Madera campaign thank you

 Success of the El Cerrito Open Space Campaign is due to our donors

The El Cerrito Open Space Campaign heartily wishes to thank all of our generous donors to the campaign to purchase the Madera Open Space, along with all of the volunteers who made this year-long effort succeed.

Thanks to you, we raised $103,000 towards the $475,000 purchase price of the 8-acre site, with forest, meadow and creeks. That and a $250,000 federal grant greatly reduced the amount of park and open space funds the city had to spend from its pockets. That means more of those funds can go to other park purposes.

The campaign was run by Trail Trekkers, the El Cerrito High School Mountain Bike Team, and Friends of Five Creeks

While we appreciate anyone who donated any amount of money – there was no requirement to do that – I’d like to call out a few special donations that stick in my mind:

Al Miller, the very first donor, even before the “official” campaign began. The El Cerrito Rotary Club – whose donation put us over our $100,000 goal. The Zirinsky Family, our biggest donor by far at $25,000, who were introduced to our campaign by our good friends and collaborators at Trust for Public Land.

Gary Hill, Robert Studdiford, and all the other donors involved with mountain biking. Chris and Martie Conner, who put up a successful challenge grant. Mark Figone, president of East Bay Sanitary Co. and of the Chamber of Commerce, who not only donated but put the campaign in touch with the city’s business community.

The sheer number of donors who contributed to the campaign speaks to the commitment of people in El Cerrito and surrounding communities to preserving open space.

To help celebrate the acquistion of the Madera property we would like to invite everyone to come to the 2nd Annual Hillside Festival on Sunday, May 17.

This will be a fun, educational event for all ages – and a chance to thank the hundreds of generous donors and volunteers who made possible the purchase of the Madera Open Space!

We will celebrate the success of the campaign a celebration at noon, at Schmidt Lane
Events throughout the 100-plus acre Hillside Natural Area: Nature Hikes, Pop-Up Bike Park sponsored by the El Cerrito High Mountain Bike Team, Wildflower Walks, Historical Tours, Garden Giveaways, and much more. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 17, 2015.

Free! Gathering, Schmidt Lane, EC Recycling Center.

Information, Dave Weinstein, 510-524-1737, ( , Download info and a map: .

— Dave Weinstein, president, El Cerrito Trail Trekkers


Platinum Level — $3,000 and up

Chris and Martie Conner
East Bay Sanitary Co. Inc.
Ron and Barbara Forsstrom
Jenny Hammer
David Lingren and Ilana Schatz
The Zirinsky Family

Diamond Level – $1500 to $2999

Dorothy McPherson
Naser & Deborah Mostaghel Living Trust
Dave Weinstein & Mary Barkey

Gold Level – $1000 to $1499

Anonymous donor
Anonymous donor
Ruth Frassetto
Friends of Five Creeks
Howdy Goudey and Robin Mitchell
Jeffrey and Rochelle Halperin — D&H Construction
Gary and Vanessa Hill
Mark David Hughes
Audrey Lee
Grace MacNeill
The Marsyas Fund
Dwight and Glory Merrill
Alan & Barbara Miller
Tom Panas
Susan Russell
Rotary Foundation of El Cerrito
TwoFish Unlimited, Robert Studdiford
The John R. Underhill Trust and Clem H. Underhill Trust
The Zaitlin-Nienberg Family Fund

Silver Level – $500 to $999

Nancy and Tom Allen
Karen Anderson
Cortis Cooper
Lori Dair and Robert MacCoun
Ron Egherman, in memoriam, from friends and colleagues
George Fosselius
Annette Fuentes & Paul Young
Seth and Adena Kaplan
Marlene Keller
David J. Larson
Jon Mire and Emily Corwin
Steve Price
Dairne Ryan
Kenneth & Leslie Salonen
Charles & Janet Seim
Keith Skinner
Nancy Warfield & David Gray Jr.
Harvey and Susan Wittenberg
Stephen Zavetoski

Bronze Level – $100 to $499

Anonymous donor
Anonymous donor
Kenneth Alborn & Joan Thompson
Ashby Lumber
Pam Austin
Silvia Akinaga
Janet Abelson
Mary Barnsdale
Jane & Rich Bartke
Joan Backus Bartulovich
Natasha Benjamin
Bicycle Trails Council East Bay
Cameron Blackford
Cathy Bleier
Charlie Bowen
Jan Bridges
Laurie Brion
Carl & Lisa Brodsky
Betty Buginas
Lauren Caputo
Marvin Collins
Contra Costa Hills Club
Margot Cunningham
Abigail Dawkins
Denise Defreese
Nerisa Dejesus
Anne Derosa
Doherty’s Truck Rental
Manish Doshi & Dr. Meeta Doshi
Dirt Rag Magazine/Maurice Tierney
Ava Marie Eichler
Gene Erickson
Sue Estey
Melissa Eizenberg & Adam Diamant
Joseph & Leslie Floren
Toni & Rafael Favila
Paul Ferris and Debi O’Leary
Rob Frankenberg
Gregory & Christine Freeman
Mark Friedman
Caroline Glanzer & Michael Recknow
Anne Good
Norman Gouw
Jeanne M. Griffith
Renata & Richard Hallock
Susan Hampton
Dorothy and Kinda Kemp
Helen Kennedy
Tasha Hansen & Sean W. Kline
Ellen J. Hershey
Hazel Hung
Diane Ichiyasu
Mary Ann Jawili
Elizabeth Johnson
Gregory Kalkanis
Alan Kaplan
Nancy Kelley
Helen Kennedy
Joanna Kim-Selby
Sam Krueger
Norman La Force & Mingli Wang
Eric Lee & Caroline Tsang
Lynn Lipetzky
Radziah Loh
Alejandro Luna
Greg and Mary Lyman
Eve Ma
Philip Martien & Sandi Potter
Madera Elementary School PTA
Bruce Maison
Bonnie MacKenzie
Linda Margossian
Marty’s Motors, Marty Kaliski
Austin & Celeste McInerny
Robert McLaughlin
Rebecca Milliken
Eugene Millstein
Melanie Mintz
Martha Morimoto
George & Linda Moss
Ko & Teresa Myinto
Nation’s Giant Hamburgers, Dale & Danielle Power $100
Victoria Nolan
Anne Ogonowski
Kenneth & Molly Ong
Yvetteh Ortiz
Joanna Pace
Terrence F. Paret
Tamasin Partridge
David Pirkle
Maryann Pomegranate
Steven Poulos
Gabe Quinto
Jeff Rank and Alyssa Morimoto
Barbara Robben
Scott Robinson
Elizabeth Ruhland & Joshua Miele
Denise Sangster
Robert Schaadt
Carrie Schulman
Mark Scott
Taylor Schreiner
Casey Shott
Julie Slater
Leverett Smith and Gretchen Peterson
Peter & Ann Smith
Gretchen Snyder
Renee Solari & Sara Knight
Paul Starrs & Lynn Huntsinger
Veneta Stehr-Wood and Wolfgang Stehr
Ying Sun and Yi Hao
Jun Ueno and Charlotte Sunseri
Matthew Swain & Alexandra Kirkman
Arthur Tressler
John Walter
Deborah Weeks
Jon Weil
Glenn Wood

Cobalt Level – up to $100

Anonymous donor
Vernon Alexander
Nick Arzio
Don Baker
Barbara and Fletcher Barbour
Hossain Bayat & Joann Steck-Bayat
Rebecca Benassini
Elaine Binger
Alexander Borys
Linda and Dean Bullert
David Chang
Renee Cheney-Cohen
Shirley Cressey
John Cruger-Hansen
Mildred Dandridge
Harry Delmer
Nancy K. Evans
Robert Flasher
Carl Groch
Paul Grunland
Suzanne Iarla
Marion Jones & Molly Reed
Patricia Jones
Jack & Birthe Kirsch
Pansy Kwong
Andrea Lucas
Callie Major
Susanna Marshland
John & Cynthia McAfee
Alexis Davis Millar
George S. Milliken
Mark Miner
Stephen C. Mullin
Steve Neff
Glen Nethercut
Louise & John O’Dea
Sara Parker
Paloma Pavel
Nick Pilch
Paul M. Radosevich and Elise Thomas
Timothy Reiss and Patricia Jane Hilden
Patricia Ruthnick
Martin and Barbara Schaefer
Susan Seastone
Zawedde Sengende
David Simon
Sarah Sirchuk
Jim Sullivan
Calvin F. Tam
John & Sallian Umemoto
Alice Wheeler
Marsha Williamson
Michael & Robin Winton
Kay Yatabe
Lisa Yee
Musical and Professional Services, Music for Madera Open Space Festival

El Cerrito High School Jazz Ensemble, leader Keith Johnson, Davis Feeley, Phineas Crisp, Gabriel Lee, Christopher Balderas, Arnie Co
Mike Freeman. sound; Dan Smith, sound assistant.
Funkadelicatessen – Mike Freeman, Bill Sparks, Zachariah Veley, Darren Potter, Eric Steinberg
Steve Lipson
Eve Ma Flamenco Ensemble with Yuli Wada, David Lopez-White, Gopal Slavonic
Edie O’Hara & Steve Gorman


Our thanks also go to:

Keeping things organized:

Gary Hill, EC Open Space Campaign chairman and coach of the Mountain Bike Team – who got the ball rolling by inquiring whether the property just might be for sale!

Dave Weinstein, vice chair, unafraid to call people at dinner time and ask for donations.

Members of the Open Space Committee, Ralph Bonielo, Robert Studdiford, Annette Fuentes, Steve Zavetoski, George Gager, Pam Austin, Vickie Nolan, Howdy Goudey, Maryanne Pomegranate.
Brendan Moriarty, project manager for Trust for Public Land who handled property negotiations and much else. Kate Martin and Jennifer Niedermeyer provided valuable fundraising advice.

Pam Austin, the banker of the campaign, who ran our treasury!

The Trail Trekker board, Maryanne Pomegranate, Jenny Hammer, Mark Miner, Pam Austin, Tom Gehling, and Yvonne Steffen, Tim Aaronson and Carol Langhauser in the early days, for hours of planning and – more importantly — follow through.

Susan Schwartz and other members of Friends of Five Creeks for backing the campaign with funds, volunteer time, intelligence, and good cheer.

The Environmental Quality Committee for consistently voting for acquisition of open space, for putting on events to support the effort, for strategizing and for working at events and for so much more.
The Parks & Recreation Commission for supporting this effort through official votes, donations, volunteering, and more. The Arts & Culture Committee for supporting Music for Madera.

Our dedicated city staff, including Melanie Mintz, Garth Schultz, Emily Alter, Suzanne Iarla, Maria Sanders, Lisa Malek-Zadeh, Chris Jones, Bill Driscoll, and city manager Scott Hanin.

Members of the City Council, both present and immediately past, for their strong support throughout, Mayor Mark Friedman, Janet Abelson,Greg Lyman, Gabe Quinto, Jan Bridges, Rebecca Benassini. Jan Bridges deserves special thanks for challenging the campaign to up its goal to $100,00!


Tom Gehling for running the campaign’s website for most of the campaign, and Tim Aaronson for starting it.

Gary Hill for the great photo of his son in the Madera Open Space; it became the campaign’s “image” when used on a flyer designed by Trust for Public Land.

Dave Weinstein for writing dozens of press releases, newsletter blurbs and the like.

Chamber of Commerce manager Mark Scott for getting the word out along with Marty Kaliski of Marty’s Motors and the Chamber board.

Our local librarian Liz Ruhland who worked with Tom Gehling on a library display about the Madera Open Space

David Lingren and Ilana Schatz for facilitating an article about Trekkers in the magazine Bay Nature.
The Environmental Quality Committee for spreading the word during the El Cerrito July 4 Celebration.

Corey Mason and World One Radio for a nifty radio spot!

Gary Hill and the El Cerrito Mountain Bike Team for spreading the word during Solano Stroll.

Dave Weinstein’s dog Patchie, whose image in newspaper articles on the campaign caught many an eye.

Telling friends and colleagues:

Melissa Eizenberg for introducing the campaign to many of our city’s real estate professionals.

Denise Sangster for spreading the word to the group “Arlington Friends”

Paul Steurwald for e-mailing friends and neighbors to support the campaign.


Ken and Leslie Salonen for hosting our fabulous kick-off event in their home overlooking the Madera Open Space.

Our hike leaders through the Madera Open Space: Tom Gehling, Maryanne Pomegranate, Jenny Hammer, Dave Weinstein. Many donors were inspired by these hikes.

Our hike leaders and speakers during the Hillside Festival: Rich Bartke and Tom Panas of the El Cerrito Historical Society, and the Historical Society as a whole; Janet Gawthorp and the California Native Plant Society; author Richard Schwartz; the Golden Gate Audubon Society and its members Tara McIntire and Anne Ardillo; Madera Elementary School volunteers and PTA; Jim McKissock; Susan Schwartz; Robin Mitchell; plus many volunteers from the Mountain Bike Club, Trekkers and Five Creeks.

We would also like to thank the National Park Service and NPS representative Stephen Bowes for helping develop our map to all of El Cerrito’s trails.

Vickie Nolan who organized auction items and food at the Music for Madera Festival, with Donna Houser. Susan Johnson, George Gager, Mary Barkey, Dan Smith, and many other Music for Madera volunteers!

Mike Freeman for ensuring that our first ever music festival had perfect sound!

Howdy Goudey for putting on the ‘Rebels With a Cause’ screening at the Cerrito Theater. Rialto Cinemas Cerrito for hosting the screening. Vickie Nolan, Jenny Hammer, Ralph Boniello and Brendan Moriarity for assisting.

Gary Hill, the Mountain Bike Team, and Rialto Cinemas Cerrito for screening ‘Singletrack High.’

Renee Cheney-Cohen and Renata and Richard Hallock for inviting Dave Weinstein to discuss the campaign at the neighborhood “Soup Night” on Scenic Avenue.

Soliciting funds:

Dave Weinstein for organizing “calling parties.” Pam Austin and Maryanne Pomegranate for making donor calls.

Patrick Carney of San Francisco and Dan Smith of Benicia, out-of-towners committed to open space and brave enough to make donor calls.

Gary Hill and Robert Studdiford for fundraising in the biking community and much more.

Maryanne Pomegranate for calling on local businesses by going door to door to door. George Gager for outreach to businesses.

Environmental Quality committee members Sam Krueger, who reached out to the realty community, Natasha Benjamin, who made donor calls.

Craig “Bonzo” Bonner, an expert cold caller, for invaluable instruction and encouragement.

Restoring Madera Open Space:

Jim McKissock for leading efforts to restore native vegetation on the Madera Open Space, along with Tom Gehling, Howdy Goudey,Mike Eichenholtz, Mark Miner and others.

Jenny Hammer and others in Trail Trekkers for improving trails on-site just enough to make them passable for our educational hikes.

Support and advice:

Keith Skinner of Berkeley Path Wanderers, and the group as a whole, for support, putting on a joint hike with Trekkers and much more.

Senator Loni Hancock, and Assembly member Nancy Skinner and Supervisor John Gioia for supporting efforts to get federal and state grants

Norman LaForce and the Sierra Club for publicity, advice, and support throughout the campaign

Thanking you, our donors:

Maryanne Pomegranate, Robin Mitchell and Gary Hill for handling the troublesome task of finding a site for our campaign sign acknowledging donors. Gary for building it, with donations from Design-a-Sign and Ashby Lumber. Gary for updating it.

Beautiful buttons:

And last, but surely the most aesthetic: Betty Buginas and her students at Madera Elementary School for creating those beautiful, and now collectable, Madera Open Space buttons!