This off-beat reporter, his heart on the South side, has been lured away on the mayoral campaign and measure S, leaving other measures to press releases, and our editor-in-chief's tightly reasoned endorsements.
We have had to base our speculations on the outcomes of the mayor's race and measure S on hearsay, or less.
But something we could sink our teeth into, something palpable...that we will only get from Telegraph Avenue.
Sunday was a golden day by the Bay, not seen since the San Andreas fault fractured, Oct. 17, 1989, disrupting the third world series game, between Oakland and San Francisco. Sunday both teams were playing, the Giants at home, as
the Blue Angels streaked over Crissy Field.
The Chron headlined: "S.F. crowds mostly behave as city adds parades, cruise ship, 49ers game to weekend mix."
Crowds were behaved on Telegraph Avenue, too, and street tramps, as they call themselves, were keeping a low profile. I talked to a kid named Blue, who was really blue, crouched on a stool. He said that he was depressed because he couldn't find a good place to sleep.
"What will you do if sitting is banned?" I asked.
"Stand up, I suppose; or lean somewhere," said Blue, languorously.
I stopped off at Remy's, near People's Park to to see if I could see the Niners kickoff .
Remy's is the successor to Mario's a legendary Mexican restaurant in Berkeley for half a century. His former employers at Raleigh's have apparently given him permission to advertise at the burned out Sequoia Apartments fire site, a barren void--constant reminder of what the neighborhood lost.
I made a note to look for Patches, a Telegraph street vendor selling screwy patches, who was recently photographed in his psychedelic sixties schlock-shop glasses, peering out from the Daily Cal's pages with two sparkling wheels that looked like bloody eyeballs--an alarming shot.
After watching part of the Niner's game, at Pappy's, distracted by the baseball playoffs. I headed for a meeting of students at Maximus Martinez Commons, one of the fanciest dorms in the country, who agreed to meet with People's Park activists.
Throughout the nearly two years construction on the up-scale digs, construction cranes crawled the park's air-space, somehow looming larger and more threateningly, shrunk wrapped in black--the bad guy, a symbol of the university's always present threat to the continued existence of the park.
Now dorm students were reaching out to the park, as park activists like Mike Delecour, Nathan Pitts, and Michael Diehl reached back.
The door to the dorm's lobby was locked, and the lobby deserted.
Heading back to the Ave, I saw Mike Delacour heading for the meeting. That made two who couldn't get in, but we slipped in when a student left. He held the door for us. Out of respect for our ages? We're a century and a half years old--150, in rounded off numbers.
Soon we were talking to the students, who were there to learn about the park through a new film purported to have material additional to "Berkeley in the Sixties."
Delacour was the park's progenitor, according to Seth Rosenfeld's latest book--"Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power."
Delacour is now in the books as the guy with the idea for the park, a vacant lot used for a temporary parking plot. Later, Delacour told me that when the police "wired the park" (blocked students with wire barriers), his car was incarcerated for days.
In1969, Delacour could drive to the People's Park riots and find a convenient parking space in what became People's Park, he told me.
On the way to the Med, I bumped into a Planet reader who asked, "why hasn't the Planet covered Patches." According to our reader, Patches has been the number one topic of Ave. scuttlebutt. after being arrested for selling marijuana at his patch stand.
Patches, a well-known street vendor (22 years) selling screwy patches, was recently featured in his psychedelic sixties schlock-shop glasses, peering out from the Daily Cal's pages with two sparkling wheels that looked like bloody eyeballs--an alarming photograph that might have been painted by Dali, or photographed by Man Ray.
Street vendors are unlikely dope peddlers, and Patches has a cop friend or two.
He says he helps cops keep order on the Ave, often ratting-out hard drug dealers, he claims.
According to the Daily Cal, the Berkeley character, 52, is fondly remembered by alumnae from decades ago--as a drug dealer, operating under the cops noses.
This time, cops had no choice but to bust the flamboyant street personality, after two students complained that Patches was selling marijuana, according to the Daily Cal, and Patches himself.
Recently released from Santa Rita County Jail after a mere two days ("I cooperated," he said,) Patches was back at his usual spot.
Thirty student comments on the Daily Cal story bragged they had M.O.'d the alleged dealer years ago.
An avenue observer tells me, this is far from the first he's been cited for marijuana sales at his stand.
The Daily Cal called him Robert Meister, but the name doesn't fit.
When I approached Patches, he unleashed a vituperative volley of invective, confusing me, he said, with an undergraduate reporter for the Daily Cal, at 73. "it's a student paper," I pointed out.
And he didn't have his fire-wheel glasses blinding him, either.
He recalled that I had the week before bought two pistol-packing momma patches for my grandkids.
Eventually Patches calmed down somewhat and told me his story, erupting in a diatribe against the police, the students, the daily Cal, and the cruel way of things.
"I'm the good guy," he moaned.
While railing, often wildly, at students, and the "libelous charges," in the Daily Cal, Patches said he might sue the Daily Cal. He showed me a D.C. reporter's card, saying, "she put her phone number on it."
"I didn't sell drugs," he said, "I just gave away some cookies, and cookies aren't marijuana," he said, but "I'll have to check on that."
The police called the cookies "concentrated cannabis," according to the Daily Cal. The police reportedly found large quantities of marijuana at his stand, a charge Patches heatedly denies.
Also found, reportedly, were three pounds of marijuana, and more than $10,000 in cash at Patches' home in Richmond.
The beleaguered vendor vowed to take his case before a jury. He's done it before, he said. "They'll never convict me," he boasted.
Perhaps he'll mesmerize the jury with his psychedelic eye-wear.
The Planet's "Voice of the South side," returns to the scene of former adventures on the
avenue. Thanks to all his sources.