Montclair’s Natural Christmas Tree

Our favorite Christmas Tree is at the intersection of Shepherd Canyon Road and Skyline Boulevard, bar none.  It’s a grand old evergreen that greets you all the time, but grabs your attention under certain conditions.

Last week, Mother Nature decided that it was time to decorate this Christmas Tree without uprooting it.  We’re fortunate that local photographer Bennett Hall captured and shared this ephemeral beauty.

Keeping this peaceful image in mind, we’re now heading to the Paramount for the music.  The Oakland East Bay Symphony’s holiday concert is one of those crazy, crammed, family-friendly occasions.

You can’t consume the holiday spirit in one gulp, but we wanted to share a sip or two here.  Cheers!

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A Little Computing Money For Cops

Uncle Sam gave a little computing money to Oakland cops this past week.  We’re not going to look this gift horse in the mouth, but understand it triggers the Oakland Police Department to spend more on support costs.  Where are they going to find the bucks?

For a long time, Oaklanders have craved better responsiveness by their police force.  The City just received $1.3 million for CompStat, to track crime patterns more effectively.  On a geographic basis, all the reported activity – like summonses, arrests and crimes – would get closer scrutiny.  This tool and approach ideally helps the force re-set their priorities, at least weekly.

Yet the CompStat funding isn’t nearly enough.  Last January, the IT and Police Departments sent City Administrator Dan Lindheim their CompStat request for $3.3 million start-up and $1.7 million ongoing dollars.

In this request, the former police brass recommended hiring another 15 people to run the works, incurring $105k in startup costs and $1.7 million annually thereafter.  Wow!

The cops also requested $1.8 million for 200 laptops.  These acquisitions translated into $1.1 million in licenses, $240k in wireless fees (two years) and $500k in maintenance (one year).  That’s tough to chew!

We don’t know if all these additional, gold-plated resources are needed or not.  We do know that getting this federal grant isn’t a free ride for the City of Oakland.

More info:   No CompStat for OPDCompStat RequestSay Hello To My Little FriendCompStat In Practice