Acupuncture For Your Pets

Maybe this isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds!  Dr. Gary Richter has opened a new business, Holistic Veterinary Care, as an adjunct to his standard veterinary practice in the Village.

Yes, Fido and Fifi can now opt for alternative treatments when modern western medicine doesn’t work effectively.  Maladies like back pain or hip degeneration are experienced by our pets, and they can be addressed through holistic approaches.

Holistic Vet Care

Dr. Richter has begun offering alternative care for dogs, cats and other small creatures.  These treatments include acupuncture, chiropractic services, pulsed signal therapy and herbal/nutritional advice.

Some real-life successes?  Richter effectively cured Kettle, who suffered from renal failure, and Poppy, who had debilitating back pain – and both are thriving today.

More info:  I stopped by the vet’s busy office yesterday and confirmed they are accepting patients now.  Holistic Veterinary Care is located at 1969-B Mountain Ave (map) or call 510-339-2600.

Stadium Seats To Oakland’s Budget

Did you know there are some stadium seats now available to watch Oakland’s budgeting process?  There are three opportunities to join the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) for the City.

Keep in mind this is a citizen’s group which can make suggestions and recommendations, yet has no decision-making authority.  It’s not entirely clear what, if any, influence this committee has on the inner workings of the City Council.

BAC Recommendations 2008-2009

In this June report, the BAC members comment on mid-term budgeting efforts.  They received the Mayor’s recommendations and studied them a bit.  While they made a few fiscally prudent comments, they primarily requested more time, details and options.

With all the current budget travails underway, it still might be interesting to join the BAC and see how the budget processes unfold.  This is your chance to become an appointed observer and reviewer of the longer-term planning efforts too.

The BAC is comprised of 15 citizens who hold these seats representing city districts, a few other committees and the mayor.  In District 4, Sara Wynne occupies our local seat.

Currently there are three (of four) seats that are appointed by Mayor Dellums, and you’re welcome to apply by reaching legislative analyst Sabrina Landreth – and letting her know why you’re interested and qualified to serve a two-year term at:

Dealing With Those Ants

We have arrived at ant season.  Somehow, these very small ants find their way into interesting spots around the house.  They arrive in battalions, sneaking through cracks and door jams and other unknown sources.  Even if you are very clean, they still appear inside older homes.

Ant Triptych

I wonder how they decide to make their formations.  Often they walk in line on the floor, playing follow the leader’s scent.  Sometimes they choose to fan out a bit, in a corner.  Occasionally they break from organized teams, trying to find something interesting to explore.

Regardless, they are an easy target.  The mass murderer arrives – that would be me – fully armed with appropriate carcinogens from the supermarket.  I have a lemon fresh variety this season, and generally spray into a location.  Then I unceremoniously pick up the remains with some tissues and flush them away.

After a while, I forget these creatures ever graced the place – until fresh rains arrive and a new group decides to visit.  History repeats itself every year.

Housing Prices Dipping Slightly, Sort Of

Given the credit crisis underway, you might expect to see downward pressure on our local real estate.  Yet our listing prices, courtesy of, seem fairly solid so far.

If you stare long enough at the monthly numbers, then you’ll detect a slight softening for two and three bedroom homes.  Listing prices have dipped slightly over the past two months – but it’s hard to call this a trend.

94611 Real Estate Prices

Surprising to me, because banks have pulled back on easy mortgages and increased their down payment requirements.  I’m wondering when this tightening will impact real estate listings in the 94611 zip.

There are plenty of other influences playing here.  Our available inventory isn’t that large, which may buttress prices.  On the other hand, there are foreclosures which naturally push down numbers.

It would be good to revisit these prices, as a bellwether for our area.

Park Blvd Light Goes Live, Tomorrow

Well, this has been a long time coming.  The Park Boulevard exit from Highway 13 has been graced with a brand-new traffic light, which has been “in mothballs” for a while.

Tomorrow the light will finally get turned on.  [On December 3rd, the traffic light went live.]

Traffic Light Tree

Depending on your commuting behaviors, this new light could be a blessing or a curse.  It’s easy to imagine a build-up on the highway during the rush hours – but we won’t know until the reds, yellows and greens are lit.

What was the hold-up?  We believe the PG&E staff changed and its work queue fell apart.  The power company plans to turn on the juice now, we’ll see.

November 29th Update:

According to City Council rep Jean Quan, “PG&E turned on power at the traffic signal on November 19th, as promised.  The City is now working with the contractor to complete all items on the final punch list.  This includes installing signs, pavement markings, barricades, photoelectric units, security locks, grounding, minor foundation work, clean-up, and tree trimming.  Note that all work is subject to inspection and approval by the City and CalTrans.  When all items on the final punch list are completed, the City will activate the traffic signal.”