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Is there a new obstacle for the El Cerrito animal ordinance?

The 1989 Michael Moore film “Roger and Me” shows a woman in the depressed city of Flint, Mich. who offers rabbits as “pet or meat” and proceeds to slaughter a bunny on camera. None of the linked clip would be shocking to a 4-H member, but it might to city folk.
As the urban farming movement gains traction, El Cerrito is poised to make revisions to its animal ordinance, with a second reading set to be heard Monday of its revised ordinance relaxing rules for keeping farm-type animals (bees, chickens, goats, sheep, etc.).
We’ve heard support for the new rules from sustainable city proponents, and objections, from people who think back yard animals will lower property values to those who think they just smell bad.
A new wrinkle comes from the group Neighbors Opposed to Back Yard Slaughter, which is rallying its supporters to oppose what it considers a loophole in El Cerrito’s ordinance akin to the rabbit slaughter depicted in the Michael Moore film.
Their post:

El Cerrito is considering a law that could potentially allow people to slaughter animals on residential property, by way of omission.

While considering allowing new types of animals into the city at a March 2011 City Council study session, El Cerrito City Council members held an informal vote and unanimously agreed that slaughtering animals should not be allowed.

The proposed changes as they currently stand do not address animal slaughter, which will leave ambiguity in what people are allowed to do. This ambiguity will inevitably cause animals to suffer. El Cerrito needs to take a stand and make policy that reflect its convictions. El Cerrito needs to ban animal slaughter.

The City Council has heard from both sides, now they need to hear from you. Tell them you support a ban on slaughter in El Cerrito. Killing chickens, goats, rabbits and other animals has no place in the city of El Cerrito.

See you at 7:30PM on on Monday!

El Cerrito City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito Monday, November 21, 2011 — 7:30 PM Animal slaughter is covered under item 5B on the agenda.

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Pinole pauses to honor those who served

Scouts from Troop 86 in Pinole salute as a flag is retired.


We can’t conclude Veterans Day without a post about the annual the Fourth Annual Veterans Day Memorial and Flag Retirement Ceremony that brought some 300 people to Fernandez Park in Pinole.
The nearby senior center is home to the area’s Veterans of Foreign War post (No. 2798) and the event links generations by bringing together VFW members and others who served their country with residents and local Boy and Girl Scouts, Police Explorers and members of other groups.
If you haven’t been, the event is a worthwhile reminder of the need to honor those who have served for all of us.
Music was provided by the 94-member-strong marching band from Pinole Valley High School and the choir from St. Joseph School and flag retirement was done by Boy Scouts from Troop 86 in Pinole, led by Scoutmaster Bob Marieiro.
Because of the uncertain weather, ceremonies were conducted inside the Youth Center in Fernandez Park, followed by the flag retirement on the park lawn.
Here are some views of the ceremonies, courtesy of the Pinole Historical Society.

VFW Post 2798 Commander Carl Petersdorf speaks at the ceremonies.

Troop 86 Scouts retire a flag while Garrett Dibble plays "Taps."

George and Christie Vincent of the Pinole Historical Society honor the city's war dead.

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Here is the forgotten shipyard song performed on Veterans Day in Richmond

It’s tricky getting decent video with a hand-held camera in the third row of a crowded cargo ship hold, but here, at least for your listening pleasure, is the vocal trio The JAC’s performing “Smooth Sailing,” the official launching song of the Kaiser shipyards at the Veterans Day ceremonies on the SS Red Oak Victory in Richmond. It’s likely this was the first public performance of the piece by composer Stephen McNeil since the shipyards closed at the end of World War II.
The optimistic lyrics of the song go along with a soothing tempo and a melody that reminds me of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and “A Fine Romance.”

Silk-screened cover to the sheet music for "Smooth Sailing," the official launching song of the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond. Until last Friday when vocal trio The JAC's sang it at the SS Red Oak Victory ceremonies for Veterans Day, it's likely the song hadn't had a public performance since the end of World War II in 1945.

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Richmond: Watch the reenactment of the launch of the SS Red Oak Victory

Richmond Councilman Tom Butt introduces former Rosie and retired teacher Marian Sauer, a 91-year-old Richmond native, chosen to play the wife of the mayor of Red Oak, Iowa in the reenactment Friday of the launch of the Red Oak Victory in 1944. Nov. 11, 2011.
Marian Sauer is a 1937 Richmond Union High School graduate who worked during the war at the Standard Oil of California refinery in Richmond.
A former music teacher, she is still active playing the weekly tea dance at the senior center in San Pablo with the Huey White Show Band.
The Regional Oral History Office at UC Berkeley conducted a 2002 interview with Sauer (scroll down) on her experiences before and after the war and her experiences playing in an all-woman swing band.

Richmond Councilman Tom Butt and Marian Sauer at the relaunching ceremony for the SS Red Oak Victory on Veterans Day.

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Update on Veterans Day in El Cerrito, Pinole and Richmond

A flag flutters in the wind after being planted near a veteran's grave at Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito in 2011. (Staff photo by Dean Coppola)

Here’s an update on Veterans Day activities in West County, including late word that the morning flag placement at Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito, previously announced as called off because of predicted rain, will take place regardless of the weather.

The decision on the El Cerrito event was announced at the Herms District Roundtable meeting of local Boy Scout troop leaders on Wednesday night.
“Local Scout Troops and some Lions plan to post flags on Friday, no matter the weather, and will meet at Sunset View between 8 and 8:30 a.m. any way, any whether,” writes Dave Williams of the San Pablo Lions chapter.
Any volunteers who want to help place flags on the graves of deceased veterans are welcome to come to Sunset View, 101 Colusa Ave. at Fairmount Avenue.
Other events in West County:

Pinole: The annual observance and flag retirement ceremony will be at 11 a.m. Friday, rain or shine, at Fernandez Park, 595 Tennent Ave. The event will move into the Youth Center at the park in the event of rain.

Richmond: A re-enactment of the launch of the World War II ship SS Red Oak Victory will be part of the Veterans Day observance from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Port of Richmond, 1337 Canal Blvd. Because of the rain prediction, ceremonies will be held in Hold 3 and 4 of the historic ship originally launched from the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond in 1944.

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Plans to perform the forgotten song of Richmond’s Kaiser shipyards on Friday

Silk-screened cover to the sheet music for "Smooth Sailing," the official launching song of the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond. It's likely the song hasn't had a public performance since the end of World War II in 1945.

In case you missed my item in today’s Eye on the East Bay column in the Times, about 12 years ago I bought a bunch of vintage Kaiser ship launching programs and invitations at the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale.
With the collection was the sheet music for “Smooth Sailing,” the official launching song of the Kaiser shipyards written by composer Stephen McNeil, who also wrote the song “Call Henry Kaiser” around the same time.
I’ve always wondered what the song sounded like and it looks like I’ll find out on Friday at the Grand Relaunch of the Red Oak Victory in Richmond.
Here’s the column item:

This long lost song might finally be heard

The SS Red Oak Victory in Richmond will show off a freshly painted hull when a Veterans Day ceremony re-enacting the cargo ship’s 1944 launching is held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. The ceremony is scheduled to include a performance of “Smooth Sailing,” the official launching song of the Kaiser shipyards written by Stephen McNeil, a well-known Bay Area composer of the day.

Kaiser historian Steve Gilford said he had heard of the song, but had never seen a copy of the music in the company’s archives. Serendipitously, one of The Eye’s contributors happened to have a copy of the sheet music and mentioned it to Gilford during the voyage last month of the Red Oak to dry dock in San Francisco.

The Eye gave a photocopy of the music to Gilford, who shared it with Lois Boyle, president of the Richmond Museum Association. Things began moving for what may be the first public performance of the song since 1945.

The public is invited to the ceremony at the Red Oak, 1337 Canal Blvd., Berth 6A, in the Port of Richmond.

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“My Fair Lady” should be loverly in El Cerrito

The Cerrito Classics series at Rialto Cinemas Cerrito was a hit in October with a sold-out pre-Halloween showing of the 1974 comedy “Young Frankenstein” that prompted a second night with two screenings of the Mel Brooks classic that again packed the house.
This month the series hosted by the Friends of the Cerrito Theater goes in a different direction at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 with the 1964 musical “My Fair Lady,” with Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins and Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle.
“The movie won eight Oscars and was nominated for four more,” writes Linda Moss of Friends of the Cerrito Theater. “To my mind, there just aren’t enough superlatives to describe it!”
Look for Barbara Pepper (Doris Ziffel on TV’s “Green Acres”) as Doolittle’s dance partner.
The screening will show the 1994 restored version of the 170-minute film — complete with the 10-minute intermission of the original presentation — and like all classics, it deserves to be seen on the big screen. The clips linked here should only whet your appetite.
Come for the Lerner and Loewe score of the adaption of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” and gawk at the great costumes and sets in Technicolor in a comfy art deco local movie house.
All seats are $8 at the Cerrito, 10070 San Pablo Ave., and tickets (keep those sellouts in mind) and details are available in advance at www.rialtocinemas.com/cerrito/.

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Fliers for ECHS speech and debate team fundraiser

Three businesses at El Cerrito Plaza will contribute a percentage of purchases on Saturday to the speech and debate team at El Cerrito High School.
Shop at Barnes & Noble or dine at Pasta Pomodoro or Rubios and present a flier (available at the school, 540 Ashbury Ave., or printable from the links below) to the cashier or server.
There will also be tables at Barnes & Noble with wish-list books from the ECHS library, English Department and Career Center.

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El Cerrito: Time to stop and take in the sunset

The sunset from Moeser Lane on Nov.2, 2011.



This has been a stressful week for folks in the news business in the East Bay. Some are no longer working and many are working extra hours, especially around events in Oakland right now. Many have new duties.
I was reminded of this while leaving an evening gathering to mark the recognition of a new historic resource in El Cerrito (the first officially recognized).
As I left the gathering I noticed the spectacular sunset in the view down Fairmount and raced over to Moeser Lane to take a picure.
A sunset may not cure the ills of the world, but if you see it you have to stop and appreciate.