MISTY-EYED MEMORIES: It was hard not to become misty-Eyed on Oct. 19 as scores of current and former Contra Costa Times staffers descended on the newspaper's longtime headquarters at 2640 Shadelands Drive in Walnut Creek to bid farewell to the building, which has been sold.
Photographer Dan Rosenstrauch used a shopping cart 38 years ago to help wheel equipment from the newspaper's old building on Mt. Diablo Boulevard into its new digs on Shadelands. Rosenstrauch, the only employee whose career spanned the newspaper's entire Shadelands era, used a workman's cart to push the bronze bust of Times founder Dean Lesher through a cheering newsroom followed by a farewell conga line of dozens of current and past colleagues.
It was an epic and uplifting night for a newsroom staff that is moving to a new home at 175 Lennon Lane this week.
Former staffers, some dating from the 1970s, returned to share hugs and stories in the newsroom where countless scoops -- and Eye columns -- were pieced together on deadline, signing their names and years of service on the walls and posing for group photos with the Lesher bust. And in a reminder of those endless election night shifts, the food of choice for the party was pizza.
Little slice of Richmond: Richmond's denizens know all about the kinetic energy and combustibility of public meetings in this town. Perhaps that's why The Eye takes an almost perverse pleasure in seeing that democratic havoc visited elsewhere, particularly a swanky bivouac like the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
At a talk earlier this month sponsored by the UCLA Anderson School of Management, BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink and PIMCO founder William Gross were smote by stinging questions from protesters ostensibly representing the City of Pride and Purpose. The titans of finance, both alums of the school, were on hand to speak to UCLA's business school graduates and faculty in a moderated discussion.
But they got more than they bargained for, according to a report filed by Peter Dreier, who teaches politics and heads the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. The report was published at www.billmoyers.com.
Activists Peggy Mears and Jono Shaffer broke up the staid conversation by shouting from the crowd pointed questions about why the men's firms are suing the city, which is threatening to use eminent domain to seize the mortgages of "underwater" homeowners and sell them back to residents under terms they can afford.
"Why are you suing the city of Richmond instead of negotiating?" asked Shaffer, who can be heard on the CNBC video speaking over the hisses of audience members. "Your day of reckoning is coming!"
CNBC cameras caught Fink and Gross as both fidgeted and turned up their palms. When pressed by the CNBC moderator, Fink said he opposed Richmond's planned effort to seize mortgages and that PIMCO's and BlackRock's lawsuit was to protect "our investors' rights."
PANTHER PRIDE: Antioch High School alumni are preparing for the last home game at Eells Stadium this Friday, as the grass field with dirt track off L Street is set to be renovated this summer.
But as the details are being hashed out about the renovation and shared throughout the community, it turns out that Principal Louie Rocha is learning more about the history of the field.
Though Antioch High was built in 1954, the football stadium was not built until three years later, Rocha said.
Later that day, The Eye found out where the team played the first three years.
Former Mayor Leo Fontana told Rocha at an Antioch Rotary meeting that the Panthers played at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds at the site where the Antioch Speedway is now -- an agreement made with the state.
"It was like playing on a rock bed," said Fontana, later telling The Eye that he played alumni games there.
Rocha said alumni from around the country have contacted him to participate in Friday's celebration.
The school is asking that all interested former players submit to the school their name, years they played, team position, jersey number, graduation year and college and/or pro team affiliations. They should also wear their old jerseys or letterman jackets.
OFF THE GRID?: There is always that one person who forgets to read a newspaper, check online, watch a newscast or listen to the radio. Even after days of late-night, eleventh hour, edge-of-the-seat announcements whether BART transit workers would strike, when the news came Oct. 17, it apparently didn't travel fast enough.
At 6:30 a.m. Oct. 18 at the Walnut Creek BART station, one lost soul walked up to the locked toll gates and wondered aloud, "What happened?" A few fellow stranded commuters on their way to charter buses clued him in to the fact that BART workers were on strike.
The clueless commuter let an expletive fly and ran to see whether he could catch the person who just dropped him off. It pays to be in the know.
Staff writers Karl Mondon, Robert Rogers, Paul Burgarino and Elisabeth Nardi contributed to this column.