Archive for May, 2013

Rich Throw Open Their Doors

Posted in Telegraph Avenue, The Berkeley Scene on May 25th, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 22, 2013

South Side Berkeley, Ca


Eat the rich is heard every once in awhile on the South side, but usually in jest. Those with iconic images of a Berkeley of rag-tag radicals would be surprised by the affluence of Berkeley’s hills dwellers.

To call these people rich is perhaps stretching it in an age of sheiks and software developers. But here on the south side, if you “got three hots and cot” even if it’s county jail, “it’s all good, brother.”

On the South side we live among elite scavengers, drunks, addicts, and Asian students. I live in an Asian student building near hard-luck People’s Park — about a mile away from the rich. But going that mile takes you into a world of wealth.

Killer Eucalyptus grove dangerously near house at 50 Alvarado which survived '91 East Bay Hills Fire. Photo by Ted Friedman.

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Flub-Nuts Journalism

Posted in The Berkeley Scene, The Global Scene Through Berkeleyan Eyes on May 18th, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 17, 2013

I arrived at just before three in Tilden Park for a ceremony inducting the Dalai Lama, his holiness, in Berkeley's Rotary Club's Peace Grove, near the peak in Tilden Peak. If you follow the peace grove sign, you'll fall into a gulch, left. Maybe that's why the grove is 'off-the-beaten path.' Attendance at past peace grove inductions has, reportedly, declined in recent years. I wondered if the ceremony would come off. I didn't check the staging area for the event (deserted) because I hiked up from a different start.
Photo by Ted Friedman.

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Will Report Satisfy Critics in Death of Xavier (Kayla ) Moore?

Posted in The Berkeley Scene on May 11th, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
May 10, 2013


[Editor’s Note: When Xavier Kayla Moore,41, a troubled 350 lb. transsexual died Feb. 12 in police custody, cop opponents called them “murderers.” Medical evidence recently released absolves the police. Chief Meehan is nuts over film.]

Thanks for having Jenn hand over the saggy 348 page report in the Xavier Moore death-in-custody controversy. Fortunately, some of the pages are duds.

The report would make a great movie.

The Moore case recalls the film, Stars 80 (Fosse, ’83) and Sunset Boulevard (Wilder,’50), where the stars die before the film’s time-line begins.

We never lose hope that the star (Moore), to whom we become increasingly attached — will somehow survive.

We replay the story-line looking for ways to save the star. If only this; if only that.

What if Berkeley Mental Health’s mobile crisis team had been called instead of police? Their phone response closed five hours before Moore’s crisis. But even if they had responded, Moore might have been resistant, and the police called.

If only two of responding officers who had been called by Moore’s mother months before had befriended Moore on a “welfare check” (but they were unable to make contact). Moore might have recognized them that night as the welfare-check friends Berkeley cops can be.

Moore had cooperated with police in previous 5150s, but, as her ex-boyfriend testified, she was “different that night.”

If only Moore had cleared her outstanding warrant and not faced arrest.

But Moore — a threat to himself and others — could not have avoided arrest for mental evaluation. Moore saw people who weren’t there and babbled about the FBI and Dinosaurs.

The ex described Moore’s talk as “ziggity-boom.”

What if Moore’s ex-boyfriend had not been driven to jail, reducing the number of first-response officers from three to two? If Moore had been sooner restrained (the additional officer might have helped), perhaps Moore would have been subjected to less stress?

Then again, the presence of the ex-boyfriend just aroused Moore’s anger. Removing the ex was an on-site tactics decision, difficult to challenge if you weren’t there.

This is after-movie popcorn talk. Moore was a medical disaster waiting to break. In addition to Moore’s alcohol and toxic drug cocktail consumption, Moore had an enlarged heart and was grossly obese, (a short 300 plus).

In his drugged state, Moore was so strong he exhausted arresting officers in a struggle that “seemed [to last] forever.”

He had untreated high blood-pressure, a detail not known to the coroner.


The Struggle: Moore screaming at high pitch, “no, no, I won’t go.” Moore, no underwear, in leopard-skin tube top and matching wrap-around skirt loses his skirt in the struggle. Arriving officer makes it a threesome on the floor-futon, as the struggle continues.

Third officer to arrive on scene notices Moore is having difficulty breathing

Breathing check. Moore passes.

Breathing check. Moore fails and CPR commences.

An exhausted, sweat-drenched, limping officer who had grappled with Moore, refuses relief and drives to the hospital to be of help.

A crack-pipe falls from Moore’s extended pony-tail during the pathologist’s exam.

Police canvass Moore’s more-than-fifty neighbors, document and archive the crime scene. Most were not aware of the crisis, but some report shouts of a scuffle.

We see two posted notes, one in the living room, another in the kitchen: “A bitch ain’t shit (both).”

The signs, if Moore’s, recalls the enigma of Rosebud, Citizen Kane’s boyhood sled.

Moore’s step-mother tells of Moore’s coma-inducing bike-car accident (at four), after which he became constantly angry.

“A bitch ain’t shit.”

Moore in treatment in the Haight while transitioning to female. Moore’s step-mother calls police months before the crisis reporting that stress from gender pressures is endangering Moore’s precarious mental health.


Angel is a mystery woman like Laura (’44, Preminger) or Kim Novak (Vertigo, ’58, Hitchcock). We learn that she was Moore’s transgendered girlfriend but had left the apartment hours before the crisis.

Angel could explain Moore’s state of mind.

Did Moore admire Angel because she had undergone gender re-assignment surgery?

“A Bitch ain’t shit.” What did it mean?

But repeated attempts to find Angel fail as the investigation winds down.


Produced and Directed by Berkeley Police Chief Michael K. Meehan
Publicist: Jennifer Coats
Story: BPD
Starring: As officer’s names roll, background, a montage starring Moore rolls foreground.
We see Moore in earlier days when she weighed 270; she’s almost child-like. She’s reading her poetry, singing, dancing gracefully, wrapped in a colorful sarong.

Footage of angry protesters at BPD headquarters in February, hatred in their eyes.

Pan to sign from protest after BPD report released this week: “HELL-NO; WE DON’T ACCEPT THE REPORT!”


Posted in People's Park on May 5th, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

by Steed Dropout
April 30, 2013


Berkeley, Ca

Writing for seven publications, I am often expected to pitch a story.

I can pitch a thousand-word story in a minute or less, but no more than two minutes.

I learned to do this in Toastmaster’s International’s two minute extemporaneous “table topics.” I could do “War and Peace” in four minutes.”

How do I do it? Toastmasters just do it.

I struck out twice today.

One editor is drastically cutting back publication. Another wasn’t biting.

Event Poster. Photo by Ted Friedman.