Seasonal Cheer at the Berkeley Flea By BECKY O'MALLEY

Tuesday December 21, 2004

Right about now things are starting to slow down a bit for some people (especially public employees who are taking advantage of optional holiday days off) and speed up for others (Santa Claus and the harried folks who help him out, especially mothers and fathers who have jobs they can’t escape even during the holidays). Last weekend was the countdown weekend for busy people who like to give gifts but don’t have much time to shop. And it was also the only pre-Christmas weekend for parties and such, given that the holidays are on Saturdays this year. There are those, of course, who pride themselves on using the solstice period as an opportunity to demonstrate that they can even be self-absorbed in the midst of the frenetic efforts to connect that motivate others at this time of year. While those about them are wrapping presents and singing carols, such people are taking long solitary walks on the beach. -more-

The Market Speaks: Can Berkeley Hear? By BECKY O'MALLEY

Friday December 17, 2004

It’s official. The apartment shortage is over, the apartment glut begins. The end of Homefinders, a worthwhile enterprise which served a lot of needy customers in its heyday, is the final nail in the coffin of Berkeley’s haphazard building boom. While it lasted, it lined the pockets of a few already well-fixed investors, notably UC’s B-School Prof. Teece. Its legacy is demolished landmarks (the Doyle House, the Fine Arts Theater), crumbling buildings (the Gaia Building) and vanished institutions (the Gaia Bookstore, Anna’s Café on University). In its wake are promises: Anna’s really will re-open sometime in the Gaia Building; the fake marquee on the Fine Arts apartment building touts shows which will never play there. (Red Diaper Baby Josh Kornbluth shouldn’t let his good name be used for this particular scam.) -more-

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