AUGUST 2007

 

1973 Laverda 750 SF

 

 

8/1/07

There is a God and she loves old Bikers!

I've been invited to show in the Retro Mobilia, West Berkeley to be held at Fourth Street and Hearst on Sunday, September 17,2007. It is sponsored by Fourth Street Shops, and benefits the Berkeley Public Education Foundation. Think I'll bring my '70 Royal Enfield, maybe the '73 Laverda, maybe . . .

 

 

Elliot Abrams emails that Down Home Music is moving Uptown. "[Down Home Music] is opening a store here on Fourth Street . . . on August 10th. [It is] taking the place of the existing 'Hear Music'. . . . thought you might be happy to hear this. I can see from your website . . . that music is a big part of your life."

Retail moving back to Berkeley? Well, Ok then! 

 

"Cannabis club's assets frozen in agency raid: Dispensary approved by city can't access cash"
reports Paul T. Rosynsky in our Times. "A [Berkeley] city-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensary had its assets frozen this week, prompting some City Council members to call for new city laws protecting such businesses."

 

"Marijuana smoke obstructs air flow: Damaging effect equals inhaling up to five tobacco cigarettes, but
long-term use doesn't increase emphysema risk, study says"
reports the AP'sRay Lilley in the Times.

 

 

"Pacific Steel Releases Health Assessment, Citizens Say Process Flawed"
reports Riya Bhattacharjee of our Planet.

 

 

"Off to yummer camp" writes Jackie Burrell of the Times.

"The smell of garlicky hummus and sweet, spiced baklava wafted across La Mediterranee on a recent Monday morning, immediately followed by a youthful chorus of 'mmmms.'

But the young foodies gathered around the venerable Berkeley restaurant's tasting table weren't just sampling the fare. The youngsters were there for a crash course in Mediterranean cooking -- hand-wrapped dolmas as well as the classic mashed chickpea spread and flaky, honey-drenched dessert -- taught by masters in the art.

Welcome to summer camp, Berkeley-style, where the "cafeterias" are award-winning restaurants and the 'counselors' professional chefs at the top of their game. The camp director? A UC Berkeley junior with a passion for food."

 

 

"Blow-Up director Antonioni dies: Michelangelo Antonioni was one of Italy's most acclaimed directors" reports the BBC. "Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni, renowned for his 1966 release Blow-Up, has died aged 94.

He gained two Oscar nominations for the iconic release, and was awarded an honorary Academy Award for his life's work in 1995.

He was also nominated for the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Palme d'Or, five times between 1960 and 1982."

 

 

"Office printers 'are health risk'"writes Nick Bryant of the BBC, Sydney.

"Office printers emit tiny particles of toner, the scientists say the humble office printer can damage lungs in much the same way as smoke particles from cigarettes, according to a team of Australian scientists.

An investigation of a range of models showed that almost a third emit potentially dangerous levels of toner into the air.

The Queensland University of Technology scientists have called on ministers to regulate these kinds of emissions."

 

 

"Foreclosures up 58 percent from 2006: California has more homes in danger than any other state; U.S.
totals for 2007 could reach 2 million"
reports the AP's Alex Veiga in our Times.

 

 

"Court confirms former [Berkeley] official's death sentence: Justices vote 6-1 in automatic appeal in 1988 slaying by waterfront commissioner" reports Josh Richman in our Times.

"The state Supreme Court on Monday upheld the death sentence of a former Berkeley official who tried to bludgeon a couple to death and then murdered a friend and colleague who was going to testify against him."

 

 

 

 

8/2/07

Our Pete Hurney has some ukes in the Evolution of the Ukulele show at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art. The show opens today, August 2 and runs to October 21. The museum is at 51 Yerba Buena Lane in San Francisco. Their website is www.mocfa.org

 

 

Our Margret Elliot emails a copy of her email sent to Marco Li Mandri, CBD consultant

In Article 36600 of the Streets and Highways Code, I have discovered the section I have highlighted below. Since the State law says properties zoned as residential shall not be a part of the district. I know that many of the residential property owners do not have separate zoning designations but it is obviously the intention of the legislation to leave out residential and agricultural properties. Why then, have you not eliminated these properties from the benefit district?

36632. (a) The assessments levied on real property pursuant to this part shall be levied on the basis of the estimated benefit to the real property within the property and business improvement district. The city council may classify properties for purposes of determining the benefit to property of the improvements and activities provided pursuant to this part. (b) Assessments levied on businesses pursuant to this part shall be levied on the basis of the estimated benefit to the businesses within the property and business improvement district. The city council may classify businesses for purposes of determining the benefit to the businesses of the improvements and activities provided pursuant to this part. (c) Properties zoned solely for residential use, or that are zoned for agricultural use, are conclusively presumed not to benefit from the improvements and service funded through these assessments, and shall not be subject to any assessment pursuant to this part.

 

Also, I have searched in both the Streets and Highways Code and the State Constitution for the weighted method you have used for property owners votes. I cannot find this method anywhere in the legislation. Can you please cite the legal reference for it?

Lastly, your website mentions there are three special benefit districts in Berkeley. Can you provide me with the names of those benefit districts and the areas each covers?

 

 

Development seems well-and-good in Potter Creek with our Morgan Smith, Merryl Saylan and Kava all going ahead with their projects. From the building of lofts by Kava to Morgan's remodel, all is copacetic. And Merryl's tenants have moved out and her major rebuild, designed by Morgan, is about to begin.

Happily, Regan's Potter Creek projects have received AIA Awards. The John
Philips and Suzanna Hering building and the Pardee Street Lofts, foremost among them. John is a world-renowned harpsichord builder and Suzanna owns Aerosol Dynamics--together they share Regan's beautiful building.

The Swerve project on 7th is proceeding apace, as in Acme's expansion into the old welder's building. Solar panels are up on Acme's roof, the welder-building's west-wall has been cut thru, and steel girders have been erected to reinforce the shell. The shell by the way amplifies all construction noise and reflects it toward the work-live units right across the street.

Oops, Ruth and Marvin's continues its slow-but-sure building.

 

900 GRAYSON is today applying to extend its hours so to serve dinner. Chris is on his way to Planning today and a modification-of-use sign has been made and posted--thanks to Regan and Deborah.

900 has just received a "Best I Ate" award in San Francisco Magazine for its Grayson Burger. And Miltiades reports that because of lukewarm but encouraging reviews, Riva Cucina's lunch and dinner have picked up. Riva Cucina is located in Wareham's Aquatic Center at the end of Heinz.

 

 

 

 

 

8/3/07

Harvey-the-mailman reports that on Wednesday vehicles were broken into and vandalized in the secure parking area at the Brickside Lofts, 2777 9th. Berkeley PD spent a good part of the day at the scene, investigating. Tenants believe that it was an "inside job."

 

Yesterday was Harvs last day on this route--he's moving to a route along both sides of lower-University, out to the Bay.

 

 

CEID School Director, Jill Ellis emails

Ron,

I wanted to let you and our neighbors in the community know that we have a few spaces open for our Sunshine Preschool and Childcare program, beginning September, for any families with children ages who need part time or full time care.

Children have an opportunity to learn in an intimate, caring and neighborhood center, specially designed for young children. Unique to Sunshine Preschool is the opportunity for "typical developing" children to learn sign language, in a culturally diverse environment.

If anyone would like to visit, please contact Cindy Dickeson, Program Director. We are accepting applications now.

Tours are available upon request.

thanks, Jill Ellis

 

 

 

 

8/4/07

"West Berkeley Tax District Questioned" writes Judith Scherr in her well-crafted Daily Planet story.

"Bringing beauty to Berkeley's ugly Ashby Avenue gateway, cleaning sidewalks, adding security, removing graffiti, creating an improved local transportation system emulating the popular Emery Go Round are just a few of the reasons South West Berkeley's commercial property owners want to create an assessment district, says Marco Li Mandri, president of New City America and consultant on the South West Berkeley Community Benefits District (CBD) project. . . .

Some homeowners and others within the proposed district boundaries, however, are beginning to organize against the proposal, arguing that the city already provides adequate services, for which they pay high taxes."

 

One such homeowner, subsequently quoted in his opposition to the CBD, is our Rick Auerbach, who, importantly, is also the paid lobbyist of WEBAIC, a west-Berkeley business group, usually and often vocally, opposed to policies of the CBD creators, members of the West Berkeley Business Alliance.

On 4/25/07 I posted

"And also in our Planet Mr. Rick opines about 'The Proposed West Berkeley Community Benefits District.' Do take time to read it."

The last paragraph of his article explains "Rick Auerbach writes on behalf of WEBAIC, a non-profit trade organization representing West Berkeley industry, artisans, and artists, originally created with assistance from the city of Berkeley. WEBAIC receives no funding from any governmental source."

WEBAIC steering committee member Urban Ore however, I'm told, received a large grant from our City.

 

And of our Rick Ms Scherr also writes "Grayson Street resident Rick Auerbach says residents were never asked to help develop the concept. 'They never consulted us,' he said 'Planning has been completely under the radar.'"

On 4/25/05, I also wrote

". . . in the last Potter Creek citizens meeting, at which two WBBA [West Berkeley Business Alliance] members appeared to present and explain this proposal, Rick was co-chair . . ."

At that Potter Creek citizens meeting, all present were asked by the WBBA presenters for input--their consultant Marco Li Mandri was even available by phone "I don't have the answer to that. Do you want to talk to Marco?"

 

 

Time for an ALL-INCLUSIVE Potter Creek meeting!?

Residents old and new, businesses all, workers, big and small owners, renters, lessors, investors, recyclers, developers, representatives, others-concerned.

 

Policing--to clean, to keep in order: Webster--is alive in Potter Creek today. Volunteers are cleaning-up the East Bay Humane Society property and workers are doing the same for Ashby Lumber.

Aquatic Center Preschool is having a yard sale today in the parking lot of the Wareham property at 7th and Heinz.

 

 

 

 

8/5/07

Yesterday afternoon there was a birthday party for our Carol of Bob and Carol

These Potter Creek kids were there

 

 

Young Ben and friends were shooting hoops at the École Bilingue playground yesterday afternoon.

Well, Ok then.

 

At another party yesterday, Rick Auerbach, WEBAIC lobbyist/activist, and some other Potter Creek neighbors circulated a petition opposing the Community Benefits District. If you'd like to sign this petition you might contact Rick. Make your request specific though as Rick is also a nature photographer, a community activist and currently, a contractor for the City, taking a survey of west-Berkeley arts/crafts use.

 

 

 

 

8/7/07

Today is Rahsaan Roland Kirk's Birthday--born August 7, 1936-passed December 5, 1977.

Praise the Lord!

At 11:34 AM today a street-sweeping-truck came down the north side of Heinz at 7th, cleaning as it went, and then continued down the west side of 7th toward Potter, . . . cleaning.

Excavation is well under way at our Potter Creek Bowl site.

 

 

 

 

7/8/07

LJ Kruse Company is sponsering a meeting of the Bay Area Green Chamber of Commerce on August 22th at 5:30 PM. It will be held at Kruse' Potter Creek facility.

 

 

And at the Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl property, various earth moving machines continue to.

 

 

On August 24th, our John Curl will be reading from his new novelistic memoir, Memories of Drop City: The First Hippie Commune of the 1960s and the Summer of Love.

The reading will be held at 7:30pm at The Book Zoo bookshop, 6395 Telegraph Ave, at Alcatraz, Oakland, CA. Their phone is 510-654-2665.

 

 

900 GRAYSON regular, Miltiades Mandros, has just reviewed the T-Rex restaurant on Gilman Street in an Internet architectural magazine--AIA on line. Check it out. He will have a book review in the next issue.

 

"Rolling in dough comes naturally for pizza king"
cracks Eric Kurhi in our Times.

"Anyone who knows a thing or two about pizza knows that all pies are not created equal.

A visit to a pizzeria usually involves a checklist regarding what kind of pizza is desired: New York or Chicago style? Pepperoni and olive, or ham and pineapple? What about a pesto sauce base, or perhaps a barbecue chicken pie?

But at the World Pizza Cup last month in Naples, Italy, such questions were moot as Tony Gemignani of Castro Valley got ready to tackle the mother of all pizzas.

The pie: Versace Pizzeria Napoletana, or VPN for short. It's the oldest style and what aficionados consider to be the only true pizza.

One of the requirements is that the legendary thin crust must be made in Naples; it's not a stretch to call it the champagne of pizzas.

The pizza must be made entirely with Italian ingredients, from the flour and yeast used in the dough, to the toppings of San Marzano tomatoes, local mozzarella cheeses, Italian olive oil and sea salt. It must be 13 inches in diameter. It must be baked for 90 seconds in a wood-burning oven heated to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gemignani, 33, won that competition, as he had many before. An eight-time world champion pizza slinger, he holds Guinness World Records for dough acrobatics and tossing the largest pie."

 

 

"Berkeley's long, tortured relationship with the automobile may soon pull a surprise U-turn" writes Carolyn Jones in the Chronicle.

"After decades of shunning cars by using flower-planter roadblocks, anti-global-warming policies and alternative-transportation strategies, the city is considering rezoning two areas in West Berkeley to allow car dealerships. The change would allow dealers that currently have cramped, relatively inaccessible showrooms downtown to relocate closer to the freeway and double the size of their lots.

'If we want to keep auto dealers in Berkeley, we have to give them space to relocate,' said Dave Fogarty of the city's economic development office. 'If they're not allowed to move, eventually we won't have any car dealers left in Berkeley.'

The Planning Commission will consider the zoning changes at its Sept. 5 meeting. The city currently has no land zoned for auto dealers. The existing dealers have grandfathered exemptions.

Berkeley's five auto dealers contribute about $1.2 million annually in sales tax revenue, about 10 percent of the city's sales tax income. Four of the dealers - Honda, Toyota, Volvo and Nissan - occupy an antiquated auto row on south Shattuck Avenue that the city would like to see developed into housing and retail. The fifth dealer, BMW, one of the East Bay's busiest car dealers, is on Ashby Avenue near Interstate 80."

 

 

"Local blogs are key to future of politics" writes Joe Garofoli of the San Francisco Chronicle.

 

 

"American Home files for protection: Tenth largest mortgage lender lays off most of its workforce; two other top subprime lenders stop taking applications" reports Dan Seymour. "American Home Mortgage Investment Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection Monday and two other mortgage lenders said they were not accepting new applications, signs that the worst housing crunch in decades could be widening.

American Home Mortgage, based in Melville, N.Y., and once the nation's 10th largest mortgage lender, said it fell victim to 'extraordinary disruptions' that effectively cut off the funding it needed to make new loans. Falling home prices and a spike in payment defaults scared investors away from mortgage debt, including bonds and other securities backed by home loans.

Houston-based Aegis Mortgage Corp. said it would not accept any more applications and said it could not meet all of its existing funding obligations. Cleveland-based National City Corp. also stopped taking applications for new loans and lines of credit in its wholesale home equity unit.

'We are in a market now where value is a fleeting concept, Securities analyst Steven DeLaney said of the vanishing appetite among investors for the bundles of mortgage debt that had been the funding lifeline for the industry. 'The market today has just basically shut down.' "

 

 

"Commercial loans see few foreclosures: Rates hit five-year low, even as residential market grapples with record default numbers" reports Katherine Conrad in our Times.

"Delinquencies in California's commercial real estate market hit a five-year low, in contrast with the residential market, which is reeling with a record number of defaults."

 

"Foreclosure auctions attract few bids: More homes go on the block, but low equity tempers bidder interest"
reports Eve Mitchell. "
Just about every day they gather on the courthouse steps, waiting for an auctioneer to read off a list of foreclosed homes."

 

"The new wave of Silicon Valley start-ups" reports BBC News.

Silicon Valley is the southern part of San Francisco's Bay Area, stretching from the city to San Jose. This is one of the top research and development centres in the world; wherever you look someone is having a good idea.

According to the Wall Street Journal, half of the 20 most inventive towns in the US are in Silicon Valley.

Nowadays the place is not just about silicon chip makers; all technology is here.

It is a string of satellite towns full of clever people, incredibly successful tech companies, and hopefuls looking to make the big time.

This place was the centre of the dotcom bubble of the mid 90s, when investors were pouring money into anything with a dot in the title. Of course it was also the hardest hit when the bubble burst. For every surviving big player, hundreds went under.

Now the optimism is back, along with the money."

 

 

"Asia's brown clouds 'warm planet' " reports BBC News. "Clouds of pollution over the Indian Ocean appear to cause as much warming as greenhouse gases released by human activity, a study has suggested.

US researchers used unmanned aircraft to measure the effects of the 'brown clouds' on the surrounding area.

Writing in Nature, they said the tiny particles increased the solar heating of the lower atmosphere by about 50%.

The warming could be enough to explain the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayas, the scientists proposed."

 

 

Miltiades was one of the organizers of a west-Oakland community meeting concerning his neighborhood crime. About it, and Oakland crime in general, the Chronicle's Chip Johnson writes

"Leadership sadly lacking in wake of the killings

The assassination of a well-known journalist, the arrest of members of a local Muslim group - including a man who confessed to the shooting - and seven other shootings over the last few days have left Oakland residents reeling. The shooting death of Chauncey Bailey, the Oakland Post editor who was gunned down while walking to work Thursday morning near Alice and 14th streets, gained national attention because of the rarity in which journalists in this country are shot in the line of duty. That's something that happens in lawless or corrupt countries, not
ours. Oakland police moved swiftly, raiding the group's San Pablo Avenue bakery and three other locations early Friday morning, even as public outrage over Bailey's death and the ensuing homicide spree grew. Seven people were arrested, and at least three of them could be charged today in connection with Bailey's slaying and a May kidnapping.While organizers in all these neighborhoods give the under-manned Oakland police officers high marks for trying to respond and help neighborhoods to help themselves, most hold a dim view of the way city officials have responded to their plight - and their pleas.

After six weeks of trying, and threatening to contact the media, a group of residents, businesses and ministers from Martin Luther King Jr. Way between Grand Avenue and 40th Street met with a Dellums aide last week to recount their travails with crime in recent months.

In a meeting attended by nearly 20 people, including more than a half dozen local ministers and a police lieutenant, the mayor's point man, Victor Ochoa, told the group assembled at Second Bethel Church that he wasn't aware that their neighborhood was a high-crime area.

'I almost walked out of the room,' said Miltiades Mandros, 63, whose home has been hit with stray bullets. So the community informed him: Since June 8, eight people had been shot or killed in five separate incidents in the neighborhood. Among those hit was a 12-year-old boy struck in his home by a stray bullet last week.

The Rev. Anthony Gilmore, whose church hosted the meeting, said he shared his community's frustration."

 

Tired of reading this? Check out Richard Friedman's Shameless Self-promotion.

Want to mess with your mind? Check out The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.

 

 

 

 

 

8/9/07

Perhaps, when all the dust settles, west-Berkeley citizens will grasp the irony of self-empowered community activists characterizing the Community Benefit District weighted-voting as not-representative.

Or, not.

 

Merryll Saylan had a party last Sunday--sort of "I'm back" or "My house is being redone."

There were lots of people there, but Merryll's husband Ed "Fast Eddy" Saylan wasn't. He passed a few years ago.

I learned a lot from Ed, but once, when I asked what The Big One was like, he said "Read Bill Mauldin!" Ed didn't talk much about his service in WWII. I knew he was a waist-gunner on a B-24 in the USAAF. That he was busted to private and sent to the infantry for something about a jeep and lieutenant. I always suspected he popped the guy. The lieutenant was a Cracker and Ed claimed to be one of only two Jews in his regiment.

Only yesterday did I read Mauldin's Up Front.

 

Pages 143-144 are informative.

"Dig a hole in your back yard while it is raining. Sit in the hole until the water climbs up and around your ankles. Pour cold mud down your shirt collar. Sit there for forty-eight hours, and, so there is no danger of you dozing off, imagine that a guy is sneaking around waiting for a chance to club you on the head or set your house on fire.

Get out of the hole, fill a suitcase full of rocks, pick it up, put a shotgun in your other hand, and walk on the muddiest road you can find. Fall flat on your face every few minutes as you imagine big meteors streaking down to sock you.

After ten or twelve miles (remember--you are still carrying the shotgun and suitcase) start sneaking through the wet brush. Imagine that somebody has bobby-trapped your route with rattlesnakes which will bite you if you step on them. Give some friend a rifle and have him blast in your direction once in a while.

Snoop around until you find a bull. Try to figure out a way to sneak around him without letting him see you. When he does see you, run like hell all the way back to your hole in the back yard, drop the suitcase and shotgun and get in.

If you repeat this performance every three days for several months you might begin to understand why an infantry man sometimes gets out of breath. But you still won't understand how how feels when things get tough."

 

 

 

 

 

 

8/10/07

Danielle is leaving her job as dispatcher at Kruse Plumbing: she found a job closer to home and her new baby, Gabrielle. Today is her last day at work and Kruse is throwing a good-bye, all-you-can-eat Mexican lunch for her.

 

 

900 GRAYSON was on KGO CHANNEL 7 today at 3:00 PM. The Grayson Burger was featured in a San Francisco Magazine piece--the food editor waxing enthusiastically over the burger. The Grayson Burger was the "Best I Ate" burger in their current food issue. Josh went to San Francisco Magazine's office in the city at one o'clock with samples for the spot.

 

École Bilngue has replaced the supports of their basketball-backboards and has resurfaced their 8th and Grayson playground. And this afternoon striped the playground surface and policed the area.

Ok then.

 

Our old-man is again policing the streets of Potter Creek. I saw him the other day working with his pickup-stick and black trash-bag.

Well, Ok then!

 

And, today I saw another city-truck in Potter Creek picking up dumped trash--this one, new, in addition to the junker that now almost-regularly patrols our streets. I haven't seen this much junk/trash removal by the city here in over thirty years.

 

Owner, Steve Sullivan was under the hood of his old Chevy pickup in his Acme yard.

 

 

Last Sunday, a Bay Area morning news program had three kids reading there poetry. Does a poetry slam work on Sunday morning? This one did! The teenagers were from Youthspeaks

"Founded in 1996 in San Francisco, Youth Speaks has helped grow a movement of young people picking up the pen and taking hold of the microphone in the Bay Area and beyond as creators of social, artistic, educational and political change. We are absolutely committed to providing youth with as many opportunities as possible to develop and publicly present their voices in a variety of media - from live performances and theater, to videos, books, cd's, and right here online."

They are great group. Check them out !



In the last few days, national central-banks world wide, have pumped well over 300 billion dollars into the world economy to increase liquidity and so prevent the collapse of world credit-markets, and save our a##.

Seems the collapsing US residential real estate market isn't just a national issue--has to do with a world wide secondary market in US home mortgages.

 

 

 

 

8/12/07

June Taylor makes and sells homemade preserves and she's here on 4th Street in west-Berkeley.

Check her out!

 

 

Were those our City Council members and family at 900 for breakfast yesterday morning? Yes, I believe they were.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8/14/07

Guest of a regular, David Hicks, the beautiful Argentinean singer, Maria Volonté lunched at 900 GRAYSON today. She performed at La Peña on Sunday with her quartet featuring Pedro Giraudo, Octavio Brunetti and Franco Pinna.

 

 

Miltiades and I dined at Riva Cucina last night.

 

 

Quote of the week from the late Merv Griffin "Never be afraid of change."

 

 

 

 

8/15/07

 

Isabel

Scrambled Eggs contributor, grad-student and soon-to-be Phd candidate in Paris, emails from Mexico City.

Dear Ron

I'm working on my masters thesis, it has to be ready in a couple of weeks. 
And I already have my plane ticket, I'm leaving on October 10th. So . . . Paris, here I come !
I still have so many papers to do but now it's real, my PhD is real. I'm so excited !!!

love and respect, Isa

 

 

Our Gene of Berkeley Mills is going to Viet Nam on a business trip this weekend.

 

 

No End In Sight is a film made by business-man/entrepreneur, Charles Ferguson about our involvement in Iraq. Of it, Ferguson's site says "No End In Sight provides an exclusive and candid telling of Iraq's descent into chaos and warfare as a consequence of the debilitating decisions made by US."

Check it out!

 

"Quit Complaining--It May Make You Feel Worse" writes Melissa Dahl of MSNBC.

"When confronted with a problem, Ashley Merydith has a routine for dealing with it: She talks about it. Incessantly. To anyone who will listen.

'So he did this, and then I said this, and then he texted me this,' says Merydith, 23, describing the intricacies of a venting session. 'It's basically rehashing every conversation.'

Her goal is to get it off her chest and feel better about the issue. But often, Merydith finds that venting about her problems has the exact opposite effect. 'It makes you more amped up about the problem,' says Merydith, of Charlotte, N.C.

Voicing your frustrations is a natural way of dealing with them--but watch out for when a conversation dissolves into a bitch session. Talking your problems to death can make you feel even worse."

 

 

Bob Kubik emails about antisocial behavior in Potter Creek

Today someone dumped the sewage tank from an RV into the gutter across the street from my house. I first smelled it in my backyard several hundred feet away.
The nearest neighbor hosed it down which relieved the situation.
This is a new high in antisocial behavior! Not only that, but I believe it is criminal since that must eventually drain through the storm sewer into the bay.

 

Also this morning, but no where near as serious, around 11:00 AM the street of the 2800 block of Eight was covered with shredded paper and waste-office-correspondence from a business down the street.

I don't mind spending forty-five minutes of weekend mornings cleaning up the block, but shit!

And no one fuckin' picked it up but me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8/16/07

900's lunch-crowd spilled over and on to the sidewalk today. Kimar and I are going to try for lunch at Riva Cucina tomorrow.

 

Today's Trib has a photo of Berkeley kids cleaning up south-Berkeley. And, I saw three kids on 8th Street yesterday with a waste-basket, not knowing where to begin.

 

 

An article and related media about the August 2, 2007 slaying of
newspaper man, Chauncey Bailey and the subsequent investigation are
here.

And there is more in "Swanson also tried to help bakery avoid bankruptcy: Assemblyman one of number of officials who attempted to save business despite its failings, criminal record" by Cecily Burt of the Oakland Tribune.

"Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee are not the only prominent East Bay politicians who, despite its tainted reputation, pledged support for Your Black Muslim Bakery by asking a bankruptcy judge not to dissolve the business to pay off creditors.

Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland, joined Dellums and Lee, both his former bosses, and wrote a letter to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Edward D. Jellen last month on behalf of the bakery when asked by a former associate of the late founder Yusuf Bey."

 

 

"Heavy losses sweep world markets" reports BBC News.

"The world's markets are being closely watched. London's FTSE 100 fell below the 6,000 level as uncertainty over the impact of losses in the US sub-prime lending market persisted."

 

 

"The Collateral Damage of the US Interest Policies: The effects of low-rate loans in the US have caused waves around the world" reports DW-TV.

"Ulrich Kater, chief political economist at Germany's DekaBank, said the US Federal Reserve Bank is partly to blame for the American subprime mortgage crisis and its international effects.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has added another 7.7 billion euros ($10.7 billion) in a quick tender Tuesday aimed at calming continued liquidity fears in the wake of the crisis in the US home loan sector. =20=

The Frankfurt-based central bank has injected over 200 million euros into the financial system since Thursday."

 

 

"Deutsche Bank Hires Ex-Fed Chief Greenspan: The respected, veteran banker will now advise Deutsche Bank" reports DW-TV.

"Germany's biggest bank, Deutsche Bank, has appointed retired US Federal Reserve Board chairman, Alan Greenspan, as a senior advisor.

Deutsche Bank Chief executive Josef Ackerman described Greenspan as one of the 'architects of the modern financial system' as he announced the move on Monday."

 

 

So, when our computers become independently intelligent, will they tell us?

 

 

6:00 AM--irritant in front room. 8:56 AM--irritant in front room plus odor of "burning rubber." 10:14 AM--irritant in warehouse plus chlorine-like odor, use mask.

 

 

 

 

 

8/18/07

Site traffic has exploded this week with 4,000 to 8,000 hits a day, mid-week--the Scrambled Eggs and Lox archives receiving the most traffic.

 

 

And, the beat goes on.

Excavating for the Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl

 

 

"Planning in Berkeley: Doing Our Job"
opines Dan Marks in our Planet. "Mark Twain is supposed to have said 'never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.' I have followed that adage for most of my career, choosing not to respond to articles and editorials in newspapers, and especially not the Daily Planet, which has shown antipathy for my department, my staff and my profession. Despite my concern with the forum, as the director of Planning and Development for the city, I feel compelled to respond to Ms. O'Malley's editorials of Aug. 7 and 10 and Mr. Wollmer's commentary of Aug. 10. "

 

 

"California, where the grass is greener. What one hugely successful city reveals about America" is a provocative story in The Economist.

 

 

And, "The new financial order is undergoing its harshest test. It will not
be pretty, but it is necessary"
reports The Economist."

 

 

 

 

 

8/20/07

Jazz drummer, Max Roach passed last Wednesday. My memory of Max is in
"They hadn't listened to as many records as we had" at I Learned to Love Records.

"Max Roach [was] a founder of modern jazz who rewrote the rules of drumming in the 1940's and spent the rest of his career breaking musical barriers."

 

 

Yesterday afternoon I spent 20 minutes in front of the warehouse, relaxing in one the chairs Richard dropped off months ago-- a green plastic vacuum-formed job of unusual comfort--yet aggravated by the sight of the still present shredded-paper in the gutter in front of the French School playground--now including to-go-food-containers, used food, and lots of leaves, all the time wondering why someone doesn't clean it up. Then I got it, took a push-broom and large paper bag, went across the street and in less time than it took whining-to-myself about it, cleaned-it-up.

 

 

"Artist-Industrial enclave in West Berkeley feeling growth pressure" reports the San Francisco Chronicle's Carolyn Jones.

"Thanks to strict zoning laws, West Berkeley is like a bug trapped in amber. The outside world keeps changing, but West Berkeley is encased in a timeless golden bubble.

Potters coexist happily with biotech researchers. Architects and steel workers mingle over the tofu scramble at the Westside Cafe. No one fights over parking, and the bougainvillea is always blooming.

But change is looming, and not even Berkeley's stringent industrial and multi-use zoning laws - which have kept gentrification mostly at bay - can protect a neighborhood forever."

Italics, mine.

 

 

 

 

 

8/22/07

Our Libby, a worker at École Bilingue, is also a singer with the Bluegrass group, Foggy Gulch. Check it out here.

Well Ok then.

 

 

I believe those were our city-workers steam-cleaning the trash receptacle on the corner of San Pablo and Grayson--we could use more trash containers in Potter Creek.

 

 

Quite a lunch crowd at 900 yesterday. Around noon, Council woman Betty Olds arrived with staff, followed by an 8-top from Meyer Sound, then Kava and Phil Wood, and Morgan Smith. Later the waiting-crowd over-flowed onto the side-walk.

And over-heard at the bar was the possible quote of the week. "Right now the Berkeley Bowl is an 8 million dollar hole in the ground."

 

 

The last ten days, this site as a whole has had an average of just over five-thousand (5000) hits a day. If this level of access continues, traffic will be about two-million (2,000,000) hits a year.

 

 

 

 

8/23/07

Our Geralyn is going to the opera today--the Santa Fe Opera, for a long weekend of music in the desert.

 

Next week, there will be a meeting of west-Berkeley neighbors about the proposed Community Benefits District. It will be Monday, August 27th at 7: 00 PM in the École Bilingue, 1009 Heinz--the corner of 9th and Heinz, diagonally across the street from the Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl site.

 

 

 

 

 

8/26/07

 

 

My old friend WD attended the Glimmerglass Opera in Copperstown, New York recently and there met two women from Berkeley. He mentioned that he had a friend here who had a web-newsletter, Scrambled Eggs and Lox. "Oh, we read that" one exclaimed.

 

Our Tracy emails

Hi Ron,

After much practice doing loops around the courts, Natalie learned to ride a 2 wheeler tonight!

Tracy

The courts on which Natalie learned are on the École Bilingue playground.

 

 

I had dinner at Riva Cucina the other evening and ordered Triangoli alla salsiccia--house made ravioli-filled with mild Italian sausage and shallots with fresh tomato, green onion sauce--extraordinary. The homemade pasta was the perfect foil for the sweet Italian sausage with shallots and the diced fresh tomatoes and green onions in olive oil complimented beautifully. The sausage is Luganeza.

 

 

"Fee plan for new fields sparks outcry: [Berkeley] School board will vote tonight on $90 per hour levy"
reports Doug Oakley in our Times.

"Three new sports fields expected to cater to the demands of about 17,000 East Bay youths will not open in Berkeley until fall, but already a proposed fee to play on one of them is creating a stir. The field at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Derby Street, which will open next month, is owned by the Berkeley Unified School District, whose board will consider approving a $90-an-hour fee tonight for youth athletic teams."

 

"Chocolatemaker takes big bite of market" reports the Times' Janis Mara.

"With its edible chocolate boxes, truffles and caramel-covered Granny Apples, Emeryville-based Charles Chocolates is a company you can sink your teeth into."

 

"Mortgage fiascoes devour jobs: Home-loan industry crisis leads to more than 600 workers losing
jobs in the East Bay this year"
writes George Avalos in our Times.

"Erin Murphy thought last week that she had a good shot at landing a job to process home loans -- until she found out she was one of 60 people who had applied for the post at a local company."

 

"Mortgage job losses surpass 40,000" reports Ieva M Augstums of the AP in the Times.

"At the North Carolina offices of mortgage lender HomeBanc Corp., Archie Clark is the only employee left. But in a few days, he'll be gone, too. When Clark finishes helping movers from the company's Atlanta headquarters collect computers and other property, he'll join the more than 25,000 workers nationwide who have lost jobs in the financial services industry since the beginning of the month with more than half coming since last Friday.

With few exceptions, the cuts are the direct result of woes in the nation's housing market."

 

"Home sales sink to 12-year low: Despite sizable drops in July for Contra Costa and Alameda counties, median prices continue to rise, DataQuick says" reports Barbara E. Hernandez of our Times.

East Bay home sales in July were the slowest in Solano County since 1989 and the slowest in Alameda and Contra Costa counties in 12 years, DataQuick Information Systems reported Wednesday.

Most of the Bay Area reported sales drops year-over-year in single digits, but in Contra Costa County sales dropped 24 percent and in Solano County sales dipped 36.7 percent. San Francisco reported the only rise in home sales -- 4.1 percent.

Foreclosure sales accounted for 4.5 percent of the state's July sales activity, up from 4.1 percent in June and up from 1.5 percent in July 2006."

 

"Countrywide Financial's credit woes force it to borrow billions" reports the AP's Alex Veiga.

"The credit mess forced Countrywide Financial Corp., the nation's largest mortgage lender, to borrow $11.5 billion on Thursday, shocking financial markets already reeling from the growing credit crunch and threatening to make home loans harder to get."

And Veiga also reports "Bank of America invests in lender: Countrywide gets $2 billion equity investment as it deals with subprime fallout. Countrywide Financial Corp. said Wednesday that Bank of America Corp. has made an equity investment of $2 billion in the company, a deal that comes as the nation's largest mortgage lender tries to weather a credit crunch that has rocked Wall Street and the mortgage industry. The transaction was completed and funded Wednesday, Countrywide said." Full story is here.

 

"Wayans team cancels [Oakland] Army base reuse plan: Port's expansion next door would bring noise and
pollution, block Bay view, entertainers' reps say"
report Kelly Rayburn and Cecily Burt of Media News.

"The Wayans brothers' development team pulled out of negotiations with the city over plans to build a movie studio and arts and retail center on the former Army base in West Oakland this week, leaving the future development of the base in question, city officials said . .."

 

And Toby Sterling of the AP gives a potted history of the CD in "Compact Disc celebrates 25th anniversary"

 

 

 

8/28/30

Bob Kubik emails

Tippett Studios has installed a semi-truck sized diesel generator and 1000 gallons of diesel fuel in their parking lot about 40 feet from my house.They intend to run it seven days a week from 9:00am to 7:00 pm for three weeks! It was started up yesterday - they promised to shut down at 6:00, but it ran until 7:30.For me it means keeping my windows shut all day and not using my yard - even on weekends. . . . What recourse do we have?

I went into the City of Berkeley "Permit" office and talked to Malcomb Prince -
Supervising building inspector. He was helpful and said he would send an inspector to see if what they are doing is legal from their viewpoint. It might or might not be legal depending on previous agreements. They do not have a permit for the generator, but may not need one. They appear to have done previous construction with permits.
Then I went to "Environmental Health" and spoke to Denise who was very helpful. She seemed especially concerned about the storage of diesel fuel. She said she would send an inspector from their department, Jason Ho, to check it out.
She also will refer it to the "Toxics" department and to the "Fire Department'.

 

 

Miltiades Mandros emails

While aimlessly wandering around this morning in search of a breakfast spot, I decided to try the Cocina Poblano, which took over from the Italian place which formerly occupied the corner at 64th, across from Starbucks. Mexican food for breakfast is not normally my favorite, but I had a surprisingly good spinach and mushroom omelet. Even the coffee was decent.

 

 

"Best-laid community plan goes awry: Mountain House in San Joaquin County serves as a microcosm for housing market struggles" writes Katherine Conrad of our Times.

"At Mountain House, visionaries carefully planned streets, schools, sewers -- everything needed to create a thriving community of 16,000 homes in the middle of San Joaquin County's farmland.

Build it and they will come. And they did.

Starting in 2003, thousands of Silicon Valley residents desperate for a house, two-car garage and backyard made the hour-plus commute from the job-rich Bay Area over the Altamont Pass to Mountain House, where
home prices started in the low $300,000s.

But then the real estate boom went bust. Last month, DataQuick reported that San Joaquin County mortgage holders were among the most likely in the state to default on their payments; San Joaquin County
has the highest foreclosure rate among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, RealtyTrac recently reported."

 

 

"Building a balance: Affordable housing goals shift" reports Katherine Tam

"For years, Bay Area cities such as Oakland and Antioch supplied much of the East Bay's affordable housing, but now more-affluent communities are being asked to carry some of the weight.

It would be a dramatic shift in the way housing is divvied up -- and one that regional leaders say is critical. The burden of providing housing for the poor must be shared, they say."

 


"Could Asian shares provide a safe haven for global investors" asks the Economist.

"It often seems that everything is made in China, but certainly not the latest turmoil in financial markets. Over the past four weeks, as world share prices have plunged, Chinese A-shares have leapt by over 20%. And as central banks elsewhere worry about a credit crunch, China's central bank this week raised interest rates for the fourth
time this year."

 

 

 

 

8/30/07

"Group says [Berkeley] steel plant emits toxic metal traces: Global Community Monitor contends tests show manganese, nickel from Pacific Steel Casting" reports Doug Oakley of our Times.

"Pacific Steel Casting is showering West Berkeley's skies with toxic metal traces that can cause cancer and neurological problems, according to a group of activists who have been monitoring air around the plant since May.

Global Community Monitor, a nonprofit environmental justice group based in San Francisco, started monitoring the air with a $25,000 grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The group released preliminary data Tuesday from 12 air monitoring sites around Pacific Steel Casting, which has been making steel parts such as fire hydrants, truck parts and bridge pieces in Berkeley since 1934. It found levels of manganese and nickel much higher than those deemed safe by the World Health Organization and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.

The group plans to continue monitoring through December, director Denny Larson said.

Larson and consultant Peter Guerrero called on Pacific Steel to shut down the plant or install additional pollution-control devices."

 

Pacific Steel Casting is featured in Zelda Bronstein's beautifully crafted mini-film about west-Berkeley manufacturing, Made in Berkeley. Also featured in her film are Potter Creek's Adams and Chittinden Scientific Glass and John Phillips, Harpsichord Maker.

 

 

As I posted on 8/28, Tippett Studios has placed a temporary diesel generator right behind Bob and Carol's home--they both are neighbors on Pardee and 10th. Bob emailed on the 28th "They intend to run it seven days a week from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm for three weeks! It was started up yesterday."

What Bob didn't mention is that it exhausts into what is an urban canyon formed around Bob and Carol's back yard by taller buildings immediately to the west and south and the diesel exhaust is carcinogenic.

 

 

The Monthly has a story about my favorite Irish developer, Patrick Kennedy.

"A Developer? In Berkeley?
Developer Patrick Kennedy has waded through the often-contentious zoning debates in Berkeley to be one of the city's most prolific builders. Although he sold his properties this spring, the controversial developer has a vision that's bigger than ever" writes Eve Kushner.

The story will be on-line, mid-month at www.themonthly.com with Patrick's photo, a good-looking guy he is, too.

 

 

Bruce Hermann--Potter Creek's Pumpkin Man--would like to thank whoever placed the plate of stones and still-quite-good cigarette butts at his feet the other night. (Though he personally is not a smoker. But he does thank you for policing your area.) Also, he would like to thank you personally but does not have the patience to go through 12 hours of our surveillance tape, see you, find you, and then meet you. (Though, I did mention he could scan it in 2 to 3 hours.)

 

 

 

 

 

8/31/07

Our Councilman, Darryl Moore emails about Labor Day crime in Potter Creek.

Ron,

We have sent your concern to our areawide police officer Officer Frankel. I have asked the police department to provide greater service to the Potter Creek neighborhood during the Labor Day weekend.

Darryl

 

Dozens and dozens and dozens of working artists in Potter Creek? I'd nominate all the men and women at Tippett Studios. They are not only artists but computer graphicists, animators and . . . magicians.

And, just what are they working on now?

Scheduled for release on November 21 this year is Disney's Enchanted. Of it imdb writes

A classic Disney fairytale collides with modern-day New York City in
a story about a fairytale princess (Amy Adams) from the past who is
thrust into present-day by an evil queen (Susan Sarandon). Soon after
her arrival, Princess Giselle begins to change her views on life and
love after meeting a handsome lawyer (Patrick Dempsey). Can a
storybook view of romance survive in the real world?

In one scene, Prince Edward rides a bus through Times Square. In the
background a large poster can be seen advertising the musical play
"Wicked," which originally featured Idina Menzel, who plays Nancy in
"Enchanted," in the starring role.

Much more here.

 

And based on the Philip Pullman novel adapted by Chris Weitz, is Golden Compass. Again, from imdb

In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North
to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible
experiments by a mysterious organization. In leading roles are Nicole Kidman
and Daniel Craig.

It is scheduled for release 7, December this year.

More here.

 

Finally, the project for which Tippett Studios needs a generator to power additional computors is Spiderwicke, based on the Spiderwicke Chronicles, a series of childrens' books about which mumsnet writes
"Surely the Lemony Snicket books are the best books EVER to read aloud to your children?"

Read about these books here.

There is a year-end deadline for this project.

 

 

 

DW TV reports

"Germany's Largest Synagogue Reopens in Berlin.

Berlin's Ryke Street synagogue, Germany's largest [with a capacity of 1200], completed its remarkable return to its former glory Friday when it was reopened after extensive reconstruction.

Nearly 70 years after it was badly damaged in the 1938 Nazi pogrom known as Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), Germany's largest synagogue reopened in Berlin Friday after being restored to its original glory over the past year at a cost of 5 million euros ($7 million).

Built in 1904 in the neo-Romanesque style, the Ryke Street synagogue was attacked during the infamous night of violence during which Adolf Hitler's followers torched Jewish homes, businesses and places of worship. While the synagogue was desecrated, it was not burned down, apparently because the Nazis feared causing damage to the surrounding buildings.

The Jewish community see great hope in the reopening

Now, after a colorful history which also saw it fall under communist rule, the synagogue has been reborn as symbol of the rebirth of the Jewish community in the German capital."


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.

Bob Kubik again stresses that "I believe it is up to each of us to report what crime we see, and/or are aware of, to the City in order to get and keep their attention." The contacts are below:

Officer Andrew Frankel, Berkeley PD - 981-5774 AFrankel@ci.berkeley.ca.us

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

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

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

return

ronpenndorf@earthlink.net

The original owner of all scanned material retains copyright. The material is used only to illustrate.