Archive for the 'Just The News' Category

18
Jun
12

Stomper, First Cat Mayor Of Montclair Wins

It’s a new era.  Stomper has been elected as the very first cat mayor of Montclair Village.  The election results were tallied yesterday and verified today.  The transition of power has been made, from dog to cat.  Here is a photo of Stomper, along with the entire pet cabinet.

In addition to electing our newest governing body, Montclarions also contributed $4,925 to the Montclair Veterinary Pet & Wildlife Fund.  Contributions are always welcome:  please click on the fund’s website.

15
Jun
12

Montclair Mayor: Voting Open Through Sunday

Montclair Village has been represented by a furry mayor for several years now.  Montclarions have been ably led by Murphy, who hails from Crogan’s, for the past two years.  He has served us well.

While we usually hold elections annually, our polling officials were busy launching a fair election down on Piedmont Avenue last year.  All is hereby forgiven, and we welcome the opportunity to find eager and fresh leadership here.  The virtual voting booth is open through Sunday at 1:00 pm — vote here.

The top vote-getter is the candidate who receives the highest, ahem, financial donations.  The top pet becomes our mayor.  He or she will be responsible for representing Montclair.  Our mayor mostly makes appearances in the Village, typically at the Farmers Market as well as the Halloween Parade.

There are nine candidates who made it through the primary election and are seeking your votes now.  The candidate with the highest votes, aka dollar donations to the Montclair Veterinary Pet & Wildlife Fund, wins the mayoral contest.  Runners-up are also assigned other responsibilities in the local government.

So who’s running?  The finalists include these furry or feathered candidates:

  • Five Dogs Marley (Golden Doodle), Snow (American Eskimo), Chewbacca (Pomeranian), Murphy (Mixed Breed), Tigerlily (Lab/Terrier Mix)
  • Three Cats – Freida (Siamese), Stomper (Grey/White Mix), Lil’ Dude (Black Domestic American Shorthaired)
  • One Bird – Butter (Sun Conure)

Vote now.  Simply click to read about each candidate and make your donations.  Again, all proceeds go to the Pet & Wildlife Fund.  It’s a good cause, helping to mend and heal wild critters in need.

28
Apr
12

One Burglary, One Witness and Many Cops

Yesterday in Montclair, some local burglars took computers and jewelry.  Ho-hum, nothing new.  Yet these criminals also tried to shoot a key witness during their getaway, and fortunately failed.  Oakland police were on the scene quickly as well.

One Montclarion spoke to neighbors and police yesterday, and shared a more complete picture this morning.  We thought it was worth passing along her Montclair Safety report, right here.

From my neighbor who came upon the police:

Three African American males, driving a Black Chevy Blazer, did a quick burglary of the house taking jewelry, iPOD, iPAD.  They were reported to OPD by a contractor who saw them running out of the house.  The contractor threw a rock at the Chevy Blazer so it now has a broken windshield. The burglars tried to shoot the contractor from their car, luckily they missed. Three OPD cars showed up at the house very soon after they were called.

From a policeman:

I spoke with one of the OPD officers as I happened to drive by there around 11 am.  He was wonderful and very informative and helpful.  Apparently this Blazer has been casing this area and they break into houses between 8am-5am. [sic]

From the neighbors who were robbed:

They were not there at the time.  One occupant left the house before 10 and the contractors saw the burglary in progress shortly after and threw the rock.  Then they were shot at. OPD identified the shot was fired at 10:17 and hit the contractors vehicle.  (I wonder if the bullet was found?)

This was not at at Thornhill near Moraga as mentioned in the article (this was 2 doors from me).  Folks suspect the Chevy Blazer was nearby and saw the occupant leave.  I heard this car was linked to other robberies (and it has a cracked windshield now!).  Not sure if there is a plate or not.

24
Feb
12

A Murder In Montclair: Random Or Not?

There’s a little more news related to Joe Robertson’s death yesterday:  his murder may not be random.  Our City Council Rep Libby Schaaf spoke directly with Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan about the crime.  She then shared this update with Montclarions earlier today, and we wanted to make sure you read it:

I just received a updated briefing from Chief Jordan on the apparent homicide of Joseph Robertson on Thackeray.  While I’m not allowed to share most of what he told me, I may share that police have strong reason to believe this was a homicide but that it was not random.  I will continue to stay briefed on the investigation and share with you whatever is allowed.  Anyone with any information should call 510-238-3821.  If you have any trouble getting your information through to this number, don’t hesitate to email or call Dorie or me.  We know how unacceptably disturbing this incident must be.  Please let us know if there is anything we can do at this troubling time.

Your Councilmember,
Libby Schaaf
510-238-7004

Update: As of March 13th, Council Rep Schaaf reports about a person of interest who “remains in custody on an unrelated charge. This person does have a connection to the victim (thus is not a random intruder). I’m hoping there’ll be more to share in about a week. The investigation has been productive, but is not concluded and no charges have been brought yet.”

23
Feb
12

A Murder In Montclair: Joe Robertson

We don’t experience violent crimes around here, right?  Not anymore.  Sometime between last night and this morning, a Piedmont Pines resident was murdered.  Victim Joe Robertson was found dead in his home, early this morning.

While Robertson’s death hasn’t been officially ruled as a homicide by Oakland Police, all signs point to the crime.  The police will make things official, after the autopsy’s performed tomorrow.  In the meantime, we want to share this hearsay from Montclair Safety’s Yahoo board.

Piedmont Pines neighbor, Jane:   A 78-year-old man, Joe Robertson, was found dead and the word is it is a homicide.  He lived at 2339 Thackeray Drive (map) near Girvin Drive in the Piedmont Pines area. His neighbor told us that he was beaten to death.  Evidently he was found at 7:00 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 by a friend who was visiting and called the police.  This has really shaken us up in the neighborhood.

Of course, the death is getting well-covered by the press.  Check out this CBS5 report from Thackeray Drive, complete with yellow tape, an Alameda County homicide vehicle and key interviews.  Harry Robertson, the victim’s nephew, said “I’m concerned that he [Joe] could be an innocent victim.  There’s no reason to believe that anybody would want to hurt him.”

The  Tribune provided an early obituary about Joe Robertson, a good guy who loved movies and made regular visits to Fentons Creamery.  Before retiring a decade-plus ago, he had operated the halftone camera at the Montclarion newspaper.  Columnist  Ginny Prior said she spotted and waved to him last night, at their church’s Ash Wednesday service.

“A Murder in Montclair” doesn’t sound quite right.  “Burglary of the Week” is more our speed.  So it’s natural to put two and two together, and assume that Joe was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Let’s try to solve this mystery soon.

P.S.  We do experience violent crimes, albeit infrequently.  Back in 2006, Hans Reiser killed his estranged wife Nina and buried her near Redwood Regional Park.  It took two years to solve this case and sentence Hans.

29
Jan
12

WWLD: What Would Libby Do?

In Oakland, budget cuts seems to be endless.  Over the past couple years, we have gone through nine rounds.  And with the State of California’s decision to cut re-development funds, we have arrived at the tenth round.  It feel like Groundhog’s Day, right?

If you thought decisions required hand-wringing before, then just wait until the next City Council meeting this Tuesday at 5:30pm. This time, Council representatives are forced to approve and eliminate $20.3 million asap.

What would Libby do?

Our District 4 Council Rep, Libby Schaaf, has recently shared her budget recommendations with constituents.  While she’s looking for alternatives, Libby says pickings are slim.  In case you don’t receive her newsletter, here’s what Libby would do:

While I’m still gathering information and input, I’m inclined to approve the following recommendations:

  • Reorganizing departments and flattening the organization to eliminate administrative costs and five agency director positions;
  • Eliminating 44 housing and economic development positions affected by the halt of new redevelopment activities;
  • Cutting KTOP TV station staff (with the assurance that all public meetings will continue to be broadcast & archived);
  • Reducing staff to the Youth Commission, Oaklander’s Assistance Center and Mayor’s office;
  • Cutting 7 Parks & Rec positions by closing some Rec Centers on Mondays (only Allendale & Brookdale might be affected; Montclair and Redwood Heights would not); and
  • Eliminating 27 Public Works positions, including the Saturday illegal dumping crew.

I’m most concerned with the following recommendations:

  • Cutting funding for Council Aides — hard-working problem-solvers like Bruce, Shereda and Dorie;
  • Eliminating our 211 services referral contract that serves our most vulnerable residents;
  • Reducing funds for arts grants and cultural institutions like Fairyland, Peralta Hacienda and the Zoo;
  • Cutting 4 of 9 remaining Neighborhood Services Coordinators who support Crime Prevention Councils.

Before Tuesday, take an opportunity to consider the cuts above.  We suggest reading this take from Make Oakland Better Now!  Or if you have particular fortitude, then download and read Mayor Quan’s 115-page proposal (PDF here) issued last week.

To provide your two cents or more, please reach Libby (lschaaf@oaklandnet.com) or her aide Bruce (bstoffmacher@oaklandnet.com) before the Council meeting.  While it’s possible to address and watch the City Council live on Tuesday, we like watching from home — through KTOP online or Comcast Channel 10.

Update:   Oakland budget cuts were approved on January 31st, which eliminate 105 positions and lay off 80 employees.  The council aides, 211 services, arts grants and neighborhood coordinators were spared.  Learn more from the Tribune and ABC7 news.

27
Dec
11

Oakland City Council Meetings Are Forever Changed

Have you ever watched an Oakland City Council meeting, on cable, computer or in person?  Have you managed to watch an entire meeting, often lasting until midnight?

With Sanjiv Handa always present, you expected the meeting to include detailed harangues from this Oakland activist-journalist.  Most citizen speakers would sign up for a single card, address City Council for a minute (or two if a friend donated one), and stick to the topic at hand.  By maximizing allowable speaking opportunities, Mr. Handa managed to corral significantly more microphone time.

Handa, who identified himself as head of the East Bay News Service, would comment on parking, agenda notifications, sunshine laws and all types of procedural break-downs in City Hall.  He was an expert and relished his detailed understanding of protocols.  If you actually listened to the words rather than the style of this messenger, there were always a couple nuggets of learning from each Council meeting.

Over the years, Handa maximized his comments and played by the rules.  Oakland City Council reps found him so irritating that they changed these rules to limit individual speaker times at each meeting.  Handa complied and still seemed to have the pulpit even with limitations.  At the December 20th meeting, he reported about the Port of Oakland’s traffic on December 12th.  He was focused until the end, both uncovering and sharing facts.

Today the messenger died, after decades of voluntary devotion to city happenings and governance.  There was timely coverage from the Oakland Tribune and the Associated Press.  What tickled us the most was Mayor Jean Quan’s reaction, when she declared “there will never be another Sanjiv Handa.”

For those of us who never knew him personally, we knew him anyway.  Handa seemed like the unelected council rep who was reliable, always had something to say — and made you laugh, cry or grit your teeth.  Go ahead and watch an archived KTOP video, and you can’t miss him.  I think Council meetings will be very different indeed.  Mr. Handa, please R.I.P.




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We live in the city yet are invaded by nature - or perhaps it's the other way around. Stop by often, and find out what's interesting to 94611 denizens.


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