February 2005



is Black History Month




and full-blossom time

in Potter Creek





out again. Wake up chil'!




In his report "Berkeley: Blacks favored in public housing, . . ." Patrick Hoge writes "In its letter to the city, [HUD's] office pointed out that while the 2000 census showed 15.7 percent of Berkeley's low-income population was African American, 74.2 percent of the people getting Section 8 rent vouchers and 87 percent of tenants in city-owned rental units were African American. " Read the full story at sfgate.com


There will be a City of Berkeley Planning Commission meeting to rezone--"adopt a negative declaration"--the proposed Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl site from "Mixed Use-Light Industrial " to "West Berkeley Commercial" on Wednesday, February 9, 2005 at the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Avenue. The meeting starts at 7:00 PM

For more information, email agatzke@ci.berkeley.ca.us. And for the meeting agenda, go towww.ci.berkeley.ca.us.






"UC announces stadium remodeling -- mayor gets teed off Bates says university not sharing plans with its host city" reports our Charles Burress at sfgate.com

927 Grayson is FOR RENT, email Merryll Saylan for information.

Also, Merryll is selling Ed's 2002 PRIUS, 21,000 miles, silver-purple, extras, excellent condition--for more information email Merryll.

Bob and Paul are in town to visit Milo.

Yup, there's a Plaanning Commission meeting tonight. See 2/3/05 post.

Jill Ellis, director of the CEID School emails that the school will be on the Channel 7 News, Friday, February 11 at 6:00PM. Check it out!


Meyer Lemon Pudding Cake

An old fashioned recipe

2T butter
1/2 C sugar
3 eggs separated
1C milk
1 1/2 T flour
1/3 C Meyer lemon juice
grated rind of 1 Meyer lemon
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.........Beat the butter until soft, then gradually add the sugar, beating until incorporated.....Beat in egg yolks one at a time.
Add milk, flour, lemon juice and rind; beat well (mixture might have a curdled look--thats ok)
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then fold into the batter.
Pour into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish and set in a pan of hot water that comes halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Serve tepid or chilled.
Nice served with a dollop of whipped cream.

As this bakes it separates into a sponge layer on top and a creamy custard underneath.

(It's the season for Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons are usually home grown here in yards and gardens, although a few good produce markets have them. I like them better that regular lemons, they are a cross between a lemon and an orange and so are less acidic. Kimar)





Meyer Lemon, Cream and Vodka Linguine

Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt
1 shallot minced
2 T olive oil
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 C vodka
3 T Meyer lemon juice
2 C cream
1# fresh linguine or fettucini
1 T capers drained
salt and white pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook until limp and slightly brown, add vodka and reduce to half. add lemon juice and cream. Cook over low heat until the cream begins to thicken and bubble 3 to 5 min. keep an eye on it and stir occasionally
Add capers and stir to incorporate.
Meanwhile add fresh pasta to pot of boiling, salted water and cook to al dente about 3 or 4 min for fresh pasta. You can use dried pasta, just remember to cook it longer
Drain pasta and immediately pour pasta into skillet of sauce stirring carefully to cover pasta with sauce
Add salt and pepper and serve, you can toss finely chopped parsley on top if desired
Note: if cream sauce becomes too thick, stir in a few tablespoons of the pasta water to thin it down, stir to incorporate.

There was a proper dinner party last night in Potter Creek for Bob and Paul. Of the 8 1/4 people present, Milo courteously ate first and then slept soundly. The setting was elegant, the food beautifully presented and delicious--I specially loved the carefully handmade cream-corn--the wine perfect, the company warm, and the women beautiful.

Yesterday morning I sat next to Bob and Paul as they had their breakfast at the Westside. Even though there were only six or eight other customers, it took 15-20 minutes for the food to arrive. When it did arrive, the corn-beef hash was luke-warm and the pancakes, dry and tasteless. The service was ordinary, as was my coffee. It cost about $20.00-$25.00 for two.




Zelda B reports that what was decided at Wednesday's Planning Commission hearing was to extend the public comment period to the next meeting. And,. . . another "traffic report," was submitted which was commissioned by "some Potter Creek businesses"--this time as comments on the already submitted report. Here are some excerpts.

"First, I would like to touch briefly on my background in traffic engineering, which encompasses approximately 28 years of traffic engineering experience, primarily in Northern California. I am licensed as both a civil engineer and a traffic engineer, and certified as a professional traffic operations engineer. My specialized professional expertise is in the area of traffic operations and safety in congested areas; however, my scope of work includes grocery stores . .

The study addresses only the afternoon peak hour intersection analyses, between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., while the operations at the intersection of Heinz and Ninth are currently at levels of service "F between 3:15 p.m. and 3:45 . . .

The study excludes any analyses of traffic conditions at the grocery store on a Saturday."

The report is signed "Respectively (sic), Eugenie P Thompson."


"Battle Over West Berkeley Bowl Nears Finale" reports Richard Brenneman of the Berkeley Daily P.

Is it nearly over, or is it really over with all this just after-the-play antics?



Perhaps now we can address the dirty little secret that west-Berkeley is an environmental shit-hole, a product largely of its industrial past, its proximity to the freeway, lots of truck traffic, the absurd mixed-use zoning, science gone mad, the welcoming of chemical and bug factories, the past storage of nuclear-waste, the large concentration of hazardous material users, and the West-Berkeley Plan. (Hell, even the Sovs couldn't make plans work. Still for what it's worth, Sean Connery's character in "Russia House," a favorite movie of mine, responds to a CIA questioner with "Russia's just as corrupt as the States but without all the bull-shit.")





Meyer Lemon Curd
3 oz butter
1 C sugar
2/3 C fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
grated zest of 2 Meyer lemons
4 large eggs
pinch of salt
Use a double boiler or place a large metal bowl over a pan of boiling water ( Do not let bottom of bowl touch water.) Put butter in bowl and let melt, add remaining ingredients. Whisk for 5 minutes until curd just begins to thicken. Then stir continuously with whisk or wooden spoon until the curd thickly coats the back of the spoon, this takes about 15 min.
Remove from heat and place in a bowl. When cool refrigerate.
Makes about 2 cups.
You can serve this like the Brits do with scones, of fill meringues with it and top with whip cream or top a pound cake with curd and whip cream.
(You can use Meyer Lemons any time lemon is called for in a recipe. Some bars use Meyer juice in bar drinks like The Lemon Drop. Kimar)




Yesterday at Noon, the streets of Potter Creek were filled with more people than I ever remember on a weekend--neighbors, friends, friends-friends, workers, proprietors, recyclers, students, artists, craftsmen, tourists, residents, owners, renters, rentees. Long time friend Marsha Wacko observed "We've had it to ourselves for so long, now it's time to share it."


I'm told the Nexus Collective has a new Board and that Aspy Khambatta is one of its members. Here, in his portion of their workshop, he demonstrates his not inconsiderable acting talent--exceeded only by his wood working skill.




Happy Valentine Day!

Increased business today at Potter Creek's Good Vibrations, I trust--a co-op, by-the-way.

Or, go to our Sharffen Berger's retail outlet and get some chocolate--they were on the Channel 2 News this morning around 7:00. I believe that good-lookin' guy on the TV was our Jan.


Our flowering fruit trees now are. You can see them along Heinz between 7th and 9th and in front of Merryl's and Kruse' on 8th between Pardee and Grayson.


RON & ABBYS BERKELEY MUFFLER business card reads HONEST FRIENDLY SERVICE. And that's literally true. In an era of chains and indifference, this forty-three year old family business is old school, effortlessly offering honest, friendly service. They are located at 6432 Shattuck Avenue at 65th Street just inside Oakland. They are open from 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM Monday through Friday--their phone number is (510) 655-6833.



As I left Potter Creek last night at 7 o'clock, a low light-grey cloud had drifted across all of Potter Creek. "Awful low to be part of the storm" I thought, and as I looked toward the northwest in the directon of Bayer, I saw it was rising from the ground. When last I reported these regular emissions, I noted that our American flag, flying high above the Bayer building was helpful in determing wind direction and emission sources. Bayer lowered flag a few days later and never again raised it.

"Air pollution from traffic and power plants seems to cause genetic changes -- the kind linked to cancer -- in developing fetuses, a federally funded study released Tuesday has concluded" reports Seth Borenstsein in his "Study Links Air Pollution . . ." in the West County Times.


Also in the Times is Michelle Locke's "CHP sued for Seizing Medical Marijuana." "'It's been more than eight years since California voters approved the right to use marijuana medically and since that time law enforcement has resisted upholding that. While this resistance is pretty widespread across California, CHP are the worst violators by far' " writes Locke of the suit filed by Berkeley's American's for Safe Access.




I'm told by their neighbors that Acme Bread received a flour delivery before 5:00 AM this morning. Innocent enough? Well, the flour is delivered by a tanker-truck and is blown/sucked into Acme's storage bin by a powerful motor, which, during mid-day deliveries, can be heard a block away. At 5:00AM it must be deafening. And during the delivery, which takes a couple of hours, the driver regularly bangs on the tanker with a metal rod to loosen flour stuck to the tanker's insides. Immediately cross the street from Acme are work/live units, and there are homes within a very short half-block. Acme is, in fact, surrounded by dozens of residents. Come on Mr Bread "Get your shit together!" By the way, what is that stink that you regularly belch into our neighborhood? It smells similar to bleach and with a secondary baking-bread odor. And how, some years ago, were you able to tear down that lovely old workers-bungalow to make a loading dock? "Must be a friend of the Mayor's" "Fast Eddie" Saylan cracked at the time.



Emissions also come out of this vent at Adams and Chittenden Scientific Glass--three feet below and two feet from my roof. Perhaps that's why it fills my warehouse with an irritant. In fairness, they now use a filtering process "recommended" by Bay Area Air Quality. While melting "gold plastic decals" at high temperatures onto glass-tubes in one of their "glass-baking" ovens, they run the resultant fumes through a jug of water and out the vent. "Call 'em" said George, "we've got their number." I knew environmental science was primative, but damn. (I'll have to tell my friends who run auto-body shops and are exhausting their fumes through half-dozen in-line 4' x 6' fiber filters. Hey, Bay Area Air Quality says just run it through a jug of water.


And sadly, it is my experience that as Potter Creek is more and more built up, the Bay winds less and less act as an air freshener, blocked as they are by more and more structures.


Finally, yesterday my twenty-six year old TOYOTA 4 X 4 with over 200,000 miles easily passed its smog test. On seeing the test print-out, Christopher remarked with surprise "I've seen 1997-98 passenger cars that weren't this clean." The thirty-something guy who gave the test said "Your truck's in better shape than I am."

The smog test was done in Potter Creek at Berkeley Smog Test Only Center. They're good, efficient and fair. They are at 1010 Carleton and they are open from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM Monday through Friday and until 4:30 PM on Saturday. Their phone number is (510) 549-2355. Herman Tse is the owner.



Excerpts from our Mayor's February report.

" I have been attending neighborhood and living room meetings around the City for the past month to talk about my vision for Berkeley, discuss the budget, and - most importantly - hear from people about the City's priorities should be. I have another 20 meetings scheduled over the next few months and would love to see you at one of them. Please send me an email if you plan to attend one of the meetings listed below or if you'd like to host a meeting in your neighborhood.

Upcoming neighborhood meetings:

Monday, February 28th at 7:30 p.m. Park Hills Neighborhood
Association (at Shepherd of the Hills, 401 Grizzly Peak Blvd.) with Council Member Betty Olds.

Wednesday, March 2nd at 7 p.m. Claremont/ Ashby area
meeting (at John Muir Elementary School) with Council Member Gordon Wozniak.

Monday, March 7th at 7 p.m. Ashby BART area meeting (at St.
Paul's AME Church on Ashby St.) with Council Member Max Anderson.

Monday, March 14th at 7:30 p.m. Thousand Oaks area (at
Thousand Oaks Elementary school) with Council Member Laurie Capitelli.

Wednesday, March 16th at 7 p.m. San Pablo Park area (at San
Pablo Park) with Council Member Darryl Moore."

Read da Mayor's policy brief on environmental leadership somewhere at


Policy briefs are all well and good but I'd still like to know what that green ooze is coming up through the pavement on Ashby just east of the underpass in the east-bound lane.


How out-of-date is the West- Berkeley Plan?

One of Potter Creek's leading architects turned down an art gallery project knowing that his client could not get a use permit in our mixed use zone--no retail sales of art he was told.

Want to rent a small space and sell beautiful Chinese artifacts over the Internet in our mixed use zone? You can't get a use permit to sell retail over the Internet.

But, I'm told that the manager of one of our multiple workspace rentals is telling prospective renters that, in fact, retail sales are permitted there--probably just a misunderstanding.



A Potter Creek acquaintance in the know says Glen Yasuda will ask the Planning Commission to allow him to resubmit his west-Berkeley Bowl plan at a March 23 meeting. He wants only the non-warehouse part of his project rezoned commercial. If all is rezoned as presently proposed, he cannot build his warehouse in the commercial zone. The Berkeley Daily Planet confirms this and further reports that "The revision will trigger a new public hearing [and that] Yasuda now needs to prepare a new environmental initial study and a revised project map."


Bryan Stryzek of Kava Massih emails

"Event: Planning Commission Meeting

Project: West Berkeley Bowl at 920 Heinz Avenue

Location: North Berkeley Senior Center

Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 "

Bryan also reports that the Bowl is on the agenda for citizen discussion 8:00 PM


But I'm wondering what we'll speak about if the current proposal is withdrawn?


Lipofsky wonders why the French -America School is so concerned about the impact of the Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl on them when for as long as he can remember they have been "threatening to move out of Potter Creek." He also wonders why people who don't live in Potter Creek are suddenly so passionately interested in the impact of the Bowl here--he cynically suggests it's to be in the newspapers or on TV, and finally why our increasingly part time community activist is interested in issues in Potter Creek rather than those elsewhere, where he spends more and more time.




Today is the 105th Birthday of Zeppo Marx




From long-ago Herb Caen

"The San Franciscan of today is more interested, for instance, in the exploits of a Pierre Monteux than in the socialite descendants of the florid, hard-hitting millionaires who left their stamp on the city in the form of gingerbread mansions and ever-fading legends.

At seventy-three, the bouncy, bubbly little maestro of the San Francisco Symphony is richly enjoyed by thousands who never attend a concert. With his thick mane of black hair and his white Santa Claus mustache, he is a daily sight to see as he walks his French poodle, Fifi, around the Fairmont Hotel. Delighted passersby on the California cable car are likely to lean out from their perches and shout "Hiya, maestro!" or even, if they're among the cognoscenti, "Yoo-hoo, Chummy" -- that, for reasons unknown to the management, being his nickname. Chummy obligingly answers any and all public greetings with a Gallic wave of his arm, a bow of his leonine head, and voilà! more admiring non-attenders for the San Francisco Symphony.

In 1948 the amazingly vital M. Monteux conducted one hundred and fifty-three concerts -- more than any other major conductor in the country. His Symphony records sold so widely and steadily that his annual royalties from them alone totaled $40,000. He scampers out onto the stage of the Opera House at such a furious rate that there has been some talk among Symphony directors of banking the sharp turn from the rear of the stage to his podium.

In fact, I've been able to detect only two small signs of approaching age in the redoubtable maestro. A small step has been affixed to the podium to allow him to mount it more easily. And now, when he conducts from a score, which is seldom, he wears glasses.

Even his wife, Doris, an equally energetic person, is unable to explain this perpetual youth. 'Maybe,' she ventures, 'it's because he eats a plateful of oysters, washed down with champagne, after each concert.' With more than one hundred and fifty concerts on the agenda each year, you can see that M. Monteux makes deeper inroads into the oyster world than even the pearl industry.

Incidentally, Mme. Monteux is a woman of almost limitless capabilities. Along with acting as her husband's manager, press agent, and one-woman claque, she is an indefatigable speech maker on any subject you'd care to mention. One day in 1946 I followed her with awe and admiration as she spoke on 'Medicine in Russia' at the San Francisco Breakfast Club; 'Commercial Aspects of Music' at Mills College; and 'Football and Football Coaches'at St. Ignatius High School.

Mme. Monteux is also a patron of the arts, to the point where the Monteux apartment in the Fairmont is crammed with paintings by young San Francisco artists struggling to get ahead. Her special pet was the now successful Tom Lewis, who was 'discovered' by Mme. Monteux working away in a tiny Montgomery Street garret.

After she had already bought a stack of Lewis's paintings, Mme. Monteux insisted on taking her husband up to Lewis's studio. There, she made the young painter display one after another of his works, and each time she would turn to the maestro and murmur: 'Isn't that wonderful?' And each time Monteux would nod: 'Yes, it's beautiful, but--'

At last his wife demanded: 'Chummy, why do you always say It's beautiful, but'?' 'Because,' twinkled Monteux, 'if I don't say `but' you'll want to buy it!'"

To be continued

For more stories about "Chummy,"read Pierre Monteux, Maître

Monteux's San Fransico Years

The Monteux Era


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