The University of California is still a major influence in the town. Chancellor Tien's departure will be sorely missed since he did a great deal to improve relations between UC and the City of Berkeley. (The city is a little miffed at the university since it doesn't pay property tax and has a tendency to gobble prime real estate with "eminent domain"; the University feels that Berkeley would be "Podunk" without the people, cultural events, and jobs it brings. Both have legitimate points.)
Living in Berkeley has its problems - dodging bicycles on the narrow streets is one of the ones I can think of - but there are many good things about it as well. Here are a few of my favorite things:
The Weather. It's one of the big reasons I moved to the Bay Area. Eighty-five degrees F is a HOT day here.
It's pretty here. Many of the houses are nice examples of Victorian or Craftsman architecture. And many folks here have small or sloping front yards and have gone in for the cottage-style front garden. Even in the flatlands you can get regular glimpses of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the mountains in Marin. And the coastal light at sunset frequently washes all around it with a positively Vermeerish cast.
And, what the hell, I like the kookiness. It's entertaining, and I am amused that many of the fringe elements think me a boozhwah imperialist pigdog (I pass for a Dangerrrus Librull in some other parts of the country).
Follow this link for some of my local orchids and onions.