February 2007

CIA analyst, John T. Whitman at SALT II


Carol Whitman's Dad--Carol of Potter Creek's Carol and Bob--was a CIA Soviet analyst during the Cold War. In his role as a Soviet analyst John was a CIA representative at the SALT II talks. This month, some of his poems and memories



Doctor Defoe Has a mouth like a bow And a medicine bag full of samples. If your nose has turned green He will tell you he's seen Simply dozens of examples.


He's got pills for the pox In his medicine box. And powders for after-your-binges. But if you want shots, Why, he has lots and lots In his little prefilled syringes.


From John T. Whitman's privately-published memoirs--John was a CIA Soviet analyst during the Cold War.

The Cuban Missle Crisis

The Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 took me and my colleagues completely by surprise. As a Soviet expert, the CIA operators of this project had scant reason to bring me into the planning. But my fellow political analysts who specialized in Cuban affairs were kept equally in the dark. It was the rule in those times -- and remained the usual custom for a long time even after the rules were changed -- not to expand the chance of leaks by consulting analysts from the analytic side of the Agency. Nor was it a time when potential nay-sayers were gladly sought out. Thus we shall never know whether those analysts, freed of operational responsibilities, would have given emphatic warnings that little support for the invasion could be expected from the Cuban populace or armed forces. Given the operators' commitment to the project:, it seems unlikely that, were such warnings given, they would have been heeded. At any rate, I knew nothing more about the Bay of Pigs than the average newspaper reader and nothing more thereafter, save for an early indication, from an enraged planner, about John Kennedy's crucial perfidy in withholding air support from the stranded exile brigade.

Not so with the Cuban missile crisis in October of the following year, which posed entirely analytic tasks. The first reconnaissance photos of missile bases under construction came in on a Sunday, and I was summoned to an urgent meeting on Monday to look at them. We were all astonished, including myself. In fact, two of my senior colleagues, older and more experienced, spent the entire day arguing the photo interpreters conclusions. It seemed beyond belief that Khrushchev could hope to ship these missiles across the Atlantic, on open decks, construct their Cuban launch sites, and deploy them against the US Bay of Pigs fiasco and Kennedy's willingness to endure some bullying at their Vienna summit earlier in the year to mean that Washington would stand by powerless.

In fact, we were right to be astonished. Khrushchev's venture was in fact foolhardy and ended disastrously. Within two years it had entered the category of "hare-brained schemes" which the Soviet press used to explain and justify his ouster.But in the heat of the moment we could only surmise that the Soviet missile deployment be-spoke not only an extreme aggressiveness but also a dangerous contempt for the Americans.

That first meeting broke up with an agreement- -with two abstentions --that strategic missile deployments were in fact occurring in Cuba and a decision to produce a daily report on the progress-- locations of missile-carrying ships at sea, state of construction of their launch sites in Cuba, indicators of the presence of nuclear warheads, operational readiness. This report would include the most sensitive categories of intelligence and would be restricted to members of the ExCom, an ad hoc group of the President's most trusted advisors, set up to manage the crisis. Upon returning to my office, I check out a faint memory. Sure enough, I found in an editorial published some three weeks earlier in Pravda a long diatribe about Berlin, filled with dire threats if the West did not recognize East German sovereignty and allow it to regulate access to West Berlin. At the very end was a short paragraph, also couched in the blustering tones of Soviet propaganda, demanding that the United States keep its hands off Cuba.

Neither the tone nor the content of this editorial was unusual. What was odd was the mixture of two subjects, the abrupt swerve from a routine piece on Berlin to the topic of Cuba. It was this which had caught my eye at the time, but when no explanation offered itself I simply dismissed it and went on. Now its significance became clear. We had been given, inadvertently or not, a glimpse of an overall strategy. Since Khrushchev lacked the power and, confidence to confront us directly in Berlin, at the heart of Europe, he meant first to cow us in Cuba, bring new nuclear firepower to bear on the US itself, and in these dramatically changed circumstances, force his will upon us in Berlin as the first application of the new correlation of forces. This may well sound arcane to many, but it was an established method of analysis by Western Sovietologists. The extreme secrecy practiced by Moscow forced outsiders, and ordinary Russians as well, to search for seemingly far-fetched clues to Soviet policy between the lines, not only in Pravda and Izvestiya, but in many other more obscure publications as well.

Allen Dulles was able to make a great impression on President Eisenhower in 1953 when he reported that the name of Beriya, the secret police chief, was missing from a long list of Politburo members who had attended the opera; Dulles could not predict Beryia's fate, but it did not look good for him. Within a week Pravada announced that the traitor Beriya had been unmasked and shot.

This, of course, was a useless tour de force; there was nothing the US could do with Dulles' information, though it did contribute to his reputation within the administration.

Pravda's Berlin-Cuba linkage, on the other hand, was freighted with grave policy significance, and I cursed myself for not having seen this at the time, though I would have been unable to convince others of anything on such sparse evidence. Such are the frustrations of Sovietology.

A better opportunity arrived on the second day of the crisis when Pravda gave the first Soviet public response to Kennedy's challenge to the Soviet deployments. The United States was excoriated for concocting a crisis, for fabricating evidence and dragging the world to the brink of nuclear war. Toward the end came the key: in the face of this dastardly scheme, "The Soviet Union will not be provoked. Instead, as always, it will fight to expose the plots of the imperialists and struggle to preserve world peace."

"The Soviet-Union will not be provoked." I recognized this as a time honored formula employed when the Soviet Union, having itself provoked, found itself over-extended and forced to draw back. It was guidance to the Party elite and foreign Communists that a retreat would be necessary and should be portrayed as a contribution to peace, with Moscow's opponents branded as warmongers restrained by the wise policy of the USSR. From that moment I never doubted that the crisis would be contained, that Khrushchev knew he was outmatched and would find some way to satisfy US demands.

Later that day I was named as the CIA member of a small group of Soviet specialists, drawn from State and the Pentagon, to provide a daily intelligence analysis of Soviet intentions. There were five or six of us, and we all read Pravda the same way. Our conclusion was delivered to the ExCom by our chairman, who worked for Walt Rostow in the NSC Staff. I never knew how seriously it was taken--a common frustration for intelligence analysts-- but when, a day or two later, the Soviet missile ships stopped dead in the water, the meaning of "the Soviet Union will not be provoked" became clearer.

That evening I came home, tired and snappish, to discover that my childrens' school had conducted an air raid drill. Carol, Stephen. and Davie had all spent five minutes, with their classmates, crouched under their desks. They wanted to know why. I was furious. Why should all these children be frightened and bewildered? What sort of overreaction was this? Didn't everyone know that Khrushchev was going to back down, that there would he no war? It took me a while to realize that our school administrators didn't read Pravda. But more generally, I have never been able to shake the feeling that the Administration's stance on the crisis was partly intended to magnify the danger in order to heighten the President's credit in meeting and winning it. Granted that these were rattled men, confronted initially with a challenge that seemed both mortal and inexplicable. But the subsequent memoir-writing of Kennedy's associates has done little to curb this excess.

Finally, the role of Ted Walker deserves to be memorialized. Ted was the funniest man I ever knew, with an inexhaustible fund of down-home stories about the eccentric inhabitants of Cepawlpa, Oklahoma, where he was raised. Ted was assigned to the team which produced the daily intelligence report on the status of the deployments. Each issue contained a map of the United States, across which arcs were drawn to indicate the range of each missile site as it became operational in Cuba. For reference purposes, a few cities were indicated on this map--New York, Washington, St. Louis, New Orleans. On about the fifth day yet another arc appeared. It ran directly through a small circle identified as Cepawlpa, Oklahoma.

Years later, Ted Walker met a strange and sad end. He was working on the annual estimate of Soviet military strength, a complicated and hotly contested document which directly affected the size of the military budget that the Pentagon would recommend. It was a grueling process; one of the military participants regularly took a month's leave after its completion because, as he confided to a colleague, "all that Iying he had to do tore him up real bad." One afternoon, during a particularly fierce argument, Ted suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack at the table.

The End



Sally and Suzanna had a garden party on Sunday afternoon in January--sort of the celebration "My dinning pavilion was featured in House Beautiful." And by mid-afternoon, Sally's pavilion and backyard over-flowed with guests, among them movers-and-shakers of west-Berkeley and dressed-to-the-tens Bay Area interior decorators and designers. Champagne flowed and La Farine desserts dazzled on the dinning-room table. But in the midst of all this sat the demure Dorothy Mitchell-Irwin, now 91. Sally's cousin, she was down from Redlands for the party. A Redlands native, Dorothy went to school there from kindergarten to college, graduating from the University of Redlands in 1938. After meeting her first husband-to-be on a Hawiian cruise they married and shortly after moved to Honolulu. But they divorced within a year. "I thought I was so smart, but I was so naive" she said.


Dorothy remained in Hawaii and got a job working for a civilian contractor to the military. And so on December 7, 1941 she was there and remembers.

When I think of December 7th, 1941 I usually also remember the Thanksgiving before. My boyfriend at the time, Hilbert Crosthwaite was a young Lieutenant on the submarine, ARGONAUT. He had duty on Thanksgiving night and invited me to join him and another officer on board for dinner. (I don't remember what we had, but the Navy was famous for good food.) While we were eating the teletype started clacking and we could hear it. The other officer took the communique and read it. The sense of the message, from Washington I think, was that the United States had lost track of the Japanese fleet but that it was still somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

December 7 was on a Sunday. When the telephone rang early that morning I ran downstairs to answer it. (Later on one of our boyfriends put an extension upstairs, but I was the one awakened and ran downstairs to answer it.) It was a roomate's boyfriend, Warren Gardner, and he said: "The Japs have bombed Pearl Harbor!" We had not been out with him the night before, and anyhow he was inclined to play jokes on us, so I said: "Stop yer kidding-and go back to bed." "No," he said, "it's true, If you don't believe me turn on the radio." So I did and this is what I heard Webbley Edwards say: "And if you do not live throughout this day, happy landings. The radio station is now going off air.`' All the radios were off air so no enemy planes could follow the beam into Honolulu.

Well! That got my attention. I ran upstairs to waken my roommates and met with the same unacceptance until out our upstairs window which overlooked the Ala Wai Canal and the golf course beyond, we-saw a small white plane flying low over the canal with a big red circle under the wing!

You can imagine we got dressed in a hurry. In order to calm my nerves and keep busy I decided to wash clothes in the kitchen sink. We did not have a washing machine and as a rule we took our laundry to a Japanese mamasan every week. I remember thinking: if I'm going to be a Japanese prisoner, at least I'll have clean clothes. Later we were advised to pack a bag and what we should put in it. We still had it at the end of the war but we hadn't used it.

When we heard what we thought was a bomb explode a block from our apartment we all ran out to see what had happened and while we were gone the sink overflowed and flooded the kitchen floor. That kept me busy too. Now I'd have clean clothes and a clean floor.

Some Japanese bombs did fall farther away from our apartment, but the one in question was an anti aircraft shell which misfired from Fort de Russey's Battery B anti aircraft Coast Defense gun. This was an Army Fort to protect Honolulu shoreline from Diamond Head to Fort Armstrong down town. Well fortunately that shell fell on an inter section of Aloha Drive and Lewers Ave. It made a hole in the pavement that was quickly repaired.

The Japanese bomb wiped out a low income area of mostly Japanese residents and we thought it was ironic they bombed their own people.

Now there's a beautiful hotel for service people at Fort de Russey and a museum on the site of Battery B, as it was called.

We kept ourselves busy all day. Early in the afternoon one of the room mate's boyfriends who lived in Manoa Valley came to see if we were OK. I think 3 or 4 fellows lived in the house. So we all piled in Fred Barnett's open air convertible and he took the 3 of us home. We were driving down Beretania Blvd. between the Honolulu Academy of Arts and Thomas Square when we heard a terrible racket that sounded like machtne gun fire, and we all DUCKED. A big PBY was flying overhead and we were thankful it was OUR plane. But the noise was caused by a flat tire. Auwe! We all piled out of the car while the tire was fixed.

Those fine fellows opened cans and fixed a tuna casserole that tasted mighty good. My two roommates worked for Hawaiian Electric Co. and one was a Home Economist, so I'm sure we must have helped. I'm not sure where everyone else slept, but I slept on the floor in my clothes.

I might add that we expected the Japanese would come ashore at Waikiki.

Next morning one fellow drove me to the Navy Recruiting office on Ala Moana Blvd . and I got a ride to the Submarine Base Gate at Pearl Harbor. Then I started walking to Kuahua Island (as it was called) where the Pacific Naval Airbase office was where I worked, when a Press Photographer picked me up and took me to the office. I'm sorry I can't remember his name because he became a famous photographer.

The PNAB office was across from Ford Island which actually blocks the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The scene was horrendous - water was burning because oil from the battleships had caught fire. They were still bringing in bodies, both dead and alive. All of our battleships had been destroyed, as they intended, but we still had aircraft carriers!

W. T. Owen was the manager of the PNAB Purchasing Department where I worked. There were 8 or 10 purchasing agents buying materials needed to build the Pacific Naval Airbases. There were 5 big engineering firms constructing these bases. Oleta Stevens was in charge of all the girls (20 or 30?) who typed the purchase orders for Midway, Wake and Johnson Islands. I called Oleta and she reminded me that on the 8th our wastebaskets were filled with sand in case there was a fire when the Japs returned. She said she urged us to work hard and fast to accomplish as-much as possible in case it was our last chance.

She remembered that the OKLAHOMA had capsized and by Tuesday the ship had been righted and all the officers and crew were rescued. The ARIZONA was never brought up from its watery grave.

The YORKTOWN aircraft carrier was badly damaged during the Battle of Coral Sea in May of 1942, and it was sunk during the Battle of Midway the following month. The ENTERPRISE was badly damaged too. More about that later.

On Monday I saw a Destroyer going out to sea that maneuvered back and forth like a car emerging from a tight place. They'd had word the Japs were attacking Hilo and were going out to protect the harbor.

The next day our friends gathered to help us black out our our apartment. It stayed that way till the end of the war.

The air raid wardens were very demanding - not one glimmer of light was allowed to show through.

Naturally we were all afraid. We really expected the Japanese to invade Oahu by walking in over the reefs to Waikiki. Now we know they planned to start with the Philippines and work their way across the Pacific. They made a good start to this plan. Lucky for us they didn't know how easy it would have been to invade Oahu.

Just before the Battle of Midway it was very impressive to be aware of bombers flying out from Hickam Airfield, next to Pearl Harbor, every few minutes. We knew something Big was happening. It was the Battle of Midway. At that Battle the Japanese lost 3,500 of their finest and best trained men.

Shortly after in June, 1942, the aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE, which had been badly damaged in the Battle of Midway, returned to Pearl Harbor with a GREAT hole in its side. Still, it was a magnificent sight to see this huge ship badly crippled come back home to Pearl Harbor - the crew and officers standing at attention on deck. It was thrilling, and we were very proud. Until then I don't believe we'd been confident about winning the war. But that was the beginning of the end of what had been started for us at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 194L Although it took 3 more years of fierce fighting and a terrible loss of life to come to a successful conclusion.

The End



Some years ago, my friend Takane Eshima gave me a copy of the book Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor. The author is ex-Oakland Tribune reporter/photographer, Robert B. Stinnett. The book's thesis is that WE were sneaky about Pearl Harbor. Although his case that FDR knowingly let Pearl Harbor happen in order to get America into war is not fully made, it seems clear Roosevelt finessed us into World War II.

In Alliance of Enemies; the untold story of the secret American and German collaboration to end World War II, authors Hassell and MacRae write of Roosevelt's methods "FDR sized on information to use as a tool for power plays among his key advisors. Richard M. Helms . . . recalled that FDR also ignored 'intelligence that was inconvenient. . . . Intelligence was important to [Roosevelt] . . . but he tended to toy with it.' "





This is

Black History Month


Jimi Hendrix

Check out Tony Almeida's Jimi Hendrix --

the only page that routinely gets more hits than Scrambled Eggs.




I'm told that Barnes & Noble is closing their Shattuck Avenue store. Flanked by much larger outlets in Emeryville and El Cerrito they're closing shop here in a bleaker-than-not location.




4:11 PM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse, use mask.




Pete's Potter Creek rain gauge shows .45 of an inch from yesterday till this AM.


"Berkeley officials seek fix for City Hall audio mess"
writes Martin Snapp in our Times. "Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said the city may need to find a new place to hold City Council and other government meetings after an audio malfunction left residents unable to hear most of his State of the City Address on community television last week. 'The sound system has been getting worse and worse, but never anything like this,' Bates said this week. 'We'll have to either fix it or move. We're looking at both, really.' City Manager Phil Kamlarz said a study conducted eight years ago estimated it would cost from $100,000 to $200,000 to fix the audio system. He said his staff has been huddling all week with consultants including John Meyer, co-founder of Meyer Sound, which has built audio systems for the San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Rep and Carnegie Hall."

So, . . . how about state-of-the-art surround sound. Then you could play Hendrix before meetings!



One of west-Berkeley's Elders comments on the Pacific Auction Exchange auction "It was a dog and pony show." And, another informed source said that it was NOT a distress-sale but the owner-developer's marketing experiment.

Steve, from Pacific Auction, said that in Australia 90% of homes are sold thru auction. Interesting, . . . if true.

And, after just a taste of the "outside" real estate/development world, I'm seriously considering a "Support Your Local Realtor/Developer" movement.


Nick, a 900 GRAYSON chef is also the drummer in the punk band, Sahn Maru. This March, the band is going on tour in Europe and Nick's taking some time off. Check out Sahn Maru here. And 900 GRAYSON here.


The Wall Street Journal reports that "U.S. citizens drove off three-armed muggers that attacked their tour bus in Costa Rica. One man, 70, choked one to death."





Pete's Potter Creek rain gauge showed .65 inches from yesterday till this morning.


I'm told that Power Light will move only their manufacturing to Richmond and that their offices will remain in Potter Creek. I'm also told that the Richmond facility is not yet ready.


Todays Pacific Auction Exchange auction of the property immediately south of 2829 7th Street was cancelled. The property is a lot with building-plans and city permits for building. The minimum bid was 1.2 mil. The auctioneers said it would cost another 2 million to build, though they didn't seem fully familiar with the plans.

What can we learn from this? Auctioneers from outside the immediate Bay Area are now interested enough in Potter Creek development-property to hold an auction here? This development market is now of sufficient interest to be hyped for outside developers? Real estate auctions are now more common? Nothing?

The autioneers had lunch at 900 GRAYSON, filling 900's ten-top.


Margret Elliott forwards us her email to Mr. Li Mandri,

"I have just faxed you the survey of West Berkeley property owners concerning the formation of a West Berkeley Benefit District. I own a residential property at 1002 & 1004 Grayson. For years the City has denied us the same services as other residential properties saying that they cannot provide the service because we are in a commercial district. A case in point is street sweeping. We have never had street sweeping on a regular basis. Instead, the Public Works department historically used Ninth Street, because it is so wide, to train the new drivers of the street sweepers. This was accomplished by having them drive back and forth down the street, usually at 2 a.m. This was not done on any regular basis but only when training was needed. (At the time I worked for the City of Berkeley, and discussed this with the supervisor of the Streets Division, who explained the lack of service and the noisy 2 a.m. forays to me.)
Now, because I own a residential property in a mixed use district (it is not solely a commercial/industrial district and you should revise the language in your documents to reflect this) I am being asked to fund services to benefit commercial property owners. Surely you can see how I might find this grossly unfair and you will not be surprised when I tell you that I intend to protest this to the Berkeley City Council."

Another quirk in our Mixed Use Residential zoning? Another reason to rethink it?

Da Boz toots his horn!

1. Mayor Bates Outlines Vision for Berkeley in State of the City Address
On February, I was honored to deliver my fifth State of the City address as your mayor. In it, I talked extensively about how we are building a truly sustainable economy and about our role in the larger regional economy. In particular, I called for growing the City's economy around innovative and green business, the arts, and our unique and independent retail shops and districts. I also outlined my agenda for implementing the bold greenhouse gas reduction effort adopted by voters with Measure G in last November's election.

2. Berkeley Wins 2006 Accessible America Competition
As the birthplace of the disability civil rights movement, we in Berkeley could not be more honored to win the 2006 Accessible America Contest from the National Organization on Disability. The award, which comes with $25,000, is truly a reflection of the great people in our community and of our City staff that continue to find new and innovative ways to allow everyone in our community to fully participate in civic and cultural life. We will use this award as an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to disability rights and access.

3. Judge Puts a Halt to Athletic Facility Over Seismic Concerns
A Superior Court judge issued a Preliminary Injunction blocking the University from beginning work on their new athletic facility next to Memorial Stadium. Judge Barbara Miller found that the petitioners had made a "strong showing of likelihood of success on their claims under the Alquist Priolo Earthquake Fault Zoning Act and the California Environmental Quality Act."

4.Robert Reich Discussion on Berkeley's Economy Draws Hundreds
Robert Reich led an inspiring and humorous discussion about Berkeley's economic future late last month. The event, which I co-hosted with Berkeley City College, focused on how Berkeley can retain its culture and soul while still being economically competitive in the new economy.

5. Measure G Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiative Up and Running
Last November, the voters gave the City a clear mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by passing Measure G. Events and workshops are being scheduled for this spring and summer as we work towards a greenhouse gas reduction plan by the end of the year. Please let me know if you want to be on the email list for this effort. We have also set up a dedicated website to keep people up to date on our efforts, announce meetings, and solicit feedback.

6. Thanks from the Alameda County Food Bank
I wanted to pass along a thank you from the Alameda County Food Bank. According to the Food Bank, attendees at my December holiday party donated 465 pounds of food, overfilling the four barrels used to collect the food. This was the best year yet for donations. Thank you to all who donated.

7. What people are saying...

"Berkeley is on the cusp of becoming a regional arts hub and a national leader in the fight against global warming, according to a vision outlined by Mayor Tom Bates in the annual State of the City address Tuesday night. In a warmly received speech in the packed City Council chambers, Bates described sweeping plans to make the city a model of sustainability -- both economic and environmental -- and a key player in region's future."
-- San Francisco Chronicle, February 14, 2007"

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates this week outlined an ambitious vision of Berkeley's future in which the city will be a hub for innovative businesses, a cultural center and a leader in the fight against global warming."
-- Berkeley Voice, February 14, 2007


4:32 PM--irritant in front room, dry eyes, dry lips, nose runs, sneeze.






Pete's Potter Creek rain gauge shows .6 of an inch from yesterday till this morning.


Pete and Geralyn are doing the KALX DJ show Sunday morning 6:00 AM till 9:00 AM. In addition to their music you will hear Pohaku interview Keolani.


Old neighbors Bob and Paul are in town on business for a few days. Yesterday they had breakfast at 900 with Sally and Sarah--today with other friends. It's real good to see them.


Our Janine Johnson emails

Hi, I think it's high time I give you all a freebie. I am
about to record three suites I've written in the past: d minor, D
major, and f# minor (whose Prelude has become so popular). I thought
it would be a nice idea to run the program as a concert beforehand, this Saturday, Feb. 24. Let's do
the 10:30 AM format and I will bake cookies the night before. love, Janine


Suite in d minor Prelude Scherzo A Little Bit Confused Fugue Allemande, Twisted La Folia Suite in D major Prelude Allemande, "Conflicted" Canon Courante Sarabande Menuet Gigue Suite in f# minor (for Tamara) Prelude Allemande Courante Sarabande Canaries

email Janine for details


900 GRAYSON regular and trombone player, Mal Sharpe emails about his Dixeland Band "Big Money in Jazz."

Thurs. Feb. 22 The Baltic in Pt. Richmond. 7:30 with guest stars
singer Michelle Jacques; Ned Boynton, guitar and Conga and
harmonica wizard Richard Mayers.

Saturday Feb. 24 The Savoy-Tivoli in San Francisco, upper Grant. Ave.
between Green and Union. 3-6. Outdoor Terrance on the street with
great people watching and nearby pizza. Great band featuring Leon
Oakley on Trumpet.

Sunday Feb 25. The No Name Bar on Bridgeway in Sausalito. 3-7. Rare appearance by clarinetist Jeff Sanford, the
leader of the Cartoon Orchestra. Pianist Si Perkoff will read his
science-fiction novel in the corner during the breaks.


The property--a lot--immediately south of 2829 7th Street will be sold at public auction tomorrow, February 23rd. It is 9500 square feet and the minmum bid is $1,190,000. For more information call Pacific Auction Exchange at 925-600-7766 or email paxbayarea.com My understanding is that the site already has city approval for structures.


"Developer makes solar power standard:Builder to include energy system in all new homes in Bay Area" reports Baraara E, Hernandez in our Times.


Mid-afternoon--irritant in front room and in front of door, dry eyes, dry lips, use mask.




Gérard Laugier and his 1966 Chevrolet pickup

Gérard is a Potter Creek wood-worker and member of the Heartwood Co-operative.


Kava has painted his 8th and Grayson building a subdued grey with a soon-to-be elegant black trim.


Another manufacture leaves Berkeley? Our Power Light is moving, I'm told. They're going to Richmond and locating in the old Ford plant property, now being redeveloped.


"Access to clean air unequal, study says" reports Denis Cuff in our Times. "People of color bear an unfair burden of exposure to air pollution in the Bay Area because they make up nearly two-thirds of the population living within a mile of refineries, chemical plants and other sources of toxic air contaminants, a new study reported Tuesday."

And, one paragraph is of general interest. "Clarke [the study's author] also said the Bay Area's air quality agency must do more to consider cumulative pollution impacts in setting emission limits on industries."

"Green Neighbors: Winter Native Flowers: Silk-Tassel and Leatherwood"
writes Joe Eaton in our Planet. "Along with all the flowering plums, acacias, and magnolias, a few native trees and shrubs are late-winter bloomers. Most, like the manzanitas and flowering currants, are on the shrubby side. But coast or wavyleaf silk-tassel (Garrya elliptica) is a bona fide tree up to 30 feet high, showy in its own way, and amenable to planting as an ornamental. There's a particularly handsome silk-tassel specimen on the University Avenue median strip."


"Boom on horizon, analysts say: Venture capitalists on consumer-oriented wave"
writes George Avalos of our Times. "A new posse of fledgling Bay Area companies has appeared on the horizon and is beginning to attract a fast-growing share of attention -- and cash -- from venture capitalists. It's hardly time for software and biotechnology to scoot over. Those long-established industries still rule the roster of private companies that landed financing from the venture industry during the final three months of 2006. But increasingly, financiers are looking to bankroll companies that cater to consumers, enhance an individual's online or communications experience or are working to improve the environment or develop alternative energy sources, data from the quarterly MoneyTree survey shows."


"Home building hits decade-low point: Construction of new houses falls 14.3 percent in January to its slowest pace since August 1997" reports the AP's Martin Crutsinger in our Times.


"Loan forgiven, not forgotten" reports Barbara E. Hernandez of the Times. "Homeowners should know that although debt can be forgiven, it's never forgotten. When a short sale, deed-in-lieu agreement or foreclosure occurs and a residential lender loses money on a loan, the lender will most likely file the loss with the Internal Revenue Service, and the former homeowner may end up owing thousands of dollars in taxable income."


"Jazz DVD a lesson in Americana" reports Chris Treadway in the Times. "The musical career of the Heath Brothers spans the history of jazz after World War II. Yet there was only one time that the three brothers -- bassist Percy, saxophonist/composer/arranger Jimmy and drummer Albert, aka "Tootie" -- were captured on film while performing. That appearance also turned out to be their final performance together, as Percy Heath died a few months later. That final concert happened in Kensington, and the performance and the story of the Heath Brothers has been captured for all to see on a new DVD documentary titled 'Brotherly Jazz' that will be screened at the Kensington Library on Feb. 26."


9:05 AM--irritant in front room, dry lips, dry eyes, leave. 12:30 PM--Kimar stops before we go to lunch at 900 GRAYSON. And, after a few minutes in front my door rubs her eyes. "They're itching, let's get out of here " she said. We do, and have two Tombos at 900.



Last week, the West Berkeley Business Alliance sent out a letter proposing the creation in West-Berkeley of a Community Benefit District--a community funded district which would provide services above and beyond those offered by the City of Berkeley. The Alliance's immediate concerns are "cleanliness, beautification and maintainence of streets and sidewalks, advocacy on land-use conflicts, and inadequate parking." With the letter is a survey to determine the level of west-Berkeley community support. The survey is being conducted by their consultant, New City America. Any questions can be addressed by New City's Marco Li Mandri (866)356-2726 or email at marco@newcityamerica.com And/or, check them out at www.newcityamerica.com (If you do not have a copy of the letter and survey, you can down-load one from the website.)

If the survey indicates adequate interest, a detailed plan will be developed.

In some of my earlier "Scrambled Eggs" posts I wrote something like "If you want to find out what the citizens want, ask 'em." These guys, in a way, are. And if you don't think the survey deals with your issues of concern, write 'em and tell 'em.


"Lack of jobs, accessible homes another disability to overcome: Advocates continue push for equal opportunities"
writes Randy Myers in our Times. "In the 35 years since the disability rights movement took root in Berkeley, changes have swept the nation without achieving the goal of full equality. On the plus side, federal and state buildings are more accessible, schools are better versed in meeting special needs and perceptions have largely changed."


3:49 PM--irritant in immediately front of 2743/2741 8th, dry eyes, dry lips, light head.





Jeff Grey and his Ford Rod--Jeff works at Consolidated Printing



Bob Kubik emails

This afternoon after our morning conversation, I got to thinking about shopping on the Internet--especially as I walked down 4th street. Defining retail broadly as anything one might see in a store-front in a shopping district or in a mall, I figure the chiropractors, dentists, massage therapists, beauty parlors, barbers, yoga and dance studios, liquor stores, grocery stores, gas stations, auto repair, bike shops, women's clothing and shoes, gymnasiums, building supply, hardware stores, convenience stores, restaurants and coffee shops need not worry about internet competitors.

Some professionals may be threatened or at least have their mode of operation changed, such as accountants, physicians, psychotherapists, lawyers, and financial advisors.

Who WILL be threatened? We have already seen bookstores, video rentals and conventional entertainment and education facing internet competition. What about the Big Box retail stores and smaller furniture, TV, or art supply stores? They will have to face definite competition.

I think where one is buying information, the internet will win. Where one needs something right now or is shopping for fun, the conventional store will win.

The real unknown is how retail stores avoid becoming unreimbursed showrooms for internet suppliers. It may be that someone opens a show room that displays a range of products for a fee and then offers the lowest price from a guaranteed internet supplier.


"Home prices, sales sliding toward cellar" writes Janis Mara in the West County Times. "Bay Area home prices slipped last month and home sales fell for the 24th month in a row, a real estate service reported Thursday."

"Housing woes imperil economy" writes George Avalos of our Times. "The setbacks that continue to plague the housing market could imperil both California and the East Bay, despite the robust revival of the economy in the two regions, a report released on Thursday warned. Why? In recent years, jobs related to home building have propelled a sharply rising share of the employment growth in the East Bay and the state, according to an analysis of data compiled by the state's Employment Development Department."


"France's women live long lives: Life expectancy is 84 years, second to Japan, but more and more people are living past 100, straining the government" reports Molly Moore of the Washington Post in our Times.


10:27 AM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in front of 2743/2741 8th, dry eyes, dry lips, light head, headache, chills. "And it's a stench, too" says Marsha.




At 6:05 this morning, two steam-like columns rose from the ground in west-Potter Creek to form an enormous, low, cloud that hung in the air, moving slowly toward Emeryville. How big a cloud? It looked like the fog-bank was moving in.



L.M. Boyd 1927-2007

"Squirrels are territorial. They cover five miles a day."

Chris Saulnier of 900 GRAYSON




"Robert Lewis reports in our Times that "Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates this week outlined an ambitious vision of Berkeley's future in which the city will be a hub for innovative businesses, a cultural center and a leader in the fight against global warming. Although the mayor's annual State of the City speech took an optimistic view of Berkeley's prospects, officials at Tuesday's City Council meeting were realistic -- looking ahead to troubling budgetary issues." The full story is here.


Our City Planning Department update is here.


8:47 AM--irritant in front room, dry eyes, dry lips, light head, leave. 5:20 PM--irritant in front room, dry eyes, dry lips, dry skin, use mask, leave. (Sometimes the irritant is similar to battery-acid fumes [diluted sulfuric-acid] but multiplied.)




900 GRAYSON regular, Mal Sharpe and his band, Big Money in Jazz, play regularly at the Savoy Tivoli in North Beach and the No Name Bar in Sausalito--3-6 PM every Saturday at the Savoy Tivoli and 3-7 PM every Sunday at the No Name Bar. And, Thursday February 22 at 7:30 PM they'll be at the Baltic in Point Richmond. Hopefully, the beautiful Sandra will also be there.


"Police misconduct hearings to be kept private, court rules" writes Kristin Bender of our West County Times. "Police leaders on Tuesday said a judge's decision to close public hearings of misconduct complaints validates officers' long-standing position that their personnel matters should not be aired in front of the community."


"Cacao growing ever more chichi; Gourmet chocolate expanding its hold on the sweet tooth market"
reports Lisa Leff of our Times. "Americans' love of chocolate has become a dark and bittersweet affair, and it took a former vintner to make it so. John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg launched the first U.S. chocolate manufacturing company in half a century, drawing heavily on Scharffenberger's refined palate and his past as a maker of sparkling wines. Together, they set out to do for dark chocolate what fellow Californian Robert Mondavi had done for wine -- demystify, democratize and domesticate it."

"Housing fall hurts affiliated industries: Loan, mortgage, real estate and construction workers are getting less work or even being let go" reports George Avalos of our Times. "The housing sector's ailments have begun to sap the vitality of the job market in several East Bay industries."


7:50 AM--irritant in front room, usual symptoms, leave. 1:14 PM-- "hot-plastic-like" smell in warehouse front, leave. 4:32 PM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in front room, dry eyes, mouth burns, throat burns, use mask.




6:29 PM--"hot plastic" smell in warehouse front.




Quote of the week by our Carol Whitman "Time tells, bullshit smells."

Not to be confused with my friend Nick Despotopoulos' "Money talks, bullshit walks."


On February 7th Steve Smith and his wife, Cleo Papanikolas, had a 9 pound 11 ounce baby boy, Niko. More CONGRATS!


Joe DeCredico, architect, is re-doing Marvin's--now Ms. Grossman's--building at 2748 9th Street. It will be divided into four, two-story work-condos. Plans show an efficient division of space with a three-quarter front-rendering showing some lightening of the building's mass.


How busy was 900 GRAYSON today? Well, once you pushed your way past the crowd waiting to be seated, you had to wait in line to get into the john, before waiting for a seat at the counter.


11:56 AM--irritant in entire warehouse, usual symptoms, leave. 6:37 PM--irritant in front room, dry eyes, dry lips, light head, use mask.8:29 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, dy eyes, dry lips, headache.




Pete's Potter Creek rain gauge showed .9 inches from Saturday AM through this morning.

You can find more information about our current weather conditions than is good for you at www.wunderground.com

Want to see weather coming in, going out, beautiful sunsets, and much, much more? Check out http://sv.berkeley.edu/view/ This very hip site was in an email from reader and contributor, Tony Almeida. Read Tony's Jimi Hendrix story on the only page that routinely gets more hits than Scrambled Eggs.


"EU may make hurting environment a crime: Executive pushes law to punish offenders with prison, fines" reports Aoife White of the AP in the West County Times. "Companies and individuals found responsible for environmental disasters should face criminal charges, the European Union's executive said Friday in proposing a measure that would punish serious offenses across the 27-nation bloc with up to five years in prison or a $975,000 fine."

Works for me! Let Berkeley take the lead in the US.


"L.A.'s hot (and smelly) spots; Watchdog group hosts 'toxic tours,' featuring poor, minority areas with disproportionate pollution" reports the AP's Noaki Schwartz in our Times.

I'd be glad to give similar tours of west-Berkeley.

AND, a virtual tour of Potter Creek's hazardous material users can be taken here now. There is more hazardous material use in Potter Creek than anywhere else in Berkeley, except possibly UC.


2:07 PM--irritant IMMEDIATELY in front of 2743/2741 8th, watery and burning eyes, burning mouth, burning throat, headache, light head, nausea. Marsha has dry eyes, dry lips, headache, light-head, leave. (Marsha's symtoms increase dramatically on standing in front of 2741 sliding steel-door.) 3:12 PM--"hot plastic-like" smell in warehouse.




Thursday was Da Boz's Sixtieth-Something Birthday.



Pete's Potter Creek rain gauge showed 1.05 inches from Thursday AM to Friday AM and .9 from Friday AM to this morning.


There is salmon-pink dust on our HEPA carbon-fiber prefilters again. This first showed up when the welders pulled down their yard structures--I assumed it to be years of liberated rust-dust. Haven't seen it since, until now. Maybe it'll disappear when Acme finishes rehabing the former welding property.


"Mayor Tom Bates and Councilmember Linda Maio had planned a very civil two-hour evening, focusing on Pacific Steel Castings whose 'burnt potholder' smell and possibly dangerous emissions have been a community concern for more than two decades. It was not to be" writes Judith Scherr in our Planet.

And, just a lttle ahead of the curve in urban-air Potter Creek

Marsha in her much-used filter-mask


The West County Times reports "Entertainment studio sold for $20 million. The Saul Zaentz Media Center in Berkeley has been purchased by San Rafael-based Wareham Development for more than $20 million."

What it doesn't report is that the deal was put together by our Norheim and Yost.

Zu, . . . CONGRATULATIONS to Da Gyz, specially Steve Smith!

CONGRATULATIONS to me, too. I broke the story last year, months and months ago.


Our Anthy was out walking Nikos yesterday. Dressed to the tens, she put Maria Callas to shame. And, for just a moment, Anthy brought to life Kava's vision of an urbane, metropolitan west-Berkeley.


"It isn't easy being green" laments Kermit the frog. But how about being a Green Business in Alameda County? Some facts soon.


And sooner than later, some thoughts on the New Retail in west -Berkeley. We know what The Old Retail is--downtowns, shopping centers, and little local business districts. But what about retail in the fully developed internet age. Can it be more than giant internet-accessed retailers, warehoused in the mid-West?


On January 8th I posted

900 GRAYSON regular, Miltiades Mandros is an Oakland architect and preservationist. Recently, he helped save a vintage filling station.

"Junk' collector buys 1930s West Oakland station" reports Cecily Burt of the Oakland Tribune. "James Perry of Castaic has a serious jones for old cars, old signs and treasured "memorabilia" that many folks would sooner label junk. Now he's adding to his collection by spending $1 to buy - and thousands more to dismantle and move - a vintage gas station in West Oakland. The collection of buildings that represents the Jack Holland Oil Co. gas station at 37th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way is a throwback to a bygone era, when a gallon of gasoline was pumped by an attendant who not only topped off the tank but checked the oil and washed the windshield. The buildings weren't worth anything to nonprofit developers Community Development Corp. The pump station had been set ablaze by squatters and was headed for the scrap heap until local preservationists, including Oakland architect Miltiades Mandros, pressured the developer to sell it. CDC offered the buildings for a dollar to anyone willing to take them away. There's a niche market for the station - its old ornate gas pumps, air meters and signs that advertise now obsolete brands of motor oil or petrol - but it still wasn't easy finding a taker. Two collectors let the station slip by before Perry, who owns two semi-trailer trucks and is manager of a sod farm, saw it advertised on the Web site http://www.oldgas.com."

Damn, Miltiades is at it again. He's found a Bakersfield buyer for another west-Oakland filling-station, this one at 3884 Martin Luther King.


Member supported jazz station KCSM-FM still needs some bucks.

They write

Thanks to each and every one of you who
pledged your financial support during our
Winter Membership Drive.
Although we all loved our experiment in
Less Talk and More Music, we fell short of our goal.
In order to pay our bills for the next few months
and keep our Spring Drive short, we are
asking you to pledge now and help us reach our goal.

So, . . . send some bucks!


"Mobile lab measures air pollution:Researchers use specially equipped vehicle to monitor air quality, with Southern California roads as their laboratory" reports Janet Wilson of the Los Angeles Times in our Times. "Determined to pinpoint what kind of pollution is swirling in the air around the region's ports, a crew of scientists this week began cruising Southern California streets and freeways in a one-of-a-kind mobile research lab."

Hey, send that soma-bitch up here and park it in front of my place for a couple of months.

9:09 AM--irritant in front room, dry lips, dry eyes, light head, leave. 4:14 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, dry eyes, dry lips.




Channel 2 News reports that Marin County will ban the sale and use of non-EPA Certified wood-stoves in 2008. But now they'll give you $250.00 for your old one plus a $75.00 rebate on a future building permit.


"Housing market may soon affect jobs; Analysts worry decline in real estate could tumble into other sectors"
reports George Avalos of our Times. "The East Bay's employment market remains the Bay Area's star performer, but the relentless erosion of the housing market could tarnish the region's economic luster and darken the job outlook, a new report warns."


"Study questions conventional food wisdom: Organic may not be healthier" writes James Temple in our Times. "Organic became the nation's fastest growing food segment largely on claims that it's safer and healthier than conventional fare, but according to a new report such conclusions are premature."



Pete's Potter Creek rain-gauge showed .55 inches from yesterday AM to this morning. All of January we had .66 inches.


"Report details housing trends: State real estate group finds that more residents are buying single-family homes, zero-down loans have gained in popularity" writes Barbara E. Hernandez of the West County Times. "The state's typical first-time home buyer is 35, married, makes a $10,000 down payment and has a $371,600 mortgage, the California Association of Realtors reported Tuesday. While home sales have decreased about 23 percent statewide, the study by the trade association also showed that 5 percent more buyers bought a single-family home in 2006 than in 2005. CAR also reported that the median loan amount for first mortgages for all home buyers was $415,500, the median home purchase price for repeat buyers was $618,000 and the median home purchase price for first-time home buyers was $450,000."


The Wall Street Journal reports "In home-lending push, banks misjudged risk." HSBC Holding PLC--a giant British bank-- borrowers are falling behind on payments and HSDC is hiring more collectors. "HBSC said its subprime mortgage problem was worse than indicated. The capital it sets aside for all bad debits will exceed estimates by 20% or $1.76 billion."


7:04 AM--irritant in front room, dry eyes, dry lips. 7:34AM SERIOUS irritant in warehouse, dry eyes, burning lips, use mask.





11:14 AM--irritant in front room, dry lips, dry eyes, light head, use mask. 1:14 PM--irritant in front room. 3:14 PM--irritant in warehouse, dry lips, dry eyes, use mask.





Pete and Julie's next "Alternate Tunings" KALX program is about the tympani. It will be broadcast on Wednesday, February 21st between 9:00 and 9:30 AM.

Pete is also the KALX DJ on February 9th and 16th in the eaaaarly morning--3:30 AM t0 6:00 AM.


"Black Oak not yet on sale rack: Independent bookstore posted notice to gauge interest in buying store, but is not shutting doors" reports Martin Snapp in the West County Times.

In the news-paper version of this story there's a photo of Don, and Bob Brown, the kindly old book seller. I worked with Bob at Moe's Books and Records in the '70s and '80s. One night, when Bob was walking home from the Co-op with a bag of groceries he was held up at gun point. When confronted by the punk who threw out something-like "Your money or or life!" Bob threw back something-like "Fuck off! The guy shot Bob in the stomach and so Bob spent some time in Herrick. I still clearly remember him lying in the hospital bed, wired-up and looking really pale. We talked and I handed him some Mozart Lps as a get well present, hoping he would.

Moe's version was different. He said Bob just wouldn't give the guy his groceries.


"Firm gets tapped for People's Park fix: Cal selects MKThink to think up a more family-friendly concept for now-unsavory parcel" writes Kristin Bender in the Times. "Hoping to bring all types of people back to People's Park, UC Berkeley has selected a San Francisco firm to help guide the future of the problematic parcel."


"Affordable housing failures spur action: Lawsuit against Pleasanton over lack of low-income units spotlights push to make cities meet state mandates" writes Meera Pal in our Times.

"The Green Machines:Chevron unit produces eco-friendly energy" reports George Avalos of our Times. "An oil industry stalwart is betting it can become more green and cuddly."


The Wall Street Journal reports that "few home buyers chose to pay up for green features." When KB Homes in Pleasanton offered eco-friendly wood for an extra $3000 on a $700,000 home, few buyers were interested, and a Colorado firm says few home-owners are interested in their $25,000 solar panels--it has installed just three kits in six years.


"France leads charge on global warming: Many nations -- but not U.S. -- agree to join environmental forum" write Angela Charlton and Seth Borenstein of the AP in our Times. "Forty-five nations answered France's call Saturday for a new environmental body to slow inevitable global warming and protect the planet, perhaps with policing powers to punish violators."


The Wall Street Journal also reports that U.S. vacant home sales are at their highest rate in four decades--2.7%. Economists believe that this is the result of speculation and that speculators may soon start cutting their prices.




"Spare the Air nights may get chilly : Board urges targeted ban on wood burning" reports Denis Cuff of the West County Times. " Bay Area residents who were asked not to use fireplaces on bad air nights this winter could be required to snuff out their wood fires under a new mandatory ban proposed by air quality regulators. The stronger rule would mean that the wood fires in fireplaces and stoves would be banned on Spare the Air nights in the nine Bay Area counties. Southern California also is considering a ban, and one is already enforced in the San Joaquin Valley. The rub is that violators are most likely to be turned in by neighbors. Air regulators anticipate criticism from those who feel government should butt out of people's burning habits. But failing to rein in smoke would leave the public to breath unhealthy air, regulators said. 'When your activity in the home is poisoning the air in your neighborhood for a long distance around, that's when the air district says, "Enough is enough,"' said Mark Ross, chairman of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board and a Martinez city councilman."


On 1/5/07, after neighbors commented on heavy wood smoke in the air on Spare the Air nights in Potter Creek, I posted

"More than you need to know about wood burnng stoves including new clean-stoves, how to burn clean with old stoves, etc is here.

The EPA's "Clean Burning Wood Stoves and Fireplaces Program" is here. Including "Why new wood stoves burn cleaner."

"Modern wood stoves burn much more cleanly than older ones and are more efficient in producing heat. New stoves will reburn the smoke and cut the amount of tar and gas going out of the chimney by 90 per cent. They will also eliminate creosote build-up. Creosote is the flammable substance that wood smoke deposits inside a chimney" and more about alternate heating is here.

Check out "We can help you to burn wood better" at woodheat.org


Read about combustion pollutants here.


And, check out the EPA's An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality."


A new stink in the Creek

1:23 PM--air filled with a slight odor, like wooden pencils being sharpened--mixture of wood and graphite, mostly graphite.




Today is the 38th Birthday of

jazz saxophonist, Joshua Redman


Kimar and I spent two hours yesterday afternoon as extras in a photo-shoot at 900 GRAYSON. Mark Compton Studios of Berkeley were the photographers--very professional. Compton and staff are putting together a photo-library of small businesses for VISA's print and Internet ad-campaigns. All-told about thirty people were there, real customers, real servers, real photographers, real owners AND a faux chef and faux customers. 900's menu was served with drinks. Wine, flowed, "bulbs" flashed, and actors posed--all while we were being served. And a good time was had. So when you see a VISA ad, look for the 900 setting and some familiar faces.

Mark Compton Studios of Berkeley also does work for Cameron and Claudia's The BARK.


I received this email yesterday--underlining mine.

While surfing the virtual world of collectible motorcycles, I happened across your pages. Interesting application of that word; pages. . . . .
I did recognize your name however. Perhaps from the Mullis book- which I lent out last year to who knows whom.
You appear to have quite a collection of machines. . . . .
And perhaps you would add me to your emailing list?
I've never seen Potter Creek, but it seems suited for a daytime television show. I confess to not having taken the time to inform myself of the recreational activities of my mailman or UPS driver.

Hmm, I am in fact mentioned in Kary's "Dancing Naked in the Mine Field." Kary, a Noble Prize winner in chemistry, was also the Buttercup night manager.


"Black Oak Books strives to stay open, but the times, they are a-changing" writes Heidi Benson in the Chronicle.


Columnist and national treasure, Molly Ivins has died. Invins described herself "as a left-wing, aging Bohemian journalist who never made a shrewd career move, never dressed for success, never got married and wasn't even a lesbian, which at least would be interesting."


BUSTED! Com'on Gavin, cheez.



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