Summer, 2004
Newsletter of
The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc.
2928 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone: 510-843-6935
Fax: 510-843-6006

Editor's Corner By Daveed Mandell

Summer has brought with it significant changes here at the Center. Most apparent is the "changing of the guard," so to speak.

Late last month, Grant Metcalf resigned as President of the Center, for personal reasons, effective immediately. The Board of Directors thanks him for his years of service and wishes him well in his future endeavors.

The mantle of leadership is now in the capable hands of former First Vice-President Lizz Deeff. I know our new President looks forward to working with the Board of Directors and the membership to ensure that the Center remains on track and continues to offer the programs and services the blind community has come to expect and enjoy. More now than ever, your input and assistance are welcome and very much needed.

Last quarter's Pasta-Bingo Fundraiser, Audio-Described Movie and Bake Sale were all resounding successes. Thanks to the volunteers and members who helped to make these events possible. Thanks also to the Center's chorus for its enjoyable performance.

The Board of Directors wishes to thank Carolyn MacKenzie and Barbara Googins, whose generous and invaluable donations of time, effort and professional services rendered have resulted in the layout and printing of the Center's new brochure.

Because of unforeseen complications, the remodeling of the Center's bathrooms has been postponed. We hope to resolve these problems and complete the work as soon as possible.

If you would like to submit a short article, informational item or ad for the newsletter, please contact me by phone at 510-665-9260, or via e-mail at

Upcoming Events

The Center will hold its quarterly business meeting on Saturday, July 24, from 1 PM to 4PM. Because Pam won't be available to cook that day, we will serve pizza, salad and ice cream. Please make your meal reservation by Wednesday, July 21. Members pay $7, and guests $8.

Our annual picnic will take place on Saturday, August 21, from 12 PM to 4 PM. The menu has yet to be decided, but it's sure to be good. Please RSVP for the $8 bill of fare by Wednesday, August 18.

Friday, September 17, from 10 AM to 4 PM, will find Center members enjoying our annual outing. This year we will spend the day at Lake Chabot. Participants will be able to go boating or just relax. Center staff is considering the possibility of bringing along bingo and other games on the trip. We'll probably barbecue hot dogs for lunch. If you plan to join us, please contact the Center by Tuesday, September 14. The cost of the trip is $5.

Transportation News

Public Transit Scores Big Win

In a stunning victory for public transit riders, the Governor's Office struck a compromise deal late last month with AC Transit and BART. AC Transit will give $1.5 million of its annual property tax revenues to the State in the next two years, instead of the earlier required $20 million. BART will have to forfeit $600,000 of its annual property tax revenues, rather than the proposed $9 million. That's wonderful news for public transit riders, who feared massive cuts in service, especially during nights and weekends.

Public transit advocates and riders flooded the Governor's Hotline with hundreds of calls, while East Bay legislators threatened to scuttle the budget deal altogether. Thanks to all of our members who called to express their opposition to the Governor's original deal. As most of you know, paratransit would have been sharply curtailed, had Governor Schwarzenegger's public transit cuts to bus service and BART been approved.

Congratulations to Lizz Deeff who was interviewed for a news story aired on KPFA Radio about the public transit victory.

State Seeks Input From Public Transit Riders

The California Attorney-General's Office wants to hear from people with disabilities about their problems using public transit, including bus service, rail systems and paratransit. Your complaints and comments are welcome.

Call the Complaints and Public Inquiry Unit at 800-952-5225. Alternatively, write a detailed letter to:
Public Inquiry Unit
California Attorney-General's Office
Box 94425589
Sacramento, CA 94244

The more letters received, the more likely improvements to public transit services across the state will be implemented. Every letter counts, so share your thoughts and concerns.

New East Bay Paratransit Fares Proposed

Because Paratransit is so important for many of our members, the Center arranged last month with East Bay Paratransit to enclose braille and large print flyers with this issue of the Newsletter on proposed fare increases, which take effect next January. The flyers also give details about several community hearings on the fare proposals. Please attend these hearings and speak your mind. It is vitally important that the powers that be listen to our community and act accordingly.

General Announcements

The Center will be closed during the first two weeks in August, from August 2-13, and will open for business once again on Monday, August 16. The Center will also be closed on Labor Day, Monday, September 6.

Classes are continuing on schedule. The Title VII Seniors Group continues to meet on the second Thursday of every month from 1 to 3 PM with Program Administrator Wendell Evers. The Low Vision Support Group, ably led by Carl Simmons, con tinues to meet every Thursday. The meetings are held from 1 PM to 3 PM every Thursday, except the second Thursday of each month. On that day, the group meets, if time permits, right after the Title VII session. Everyone is welcome to participate in our classes and support groups.

Ben Deeff is no longer organizing the Wednesday afternoon card games. Please let us know if you're interested in taking charge of and/or participating in this activity.

The Spanish class continues to be a big hit. The class has a new instructor, our very own Lizz Deeff. More participants are always welcome. Our heartfelt thanks to Ethel Nicholson, who is unable to continue teaching the class. Her contagious enthusiasm and exuberance have contributed much to the popularity of Spanish here at the Center. Ethel also worked hard to prepare the interesting written lessons she provided her students.

Macular Degeneration Hotline

The Senior Citizens Bureau is a nonprofit advocacy, education and information clearinghouse for Elderly Americans. It has recently established a toll-free national hotline for seniors with macular degeneration and other visual impairmetns containing recorded information on a wide variety of topics. Call 866-847-4418, or consult the SCB's website,
Senior Citizen's Bureau

Audio-Described Movies for Rent

Want to rent your favorite audio-described movies? Call Blue Rose Videos at 415-492-1885, or send them e-mail at Alternatively, write them at:
Blue Rose Videos
397 Holly Drive
San Rafael CA 94903

For more information, visit their website at
Blue Rose Videos.

"There's more to blindness than meets the eye."
--Doug Nash Back to Home Page