Rick Auerbach photo [copyright] from an Audubon calender
In 2005 this
site received just under one million hits with an average viewing
time of 30 minutes.
flooding in late December and early January took up my time and
kept me from my irregular posts--spent Christmas and New Years
vacuuming up water and moving storage from walls to find the exact
origin of interior leaks.
Rick's photo appears in the Audubon Water's Edge 2006 calender--check
it out and then buy the calender!
Want to buy
an original Auerbach? He has many beautiful photos for sale, email
fills with irritant, skin dry, eyes burn, lips dry, cough, light-headed.
is the grey column that
rises in the north-west at night and then becomes a cloud and
drifts over Potter Creek the result of Bayer's vaporization process--the
converting of waste-water into steam?
are from Zelda B's editorial in last week's Planet--quoted with
a Potemkin Transit Village By Zelda Bronstein
In 18th century
Russia, Grigori Potemkin purportedly tried to impress Catherine
the Great by building elaborate fake villages along a route she
traveled in Crimea and the Ukraine. Today, "Potemkin village"
signifies a showy false front intended to hide embarrassing or
disgraceful conditions. Sad to say, that description fits the
project that the City Council endorsed to support an application
from the city, in partnership with the South Berkeley Neighborhood
Development Corporation (SBNDC) California Department of Transportation
Community-Based Transportation Grant. . . . The money would be
used to plan a 300-unit "transit village" at the Ashby
BART west parking lot, where the city controls the air rights.
are dense, mixed-use developments located at transit hubs and
stations. Promoted by advocates of "smart growth" .
. . transit villages are supposed to discourage commuting and
fight sprawl. The one at Ashby BART, we are told, will also provide
affordable workforce housing; revitalize the neighborhood economy
without gentrifying it; and repair the gaping hole that the Ashby
BART station tore into the urban fabric of the south Shattuck
there are giant gaps here between rhetoric and reality. . . .
The application asserts that the project has had "public
participation from the start," thereby "dramatically
improving the potential for the entitlements to be awarded without
the public acrimony, lawsuits, delays and uncertainty that plague
many projects. The fact is that . . . only a handful of individuals
in the south Shattuck area had even heard about plans for a transit
village at Ashby BART. Yet E-mails from BART planner Nashua Kalil
indicate that BART and city staff had started working with the
project's main sponsors, Councilmember Max Anderson and SBNDC
representative Ed Church, at least as early as last July.
factor becomes even more blatant once you learn that the grant
application was filed with Caltrans on Oct. 14 . . . Ordinarily,
grant applications must be approved by the council before they're
submitted to a grantor. . . . why did it take two months and seven
more council meetings for it to come up for review? Let me suggest
an explanation: Messrs. Kamlarz, Anderson and Church did what
they could to keep the public from learning about the Caltrans
grant application because they knew that once word got out about
a 300-unit transit village at Ashby BART, a lot of people in the
south Shattuck community would be alarmed.
who voted to support the project will have a harder time blowing
off the community at large. . . . At the Dec. 13 meeting, one
of the speakers at public comment . . . asked the council to direct
the city manager to withdraw the SBNDC application and to use
the staff time that has been dedicated to this proposal to set
up a genuine community-based planning process for development
at the Ashby BART station. The city could incorporate the ideas
that came out of such a process into a new proposal and apply
for the same Caltrans grant next fall. Her appeal was ignored.
yet have a rain guage but he estimates that we had a little rain
And, more information about
our current weather conditions than is good for you can be found
be a meeting about flooding in west-Berkeley on Tuesday, January
10th at 7:00 PM in the Frances Albrier Building in San Pablo Park.
The City Manager and a council person will be present. For more
information call 510-981-7126.
forwards this email from a Watch Commander, Berkeley PD.
I'm the weekend/evening Watch Commander and was recently forwarded
your message to the Chief. One of our officers made an arrest
of one woman early this morning near Heinz and San Pablo. Seems
she gave a false name and attempted to flee. She was booked for
resisting arrest along with several outstanding warrants. In general,
officers do a pretty good job with spotting these workers, but
on occasion things like the limos, new workers, etc do pop up
Thanks for the heads up and please continue to call in these issues.
IF it's convenient, pls call our dispatchers at 981-5900 to report
ongoing activity. Thanks again, Wes Hester
Lieutenant W.E. Hester Jr; L-8
Patrol Division / Watch Commander"
"Kiehl's does well outside N.Y." reports Dorothy Vriend of the
West County Times. "For almost 150 years, Kiehl's
had a single store, in New York's East Village. Now its skin care
boutiques are mushrooming across America, with the latest "Kiehl's
Since 1851" opening on Fourth Street in Berkeley just before
"Persian food comes in healthy portions
writes Carol Ness of the San Francisco Chronicle. "The
menu at Alborz invites a deep dive into the subtle, seductive
world of Persian cooking: juicy kebabs of lamb, filet mignon or
salmon, basmati rice fragrant with saffron or candied orange,
plates of feta, mint, cilantro and basil waiting to be wrapped
in bits of warm, thin lavash. "
and vegetarian Kelly M admits to being a Persianophile, but this
recipe is 100% American.
I serve this, at least 2 people at the party beg me for the recipe.
And it's soooo easy. Just dump everything in a Corningware dish
and bake. Period. Here goes:
Aunt Catharine's Corn Casserole
2 eggs, just slightly beaten with fork
1 can yellow cream style corn
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1 four-ounce can of green chiles, chopped and deseeded
1/2 pound of strong (old) cheddar cheese, shredded
oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients and pour into a greased
casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until no longer wiggly
centre and beginning to brown around the edges. Bring copies of
recipe to the event; people will ask for it.
chicks by Rick Auerbach
From my Log
PM irritant in front room, dry eyes, dry lips, cough; 6:44 PM
SERIOUS irritant in front room and odor. 1/3/06--8:48 AM paint
odor in warehouse; 9:12 AM irritant in front room; 5:26 PM irritant
in front room, leave. 1/6/06--6:55 AM SERIOUS irritant in front
room, use mask; 1/7/06--7:00 AM VERY SERIOUS irritant in front
room, use mask. Irritant in warehouse all morning. 1/8/06--6:55
AM SERIOUS irritant in front room, use mask; 8:55 AM same. 8:00
PM SERIOUS irritant in front room, leave.
Cacao is closed for remodeling until January 15th. Perhaps when
they reopen they will pay attention to the details of the business
and so become a great restaurant.
in west-Berkeley? You could repair our streets so that rain and
run-off doesn't get into the ground through your crumbling roadways
but drains through the system as it was meant to. No money? Don't
whine, it's not manly or womanly.
there's the Social Contract! You take care of business, that's
why we obey.
citizens attended the west-Berkeley flood meeting last night at
Frances Albrier Building in San Pablo Park. City staff, city manager
and counsel people listened as attendees told stories of water
and woe. After an hour or so there was agreement among all that
our drainage infrastructure is decaying with culverts collapsing
even as public work crews clean them. West-Berkeley drainage is
also complicated by our many underground creeks--even the exact
location of many is unknown. There was also general agreement
that something new is happening-- more widespread, regular, and
serious flooding. Also, owners were encouraged to properly maintain
their property--clean drains, not route runoff through the sewer
system, etc. (Da Boss made a brief appearance and is more svelt
than I remember, Linda Maio is much more of a babe than I imagined,
Councilman Anderson looked very hip and our Darryl Moore is, in
west-Berkeley, the Man.) Oh yeah, it's a 35 to 50 million problem
for which we only have a few mill to fix and no more planned money
available in the foreseeable future. The most memorable comment
of the evening? A black citizen's simple "People are suffering
here." The future? As sure as flood waters rise, if nothing
is done, sooner than later, west-Berkeley citizens, individually
or in a group, will sue.
On hip and
become what computer-Geeks call their new software. Hip is what
we called John Coltrane.
"Residents Complain of Chronic Flooding" writes Riya Bhattacharjee in
a special report to Our Planet. "On the morning of
Dec. 18, a home owner on Schoolhouse Creek had her entire house
flooded within 15 minutes after the creek swelled up to six feet
from the rain that day. Because the house was built almost four
feet below street level and has no foundation, water from the
creek caused the yard to flood and filled the interiors with two
inches of water. The flood water caused extensive damage to furniture,
expensive rugs, and personal belongings. Flood damage experts
estimated the damage at $50,000."
"Donations flood in for program for kids" reports Carolyn Jones of the
San Francisco Chronicle. "The BORP kids will ride
again. The Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program, which offers
recreational programs for disabled children, has received more
than $128,000 in donations in recent weeks, more than enough to
replace every bicycle, helmet, tire and pump that thieves stole
last month from a storeroom. 'The outpouring of support from the
community has been tremendous,' said Rick Spittler, the group's
"Berkeley to honor outstanding women" writes
Martin Snapp of the West County Times. "Berkeley is
looking for a few good women. The city's Commission on the Status
of Women plans to celebrate National Women's History Month in
March by honoring outstanding women of Berkeley at a reception
"Name change scheduled for Vista college--When
the new campus opens downtown in June, it will become Berkeley
City College." report
Martin Snapp and Matt Krupnick of the West County Times.
"Vista Community College is about to get a new name. When
the new campus in downtown Berkeley opens June 1, it will be known
as Berkeley City College. The Peralta Community College District
trustees voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve the name change
for the 32-year-old school, which celebrated its 30th year in
Berkeley last year. "
TOMORROW'S THE DAY!
with a Civil Rights exhibit through the end of the month at the
MLK Building, 2180 Milvia. There's also a reception there on January
17th at Noon.
"New cello concerto a breeze for chamber
writes Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle. "As
it begins its 14th season, the New Century Chamber Orchestra sounds
stronger and more vibrant than ever. Thursday's season opener
in Berkeley's St. John's Presbyterian Church was a small miracle
of ensemble playing and sheer musical exuberance. Under the leadership
of Music Director Krista Bennion Feeney, the 18-member group gave
performances of music by Mozart and Dvorák that could scarcely
have been better."
"Council closer to getting into the energy
business--Under the plan, the city would buy electricity from
PG&E and resell it to residents and businesses" writes Martin Snapp of the
West County Times. "The Berkeley City Council will
take another tentative step toward getting into the energy business
when it returns from its month-long winter break Tuesday."
Creek rain gauge measured .65 inch for Satuday/Sunday morning.
be a meeting at the West Berkeley Senior Center on January 31
at 7:00 PM to discuss Pacific Steel Casting emissions. Present
will be representatives from Pacific Steel, Bay Area Air Quality
and Linda Maio's office. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (510)-558-8757.
wondering. Can you nominate a male cross-dresser for the Berkeley
woman of the year award?
morning's brief shower there was flooding in Potter Creek along
9th Street. At 9th and Carelton the storm drain was backed up
with water well into the intersection and at 9th and Dwight the
water flowed over the road's crest into the opposite gutter.
report ANY west-berkeley flooding!
.65 inches of rain Tuesday/Wednesday morning. And today, .2 since
a very important meeting about the development (2817 8th) next
to Richard's house--2815 8th? The meeting of the DESIGN REVIEW
COMMITTEE is slated for this THURSDAY, Jan 19th, at 7:30 pm, with
public comment at the start. This proposed, 3 story structure
is precedent setting for our block and possibly for others in
the neighborhood. The land under our tiny, single story, 100 year-old
cottages has risen in value to the point that it is worth tearing
them down (to developers) and building multi-unit, multi-story
residences in their place. Problem: those of us who live here,
LIKE the current scale. We have successly cohabited with businesses
and warehouses for many years who have built with their neighboring
buildings next to our houses with consideration to our light and
space and privacy.
"Berkeley Housing Authority manager resigns
amid controversy" reports Martin Snapp of the West County
Times. "Berkeley Housing Authority Manager Sharon Jackson
quit Tuesday, a casualty of the record-keeping mess that has the
federal government threatening to take away the housing authority's
control over Section 8 housing in the city. Jackson shocked the
City Council by submitting her resignation during a special council
work session, as she and her boss, Housing Director Steve Barton,
were detailing the steps BHA is taking clean up its act."
"Two Berkeley High Students Search for
a New Home"
writes our Annie Kassof in Our Planet. "Berkeley High
students Robert Coil, a senior, and Alexis Hooper, a junior, are
two of the most gracious teens you could hope to meet. They have
ambition, good manners, and guts-the kind of kids who would make
their parents proud, if only their parents were around."
"No Radioactive Waste Found at Richmond
reports Richard Brenneman of the Planet. "A test dig at the
Richmond shoreline site where a retired UC Berkeley worker said
barrels of possible radioactive waste had been buried has turned
up no evidence of radioactivity or barrels, a state agency reported."
Berkeley Richmond Field Station Development Plans Remain on Hold."
At last night's
City Design Review Committee, Marvin's 1014 Pardee project was
approved with no conditions--a rarity. Architect, Regan Bice made
an short presentation with plan-views and an almost too realistic
computer-generated three-quarter view photo of the structure.
All seemed happy.
8th Street project was not approved and was sent back for revisions--use
fewer types of building materials, change the roof slope, use
that the city was planning on going into the gas and electric
business Kimar exclaimed "Oh, please!"
years absence, Ms S is moving back to Potter Creek.
that the Planning Commission is going to review the west-Berkeley
Plan this year sooner than later.
on submitting building plans to the Planning Department, the submitter
was told they might not be approved because the site was not maximally
developed--not dense enough.
"Neighbors Oppose Ashby BART Project"
Richard Brenneman of Our Planet. "Nearly 400 neighbors
of Ashby BART packed the South Berkeley Senior Center Tuesday
night to voice their concerns about the transit village project
proposed for the station's western parking lot."
evening my front room filled to overflowing with the aroma of
roasted meat. Could that have been coming from the evening's Adams
and Chittenden roast pig shindig? This event is held every year
often around this time--a pig is roasted back in their annealing
oven as part of their annual party for friends and clients.
are these guys? They pose and answer this question themselves
Now as a
blonde, George can also be seen and heard around town playing
music. "You know, he's famous" said a young female admirer
and neighbor. " "Oboists?" quipped another "They're
like violinists--prima donnas."
"Amid housing boom, Oakland looks to keep
room for industry" reports Kiley Russell of the West County
Times. "From the streets of Oakland's industrial heartland,
a debate has emerged about land use and community values that
involves more citywide soul-searching than a typical planning
department policy discussion. The city is mulling a plan to permanently
protect large swaths of roughly 4,300 acres of heavy and light
industrial land in east, central and west Oakland by limiting
or preventing housing and retail development. The plan arose in
recent years as businesses and planners became alarmed by the
increasing pace of market-rate residential development in areas
long reserved for industry."
One of the
reasons Potter Creek is so attractive to residential development
is it's Mixed Use Zoning. Here, structure's floor-square-footage
can be over 150% of the lot's square-footage. This is opposed
to an 80% ratio in residential areas. Our over 150% ratio is a
codification of west-Berkeley Plan recommendations--a plan in
which both activists Rick Auerbach and John Curl were mightily
involved. The lesson here? Realtors and developers should higher
Rick and John as consultants?
"Bay Area home sales down in December,
prices slide 16% decline in number sold is biggest drop in 4 years" reports Kelly Zito, of the
San Francisco Chronicle
"A century's worth of backstage stories" reports Martin Snapp of the
West County Times. "Did you know that Mikhail Baryshnikov
is a golf nut? 'He's very obsessed with his game,' said his friend
Robert Cole, director of UC Berkeley's Cal Performances. 'He takes
lessons, and we play together every time he comes here to perform.'
Cole still remembers the time a society matron came up to Baryshnikov
at a post-performance reception and gushed, 'Oh, Mr. Baryshnikov!
What's your next goal?' 'To break 80,' he replied."
"Workshops to map cutting emissions" reports Rick Jurgens of the
West County Times. "Two events this week could offer
an early measure of Californians' willingness to back tough actions,
including higher gasoline taxes, to fulfill Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's
promise to make the state a leader in reducing emissions of greenhouse
gases that contribute to global warming."
"Trees Manage Water to the Benefit of the
writes Ron Sullivan in Our Planet. "The tap roots
that some species have, which can extend more than their height
underground, have more to do than anchor the tree. Fibrous feeding
roots reach a broad, shallower area around the tree; tap roots,
using chemical potential gradients, redistribute water downwards
in rainy seasons and upwards in dry seasons to keep nurturing
bonuses, West Berkeley zoning changes and creeks are among the
land use issues city officials will be considering this week" reports Richard Brenneman of
the Planet. "A Tuesday afternoon session in the city's Permit
Service Center brings together representatives of the Zoning Adjustments
Board (ZAB) and the Planning and Housing Advisory commissions
to hear recommendations for changing the city's controversial
density bonus ordinance."
it be wonderful if Acme Bread expanded into the old welder's building
on Pardee and the welder's yard at 8th and Pardee became a residence-development
with even some retail shops on the ground floor? Maybe an Acme
outlet and cafe.
seeking out yesterday's East Bay Daily for Fred Dodsworth's
"Ashby BART project's therapy put off for now."
Fits in with
my view that ever since we lost the Insurrection we haven't been
really happy with ourselves.
Most of the
structures on the old APOC site on 9th and Ashby have now been
raised. Remaining is the "tin shed" that sources report
is filled with irritant fumes.
"Fewer 'bluebills' on the bay--Loss of
habitat, toxic elements hurt 2 species of scaup" writes Glen Martin of the San
"State, area housing starts fell last year" reports James
Temple of the West County Times. "Earlier this month,
the California Building Industry Association predicted that the
state's 12-year run in home building gains would finally end in
2006. In fact, it ended last month. Year-end numbers from the
Sacramento-based trade group show California and East Bay housing
starts declined in 2005, as new construction continued to drop
off faster than anticipated in December. State housing starts,
as measured by permits, have been falling since October as home
builders move to cut inventory in the face of a nine-month-long
drop in sales."
"East Bay fuels region's job growth-- Employment
increase likely to persist in Alameda, Contra Costa counties through
2007, economist says " writes the Times, George Avalos.
"Secondhand smoke toxic air contaminant.
State Air Resources Board vote paves way for possible new limits
on tobacco use"
reports Jane Kay of the San Francisco Chronicle. "California
regulators became the first in the nation Thursday to designate
secondhand tobacco smoke as a 'toxic air contaminant,' a move
that could lead to new city and state laws and educational campaigns
directed at smoking parents."
Boss was way ahead on this one and I panned him for his foresight.
I owe 'em one! If His People will contact My People we can arrange
a breakfast of scrambled eggs and lox, onion bagels and French
roast. I'll make it down here in west -Berkeley. I've some experience
with breakfasts you know.
"Density Bonus Committee Explores Retail,
In-Lieu Fees" reports
Richard Brenneman of Our Planet.
"Members of the joint commission formed to look into the
city's density bonus are moving closer to formulating suggestions
for a new ordinance. The panel, drawn from the Zoning Adjustments
Board (ZAB), Planning
Commission and the Housing Advisory Commission (HAC) gathered
in the city's Permit Services Center Tuesday."
"Focus on West Berkeley Getting the Job
writes Marta Yamamoto of The Planet. "There's no denying
that Berkeley has a worldwide reputation, not always positive.
From humble beginnings in the 1850s, through the turbulent 1960s
and up to today, Berkeley's citizens are seldom shy about voicing
their passions. Berkeley was first home to squatters along the
bay,s shoreline attracted by accessible water and farmland. Later,
the establishment of the University of California acted like a
magnet for students and staff. The 1906 earthquake further increased
the population, causing many San Franciscans to cross the bay
and change their city of residence."
"Boom Ends For South Asian Shops--Competition
Heats Up in Berkeley's Little India" is Riya Bhattacharjee's report
in the Berkeley Daily Planet.
Cacao advertises reopening February 1st with a new interior and
a new menu.
I went to lunch today at Café Rouge--one burger with fries
and a roast beef sandwich, forty-one bucks with tip. Ok, it was
Niman Ranch beef but forty-one bucks? Makes one pine for a good
ole fashioned Street Demonstration.
of life in England
on a complaint from a Mr. Arthur Purdey about a large
gas bill, a spokesman for North West Gas said, "We agree
rather high for the time of year. It's possible Mr. Purdey has
charged for the gas used up during the explosion that destroyed
house." (The Daily Telegraph)
2) Police reveal that a woman arrested for shoplifting had a whole
salami in her underwear. When asked why, she said it was because
was missing her Italian boyfriend. (The Manchester Evening News)
3) Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen
because they cannot issue a description. It's a Special Branch
vehicle and they don't want the public to know what it looks like.
4) A young girl who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable
teeth was rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coast guard
spokesman commented, "This sort of thing is all too common".
5) At the height of the gale, the harbourmaster radioed a coastguard
and asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied he was sorry,
but he didn't have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind
had just blown his Land Rover off the cliff. (Aberdeen Evening
6) Mrs. Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue, Boscombe, delighted the
audience with her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who
sent each week to do her garden. He was repatriated at the end
1945, she recalled. "He'd always seemed a nice friendly chap,
when the crocuses came up in the middle of our lawn in February
1946, they spelt out 'Heil Hitler.'" (Bournemouth Evening
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