Richmond: Pedestrian-friendly or pedestrian-challenging on Carlson Boulevard?

OK. We know the paving on the Carlson Boulevard rebuild project is finally (FINALLY!) done.
We’ve been watching this project almost daily for better than a year-and-a-half and can see it’s near the end, save for the striping and some side street work.
The new street is supposed to be more “pedestrian-friendly,” but we have to wonder what the city is saying with this sign we saw Wednesday morning.
UPDATE: Crews were finally doing striping today.


Richard Bean and Sapo perform “Suavecito” in San Pablo in 2009

San Pablo and its music promoter, Kentara Padron, have staged some nice events in the past few years, including the summer series on 23rd Street this year and the annual Fourth of July celebration at the El Portal soccer field.
Here is video of two numbers by Sapo, featuring Richard Bean, composer of the radio classic “Suavecito,” originally recorded by Malo. The video here has an early number, followed by an elongated and much more rocking version of the the original hit.


Charles Reid Christmas Party returns Sunday in Richmond

The Charles R. Reid Foundation is celebrating its 64th Annual Christmas Party for needy families this Sunday December 18th in Richmond, CA.
Santa Claus is coming to town early in Richmond, where he’s made an appearance for the past 64 years at the Charles R. Reid Christmas Toy Party, a tradition founded by its late namesake in 1947.
The tradition is now carried on by the Reid family and the Charles Reid Foundation, which will host this year’s celebration from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Richmond Police Activities League gymnasium at 2200 MacDonald Ave.
Along with a visit with Santa and activities, gifts will be distributed for children ages 2 to 12, who attend with a parent (child must be present to receive a gift).
“With this year’s weak economy, we are expecting more kids then ever for our event,” said foundation spokeswoman Ivy Reid Lewis, adding that the goal, as always, is to carry on the Charles Reid legacy by assisting families in need during the holidays.
Sponsors of this year’s event include the Chevron Richmond refinery, Mechanics Bank, Steifel Nicholas & Company, Omega Pacific Electrical Supply Inc. The Golden Gate Breakfast Club, the San Francisco Fire Department Toy Program. the California Highway Patrol and the Northern California Chapter of the NFL Retired Players Association.


Richmond: A secret of the battlehip USS Iowa

That's duct tape over the end of the guns on the USS Iowa.

You can’t bring a camera on a tour of the battleship USS Iowa, now docked for repairs at the Port of Richmond, without taking pictures of the mighty World War II ship’s guns.
We already pondered what would happen if the “Mythbusters” team got control of a cannon this big, but we have to also note our amusement at the high-tech covering over the mouth of these steel barrels.
That’s right, it’s duct tape.
The Iowa was opened to the public as of Saturday for “Battleship Expo,” a tour series that got a good turnout last weekend.
Tours continue from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and admission is $10 adults, $5 children 12 and up, and free ages 11 and under. Reservations are not required.
The tour, which will expand as repairs are made and more of the ship opens to the public, includes access to exhibits such as a short film on the Iowa, 16-inch shells, a Sheridan tank and halftrack displayed by the Military Vehicle Foundation and the Blue Angels F-4 Phantom flight simulator from the Pacific Coast Air Museum.
Proceeds benefit the Pacific Battleship Center (www.pacificbattleship.com), the nonprofit organization that is raising funds for the vessel’s restoration and move to San Pedro to serve as a museum. From what we hear, the inside of the battleship (which last saw service about 20 years ago) is “almost pristeen.”
Visitors can access Terminal 24 at Terminal 3, 1411 Harbour Way in the Port of Richmond across from the Ford Point building. Parking is free. Tours will continue weekends (excluding holidays) during the Iowa’s stay here, which is expected to last through January.


El Cerrito: Views of the Shadi Christmas display from 1982 and an appeal to keep the tradition alive

Whether it’s your residence or your work, moving to a smaller space can be an agonizing as you try to decide what to throw out and what to keep.
That was the case last month for the West County Times, as the staff prepared to leave its longtime home on Lakeside Drive.
One of the things that nearly got tossed was a small file drawer that contained envelopes of color transparencies that included a number of images from 1982 of the Sundar Shadi Christmas display on his large lot on the Arlington.
We present some of those images here, along with a reminder that, people need to come forward to continue the tradition that Shadi established and nurtured almost up to his passing in 2002 at age 101.
Volunteers have kept the display going and now a new generation needs to step forward.
As columnist Martin Snapp noted, “This beloved holiday tradition can go on for hundreds of years. Or it can go away tomorrow, and after a generation nobody will remember. It’s up to you, El Cerritans.”


Richmond considers soda tax

The Richmond City Council Tuesday will consider asking residents to vote to impose a tax on soda. Councilman Jeff Ritterman is proposing a tax equal to 1 percent per fluid ounce of soda, with the revenue going to anti-obesity programs.

Several residents have already emailed Ritterman to protest what they’re calling an “obesity tax.”

“Apparently our council believes we’re incapable of thinking for ourselves or at the very least thinks a regressive tax is the only way to force all those low income, soda swilling Americans to mend their misguided ways,” wrote resident Felix Hunziker in an open letter.

Ritterman argues that just as tobacco taxes have helped reduce smoking, sugary beverage taxes would help reduce the over-consumption of sugary beverages.

It’s sure to make for an interesting council meeting.  In the meantime, here’s an a gross-out PSA that speaks to just how sugary soda is:



Richmond: Kaiser ship-launching song from the 1940s, part 3

The JAC's performing "Boogie-Woogie Santa Claus" on Saturday aboard the SS Red Oak Victory.

The “Ship of Lights” gala in the cargo hold of the SS Red Oak Victory in the Port of Richmond brought supporters of the World War II ship together for dining and holiday songs on Dec. 3, featuring vocal trio The (Jan Gill, Alan Sauer and Charrie Cobler).
Last month the trio performed the song “Smooth Sailing,” the official ship launching music of the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond that likely hadn’t been performed in public since the end of the war in 1945.
The JACS again performed the song on Saturday, this time doing a reworked version that added three-part harmony.
Here we present their latest, much richer sounding version from Saturday: