"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.
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;
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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,
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.
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
"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
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
"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
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,
The Iberian Flare
Spanish composers and those
influenced by the Spanish idiom for Scarlatti's birthday! Music
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
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
"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
"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
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.
bite off pump price" writes Ken McLaughlin in the West
County Times. Get the Times and read his "Motorcycles
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
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
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
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
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.