Between Berkeley Stories

by Steed Dropout
June, 4, 2014


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.

A nearby resident told me he’s willing to put up with the noise for the good of the cause.


The term for “dangerous to self or others,” 5150, is as common as F-you on Teley. The crowd outside Caffe Mediterraneum, although populated by many enterprising crafts people, sometimes attracts 5150s. Watch here for my piece on this.

A recent 5150: A Teley ambassador, who was working her way from Parker to Bancroft, on Teley clean-up, when she saw a young woman throwing trash and white powder into the street outside Zebra. “Stop that,” she yelled, as she ran to the strewing too late to intervene.

Trashing Teley. Photo by Ted Friedman.

The culprit retreated to out side Cody’s, as the ambassador called police on a special line. Within a few minutes, the joint bicycle patrol (university & city police) was cuffing the young woman; after unceasing vituperation, social observations, charges of racism, and contempt for society–the hapless 5150 was transported by van to the nearest mental facility. A street source said she was released after one day. One of many stories of Telegraph’s 5150 society.

Culprit Cuffed by Cops. Photo by Ted Friedman.


Cal move-out left some best street score in years. Recent year’s hauls were quickly removed by city dumpsters, but the dumpsters dawdled this year providing a window of opportunity. My South side apartment is brimming with top score; I barely made room for this year’s score.

Street-Score Jesus. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Pappy’s Bar and Grill, wildly successful successor to Berkeley institution, Larry Blake’s–hosted a Teley Merchants meeting, attended by the mayor, a city economic planner, and a mayoral aide. Merchants heard plans for this year’s July-August Sundays street fair, which will return the most successful activities from last year’s inaugural summer fair. Expect something new, Ping Pong.

Downtown Berkeley held its first summer come-on-down, Sunday, and many did. Berkeley streets will swarm as townies compensate for the absence of vacationing Cal students. Expect a Berkeley Reporter story on this.

Dancing in the Streets Downtown. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Gourmet Ghetto hosted a weekend fair and chalk-in. Gourmet Ghetto is an unfortunate term coined by Alice Kahn in the old Berkeley Daily (then) Planet, circa ’80s.

Gourmet-Ghetto Free-Speech. Photo by Ted Friedman.

But here’s a scoop. The South Side continuing crime wave will suffer reduced policing, according to reliable Berkeley police sources. The reduction results from a re-configuration of Berkeley BPD’s beat system.


A Teley merchant asked me, “hang around, for backup.” He was hectoring a slender youth with a modified afro-do whom he claimed made his employee pregnant. Afterwards, I said, “lay off the kid; you sound like his mother and you could get hurt.” Going King Kong, the veteran merchant rose up and formed a perfect U with his arms, “I’m big (name deleted), he repeated, thumping me on the shoulders with both curls of the U. I’ve been around.”

I met the alleged impregnator-kid down the street. Taiwan, he called himself, one of his many names.

“I like to spread it around,” he said interspersed with dis-associative speech.
He’s part of Telegraph’s 5150 society and he’s spawning.

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

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.