Berkeley Big-Wigs’ Pot Plan For Telegraph

by Steed Dropout
April 11, 2014


Ten Big-Wigs. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Ten city big-wigs showed up on Telegraph Avenue, Tuesday, to plan for ten (planter-style) pots to begin beautifying the ave. The big-wigs almost out-numbered the intended pots. There was one big-wig per pot.

“Now street people will finally have a pot to pee in,” said a Teley wise-guy.

One planner told me the pots must be carefully designed to avoid street abuse. “Some one will find a way to sleep in them [the pots],” the planner joked. One official suggested raising money for the project by making the pots memorials to the dead. Someone suggested making the pots the final resting place for human ashes.

Ten Tour TeleHaste. Photo by Ted Friedman.

A veteran street vendor, drawing on his 35 years street experience, recalled that beautification projects of yore have heretofore been gored.

Janet Klein, Street Vendors; Jim Hynes, Asst. City Manager. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Just about everyone, but street kids, was represented in the gathering of city officials that included officials from the mayor’s office and Berkeley’s powerful city manager’s office; a city police captain stood guard. Teley street vendors sent its own big-wig to protect vendors’ interests; avenue property owners sent its two top officials.

Property Owners. Photo by Ted Friedman.

The mayor has agreed to spend up to $5,000 from his budget to install an estimated ten pots, but maintenance will depend on a beefed-up Teley Street Ambassadors crew. In an unprecedented fourth term, Mayor Tom Bates, has belatedly become a Teley booster, showing up regularly for Teley events and contributing money.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think the mayor ran this town. But if you want approval to sneeze, you’ll have to ask the city manager. “The mayor will get the credit for this,” said Berkeley’s assistant city manager, with a shoulder-shrug.

Capt. Erick Upson, Jim Hynes, Lance Gorree. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Big-wigs toured the avenue from Dwight to Channing Way, before deciding that two blocks above Dwight would be the best place to launch pots on Teley. According to a representative of avenue property owners, the two blighted-blocks chosen to test the beautification are most in need of a boost.

Even if its just ten pots.

These views do not represent those of publications in which my work appears.

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