JULY 2009

after 7/6, here after 7/15, here, after 7/21, here


Declaration of Independence


"WHEN in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great- Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World."



The Bill of Rights

Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.







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





Bob and Carol's

two new kitties



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 . . . "

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."


from Don

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


Kava is pretty environmental both in his design and in his life. RP





Doug Herst emails about Seacology

   I thought that you should be aware of . . . first pitch in Tuesday's A's game.
Our own Berkeley Seacology 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





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, . . .






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


Whatever the zoning issues, and there are several, new construction would bring needed building-trade-jobs to Potter Creek. L J Kruse, for instance, worked for Rich Robbins on the Fantasy remodel and I imagine equipment manufactures like Swerve could profit as well. Not a little thing in these hard times. RP




"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.



"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."



"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.













post from the past


Camille owns magnet, 2508 san pablo ave







Wednesday 7:18 PM

EBMUD repairs their underground service on 8th and Pardee




Steve Carvalho emails

Hi Ron.
I found your website and am amused at your memories, so similar to mine. I worked for Sandy Schneider on Telegraph and was a victim of his obsessive catagorizing methods.  He delighted in putting us through our paces in front of his more affluent customers.  He would shout out "T2442" and would proudly watch us leap for the Capitol bin to retreive "Rubber Soul," the big seller that Christmas vacation.  We would attempt our weak stabs at revenge by introducing records that were not in his inventory.  The deciding one was a record by Doug Clark and the Hot Nuts, which had been discovered by accident by the fraternity boys and, due to the extreme obscenty of its content had become a sentimental favorite of the kegger crowd. Though we were amused at his frustration by not being able to track down the source to re-order, the joke was eventually on us when, after many tries he found the source and it became a perennial best-seller durning hazing week.
Sandy, in spite of his eccentriticies, had a genuine love and discerning attutude toward music and kept me employed during the down times when I was trying to make it as a professional musician.  I will always remember those days fondly (and the peanut brittle at See's Candy).   
I'd like to know what happened to Sandy and everyone who worked there.  Do you remember Reese Helmondoller?  He was a friend of mine.
Steve Carvalho

Sandy passed some years ago. My memories of Reese follow the Medved story. RP



from  Journal of Recorded Music, 6,

I don't know what Medved learned

Of course Mike Medved was younger than most of us, but regularly recommending early Bernstein/N.Y. Phil records in an age of Klemperer, Monteux, Bruno Walter and the Berlin Philharmonic was hard to understand. We tried not to kid, or interrupt, him during a sale. Yet Harper occasionally blurted out, "You're kidding: that's terrible!" When it was slow, and depending upon our mood, we'd sometimes give him a hard time about his recorded preferences, or just play some of our favorite performances for each other, of course including him.

The other half of the we, Jim Harper, was a record salesman and music lover whose path and mine have intertwined over the years.

I don't know what Medved learned, for after awhile, a semester or two, he moved to L.A. to go to school. Somewhere he learned a lot about classical music and movies.

After Campus Records closed in 1967, Record City was the leading source in Berkeley for classical music. It was owned by Sandy and Helen Schneider. Sandy was a good harpsichordist and was a student and admirer of Gustav Leonhardt. Helen was a charmer.

They were also very understanding employers. Once, when Helen's 3.4 Jag Sedan had become sluggish, I suggested that what it needed was a fast run on the highway to "blow out the carbon." Helen seemed to think that made sense and I volunteered to take the car out for a run. The car was fast! I guess I pushed it pretty hard or it was pretty gummed up. It back fired a lot and stammered a bit. Then it caught fire. As smoke poured from under the hood, I looked for the nearest Freeway Exit. Fortunately one was close by and I coasted the Jag down the off-ramp and into a filling station. They put out the fire. I wouldn't say that the Jag was totaled, but I don't think it ever stopped smelling of smoke.

Sandy's brother David was a violinist in the San Francisco Symphony. He played under Pierre Monteux, among other conductors, and Sandy shared his brother's love of the Maestro. It was Sandy who introduced me to my first recordings of "Papa." I particularly remember the RCA Victrola performance of Beethoven's Fourth Symphony and the Victrola Beethoven Second. The Fourth is still my favorite performance and has also become my favorite recording. Another favorite was Wagner's Siegfried Idyll with the San Francisco Orchestra. It originally shared a record with the Beethoven Fourth and later it was released with Strauss'Death and Transfiguration, also with the San Francisco Symphony.

Jim Harper managed the store for some time. He was a good manager for I never thought of him as a boss. I think we sold a lot of records and had some good times.

For all the fun, Sandy ran a tight shop. Most tight was the inventory system. The number of records in each section was written on the back of the section's divider card. Also the name and quantity of each title was kept on 3 X 5 cards in a file box. Sandy prided himself on knowing exactly what he had and where it was. Inventory could be taken two or three times a day and Sandy knew within minutes if something was missing or misplaced. It made him as crazy if the inventory was off as it did if a record was stolen.

Without telling him we used to bring records from home and put them in stock.


Albert really wasn't capable of having a manager

I'm told that today Reese Holmandoller lives on an island off the coast of South America. I guess it's possible. I know that for years he lived on an island off the Greek coast.

Reese Holmandoller was the first manager at Campus Records that I remember. Manager isn't exactly right. I don't think that Albert was capable of having a manager. Reese came from New York and so did Albert. More importantly, Reese learned the record business in New York City. But in the end, Albert probably hired Reese because he liked him.

Reese was tall, thin, a little stoop- shouldered, and had a droopy Einstein moustache. Before the Beatles had longish hair, Reese had hair down to his shoulders.

Berkeley has always thought of itself as a liberal, tolerant and accepting community. But in the '60s, sadly, even in Berkeley, people thought something should be done about a man with a woman's hair. In particular, Reese's hair annoyed some members of the Telegraph Avenue Merchants Association. At a regular meeting, and with Albert present, they suggested that either Reese get a hair cut or that Albert fire him. Albert quit the Association, but I vaguely remember Reese's hair becoming a touch shorter.

Reese now began to make a point of smooching in public. In front of the shop, and with great gusto, he would kiss and squeeze his saftig lady for all to see. His lady was a good jazz piano player and Reese played alto. I remember waiting, along with him, for the release of Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch album. When the first shipment arrived from the distributor, work ceased for a moment and we all listened. We agreed it was "far out."

Reese, his lady, and some friends had regular "blowing sessions" at a warehouse just off Shattuck Ave.

I was asked to sit in.

I was just beginning to play classical 'cello, but the idea of playing jazz was tantalizing. The 'cello was much softer than the jazz instruments that surrounded it, especially the piano and drums. In the first session I couldn't even hear myself, but Reese thought the 'cello could be made louder by electrically amplifying it. So at the next session we rigged a guitar pick-up to the 'cello bridge and plugged it into an amplifier.

Now I could hear myself, but I had a hard time following the "changes," after all, I was being trained to sight read Bach, not improvise over chords.
I can't say that I was a very good jazz player, but I can say that I played with Country Joe and the Fish's drummer. Chick "Chicken" Hirsh was one of the people who sat in that night.




Mayor Bates was interviewed on CBS Channel 5 NEWS about the state having to issue IOUs and said "It'll be terrible." The Mayor looked good though.



"Best law schools in the nation" is a report at examiner.com.

"While the top two schools are no surprise, California makes solid inroads into the top tier of law schools in the nation based on the US News and World Report rankings. Topping the list is Yale, followed by Harvard, with Stanford coming in third.

Stanford University, Law School (3) begins with the fundamentals but is then rich in interdisciplinary learning opportunities, clinics that teach law students how to be lawyers who make a difference, and programs and centers that catalyze scholarship, research, and dialogue on important issues - these are the forums through which Stanford Law shapes the future. Stanford University is followed by Columbia University and New York University in the ranking to round out the top five.

UC Berkeley School of Law (6) claims affordability in relation to its competitors with more than 90 percent of our students receiving some form of financial aid, Berkeley returns a higher percentage of its fees to students than any of its competitors."



"Building a new UC -- in cyberspace:Online instruction would allow an institution faced with budget pressures to do more with less" is a story by Christopher Edley Jr. at latimes.com.

"It is time for an 11th University of California campus: a cyber-campus devoted to awarding online degrees to UC-eligible students. "



"Hotel Loan Defaults Double as Recession Cuts Travel " is a report by Dan Levy and Nadja Brandt at bloomberg.com.

"As many as one in five U.S. hotel loans may default through 2010 as the recession means companies are spending less on travel and perks, according to University of California economist Kenneth Rosen.

The value of hotel properties in default or foreclosure almost doubled to $17.3 billion in the second quarter through June 24 from $9 billion at the end of the first quarter, data compiled by Real Capital Analytics Inc. show. The New York-based research firm, which began tracking distressed commercial property in November, expects hotel defaults to increase by as much as $2 billion this quarter, said analyst Jessica Ruderman.

'Hotels without question will have the highest foreclosure rate of any commercial real estate sector,' said Rosen, who runs a real estate hedge fund with $310 million in assets and is chairman of the University of California's Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics in Berkeley. "



"Big cities see resurgence in population growth" writes Hope Yen of the AP.

"Reversing a decade-long trend, many of America's largest cities are now growing more quickly than the rest of the nation, yet another sign of an economic crisis that is making it harder for people to move.

Census data released Wednesday highlight a city resurgence in coastal regions and areas of the Midwest and Northeast, due to a housing crunch, recession and higher gas prices that have slowed migration to far-flung suburbs and residential hotspots in the South and West."



Paul Krugman is Charile Rose's recent guest, talking on health care and the state of the economy, do check it out.


"Lisbon's light-touch drugs policy" is a report at BBC NEWS.

"In 2001, the Portugese government decriminalised recreational drugs including heroin and cocaine in an attempt to reduce the number of hard drug users in the country. Eight years later, Claudia Hammond visited Lisbon to see whether the change in the law had been effective."












posts from the past


Former Buttercuper, Patrick Treadway emails


I hope this finds you well-

a photo album of pics I found and scanned of a couple of Hat Nights at the Buttercup in 1981:
Ah, seems like yesterday- sort of



Miltiades Mandros entered this year's Bulwer-Lytton Bad Writing Contest. This is one of his entries.

Through the window of his sawbuck-a-month Los Angeles walk-up, the "Ames otel" sign blinked lazily on and off as Norris, a Camel at his lips and a half-empty bottle of Scotch by his side, pecked feverishly away at his ancient Smith-Corona in the desperate hope the producers would accept this version of his screenplay about a world-weary high school geometry teacher (to be played by Humphrey Bogart), entitled "Here's Looking At Euclid."




"Milkshakes offer a cool taste of nostalgia and luxury" Jodie Chase, Contra Costa Times Correspondent.

"It's Saturday afternoon at Fentons Creamery & Restaurant in Oakland, and the old-fashioned ice cream parlor is packed, as always. A little girl in a leotard celebrates with her family after a ballet recital. People of all ages, groups large and small, feast on burgers and tuna melts, giant milkshakes and decadent old-fashioned sundaes made with ice cream crafted on the premises. Comfort food, with a side of memories."




"Berkeley Rep director heads to Broadway. Again" writes Robert Hurwitt, Chronicle Theater Critic.

"Tony Taccone sounds pretty relaxed for a man on the run between directing shows in Minneapolis, Berkeley and on Broadway. After two decades at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, serving as artistic director since 1997, the 57-year-old director may be most comfortable with a certain amount of chaos."



"Free fishing day: 4th of July" is a report in the Vallejo Community Examiner.

"4th of July...think family, fireworks...but fishing? You bet. This year 4th of July is the first of only two 2009 'free' fishing days in California - (September 7th is the second day.)

So if you haven't yet purchased your 2009 license , this is the perfect day to test your luck and prowess on California's lakes, reservoirs, streams and of course, the big 'O', the Pacific Ocean."


from Marsha W



"Top 25 teams: No. 19 California Golden Bears" is a report by Adam West, Staff writer at gainesville.com.




"Three Stars: Cannot Be Stopped" is an interview with a band member at dcist.com.

"When does a local band start to really become local? When does it cease to be local? Is Laughing Man considered local even though they only recently moved to D.C. from Philly? Are Jukebox the Ghost or Thao Nguyen still local artists even though they no longer live here? Can D.C. claim Animal Collective at all since Geologist lives somewhere within city limits? For several months, I wrestled with this question, and as such hesitated to interview Farley Miller, the brains behind local avant-garde project Cannot Be Stopped. By the time I'd really gotten a chance to check out his brand of drum-initiated electronics, I'd found out that he'd be moving to California upon graduation from American University (which happened in May.) "




"Beacon Power, Nordic Windpower Get Loan Guarantees" by Daniel Whitten and Christopher Martin, bloomberg.com.

"The U.S. Energy Department issued $59 million in conditional loan guarantees to Beacon Power Corp. and Nordic Windpower, part of a four-year-old program for alternative energy that has yet to finance any projects.

The conditional loan guarantees announced by the department today, which are the second and third issued, are contingent on the companies providing further financing. "




Kubik sends a link to

"Berkeley City Budget 101" by Victoria Peirotes in our Planet.

"Steven Falk, the city manager of Lafayette, said in a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, 'The state is broke, counties are broke and cities are broke.' He went on to say 'Public pensions are unsustainable in the current form.'

The Chronicle also reported, 'The California Citizens Compensation Commission, which sets salaries of state lawmakers and statewide elected officials, voted to slash state officials and employee pay by 18 percent, effective in 2010.'

Other national news media report that a reason for GM's bankruptcy and the State of California's dire circumstances are in part due 'to out of control salaries and long-term retirement and health benefits accrued by employees.'

If you scrutinize the proposed biennial Berkeley Budget (2010­2012), you may notice that it doesn't address or even acknowledge the very big 'elephant-in-the-room.' That 'elephant' is the disproportionate number of city employees in Berkeley, their most generous salaries, and the extraordinary health benefits they enjoy, including gold-plated retirement benefits."




"The Internet isn't tax-free" is an opinion at latimes.com.

"California should require online sellers to collect sales taxes, not leave that job to the buyer.

What if California had $1 billion sitting around, unused, that it could put to work closing its budget gap, keeping schools open and preserving human services?

It does."





"California crisis a threat to US economic recovery:Economists worry that the budget deficit could hurt the state just as it has begun showing signs of recovery" is a report by Michael B. Farrell at csmonitor.com.

"After lawmakers in Sacramento failed to meet a midnight deadline Tuesday to close the state's $24 billion budget gap, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state fiscal emergency Wednesday. He hoped to prod politicians into coming to an agreement over spending cuts and keep the state's financial crisis from deepening.

Politicians continued to wrangle over cuts Wednesday that would meet the approval of Governor Schwarzenegger, who has demanded a plan that balances the budget. Meanwhile, the state's controller prepared to issue IOUs to creditors if the state can't agree on a spending plan by Thursday.

California is not the only state struggling to pass a budget, but the depth of its crisis and the size of its economy raises the financial problem to a level of national concern.

'It's easy to make fun of all those greedy, flaky Californians, but the national economy can't recover with an anchor the size of California holding it back,"'says Dan Schnur, political scientist at the University of California in Berkeley and a former Republican strategist."












is Independence Day


our Claudia and Cameron write to our Plant about our Bowl

Claudia writes

So people . . . whose points of view often appear in this newspaper, have their facts wrong. It really does no good to review how incorrect, and wrong-headed their positions were, and how their opinions were smokescreens for trumped-up fears of development taking over West Berkeley, and even worse, using this Berkeley-based enterprise to create a wedge-issue among neighbors. Fears of increased traffic haven't materialized either. But what has increased is foot and bicycle traffic! Living around the corner from the Bowl, we actually get to witness the birth of a vibrant cityscape-similar to [those of the] Solano Avenue neighborhood-young families, seniors, workers from nearby businesses, neighbors all making their way to the market. This is a first for Potter Creek, . . . .

Cameron writes

I do not speak for all of my neighbors but all of those whom I have spoken to seem quite happy to have a world-class market and green grocer within walking distance. West Berkeley has long wished for a food market, and anybody who knows the area can lament the large stretch between West Oakland and El Cerrito that is devoid of quality and affordable food shopping options ... until now.

Both letters can be found in their entirety in our Planet here--scroll down the page.






There is a BIG Fourth Celebration at our Marina today with food, entertainment, and fireworks tonight.

Our Patti, Steve and Jackson went this afternoon--great fun.

KTVU-TV Channel 2 covered the event at their 6 O'clock news, ending with BPD Ofc Frankel inviting all, and reminding that we have a zero tolerence on drinking and fireworks.


Berkeley PD Officer, Andrew Frankel's

Harley Screamin' Eagle







"School Board Approves Sixth St. Property Sale, Berkeley High Late-Start Mondays" by Riya Bhattacharjee of our Planet.

"The Berkeley Board of Education approved the lease and sale of its Sixth Street property to the City of Berkeley at the June 24 School Board meeting in exchange for a two-year lease of Old City Hall. '



"Berkeley wrestles with downtown development" Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"Berkeley is poised to rewrite its zoning rules for its downtown, raising height limits throughout the area and creating nine towers, including three as high as 225 feet - at least 45 feet taller than anything else in the city."



Kubik emails

In addition to the basic unemployment rate, everyone points to worrying signs from the so-called underemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who can't find full-time work and those who have given up looking, that has increased to 16.5 percent. Until yesterday, there was much optimism that the economy was in recovery mode, but the new numbers put an end to all the happy talk. For the economy to expand in the second half of the year, as many had been predicting, there needs to be a boost in consumer spending, and that may be a pipe dream as employment worries are pushing people to save. The WP points out that the United States now has the same number of jobs as in 2000, 'meaning that nine years of employment gains have disappeared.' Inside, the WSJpoints to the fact that wages remained pretty much stagnant as another worrying sign. Average hourly earnings increased a mere three cents between April and June, "the smallest quarterly gain since at least 1964.


The Lehrer News estimated on Thursday that the total underemployment rate may be as high as 20% in "Many Left Uncounted in Nation's Official Jobless Rate. Paul Solman examines how the number of jobless people who fall outside of official unemployment counts offer a different picture of the nation's economic recovery."













"Enrolment Daze: a parent's dilemma" by Amanda Lohrey is a story in the Australian The Monthly.

"Perhaps the thing parents want most for their children is that they will develop into a much-improved version of the two flawed individuals who brought them into the world ­ a kind of better self ­ and in the pursuit of this ideal a superior education is deemed to be of the essence. I was reminded of this in August when an old friend from the US came to stay and we reminisced about our first meeting in Berkeley, California, in 1986. We were young mothers. I had arrived in Berkeley with my husband, who was there to do research, and my daughter, who was almost three. . . .

Those early days in Berkeley were testing. It was expensive, as university towns tend to be, and all we could afford was a small box-like house on the edge of an infamous black area of Oakland where there was a complex local economy of drug-dealing. A block of shabby apartments at the end of our street operated as a major centre. Then there was the culture of public begging; a walk to the dingy supermarket was an encounter with several beggars on the sidewalks, some black, some white. They ranged from the professionals who sat sullenly in their regular spot outside a shop, to the random panhandlers who were often in an agitated state with wild eyes, twitching bodies and trembling hands. As Governor of California, Ronald Reagan had closed several asylums for the mentally ill and released more than 40,000 patients onto the street, some of whom had shelters to go to but many of whom didn't. They were now homeless, roaming and ranting on the sidewalks of San Francisco and other cities of the Bay area.

One day I arrived at the supermarket just after a shooting and saw blood spattered across the glass doors. I assumed an attempted robbery but in fact someone had gone berserk. Not long after this a young woman attacked me outside a video store and swung a wild haymaker punch into my upper arm. She was clearly on something and the effect of the drug rendered her body flaccid and her punch without force. 'So you don't like Mama Cass, eh?' she screamed, and I could see that in her waking nightmare I was someone else."



post from the past

July 3, 2007

Dear Residents,

In the past several weeks, there have been several shootings and robberies that have a lot of people, justifiably, nervous. Our department, as well as the Mayor, the City Council and the City Manager have all received letters and calls of concern about the crime in South Berkeley. I want to take this opportunity to share some of the approaches the Berkeley Police Department is taking and what you can do to be a partner in the safety of your family and your community.

We take shootings in Berkeley very seriously, and any string like this causes us to evaluate our short and long-term response plans.

In the short run: We are working hard to investigate these crimes. Since shooting victims generally know their assailants, we make strong attempts to work closely with the victims to identify why they were shot. It is not unusual, however, that victims are uncooperative. If you may have been a witness to any of these or may have any information, please call our Homicide detail at 981-5741. Since so much urban violence is drug-related, our Special Enforcement Unit (SEU) detectives and the Drug Task Force (DTF) officers spend most of their time in South Berkeley. This helps us solve crimes and, by interrupting criminal business, prevent crime as well. Additionally, in response to these shootings and other incidents, BPD will be adding additional patrols the area.

In the long run, we are working to increase the number of officers on the streets, build on our Community Policing efforts which involves coordinated problem solving projects, increase the number of community members participating in Community Policing and involvement in Neighborhood Watch and Crime Council groups, and are committed to detailing officers on an overtime basis to focus on crime trends like these.

There's also a lot that community members can be doing to ensure the safety of their neighborhoods.

Individuals can: Call 911 if you see a crime in progress; Call 981-5900 or (510) THE-COPS (an anonymous tip line) to give other relevant information Join or create a Neighborhood Watch group and reach out to new neighbors.

We're going to continue to work with the community on these and other issues of public safety. Please visit our website for more information about being safe on the Fourth of July, to connect with other neighbors or neighborhoods, or other issues, and please feel free to call the Community Service Bureau at 981-5806/5808 with your concerns.

Douglas N. Hambleton
Chief of Police


Official response? Sounds like a drug war. Why is Berkeley PD not at full strength? RP




"Calif. regulators warn of pot's cancer capability" reports Marcus Wohlsen at google.com.

" It might take Californians a puff or two to get their heads around an apparent contradiction recently enshrined in state law. The same marijuana smoke that doctors can recommend to ease cancer patients' suffering must soon come with a warning saying it causes the disease.

State environmental regulators last month voted to place marijuana smoke on its list of hundreds of substances known to cause cancer. The decision could lead to warning signs in medical marijuana dispensaries and labels on packaged pot within a year."



"Megachurch pastor Rick Warren addresses US Muslims" is a story at thejakartapost.com.

"Defying some of his fellow conservative Christian critics, one of the most prominent religious leaders in the country told several thousand American Muslims on Saturday that "the two largest faiths on the planet" must work together to combat stereotypes and solve global problems. . . .

Many in the crowd were drawn to the session by prominent Muslim scholars such as Sheik Hamza Yusuf of the Zaytuna Institute in Berkeley, California."


"Limit agribusiness - for salmon's sake" opines Paul Johnson at sfgate.com. "Paul Johnson is president of Monterey Fish Market of San Francisco and Berkeley and the author of 'Fish Forever' (Wiley, 2007)."




Merryll getting Major Award in Albuquerque, a photo.

more, before and after, here.



Gene Agress was on Bay Area Living, Home Improvement Edition with Vivki Liviakis CHANNEL 4 today at 11:00 AM--talking about Berkeley Mills.

Also, Gene just bought a used Honda Insight hybrid--like new with 30,000 miles.












"3rd Amtrak train victim in East Bay" by Robert Selna, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"In the third East Bay rail-related death in just three days, a woman was hit by an Amtrak train this morning just south of Oakland's Jack London Square.

Lorena Contreras, 35, of San Rafael, was struck by a passenger train traveling 60 miles an hour at about 9:30 a.m., according to Alameda County Deputy Sheriff Derek Sanchez.

The collision followed similar incidents in Berkeley and Oakland on Friday in which two people also were hit by another Amtrak train.

Contreras' death appeared to be a suicide, based on statements of two friends she was staying with in Oakland, Sanchez said."



Kubik emails "S.F. homicides fall as police flood tough areas" Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"San Francisco's homicide total for the first half of 2009 hit a nine-year low - falling more than 50 percent from last year - a drop that police officials attribute to flooding high-crime areas with officers and focusing on the handful of people who commit most of the crimes."


Charlie Rose interviews Pete G Peterson about our economic future, our debt, health care and more. Check it out.



from my log

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.

7/3/09--5:15 PM--irritant IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse.

7/6/09--6:54 AM--SERIOUS irritant in IMMEDIATELY front of warehouse, cough, light head.



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.