MARCH 2007

Gérard Laugier and his 1966 Chevrolet pickup


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

Here is Gérard's website.


And here's an example of Gérard's work.

(Photo taken at Heartwood Studio.)




I'm told that Barnes & Noble is closing their Shattuck Avenue store. Flanked by much larger outlets in Emeryville and El Cerrito, Berkeley's store is closing-shop in its bleaker-than-not location.


"Siemens branch to cut Concord jobs: More than 100 manufacturing positions will be eliminated as oncology group consolidates in Germany" reports George Avalos of the Times.


The Wall Street Journal reports that "Mortgage defaults start to spread. New data show that nontraditional loans are beginning to haunt borrowers with midlevel credit. Prime still fine."


"Councilwoman wants more police transparency: Push to make crime information more accessible sparked by violations uncovered recently by Times reporter" writes Doug Oakley of the Times. "A Berkeley City Council member says the city's police department needs to make crime information more public following a news report thatrevealed the agency violated state laws."


"A flowering American tradition of music" reports Robert Taylor of the Times. "It's an early spring for Berkeley composer John Adams. He has put aside the memoir he's writing and postponed the premiere of a symphony based on his opera 'Doctor Atomic,' which had been set for Carnegie Hall. This week, the aura is sweetness and light as he conducts the first American performances of 'A Flowering Tree,' his opera based on an Indian folk tale and inspired by Mozart's 'The Magic Flute.' "


"Senior housing for gays unveiled in East Bay: Barbary Lane project, expected to be complete by fall, will transform the historic Lake Merritt Hotel" reports Angela Hill in our Times.


"Berkeley in top five clean cities: Community ranked No. 3 among areas working to create biofuels, renewable energy" reports Eve Mitchell of our Times. "Berkeley is already green. Now it's clean, too."

Well, I knew Potter Creek was green. After all, some my neighbors are Certifed, but clean? Ok, . . . since Bob and Steve organized, there have been fewer condums in the gutter.


11:13 AM--Sarah and Milo leave as front room fills with smell of "burning natural gas."


~8:40PM--4.2 rolling earthshake centered in Lafayette

Ops, go boom! OR Can you spell atomized?

Some thoughts.

In rethinking the west-Berkeley Plan I'd sure-as-hell severely restrict the hazardous materials allowed in the Mixed Use Residential area.


A virtual tour of Potter Creek's hazardous material users can be taken here. There is more hazardous material use in Potter Creek than anywhere else in Berkeley, except possibly UC. In this block alone, manufactures use and store, hydrogen, propane and more--this among surrounding Edwardians, bungelows, work-lives, condos, Victorians, and cottages, . . . and of course, École Bilingue.





The Wall Street Journal reports that "the manufacturing sector grew in February, rebounding from a recent slump" and that "the EPA is proposing rules to all but eliminate the soot and smog-related emissions of locomotive and similar diesel engines used in ships."


"Most area residents favor law to cut greenhouse gas emissions" writes the Times, Mike Taugher. "Four out of five Bay Area residents think global warming is a serious threat and about the same number favor a new law that requires Californians to sharply cut greenhouse."


Recently, Johns Hopkins made a detailed study of civilian casualties in Iraq. In the Johns Hopkins Magazine Dale Keige writes "When Johns Hopkins epidemiologists set out to study the war in Iraq, they did not anticipate that their findings would be so disturbing, or so controversial."


"Radio program returns home" writes Martin Snapp of the Times. " 'West Coast Live,' the interview/variety show that airs live every Saturday on more than 100 radio stations across the United States and Canada, returns Saturday to its home base, the Freight & Salvage Coffee House in Berkeley, for an extended stay after being on the road since the summer."


"Filmmakers Say Wareham Rent Hikes May Destroy Community" writes Judith Scherr in our Planet. "More than four dozen writers, independent filmmakers, radio producers and technicians who tenant the seven-story tower at 10th and Parker streets are facing hefty rent hikes that could squeeze them out of Berkeley, said screenwriter Karen Folger Jacobs, an 18-year tenant at the Saul Zaentz Media Center, the only renter among several contacted by the Daily Planet willing to allow her name to be used for this story. Wareham Development of San Rafael, self-described as Berkeley's largest commercial property investor and developer, recently paid more than $20 million for the 2.64 acre property. On Jan. 24, the day after the deal went through, Wareham immediately informed tenants there would be two or three-year leases that would include rent increases for most. "


And Snapp writes "Council cedes housing power. The Berkeley City Council took the first step toward creating a new governing structure for the embattled Berkeley Housing Authority this week by firing itself as the BHA's Board of Commissioners."




Michael Goldin's Swerve manufacturing facility is moving to Potter Creek. Swerve bought the old foundry property on 7th.(Plans and plan-views of the new building to follow.) Also, check out their current state-of-the-art manufacturing and office facility at Swerve, 2332 5th Street, Berkeley, CA 94710, tel: 1.877.644.1898, fax 1.510.644.0724 OR email

And, see a movie of their router at their

factory link.


5-axis CNC Router can machine large three dimensional parts -- up to 120"x 60"x 31" -- in non-ferrous metal, wood, composites and plastics.


Our John Curl has written a book.

Memories of Drop City follows a group of people and their radical movement, in the Southwest and on both coasts, in the 1960s, a decade that shaped the rest of the century. Of it, our Ishmael Reed, National Book Award nominee, writes "John Curl's characters in Memories of Drop City aspire to be years ahead of the rest of us, but Curl shows, through his highly crafted and brilliant novelistic memoir, that they often succumb to the same social flaws as the rest of us. This might be the most balanced memoir or novel yet published about the Sixties." And our Al Young, poet laureate of California, writes "With this compelling evocation and portrayal of breathing people, John Curl unpacks the boxed lunch myth of America's alternative lifestyle Sixties, and restores the day to day flavor of a deeply fabled era still key to understanding the way we live (and don't live) now."

Check out Memories of Drop City



12:05 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front of 2743/27418th, burning lips, burning throat, chills, use mask. "Smells like kockah" remarks Marsha.




"Historical society works on Berkeley radio museum: Group collecting antiques, memorabilia and refurbishing KRE station building" reports Doug Oakley in the West County Times. "A group of radio buffs is transforming a 1930s radio station in Berkeleyfrom a building of a bygone era into a museum housing radio antiques dating back to the turn of the century. The California Historical Radio Society has been restoring the KRE radio station off Shellmound Street at the south end of Aquatic Park for three years. 'Our purpose is to present in an educational way the history of radio and the importance of radio to people who don't know anything about it,' said Steve Kushman, president of the society. 'There may be six generations of people who don't know what a vacuum tube is and who Marconi is. They don't teach this in schools.' (Hint: A vacuum tube is a glass instrument used inside old radios that modified signals and was later replaced by transistors in integrated circuits; Guglielmo Marconi was best known for his development of the radiotelegraph system.) The building's control broadcast room was the location for Wolfman Jack and Richard Dreyfuss scenes in the 1973 movie 'American Graffiti.' The building is owned by Inner City Broadcasting, which uses a back room full of equipment and an outside radio tower to transmit signals for its radio stations that broadcast from other locations. The rest of the 4,600 square feet was left to the society."


The Wall Street Journal reports on Chick Corea's five favorite jazz albums. In no order at all, they are Blowin' the Blues Away, Horace Silver; Out to Lunch, Eric Dolphy; Sun Ship, John Coltrane; Live at the Five Spot, John Coltane and Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis and Bill Evans, The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings.

And check out our Groove Yard and Amoeba for copies.


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!


Zelda B makes some observations about Our Town in our Planet with "The Privatization of Berkeley Government."


12:12 PM--irritant IMMERDIATELY in front 2743 8th Street, light head, headache, dry lips, dry eyes.


Marsha in her AOSafety R5700 filter-mask

I can't stress enough that not only do the AOSafety R5700 filter masks keep out the nasties of urban-air but that they also are a real fashion statement. Notice again, how the purple stripes of the filters are enhanced by the purple of the background tibouchinas, and that the black rubber of the mask itself subtlely highlights Marsha's cleavage. Of course, you'll be way ahead when high-fashion discovers the angry-insect look.




12:55 PM--detergent "soap-flakes" odor all up Grayson. Haven't smelled that one in a long time. One Saturday afternoon years ago, it was accompanied by clouds of "soap-flake-like" dust that settled over everything, everywhere. At first, it looked like fog coming in on the deck thru the École Bilingue playground.


Matt Krupnick of our Times reports on one consequence of the sale of the Marchant warehouse which is located just south of Potter Creek on San Pablo Avenue. "From his damp former home under the UC Berkeley bleachers to his gloomy abode in the bowels of a gargantuan warehouse, it has been a long time since Kritios Boy was surrounded by anything resembling comfort.But, with Miller spending most of his time in Greece these days and the university's pending sale of the former typewriter factory, it's unclear where the statues will end up as the building's tenants are moved out during the next three years.'I want very badly for these to be on campus,' Miller said, surrounded by about three dozen statues in the basement of the Marchant warehouse, at a point on San Pablo Avenue where Berkeley, Emeryville and Oakland meet. At least one city boundary runs through the building." The complete story is here.





900 GRAYSON had its best day ever last Saturday. So for that and just a little more


However, yesterday afternoon a female pick-pocket stole a customer's wallet.


"Use of option-ARM loans on the rise: Experts warn high-risk mortgages make sense for very few borrowers" reports Barbara E. Hernandez of the Times.


"Possibility of meltdown in subprime loans ravages financial stock prices" writes Joe Bel Bruno of the AP in theTimes. "Mounting concerns on Wall Street that mortgage lenders might be hurt by increasing defaults and delinquencies sent investors fleeing Monday from some of the biggest names in the industry."


"Study links air pollution to weather: Scientists find that soot pumped into atmosphere by growing Asian industry has caused an increase in storm clouds of up to 50%" reports Robert Lee Hotz of the Los Angeles Times in our Times. "Asia's growing air pollution -- billowing million-ton plumes of soot, smog and wood smoke -- is making the Pacific region cloudier and stormier, disrupting winter weather patterns along the West Coast and into the Arctic, researchers reported Monday."


"Pacific Steel Casting Final Emissions Report Released" writes Riya Bhattacharjee of our Planet. "The Bay Area Air Quality Management District reviewed Pacific Steel Castings's (PSC) final emissions inventory report and released it to the City of Berkeley and the public on Feb. 23."


11:16 AM--irritant in front room, dry eyes, dry lips, use mask.





KRON reporter and friend of a leading west-Berkeley citizen, Wendy Tokuda, talks about the personal effect of a young man's violent death in "Ripples of a Homicide" in the Oakland Tribune. In the print version there's also a photo of the beautiful Ms Tokuda.





Our comminuty activist,Sarah Klise emails in cooperation with WEBAC advocate/activist, Rick Auerbach that

"There will be a Potter Creek Neighborhood Meeting next week on
Tuesday, March 13th at 6:30 pm. We will meet at Ecole Bilingue. Please
enter on Heinz, coming from 9th, walk past playground and enter gate. Look for signs - but meeting will be in a classroom straight back on right side.

Topics: Recent letter establishing a West Berkeley Business district.
What this means. (There are many opinions.) Also, updates on
neighborhood development. You may add agenda items that night or
e-mail me."


The proposal is actually for a Community Benefit District. It is being put forward by the West Berkeley Business Alliance. Since the letters were received, I have spoken to dozens of people about them. It is my understanding that, among other things, the District is a work in progress and the letter does not now fully reflect its nature. I would hope that someone from the Alliance can be present at this meeting with more complete and up to date information. So at this short notice, a member of the group has been informed of the meeting.


Today at 3:30 PM in the City Council Chambers of Old City Hall, eight of our police officers will will be honored in an awards ceremony. The officers are Lt Matt Morizono, Officer Jitendra Singh, Officer Darren Kacalek, Sgt. Katie Smith, Officer Andrw Frankel, Officer John Lewis, Sgt Erik Upson and retired Lt Russell Lopes. The public is welcomed.


Now, not only are my current Almost Daily Posts being regularly browsed but my Scrambled Eggs and Lox Archives and Features are also being read--often by more readers than look at my current page. And yesterday, altogether Scrambled Eggs pages received well over 200 visits or over 1000 hits. I record, I think.


5:40 PM--irritant in front room.






the 7th Street Swerve building


Sooner than later, well-known Bay Area artist Deborah Oropallo will move to her new studio in Potter Creek. Check her out HERE!

Part of the new Swerve building on 7th will be artist space.


7:05 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, leave.






Quote of the week by Mose Allison "I don't worry 'bout a thing, 'cause I know nothin's gonna be aw right."


Birds are singing along with Bix on KCSM this morning, though yesterday morning a new SUV was broken into around the corner on Grayson.


12:24 PM--SERIOUS irritant in front of 2743 8th, burning lips, throat, headache, birds stop singing and leave. Probably just a coincidence.





I'm told that Ed Adams project on 8th is on hold pending possible changes in the in-lieu-of-law.


There is now a City Parking Lot on 8th across from the Sawtooth warehouse. (Before, it was part of the Bayer lot.) Can't find a parking space, go there for a couple of hours.


Our Cameron Woo emails


Claudia and I stopped by the new Charles Chocolate tasting room/store at the
old Andronico's in Emeryville and satisfied our sweet tooth with their
generous offerings and wide assortment of chocolates from tea-infused
chocolates to pate de fruit. Nice people and it is good to see a food
manufacturer move into that space. The person at the tasting room/store said
that a cafe is in the plans.

Check out their tasting schedule on the Charles Chocolate Website.

Best regards,


2:17 PM-- SERIOUS irritant and odor IMMEDIATELY in front of warehouses.





11:14 AM--irritant in front room.





Our Zoning Adjustment Board will hold a public hearing on Thursday, March 22, at the Old City Hall about the Potter Creek Berkeley Bowl "to modify approved plans . . . including increasing building footprint, changing configuration of the retail and storage areas, changing parking layout, without creating any new traffic or other environmental impacts."

And the beat goes on.


Were those The Activists leaving Rick's Place this early-afternoon--looked like it to me.Yup, Rick confirms it was the WEBIAC Steering Committee.


Last night, our City Council unanimously approved a resolution urging Deutschland to indict Rumsfeld for war crimes. Am I missing something here?


"In Ailey group, first they dance, then they dine. Company holds annual cookout on university campus after its show reports Martin Snapp. "The sweet, smoky smell of barbecue wafted over the Zellerbach Hall courtyard at UC Berkeley on a recent Saturday as table after table groaned under the weight of freshly grilled ribs, chickens, shrimp, salmon, turkeys, bacon, steaks, ducks, frog legs and vegetables."



"Peet's future is percolating" writes the Times, Blanca Torres "If some coffee drinkers across the East Bay could just have one wish, it would be to have a Peet's Coffee and Tea right down the street.

Some Peet's lovers complain of having to drive to another town while for others, the problem is having to wait in long lines during peak hours.

In either case, consumer demand for more Peet's shops is clear, but whether the Emeryville-based roaster can keep up amid concerns about quality and competition from industry leader Starbucks Corp. is another question."


"Berkeley takes aim at loitering problem" report Martin Snapp and Kristin Benderin our Times. "The Berkeley City Council took the first step Tuesday night toward a sweeping plan to remove a small but often aggressive group of loiterers from the city's commercial corridors, which have suffered business declines in recent months.

The council approved the Public Commons for Everyone Initiative, a proposal by Mayor Tom Bates that aims to get people who sleep, stalk and yell at passersby off the streets and into counseling or rehab programs."



And Snapp and Oakley report "Berkeley violent crimes up, police chief says. Berkeley Police Chief Doug Hambleton had a tip for iPod owners Tuesday night: 'Leave them at home when you're out jogging at night.' "

"Foundation fights for right to information"
reports Josh Richman in the Times. "Digital sunshine pours forth from an office near Washington's' Dupont Circle. Or that's the idea, at least, behind the Electronic Frontier Foundation's FOIA Litigation for Accountable Government Project. Created last year, it exists solely to ask -- and then sue --the government to release records on high-tech programs affecting Americans' privacy."


"Stocks plunge on mortgage fears: Floundering subprime lending sector, slowing retail sales shake investors; drop second largest in four years" reports Madlen Read of the AP in our Times. "Stocks plunged Tuesday, driving the Dow Jones industrials down more than 240 points to their second-biggest drop in almost four years, as troubles piled up for subprime lenders.

Investors, bracing for a wilting economy, fled the already-deflated subprime mortgage sector on more news that lenders New Century Financial Corp., Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. and General Motors Acceptance Corp.'s residential unit are facing financial problems.

The Mortgage Bankers Association bolstered the belief that the struggles are widespread after it said new foreclosures surged to an all-time high in the last quarter of 2006."


But Monday, the AP's Marcy Gordon reported Official calls mortgage issue 'manageable' Market holds firm despite bad news from key subprime lender."




Tuesday night there was a meeting of Potter Creek neighbors. About two-dozen people came to an École Bilingue classroom at 6:30 to hear Michael and Steven Goldin of the West Berkeley Business Alliance answer questions about their proposed Community Benefit District. The neighbors were almost exclusively Potter Creek small home owners--"the usual suspects"-- though the school was represented by Antoine.

The meeting began with Sarah's introduction and notes, and Rick Auerbach's personal view of the neighborhood and his fears for its future including the belief that the Community Benefit District could be used to re-zone west-Berkeley toward development. (Rick is an employee/advocate of WEBIAC, another west-Berkeley group with views often different from those of WBBA.)

After a short introduction, Michael answered questions. Over the meeting's roughly hour and one-half, he spoke generally about the plans for Benefit District. (Also available on phone for detailed answers was Michael's consultant, Marco Li Mandri. Li Mandr has established over forty similar districts around the country. Though Michael offered several times to refer questions to Li Mandri none present felt this necessary.)

Michael made some important points. WBBA have not yet absolutely decided to go ahead with the District. The District plan is still in its formative stage but all property owners in our MUR can join. The District would provide services and benefits above and beyond the Citys'. (By block, those who do not wish to join could be lined-out--though they would probably receive residual benefits.) The District could be an incorporated non-profit group with bylaws, officers, etc. It could be non-political in nature. Members would having voting rights and a financial obligations in relation to their property size and use--bigger property more power and obligation. With the formation of the District exactly what the city provides--or should provide- would become clear. So then would what the District provides. The District could deal with property issues.

Though generally civil in tone, there was a confrontational undercurrent in the meeting and I'm left with two neighbors' remarks "It's a power grab" and "The neighborhood has once again shown that it's incapable of accepting change."

I spoke briefly at the meeting's end though frankly don't remember fully what I said. By then, I was eager to leave so I could watch borrowed DVD's of Groucho Marx' old TV program "You Bet Your Life." Am I missing something here?


4:20 PM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse back.

7:07 PM--SERIOUS irritant IMMEDIATELY in front of 24743/41 8th , leave.






The Wall Street Journal reports that "Fallout from the imploding subprime-mortgage market is spreading [to the] once torrid mortgage business-centered, jobs-filled, office buildings. No place is this more apparent than Orange County" and that "Most economic forecasters . . . say recent turmoil in the subprime mortgage market is likely to spread to the broader mortgage market [and that the] widely followed index of home prices [will fall]."






Potter Creek's Martin Metal has passed.

"Martin Metal, a Berkeley sculptor whose gates, lamps and free-standing pieces graced restaurants, churches, commercial buildings and homes around the Bay Area, has died in Berkeley.

His death, on Feb. 28 at age 88, followed a brief illness.

Working variously in aluminum, stainless steel, welded rebar, copper, wood and stone, Mr. Metal created purely abstract and semifigurative works that were often commissioned by architects and private clients."

Read morehere.



Doc's Jaguar XK140 MC





I didn't really know Martin Metal, though I've seen him around town since the days I worked at Moe's. And he was always a presence in Potter Creek walking or biking around, in the past with his dog or in that damn big truck of his. His passing's left a hole in my life though.


Recently, in talking with citizens about the level of city services here in Potter Creek, a neighbor said something like "I really have no complaints. When I call the city after someone drops a truck-load of dirty, used mattresses in the gutter in front of my house, the city comes right out and picks them up." Am I missing something here?


"World-famous physicist gets rock-star welcome. More than 2,000 fans turn out to hear scientist's take on deep, dark mysteries of the universe" reports Betsy Mason of our Times. "Physicist Stephen Hawking held a sold-out crowd rapt Tuesday night with a brief history of man's quest to understand the universe."


What will be sold retail over the Internet in the future? Everything! At a computer fair in Germany, an interactive retail clothing-site was demonstrated. The customer walked into a frame like one now used for airport-security, was scanned for fit, chose items from a life-size monitor and was shown her choices on an image of herself at the same monitor.

To which Marsha exclaimed "That's ridiculous!"


Today the Wall Street Journal reports, and I paraphrase, that the finance sector is in a precarious state of affairs because the subprime debacle and the rise-of-inflation fear have put investors on the defensive.


Bob Kubik emails from The Moscow Times

"The Story of how Lewis Caroll's masterpiece came to the Soviet Union."


11:21 AM--SERIOUS irritant in warehouse plus hot-plastic and "chlorine" odor, definitely leave. 3:12 PM--irritant in warehouse plus hot-plastic and "chlorine" odor.





Quote of the week

"Whenever you see 'suits' you know you're going to be paying too much for something." John Victor on seeing the besuited-auctioneers get off their fancy bus for the auction of the property on 7th just south of his V&W Doors.





San Jose recycler, American Steel and Metal was raided this morning in a workmen's comp investigation. The facility was closed while investigators took samples of some sort.

12:38 PM--irritant in front room. 5:13 PM--irritant in front room.






Wareham have started tiding up their Fantasy property--even saw a guy policing the grounds.

Well, ok then.

Want an old-fashioned Berkeley Buttercup Breakfast? Go the the West Side across from Wareham's Fantasy.



Mayor Bates emails a March report

New Proposal to Address Problematic Street Behavior
Last week, the Berkeley City Council approved my proposal to create a comprehensive and integrated new initiative to address street behavior problems through enhanced services, clear rules for behavior in all city commercial districts, and improved enforcement. The proposal includes a broad, citywide effort to deploy mental health and social services, economic development, and law enforcement tools to improve the overall health and climate of all our commercial districts and help get people the services they need.

The proposal now goes to the City staff and to our City commissions to be further analyzed, debated and developed.

Invitation: Accessible America Award Ceremony on March 27th
Berkeley will receive the Most Accessible City in the U.S. award and a check for $25,000 from the National Organization on Disability (NOD) and UPS at a public reception on Tuesday, March 27th from 5 to 7 p.m. at the North Berkeley Senior Center. The award ceremony will feature Berkeley's next major disability initiative - the Ed Roberts Campus. The Ed Roberts Campus is a universally-designed, transit-oriented campus that will be built at the Ashby BART Station in South Berkeley. The ERC will house the offices of seven disability service and advocacy organizations as well as fully accessible meeting rooms, a computer/media resource center, a fitness center, a cafe, and a childcare center.

Cesar Chavez Memorial Period
Every year, we celebrate the legacy of Cesar Chavez with events throughout a Cesar Chavez commemorative period. The focus of the commemorative period is on service to the community as the best way to honor the labor leader and environmentalist. Please take a look at the Ecology Center's Chavez website to learn more about the Chavez legacy and keep an eye out for upcoming events. In particular, mark your calendar for a speech by labor leader Maria Elena Durazo at 4 p.m. on April 11th at Berkeley City College.

Old City Hall to be Renamed Maudelle Shirek Building on March 22nd
Please join me and other community members to "unveil" the renamed Old City Hall as the Maudelle Shirek Building this Thursday, March 22nd, at 4:30 pm.


Berkeley Named #3 City for "CleanTech" Business Clusters
SustainLane Government analyzed U.S. cities to see which led in combining Cleantech investments, infrastructure, and supportive services into a physical "cluster." Berkeley was named the third best in the United States.



"Berkeley Symphony Makes Everyone a Performer" writes Riya Bhattacharjee in our Planet. "How many ways can a child experience an orchestra? Performing with it-as the 'I am a Performer" concert at Washington Elementary School illustrated Friday morning-is one."



"Berkeley Historic Walking Tours Start This Weekend"
reports Steven Finacom of our Planet. "A Maybeck home, a new religious headquarters, an old stadium, two lesser-known neighborhoods, and even a freeway interchange and municipal recycling center highlight the spring 2007 walking tours offered by the Berkeley Historical Society."



Zelda B herself delights with "New Tapestry Delights Children at Berkeley Library. Downtown Berkeley has acquired a delightful new attraction: Kaleidoscope, the marvelous tapestry that was recently installed in the fourth-floor Story Room of the Berkeley Public Library.

Based on original art by North Berkeley children's author-illustrator Elisa Kleven, the 10-by-6-foot cotton hanging offers a vivid panorama of a verdant, park-like Berkeley peopled mainly by kids in motion." The whole story is here in our Planet.



"Subprime loans going under" reports Barbara E. Hernandez of the West County Times. "Realtor Christopher O'Brien is hoping the fifth time is a charm. His $449,950 listing in Pittsburg has been in escrow five times in the past three months after lenders canceled the subprime loans of four would-be buyers. The lost loans are part of the subprime market fallout, O'Brien said, something many local agents and brokers know well."

See my various February and March posts for more background.


Was that Good Ole Boy Willie Nelson singing a jazzy "Rose of San Antonio" on KCSM this morning? Sure as-hell was.


7:40 AM--SERIOUS F@#KING irritant.





I'm told that at last night's ZAB meeting there were no objections to the proposed changes of the Berkeley Bowl project.


"Filmakers fight to stay in studios: New landlord wants movie makers to pay market rates after decades of working under generous leases" writes Martin Snapp of our Times.


"Ships' emissions pose great threat, new study says. International Maritime Organization officials say if left unchecked, ships will emit more pollutants than all land sources" reports Erik N. Nelson in our Times. "All the world's cars, trucks and buses can't compete with oceangoing ships when it comes to releasing acid rain- and smog-making sulfur dioxide, according to findings released Thursday by a group of international transportation and environmental regulators."

Chris, Potter Creek's former Professor of Cars hipped me to this a couple years ago. (Browse 2005 and 2006 for his comments.) Or, . . . briefly he said those giant maritime diesels--engines often physically as large as trucks--idling up-wind from us in the Bay "put out lots o' bad shit." Chris maintained that their bunker-fuel was often just used motor-oil.


"Booksellers see writing on the wall. Barnes & Noble and Borders revise their business plans as they struggle with both the market and competitors" reports Anne D'Innocenzio of the AP in our Times. "A sluggish book market and intense competition from rivals such as and Costco are forcing the nation's top two booksellers -- Barnes & Noble Inc. and Borders Group Inc. -- to rewrite the rules on the book business."





Within the past few weeks a car was twice broken into and stolen while parked on Grayson and 8th.


"Berkeley honors Shirek with building name.
Old City Hall is redubbed in recognition of civil rights leader and former council member"
report Martin Snapp and Kristin Bender of the West County Times.


"Man sentenced to home detention for possession of machine gun" reports Henry K. Lee of the San Francisco Chronicle. "A Berkeley man was sentenced to three years' probation and six months of home detention Friday for possessing a machine gun in connection with the discovery of a cache of weapons after a 2005 fire at a liquor store below his apartment.

Leslie Tanigawa, 47, was ordered by U.S. District Judge D. Lowell Jensen also to perform 250 hours of community service and to pay a $4,000 fine. Tanigawa must spend the six months of home detention under electronic monitoring."


And Rick DelVecchio of the Chronicle reports "A successful attack on carbon emissions will require leaps in energy efficiencies at home, at work and in the car, as well as technological breakthroughs in alternative fuels and painful political choices, speakers said Monday at a UC Berkeley conference that drew 400 people from academia, government and industry."


"Parks bonds gain momentum" reports Denis Cuff of our Times. "The East Bay Regional Park District is planning to ask voters to approve a parks bond measure worth $400 million to $500 million after a poll found the measure has broad public support.

About 76.5 percent of those surveyed in Contra Costa and Alameda counties would likely support the measure, an extension of a 1988 property tax to buy and improve parks, according to the district-commissioned poll."



8:18 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room.





Some time ago, when Byron Delcomb managed a coffee house in Pacific Heights, one of the employees was Josh Pearl. So what? Well Byron is Milo's Dad and Josh is the Executive Chef and one of the owners of 900 GRAYSON.

Early this week Milo was SERIOUSLY sick with the flu--but judging by the happy yelping in the background while talking on the phone to Sarah, he's ok now.

Last week Lipofsky was in the hospital and had a couple stents installed in the heart but was released the next day with "If you ever need a procedure, I recommend this one."

Tak has a new dog, his old Malamute has passed, and now Tak can again be seen out walking around Potter Creek.

Pete and Julie's KALX "Alternate Tunings" program this week is about the Theremin. Check it out this Wednesday at 9:00 AM. Pete has been working on a new program intro. I heard an early mix. It's GREAT!


Want to see some of Wareham's Potter Creek properties? Check out an ariel view here. Two things strike me about Wareham--how vast the holdings are and how well they're maintained. (The Wareham/Fantasy property is not shown and neither are Wareham's Emeryville holdings.)


"Wells Fargo worker a teller of tales: Man has spent 30 years at bank, keeping business running; experience makes him a walking history book" reports Martin Snapp of our Times.


Is there really, really BIG CHANGE in the wind in west-Berkeley? I again quote John Victor. "I know nathing!"




Channel 7 News reports that foreclosures in California are up 79% February 2007 over February 2006.


Geralyn emails

The 14th Annual 'Ukulele Festival of Northern California will be on Sunday, April 29, at the Hayward Adult School. It's the longest running 'ukulele festival on the mainland, and of course, Pohaku & I will be there, showing his ukes. The music is great, the food is ono, and the weather is generally warmer down there than it is here in Berkeley. It runs from 10am to 5:30pm.


An update from our Planning Department is here.


"Wendy Tokuda back to CBS 5-TV as co-anchor" reports Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle. So what? Well, she's more than a talking-head. She has a background as a working reporter AND she's the best friend of one of our own.


1:54 PM--irritant in front room, leave.





Barbara Shayesteh of Café Zeste emails

I met a young woman while I was walking my dog this morning and she gave me this poster of her lost dog. (I do not have enough memory to post this photo. The dog looks like a small Shepard-mix-sort of.) Seems their car was broken into at 5th and Bancroft a couple of days ago and the dog was either stolen or let loose.She thinks it was seen yesterday at Dwight and San Pablo, although I know there is an older woman with a similar dog living in the new, . . . building on San Pablo near Parker. Anyhoo, I thought I would pass it along in case anyone happens to
locate Scout. Thanks.


"Council Addresses Filmmaker Tenancy" reports Judith Scherr of our Planet. "Some 50 filmmakers, radio producers and writers renting studio space at the seven-story tower at Tenth and Parker streets hope that they will come away from the special City Council meeting tonight (Tuesday) with hope of minimal rent increases over six months or a year, rather than the significant increases the new landlord is demanding."

My understanding is that the proposed rents are in the $4.00-$6.00 per square foot range for "improved offices" in building with theaters and film-making facilities. Active Space now rents cubicles in a "corrugated tin" building in the $3.00-$4.00 range. This Active Space project was "supported" by Potter Creek activists as affordable work space for artists and crafts-people. Ironically some of these same people now oppose the new Wareham rent structure as excessive. Am I missing something here?


"Commission Election Voided, Attorney Orders New Votes"
reports Richard Brenneman. "While David Stoloff is out as Planning Commission chair, there's no successor yet-despite the group's election earlier this month.

That's the ruling from Berkeley City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque, who said the election was void because it violated noticing provisions of the Brown Act, which governs meetings of public bodies.

That means James Samuels is still vice chair, and not chair-despite the vote March 14."

For cripes sake!


"100 Condos Planned for Corner of Ashby And San Pablo"
reports Richard Brenneman of the Planet. "A four-story condominium-over-retail complex may soon be rising at the corner of two of Berkeley's busiest streets.

That's the hope of veteran Berkeley developer Ali Kashani and a San Francisco firm who have launched a joint plan to build a four-story building on a three-quarter-acre lot at the southeast corner of San Pablo and Ashby avenues.

The building as currently conceived will feature up to 100 condos built over ground floor commercial space on a 34,200-square-foot lot."


"ZAB Passes Big West Berkeley Project on Brennan's Site"
reports Riya Bhattacharjee of our Planet. "The Berkeley Zoning Adjustments Board approved a mixed-use project at 700 University Ave. Thursday.

Applicant Urban Housing Group/Essex Property Trust of San Mateo had requested a use permit to 1) demolish Celia's Restaurant and Brennan's Restaurant buildings along Fourth Street; 2) construct a mixed-use development with 171 dwelling units (31 below-market), 9,995 square feet of new commercial floor area and 213 vehicle parking spaces; and 3) rehabilitate and reuse the former Southern Pacific train depot-a city landmark-as the new location for Brennan's."


10:09 AM--SERIOUS irritant in front room, dry eyes, dry mouth, light-head, over-rides HEPA filter, use mask.




"Berkeley staff hear out filmmakers, landlord reports Martin Snapp of the West County Times.

The Berkeley City Council wrestled once again with the ongoing dispute between the filmmakers at the Saul Zaentz Film Center and their new landlord Tuesday night.

The 30-year-old structure in West Berkeley -- popularly known as the Fantasy building, after Zaentz's record and film company -- was sold in January to the Wareham Property Group, a San Rafael-based developer.

Wareham gave the tenants, many of whom had been renting month-to-month at rates below market level for years, until March 31 to sign long-term leases at higher rents or get out.

The company says it intends to maintain the building as a center for film production. It claims the rent increases would merely raise rents to market level, not above it -- an assertion the filmmakers hotly dispute.

"There's no reason for a rent increase while negotiations are going on," said filmmaker Rick Goldsmith. "What do they need with our piddling 10 percent?"

Last week, under prodding by the city council, Wareham partner Chris Barlow agreed to give the tenants a 30-day extension, until April 30, to decide whether to sign a lease or move -- provided they pay 10 percent more during that period."

Read the full story here.

Why haven't these documenatary film-makers made a documetary of this and flooded Internet with it? Start with YouTube/Utube? Talk about raising hell.


"New sports fields on fast track: Desperate soccer players may soon get a reprieve as ground set to break on new multi-field complex" report Martin Snapp and Doug Oakley of our Times.


"East Bay job market hangs on. Although certain industries weakened by downturn in real estate, diversity seen as key to avoiding collapse." writes the Times' George Avalos.


"Area home building bucks state trend.
California sees huge declines in new single-family construction from last year, but East Bay rates rise"
reports the Times' Eve Mitchell.


"Compulsory National Service
Should the All-Volunteer Force Be Replaced by Universal, Mandatory National Service?"
(Excerpted from Congressional Digest, September 2006).

Read more here.

I can send a PDF of the full Congresional Digest report to anyone who sends me their email. However, it is a LARGE file.

I first heard of this last year from Don Yost who in turn heard David Gergen advocate the program at a World Affairs Council meeting. This is universal service and is not just military service.





One of Potter Creek's leading citizens and business owners has had his car broken into twice in the last few weeks--not good.


While talking to another Potter Creek business owner about his wants for the future of our neigborhood, he said simply that he wanted Potter Creek to be "safe, quiet and clean."


"Little Jan," former owner of one of west-Berkeley's first fine restaurants, Britte Marie's, was dining with his family today at 9G. (His former partner, "Big Jan," whose wife's name became the restaurant's, has returned to the Czech Repubic to raise a new-family.) "Little Jan" was a BIG fan of Mary of Peter, Paul and Mary and when the group played in the Bay Area they received the Royal Treatment at his restaurant. He is now one of the Berkeley Bowl managers--and I'm to give his regards to Kimar and Mary Kate. (Britte Marie and I danced a great Strauss Waltz at Ashkenaz once-upon-a-time.)


8:10 PM--VERY SERIOUS irritant in warehouse, over-rides three HEPA filters, headache, nausea, leave.



Don't be meek!

Make John Coltrane Park

in Potter Creek.




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