and Catalan ham at Cal Pep in Barcelona

a Bob Kubik photo




"Potential environmental risks aren't part of chemical engineers' training" reports Marla Cone, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer.

"No university in the United States teaches basic toxicology or other environmental sciences to students studying for a traditional chemistry degree, even a doctorate.

Marty Mulvihill was working in a laboratory with carbon tetrachloride. The lab's supply of the solvent was diminishing, and Mulvihill learned it was being phased out for environmental reasons. Curious, he asked his advisor whether carbon tetrachloride was as bad as he had heard.

'He asked me if I change the oil in my car, and I said yes. So he said, "Well, it's not any more dangerous than those chemicals," 'said Mulvihill, who at the time was earning an undergraduate degree in chemistry at Reed University in Portland.

'I didn't think to dig deeper,' he said. 'I figured I took many more precautions in lab than I did in my garage.'

Carbon tetrachloride is among the most highly toxic solvents. Breathing it can damage the liver, and it is believed to be a human carcinogen. It also eats away at the Earth's protective ozone layer. But relying on a chemistry professor to explain the environmental risks of a substance is like asking an orthopedic surgeon whether you have asthma: It's not his area of expertise. Chemists and chemical engineers have been taught everything they need to know about how to synthesize a substance or trigger a reaction. Then they go out in the world and use an old chemical or invent a new one. Yet most don't know the effects on people or the environment -- whether a chemical can collect in mothers' breast milk, damage a baby's brain, kill off immune cells, reprogram genes or cause male frogs to grow female organs."




 "Civil Rights, Liberties Challenged by Long Haul Raid, Say Lawyers" writes Richard Brenneman of our Planet.

"Lawyers representing two civil liberties groups are preparing to wage a legal battle over the Long Haul raid, and other constitutional rights groups are paying close attention.

Campus police, the FBI and the Alameda County Sheriff's Department raided the anarchist collective Aug. 27 and seized every computer in the building in search of the sender or senders of threatening e-mails to UC Berkeley scientists who experiment on animals.

'Attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild are working on a legal response with non-guild attorneys to respond legally,' said Carlos Villarreal, executive director of the guild's Bay Area chapter. Joining with the guild are attorneys for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which specializes in civil liberties issues arising from the cyber world."


"2 shot to death in south Berkeley" is a report by Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"Two men were shot and killed early today [9/18/] after they pulled up in front of a house in south Berkeley, authorities said.

The shootings happened shortly after midnight on the 1400 block of Derby Street near Sacramento Street, said Officer Andrew Frankel, a Berkeley police spokesman.

One victim, a 45-year-old Oakland man, was found lying against the curb and was pronounced dead at the scene, Frankel said. His name was not immediately released.

The second victim, identified by relatives as Kelvin Davis, 26, of Berkeley, was found behind the wheel of a car that crashed a block away on the 1500 block of Derby near Longfellow Middle School, police said."


"More trouble in south Berkeley neighborhood where two were slain" reports Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"A woman was hit by a stray bullet Thursday night while taking out the trash on a block in south Berkeley where two men were shot and killed hours earlier, police said today [9/19/08.]

Investigators said they did not know whether the incident on the 1400 block of Derby Street was related to the killings early Thursday of Kelvin Earl Davis, 26, of Berkeley and Kevin Antoine Parker, 42, Oakland.

The two were shot by two men in an apparent ambush when they pulled up to a home on Derby just after midnight.
The woman, whose name was not released, was hit by a bullet about 10:15 p.m. outside her home just west of Sacramento Street. Further information on her injuries and condition was not immediately available today.

There was more trouble in the same south Berkeley neighborhood this morning."



our Councilman Darryl Moore emails



"Beloved Cal Band director emeritus Robert Briggs dies at 81" by Yasmin Anwar, Media Relations.

"Robert Orlando Briggs, director emeritus of the University of California, Berkeley's storied Cal Band and soft-spoken mentor to generations of UC Berkeley marching band members, died at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center on Wednesday (Sept. 17) of complications from gall bladder surgery. He was 81."



"CouryGraph Productions Reels in 2 Grand Festival Awards at the 2008 Berkeley Video & Film Festival" reports

"The East Bay Media Center proudly presents the 17th Edition of the Berkeley Video & Film Festival, screening in Downtown Berkeley at Landmark's Shattuck Cinemas.'

"Berkeley moves ahead with solar-financing program" is an AP release.

"The city of Berkeley has made a big step toward starting a pioneering program to provide city-backed loans to homeowners who install rooftop solar-electric systems."


our Councilman, Darryl Moore, emails

Ready to Learn Fun Fair

A . . . great Back-to-School resource event is the Ready to Learn Fun Fair, which is organized by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson. 
Bring your children to meet Clifford 'The Big Red Dog,' receive free books, get their faces painted, and play outdoor games at the third annual Ready to Learn Fun Fair. The fair will be held at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Berkeley on Saturday, October 4, 2008 from 10:00am-1:00pm. The event is free for families and children of all ages. The Ready to Learn Fun Fair promotes education at an early age and encourages healthy lifestyles. Positive early education experiences before entering Kindergarten will support your child"s mental growth; it will have a significant impact during their years in school and facilitate their success as an adult. Parents will have the opportunity to learn about educational programs, support services, child care, nutrition, sports activities, and much more. Children will get to read, color, play outside, and experience learning in a fund environment. Everyone attending will be entered into a raffle with a chance to win free family passes to the Oakland Zoo, Habitot Children"s Museum, the Lawrence Hall of Science, and many other fun activities. The event is brought to you by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, First 5 Every Child Counts, and KQED. Join us in Berkeley for the Ready to Learn Fun Fair on Saturday October 4th at Rosa Parks Elementary School, 920 Allston Way. For more information contact Mateo Reyes at (510) 268-5376 or visit
Darryl Moore, Councilmember 


Paul Schneider emails

I found these wines at Lucky/Albertsons to be good to very good. They are all $1.99, brought out to compete with Trader Joe's "two-buck Chuck."
Foxbrook Cabernet Sauvignon
Foxbrook Shiraz
Foxbrook Merlot
Foxbrook Sauvingnon Blanc
Foxbrook White Zinfandel


about the new city pound, an email from Ryan Lau

1 Bolivar is approx 18-19 thousand sq ft, and 26,000 with the parking lot. They have hired an architect and are in the process of closing escrow. 

thanks, Ryan Lau



"U.C. Berkeley centralizes student job and grad school search service" reports San Francisco Business Times.

"The days are long gone when Cal students looking for work would traipse down to the corner of Bancroft and Fulton to pore over paper cards with job postings on them.

Now, in a further upgrade, the school's CalJobs service has been folded into a new service named Callisto, where students from freshman through Ph.D. level can seek full or part-time work.

Services merged under the University of California, Berkeley's new site include job and candidate postings, information about on-campus recruiting, career fairs, advice on résumé writing and interviewing, and recommendation letter services. Graduate school preparation and help are also included."


"Cal spends bye week taking stock after loss" reports Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"In college football, more than any other revenue sport, a loss often calls for alarm and major renovation - because every game really does count for so much.

Amid a bye week and still somewhat stewing over Saturday's 35-27 loss to Maryland, Cal's hierarchy eschewed the idea of a negative postmortem. Without drawing on many of the normal coaching cliches and refusing to point fingers, the Bears believe the loss is just that: one nonconference loss.

Here's the state of the units."



"California's budget: Groups, lawmakers push cures for Capitol gridlock" reports Mike Zapler, Mercury News Sacramento Bureau.

"This summer's 80-day exhibit of state government gridlock has made California a national example of poor governance. Now an influential band of reformers is seizing the opportunity to push forward with the most sweeping budget reforms in decades.

The reformers includes a good-government group backed by some of the state's largest philanthropic foundations, a Bay Area business umbrella organization, and lawmakers who say they're tired of spending so much time battling over the budget. Their ideas range from adopting a system to scrutinize the effectiveness of government programs, rather than providing annual funding boosts with no questions asked, to scrapping California's requirement for passing the budget by a two-thirds vote, which gives minority Republicans tremendous leverage over negotiations."




a bola en la calle

Javier, a worker at the French School, now motorcycles to work on his 250cc Honda, at a saving of 2/3 over the cost of driving his car.


900 closed at 1:00 on Saturday because the place was begining to fill with smoke.

After an electrician's apparent mis-diagnose of the failure of the kitchen-exhaust-fan, our Rick--a former electrician and 900 regular-and Tony-a general contractor and 900 regular-- figured out it was the exhaust-motor.



A jogger running past the warehouse yelled of Roy Orbisons' "Sweet Dreams Baby" coming from the building, "It's classic, it's classic. I love it!"


A Potter Creek Elder commented on this week's "Potter Creek Neighborhood Association" meeting, "They're polarizing us again."

I did not attend.

An attendee replied when asked in my interview what was the best and worst thing about the meeting "Best--the free toothpaste and worst--all the talk."


Ms.Kruse, Dave's wife found out about their break in by reading Scrambled Eggs. Oops.





Doug Herst's proposed development, south of University on 3rd, 4th, 5th







Yesterday morning on ABC's This Week, George Stephanopoulos asked Treasury Sec'y Paulson if the recent and proposed government actions in relation to our financial markets weren't Socialism. (Paulson finessed with "They're necessary.")

Assuming that Socialism is, most importantly, government control of the economy, the spending of up to 1 trillion government dollars on our financial sector, now the controlling sector of the economy, is simply and effectively, . . . socializiation. (In Marx's day the controlling sector would have been manufacturing--coal, steel, factories.)

That the socialization of our economy is being done by a conservative Republican administration is a testament to the awesome power of economic force and to irony.

As an economic-determinist it seemed clear to me before the last Presidential election that a vote for
Bush, because of his supreme arrogance, would accent the contradictions of Capitalism. It has.

Well, Ok then.




"Berkeley mayor's race is a rematch of 2002" reports Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"It's Groundhog Day in Berkeley: Tom Bates and Shirley Dean, battle-scarred veterans of East Bay politics, are in another slugfest for mayor.

The longtime rivals - both now in their 70s - are squaring off for the second time to lead the Bay Area's most progressive, eccentric city. It's Dean's fifth run for mayor and Bates' third, and their second race against each other.

'If there's any place that's inbred, it's Berkeley,' said City Councilwoman Betty Olds, who's preparing to leave office in November. 'But I'm endorsing them both because I think they've both been fine mayors.'

Kriss Worthington, who's served on the City Council fo' six years under both candidates, is endorsing neither.

'We're trapped in a time warp," he said. 'I'm happy to support candidates who push for progressive causes, but sadly, neither of these two do.'

Dean's and Bates' rivalry and entrenchment in local politics spans nearly four decades. Bates' first major elected office was to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 1972, while Dean spent four years on the Berkeley planning and zoning boards before winning her first term on the city council in 1975.

Dean served 23 years on the City Council, including eight as mayor. She lost her bid for a third mayoral term to Bates in 2002, six years after he was termed out of the state Assembly. Bates' first term lasted four years, but his second term has been only two years because the city changed its election schedule to coincide with the presidential election.

Different perspectives

They've spent much of their careers on opposing sides of the battle lines. Dean, who's more moderate, has traditionally drawn her support from homeowners concerned with quality-of-life issues, like potholes,
taxes and City Hall services. Bates' career, in Berkeley and in the Legislature, has centered on the environment, youth and regional planning."

How 'bout a thirty-something female Latino, ex-military, single-mom, new home-owner, community college-grad candidate?











Ace reporter, Judith Scherr has resigned from the Planet over disagreements with editor, Becky O'Malley over their "slanted news coverage."


our Tak Nagamoto emails

There's been a few allusions made both in the press and by some
neighbors about how Berkeley is trapped in a time warp. Bates vs.
Dean; anti-war protests; anti-UC sit-ins; etc., etc.
I gently disagree that we're in a time warp. I think we're trapped in
a very bad movie sequel. You know, the movie where some of the actors
reprise their roles. Only the actors are much older, less interesting,
less complex and less committed. Where formulaic scenes are repeated
only to end in predictable conclusions. Where some of the essential
plot has been excised. These are the bad movies where form rules over
substance or heart.
I can understand how some newcomers to Berkeley might feel that we're
in a warp. I moved to Berkeley in the mid-1970's and have mostly lived
and worked in and around here ever since. I, like many people here,
have a love hate relationship with this city. But  having experienced
the 70's here, I know that the we're in a very different time. Some of
the essential content and spirit of the 1970's is no longer here, even
as we can still  find people wearing tie-dyed T-shirts.
A part of what's missing on the public stage here now are the complex
issues of civil rights, racial identities, economic class, poverty and
crime. Its as if over the decades of talk, excessive rancor, only half
effective initiatives and the conservative onslaught of the 1980's, we
in Berkeley just exhausted ourselves. Our local polity no longer
openly debates these issues. Instead, we debate allocations of city
funds to programs without debating whether these do what we need them
to do. And racial resentments lurk only slightly below the surface.
As we once again deal with escalating crime and violence in South and
West Berkeley, we need to again explore these issues. I hope that we
can avoid unproductive zero-sum, either-or debates like those pitting
policing against social programs. I've already seen that movie and it
was boring. But the recent murders and shootings are all too real and
too close by to write off as merely a bad show. I don't think our
neighborhoods in West Berkeley can afford to indulge our cynicism now.
I don't know what can work. And I don't know what's currently
possible. But I do know that we ultimately can't avoid having to talk
about it politically.
Tak Nakamoto



"The grocery shopping is madcap at the Berkeley Bowl, renowned for fine produce and quick fists. Sampling without buying? You're banned!" is a story by John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer.

"As most veteran customers know, it takes a pretty thick skin to successfully navigate the Berkeley Bowl, this strident city's most popular grocery store.

Outside, petitioners seeking signatures for ballot measures have come to blows with opinionated residents. In the tiny parking lot, nicknamed the Berkeley Brawl, frustrated motorists have been known to ram one another's cars. At the checkout, people have thrown punches and unripened avocados at suspected line-cutters.
When one shopper was told she couldn't return a bag of granola, she showily dumped its contents on the floor. Culyon Garrison, who works at the customer-service desk, recently had a loaf of bread thrown at him.

The produce emporium -- one of the nation's most renowned retailers of exotic fruits and vegetables -- creates its own bad behavior. Kamikaze shoppers crash down crowded aisles without eye contact or apology for fender-benders. So many customers weren't waiting to pay before digging in that management imposed the ultimate deterrent: Those caught sampling without buying will be banned for life -- no reprieves, no excuses. (Not even "I forgot to take my medication.")

Raphael Breines, who was ejected last year for eating on the premises, said he couldn't decide between two types of apricots, so he sampled both. Security stopped him in the parking lot.
'They treated me like a thief,' said the 37-year-old park planner, who was photographed and required to sign a no-trespass agreement. 'Technically I was stealing, but I wasn't trying to hide anything. I was just deciding which type of apricot to buy.'

Breines, a longtime customer, sent an apology letter, asking to be reinstated. His request was denied."



"Pine Bark Extract A Potent Antioxidant" is a report by

"Pine bark extract is a potent antioxidant, and may help boost the effects of vitamin C and other antioxidants, UC Berkeley scientists report. This story on an extract of pine bark is written by Robert Sanders in 02.05.98, but since the topic is very actual today, we decided to publish the work today.

An extract of pine bark has proven to be one of the most potent antioxidants, a property that may explain why pine bark has been used in folk medicine around the world, according to a new report by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley."



"Shielding children from HIV" is a report at

"A novel method for preventing HIV transmission from mother to child has been devised with the help of a Cambridge University engineer.

Stephen Gerrard, who recently graduated from Cambridge in chemical engineering and is an Engineers Without Borders UK volunteer, has contributed to the development of a modified nipple shield capable of disinfecting breast milk as it passes through. He now plans to continue work on the design as he takes up an MPhil at the University this year.

The device is the result of work at the International Design Development Summit (IDDS), a unique conference held at MIT last August. The Summit brings together engineers and field workers, both amateur and professional, to work on research projects aimed at developing prototype designs.

Gerrard, together with a team of five others, was assigned the task of creating a practical design for heating milk to deactivate the virus, following on from work being carried out by a research group at Berkeley, California."



"All about UC" appears at

"How long does it take for a UC Berkeley or UC Riverside student to earn a bachelor's degree?  How do the costs of attending the University of California stack up against other public institutions across the country? How much debt do UC students take on? How much do the UC campuses spend on research?

The answers to questions like these and many more in the areas of admission, finance and diversity are contained in a new draft report being released by the ten-campus UC system. While much of the information previously was available in scattered studies, the new document pulls together important measures of UC education for the first time in one easy-to-browse form." 


"Cal offers class to help war vets feel at home" reports Patricia Yollin, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"UC Berkeley is 7,450 miles from Baghdad - a long way by any measure.
For veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that distance pales compared with the chasm between military and student life. A new class at Cal is trying to help bridge that gap.

'It's a lot different here,' said former Marine Mike Ergo, 27, on a recent Friday morning."



"Budget Deadlock Still A Likely Scenario In California In 2009" reports all ahead

"Even if California's budget impasse problem has been solved with legislators giving in to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's three conditions, state officials warn the ugly battle between the legislative and executive departments may be repeated next year.

They pointed to the economic slowdown, uncertainties about future lottery income and political deadlock among California legislators as likely reasons behind the grim outlook."


"US banks make shock status switch" reports BBC NEWS.

"The last two major investment banks in the US have changed their status to become bank holding companies, allowing them to take deposits from investors."













Time to hear from our socialist US Senator?

Well here's "Rescue Wall Street--and the Rest of Us" in The Nation by Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

"For years, as a member of the House Banking Committee and now as a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I have heard the Bush administration tell us how 'robust' our economy was and how strong the 'fundamentals' were. That was until a few days ago. Now, we are being told that if Congress does not act immediately and approve the $700 billion Wall Street bailout proposal these 'free marketers' have just written up, there will be an unprecedented economic meltdown in the United States and an unraveling of the global economy." 


"Goldman Sachs Socialism" writes William Greider in The Nation.

Wall Street put a gun to the head of the politicians and said, Give us the money--right now--or take the blame for whatever follows. The audacity of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's bailout proposal is reflected in what it refuses to say: no explanations of how the bailout will work, no demands on the bankers in exchange for the public's money. The Treasury's opaque, three-page summary of plan includes this chilling statement:
 "Section 8. Review. Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency." In other words, no lawsuits allowed by aggrieved investors or American taxpayers. No complaints later from ignorant pols who didn't know what they voted for. Take it or leave it, suckers.

Both political parties may submit to this extortion because they don't have a clue what else to do and bending over for Wall Street instruction, their usual posture, seems less risky than taking responsibility. Paulson and Bernanke evoked intimidating pressure for two reasons. The previous efforts to restore investor confidence had all failed as their slapdash interventions worsened the global panic. Besides, the Federal Reserve was running out of money. Nearly three-fifths of the Fed's $800 billion portfolio is now loaded down with junk--the mortgage securities and other rotten assets it took off Wall Street balance sheets. The imperious central bank is fast approaching its own historic disgrace--potentially as discredited as it was after the 1929 crash." 


"Buffett's Berkshire invests $5B in Goldman" reports CNN.

"In addition to the Oracle of Omaha's Berkshire's stake, Goldman said it is raising $2.5 billion through a sale of common 

In its first big move to raise capital, Goldman Sachs Group announced Tuesday that it will receive a $5 billion infusion from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, an investment that could also raise confidence in the venerable Wall Street firm."




"Berkeley officials to hold public meeting, address crime spike" reports Sean Maher of the Oakland Tribune.

"In the wake of several shootings and a double homicide last week, Mayor Tom Bates and top city officials are holding a public meeting Monday to explain how they're handling violence and take questions from the community.
'Berkeley Police have increased patrols and they're working around the clock,' Bates said. 'On Monday evening we will inform the community and seek ways to work together to keep our streets safe.'

Some residents say they're angry about how the city has handled crime and plan to demand answers and accountability from their paid officials.

'They don't have their eye on the ball. They have their eye on making national headlines and continuing to portray the city as Berzerkeley,' said West Berkeley homeowner Jarad Carleton, 39. He said organized drug gangs terrorize his neighborhood and he feels the city neglects the problem, instead spending his tax dollars to sue UC Berkeley over the recent tree-sit standoff.

Carleton credited the Berkeley Police Department as 'doing its best,' but said crucial support from the city attorney, the city manager's office, the city counsel and the mayor just hasn't been there.

'They're too busy cowtowing to radical left wing minority activists to listen to the rest of the community,' Carleton said. 'Meanwhile gang members are on my street selling crack cocaine and shooting weapons, telling neighbors to turn around and find other ways to get home.'

Carleton works with a neighborhood watch program and said he's asked the city to form a gang task force, and was told it wasn't a priority. He said he plans to demand answers if given an open microphone at the gathering.
The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Francis Albrier Community Center at 2800 Park St. Bates, councilmembers Darryl Moore and Max Anderson and Police Chief Doug Hambleton are expected to attend, along with post-traumatic stress specialists from the Department of Mental Health and other city officials.
For more information call the mayor's office at 510-981-7100."



"West Berkeley slayings get police, residents talking" reports Doug Oakley, Times Staff Writer.

"Police want more help from residents in identifying culprits in recent slayings and a shooting, and in return residents want more police out of their cars and on the streets to build trust with the community.
That was the upshot of a tense community meeting Monday night in a recreation room at San Pablo Park that drew an overflow crowd of about 300.

Before the meeting, police Chief Douglas Hambleton joined about 100 residents in a candlelight vigil and march around the West Berkeley neighborhood, where two slayings occurred Sept. 18.

The march started from the block of Derby Street, near Sacramento Street, where Kevin Parker, 42, of West Oakland and Kelvin Davis, 23, of Berkeley were killed just past midnight. The following evening, a woman taking her trash out was shot and critically injured in the same block.

The slayings were the eighth and ninth in the city this year - compared with just five for all of last year.
'For us, the thing that was concerning was that the shootings were closer than anything I have seen,' said Tamsen Fynn who moved to the neighborhood three months ago from Mill Valley and who organized the candlelight vigil.
Finn said she has a daughter attending a day care in the same block as the slayings, but has no plans to remove her.

'We really need to get the police to think about different ways to make this a safer place,' Finn said."


Of the crime meeting at the Francis Albrier Community Center

Well over a year and a half ago, Kubik and I held a crime meeting at 900 Grayson. About twenty people attended, including Angela and Ryan Lau from the city, and we talked mostly about property crime and some muggings. 
Since then, I've attended two or three more meetings, each time attended by more citizens who talked about more serious crime. Tonight, I attended a meeting of well over two hundred people including the Mayor-- a meeting held after two homicides and two shootings. 

Am I missing something here? 



Jarad emails

I had higher hopes for the gathering than what actually happened and was sorely disappointed that there wasn't a random lottery number system put in place for speakers so as to get a REAL cross section of Berkeley residents contributing to the discussion.
I was horribly disappointed that the Mayor showed an utter lack of leadership and failed to stick to what he originally asked for during the open microphone period. What he asked for were suggestions on how the city could respond to the current crime / violence problem. What he permitted was philosophical discussions and arguing about why we are in this situation. It was the responsibility of the Mayor to refocus the meeting, but he didn't & that resulted in an obvious exodus of the middle of the road folks interested in real problem solving after a 2 hour period of spinning our wheels without leadership and focus from the city officials. It is depressing to come to the realization that government in this city is broken beyond repair and this election doesn't hold promise of any real change, but we should try to figure out a way to move forward on our goals for the 4 block area we call home.
After 1 city council meeting over the summer & this meeting last night it's clear that there isn't any the point in asking neighbors to attend a gathering other than for our own neighborhood, because it's clear that the city isn't interested in finding solutions, though they are clearly interested in the circus sideshow (which if you noticed had the Chief of BPD laughing so hard at one point that he was bright red).
Personally I can't blame the Chief for cracking up at the absurdity of the meeting last night. What else can he do when the leaders of this city don't lead and refuse to refocus the meeting on the goals that were set out by the city at the beginning of the meeting? The tree sitters are gone, but the press got a completely new chapter in the tale of nutjobs in Berkeley being permitted by our elected officials to run the asylum. And now we are left once again wondering how to create maximum impact at fighting the organized crime / gang problem in our area and doing it while our elected leaders refuse to lead!
If anyone has ideas on how we can affect change to benefit all of us in this really GREAT neighborhood without wasting our time like we did last night, it would be great to hear them because after talking with Ryan Lau last night and having every single suggestion offered up immediately shot down during the talk in the hallway with me, Paul, Mark, & David, I don't know what options remain open to us other than the same old routine of having the BPD temporarily suppress the problem and push it in front of someone elses house.
Thanks for showing up last night despite the miserable outcome.
Kindest regards to all & as always, thanks to BPD for doing what you can with a dysfunctional and broken down city government.


our Tak Nagamoto emails--a repost

There's been a few allusions made both in the press and by some
neighbors about how Berkeley is trapped in a time warp. Bates vs.
Dean; anti-war protests; anti-UC sit-ins; etc., etc.
I gently disagree that we're in a time warp. I think we're trapped in
a very bad movie sequel. You know, the movie where some of the actors
reprise their roles. Only the actors are much older, less interesting,
less complex and less committed. Where formulaic scenes are repeated
only to end in predictable conclusions. Where some of the essential
plot has been excised. These are the bad movies where form rules over
substance or heart.
I can understand how some newcomers to Berkeley might feel that we're
in a warp. I moved to Berkeley in the mid-1970's and have mostly lived
and worked in and around here ever since. I, like many people here,
have a love hate relationship with this city. But  having experienced
the 70's here, I know that the we're in a very different time. Some of
the essential content and spirit of the 1970's is no longer here, even
as we can still  find people wearing tie-dyed T-shirts.
A part of what's missing on the public stage here now are the complex
issues of civil rights, racial identities, economic class, poverty and
crime. Its as if over the decades of talk, excessive rancor, only half
effective initiatives and the conservative onslaught of the 1980's, we
in Berkeley just exhausted ourselves. Our local polity no longer
openly debates these issues. Instead, we debate allocations of city
funds to programs without debating whether these do what we need them
to do. And racial resentments lurk only slightly below the surface.
As we once again deal with escalating crime and violence in South and
West Berkeley, we need to again explore these issues. I hope that we
can avoid unproductive zero-sum, either-or debates like those pitting
policing against social programs. I've already seen that movie and it
was boring. But the recent murders and shootings are all too real and
too close by to write off as merely a bad show. I don't think our
neighborhoods in West Berkeley can afford to indulge our cynicism now.
I don't know what can work. And I don't know what's currently
possible. But I do know that we ultimately can't avoid having to talk
about it politically.
Tak Nakamoto


Eva Brook emails

I don't think this is an issue of newcomers versus people have lived in Berkeley for 20 years - it is that the people running this place and the people that elect them have lost sight of what it means to govern a city.
Having lived in various place in Europe (including a social democracy) and in the United States, and having traveled all over the world from Latin America to Asia to Africa, I am going to make the bold statement  that anyone who thinks Berkeley is currently progressive, has a very odd view of progressive. Berkeley and the people that rule it are off on some side path that leads backward instead of forward. What do I think progressive means? It means a city that creates quality of life for its inhabitants and thinks about the quality of life in the future. It means fostering access and integration - so making Berkeley accessible for people with a disability - that is progressive. Creating bike-paths so that we need to drive less often, yes that is progressive. Was I shocked to find out that the Berkeley has bad public schools - I could not understand it - how is that possible - and how is it? I enjoyed Itamar Moses' play "Yellowjackets" - luckily I did not have to attend Berkeley High but it does all replay in West Berkeley anyways where I live. I consider a city to be progressive if it creates safety for its people so that I can actually walk around during the day and at night and don't fear being robbed at any hour - thanks for the lovely bike-paths you created but if I have to be afraid to bike around it really does not serve. Thanks for all the access but if I have to afraid to be robbed and threatened with a deadly weapon, you are really creating NON-ACCESS. Anyone who has ever thought about development whether it be local, national or international understand that making people safe and secure is the first step toward development. So, whatever development you are thinking of in social terms, if people cannot be safe and secure, you are failing. So, as a city, that is part of your job. I don't care how much weed someone smokes in their house as long as they don't come outside and drive their vehicles, and start selling it on my street, blocking the street, trashing it, being intimidating and shooting guns - no that is not okay. Sometimes I have joked and said that the City must have some accord with the gangs and drug dealers - "okay, as long as you stay around and below Sacramento, we will pretend we have no gangs and we have no major drug problem. Just don't come into Elmwood, the hills and North Berkeley." 
I am incredibly bored by the argument that someone who stands up and say that the city is not taking care of the issue that it faces in terms of crime, gangs and drugs is someone who is not socially minded. I would know more what it means to be socially minded than many others who have not had the chance to live in a different country and see how things can be. In countries where quality of life is considered to be high,  it means it has social net, people are more equal, nobody is super poor, schools are good - guess what, they also have law and order. They are progressive, they are socially minded AND they do not tolerate this nonsense because they know you cannot grow this way. Businesses are valued and people are valued - they make up the same coin and one cannot exist w/o the other.
Every city and country has limited resources - it is a simple reality that most understand. How you manage those recources to create quality of life is the key - and Berkeley has been off the path for at least the last 20 years it seems. The problems in South and West Berkeley have existed for that long and longer, and not much has been done to deal with gangs, drugs and crime as even the Alameda Grand Jury pointed out. Oh, another few people died in the same neighborhood and one was injured by a stray bullet - it does not have to be that way if the eye was on the ball and not in Burma. If you want to discuss Burma, get elected to Congress or work for a non-profit that can influence law-makers. While in  Berkeley,  look at the issue that the city faces - when those are resolved, let's talk about international issues. It's all about local stuff - think food.
And for anyone interested, we are voting for Obama.  We are open-minded people who care about others, the environment, and the rights of others, oh and yes, we would like to be able to not be afraid to be hit to stray bullets, told by gangs that we should take a different road home because they are blocking the street - but that may be simply to much to ask in Berkeley.



Ryan Lau emails

Hi Jarad,
I understand that there is some disappointment that yesterday's meeting was not more focused on finding solutions, but a large part of the intent for yesterday's meeting was centered around information sharing between the Police Department and the community and alleviating the anxiety among the community, there is a great deal of fear, anger and frustration surrounding these recent incidents that needed to be aired before having any sort of problem solving discussion.
Also, your email makes it sound that the Councilmember or I were unwilling to consider your suggestions.  While I agree that your suggestions may have been "shot down," they were not shot down by either of us.  We have had discussions with the City Attorney's office and the Police Chief about what we might be able to provide in terms of policy tools.  We have explored loitering with intent ordinances, liquor store loitering, gang curfews, but have been told that these are not viable options because either they have been attempted and were ineffective, are unconstitutional or they cannot be applied in Berkeley's case.  We are doing our best to try and find solutions, but as of yet we have not had much success in finding policy solutions to affect long-term sustainable change.  There are policy tools that are in place that the police are using to the extent possible, but there are still constraints.  I will follow your suggestion regarding exploring the remote cameras that Milpitas is using and see whether it is effective in their experience.  But as I mentioned to you at the meeting, we have also explored this as well and the Police Department does not seem to be convinced that cameras are a good use of resources.
I am interested in talking with the group about the activity along Bancroft to find out what approaches are possible.  It might be worthwhile to do a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design survey with the police and maybe have some Cal students from the Berkeley Project day implement some of the suggestions.
Ryan Lau, aide to Darryl Moore, councilman 


Jarad emails

Thank you for responding Ryan.
To begin with, the time of excuses is over with. The status quo is no longer acceptable. As I told you directly last night, it is absurd to say that statutes on the books at the state level cannot be applied in the case of Berkeley. If other communities across this great state are using the street terrorism, nuisance & abatement statutes to effectively fight organized crime / gangs, it is ludacrous to say that those same laws cannot be applied in Berkeley. State law supercedes local law, but you don't have to believe me, call up Jerry Brown's office in Sacramento.
Also, I understand that people are upset. I'm upset about all of this, but the simple fact remains, the mayor asked for constructive feedback and then he let the meeting fall apart without making any attempt in 2 hours to bring the focus back on the standard that HE set out himself at the beginning of the meeting, which was to get constructive feedback on what the city can do!
I'll be direct and let you know that when I brought up the issue of remote cameras when Andrew Frankel was our area coordinator, he was in favor of the idea, so having the idea shot down without even having an open interchange of information from local law enforcement agencies about the efficacy or failure of these systems and having Berkeley see how they work shows a lack of leadership and an unwillingness of the city to think out of the box and try something new. There is significant money wasted in this city on superfluous "services" that contribute nothing to the most serious problem we have in this city, which is out of control crime. That means shootings, rapes, muggings at knife and gun point, beatings, car theft, armed robbery, etc.
Now is the time for leadership and thinking out of the box. The same old dog and pony show of calling a meeting to for a multihour hand wringing exercise that does nothing to make real progress on a situation that is rotting the very core of society in this city isn't good enough. Leadership is about making hard decisions, finding a direction, and committing to that direction for the benefit of the majority of the community, even if the minority that may have connections to criminal elements aren't happy with those decisions.
I'm a Principal Consultant in a global market research consultancy. I'm paid to show thought leadership for my clients around the world by thinking out of the box and helping them with strategic planning. I can tell you directly that what is happening in Berkeley City Government is not leadership, it is passing the buck, it is finger pointing, and it is cowardice of sitting down, rolling up the sleeves of city government workers, and getting dirty while dealing with the hard, difficult, and sometimes filthy underbelly of governing a city.
I've shown that I'm motivated and that I want something better for what should arguably be the best place to live in the entire nation, unfortunately I don't see that level of motivation from the people that are supposed to be leading. Everybody is so fixated on what they feel they can't do that they are afraid of making any move whatsoever if it could be perceived as controversial. Well, the time has come to start upholding your end of the social contract. We pay our taxes, we form the neighborhood watch groups that you want us to, we feed you guys information on the streets, we give you suggestions on how to improve things. Now it's your turn to uphold your end of the social contract. Thus far there have been small temporary measures, but what I expect is bold, forward thinking, committed to the cause, leadership. That is what will get you respect from the community and get us to whole heartedly support you. What we have now doesn't even come close to that.
The status quo doesn't cut it any longer.




"Berkeley, California" is a "story about us" by Evan Twohy at

"The benefits of growing up in a metropolis as diverse as the Bay Area are many: Nepalese cuisine, art house cinema, and a group of friends that looks like the cast of an after-school special. Indeed, my hometown friends run the gamut from a blazer-sporting conservative to a vegetarian feminist, and we all get along fantastically.

Of course, the disadvantage of having a vegetarian in your group of friends is that birthdays aren't celebrated at that cozy Nepalese restaurant down the street, but at places like Berkeley's Café Gratitude, an establishment that serves up suspicious doses of raw vegan food and New Age philosophy. It wasn't my idea of a good birthday restaurant, or food, but I figured I'd be a bad Berkeleyite if I didn't have wheatgrass once in a while."



"Berkeley eyes carbon tax, higher rates" writes Carolyn Jones of the Chronicle.

"Berkeley is considering a carbon tax and parking rate increases to pay for its ambitious plan to reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions.

The revenue proposals, as well as dozens of energy-saving goals for residents and businesses, are part of the Climate Action Plan the City Council considered at a special meeting Tuesday night.

The plan is not scheduled for final approval until January. A carbon tax would have to be approved by the voters before implementation.

The 183-page plan is meant to help Berkeley meet its Measure G goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

'It's probably one of the most aggressive and detailed climate plans in the country,' said Martin Bourque, executive director of the Ecology Center in Berkeley. 'It's very specific and in-depth and has had a long process of public input.' "


"California Parents Demand for Mandarin Speaking Education Spurs New Immersion School" reports

"Shu Ren International School in Berkeley California welcomed its first class of immersion students, becoming the first school in the San Francisco Bay Area to offer an immersion program in Mandarin and English within the framework of the world-class International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) programs.

The Shu Ren International School opened its doors today. Shu Ren International School aims to become one of the nation's first Mandarin-English immersion schools offering IBO's Primary Years Program (PYP) to Pre-K through 5th grade students, and Middle Years Program (MYP) to 6-8th grade students. The school opened with students from Pre-Kindergarten - First Grade, and will add one grade each year." 






"Taster's Choice: Acme baguette earns an A+" is a review by Amanda Gold, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"For two brands, Acme and Semifreddi's, we picked up loaves from both the actual bakeries and from a grocery store, to see if there were any differences. However, bakeries that have just one location and don't distribute to supermarkets were excluded from the tasting.

Panel members were given a few thin slices of 13 different loaves, with the rest of each loaf left in the middle of the table. That way the tasters could sniff, squeeze and tear at the loaves, to examine the crumb and check the crispiness of the crust in their quest for the perfect baguette.

One bread actually came pretty darn close.

In first place, Acme ($1.80) - purchased from the bakery in San Francisco's Ferry Building Marketplace (there's also a bakery at 1601 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley) - not only landed in the Hall of Fame (an honor reserved for those products scoring at least 80 points out of a possible 100), but also was awarded a nearly perfect score of 99 points, an all-time high score for Taster's Choice."


"Jewish New Year pastries and bread" is a food review by Emma Sullivan at

"Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Monday, which means that several bakeries, including the following, are offering their once-a-year specialties - round challahs (egg bread), macaroons, honey cake and the like. It's best to order ahead."


"Berkeley Thai Temple to Ask ZAB to Allow Year-Round Sunday Brunch" writes Riya Bhattacharjee
of the Planet.

"Wat Mongkolratanaram will be back Thursday at the Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board meeting to request a use permit modification which will allow the 33-year old Buddhist temple to serve its disputed yet exceedingly popular Sunday brunch throughout the year.

The current permit, issued in 1993, limits the temple at 1911 Russell St. to serving food only three times annually."   



"Physician, chocolatier Robert Steinberg dies" is an obituary by Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"Robert Steinberg, who helped elevate chocolate into the realm of fine wine and gourmet food as founder of Scharffen Berger chocolate company, died Wednesday in San Francisco. He was 61.

Dr. Steinberg died at UCSF of lymphoma, which was diagnosed in 1989.

'Chocolate in this country is changed forever because of Robert,' said Alice Medrich, cookbook author and founder of Cocolat dessert company in Berkeley. 'He and his partner made a chocolate that was so different, it set off this explosion. He changed our idea of what chocolate is and what it can be.' "



"Don't bust your gut" writes Jill Barker in The Montreal Gazette.

"There's no easy way to reduce belly fat. It takes exercise, a healthy diet and time - a lot of it - to dissolve that jelly.
Despite claims made on the cover of popular fitness magazines, there is no quick and easy way to get rid of excess belly fat.

So before you embark on a gut-busting fitness program in an attempt to whittle away everything that hangs over your belt buckle, consider the real facts behind achieving abs worthy of gracing a magazine cover.

First a reality check. Despite a healthy diet and lots of exercise, all waistlines expand with age. That being said, diet and exercise are still the key to keeping that inevitable expansion to a minimum. And, as an added bonus, an active lifestyle can help keep belly fat from harming your health.

Why is getting rid of belly fat so important? Two reasons. If you want to show off your belly, you've got to get rid of the fat that's covering your abs of steel. And, since excess belly fat is associated with increased health risks, losing inches around the waist is a must if you want to fight off chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

How much exercise does it take to get rid of a jelly belly? There is no one standard that is guaranteed to do the job, but a couple of studies done by Paul Williams of University of California Berkeley give us an idea of the kind of sweat equity that is needed to keep the waistline in check."












"Berkeley Mills Introduces the Lambda Table" reports

"A Table Worthy of Generations of Use.

Always in style, well-crafted wood furnitureis versatile and stunning at the same time. Yet all wood is not createdequal, nor is all wood furniture. There is furniture that quickly andefficiently furnishes a space, and then there's furniture that nurtures thesoul and the environment in which it is placed, like furniture created byBerkeley Mills, renowned for its exquisite, hand-crafted wood furnishings.In a collaborative effort, the artists, designers and engineers at BerkeleyMills introduce a much anticipated new product to its already substantialline of heirloom furniture, the Lambda Table.

Created to complement Berkeley Mills' critically acclaimed Lambda Chair,the new Lambda Table offers a modern twist on the classic, mid-centuryDanish motif. This sleek, substantial table mirrors the subtle interplaybetween the organic curves and angular planes found in the legs andbackrest of the Lambda Chair.

According to Gene Agress, CEO and founding craftsman of Berkeley Mills,'Our Lambda Chairs are some of our most popular, and I am certain the newLambda Table will be met with the same appeal. The design characteristicsare stunning and timeless, balancing purity of lines with functionalpurpose enriching any room in which it is placed.' "



In the Chron, Bargain Bites 2008 reports of 900 GRAYSON.

 "This small cafe, tucked away in an industrial area of Berkeley, is a little more evolved than your average bargain bite. Diners come for the fresh, seasonal ingredients and blue-ribbon classics, like the creamy homemade grits or a jumped-up version of chicken and waffles. Lunch entrees include a panini of the day called the American Idol, served with salad or herbed french fries; a milk-braised pulled pork shoulder sandwich; and the Grayson Burger, made with bacon, cheddar and shoestring onions."

Full Restaurant List



"Get out the popcorn for the Berkeley Video & Film Festival" reports the Times.

"Berkeley video and film fest: Get your popcorn. The 17th annual Berkeley Video and Film Festival, featuring more than 50 independent films and videos, kicks off today and runs through the weekend."


"A syrah named Palin gets a boost from Sarah Palin" reports Michelle Locke at

"Democrats watching the presidential campaign may find it hard to swallow a glass of the syrah Palin.

The organic red wine, pronounced "pay-LEEN sih-rah," comes from a small winery in northern Chile.

According to distributor North Berkeley Imports' Web site, the vintner's name "describes a ball that was used in an ancient game played by the Mapuche, a group of people indigenous to central Chile."

But that hasn't stopped some drinkers from making the political connection to Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin."


"The breadmakers' guru" is a story by Amanda Gold, Chronicle Staff Writer.

"When Tartine owner Chad Robertson opened his first bakery in Point Reyes Station more than a decade ago, he couldn't figure out how to get any sleep.

Baking bread 18 hours a day was proving untenable, and he needed help.

He could have thrown in the towel; he might have looked for an extra hand or two.

Instead, he called Michel Suas.

Known within the industry as the guru of artisan bread, Suas has made a career out of responding to similar quandaries. The native Frenchman has worked with all the big names in the bread world. From local outfits like Acme, Grace Baking and Semifreddi's to La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles and Balthazar in New York, Suas has done everything from developing formulas for the perfect loaf to streamlining baking processes to designing bakeries worldwide.

In a little more than a decade, he's founded the San Francisco Baking Institute and equipment importing company TMB Baking, opened Thorough Bread (a retail bakery) and authored an impressive textbook on baking and pastry." 



Metropolis Baking is another Potter Creek bakery. Check them out here.

of them offers

"One of the few bakeries to survive Acme's juggernaut in the great 1990s artisan bread wars.  Sibling competition.  Both sprang from Chez Panisse.  

Metropolis bread is the more pure of spirit and clear of purpose.  Unlike most, they just make bread.  No cakes, rolls, dessert breads, buns, and nothing shaped like a turtle or mermaid.  Just big fat loaves.  16 ounces (less for the baguettes), all the way up to "giant loaves" of 40+ ounces, and 48-ounce whole sheets off focaccia.  No bread tours, no hippies waiting at 6:20AM for the retail shop, and it's mostly sold to institutions with only a little retail  (if you work for google you have eaten their bread)."



"Kick off Rosh Hashanah with Sephardic savories" is a story by Stacy Finz, Chronicle Staff Writer.
"Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year which begins this year at sundown Monday, always coincides with the autumn harvest, when Mediterranean gardens are brimming with produce.

I bring up Mediterranean gardens because my father's side of the family is originally from Spain. They are Sephardic Jews, only about 80,000 of whom live in the United States.

Most of my relatives came here from Turkey, where they went to live in 1492, after being booted out of Spain and Portugal at the time of the Inquisition. They were told to either convert to Christianity or get out. So they left.
With them they took their traditions, language and food."



"Alice Waters"is a story by Joel Stein in Time.

"It has been a slow 30 years of progress for all environmentalists, but Alice Waters has more right than most to be frustrated. She wasn't asking anyone to install solar panels or convert their engines to run on biofuels - she just wanted people to eat stuff that tastes better. And it wasn't like she was simply making claims that local, organic food tastes great. She was proving it every day at Chez Panisse, the Berkeley, California, restaurant she opened in 1971 - a restaurant so good (the James Beard Foundation named Waters America's best chef in 1992 and Gourmet named Chez Panisse America's best restaurant in 2001) that it doesn't even have a menu. You eat what Waters found at the markets that day, and you like it. You really like it." 





"Motorist drives over Berkeley officer's foot" reports Doug Oakley in the Times.

A Berkeley police officer was hospitalized Wednesday after a motorist, attempting to evade a parking ticket, drove over the officer's foot, police said.

"The officer yelled, 'You're on my foot,' and a passer-by yelled the same thing and then she stopped," Berkeley police spokesman Andrew Frankel said.

The driver, 47-year-old Markeysha Bilal-Fields of Richmond, was arrested on a felony complaint of evading a police officer and causing injury, Frankel said. The offense carries a three- to seven-year prison term with a conviction, he added.

Police would not release the officer's name. Her condition was not available Wednesday evening. Although she was taken away in an ambulance, paramedics were not rushing; she was sitting upright and appeared alert.

According to police and witnesses, the driver's car was parked in a red zone at Gilman and Sixth streets when the officer pulled up and started to write a ticket.

Witnesses at a coffee shop across the street said a motorist and the officer began arguing and then the driver started to pull away.
They said they heard the officer's screams loud and clear over lunchtime traffic. It all started, the witnesses said, when a truck trying to make a left-hand turn onto Sixth Street from Gilman flagged down the officer because the car in the red zone was preventing the truck from making its turn.

The incident elicited a huge response from Berkeley police when theofficer called for an ambulance.

About five police cars converged on the scene, including a detective and Chief Douglas Hambleton."


Bob Kubik emails comments on Monday's community meeting.

Did the meeting lead to a solution of our problems? No.  Could it do so? No.
3 or 4 hundred frustrated people - many very angry - with widely differing opinions and perspectives do not form solutions.
Was the meeting a success? Yes, in several ways.  The police got to say they respond quickly with lots of bodies when something like this happens. They got to say we have been working on this drug problem for twenty years.  They got to say we need witnesses who will testify in order to get arrests.
The city mental health folks got to say "call us if you want to talk".
The Mayor got to say we have doubled the money for summer jobs.
Citizens got to vent their anger and frustration.
It is interesting to note the variety of citizen responses:
     "We in the black community need to take more responsibility, know where our children are, talk to them, show them good examples"
     "We need more consistent police presence"
     "The police don't respect us"
     "The police are responsible for this killing"
     "Every time this happens we have a meeting like this and we get more attention for a while, but nothing really changes"
     "We need to know we are in God's hands and get out and talk to these young people"
     "We need to be allowed to greive in our own way" (refering to memorials)
     "We need to step up and identify the shooter" (didn't mention the difficulty of snitching on a friend, neighbor or relative - much less the danger of retribution
     "It wasn't like this when I was raising my kids"
     "We need more city programs to give the young folks something to do"
     "Who is responsible in the city"
     "This is a multi-factorial problem ..... (giving a long dry academic lecture at which point I left.
So, people got to express themselves. Hopefully, they got to see other's viewpoints.  The city's attention was drawn to the intense concern of hundreds of citizens.  That is worthwhile.
     What can we do?  We can make this a major issue in the upcoming elections.  We can keep rubbing city hall's nose in it.  We can push for aggressive enforcement - which would require a change of attitude for the police, the city attorney, and our elected officials.
Bob Kubik


Barbara Shayesteh emails of Jarad, Tak and Eva and Ryan's email--see 9/24/08 posts

Thanks so much for printing the strong and meaningful statements from Jarad, Tak and Eva ­ as well as Ryan Lau's response.  Jarad is right ­ The time for excuses is over.  It sounds like a local revolution is in process ­ I love it.  Berkeley definitely could use some change in management.




"In Berkeley, New Music And Joyful Bach" is a story about young classical players at

"The teenage singers of Chorissima often perform with the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Symphony.
This week, From the Top visits Berkeley, California, where a 12-year-old pianist joyfully wraps her brain and fingers around a Bach fugue, a hockey-playing bassoonist plays Weber and a teen quartet offers up a new work by a local 17-year-old." 



"Colorado State (2-1) At California (2-1)" is a KTVU report.

"Facing off against their final non-conference opponent of the regular season, the California Golden Bears return to the gridiron this weekend to battle the Colorado State Rams at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. Catching a bye last week, the Bears, who will be off yet again in just three weeks, are trying to bounce back from their first loss of the 2008 campaign, having bowed to Maryland on the road on September 13th by a final of 35-27. In its two previous games, Cal opened Pac-10 action with a commanding 66-3 win over Washington State and began the season with a 38-31 triumph versus Michigan State at home. As for the Rams, they've strung together two straight wins and have taken four of the last five dating back to the middle of last November. Since falling to Colorado in Denver in the opener, the Rams have turned the tables against Sacramento State (23-20) and, most recently, Houston (28-25). While this meeting is certainly going to be a tough battle for CSU, the squad is well aware that Mountain West Conference play is just around the corner with the opener against UNLV at Hughes Stadium looming on October 4th. Last season, Cal picked up a 34-28 decision against CSU to even the all-time series at one game apiece."


"Retrofit plan to ride out quake at Cal stadium" reports Carolyn Jones, Chronicle Staff Writer.
"Seismic engineers apparently have solved one of the world's great retrofit puzzles: how to keep UC Berkeley's Memorial Stadium from crumbling into a pile of concrete rubble during a major earthquake.

It took decades of research, experimentation and head-scratching, but a team of San Francisco engineers says it has found a way to save the beloved landmark in Strawberry Canyon, which straddles the state's most dangerous earthquake fault." 



"UC Berkeley Says Fire Hazard Shut Down CampusLink" is a report by Riya Bhattacharjee of the Planet.

"UC Berkeley shut down the CampusLink terminals at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union last week because of non-compliance with the fire safety code, university officials said last Wednesday.

CampusLink provides free Internet access to students and visitors on the UC Berkeley campus year-round through a contract with the university.

Thomas Spivey, associate director of the Associated Students of the University of California Auxiliary-which operates the student union-said the roll-down fire doors under the stairwell of the student union building, where the CampusLink kiosk is located, were not functioning and posed a serious threat in case of a fire."

"Students Hear Debate Over Animal Confinement Practices" reports the Daily Cal.

"Jennifer Fearing, campaign manager for 'Yes on Prop 2,' spoke to students yesterday as part of a debate on the proposition and animal confinement practices in California.

With the November 4 election nearing, UC Berkeley students in a political science class listened yesterday to a debate about the controversial farming practice of confining animals in cages.

Four guest speakers spoke before a crowd of almost 800 students in the Political Science 179 class, discussing how Proposition 2 would affect consumer health, food prices and the livelihood of California's egg farmers.
If passed, the proposition would add a chapter to California's Health and Safety Code prohibiting the strict confinement of certain farm animals. Farmers would have until 2015 to provide cages that would allow calves, hens and pigs to have more space and be able to fully extend their limbs." 




"Ry Cooder works with L.A. singer Ersi Arvizu" reports Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic.

"While his own recordings have taken an unexpected literary turn, guitarist-musicologist Ry Cooder has trained his attention as a producer on the rediscovery of Latina vocalist Ersi Arvizu, one of the forgotten queens of East Los Angeles. The last time Cooder did this he made million-sellers out of the swinging Cuban octogenarians he recorded as the Buena Vista Social Club.

'It's the best East L.A. record you're ever going to hear and the only one you're going to hear because nobody can do this,' Cooder, 61, says on the phone from his Los Angeles home. 'But Ersi is someone who has lived in a time bubble. And that, of course, for me, is the most interesting thing in the world, the rarest thing in the world.'




"BRT Proposal Raises Questions, Fewer Answers at Commission" reports Richard Brenneman in the Planet.

"Planning commissioners Wednesday confronted what Chair James Samuels called 'a chicken/egg problem': How to define a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route without knowing its full impacts.

The controversial proposal from AC Transit would create a new bus route from Berkeley to San Leandro-running (possibly) from Berkeley's downtown Bay Area Rapid Transit station to Bayfair BART.

But, as the report from city transportation planners Beth Greene and Kara Vuicich made clear, a great many questions remain unanswered, especially when four different governments are involved."


Richard Brenneman also reports "In other action on Tuesday, the Council:

Approved on first reading an ordinance setting up a conflict resolution system for residents with complaints about neighbors' wood smoke.
Under the new ordinance, direct neighbors within 120 feet of the source of wood smoke who complained of a problem would be allowed to go through a procedure of mediation and binding arbitration and then, if necessary, litigation in Superior Court.
Staff said it receives between 30 to 40 complaints each year about problems with neighbors' wood smoke." 




"WaMu becomes biggest bank to fail in US history" reports Madlen Read of the AP.

"As the debate over a $700 billion bank bailout rages on in Washington, one of the nation's largest banks - Washington Mutual Inc. - has collapsed under the weight of its enormous bad bets on the mortgage market.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized WaMu on Thursday, and then sold the thrift's banking assets to JPMorgan Chase & Co. for $1.9 billion.

Seattle-based WaMu, which was founded in 1889, is the largest bank to fail by far in the country's history. Its $307 billion in assets eclipse the $40 billion of Continental Illinois National Bank, which failed in 1984, and the $32 billion of IndyMac, which the government seized in July."


"Plan's Basic Mystery: What's All This Stuff Worth?" is a report in the New York Times by Vikas Bajaj.

"Even Wall Street is struggling to put a price on the troubled investments at the heart of the financial crisis."



"UN forecasts boom in 'green jobs' " reports BBC NEWS.

"The UN says millions of new jobs will be created worldwide over the next few decades by the development of alternative energy technologies.

More than a million people already work in biofuels, but a UN report says that could rise by 12 million by 2030." 


"Berkeley Honda, a leading Honda dealership in Berkeley, California, is all pleased to state that Honda Motor Company is all set to reveal a concept version of its new small hybrid vehicle, the Insight, at the 2008 Paris International Auto Show in the first week of October, 2008" is a Honda Motors press release.

"The all-new five-passenger Insight will be available in the US market in the next spring and will have a lower price tag than many hybrids available in the market today. Thus, the Insight will be positioned as an affordable and accessible hybrid car which will provide excellent fuel economy, driving pleasure and great value in its segment.

The new Insight will employ a more cost-efficient form of Honda technology - Integrated Motor Assistance. It will be packed as a small, futuristic fuel-efficient hybrid hatchback that will offer more fun with its spirited performance.
Designed with a low center of gravity, the Insight's generous cabin will be loaded with latest technological features to help buyers enjoy more interior amenities. Its aerodynamic design will identify its fuel-efficient purpose, while its five-door access and folding rear seats symbolize its practical use. For details contact Berkeley Honda."




"Shipping container prefab at West Coast Green" is a story in the Chronicle by Paul Kilduff.
"West Coast Green, the home show dedicated to sustainable home construction and design, kicks off its three-day run Thursday at the San Jose Convention Center with a logical centerpiece: a house made with the smallest possible environmental footprint.

What makes this year's showcase home different from the prefab modular model seen last year in San Francisco is not all the green bells and whistles, such as doors made from reclaimed wood and bathroom floors fashioned from recycled glass pebbles; it's the actual framework of the house that is truly innovative. This year's showstopper is made from five 40-foot-long shipping containers that once roamed the high seas, packed with washing machines and the like."












after speaking with Morgan, Merryll reports 

At 3 AM Saturday morning, after hearing voices and movement around their house, Morgan called 911. The responding officers "caught" prowlers around Pete and Geralyn's, after being alerted to their presence by Rick.
more later

"Woman Surrenders After Police Chase In Berkeley" reports the Chronicle.

"A high-speed chase that started in Oakland early Friday morning ended an hour later when the driver surrendered to police in Berkeley, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The pursuit started at about 12:50 a.m. near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and 36th Street, according to CHP Sgt. Trent Cross.

CHP officers chased the silver Mercedes vehicle from northbound Interstate Highway 580 to eastbound state Highway 24 and then off the highway and into Berkeley.

The driver, a 47-year-old Oakland woman, eventually made a turn onto a dead-end street and gave up, Cross said.
The car was not stolen, the suspect had a valid driver's license and she was not under the influence of alcohol, Cross said. However, he said authorities planned to test of she was under the influence of drugs." 



Photos from Sally's trip to France can be seen here.



from my log

9/11/08--9:52 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, eyes burn, wear mask.

9/12/08--9:38 AM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in warehouse, leave. 1:31 PM--irritant in warehouse. 9:20 PM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in front room, leave.

9/13/08--6:00 AM--VERY SERIOUS irritant IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouse. 7:48 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, cough, wear mask.

9/15/08--1:38 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, dry eyes, dry mouth, breath short,

9/17/08--7:50 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, head ache, dry mouth, dry eyes, "chlorine/bleach like" odor, leave. 11:23 AM--irritant and "chlorine/bleach" like odor.

9/18/08--4:51 PM--"chlorine/bleach" odor in warehouse front, cough, eyes burn, etc. 6:36 PM--same .

9/20/08--10:16 AM--VERY, VERY SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front and front of warehouse, burning eyes, mouth, light-head, wear mask, "chlorine/bleach" like odor also, leave.

9/24/08--3:34 PM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front with "chlorine/bleach" like odor, wear mask.

9/25/08--periodic, all day--VERY, VERY SERIOUS irritant in warehouse front, occasional STRONG "chlorine/bleach" odor, over rides HEPA filter. Guest has "coughing attack." 




"Timeworks" is a recommendation of a Potter Creek business by Sally Socolich of the Chron.
"If you have trouble keeping time, maybe you need a few more clocks around the house. Timeworks in Berkeley is having its first warehouse sale in years, and prices will range from $15 to $75 - well below its retail price range of $60 to $200.

The story: Timeworks is known in the trade for its line of historically authentic clocks, which are both affordable and functional. The clocks are made individually, by hand, with solid, hand-antiqued brass for cases and pendulums, die-cut steel hands with time-worn patinas and beautifully finished frames.

The selection of sale clocks include first-quality decorative wall and table clocks, from modest in size to extra large (31 inches and bigger), perfect for large spaces and high-ceilinged rooms. Check the company's Web site for the scope of its collections.
Timeworks warehouse sale: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Sat. 2929 Fifth St., Berkeley (Ashby exit off Interstate 80). (510) 883-0234,"



Al Young and Charles Robinson

talk about "Jazz Idiom." [Today] 7 p.m. Anna's Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley. (510) 549-3564, Ext. 316.



"No Best-case scenario" writes Jonathan Okanes in the Times.

"Cal routed Colorado State 42-7 on Saturday at Memorial Stadium in a game that wasn't exactly easy on the eyes. Certainly, there were some positive developments for the Bears, but the game also illustrated that Cal still has some issues.

But all those things that the Bears need to iron out took a back seat to a potentially devastating development: the fact that running back Jahvid Best suffered a dislocated left elbow in the third quarter and could be out for a while."



Mayor, Tom Bates emails

some excerpts

United Nations Americas Award for Excellence 2008
I am honored to have been selected as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research 2008 Americas Award Laureate for Excellence in Environmental Sustainability. The UNITAR Selection Committee recognized me because of my "efforts and outstanding work in implementing climate protection strategies". The Berkeley Climate Action Campaign is cited as "a best practice on how a community-based effort has served to identify and implement strategies that achieve our GHG emissions reduction target". My office will be accepting the award in Atlanta on September 29th.
Washington Elementary School Goes Solar
Workers from Eshone Electric Company laid down 480 solar panels on the new roof of Washington Elementary School in August as part of a project by KyotoUSA, a local climate change group founded by Tom and Jane Kelly. This solar project, funded by the Office Of Public School Construction, PG&E, and BUSD, has been generating wide publicity and support for its money-saving features and contribution to renewable energy at a time when the cost of energy is skyrocketing.
Upcoming Workshops for YouthWorks After School Employment Program
Are you a Berkeley resident between 14 and 25 years old? The City of Berkeley's YouthWorks will be recruiting applicants for year-round youth employment at two workshops in October. Workshops will be held Wednesday October 1 from 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm at the South Berkeley Senior Center (2939 Ellis Street) and on Monday October 6 from 6:30 pm ­ 7:30 pm at the West Berkeley Senior Center (1900 6th Street). Call YouthWorks for more info:  981-4970.
Fall 2008 Disaster Preparedness Classes -
Do you know how to take care of yourself and your family in an emergency? Do you know first aid, search and rescue techniques and how to suppress a fire? Find out at one or more of the free classes offered by Berkeley's Office of Emergency Services. Classes are free and open to those who live or work in Berkeley and are 18 or older. You'll get hands-on experience in putting on a splint, extinguishing a fire, using a fire hose, safely lifting a concrete block and much more. All classes are held at 997 Cedar Street, in the training center next to Fire Station 6.
Fall Schedule:
Fire Suppression - September 27, 9 am-12 pm or October 4, 9 am-12 pm
Light Search and Rescue - October 11, 9 am-12 pm
Disaster First Aid - October 18, 1:30 pm-4:30 pm or October 25, 9 am-12 pm
Volunteer Mobilization Day at UC
On August 22 the School of Public Health and the Berkeley Mayor's Office hosted the fourth annual Volunteer Mobilization Day, which gives incoming public health graduate students the opportunity to be involved directly with the community by volunteering their time at designated sites throughout Berkeley.



"Student paper struggling to survive" reports Kristin Bender of the Oakland Tribune.

"Like metropolitan newspapers nationwide, the Berkeley High School Jacket newspaper, the voice of the second largest high school in Northern California, is struggling to stay in business and could stop publishing next year if new financing isn't found." 


"The realist idealist" is a report from the LA Times by Susan Carpenter.

"I was never more excited to do laundry, and it wasn't because my son and I were running out of clean underwear. I had just installed a system to divert gray water from my washing machine to my xeriscaped frontyard, and I was anxious about whether the $312 and two days I'd spent installing it would pay off.

Considering all the money and political squabbling that goes into getting water to this desert metropolis, it seems silly not to recycle water once it's here. Especially now. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are telling us to conserve, which I do. I was still using 253 gallons at my home each day, according to my latest Department of Water and Power bill. I just wanted to use less, and recycling my gray water was one way to do it.
Gray water is the wastewater generated from sinks, showers, bathtubs and laundry machines. All of it could be used to irrigate plants but, instead, is drained to the sewer in Los Angeles County, where it's treated and, for the most part, sent into the Pacific."



"Sacred ground? Dig to determine" is a Kristin Bender story in the Times.

'Crews earlier this week began boring holes in the ground at the former oak grove next to UC Berkeley's football stadium in an effort to prove that the 1.5-acre site is not a sacred Native American burial ground - as former tree sitters and their supporters have claimed, university officials said.' 






Eternally useful links

Bay Area home prices from


Bay Area foreclosures from


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

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out 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

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 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

Angela Gallegos-Castillo, City Mgr Off - 981-2491

Ryan Lau, aid to Darryl Moore - 981-7120

Darryl Moore, City Councilman


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