Meet The Cops – Tues at 6:30pm

Meet Montclair’s Finest this Tuesday evening, from 6:30-8:30pm at the Montclair Library (map).

Officer Melvin Burmudez serves as our main Problem Solving Officer (PSO), while Jason Scott helps with traffic matters in the Village.  In addition, outgoing Sgt. Brad Young will be there along with his replacement Bernard Ortiz.

We mostly suffer from thefts and robberies in Montclair, usually a handful or two monthly.  You may look up exact locations via the Oakland Crimewatch site.

Our Montclair and North Hills watchdog groups jointly organized the meeting, since they focus on all neighborhoods located in Beat 13Z (south of Thornhill), and Beat 13Y (north of Thornhill) respectively.

Everyone is invited to meet the officers, and put faces to these names.  Find out what they do, learn how to help them, and ask any questions in this forum.

How Many Oakland Fires?

The correct answer would be thirteen fires, including the recent Hiller flare-up.

Montclarions and nearby Hills inhabitants have lived through some amazing fires. Yet homes have covered up the 1991 destruction, and newcomers arrive without memories.

Lest we forget, the Diablo Winds sparked some devastating fires in 1923, 1931, 1933, 1937, 1946, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 1991, 1995 and 2002.

Some fires were worse than others. The 1,000+ acre fires happened in 1931, 1933, 1946, 1960 and 1991. Of course, the ones wiping out the most homes took place in 1923 and 1991.

The fires will appear again – and maybe we are a bit smarter about controlling brush and trying to defend our homes against them.

The pleasures of Montclair living, right? We like our trees and beautiful vegetation, but it comes with some risk.

More info:  Compliance standardsHills fire historyOakland fire dept

Commuter Woes From Montclair

Montclarions are gas guzzling, good ‘ole Americans.  We talk a good game about being green, but I see villagers pouring onto the highways daily.

Here are sobering stats about everyone living in the 94611 zip.  Some 61% of residents are employed outside Alameda County, and 25% spend more than 45 minutes getting to work.

We’re headed to all compass points, and 62% drive alone to their jobs.  Local traffic patterns bear this out, with the exodus hitting its stride from 7-8 am weekdays.

On the green side, just 25% of us are taking public transportation or sharing rides.  I’m betting most of the carpoolers are using the SF casual option.  A paltry 5% are walking or bicycling to the office (see Bike To Work Day).

Only 18% of residents live less than 15 minutes from work.  This is the group with real options, and let’s assume everyone took the bus, bicycled or walked.  That still leaves 8% who drive for their own convenience.

While this City Data is a few years old, I think the stats hold true:  our commuting distances and times are barriers to change.  Unfortunately, Montclair’s not becoming a community of “carbon neutral” citizens anytime soon.

Montclair’s Streets Filled With Fine Art

Make a special trip to Montclair Village this weekend, for your art fix.

The 33rd Annual Fine Arts Sidewalk Festival is returning to all the sidewalks, streets, nooks and crannies.  The festival runs through Sunday, between 10am-5pm daily.

Usually free summer festivals have a lot of junky stuff.  Montclair’s festival is juried by Pacific Fine Arts, who hand-selects 90 artists and seems to have great taste.  To whet your appetite, below are a few pieces by exhibitors.

The sculptor, James Moore, hails from San Rafael. He exhibited in Montclair last year, right in front of Le Bon Bon. Moore’s pieces are all about guys who are unbalanced – or are balancing things. Many of the sculptures are massive, and I want all of them.

Painter Kelvin Curry is from Oakland.  I think this piece above is elegant, don’t you?  You can see a video interview with Kelvin, who was inspired by his grandmother to become an artist.  He also likes to work in series, trying certain things over and over.

Jeweler Sica Roman wants to “create wearable art that can be recognized as symbols of our interconnectedness.”  This isn’t a piece you are likely to see everywhere, and I think it contains an evil eye and a serpent, hhmm.

I’m sure ALL these pieces are out of my price range, but I still like to gaze at the beautiful artwork anyway.  It usually takes me a few hours to stroll the street museum.  Like any museum, you may “hit the wall” because there’s too much to see.

Reality Check To Dellums, On KQED

This morning, KQED’s Michael Krasny devoted an entire hour to Oakland Politics.  The always-measured Krasny kept the participants under relative control – but managed to share his own consternation with Mayor Dellums too.

When Ron Dellums ran for office, he promised Krasny that he would make appearances on Forum afterwards.  Since then, he’s been hiding from Krasny and the local press.  Krasny wants to interview him, and it’s frankly dumb that Dellums ignores this invitation.

Instead, a Dellums spokesman appeared on today’s program and performed very badly.  First, the other journalists and blogger below eviscerated the guy!   The callers were not kind, either.  One active Dellums supporter said he was dumbfounded by the doubletalk from the Mayor’s office.

The news that triggered today’s program was the city administration hoopla, of course.  At this point, Deborah Edgerly is working through July.  An active hunt has begun for her replacement.

When one of the Forum guests asked exactly when the replacement search began, the spokesman couldn’t respond.  He just said they hired an expensive head-hunter.  When pressed again, he still deflected the question.

During the hour, Oakland’s downtown vibrancy came up too.  The spokesman mentioned things that happened in the past two years.  He identified one developer deal by name.  The journalists pounced and explained that development happens over many years.

Finally, the city’s crime prevention efforts were discussed.  The spokesman pointed to slightly lower violent crimes and full police staffing levels.  In response, the journalists pointed to temporary Measure Y funding to get there.  They also raised the need for addressing educational opportunities, as a more structural fix.

If you have time, then listen to this Forum hour.  I’m sure you’ll agree the Mayor is hiding behind his flacks – and that he deserves “the quiet mayor” moniker bestowed by the SF Chronicle guest.