Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Archive for June, 2008

The best bars in America

By awoodall

Esquire magazine’s list of The Best Bars in American is in print but Oakland doesn’t even get a mention.  The reviewers probably have their heads so far up the San Francisco crack that they would lump the two cities together anyway. The authors rated the 21 Club, Tosca Cafe and the Toronado as SF’s best. I’m with them on Tosca, but disagree with their choices for New Orleans — The Spotted Cat — or Washington D.C. — the Mayflower Hotel bar. Maybe this calls for a cross-country tour to check up on the worthiness of their reporting.

Posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
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Open ’til late: Same sex weddings

By awoodall

The county’s wedding wizard will be open late Monday, June 16, when the new California allowing same-sex marriages law is set to kick in. To absorb the anticipated flood of same-sex couples the Clerk-Recorder Patrick O’Connell says his office will offer extended hours, from 5:01 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the 16th.
The Clerk-Recorder’s Office is located at 1106 Madison Street, Oakland.  Appointments for marriage ceremonies the week of June 16 are encouraged and can be made by calling (510) 272-6362 between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Please allow at least 30 minutes for issuance of a marriage license prior to the scheduled appointment. The Clerk-Recorder’s Office includes a specially furnished Wedding Room where weddings are performed by staff and volunteer wedding commissioners.

Posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
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The Derby Girls denied

By awoodall

What the hell is up with this? First the news is that the Derby Girls are back in business at the Dry Ice Hockey rink. Now word is the venu is not up to code after all to accomodate all the fans and bouts are cancelled until the required building improvements are complete. (Mudwrestling on June 27 is still on, though.) Okay, read it and weep for yourself:

It is with heavy hearts that the Bay Area Derby Girls announce the cancellation of the June 14 bout between the (undefeated this season) Oakland Outlaws and the Richmond Wrecking Belles. 
Unfortunately, our venue, Dry Ice, is not up to code to accommodate all our wonderful fans. The leniency afforded us by the authorities the past two months has come to an end until required building improvements are complete.
We are working with Dry Ice management to bring the building up to code. At this time we expect to proceed with our July bout as scheduled.
Check back here for the latest information.
 -The Bay Area Derby Girls
 Our June Mud Wrestling event is still on!
6/27, Doors 8 p.m. @ CELLspace
2050 Bryant Street, San Francisco

Posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
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Rats! Animal activists keep up the harassment, says UC Berkeley

By kbender

Three months ago, the Oakland Tribune ran a story about UC-Berkeley’s hope to get a restraining order against animal rights activists accused of harassing university animal lab researchers _ at their homes.

Since that March story, the weekly attacks on more than a dozen researcher’s homes have continued. “It really hasn’t changed. They are there once a weekend,” said university spokesman Robert Sanders Wednesday.

Reading Matier and Ross at the top of SF Gate this morning one might think this harassment is something new. “Officials have been trying to keep the protests quiet, in part out of concern that publicity will only cause more incidents and an escalation in violence. At UCLA, animal rights protests have included attempted firebombings and one instance in which a researcher’shome was flooded with a garden hose,” the SF Gate story says.

“Looking at the numbers, it’s pretty clear that keeping things quiet in the press hasn’t toned down the protesters much. It’s just as clear, however, that the protesters aren’t reaching their goals, either,” the SF Gate story says.

The group, which calls itself Stop UC Berkeley Vivisection, began showing up at the homes of UC-Berkeley researchers in the East Bay on weekends last fall.

UC Berkeley clearly wants to put an end to the harassment _ but it’s not easy.

“We don’t have enough to go to court with a restraining order and since they wear masks it’s hard to identify who they are,” Sanders said Wednesday.

 The group claims that more than 40,000 non-human animals are housed on the UC Berkeley campus for research purposes. Roughly 50 percent are mice, 40 percent are cold-blooded animals, 9 percent are other rodents, such as voles and wild mice, while the remaining 1 percent are  primates, cats, coyotes, hyenas, ferrets, rabbits, and invertebrates.

 The activists usually show up with bullhorns late at night, and call the researchers murderers and torturers. They have broken flowerpots and used chalk to write demeaning messages on sidewalks outside the homes, police said. Cars have also been vandalized. Earlier this month, Sanders tells us, someone threw a rock through a researcher’s home window and the window of a nearby neighbor during the day. No one was injured.

San Francisco FBI Special Agent Joseph Schadler has said the FBI is working with police, and has sent agents to UC-Santa Cruz following an attempted home invasion of a biomedical researcher there in February. He could not say whether the events in the East Bay and Santa Cruz are related.


Posted on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
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A Sunday blessing of a different sort… praying to the sun gods

By kbender



The new solar panels at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley were blessed on Sunday. The church has always been a little ahead of its time, as one of the first area churches to start podcasting its’ sermons on the Internet more than three years ago.


But these days their focus is on green technology.


The church (which is actually in Kensington) financed the purchase of the 50-kilowatt solar energy system with a $463,000 loan form its’ endowment but is expecting to get a $131,000 rebate from the state government through PG&E, church officials tell me.


Church members also pitched in more than $100,000 to cover costs.


With the new system, the church expects to reduce its annual power costs to near zero, church officials say.


They might need some serious help from the sun gods to do that.

To start things off right, Revs. Barbara Hamilton-Holway, Bill Hamilton-Holway, and Chris Holton Jablonski, blessed the 336 panels on Sunday. Then there was music and food and electric car demonstrations and other fun stuff.


UUCB is not the only Bay Area religious institution to look to the heavens for help with electrity bills. St. Paul ‘s Episcopal Church in  Walnut Creek Congregation Shir Hadash in Los Gatos, the San Francisco Zen Center, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Marin County, the  San Francisco Theological Seminary, St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church in Lafayette, and Christ Church Lutheran in Fremont have also gone solar.


There’s a reason for that.


Churches and other non-profits have a financial incentive to do it now because money available for the state-sponsored rebates is on the decline. This news comes from Jessica Brown, outreach director for California Interfaith Power and Light (http:// www.interfaithpower.org), a statewide faith-based ministry that promotes  energy conservation and renewable energy in the faith community.


Posted on Sunday, June 8th, 2008
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Noir Owl

By awoodall

palacefistsite.gifThe salsa tunes echoing through Washington Street lured me out last night after I finished the Noir Owl for today’s paper. The salsa was coming from the first installation of the Old Oakland summer music series, which is supposed to be a street fest with libatations, food, music and community.
Kind of pump up Old Oakland, or New Old Oakland as the organizers are calling it.  (Notice that the area was a big support center for Sean Sullivan, who gave Councilmember Nancy Nadel a ride for her money during Tuesday’s elections? His was the only after polling party that was not a freaks and geeks scene.)
There are nine more Thursday night shindigs planned this summer — every first and third Thursday. The crowd last night was a bit sparse compared to what I imagine the expectations were, although I ran into Kenyan artist Githinji Wa Mbire who turns up everywhere including in The Oakbook last month. 
But the street could have used more artists, vendors, food and…pizazz. The band, Julio Bravo y su orquestra Salsabor, was smokin though. So was one of the couples dancing in the street. (YAY!)
Even my 12-year-old daughter Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Friday, June 6th, 2008
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Stop the spray and visit the artists

By awoodall

Okay. These aren’t your regular night owl haunts but there are two evening events that might be of interest to folks. And remember, tonight is the First Friday Art Murmur & Extravaganza. Galleries, clubs, restaurants, cafes, pubs…many of them in Oakland have something going on tonight. I’m caught between the Oakland Museum, the Linden Street Brewery, Awaken Cafe or the Stork Club’s burlesque show. What a dilemma! I have more to tell about the Old Oakland — or rather New Old Oakland as the marketing magicians are touting it now — Thursday night summer concert series. I’ll save it for a little later.

Monday, June 23, 2008 7:00pm-9:00pmLocation: Lakeside Park Garden Center at Lake Merritt, 666 Bellevue Ave. Sponsored by Stop the Spray-East Bay and Pesticide Watch Toxic aerial pesticide spraying by the California
Department of Food and Agriculture is still planned for the Bay Area this summer. Successful lawsuits have stopped the spraying temporarily in Santa Cruz and Monterey but so far not in the Bay Area. For more information: www.stopthespray.org and eastbayinfo@stopthespray.org.

Scores of local artists will be showing their work at the Pro Arts East Bay Open Studios coming up the first two weekends in June. To see a sample of participating artist’s work visit the Pro Arts Gallery, 550 Second St. in Jack London Square – across from Cost Plus. Pick up a brochure for a guide to participating artist’s studios.

Posted on Friday, June 6th, 2008
Under: Art Murmur, Night Owl, Oakland nightlife, Old Oakland, Uptown | No Comments »
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Click it or get a big ticket

By kbender

Few things shock me anymore after covering Berkeley for the last five years. But here’s one: there are people out there who don’t wear their seatbelts. 

Police spokesman Officer Andrew Frankel tells me today that Berkeley cops just wrapped up their Click It or Ticket campaign in conjunction with the California Office of Traffic Safety.

In just three weeks, police cited 348 people for seatbelt violations.

Why not just burn money?  Seatbelt fines can be as much as $91 for an adult or $401 for someone under age 16 caught without a belt.

During the campaign, police also cited 67 others for various vehicle code violations and towed nine cars because their drivers were found to be driving on suspended or revoked licenses.  

Police were able to do this enforcement work thanks to a $10,000 state grant that funded 11 patrol and traffic officers to focus on seatbelt law enforcement for 118 hours.

Come on guys, wear the  seatbelt. Berkeley cops have enough to do these days with seven homicides so far this year, constant protests at the U.S. Marine Center and all the other craziness.




Posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
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Berkeley High Fundraising Scams Reported

By kbender

Every year around graduation time we hear about young men and women going door-to-door asking people for money for graduates to go on trips. And every year we hear from school districts reporting these “sales people” as scam artists. Today Mark Coplan, the public information officer for the Berkeley School district, alerts us of a scam in two East Bay neighborhoods.

Coplan tells us that a resident in the Glenview neighborhood of Oakland reports that a young man has been going door to door saying he is  “raising money for the Berkeley High School  baseball team to go to Maui.” In exchange for contributions of $100 to $500, people will receive books on literacy.


Folks, this is a scam. Do not give these people money.

Coplan also tells us of another report of a young man selling magazine subscriptions in Kensington, to help pay for the Berkeley high school’s swim team’s trip to Hawaii. The man went so far to say he is the son of a neighbor down the street, whom he named, Coplan said.

Again, a scam. The neighbor has no such son. It’s easy enough to get someone’s name from the phonebook or by looking at their mail in the mailbox. 

Berkeley High School has more than 50 athletic teams, dozens of clubs and several small schools, and occasionally people do go door-to-door collecting money for trips and such. 

However, Coplan warns, they never collect cash and checks are made out only to the Berkeley Athletic Fund, the Berkeley High School Development Group or the Berkeley Public Education Foundation.

Coplan said that anyone with questions about school fundraising should call the Berkeley High Athletic Department at 644-8723 or the Public Information Office at 644-6320.







Posted on Monday, June 2nd, 2008
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