Monday, June 7, 2010

Hard Times

The last few days have not been the happiest days on 62nd Street

On Thursday evening, a man was murdered on the corner of 62nd and King, just 4 houses up from our house. The police think this was related to an incident that happened on May 20th, over on 63rd and King, where two people were critically wounded in a shooting.

This weekend, one of the local police offers, Sergeant Spencer Fomby, stopped by the house and talked with us. He had been involved in trying to get the squatter out of the house for several years, and he was, in fact, the officer who finally arrested the squatter and got him to leave the house. He also told us more about the shooting. (You can read more about it here:
A memorial was set up by friends and neighbors of the victim, and seeing it there, so close to our house, made us again aware that this neighborhood is still struggling. Our neighbors are all wonderful people, and all working to improve 62nd Street. But we know there's still a ways to go.

It seemed everyone was out on the street this weekend. Dave and his family next door had a barbeque on Saturday, and their family and friends were stopping by and celebrating, which made the street feel very festive. On Sunday, Pete and Kevin, our neighbors across the street, came by, as well as Tom and Monique, and we got to go in and see Ralph and Karen's house down the street, a beautiful old victorian. Frank's house is currently on the market, so everyone went to see the open house (for those interested in a house in Berkeley under half a million, here is the listing:

But despite all the socializing, 62nd Street had a subdued feeling, as if, despite the beautiful weather, a shadow was passing over the neighborhood. We were at the house both days, but didn't get a lot of work done. The ongoing drama of the permit process has been wearing on us, and our frustration continues to grow that we can't do a lot until the City of Berkeley gets off its butt and gives us our permits. The trouble in the neighborhood weighs on us as well, and we worry about what will happen on 62nd Street.

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