March 2005


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!'

What very few San Franciscans know is that Monteux is a man with a permanent black eye. Apparently fearing an investigation by the Un-American Activities Committee if he neglected this phase of his citizenship much longer, Monteux in the summer of 1947 decided to see his first baseball game. Accompanied by his brother-in-law, Orchestra Leader Meyer Davis, he climbed into the stands and suffered through a few innings, trying vainly to figure out the intricacies of the game. In the fifth inning he turned to Davis and groaned: "Let's go. I'm bored."

At that point a screaming foul ball hit him just below the left eye, severely bruising his cheekbone. And now, whenever he gets overtired or rundown, his left eye turns black."

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

Monteux's San Fransico Years

The Monteux Era



Stuff of the last week or so.

Our Mayor filed suit against Cal. Kimar thinks she has a perfect right to want the Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl even though she lives in North-Berkeley. Richard bought a new truck. Morgan moved his family to Potter Creek. Our Berkeley High teachers aren't giving homework and it's somehow related to them not having a contract. The Rickster's back in town. Pete and Lynn have planted a beautiful garden in their front yard. A new resident had his very large, beautiful TV stolen while out-or-town. The Kruse boys remain a Potter Creek asset. Our Annie K has a piece in "Fostering Families Today" called "I'm White, My Daugther's Black." Merryll is still thinking of moving back to Potter Creek. (Hey Boss, how about rethinking the enforcement of our bicycle-riding laws? Afraid bicyclists 'ill demonstrate if you insist they obey the law? Arrest 'em.) Milo's out and about. And, . . . is that our Kava in a brand-new eco-car?

Finally, Hunter S. Thompson died . . . badly. He blew his brains out while talking to his wife on the phone and he did this at home with his two children present. You can learn a lot about a man from the way he faces death. When Ed Saylan was told by his family that his illness was terminal and that death was near, he replied "Okey, doakey." And my friend Davey died the lingering death of AIDs better than he lived--and he lived well. And Nick Victor fought a long, diabilitating and terminal illness with courage and tenacity.




Martha's out of prison--while in, her stock quadrupled. (Remember, this is America.RP) Daffodils are 99 cents a bunch at Trader Joe's. At Costco, Kirkland Signature Yogurt is 10 cents an ounce less than Yoplait and is heartier with more fruit. Paper Plus Outlet at 1643 San Pablo has a 50% Off Everything sign out. Their phone is (510) 525-1799. And/or, check out their web site Kimar

Rick Auerbach stopped in yesterday afternoon and we had a good long talk in which I renewed my vows. During the conversation, Rick mentioned that there had just been a forum on the future of west-Berkeley. As he described who was there, it was clear they were the "usual suspects" (my words, not the Rickster's)--the "usual" business persons, the "usual" city-rep, the "usual" activist, the "usual" relator, etc. It was of course the Berkeley Establishment--those who one way or another have shaped our future certainly since the '60s. And, an establishment that is just as established, in its own way, as our Military and Industrial one (Eisenhower's words, not mine). How mistaken it is for those in our establishment to get comfortable. In a vital democracy, those of power and position should never be comfortable, the coyotes always nipping at their heals.

For reasons best known to my Spiritual Advisor, traffic on this site has increased 50% in the last three months and remains steady. And the site now seems to have taken on its own life, less influenced me and my action.


I've known of Jerry Landis for decades, known him for 10 or 12 years, and we've been good friends for the last few years. A Berkeley citizen since the '60s, he's been actively involved in our community for almost as long. Jerry's older sister Jean was one of the first women to fly for the Army Air Force. She was a WASP ferry pilot during WWII and flew P-51s almost exclusively. Understand the P-51 was our hottest fighter, a challenge for a man let alone a "girl."


WASP (Women's Airforce Service Pilot), Jean Landis c 1944

"In July 1943 the growing numbers of women pilots being trained for AAF service were consolidated in the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, the WASPs. By the end of the program 1074 women had flown for the AAF, piloting every type of military aircraft from the B-29 to America's first jet, the P-59. Fighter aircraft, particularly the P-47 and the P-51, were ferried in great numbers by the WASPs. These women loved single seaters and considered flying fighters the essence of what it meant to fly. One woman fortunate enough to be assigned fighters for most of her wartime carrier was Jean Landis. Landis was sent to Brownsville, Texas, for fighter transition training, and when time came for her first flight in a fighter, she drew a P-51. . . .

Jean also flew a number of other types, including the P-47: 'The P-47 was a bucket of bolts compared to the Mustang; it was too heavy and sluggish. But when you got in a Mustang, it felt like you had just strapped the wings on. You didn't feel you had any fuselage around your body, you were a part of the airplane.'

Jean had the good fortune to be stationed at the Ferrying Division at Long Beach, California, flying nothing but P-51s. The new fighters were picked u p at I nglewood and flown all over the country, particularly to Newark, New Jersey, where they were prepared for shipping overseas. Reactions to a woman climbing out of a P-51 were: 'Varied, mostly startled. Once I few into a field that was off-limits but the weather was bad and I had a slight mechanical problem so l called in and asked for permission to land. I kept radioing "P-51 ready to land; awaiting final landing instructions." It was sort of garbled and they kept asking me to call in again and again. Finally they said: "Waggle your wings if you receive!" So there I was waggling away and pretty soon they came back: "Lady, the only thing we see up there is a P-51! Where are you?" I replied: "That's me! I am the P-51!" They couldn't believe it-they were looking for a Piper Cub or something. Finally, when I landed, what a welcome I got. Word got around that a gal was flying that thing. They were darlings. By the time I had taxied up to the line, following the little Follow Me truck, there were lots of guys around to see what kind of woman was flying this P-51. They'd never heard of us, the WASPs.'

'We had to pay for all our clothing, had no medical or insurance benefits or many other military benefits,' Jean recalls. 'The WASPs were subject to military discipline and lived in the Officers' Quarters, but they were not allowed most military privileges and received less money than men doing the same job. But we were there to fly and loved every minute of it.'"


In keeping with '60s stuff like, "You don't always get what you want but always get what you need" and "Time is what we invented to keep everything from happening at once," I discovered this story by accident while researching the P-51"Mustang" fighter. A little bored at paging through a book about the P-51, I stopped at a photo of a good looking woman standing on the wing of this fighter. Three days later, Landis showed up at my door, Xerox in hand with "I got something you should read about my sister."

Jean Landis, now retired, divides her time between Idaho and Southern California.


And the Chronicle's Meredith May uniquely informs and entertains with her "Flying with the Falcon Boys" at Then, check this out.



How out of sync is the west-Berkeley Plan? According to one Potter Creek architect, some home improvements, routine in a residential district, have to be submitted to the Design Review Board in our mixed use area.

I have before me the 223 page WEST BERKELEY PLAN. My edition was "Adopted by the City Council: December 14, 1993 with amendments as of June 1998." I bought my copy a couple of years ago and read those chapters I found of interest. Beginning today, I'm going to read the whole damn thing.

"The Canned Food Store," our Grocery Outlet has DANCING COYOTE 2002 Chardonnay on sale for $1.99.



Potter Creek resident, Bob Kubik emails "Thanks for your references to Pierre Monteux. I was a student at Cal 1950-54 and there was a music appreciation group there that a friend convinced me to join. As such we had one of the center boxes at the Symphony on "students night" - Thursday night as I remember. It was my introduction to classical music and what an introduction it was. Of course the grandeur of the Opera House was almost overwhelming to a country boy like me, but the music set me in right direction. Pierre actually came over to talk to us in Berkeley at one of our meetings!"


The Chronicle's Patrick Hoge reports"BERKELEY: Hills alive with paths aplenty" at

The West Count Times reports "CURIOUSLY HIGH-TECH TIN: Contestants, inspired by Berkeley magazine's challenge, turn Altoid containers into mint-condition devices.

And New York Times' Michael Moss reports"Many Missteps Tied to Delay in Armor for Troops in Iraq."


Cost Plus has been selling all teas at 20% off. Which means a tin of People's Green Tea is about $8.00 rather than the new regular price of $9.99. Last Friday, the Oakland store still had some People's Green at the old regular price of $7.99 and were giving 20% off of that. A true bargin!



In the 1993 West Berkeley Plan we find "The Mixed Use/Residential districts are among the most urbanistically and historically interesting and complex in West Berkeley. They consist primarily of a highly unusual mix of moderately scaled light industrial uses (with occasional larger scale plants) with residential ones. Their complexity is the product of successive periods of predominantly residential development, followed by mostly industrial development, and most recently residential and live/work development again. Once thought of as among the city's least desirable locales, these areas are becoming increasingly sought after. This complexity, along with the renewed sense of desirability of the area, means that the area requires particular sensitivity in new development."

The City of Berkeley's West Berkeley Plan of which Potter Creek is part also offers "Yet while all parts of Berkeley felt they benefited (between 1906-1941) from growth, political issues remained between West and East Berkeley. West Berkeley made a serious, though unsuccessful attempt to secede from Berkeley in 1908. One major reason for the effort was the incorporation in the 'reform' City Charter of 1909 of a complete prohibition on bars and alcohol sales in Berkeley, more than a decade before national prohibition."

And in the 1993 West Berkeley Plan we find some appraisals of future West Berkeley development. "As West Berkeley grows and evolves, its need for efficient and environmentally sound transportation increases. Intensification of land use-the conversion of formerly industrial sites to other use-has strained the West Berkeley street and road system. Traffic congestion has become a serious problem along some streets and at some major intersections. Parking , adequate in many areas, but newly developed commercial and retail areas are beginning to experience shortages."

The the West Berkeley Plan touched on enviromental issues with "Biohazardous materials are specific subset of hazardous materials. Biohazardous materials are those with the potential to cause infection and disease. Such materials are used in West Berkeley by "biotechnology" manufacturers, by laboratories, and to lesser extent by medical, dental, and veterinary offices (which are relatively rare in West - Berkeley). Biotechnology is a growing industry in the Bay Area, and one which Berkeley is well positioned to capture-thus it may well expand in West Berkeley in the years ahead."

"West Berkeley has more hazardous materials users than any other area, but the largest single users in Berkeley are UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley Labs. "

"Hazardous materials raise environmental concerns because they may be released into the air, water, or soil, and then pose a threat to people who are on site or nearby. In recent years, most businesses and institutions have tried to reduce their use of hazardous materials, in part because it has become increasingly expensive to handle them. However, for many manufacturers, laboratories, and service providers, there are as yet no adequate substitutes for many hazardous materials.

Hazardous materials releases can occur during any of the stages of use of hazardous materials. These stages are: first, acquisition and storage by a business or institution. Secondly, these hazardous materials are used in the production of a (generally) non-hazardous product or provision of a non-hazardous service (e.g. chlorine is used to clean swimming pools). Finally, a typically much smaller quantity of hazardous waste is produced as the outcome of the production/service process. Hazardous wastes represent those portions of hazardous materials not consumed or transformed during the production process." To be continued




C.A. emails from New York City "I just came across your web site and have already spent far too much time perusing it, but I am not by any means finished. It is pure joy and you need not wonder why the number of accesses has risen. I will spread the word and return--again and again."

Potter Creek's harpsichordist and instrument finisher, Janine Johnson has some of her beautiful cloud photos on an Australian website--check them out!

Dollar Deals has just opened on San Pablo Avenue a couple blocks south of University at 2236 San Pablo--it's on the west side of the street and is now having its GRAND OPENING. They're open from 9AM to 9PM, seven days a week. I got some GREAT STUFF there last night!

The Chronicle's Patrick Hoge reports BERKELEY: City hits university with back tax bill on parking. Demand intensifies disputes over money, campus expansion.


The West Berkeley Plan continues "Live-work originally grew up in the interstices of economically marginal industrial areas. However, in 1990s West Berkeley, both built space and land is scarce, highly prized, and competitive. This means that live-work uses have the potential of displacing or being physically incompatible with manufacturing, especially "heavier~ manufacturing." These potentials for incompatibility have grown as live-work has gained new constituencies, who are not always as tolerant of the pre-existing industrial land uses as artists and crafts people tended to be. Some developers of live-work have complained about the activities of manufacturing uses which long predated the live-work project. In those parts of West Berkeley which combine industrial and residential uses (in the Mixed Use/Residential district), existing residents are concerned about the visual, parking, and socioeconomic impacts of new live-work developments in the area. "

"Live-work space has become an increasingly important element of the West Berkeley built environment. More and more people, in an ever-widening variety of fields, are interested in combining their living and working sites. Originally targeted by state legislation to artists and crafts people, live-work now serves many more occupations. Originally envisioned as occurring in converted warehouses, in recent years there have been newly constructed purpose built live-work buildings as well. . . . Given strong interest by both space users and developers, additional live-work developments- particularly new construction developments-are likely."

"Live-work is generally a positive presence in Berkeley and West Berkeley, but it must be carefully regulated so that it does not cause negative impacts. Live-work generates life in neighborhoods which are otherwise moribund at night, increasing activity and safety. It can provide workspaces which do not need to be commuted to. Some live-work still houses artists, a culturally important but often economically marginal segment of the population." To be continued




The San Fransico Chronicle reports "In Berkeley, Capt. Doug Hambleton, a 29-year veteran, will take over as police chief for Roy Meisner, who retired last year. Hambleton started as a part-time trainee in 1975 and rose through the ranks, becoming a captain in 2000."

Richmond Rambler, Cliff Miller emails "Drive carefully, it's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others. Never buy a car you can't push. The second mouse gets the cheese."




Patrick Hoge of the San Francisco Chronicle writes about our new Councilman, Darryl Moore, "On Tuesday, City Councilman Darryl Moore requested a hearing next month to consider the merits of the Landmarks Preservation Commission's recent listing of a 59-year-old west Berkeley building housing a Mexican restaurant as a structure of merit. Moore said Thursday that he simply wanted a public hearing on the decision, which was appealed this week by the developer, the Urban Housing Group. The San Mateo firm wants to build at least 150 dwellings where the restaurant at 2040 Fourth St. and nearby Brennan's Restaurant now stand. Brennan's would be moved and the restaurant demolished, under the developer's plan."

For more stuff about landmark preservation in Berkeley, read Hoge's report BERKELEY: City to consider loosening law protecting historic landmarks. Ordinance used to block or delay projects, critics say.

And, the Chron's Vicky Elliott reports BERKELEY: boys to men -- portraits of a rite of passage.


A friend of Milo emails " A motorcyclist went down last night in the 2800 block of 8th Street. A medium size black dog ran across his path. The guy is fine. The dog, who was hit, has not yet been located."

We have a new and large mailbox on 8th Street.


Checkout The Journal of the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association.




Patrick Hoge of the San Francisco Chronicle reports "The state Coastal Conservancy has awarded an $815,000 grant to restore three blocks of Codornices Creek on the Berkeley-Albany border, a project that will bring the length of the restored portion of the creek to nearly a mile. Codornices Creek originates in the Berkeley hills and ends at the salt marsh south of Buchanan Street in Albany. Unlike other creeks in the two cities, most of Codornices Creek has not been buried in culverts, and it has a small but hardy population of trout. The Coastal Conservancy, which earlier gave $100,000 to the project, awarded the latest grant on Thursday. Albany is spending $550,000 of local bond money, and the state Department of Water Resources has committed $985,000 to the project."

Jerry Landis reports that though city storm run-off drains into Berkeley creeks and through culverts under private property, the City assumes no legal responsibility for maintenance or repairs of these culverts and, further, that the "Creek Ordinance" prevents some interior home improvements in houses bordering creeks if the can be interpreted as an expansion of the dwelling, even though they are interior.

And, after attending their meeting, Jerry was impressed by the make up of the Mayor's "Creek Taskforce."




A few weeks ago Harold Lawrence played a video for me that he and Mary made in the Summer of 2003 at the Crowden School. Eight of their teenage students played the first movement of the Mendelssohn Octet. They played with such professionalism, enthusiasm and heart that it gave me hope for Art Music. It was the most moving music I've heard in months!

Though hundreds of adjectives have been used to describe the taste of wine, I've yet to read a description of its high. I recently had a wine that gently relaxes, especially the small of the back and the forehead over the eyes. It also nicely sharpens the senses. The wine was THREE THIEVES Bandit, Bianco 2003 Trebbiano. There still some at the Canned Food Store for $1.99 a carton--yes, it comes in a carton not a bottle.

When Rick and I were talking about yogurt he strongly recommended the yogurt made by Marin County's Strauss Family Dairy. "It's Old World" said Rick. You can buy it at Whole Foods.



This morning's Channel 2 News interviewed the Hollands, a Berkeley couple who lead an organic life. Out of curiosity they underwent blood tests--these tests found "significant" levels of chemicals in their blood. The Hollands found it disturbing that their organic lifestyle was a so affected by the surrounding chemical society and went on in some detail about the consequences of the every day chemicals used in our homes--they were concerned. We in Potter Creek should be even more concerned, surrounded as we are by over fifty hazardous material users, diesel exhaust, the upwind freeway, etc. What the Hollands found even more disturbing is that with these chemicals in their blood they feel good. I'm reminded of a Potter Creek worker, who had developed emphysema and said what was disturbing is that he felt so good.

Jerry Landis observes that there are some streets particularly suited for bicycling--9th Street comes to mind, it is designated a "Bicycle Boulevard." Others are not suited for bicycling--7th Street comes to mind, prohibit bicycling on those streets.

The Canned Food Store has new VHS copies of Space Odyssey 2001 for sale for $2.99.




This morning, on my way to Potter Creek driving through North Berkeley, I saw three bicyclists blow Stop Signs-both four and two way- and saw a female cyclist cut off a disabled person who was in the middle of a crosswalk--more than rude.


Here are some excerpts from the California Vehicle Code that apply to bicyclists. The underlining is mine.

Bicycle Use. VC 21200

Every person riding a bicycle upon a street or highway has all the rights and is subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle, including the provisions of law dealing with driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.


Equipment Requirements. VC 21201

a) No person shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

b) No person shall operate on the highway any bicycle equipped with handlebars so raised that the operator must elevate their hands above the level of their shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.

c) No person shall operate upon any highway a bicycle which is of such a size as to prevent the operator from safely stopping the bicycle, supporting it in an upright position with at least one foot on the ground, and restarting it in a safe manner.

d) Every bicycle operated upon any highway during darkness shall be equipped with the following:

1. A lamp emitting a white light which illuminates the highway and is visible from a distance of 300 feet to the front and the sides of the bicycle.
2. A red reflector mounted on the rear of the bicycle and visible from 500 feet to the rear of the bicycle.
3. A white or yellow reflector mounted on each pedal visible 200 feet to the front and rear of the bicycle and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except bicycles which are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and the rear need not be equipped with side reflectors. All reflectorized tires must meet DMV requirements.

e) A lamp or lamp combination, emitting a white light, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle, may be used in place of a lamp attached to the bike.




There's a new cat in Potter Creek. Sally got a nine month old from the Milo Foundation--no relation.

Here are some more excerpts from the California Vehicle Code that apply to bicyclists.

Duty of Bicycle Operator: Operation On Roadway. VC 21202

a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:

1. When overtaking and passing another bicycle or motor vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
3. When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes) that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.

b) Any person operating a bicycle on a one-way street or highway with two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.

Riding On Bicycle. VC 21204

a) No person operating a bicycle on a highway shall ride other than on a permanent and regular attached seat.

b) No person operating a bicycle on a highway shall allow anyone to ride as a passenger other than on a separate attached seat. If the passenger is four years old or younger or weighs 40 pounds or less, the seat shall adequately retain the passenger in place and protect him/her from the bicycle's moving parts.

Carrying Articles. VC 21205

No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle, or article which prevents the operator from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.

To be continued.


Our town in The Day made the Chron's Editorial page yesterday "THIS IS 'Sunshine Week,' but it doesn't feel like it. The week is dedicated to open government and public access, yet Washington is locking up records more tightly than ever. The mania for government secrecy must be curbed. The Freedom of Information Act, passed in 1966, is designed to open the books, but it hasn't always prevailed. In fact, the record for the oldest pending request for federal records goes to Chronicle reporter Seth Rosenfeld, who in 1981 sought records on FBI activities on the Berkeley campus during the Free Speech era. He has forced the FBI to disclose some 200,000 pages of information. But the agency still hasn't provided everything." Underlining is mine.




I've always loved music-producer, Phil Spector's Wall-of-Sound. Check out our Phil Spector the wine connoisseur.


Here are some more excerpts from the California Vehicle Code that apply to bicyclists.

Permitted Movements from Bicycle Lanes. VC 21208

a) Whenever a bicycle lane has been established on a roadway, any person operating a bicycle upon the roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction shall ride in the bicycle lane, except under the following situations.

1. When overtaking or passing another bicycle, vehicle, or pedestrian within the lane or about to enter the lane if such overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the lane.
2. When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
3. When necessary to leave the lane to avoid debris or other hazardous conditions.


b) No operator of a bicycle shall leave a bicycle lane until it can be done safely and then only after giving an appropriate hand signal in the event that any vehicle might be affected by the movement.

Parking. VC 21210

No person shall leave a bicycle lying on its side on any sidewalk, or shall park a bicycle on a sidewalk in any other position, so that there is not an adequate path for pedestrian traffic. Local authorities may prohibit bicycle parking in designated areas of the public highway, provided appropriate signs are erected.

Obstruction of Bikeways. VC 21211

No person shall place or park a bicycle or vehicle so as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist on a bikeway or bicycle path or trail unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or otherwise in compliance with the law.

Youth Helmets. VC 21212

Prohibits persons under 18 from riding or being a passenger on a bicycle without wearing helmets meeting specified standards (ANSI or SNELL). Violations are punishable by a fine of not more than $25.

Bicycles on Roadways VC 21650.1

A bicycle operated on a roadway or highway shoulder shall be operated in the same direction as vehicles are required to drive upon the roadway.



"Berkeley Design Review Committee will get its final look Thursday at plans for a four-story mixed-use condominium and retail project at 2700 San Pablo Ave. Developer Patrick Kennedy originally planned to build on the site but sold the land and permit approvals to Curtis + Partners, LLC, of San Francisco, headed by Charmaine Curtis. The project will include 30 residential-only units, four mixed-use units and a retail space at the northeast corner of San Pablo Avenue and Carleton Street. . . The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in Workshop B of the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave" reports The Berkeley Daily Planet.

Also in The Planet you'll find the commentarary"Up a Berkeley Creek Without a Paddle" by Fred Dodsworth.

Jerry Landis writes "City Manager Phil Kamlarz states clearly and bluntly what has been too long ignored: Increasing revenue from business taxes is pivotal to preserve city services. And this flash of rationality is endorsed by Mayor Bates' wish to create commercial zones along major traffic corridors. The most obvious candidate may be the foot of Gilman, where everything west of Seventh Street is a wasteland of shanties and scrapyards. This freeway access could be bustling hub of car dealerships and big-box retail." Then Jerry quotes from The Daily Planet "'Increasing commercial development in West Berkeley is sure to meet opposition from artists and industrialists who fear that encroaching retail shops will drive up rent and force them out of Berkeley.' Well-maybe they don't belong in Berkeley. The corollary of that statement is that all business owners and homeowners in Berkeley, through exorbitant taxation, are subsidizing the low rents of those artists and industrialists. Maybe art studios and little industrial job shops belong in Hercules? Mendocino? Somewhere affordable?"

John King of the San Francisco Chronicle reports of our Landmarks Preservation Commission and the changes in west-Berkeley "Making a landmark out of everything gets nothing."

I received a Public Notice from Bay Area Air Quality informing that Mercurio Brothers Printing, 2830 San Pablo has applied for a permit for sources of AIR POLLUTION-- FOUR LITHOGRAPHIC PRINTING PRESSES. The BAAQ Staff report is available here. There is a 30 day period for public response to this proposal. You may respond by emailing or by telephoning (415) 749-4907. (Without these four new presses, I already type this with stinging eyes and infected sinus from a potent and probably nearby manufacturing source of irritation. Could the stink that fills my warehouse from next door Adams and Chittenden Scientific Glass also be an irritant? )

Bay Area Air Quality was not aware of our new CEID School and it's proximity to Mercurio Printers. After going to the School this afternoon to get their address, phone number and email address, I emailed them to Nancy Yee at BAAQ. Later I received this email from CEID's Jill Ellis "Thanks again for coming in - I really appreciate all your due diligence and keeping an eye open for us. ([Hopefully soon] I'll have time to breath and be more connected with you all!)"

Our Bob Kubik is the CEID school gardener.


I emailed Zelda Bronstein for sources of stories about west-Berkeley manufactures. She suggested I link her "Made in Berkeley" series. I will, and am now waiting for the links.

Soon, some detailed paragraphs about my experiences with "light" manufacturing in Potter Creek.



Here are some more excerpts from the California Vehicle Code that apply to bicyclists.

Bicycling on Freeways VC 21960

a) The Department of Transportation and local authorities may prohibit or restrict the use of freeways or any portion thereof by bicycles.

b) Such prohibitory regulations shall be effective when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected upon the freeway and the approaches thereto.

Hand Signals. VC 22111

All required signals given by hand and arm shall be given in the following manner:

1. Left turn-hand and arm extended horizontally beyond the side of the bicycle.
2. Right turn- left hand and arm extended upward beyond the side of the bicycle or right hand and arm extended horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.
3. Stop or sudden decrease of speed signal- left hand and arm extended downward beyond the side of the bicycle.

Toll Crossing. VC 23330

Except where a special permit has been obtained from the Department of Transportation, bicycles shall not be permitted on any vehicular crossing, unless the Department by signs indicates that bicycles are permitted upon all or any portion of the vehicular crossing.

Headsets and Earplugs. VC 27400

No person operating any vehicle, including a bicycle shall wear any headset covering, or any earplugs in, both ears. There are exceptions for persons operating authorized emergency vehicles, special construction or maintenance equipment and refuse collection equipment, and for any person wearing personal hearing protectors designed to attenuate injurious noise levels and which do not inhibit the wearers' ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or horn form another motor vehicle, and for any person using a prosthetic device which aids the hard of hearing.

License Requirement. VC 39002

a) A city or county may adopt a bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution providing that no resident shall operate any bicycle on any street, road, highway, or other public property within the city of county, unless such bicycle is licensed in accordance with this division.

b) Any bicycle not licensed under this division may be additionally regulated or licensed pursuant to local ordinance or may be licensed upon request of the owner.

c) It is illegal for any person to to tamper with, destroy, mutilate or alter any license indicia (marking) or registration form or to remove, alter, or mutilate the serial number, or the identifying marks of a licensing agency's identifying symbol on any bicycle frame licensed under the provision of this division.

Throwing Substances On Highways Or Adjoining Areas. VC 23111 7 23112

No person in any vehicle shall throw or discharge from or upon any road, highway or adjoining area, public or private, any lighted or non-lighted cigarette, cigar, match or any flaming or glowing substance.

No person shall throw or deposit upon a highway any bottle, can garbage, glass, wire, nails, paper or any substance likely to injure or cause damage to traffic using the highway.

In addition to these state laws, many communities have local ordinances. Check with your local police department regarding bicycle registration, licensing, and regulations (sidewalk riding, etc.) in your area.


Jan reports that Schaffen Berger has successsfully opened a store on the Westside of New York City and now is going to open another retail outlet in Northern California. And Jan regrets that one of the last Potter Creek green spaces will probably be cemented over for our Berkely Bowl. Jan's also planning a weekend morning bike ride along the Bay Trail from Emeryville to Point Richmond.

Nancy Yee of Bay Area Air Quality promptly responded to my email "Thank you for your quick reply. CEID should have received a public notice because they are located within 1,000 feet from Mercurio Brothers Printing. Because, CEID is a nursery school, the parents or guardians of the children attending the school do not need to be notified. For the purpose of complying with H&S Code 42301.6 through 42301.8, the definition of school as defined in the H&S Code 42301.9, school is any public or private school with more than 12 students in kindergarten through 12 grade."

Last year, Zelda Bronstein wrote of our Inkworks collective. This year Inkworks celebrates its thirtieth anniversary. As the date suggests, the collective was born in the ferment of the late 60s and 70s. "We were a group of activists, says Erica Braun, Inkworks, general manager and one of the founders. "There was a print shop before this, associated with an adult high school, where some of us learned how to print... We decided to set up a job shop that would be a resource to community groups... We seriously gathered the skills to make sure the project had a good foundation." To be continued




Yesterday, one of Kava's projects was a featured in the San Francisco Chronicle's Real Estate Section. Susan Fornoff reported"MODEL HOME: City Limits - Oakland/Emeryville. Steps to ownership for hip renters First-time buyers apt to like Oakland-Emeryville condos." These units are just off San Pablo and 67th. This morning there were half-dozen guys hanging there--looking for trouble, I thought. On the other hand . . . (Well, I hope those new "hip buyers" are trained in self-defense.)

One of Kruse' employee's cars has "WELCOME BACK LCPL KENNY" written across its back window. WELL, ALL RIGHT!


Brian emails from Kava's office

Event: Planning Commission Meeting Project: West Berkeley Bowl at 920 Heinz Avenue Location: North Berkeley Senior Center Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2005 For additional information:

And, it is my understanding that the new West Berkeley Bowl application has been submitted but no action will be taken on it until the staff report is filed. The staff needs another two-to-four weeks to study the application and to make recommendations.

Is all that talk about "lots a closed-door" meetings concerning our Potter Creek Berkeley
Bowl rumor? Or is somthin' up?


Charmaine Curtis' plans for a four-story mixed-use condominium and retail project at 2700 San Pablo Ave--the old Kennedy site--were approved by the Berkeley Design Review Committee.The project includes 30 residential-only units, four mixed-use units and a retail space at the northeast corner of San Pablo Avenue and Carleton Street


What's wrong with closed door meetings anyway? Everyone has 'em. Though there's a certain irony when they're held by those who advocate transparency.


A friend of Pete's, Kimar's oldest son, was searching Berkeley through Google and came across Scrambled Eggs and Lox. When finding and recognizing Kimar, he phoned Pete with "Hey, what's your Mom doing on the Internet?"

Potter Creek's David Snipper, as of 3/25/05, is no longer with the City of Berkeley.




Pete's Potter Creek rain-gauge showed 1.55 inches from last night's storm.

Kimar wonders why the Health and Safety Code doesn't require parents of nursery school children to be notified of possible new pollution in the school's neighborhood when it requires this of "any public or private school with more than 12 students in kindergarten through 12 grade." Seems the younger kids are the more at risk.


A citizen "in-the-know" emails "I haven't heard anything about closed-door meetings."




Pete's Potter Creek rain gauge showed 3/4 an inch for yesterday.


From the Boss's March report.

2. City Seeks Parking Taxes and Files Suit on UC Growth Plan

Parking Tax
Earlier this month, the City billed the University for three years of parking taxes that we believe should have been paid for people parking at University owned lots. The City collects parking taxes on all pay-for-parking lots throughout the City. It is only fair that UC owned lots pay the same as their counterparts. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article about the issue

Growth Plan Lawsuit
On February 23rd, the City of Berkeley filed a lawsuit against the University of California Regents in Alameda County Superior Court challenging their approval of the UC Berkeley 2020 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) on the grounds that the environmental impact report (EIR) is legally inadequate. The next step in the suit is for the City and UC to engage in three mandatory settlement conferences. Read a fact sheet on the suit, a copy of the entire legal filing, and my comments here You can
also read the San Francisco Chronicle article about the suit




Ta heck with that bunny an' his candy, I'm waitIn' for Eesa' Man--so



Ms Z emails "At the Planning Commission meeting last night, City staff said that the Bowl's revised application, along with a staff report and environmental study, would be on the Planning Commission's April 27 agenda."




Yesterday afternoon, Lipofsky and I met behind closed doors for several minutes. While the meeting was short, it was fruitful--we managed to draft several of our own Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl Plans. First, we by and large support the present proposal, but in order to minimize traffic congestion want only Marvin and me to use the store--preferably by appointment. (Maybe some of our friends could use the store, too.) Secondly, we propose to altogether alleviate parking congestion by building a 500-750 space parking-lot down the street in Emeryville, connected to the proposed Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl sight by an underground pedestrian tunnel--of course, also containing a "Bicycle Boulevard." We specially hope that the first proposal be adopted. Whatever proposal is eventually approved, we want David Snipper as the Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl Greeter--now that he has some time. Finally, though we desperately wanted to sue someone, we just couldn't think of anyone worthy.


A Potter Creek citizen who specially likes the for-the-moment-big-empty-green-lot on Heinz between 8th and 9th emails these Joni Mitchell lyrics.

"Big Yellow Taxi

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,
With a pink hotel, a boutique,
And a swinging hot spot.
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum.
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em.
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Hey, farmer, farmer, put away that D.D.T., now!
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees, please!
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

Late last night I heard the screen door slam.
And a big yellow taxi took away my old man.
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone?
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."


Marvin just returned from Baltimore where he saw sign after sign reading BELIEVE. At first, he thought they were posted by Fundamentalists. Turns out their city administration put them up hoping that they would help citizens believe in the New Baltimore. We could spend a few bucks on some GET REAL signs.



Graveyard Shift at Adams and Chittenden Scientific Glass? Around 2:00 AM this morning a worker worked with lights blazing and machinery humming. Is the prohibition of work at businesses between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM another example of an out-of-sync west-Berkeley Plan? Is the mixed use concept out-of-date? (Berkeley "recyclers" contributed to the report.)


For over an hour of great fiddle-tunes and stories from a real Cajun, check out Folk Masters: Varise Conner. This is the most fun I've had listening to recorded music since Joanna Blendulf and JungHae Kim's Triemer CD.






It always good hear that wetlands are being reclaimed but you can see it with your own eyes in our East Shore State Park. Check it out. It's wonderful!

There's no street sign on 7th and Ashby indicating that the street is 7th.

Pete's Potter Creek rain gauge showed just over half an inch from yesterday and last night, the 27th.

On the 28th, Pete's Potter Creek rain gauge showed .3 inch.

"How many scholars does it take to produce a compendious history of the entire sweep of European and American music, from the first medieval jottings to last year's world premieres? Would you believe just one?" That one is our Richard Taruskin. Read Josh Kosman's story about him and his The Oxford History of Recorded Music.


In Mexico City, Isa had seafood with her brother on Easter Sunday, but on Saturday had steak. Here's her email. "It was a steak in a pepper sauce, maybe you can do that recipe, it's a very good and easy one. You just need your meat--filet mignon is the best for this--fresh ground pepper, if you have green pepper it's even better, and some salt to cover the meat. Then, in a pan, put a little bit of butter, grill the meat, on both sides, and when it's almost ready, cover it with brandy or cognac, it will boil immediately, then put that on fire, like flambé, when the fire is out, just add some cream, but don't let that boil. Mix the cream with the brandy. Serve it immediately. You'll see, I'm sure you'll love it. Serve it with fries or any kind of potatoes. And of course a good red wine, strong, like a Merlot, will be perfect." Today she's back at graduate school at Colmex.




Zelda B continues with her story about Potter Creek's Inkworks.

The challenges weren't just technical. At that time, Braun notes, "there were very few women in the trade, really none. I had the wonderful experience of calling up other printers and asking how to fix our old press. From the older guys who really valued hard work, you'd get respect." The younger men, she recalls, "were terrible."

Inkworks, founders apparently learned what they needed to know. Today 21 people work at the facility on Seventh Street just north of Ashby, which the collective purchased in 1987. With two 12- by 18-inch presses and two 29-inch presses,one single-color and the other two, Inkworks can and does handle a great range of high-quality, offset printing assignments.

Such breadth, says Bernard Marszalek, Inkworks, sales and marketing manager, was once common for commercial presses but is getting rare. Nowadays, most print shops focus on labels or booklets or newspapers or some other format, and for good reason: Specialization makes for greater efficiency and hence larger profit margins. "If you,re doing one thing, Marszalek notes, "you get that stuff down and have people trained for that thing."

At Inkworks, by contrast, "we still do a range of work,way beyond what most shops our size would probably do." That's because Inkworks is committed to meeting the needs of the progressive and non-profit communities. That commitment is reflected in the remarkable diversity of the shop's products: posters, bumper stickers, window signs, leaflets, brochures, logos, books, newsletters, magazines and some hard-to-classify creations, such a deck of "war profiteer" playing cards, done in collaboration with Corp Watch, that parodies the deck that the U.S. military distributed in Iraq.

Over 90 percent of Inkworks, jobs are for nonprofits. "We don,t turn away projects," says Marszalek. "If we can do them in-house, we do them here. Otherwise we find vendors who can produce the work. We bargain for the jobs ourselves, but we service the community in a way that many shops probably would hesitate to do because they wouldn't seem profitable." To be continued.

Our Annie K is going to be on the radio. She emails "A KQED radio Perspective piece (88.5 FM in the Bay Area, or to listen online); which will be broadcast on Friday, April 1 at (I'm told) 6:07 and 7:37am, and 11:33pm. This one's about my son and my foster baby."

Pete and Lynn are also on the radio. They're doing a public service announcment on KALX. Pete wrote a great one about bicycles.

Charles, one of our more responsible citizens, came to the door yesterday to ask if I had a plastic bag. He had noticed that there was a dead bird on the sidewalk between 2743 and 2741 8th and wanted to remove it. He took the bag that I gave him and carefully picked up the bird and took it away. I didn't take the time to thank him, "Thank you."



If you'd like to thank Charles, he's usually in front of the Westside.

Want to find out some of what's being planned for Our Town? Check out our Planning Department's site here.

I wonder, do community activists think about the effect of their advocacy on ordinary people? How does, for instance, their advocacy affect personal relations, friendship? After all, it is all about real, live people and not causes. Isn't it?


Zelda's Inkworks story continues

A client that's not well-funded or that has no money at all is treated differently than one that has substantial financial backing. Besides discounting for community groups, Inkworks does a few projects each year as close to cost as possible. When the product is the first issue of a newsletter or magazine, says Braun, "We'll donate the labor; you pay for the materials. You can get most print shops to donate the printing but not to underwrite the first issue.

Certified by Alameda County as a Green Business, Inkworks is listed in Co-Op America's 2004 National Green Pages. The shop uses vegetable-based inks, and papers that are recycled and free of dioxin and chlorine. "Our practice, says Marszalek, "is to minimize waste of all kinds; very little goes out of this shop. This summer, Inkworks is taking a big technological leap in the direction of environmental sustainability. The shop has purchased a new, four-color digital press that uses no metal plates and that will bypass several stages of film and chemistry, greatly decreasing Inkworks, contribution to the waste stream.

Like all major decisions at Inkworks, getting the new press had to be vetted through the shop's democratic decision-making process, which is to say it had to be approved by the entire collective. On routine matters, a majority vote suffices. "It's the bigger decisions, says pre-press specialist Nobuo Nishi, "like getting this new press, which is a huge expenditure and will affect the direction of the shop, that require unanimity.

Fifteen of the 21 people working at Inkworks are full members of the collective. New workers go through a six-month probation period, after which they become peers with everyone else. Everyone draws the same hourly wage. Inkworks is a union shop, so wages and benefits are union-scale. Year-end financial surpluses are equally distributed through a profit-sharing account. Members receive their dividends when they retire or leave the printing industry. To be continued.


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