Okay Everyone, Time For Surveillance Cameras

Montclarions have been contemplating measures to help deter potential burglars and catch perps for a while.  Under the auspices of the Montclair Safety and Improvement Council (MSIC), neighbors recently decided that surveillance cameras might do the trick.  And ABC7 News (KGO) ventured into the hills to ask about our plans.

It’s simple:  purchase several surveillance cameras and install them around your property.

With many home invasions lately, why not try something?  After all, Oakland police are focused on their downtown efforts and generally drive up here for in-progress, life-and-limb crimes.  With under 650 cops for the whole city, they aren’t able to patrol in the hills or visit homes that have been hit.

On Saturday morning, there’s an opportunity to figure out how to install and use these specialized cameras.  The Montclair SIC group has organized a meet-up at Montclair Elementary School (map), starting at 10am.  Right in the parking lot,  Logitech camera reps and Oakland police are scheduled to discuss how this program can work for Montclair.

Whether you are ready to install cameras or not, all curiosity seekers are invited to learn more tomorrow.  For those ready to give it a try, you can sign up for cameras and even arrange a house-visit to connect cameras to your home computer.  According to Montclair SIC reps, “we have over 100 participants registered for this program, which is phenomenal for a new community-based program.”

Montclair Village Asssociation Changes Guards

The Montclair Village Association (MVA) provides much-needed glue connecting Montclair’s denizens, merchants and the City of Oakland.  The group listens to all concerns, and its leader wears multiple hats including retail business developer, graffiti ranger, party host, urban planner and overall visionary.  Now we are changing the leadership.

MVA’s most recent administrator-director, Roger Vickery, did a great job herding all the constituencies.  We especially appreciated the practical and patient approach he used to improve life in the village.  Despite the elected dog mayors, he truly served as the de-facto Mayor about town.  We’re sure that Vickery will be missed after his retirement.

Tomorrow, the torch gets passed to long-time Oaklander Daniel Swafford.  We spent time with him when he announced and ran for District 4 council rep  last year.  With his enthusiastic leadership of Dimond’s safety group (like Montclair SIC) and the Oaktoberfest, we should be in different but very good hands.  Now that steins have been cleaned and put away, Swafford is ready to focus on all-things Montclair.

Please celebrate the changing of the guard, tomorrow.  After the regular MVA meeting wraps, around 7:15pm Wednesday, you’re invited to Italian Colors (map) for the celebration.  For those who have worked with Roger, come and raise a glass to him.  While there, you will also have an opportunity to meet Daniel as well as many caring Montclarions.  Stop by!

Fifteen Minutes For Our Eco-Volunteers

Restoring and preserving natural habitats is a long-term, altruistic pursuit for many Montclarions.  There are many locals who show up, ready to dig, pull, clear, re-plant and otherwise care for our nearby canyon and creek ecosystems.  Depending on where you live, you may be well-acquainted with Beaconsfield Canyon, Butters Canyon, Shepherd Canyon, or other nooks and crannies.

Now one of our success stories, Shepherd Canyon, will get the Hollywood treatment.  The National Science Foundation has funded videographers who will visit the site tomorrow morning, along the Oakland Museum and The Friends of Sausal Creek.  They intend to document all the ecological progress made through the years.

To greet them, the Shepherd Canyon Eco-Pullers and Planters will celebrate “Creek-to-Bay Day” a week ahead of other Oaklanders.  Mike Petouhoff, president of the Shepherd Canyon Homeowners Association (SCHA),  has invited anyone and everyone who’s ever worked in Shepherd Canyon to join them.  “This is a great opportunity for an SCHA eco-puller’s alumni reunion,”  he explained.

If you show up tomorrow, then you should be prepared to work from 9am – noon.  Meet up at Escher Gate, ready to pull or plant under the expert guidance of Adrienne and Herb Bryant.  You might get your fifteen minutes of fame, whenever that happens.

Interfaith Group Honors 9/11 Here

We are headed into the tenth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  Yes, there’s something you can do to mark the anniversary.  Something more than sitting and soaking up all the TV documentaries.

On Sunday, from 10am to noon, you’re invited to an interfaith service with neighbors.  The Montclair Presbyterian Church (map) will play host to the Kehilla Community Synagogue and Islamic Cultural Center, in a celebration of local spirit.  Even if you’re not religious, why not join them?

These Christian, Jewish and Muslim houses of worship have a lot in common.  After all, congregants reside in Oakland and want to live in peace and harmony (let there be peace on earth, but we digress).  Take a look at these invitation excerpts:

So much violence, hatred, and estrangement is carried out in the name of religion.  Often overlooked, however, are the reconciling efforts made at local levels between people of various faiths who truly have a lot in common.  On 9/11 we will mourn all that has gone wrong, but will also celebrate all that contributes to peace and understanding among us.  Rabbi David Cooper and Imam Rahim Nobahar will join with Pastor Beth Buckingham-Brown in leadership.

The September 11 attacks of ten years ago were a work of hatred designed to drive people apart from each other and foment intolerance and discord.  Too much of the response to the violence of 9/11 has furthered intolerance and hatred.  

Both spiritually and pragmatically, ending the cycle of violence and hatred must begin with ourselves and what better way to do so than to pray as Muslims, Jews, and Christians together.

We pray that we should understand that prayer is not enough and that we will need to work and struggle together and also, play and celebrate together if we are to be effective in making peace a more likely reality and also if we are to be the change that we seek.

On Sunday, this Montclair service seems like a simple way to commemorate the Al-Qaeda attacks — and how we should work, struggle, play and celebrate together.  It’s an opportunity to reach out.

Walking Our Stairways, This Sunday

Oakland Urban Paths is coming to our Village this Sunday morning, to introduce and share our hidden charms with all Oaklanders.  Even if you already use your local stairs, here’s a chance to learn more about them.

Paul Rosenbloom, a tireless advocate of Oakland’s bipeds, has organized this tour up Oakland’s steepest and woodsiest stairs.  He told us the stair hike features the multiple cases from Thornhill through Lower and Upper Merriewood, as well as the risers from Mountain to Cabot. Shepherd Canyon also makes a brief appearance, as an optional trail loop.

We know you can get exercise from ascending these stairways, so wear study shoes.  The walk meets up at Montclair Library (map), and runs from 10:00 am through high noon.  It’s a great way to jump-start your Sunday.