome one. What's most striking in hearing all these pieces together is the range of moods and styles, from exuberant boogie-woogie to lyrical melody to the most mandarin complexity. Yet Nancarrow's individual voice - restless, pugnacious, gleeful and always venturesome - shines through everywhere."



"'Generation Kill' takes viewers into war zone" a review by the Times' Chuck Barney.

"Tonight, HBO proudly launches 'Generation Kill,' an ambitious seven-part miniseries about a group of Marines in the early days of the Iraq war. The network's timing, it seems, couldn't be worse.

Viewers have stayed away in droves from recent Iraq-themed movies and television shows. Meanwhile, war fatigue seems to be setting in among the public and in the media, where coverage of the conflict has dramatically waned.
But none of that fazes Eric Kocher, the military consultant for 'Generation Kill.' He believes the HBO epic, which comes from the producers of the highly acclaimed crime series 'The Wire,' has a solid chance to win hearts and minds with its gritty, unflinching authenticity.

'(Other films) start throwing in all this extra (phoniness) that obviously would never happen and you lose the watcher right away,' he says. 'I think this is one of the first movies or series where you actually get to see what it's really like over there. You don't see any of the (phoniness) that you see in a lot of war movies. I think people are kind of interested in that.'

Based on an award-winning book by embedded journalist Evan Wright, the miniseries recounts, in astonishing, almost documentary-like detail, the exploits of the brash young Marines in the Bravo Platoon of the First Reconnaissance Battalion - the "tip of the spear" for America's military march into Iraq. Real events are depicted. Real names are used. . . . "

'They're like warriors in the old tradition, and they pride themselves on what they do,' he says. 'So when you let them off the leash, it should be for the right reasons because lots of people will die. It's not their fault; this is just how war is.'

"Wife Kills Husband With Bed" reports Russia's St Petersburg Times.

"A St. Petersburg woman killed her drunk husband with a folding couch, Channel Five television reported Wednesday. The St. Petersburg channel said the man's wife, upset with her husband for being drunk and refusing to get up, kicked a handle after an argument, activating a mechanism that folds the couch up against a wall.

The couch, which doubles as a bed, folds up in order to save space. The man fell between the mattress and the back of the couch, Channel Five quoted emergency workers as saying. The woman then walked out of the room and returned three hours later to check on what she thought was an unusually quiet sleeping husband. Police refused to comment.

St. Petersburg's emergency service said a private rescue service removed the man's body." 


"Peter the Great's Ship Discovered in Baltic Sea" reports Ali Nassor in the St. Petersburg Times.

"Archaeologists have discovered the wreck of a Russian battleship designed by Peter the Great in Amsterdam and which played a key role in a 1719 victory over Sweden in a war on the Baltic Sea.

A team including professional archeologists, divers, a film-producer and a cameraman located the 54-gun 'Portsmouth' battleship at a 12-meter depth in the waters off Kotlin Island near Kronshtadt last week during final stages of a three-month mission as part of the 'Secrets of the Sunken Ships' project."



"Could Freddie and Fannie be fini?" ask James Temple and Carolyn Said of the Chronicle.
"The worsening plight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac set off alarm bells this week, as the ailing government-sponsored enterprises threaten to drag down the housing market further.

The congressionally chartered companies were created to increase home ownership and affordability in the United States. They inject liquidity into the mortgage market by buying loans, packaging them into securities and selling them to investors. Fannie and Freddie own or guarantee more than $5 trillion in U.S. mortgages, nearly half of all outstanding home loans.

The securities are not officially backed by the government, but the strong sense is that Uncle Sam would step in before letting the securities go bad. That allows the two companies to borrow at attractive rates and creates a stable, secondary market that helps ensure other private parties issue affordable loans.

The role of Freddie and Fannie in keeping money flowing has only been magnified during the steep housing downturn, as other buyers of mortgages have dramatically curtailed their activity or gone under. They probably buy close to 90 percent of loans originated today, several industry observers estimate.

'The private mortgage security sector is shut down,' said Ken Rosen, chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at UC Berkeley."










Our Dona Spring has passed writes Carolyn Jones of the Chronicle.

"Berkeley City Councilwoman Dona Spring, a nationally recognized champion of disability rights and one of the city's most outspoken progressives, died at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center on Sunday. She was 55."



our Jarad emails

west-Berkeley crime piece on KQED
on KQED Perspectives that played during the Morning Edition (news) on NPR, there was a West Berkeley resident Alison Fromme discussing the out of control crime in our part of town. If you missed it, the title of the 2 minute perspective is called "Car Alarm", and they will post for on demand listening by tomorrow on the KQED website at this URL -- http://www.kqed.org/programs/program-landing.jsp?progID=RD62




"Berkeley mayor announces re-election bid" reports the Times' Doug Oakley

"Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates announced his candidacy for a third term Monday on the steps of city hall surrounded by five other council members who are endorsing him.

His challengers so far include former Berkeley Mayor Shirley Dean and activist Zachary Running Wolf.
Bates cited his record on fighting global warming, creating a 'green economy,' getting homeless people off the streets and supporting development near public transportation centers.

He is endorsed by council members Gordon Wozniak, Linda Maio, Laurie Capitelli, Darryl Moore and Max Anderson.

Bates served one four-year term and is finishing a special two-year term created to bring the mayoral election cycle in line with the presidential elections."





"Martinez company a breath of fresh air" reports Janis Mara of the Times.

"If you're worried about the air quality in your home due to the omnipresent smoke from Califronia's wildfires, Martinez-based AspenAir has a product that should help you breathe easier. The startup company's systems remove smoke from indoor air - along with dust, soot, exhaust and other particulates.

Although most of the wildfires that dirtied Bay Area air in recent weeks have been contained, clean air is still on everyone's mind. Even without a nearby forest fire, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the air within homes and other buildings can be more severely polluted than outdoor air.

Since people spend some 90 percent of their time indoors, 'the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors,' says the EPA Web site."

7/12/08--7:20 AM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in front room, light head, cough, wear mask. 7/13/08--6:45 PM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in front room, leave. 7/15/08--8:25 AM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse, air out. 8:42 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, leave.




"JFK may partner with National University" reports the Times' Matt Krupnick.

"Trying to stay afloat in an increasingly competitive industry, John F. Kennedy University plans to become a member of the private National University system.
The 44-year-old Pleasant Hill school, which also has campuses in Berkeley and Campbell, has agreed in concept to become an affiliate of the La Jolla-based university. The nonprofit National system has seven member schools in California and Nevada.
The agreement would cede JFK's control to National, with JFK President Steven Stargardter reporting to National's Chancellor Jerry Lee. The JFK Board of Regents would be dissolved, although some regents would join the National board."


"Another tree sitter returns to earth" writes Carolyn Jones of the Chronicle.

"One of the four tree-sitters at the Memorial Stadium oak grove descended from the foliage Monday, leaving three protesters attempting to stop UC Berkeley's plans to build a sports training center.

Jeffrey 'Muskrat' Musgrave, 30, climbed out of the trees at about 12:30 p.m., and was arrested by UC police. He was charged with trespassing, violating a court order, vandalism and possession of marijuana, said campus spokesman Dan Mogulof.

Musgrave was taken to Berkeley city jail, where he is expected to be cited and released, Mogulof said. Musgrave, who joined the 19-month-old tree-sit protest last week, came down due to a death in his family, said Eric Eisenberg, a member of the protesters' support crew.

UC Berkeley police are continuing to supply the tree-sitters with bottled water and 1,800 calories a day each.
On Thursday, a judge is scheduled to hear the university's request to lift the injunction barring development of the grove. If the judge lifts the injunction, construction at the grove could begin within a few days."




"Armenian refugees stuck in legal limbo" reports Tyche Hendricks of the Chronicle.

"On the cusp of adulthood, Fresno high school valedictorian Arthur Mkoyan, 17, is wrestling with choices about his future that few American high school graduates face.

Arthur graduated from Bullard High School last month with a 4.0 grade point average and a letter of admission to UC Davis, where he planned to study chemistry in autumn. But the Armenian-born teenager's life has been in limbo since his parents' asylum petition was rejected after a 16-year process.

In April, federal immigration authorities detained Arthur's father, Ruben Mkoian (father and son spell their surname differently), preparing to deport him. His mother was allowed to remain free to care for Arthur and his 12-year-old, U.S.-born brother until the date of their departure."


"Treasury Acts to Shore Up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac" reports Stephen Labaton of the New York Times.
"Alarmed by the sharply eroding confidence in the nation's two largest mortgage finance companies, the Bush administration on Sunday asked Congress to approve a sweeping rescue package that would give officials the power to inject billions of federal dollars into the beleaguered companies through investments and loans.

In a separate announcement, the Federal Reserve said it would make one of its short-term lending programs available to the two companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Fed said that it had made its decision 'to promote the availability of home mortgage credit during a period of stress in financial markets.'"


"Government as the Big Lender" is Peter S Goodman's opinion-piece in the New York Times.
"Much of the private money that once surged into the mortgage industry has fled in a panicked horde, leaving most of the responsibility for financing American homes to the government-sponsored Fannie and Freddie.

Two years ago, when commercial banks were still jostling for fatter slices of the housing market, the share of outstanding mortgages Fannie and Freddie owned and guaranteed dipped below 40 percent, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data by Moody's Economy.com. By the first three months of this year, Fannie and Freddie were buying more than two-thirds of all new residential mortgages.

A similar trend is playing out in the realm of student loans. As commercial banks concluded that the business of lending to college students was no longer quite so profitable, the Bush administration promised in May to buy their federally guaranteed student loans, giving the banks capital to continue lending.

In short, in a nation that holds itself up as a citadel of free enterprise, the government has transformed from a reliable guarantor into effectively the only lender for millions of Americans engaged in the largest transactions of their lives."

This is like Socialism, right?



Kubik emails this link to a Youtube series on Stuff.










our Jarad emails

It looks like Jon Crowder is running against Darryl Moore. He ran for Mayor in 1998 and ran for District 2 in 2000.  

Here's his last filing with the city in 2000.
Based on information from SmartVoter . . . the way I read his info on SmartVoter is that he wants a softer approach on the drug / crime problem down here. Am I wrong?


Eva emails

I suppose we would have to chat with him. Even in 2000 he should have mentioned crime and he did not - he seems focused on health issues.



The Mayor emails a report--here are excerpts.

The Loss of Dona Spring
Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring died Sunday evening at Alta Bates hospital of complications from rheumatoid arthritis. She was 55. She was one of our champions. Councilmember Dona Spring was a fighter for the disabled, for animal rights, her district and all Berkeley residents.  She struggled with personal pain but never complained and never stopped trying to make the world a better place.

Study Ranks Berkeley Second 'Greenest' City In California
A recent study by researchers at UCLA has affirmed Berkeley's reputation as being one of the country's most environmentally conscious cities.   The report, titled "Green Market Geography," ranks Berkeley as one of California's "greenest" cities, second only to its northern neighbor, Albany.   The report, authored by UCLA economics professor Matthew Kahn and graduate student Ryan Vaughn, was based largely on political data comparing California cities' voting records on environmental issues. 

City of Berkeley Awarded $330,000 MTC Grant to Improve Downtown
On Wednesday, June 25, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) awarded the City of Berkeley $300,000 from the Station Area Planning Grants to help actualize our new Downtown Area Plan within months rather than years. The Plan envisions a more beautiful, livable and thriving mixed-use district.

National Night Out-- Come Join the Party!
National Night Out is Tuesday, August 5, and has become a real celebration of community. It's okay if you don't have an official neighborhood organization-- anyone can host a street party. The Citizen Services Bureau at the Police Department can give you information on how to organize your block party, how to register, how to request police or fire department vehicles, and if any other groups near you are participating. Visit their webpage for more information.

East Bay MUD Offers Creative Ways to Decrease Water Use
Berkeley residents are being asked to join the City in reducing their use of water while water restrictions get tighter. Please check out EBMUD's Drought Help Center for creative ways to decrease your water use.



Kubik forwards his email to Ofc Karen Buckheidt, Berkeley PD

I have called in to the police three prostitutes
within 24 hours.  They have been at Carleton on San
Pablo,  Grayson at San Pablo, and one in front of my
     Please ask the patrol officers to watch out for
them - Particularly at 6:00 am and around 5;00 pm and
into the evening.

Thanks! Bob Kubik



"Berkeley's Anti-Environmentalist Movement" opines Charles Siegel in our Planet.

"The current anti-BRT initiative highlights the split in Berkeley politics between environmentalists who support better public transportation and more walkable neighborhoods and anti-environmentalists who oppose these things.
On a national level, there is general consensus among environmental groups in favor of smart growth. We know that people drive less if they live in neighborhoods with services and public transit within walking distance of their homes, and that more people will use public transportation if there is faster and more reliable service. Because transportation is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and because gasoline is becoming increasingly scarce, environmentalists want to reduce auto-dependency by building public transportation infrastructure and building walkable neighborhoods around the transit stops.

On a national level, the only groups opposing these environmental policies are right-wing think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. But in Berkley, we have a local anti-environment movement that is more effective than these entities." 


7/16/08--8:21 AM--SERIOUS irritant IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse. 11:09 AM--irritant in warehouse, light head, headache.



Don Yost emails a link to a Cajan accordian group.



"Newspaper union files unfair labor charges" reports Jeremy Herron of the Times.

"Guild says Bay Area News Group targeted union organizers in recent round of layoffs.

The union representing news staff at a group of San Francisco-area newspapers filed an unfair labor practice charge Tuesday over the layoff of some union organizers two weeks ago amid a 13 percent staff cut.

The Northern California Media Workers Guild said in a filing with the National Labor Relations Board that managers chose employees to lay off based on their union activity. Marshall Anstandig, general counsel for the partnership that owns the papers, called the charge "ridiculous."

Newspapers across the country are announcing sharp staff reductions to combat shrinking advertising and circulation revenue as readers migrate online." 



"Does anybody know how to fix this?" asks the AP'sTom Raum

"Political leadership seems to be running out of answers to solve economic crisis.

The Federal Reserve has no more practical room to push interest rates lower; there's only so much taxpayer money for shoring up housing, and if depositors lose confidence there's little officials can do to stop a run on banks.
President Bush, speaking from a White House podium, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in testimony to a congressional committee, sought on Tuesday to soothe jittery markets and reassure Americans that the U.S. financial system remains basically sound despite the current turmoil.

But they both tempered their remarks with warnings and expressions of uncertainty.
Bernanke warned that the U.S. economy faces 'numerous difficulties,' that the outlook for inflation is unclear and that 'financial markets and institutions remain under considerable stress.'

Bush told a news conference: 'The president doesn't have a magic wand.' He was answering a question about soaring fuel prices but his remarks seemed to sum up the government's overall predicament.

After years of seeming tame, inflation is again on the rise, led by higher food and fuel costs. But the Fed, which usually fights inflation by boosting interest rates, finds itself unable to use that weapon any more - it already has pushed rates down to 2 percent from 5.25 percent in response to the housing crisis - without threatening to undermine an economy that is either in recession or growing anemically.

With soaring budget deficits, swollen from the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and increased spending on homeland security, there's only so much taxpayer money for bailing out failing financial institutions.
Stocks are in a bear market, and shares of banks and other financial companies have been pounded.
'I fear that we're sitting on a financial powder keg,' Bernanke was told by Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, senior Republican on the Banking Committee."












Our "Bolshevik Mary" has passed.

"Berkeley woman was no stranger to protest" reports Doug Oakley of our Times.

"Being an out-of-the-closet communist in 1950s America was no easy task. But Mary Davis of Berkeley, known to friends as 'Bolshevik Mary,' was up to it.

Friends and family say Davis, a San Francisco native, was a true activist for workers, peace and justice until the very end. She died July 7 at age 87."


"Mausoleum to rock with sounds of jazz" reports Sam Craig in the Berkeley Voice.

"The quiet, reverent, atmosphere of a mausoleum isn't exactly the kind of place that comes to mind when thinking about toe tappin', finger snappin' jazz, but for one Oakland-based jazz outfit it's a perfect fit.

As part Piedmont's Chapel of the Chimes' monthly series of jazz performances called Jazz at the Chimes, the Oakland Jazz Choir will be holding its annual fundraising concert at 2 p.m. Sunday. The fundraiser includes a silent auction, refreshments and a raffle as well as a performance by a different sort of musical group.

'A lot of times when people think about jazz, they think about a jazz singer or soloist,' said Mary D'Orazi, managing director as well as a vocalist with the group. 'They don't necessarily think of a jazz
choir, and that makes us unique.'

For the 13 singing members of the group, as well as three instrumentalists - a drummer, pianist and guitar player - harmonizing creates a different sound than most jazz aficionados are used to and requires a different take on vocal jazz performance."



Kubik forwards an email to Ofc. Buckheit, Berkeley PD.

I called in two more prostitutes this [Wednesday] evening and
I'm not out looking for them! It looks like this is
becoming the place again. We need more police
presence to let them know this is not the place to

I had called in three others in the previous 24 hours
- one was in front of my house!






Doc drives his Jag to work regularly

Well Ok, then!




"Council Upholds Zoning Board's Bayer Decision" reports Judith Scherr of our Planet.

"921 Parker

The council upheld the decision of the zoning board 7-0-1, with
Councilmember Kriss Worthing-ton abstaining, giving the Bayer
corporation the green light to occupy 921 Parker St. with offices,
even though the property is located in a district zoned for light
industrial use.

Appellant Zelda Bronstein argued that the city's ruling, based on the
fact that Bayer was renting and did not own the Parker Street
property and that it would be re-converted to light industrial use
after Bayer vacated the property in 10 years, was not an adequate
legal reason for sidestepping the West Berkeley Plan aimed at keeping
the area's mix of residences and light industry.

Acting City Attorney Zach Cowan argued that approval of the temporary
conversion to office space was at the zoning board's 'discretion.'
Debra Sanderson, land-use planning manager for the city, said the 921
Parker site was unique in that it was close enough to the main Bayer
site to have a 'door connecting to the [Bayer] property.' "



Our city's Department of Economic Development is now mapping land-use in west-Berkeley by parcel. When finished we should have a better sense of our economic make up.





UC Storage, 2721 Shattuck, 883-2000, has the best price on shipping and storage boxes and shipping supplies I've found. They also rent mail-boxes and storage-space at competitive rates. Check them out!

Eddie Maciel, a 12 year employee, is manager. His email is eddie@ucstorage.com




"Pros' guide to bargain shopping" reports the Chronicle.

"With $70 in hand, 3 sommeliers scour the shelves for a week's worth of wine and then share their secrets. . . .

Using the actual retail prices found on the shelves, each found plenty to fill their shopping cart. I took Waters to Berkeley Bowl, where he sought out wines that echoed the types of honest, small- production bottles he prefers for Chez Panisse. After choosing seven, he had nearly $10 left over and happily added an eighth."




"UC asks judge to let it build athletic center" writes Carolyn Jones of the Chronicle.

"UC Berkeley, eager to resolve the tree-sitters' standoff outside Memorial Stadium before football season begins, asked a judge Thursday to allow construction on a sports training center to begin as soon as next week.

The university also asked the city of Berkeley, a neighborhood group and a group of oak tree advocates, who have sued UC to block the project, to put up a $1.5 million-a-month bond if they choose to appeal the judge's ruling on whether the $125 million training center can be built safely and legally."

The attractive Ms Jones and her distinguished father lunched at 900 Thursday as guests of our Merryll. Also at 900 on Thursday were our Rick, Kubik, John and Suzanne, Milo and Byron, Pete, and Kava.




Ryan Lau emails some important information. Here are two excerpts. More will follow with links

California Youth Energy Services Energy Audits
Our California Youth Energy Services program offers free home energy audits to residents in Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin Counties- our teams of professionally trained youth Energy Specialists visit your home, install FREE energy saving equipment, and provide you with energy efficiency tips.
If you've already had a CYES audit in your home, then please pass this along to friends and family who would like to take advantage of our free program. If you haven't, then what are you waiting for? CYES is a great way to save money, help the environment, and support young people all at the same time. Call 510-978-8613 to sign up, or visit our website at www.risingsunenergy.org.  Appointments available 11am-5pm, Tues-Fri, July 1st to August 7th
CYES will provide:
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Retractable Clotheslines
Efficient-flow faucet aerators
CFL Torchiere Lamps
Efficient-flow showerheads
Energy-saving Education
Please help make this year a huge success by referring CYES services on to everyone you know. You will be helping to make a considerable environmental impact by lowering green house gas emissions.
Rising Sun Energy Center is a community based organization and relies on our community to help us achieve our environmental and social goals.

Watch City Government In Action-- From Your Own Computer!
Did you know the City does live Webcasts of public meetings? City Council, Rent Stabilization Board, and Zoning Adjustments Board meetings are all broadcast live online, and all you have to do is go to our main Webcast page at http://www.CityofBerkeley.info/CalendarEventWebcastMain.aspx. You can also watch past Webcasts atwww.CityofBerkeley.info/video.



Our City Council agenda is here.


Our Planning Commision agenda is here




"Wells Fargo steers clear of crisis" writes George Avalos of our Times.

"Wells Fargo & Co. is poised to capture plenty of market share from its rivals, propelled by profits revealed Wednesday that topped Wall Street's expectations, resulting in the best one-day percentage gain
for the bank's stock in decades.

The mortgage morass and housing meltdown continue to engulf an array of Wells Fargo's rivals. But Wells appears to be among the first of the nation's major banks to extricate itself from the residential real estate quagmire."


"Cuba reforms turn to state land" reports BBC NEWS.

"Cuba is to put more state-controlled farm land into private hands, in a move to increase the island's lagging food production.

Private farmers who do well will be able to increase their holdings by up to 99 acres (40 hectares) for a 10-year period that can be renewed.

Until now, private farmers have only been able to run small areas of land.

The BBC's Michael Voss, in Havana, says this is one of President Raul Castro's most significant reforms to date."




"All aboard for a rational national rail plan" writes Ed Perkins at sfgate.com.

"Would improved rail service help our nation reduce dependence on foreign oil? My short answer is: 'It could, but not the way we're approaching rail now.' Those seniors old enough to remember the glory days of fast, frequent passenger trains will have a long wait until we see anything like those days again. Here are some of the hard
truths about the future of rail service in the United States."











On 7/19 I posted

"UC asks judge to let it build athletic center" writes Carolyn Jones of the Chronicle.

"UC Berkeley, eager to resolve the tree-sitters' standoff outside Memorial Stadium before football season begins, asked a judge Thursday to allow construction on a sports training center to begin as soon as next week.

The university also asked the city of Berkeley, a neighborhood group and a group of oak tree advocates, who have sued UC to block the project, to put up a $1.5 million-a-month bond if they choose to appeal the judge's ruling on whether the $125 million training center can be built safely and legally."

The attractive Ms Jones and her distinguished father lunched at 900 Thursday as guests of our Merryll. Also at 900 on Thursday were our Rick, Kubik, John and Suzanne, Milo and Byron, Pete, and Kava.


Apparently Pops paid.

Merryll emails

Anyhow, just wanted to say that Ms. Jones and I were treated to lunch by her distinguished father who will be delighted when I show him your report.


Kubik emails a Will Rodgers quote

Good judgement comes from experience.
A lot of experience comes from bad judgement.





a Bob Kubik photo


street and drainage improvements in Potter Creek

9th and Pardee looking west--on the left is Acme Bread on the right, almost out of view, an early Patrick Kennedy project and in the background, Kruse



There is a Planning Commision meeting this Wednesday, July 23rd dealing with the West Berkeley Project--that's us. Go to Planning Commission link here for details.




I just scanned the Planning Dept Staff July 23, 2008 report about proposed changes in west-Berkeley. 

And, . . it is my understanding that west-Berkeley land (parcel) use is now being mapped by our Department of Economic Development  When complete, we'll know more about current land use down here.

Why not wait making decisions about the WBP [West Berkeley Project] until we have a better sense of what's exactly here? I mean, it ain't going anywhere.

A new use map would be VERY helpful. For, from my past almost four decades here, I've learned "What you see down here ain't always what you get."  And even more "What you hear ain't always what there is."



I've just spent hours going over the "Obstacles" sections in the Planning Staff Report July 23, 2008--the report on the West-Berkeley Project.

After the clutter of "fact" and opinion, and based on almost four decades' experience down here, I am left to conclude,











Last week, I talked to Jim Sanok. In the '80s Jim worked for Philadelphia Quartz on Grayson west of 7th, on the north side of the street. They manufactured detergent when he worked there. (That would explain the occasional Tide/Oxydol smell on days of south-west-winds--the new guys would screw up he said. He also said those clouds of dust that coated my truck with a white-film on some Saturday afternoons were made up of a baking-soda-like powder--harmless he assured me. I do remember it was water-soluble.) And he remembers shunting freight-cars up and down their siding with a gasoline-powered mule--says the down-grade toward Aquatic Park made it a challenge. "They could get away from you."

Jim is 900 GRAYSON Anthony Saulnier's father-in-law.



Kent Nagano, former conductor of the Berkeley Symphony, has a DVD set available from DW-TV--it's Classical Masterpieces. It's also available directly from Naxos here "As seen on DW-TV."



The San Pablo Poultry property is for sale. It's on the east side of San Pablo Ave at the end of Pardee.


And the duplex on the west side of San Pablo, at 2818 San Pablo is also for sale--a beautiful little house, well kept, it's on the whores' current parade route.


The newly resurfaced 7th Street is now sweet and smooth. Check it out!

Soon 9th will have a new surface, hopefully as sweet and smooth.



our Claudia emailed on Friday, July 18

I just got back from the Andronicos on University and minutes before I got there,  there had been a bank robbery at the Wells Fargo there. Lots of cops interviewing grocery and bank employees. That is all I know, don't know how many robbers etc. But this happened at about 3:30 today, july 18 friday, in broad daylight at a busy supermarket.



Channel 11 NBC NEWS reports four shot in Berkeley

One man and three women were injured Sunday morning about 1:30 around Sacramento and Russell. The man received a gunshot wound and the women were hit by bullet fragments. 


Channel 11 also reports that a Walgreen's in Berkeley was recently robbed at gun point. Andrew Frankel, PIO Berkeley PD confirms that the Walgreen's at Gilman and San Pablo has heldup. 




"FBI investigating Perata's links to Washington lobbyist" report Susan Sward and Lance Williams of the Chronicle.

"The FBI is investigating state Sen. Don Perata's role in the hiring of a Washington lobbyist to push for a road project sought by a major Perata contributor, documents show.

At the urging of the powerful Oakland Democrat, local agencies in 2000 hired former Georgia congressman Dawson Mathis to lobby the Federal Aviation Administration regarding a multimillion-dollar expressway that today links Oakland International Airport with the Harbor Bay Business Park in Alameda.

The park's developer, Ron Cowan, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Perata and other politicians, and for years he had sought this access road."


Tyche Hendricks of the Chronicle writes "On blogs and around kitchen tables across the country, mixed-race Americans are celebrating the fact that, for the first time, a biracial person, Barack Obama, will be a major party's nominee for president of the United States.

Obama identifies as African American, and much has been made of the historic nature of his candidacy, which could make him the country's first black president. But he also frequently evokes his mixed heritage: his white mother from Kansas and his black father from Kenya. His presence on the national political stage is being embraced by multiracial Americans as an opportunity to focus attention on the growing population of multiracial people and deepen the debate about racial identity.

'There's a huge level of excitement,' said Jilchristina Vest, co-director of iPride, a Berkeley nonprofit that runs a summer camp for multiracial kids and trains teachers on honoring ethnic diversity. 'He really represents the multiplicity of mixed Americans.' Full story here.


My second-cousin Harriet was biracial, perfect nordic-features, perfect tan-skin and tight curly hair. Harriet was great-uncle Max' daughter. Uncle Max, the "first" Pendorf to leave Hamburg, settled in Misssissippi in the early 1900s where he worked as an overseeer on a plantation. He came north to Wisconsin with Harriet and raised her, as a single dad in the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s of America.

Harriet was one of the reasons I spent summers at Bradford beach getting a perfect-tan, always sorry it faded with winter when "hers" never did.

"Paulson braces public for months of tough times" reports the AP.

"Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson sought to reassure an anxious public Sunday that the banking system is sound, while also bracing people for more troubled times ahead.

'I think it's going to be months that we're working our way through this period - clearly months,' he said.
Paulson said the number of troubled banks will increase as they struggle to cope with big losses on bad mortgages.The government this month took over IndyMac after a run led it to become the largest regulated thrift to fail.

'Of course the list is going to grow longer given the stresses we have in the marketplace, given the housing correction. But again, it's a safe banking system, a sound banking system. Our regulators are on top of it. This is a very manageable situation,' he said in broadcast interviews.

Paulson used appearances on the Sunday talk shows to tell people that deposits up to $100,000 are fully insured. He said no one has lost a single penny on an insured deposit in the 75 years that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has operated.

'We're going through a challenging time with our economy. This is a tough time. The three big issues we're facing right now are, first, the housing correction which is at the heart of the slowdown; secondly, turmoil of the capital markets; and thirdly, the high oil prices, which are going to prolong the slowdown,' he said."






Jarad is a resident of west-Berkeley on 10th, north of Dwight Way

I will post all reasoned, civil responses to this email

Today I read about the conclusion of a Grand Jury investigation <http://www.dailycal.org/article/102061> that I was told several months ago was initiated by another neighborhood watch group in Berkeley. I'm sure that all of us in West Berkeley would appreciate having the city respond to us in a direct fashion regarding how the Grand Jury recommendation will have affect the situation at 2314 10th Street as well as other properties in our area that have been havens for drug sales and abuse.
In fact, since it is an election year and our own Darryl Moore is up for re-election, perhaps it's time to have a meeting with everyone from our area of West Berkeley as well as the Potter Creek area and all local area business owners in West Berkeley so that all of us can sit down with the Councilman as well as the City Manager's office and BPD to find out when changes will be put into place so we can eliminate this plague rather than being forced to accept that moving this problem to another neighborhood is a victory (for those that do not know, the city has repeatedly said that moving the dealers to another neighborhood is a victory).
We've reached a time where we deserve answers about a long-term strategic plan of action to combat the open air drug market in Berkeley, starting with what laws our politicians intend to pass to help BPD fight the drug problem. In addition, it's time that we are given dates by which we can expect action. I for one and disgusted at the slow progress on this issue while the council debates Tree Sitters,  Burma & Tibet resolutions, and wastes BPD overtime budget on controlling CodePink protesters (at last count they've spend over $200,000 in BPD overtime budget on CodePink).
I would be happy to help organize this meeting with others that are interested in REAL issues affecting this city and our quality of life. If you are interested in organizing a meeting with the city, please let everyone on this email know.



our Ryan Lau emails

Hello everyone,
Actually, we are meeting with the Chief today about this exact issue..that of trying to find proactive policy solutions. We have been discussing various approaches that we can take in order to be proactive about these types of problems, but unfortunately we have hit a wall as of now.  The "loitering with intent" law that we were looking into that expired in 1996 apparently does not have much teeth.  There is a state law that is already on the books in much the same vein as the local law, but the burden of proof is so high that the police essentially have to make an arrest for the intent to sell and loitering might be an enhancement....after-the-fact.  We are meeting with the Chief to do some brainstorming on various ways we can provide more tools in BPD's figurative toolbelt.  Hopefully we come up with some functional ideas that we can put into policy. 
In terms of the slow progress, I would agree that it is very frustrating the rate at which this is going, but there are a number of different confounding factors that have made this a more difficult situation than others.  I cannot speak to the enforcement piece, because I do not know what is publicly divulgable and what is not, but I do know that BPD has doing all that they can to try and wrap this up as quickly as possible...I will let Officer Buckheit address long and short term since she knows better than I do what could be potentially jeopardizing to the case.  I know that she is currently pursuing a stay away order on the back of some recent arrests, which would likely benefit from letters from neighbors speaking to the fact that these particular individuals have been a nuisance to the neighbors and anything else the neighbors might want to add...and that the neighborhood feels that it would be beneficial to residents for the DA to pursue a stay away order...maybe Officer Buckheit might be able to provide more details on what should be included.  Another issue that has come up that has slowed the process is that complicated mess of tracking down property owners.  The single property owner that we have been in contact with, I believe the owner of 2314 10th Street, has been responsive and has filed a No Trespassing letter and BPD has been citing people for being on the property.  The other two have been quite a different matter.  The owners of 2318/2320 apparently is a bank at the moment, having been foreclosed on.  The owner of 2328 10th Street was the residence in San Leandro property that Angela and Ofc. Buckheit visited and found a foreclosure notice on the door.  I believe Angela said that she was going to try and work the a lead that she might have on the probate lawyer for the property and I am going to talk to a contact at our County Supervisor's office to see if there might be some more current information on the owners and how we might be able to get in touch with them. 
In regards to meeting to explore more proactive policy solutions with the neighbors, PD, and the City Manager's office, we would be glad to participate in such a meeting and hopefully after tonight's meeting with the Chief we will have a bit more of a direction in which to focus our efforts.  I really appreciate the neighbor's willingness to help us work through these issues and problem solve.  It is only through a collaborative effort that we are likely to find really effective solutions to these types of complex problems. 
Ryan Lau
Council Aide
Councilmember Darryl Moore



Thank you for the update, Ryan! How did the meeting with the Chief go? 
I have read the Alameda County report (grand jury investigation) regarding the drug house on Oregon Street, that has existed for 10 years, and for 10 years no advance was made. The residents filed law suits in Small Claims, got verdicts in their favor, and the drug house is still there. I am sure you are aware that the Grand Jury found that the City of Berkeley has been negligent in resolving this issue, and they issued recommendations including the creating of new laws/codes if the existing ones do not allow you to take action.
I read the report, and got to a passage where it was noted that the residents found drug bags, empty liquor bottles and used condoms on their street routinely - well, that sounds like the 2300 Block of 10th Street. Just yesterday I picked up drug bags including one issued for medical purposes, and this morning when we took walk part to the street was littered with broken glass from liquor bottles.
I do not understand why the City of Berkeley has not taken action previously, as outlined in the report's recommendation, to help resolve these issues that exist in many areas in South and West Berkeley. Why have the Council Members from these two to three districts not worked together to convince the City Council, the Mayor, and the City Manager's Office to take action against the gangs, drug dealing and harassment of citizens? To create new laws/codes if necessary to address the issue? I find it highly interesting that our City Council members are willing to declare that the Tree Sitters face a Public Health Emergency but drugs, alcohol and crime do not seem to get the same attention?
It seems that certain activists are quite successful in getting their Council Member's and the Councils attention - we have many times offered to support Council member Moore on anything he can propose to make things better in West Berkeley - and I asked before that you help organize a much larger meeting that includes the residents, and the businesses in West Berkeley - not a piece meal meeting but one that allows us to move as a larger group that can be heard by those that can bring about change. I figured you might already have the resources and connections to make this happen? 
I realize that I don't have all the information, so please let us know what has been done/attempted in the last four years to address the problems in West Berkeley on a larger scale? Has any attempt been made to create new laws? Have these issues come before the Council for support and approval? If not, why not?  
Thank you again for updating us, and I don't mean to sound accusatory - this is what I think, these are the question that go through my mind and I am directly posing them.
Kind Regards,


Liz Kwan emails

[Ryan] thanks for the response. It's very discouraging to hear how little
progress has been made on Oregon street despite organizing and
persistence of the neighbors. I'm hoping we will have more luck, as
that was a family, and these landlords have little incentive to keep
problem tenants.
Look forward to meeting with your office and BPD again for an update.
Liz Kwan



Ryan Lau emails

In response to your and Jarad's last emails, in our conversations with the City Attorney's office, both the issues with the Grand Jury investigation and mugshots bring up very complicated legal questions.  The City Attorney's office has not yet had the opportunity to issue a formal response to the Grand Jury's report yet, so I am unable to respond to the specific issues regarding that report, and in terms of the mugshot question, the City Attorney's office is still trying to hash out the protocol with BPD in order to determine when releasing mugshots to the public is acceptable.  In the meanwhile, I have been told by Lt. Greenwood that the County's "Inmate Locator" is a good tool to help identify suspects that have been recently arrested.  It is at http://www.acgov.org/sheriff_app/inmateDetail.do and you can check off the "bookings within the last 24 hours" in order to search for arrests in your area.  Also, when you are able to identify a problem individual, here is a resource that might be quite helpful.  It is a guide to drafting a Community Impact Letter that helps to articulate the problems that neighbors are experiencing regarding a particular individual that might help during the sentencing process to get enhancements or certain provisions, such as stay away orders and the like.  I thought it might be useful once the a suspect is either identified through the inmate locator process or once the mugshot questions have been hammered out.
In terms of concrete progress, as you know the property owner at 2314 10th Street has has been cooperative, filing a No Trespassing letter, trying to secure his property as best he can and addressing other items through the CM's office.   We have also made some headway in finding the an address of the property owner at 2328 10th Street and CM is contacting the owners and expect a response soon. Still researching and finding creative ways to get 2318/2320 bank owner to respond. 
I think it is also important to keep in mind that whether or not any or all of these tenants are on section 8 and whether or not there is a BHA process proceeding or not, there still has to be an eviction process initiated by the property owner.  The only reason that the revocation of a section 8 voucher is useful in going forward with an eviction process is because and eviction due to "nonpayment of rent" is often times much cleaner than pursuing a "material violation of lease" process. 
Also, while we are in ongoing policy discussions with Neighborhood Services and BPD, I do think that these discussions could benefit from community input and so your suggestion to hold a meeting to discuss problem solving our policies is a good one.  As I mentioned before, we did have a rather large meeting pertaining to crime in early May where we discussed strategies that BPD, OPD and the DA's office are taking and ways in which the community can be helpful in crime prevention, but we have not yet had a meeting specifically dedicated to problem solving around crime policy.  We plan to invite the Police Chief, the City Attorney's office, the Director of the Berkeley Housing Authority, and a number of other dept that are involved in the process.  We hope that they can answer any and all questions as they pertain to crime prevention, but also that we can have a dialog about how we might best address these issues.  Thanks.
Ryan Lau 
Council Aide 
Councilmember Darryl Moore






more from 10th Street residents

Taj emails

. . . last night about 11 p.m along the side of [a house on 10th there was a disturbance].  I called the cops, I hope others did.  We should begin to keep a log of the times we call and if we get a response.  
Does anyone know someone who can buy [the place]?  It is a duplex.  It has been a problem property for over 15 years.  This is the third time that location has become hot. Is there a plan for us to meet as neighbors?  I think we need to have a plan prior to meeting with the police and council. I also know that the squeaky wheel gets the oil.   

Hi Taj,
Long time no see...hope you're doing well.  I think this is the first time that our office has gotten wind of this particular location.  Do you have some background on this?  Are these owners or renters?  I will try and check in with Neighborhood Services and BPD to see what they have in their files. 

Ryan Lau
Council Aide
Councilmember Darryl Moore


 Liz emails about her contact with Berkeley PD Office Phelps.

When he found out I lived on . . . 10th street, he
actually brought up all the drug activity and asked if I was part of
this neighborhood group.
He then encouraged me to call anytime anyone is loitering on the block
and for any hint of suspicious activity. . . .

Anyhow, I'd be up for a night out with neighbors. Whatever happened to
the block party planning?

Taj emails  
I heard Allison this morning [on KQED-FM about crime in west-Berkeley.]  Good thoughts.  Regarding the block party, I think it was Tim I am not sure.  
National night out ideas have been to have coffee and dessert.  I was thinking of a "from your back yard" fruit feast.  I was also thinking we would set up on the Northwest corner of Channing way. (brink our chairs) and claim that spot.  I have a drum, if we want to create a jam session.  Just some ideas.  Anything can work. We just want to be seen as organized and together.  I will send the paper work into the police today and get us registered.  


That sounds lovely - we will bring dessert to share.


I am interested and would be happy to help.


Dorothy L Hernandez emails

There are numerous individuals loitering around 10th and Bancroft (for the last few hours). I called the police about a fight and a squad car eventually drove by- but did not stop and take names, etc...  Is there a special number we are supposed to call?   When I called in, I mentioned that Officer Phelps had told us to report loitering. (of course, we waited until the fight broke out).  In any event, the loitering continues and I can only imagine this is going to lead to a very active evening.




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.


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.


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 scanned material retains copyright. The material is used only to illustrate