I returned to college after the birth of my son, Case, planning to put some of my dancer's training to work as a physical therapist (for anyone who's counting, he's now 17). Enrolling at the College of Marin, I discovered my previous science education left much to be desired. (Choreographers didn't inquire as to one's science background and a career in real estate was still several years away.)
Scanning the course directory, I strategically selected a geology class, believing it would be the path of least resistance (it wasn't). As the pedantic, white-haired professor loved to frequently remind us (speak really, really slow while saying this) "geological time spans millions of years . . ." which means that geological time moves more quickly than my teenager!
Last Friday I was reacquainted with the concept of "geological time" when I went to hear Howard Cook speak at the Oakland Association of Realtors offices in downtown Oakland. (No, I'm not implying that he spoke too long.) Mr. Cook is a partner at Bay Area Retrofit and was speaking to the complicated, yet compelling tax rebate programs currently being offered by the cities of Oakland and Berkeley.
The retrofit program doesn't apply to those of us living here in Piedmont - but does apply to anyone in Oakland or Berkeley who has recently bought, or is in the process of buying; however, the qualifying criteria is specific to each city and extremely time sensitive so act quickly if you are interested. For a detailed description of qualifying criteria, go to www.bayarearetrofit.com.
Cognizant that most of us in the room didn't have geological hours to spare, Mr. Cook (Howard) and his partners limited their remarks to a few digestible hours. (I think I speak for the handful of REALTORS who had gathered when I say, "thank you - we appreciated your brevity.") Still "geological time" was very much in the forefront as each partner spoke, in turn, about the Hayward Fault, which spans 40 miles and runs 20 miles deep.
According to Howard, "The Hayward Fault is continuously in motion, but its history shows a major tectonic event of a 6.9 earthquake or more, every 140 years (give or take 25 years)!"
Guess what? It's been 140 years since the last major event.
Here's some of what Howard had to say (I'm paraphrasing to save you all two hours):
To reach Bay Area Retrofit, call 510- 418-1676.
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.