October 2005



"West Berkeley Forum Challenges Rezoning of Major Thoroughfares" reports Richard Brenneman of our Daily Planet
"What's to be gained from converting the Ashby Avenue and Gilman Street corridors in West Berkeley from manufacturing and light industrial zones to commercial?" Read his story about the WeBIAC forum here.

Then read an attendee's emailed impressions "I'd say at least 60 people attended, including neighbors (Sarah Klise and Rick were there, along with many residents of the artists' building on Heinz), at least one developer (de Tienne) and one real estate broker type (a guy from Cushman and Wakefield was sitting next to me), a few members of the newly formed WBBA--West Berkeley Business Alliance, a sprinkling of city commissioners (Sances, Burke), one council member (Worthington), one rep of the mayor's office (Fong), a few citywide activists and many people I simply didn't recognize. Presentations were informative and succinct. Discussion was lively.

Nathan Landau, who was the city's project manager for the WB (West Berkeley) Plan and now works for AC Transit, said he was moved to participate in the forum (he was one of the three panelists) because of his aggravation over the proposal to rezone all of Ashby and Gilman west of San Pablo for commerce. Up to now, he's maintained a fairly discreet silence on the issue of West Berkeley. (Nathan is also a member of the city's Transportation Commission). What disturbed him was that the backers the proposal seemed intent on sabotaging the WB Plan rather than updating or improving on it.

The other two panelists were traffic engineer Eugenie Thomson from Alameda and economist Neil Mayer, who directed the city's Office of Economic Development during the years when the WB Plan was being formulated. Eugenie emphasized the need to evaluate the carrying capacity of the transportation infrastructure, which, she observed, is "already constrained, before charging ahead with plans for lots more retail. From a traffic perspective, she said, Industry works for the area because it generates relatively little traffic, especially compared to retail. Neil spoke of the success of the WB Plan, noting that the area has over 200 manufacturers and wholesalers who employ 5,500 people, plus an untold number of artists and artisans. Since the Plan has been implemented, manufacturing employment has been stable. In addition, West Berkeley has the lowest vacancy rate and the highest rents of any East Bay industrial district. When he was challenged as to the accuracy of these claims, he said that he'd gotten his employment data from the city of Berkeley, which in turn got the figures from the state of California."

A neighbor says that there were 75 people there.


They got da headline wrong!?

Shouldn't the headline read "Bay Area Air Quality Reevaluates . . . "?

Com'on girls an' guys.

"Pacific Steel Reevaluates Response Policy After Gunpoint Robbery" writes Matthew Artz of Our Planet. "A Bay Area Air Quality Management District monitor, responding to four complaints of bad air wafting from Pacific Steel Castings, was robbed at gunpoint outside the plant's West Berkeley headquarters at 1 a.m. Friday."

The East Bay Daily reports "Drayage tenants, landlord settle." Fred Dodsworth writes "In exchange for a $10,000 payment to each of the eight remaining tenants, the tenants have agreed to vacate the building by the end of the month."



It's said that the 7th street foundry property "has been bought" by the city for use as a corporation yard.

At last night's Potter Creek community meeting Kava said of the 2819 8th Street property "I'm going to buy it tomorrow."

Negotiations have been concluded between Berkeley Bowl owner, Glenn Yasuda and Affordable Housing Associates for part of AHA's adjacent property--escrow to close the end of this month. The property--a strip along their north side--will be used for additional Berkeley Bowl parking.




Last night, 32 people filled a room at Ecole Bilingue for a Potter Creek community meeting. The meeting lasted roughly two hours from 6:30 PM until 8:30 PM and was devoted to Jim Novesel's and Brian Fenske's presentations--Novesel's, for a building at 2817 8th and Fenske's for one at 2828 8th. Novesel showed revised drawings for his project--see scan 1--which he believes reflects the community input from last meeting. Still, the sense of this meeting was that it was too big--though Novesel said it was under-built according to our Mixed Use Residential Code. By a show of hands, most present said they felt the building should be turned front-to-back and that then they would be more favorable to it. As it's planned it would present a twenty-to-thirty foot high wall, six feet from the property line to the north. The property to the north is currently a single family house. Even with "the flip," many still felt it was out of scale. Architect, Regan Bice and other Potter Creek residents presented an alternative--see scan 2--that they believe better reflects the neighborhood's wishes--more open and closer to the feel of the surrounding structures. Novesel's presentation ended with good feeling all-around but with little resolved. Brian's presentation was an emabarrasment to himself and those attending. Those present--including four architects and a retired city planner--patiently offered free and helpful suggestions and recommended Brian "go back to the drawing board."



I believe this meeting was Berkeley at its best. Novesel's heartfelt presentation--a difficult task as he's put himself between the neighborhood and his clients; Morgan's tight counter-presentation; The Rickman's succinct, intelligent observations; Sally's don't-fuck-with-me attitude; Suzanne's helpful comments; Bob's shy insights; Marvin's unquestioning support; and more.


A reader from Oregon emails "I really enjoy your Internet site and the motorcycle . . . page, pictures of openings, and leads to restaurants and shops. Are the motorcycle abstract photographs for sale?" All my photos can be downloaded and printed FOR FREE.





We're quoted on the City of Berkeley website--uncensored! My version of the Potter Creek meeting and a readers impressions of the WeBIAC Forum are there and more. Check it out here.

"Now it's our codes and our rules that are delaying this" says Berkeley Toxics Manager Nabil Al-Hadithy in Fred Dodsworths report "City stalls rink's complance plan in today's East Bay Daily. Get the Daily!




Zelda B on free beer.

"First Person: UC, Berkeley Honda: Free Beer, But No Free Speech" at berkeleydailyplanet.com

"Economist predicts slow home sales, high prices" reports James Temple of the West County Times. "There is a bubble, a bubble in the number of articles about the housing bubble, according to the chief economist for the California Association of Realtors."

"Bubble talk overblown, says Realtor" writes James Temple of the West County Times. "The long-booming housing market is moderating, but fears of a bubble are overblown, according to the chief economist for the California Association of Realtors."

Remember she's in sales--divide by two.




So, . . . why was that rock thrown through my window last night? For the same reason my American flags were stolen, or hang-up phone calls made? Or was it a childish prank? Well, the male that I saw running away was about six-feet tall, thin, and with a three-quarter length "jacket."



Berkeley PD received three reports of glass-breaking in Potter Creek Friday night--all occurring between 8:00 and 9:00 PM. The car parked in front of the home of our community group-head had half of its windows broken-out. The motor-home parked next to the home of our community activist had its windshield smashed, and a rock was thrown through my window.

car appears to be lived-in



It's said one of Potter Creek's coffee shops is changing owners--the new owners closing the place a while for remodelling.

Also, one of our old manufacturing, wholesaling business is said to have been sold recently.


The Draft Environmental Impact Report for the West Berkeley Bowl Project is now on line at our City website.You can download it as a PDF file here. A hard copy is available at the City of Berkeley Permit Center on Milvia and costs $30.00. The report is two inches thick. Citizens have 45 days to comment.




It's been reported that the Mayor and most of his staff aren't working these days--vacations, family emergencies,etc. Funny, I haven't noticed any difference.

Well, . . . a rock was thrown through my window.

Ok Boss, . . .

come back to work please.



Was it Mao who said "You know you are successful if you are being attacked." Or was it Moe?


Fred Dodsworth reports in today's East Bay Daily "Auto burglary a broad problem." He writes "In the first 10 days of October, at least 64 cars were burgled in Berkeley." Get today's Daily and read the whole story. (I don't think that it's just a female problem, though.)



Today is the Birthday of a very close friend. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ya OL' FART!

Lipofsky's sister was visiting from Chicago a week or so ago. One day, she and Marvin encountered Sarah out for a walk with her child. Marvin's sister, an avid reader of Scrambled Eggs, recognized Milo immediately. (Sooo Milo, . . . whad'ya think of that? You're already recognized in Chicago)


Say Lipofsky, just what were those clouds moving up over your place this morning from the direction of Bayer--quite a string of them at about 500 feet. Came "up from the ground" north-west of here, they did.

And what is that repeating warning-horn sounding this morning?





"Players now aiding case, attorney says" reports Guy Ashley of the West County Times. "An attorney for the man charged with gunning down Dartmouth College student Meleia Willis-Starbuck said UC Berkeley football players who witnessed the shooting have increased their cooperation with police in recent days, which he attributes to published reports that the players had been less than forthcoming."


"The scoping session for preparing the environmental impact report on the proposed condominium and retail development at 740 University Ave., originally scheduled for Thursday night, has been rescheduled. The meeting, called to gather the public's suggestions for issues to be addressed in the document, has been set for Thursday, Oct. 20 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the second floor conference room of the city Planning Department at 2118 Milvia St. The project, by Urban Housing Group of San Mateo, calls for 173 housing units built over ground floor commercial and parking space" reports Richard Brenneman in the Berkeley Daily Planet.

"Albany waterfront may go mixed-use" writes Alan Lopez of the West County Times. "Controversial plans for a housing and retail development to replace the asphalt parking lots at the Golden Gate Fields racetrack will be available for public review next week."

Someone seems to have read Z on beer reports Matthew Artz of the West County Times. "Dept. of Alcohol Beverage Control Eyes Berkeley Honda Tailgate Parties--Berkeley Honda's pre-game tailgate parties outside Memorial Stadium, which two weeks ago drew several union protesters, might soon get a visit from the State Department of Alcohol Beverage Control."



"Bay Area air quality improves" reports Denis Cuff "The Bay Area finishes its smog season today with the second cleanest year on record, continuing a long-term trend toward less smoggy air. Air quality in the region violated a federal health standard for smog just one day this year, air pollution regulators reported." Read the story at cctimes.com


"Three plead guilty to arson charges" is an AP report. "Three people pleaded guilty Friday to arson-related charges in a series of firebombing incidents linked to an obscure environmental group that the FBI has labeled an eco-terrorist organization." Read it here.




When asked by a friend if she knew me, a Potter Creek business owner replied "I know his web site. Everybody reads Scrambled Eggs." Well not everybody, but vists for October are up 30% over last year.

They're going to put a temporary shed around the generator at Iceland in hopes of meeting the city's noise levels.




"Berkeley cancels Veterans Day event" reports Martin Snapp of the West County Times "Berkeley's Veterans Day ceremony scheduled for Nov. 11 was abruptly canceled Monday because the volunteer organizing committee split over the political content." "Jesus cripes" said Marsha Wacko "They're nuts!" "Many in Berkeley do not play well with others" said Kimar (KEEmar).

Pete Hurney reports that last Friday night/Saturday morning we had .1 inch of rain. Last year, the first rain of the season was .35 inch on September 19th and the last previous rain this year was .15 inch on June 18th.


Ya pays ya money, ya takes ya pick.

"West Berkeley Bowl EIR Says Project Won't Negatively Impact Neighborhood" writes Richard Brenneman of the Daily Planet. "The new Berkeley Bowl planned for the corner of Ninth Street and Heinz Avenue in West Berkeley 'would not result in any significant and unavoidable impacts,' according to the conclusion of the massive draft environmental impact report (EIR) prepared by Christopher A. Joseph & Associates, a Petaluma consulting firm."



Da Mayor's back at work.

"Berkeley mayor may mediate Veterans Day speaker dispute" writes Martin Snapp of the West County Times."Mayor Tom Bates is trying to work out a compromise that will allow Berkeley's Veterans Day memorial ceremony to go on as scheduled Nov. 11. The volunteer committee organizing the event had split over a proposal by the chairman, singer/songwriter Country Joe McDonald, to invite Bill Mitchell, a co-founder of Cindy Sheehan's organization, Gold Star Families for Peace, to be the keynote speaker."


Noon Concert, Hertz Hall--Wednesday, October 26

The Iberian Flare

Spanish composers and those influenced by the Spanish idiom for Scarlatti's birthday! Music of Soler,
Albero, Scarlatti, Lopez, and Salavere featuring trio ensemble members Katherine Kyme, violin, Joanna
Blendulf, cello, and Charlene Brendler, harpsichord, with guest Stephanie Neira, Spanish dancer.




Neighborhood gossip has it that a rock was thrown through my window about two weeks ago because of my comments at that week's Potter Creek meeting. Actually, I didn't make any comments at the meeting. But, ahhhh "There is no bad publicity."

Want the warmest Holiday story EVER? Buy the DVD, A Child's Christmas in Wales. A fan offers "Dylan Thomas' poem is left intact and is BEAUTIFULLY and IMAGINATIVELY brought to life by a talented cast of Welsh actors, . . ."

Got to go now--headache; burning eyes, mouth; disorented--computer room has filled with irritant.


WOW! The École Bilingue Halloween Parade is out in front.





"Pacific Steel Proposes Solution For Foul Air Problem" reports Matthew Artz of the Daily Planet. "Faced with growing neighborhood complaints, West Berkeley's Pacific Steel Casting Company announced Tuesday that it plans to install a carbon filter designed to eliminate the burning rubber smell wafting from its factory."

"Rent Board Sets Increase--Berkeley landlords can tack an additional seven-tenths of one percent onto the rents they charge tenants, the annual general adjustment rate approved Tuesday by the Rent Stabilization Board." Read the story in the Daily Planet.

"East Bay job market welcomes an upswing" reports George Avalos of the West County Times "The East Bay job market is growing at twice the rate of the entire Bay Area's and is expanding more quickly than California's, according to a report released Friday."




Ok, let's have a Veteran's Day with Joe McDonald's format. Then establish an Ol' Hippie's Day where we invite a Green Beret to speak--preferably one maimed in the service of his country. Hell, . . . let's really rip open those old wounds. (Personally, I was never a Hippie--they didn't dress quite right. The jeans and coveralls they wore were what my Grandpa and Uncles went to work in on the coal-trucks.Something like talkin-the-talk without walkin-the-walk.)

Seems Country Joe was born in D.C and grew up in L.A.


'Fermenting Berkeley"--A new multimedia exhibit recounts the history of alcohol in Berkeley, which is long and ambivalent" reports Martin Snapp in the West County Times.

Historically, west Berkeley did not support the city's dry-laws.


"Two-wheeling takes bite off pump price" writes Ken McLaughlin in the West County Times. Get the Times and read his "Motorcycles attract commutors."


At Rubio's, on Tuesdays between 4:00 and 6:00 PM, fish-tacos are 99 cents.

At Walgreen's, the AMC-DVD set, Classic Beauties is $5.99. This is at set of four 1930s' Vivien Leigh films and two 1950s' Elizabeth Taylor's films. The Taylor films are "The Last Time I Saw Paris" with Van Johnson, Walter Pigeon, Eva Gabor and Roger Moore and "Father's Little Dividend" with Spencer Tracy--the sequel to "Father of the Bride." Leigh is in "Fire Over England" with Olivier, Raymond Massey and James Mason; "Dark Journey" with Conrad Veidt; "Storm in a Teacup" and "Sidewalks of London" with Charles Laughton and Rex Harrison. Olivier and Laughton are master craftsmen and Taylor a master craftswoman. Their performances are fresh and convincing, even today.


Irritant in computer room, cough, eyes burn, leave.




Rosa Parks has died. She was 92.


More than a case of "thinking outside the box" gone terribly wrong, "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" is on Channel 7 tonite at 8:00 PM.

Richard Brenneman of the Daily Planet reports "Berkeley planning commissioners will get their first chance Wednesday to ponder rezoning West Berkeley to attract car dealerships. . . . The panel will also hold a hearing on another controversial West Berkeley project, the proposed second store and warehouse for the Berkeley Bowl. . . . The commission will open the [Wednesday, October 26] 7 p.m. meeting in the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave., to public comments as part of the public review process for the project's Draft Environmental Impact Report. For a look at the Berkeley Bowl environmental document, see www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/planning/landuse/Heinz/DEIR/default.htm"




"Rosa Parks was an inspiration to students at namesake schools" write Simone Sebastian and Jason Johnson of the San Francisco. "Nine-year-old Nia Willis had a dream. She wanted to meet her idol, the woman she believed would finish the work of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Nia enrolled at the Rosa Parks Environmental Science Magnet School in Berkeley this year with the hope its namesake would visit regularly." Read the full story at sfgate.com

"Deal salvages Veterans Day event in Berkeley" reports Martin Snapp of the West County Times. "Berkeley's on-again-off-again Veterans Day ceremony is back on again, thanks to a compromise brokered Tuesday by Mayor Tom Bates. The event, scheduled for Nov. 11, was canceled last week because the ad hoc organizing committee split over the political content. At issue: a proposal by the chairman, singer/songwriter Country Joe McDonald, to

There's a photo of Chick Hirsch, Joe's drummer in The Day, at Albert Wasn't Really Capable of Having a Manager."






JilI Ellis, Director of the CEID School emails

"Ron, I wanted to share with you that today, the children at CEID, our 18 month old toddlers to our 5-year old preschoolers- and parents, took a walk around the corner to our neighbor, Bob Kubik, who graciously converted his own garden into our much awaited field trip to 'Bob and Carol's Pumpkin Patch.' Our staff prepared all week for the field trip, taking pictures, making visual storyboards, and explaining to our young children, who are deaf, hard of hearing and have severe communication delays, about our upcoming trip. With the help of Councilman Darryl Moore's office staff, we were able to provide one special pumpkin to each and everyone of the children - and even some of the siblings! Building our new facility in West Berkeley has allowed us to meet so many wonderful people and work together to strengthen early education services in the community. We truly enjoy our wonderful neighbors! I thought you might want to share what our special neighbor, Bob, has been up to these days! Jill"



Scharffen Berger has two new chocolates--Gianduja, a smooth dark hazelnut chocolate and El Carmen, a 75% Cacao Pure Dark Chocolate. Hershey's acquisition team has been making appearances at Scharffen Berger studying their operation so that it will smoothly merge with Hershey's. Hershey plans to keep their Scharffen Berger factory here insuring local employment. Employees should also eventually profit from Hershey's benefit program. Sadly, our Jan is leaving--moving to another job, he is.

Karola Saekel of the San Francisco Chronicle reports "Chocolatiers challenge home cooks to be pros." Read it here.


evaríze fashion café, 2634 San Pablo Avenue, opens on November 19, 2005 with a Grand Opening Celebration from 10am --8pm.

Whoever put up the lights on the median-strip-trees on University Avenue west of San Pablo gets the Marsha Wacko Award--little things make a BIG difference.


Molly Ivins appreciation of environment activist, Diane Wilson can be read in Ivins' October 27th column, "Unreasonable woman' trying to do reasonable things." This column appeared in yesterdays West County Times. Wilson's book, "An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Schrimpers, Politicos, Polluters and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas" can be checked out here.

Rosa Parks will be interned in the Capitol Rotunda--the first woman to be so.


"City Property Crimes High, Violence Drops" reports Richard Brenneman of the Daily Planet.
"For the first eight months of the year, Berkeley proved the East Bay's hot spot for thefts, burglaries and other forms of property crime-topping the rates for Richmond and Oakland-while the city's crimes of violence ranked in the mid-range."

Current City of Berkeley crime stats are here.

"5 Chinese citizens charged with running prostitution ring--Police move women to safe houses to see if they were coerced" reports Meredith May of the San Francisco Chronicle.

While carefully watching his news-conference, I'm convinced that Special Prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald is one extremely straight-ahead, law-and-order guy. He's also real earnest.




Whoever put up the lights on the median-strip-trees on University Avenue west of San Pablo gets the Marsha Wacko Award--little things make a BIG difference.


"Violin store relocation approved" writes Alan Lopez of the WestCounty Times.
"Ifshin Violins will move from University Avenue in Berkeley to an office building on Fairmount Avenue in El Cerrito. Owner Jay Ifshin said he plans to spend about $1 million to renovate the former Pacific Bell operations center in a project that will include the use of roof solar panels. He expects to begin construction on the 4,500-square-foot renovation, atop 8,400 square feet of office space, in the spring."

Bring more businesses into Berkeley? Hell Boss, we can't even keep the ones we got.


" Hazardous waste sting nets 4 haulers 3 lacked licenses; none had registered with state as required" reports Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle.




Potter Creek's accomplished instrument finisher Janine Johnson emails "Hi, This is one eccentric item, but very pretty. I just finished decorating this little piano for Philhamronia's benefit auction Nov. 12. If you go to this page http://www.philharmonia.org/Auction_Items.htm, and scroll down past the tours and wines, you will find it listed. Clicking on it will get you a more detailed description, and an opportunity to bid. Good luck! Janine"


"An Expanding Empire--Lalime's owners please the healthy fish eaters with Sea Salt in Berkeley" appreciates Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle. Fish and Chips for $16.00? I'm all in favor of art-food but what the hell can you do to fried fish and potatoes to justify charging $16.00? Get grip--it's just Fish & Chips for cripes sakes!


"Holiday fund continues a tradition of charity" reports Martin Snapp of the West County Times.
"A grandmother who had no money to buy a Christmas present for her grandchild. A deaf woman recovering from domestic abuse and depression. A homeless family whose father was disabled and needed heart surgery. ... were some of the more than 800 needy families in Berkeley who received checks."


The West County Times asks "How Berkeley can you be" and then reports "The Berkeley City Council postponed decisions on several controversial items at its recent meeting, including an anti-smoking ordinance sponsored by Mayor Tom Bates.The proposal would ban smoking in public housing projects, even in the person's own apartment, as well as in cars with a child inside. 'Let me see if I've got this straight,' said councilmember Kriss Worthington. 'If you're driving your child from El Cerrito to Oakland, you have to snuff your cigarette at the Berkeley border or you'll be cited?" Bates admitted that the notion might be on shaky constitutional grounds but said he was willing to wait for a ruling from the city attorney before proceeding further." As ex-AP photographer, Mary Morris Lawrence once said to me during an interview "Kid, you're asking the wrong question."

Some of Mary's famous photos are here and following.


On reading about Bob and Carol's Pumpkin Patch, Marsha Wacko immediately gave them her Major Award--little things make a VERY BIG difference.



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