Who’s Cracking Down on Peoples in People’s Park

Posted in People's Park on July 29th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
July 28, 2014

Ankle-high Peoples Park Grass. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Crackdowns in People’s Park are part of its rhythm as well as its legacy.

The ankle-high grass of Berkeley’s People’s Park was recently mowed-down by university groundskeepers along with a bunch of people-park-people who got stay-away orders from university police. Park drug busts have burgeoned.

At Camp Hate, in People’s Park, Hate Man and some of his fellow campers got seven-day stay-aways. Ecclesiastes tells us: “…a time to keep and a time to throw away.” For the university it was time to throw away people’s belongings in and around Camp Hate, which over-flows to Hillegass/Dwight Way, across from two of Berkeley’s oldest churches. The churches turn its other cheeks to the campers.

Such are the seasons in People’s Park where there is a time for everything. A time for busted pot deals, a time to grow campsites, and a time for the university to throw them away.

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Strange War with Berkeley’s Telegraph Ave. Street Kids

Posted in Med Heads & Cafe Culture, Telegraph Avenue on July 24th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
July 24, 2014

A DAY IN THE LIFE

Yesterday, hassle; Becker, right. Photo by Ted Friedman.

A typical day, yesterday, for Craig Becker, 62, who recently put Berkeley’s most famous (60 year-old) coffee house-cafe up for sale: first, he had to eject a psychotic, then he got into a brief hassle with street kids he was about to wash off the sidewalk with a power hose outside his Caffe Mediterraneum, on a seedy stretch of Telegraph Avenue.

“We don’t think it’s very nice of you,” protested a sprayed-out young newcomer to the Telegraph scene.
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Whatever Happened to Berkeley’s Iconic Hippy Coffee-House?

Posted in Med Heads & Cafe Culture, The Berkeley Scene on July 15th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
July 12, 2014

You never know when Berkeley’s, sixty year old Caffe Mediterraneum will explode with youth. College-youth from Cal…and today, eight-year-olds from the peninsula.

That You never know who will show may be why Berkeley’s oldest cafe and the first East-Bay baristas, is for sale. You could call the Caffe Mediterraneum a Berkeley coffee-house icon, or you could call it misspelled.

Youth was to have saved the Med.

When the Med doesn’t explode with youth or anyone else, it can be big, cold, and empty. At the moment there are ten customers (room for 100) beneath a 20 foot ceiling. The next moment could bring a rush of youth. Therein lies the rub.

The customer flow is flawed.

Erratic customer flow and a long list of missteps has brought the Med to yet another crisis. This would be its third crisis in 60 years.

In 1992, Roz Gordon, 83, convened a star-studded poetry reading on the Med mezzanine. It wasn’t a fundraiser, but rather a tribute. Everyone thought the Med was dead. In a way, it was dead, if you compare the Med’s successors to the original joint, which ran like a Swiss watch and payed off like a winning lottery ticket.

The ownership change in 1992 from the cafe’s founders to a couple of cooks was perhaps the beginning of the end for the Med.

Brad Cleveland, 83, was there for a local newspaper the day the Med opened in 1957. “Lines reached around the block, and they continued that way for many years,” said Cleveland, adding “it was a place to meet new people because you couldn’t find a seat to yourself.”

Med Heads as we call ourselves are now sitting here all by ourselves wondering what will become of us. Will we be swept aside for something stylish, that gleams, or stuffed and put on display? If swept aside, at least they’ll have to use a broom and that’s good.
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South Side, North Side, on Berkeley’s Independence Day

Posted in People's Park, The Berkeley Scene on July 8th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
July 8, 2014

Independence Day in Berkeley, as the contrarians of Berkeley conceive it, is one of largess, personal freedom, and L ‘chaim.

L ‘chaim? What does L’chaim, even with wine, have to do with the 4th of July? Baruch and Bud makes some sense.

Largess led off Berkeley’s July 4th in People’s Park, as Irven Goodwin, founder of a San Jose veteran’s outreach program, presented some good-looking barbecue. People are always feeding people in People’s Park, but this feed is personal.

Goodwin told me he was homeless in People’s Park in 1992 and this was his “give-back” to the park for being there for him.

Grateful Goodwin. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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Berkeley’s Oldest Cafe Could Become Starbucks

Posted in Med Heads & Cafe Culture, Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on June 27th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
June 26, 2014

MED IS DEAD!

Preceded in death by many of its most illustrious Med Heads, Berkeley’s oldest South Side business is for sale. Its ghosts, said to be ghosting behind the Med mural, are not for sale. It’s history is in the books.

Gone with the Wind. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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Berkeley Scene Anew

Posted in People's Park, The Berkeley Scene on June 24th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
June 23, 2014

GETTING A FOOT-HOLD IN BERKELEY

Sometimes, even a week’s absence from Berkeley can change your scene. Berkeley Reporter is still struggling to get a foot hold back in Berkeley after a week in Portland

We had read in the SF Chronicle that Berkeleyans live longer than residents elsewhere in the Bay Area. The Chron speculated that hiking in the Berkeley hills was prolonging lives.

What better way to get a foot-hold in Berkeley than to join up with hikers “over 50″ for what was described as an “easy walk” on the far North Side last week. Advance publicity promised that Indian And Crator Rocks would be explored.

Easy. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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Dowd’s Downer

Posted in The Global Scene Through Berkeleyan Eyes on June 14th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
June 13, 2014

DYSPHORIA FOR THE REST OF US

Dysphoria. Photo by Ted Friedman.

When Maureen Dowd, a star New York Times reporter, screwed up with a pot-club marijuana edible in Colorado, recently, she faced a reporter’s dilemma. Should she write a tell-all or wait to be scooped on her own life?

Her tell-all was a public service spot, with Dowd telling us, essentially, “kids, don’t try this at home,” while filling us in on how to use edible THC.

Her editors must have been weak-kneed with delight. There’s just something sort of pro-pot about the Times but I can’t prove it. I suspected this when the Times ran a news obit a few years ago on Berkeley’s most famous pot Doc., Psychiatrist, Tod H. Mikuriya.

Mikuriya was a pioneer advocate (and user of) medical marijuana. You could feel between the lines the Times dug his message.

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Student Loss: A Love Story

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on June 10th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
June 10, 2014

DEAD WEEK DEADENS BERKELEY

Cal Berkeley students shove you off the walks; their backpacks–land-mining coffee house floors–may topple you. Their perfumes bring tears to your eyes. Their ebullient outbursts deafen you.

As a townie, you may wish to be rid of your gownies and be done with these flash-in-the-pan undergrads. Until they leave you for surf-and-sand southland summers; leave you cold.

Only yesterday, they wowed you with graduation street-theater. One group, “a family,” they told me, marched up Teley, 25-throng, accompanied by a spirited mariachi-band, complete with tubas.

Family grads. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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Between Berkeley Stories

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on June 5th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
June, 4, 2014

STUFF HAPPENS

Some People’s Park regulars (i.e. drunks and users) have moved into Willard Park [a block South of People's Park], bringing their clutter of belongings.

Willard Park–Ho Chi Minh Park in the ’70s–is surveilled by nervous-NIMBY park neighbors, who report to Berkeley Police. As the clutter and Willard’s new tenants grew, when would cops bring on the heat? They did, Monday, but where’s the story? Cops clear 70s anti-war park of sloppy squatters?

Evidence is mounting that Telegraph Avenue Sniper will walk but where’s the story? Sniper shoots up Teley vendors, escapes charges. He’s trying to get his guns back from police, a source says.

The noise from rebuilding the Sequoia Apartments and its popular restaurants at TeleHaste can be heard two blocks away and this is in the first week. Traffic congestion, noise, toxic fumes, broken water mains and possible business profit-losses have been predicted by some.

Snack Before Work. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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Berkeley’s Last Sprout Spot To Return Soon

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on May 30th, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 30, 2014

A BERKELEY SALAD WAR MAY BREAK OUT

If a Berkeley Salad war breaks out when Cafe Intermezzo, which had won Salad War1, returns to Telegraph Avenue–the war won’t be the same. The battlefield and the combatants have changed.

Nearby Larry Blakes, a popular salad destination closed once and for all three years ago, after a losing struggle for life. The successor to Blakes is doing Intermezzo’s and Raleigh’s business combined. A small new cafe near the Cody’s Building touts a sprout-heavy salad, copied down to the last Garbanzo from Intermezzo’s, owners say.

The history-rich Caffe Mediterraneum, serves popular salads which don’t hide under a sprout mountain. As recently as last year, an occasional sprout-nut, would seek out intermezzo only to find a pale ghost remaining.

Owners of the wildly popular Raleigh’s Bar and Grill as well as the Cafe Intermezzo, told me, Wednesday, that the “New Sequoia,” Apartments, above the businesses, could be back in a year at best or eighteen months at worst.

Rebuilding Begins. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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