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!

Headless Woman In Montclair Village

Did our provocative headline catch your attention?  Well, it’s true.

Earlier today, Oaklander Amy Gahran provided photographic evidence of a lovely, alabaster headless woman lounging in Montclair Village.  There was no crime report filed with the Oakland Police Department this time.

(Sorry, we could not resist sharing this salacious picture.)

Curb Appeal Visits Montclair

If you are an aficionado of HGTV’s Curb Appeal: The Block, then you already know that Montclair received its 15 minutes of national media fame tonight.

Here’s the scoop on Juniper Jungle to Modern Masterpiece, aka episode HCRBL-301H:

David and Kerryn La Duc live on a close-knit cul-de-sac in the Montclair neighborhood in Oakland, CA. While they love their neighborhood, their dated modern ranch style home could use some updating. Their front yard is almost completely covered with juniper….

The program began with some quick video of Montclair Village and then traveled to a neighborhood off Joaquin Miller Road.  It showed the neighbors hanging out, followed by the homeowners (and their kids) as work proceeded to kill the junipers.

We’re so proud!  The couple, who are now officially famous, represented our best.  We learned that Kerryn is a teacher, though the show didn’t reveal too much about David.  However it was clear they were Montclarions, and a team of equals.  We also enjoyed how Kerryn was grateful and yet not a pushover about all the changes to their home.  🙂

Today in Montclair could not resist “googling” these neighbors and they are typically interesting.  Kerryn had twittered about teaching ancient Chinese philosophy to her sixth grade class.  Meanwhile David placed third in last year’s Sequoia 50K Trail Run, and has been running long distances for years.

Anyway, we wish that we could show you the amazing transformation to the La Duc home along with the quick upgrades to a few neighbors’ places.  Their mid-modern house looks so cool now, with stone and wood accents and great landscaping.  Living in a place where the foliage grows so quickly, we would like Curb Appeal to make a few more visits to our neighborhoods.

Check back on the HGTV site, since they’ll eventually show repeats online.

Got Issues Or Concerns, Reach Jenny

If you have any issues or concerns related to the City of Oakland, then Jenny Feinberg’s your go-to person.

According to District 4 Rep Libby Schaaf, in her recent newsletter (subscribe here), the district staff of three has been divided by location.  Feinberg is fully devoted to Montclarions, as our new community liaison, and may be contacted at (510) 238-7273 or

Here’s the formal introduction to Council Aide Feinberg:

As Councilmember Schaaf’s recent Campaign Coordinator as well as the former Program Assistant at Emerge California, Jenny has dedicated her professional career to helping women run and win for public office. She first discovered her passion for public service and constituent services when she completed internships with former Senators Joseph Biden and Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC and New York City, respectively.

Jenny has also worked in consulting, strategic planning and organizational management with the Center for Applied Research (CFAR) in Philadelphia. Jenny studied Women’s Studies and Political Science at Brandeis University and earned highest honors for her thesis entitled “Fostering Women’s Political Ambition: Who Runs for Congress, Who Wins, and How to Expand the Pool.”

In addition, Rep Schaaf will meet with Montclarions on a regular basis.  She’s attending the Piedmont Pines’ Annual Meeting — this Monday at 6:30pm, at Chabot Space & Science Center (map).  She’s also holding monthly community office hours during the Montclair Farmer’s Market.  Her next date will be Sunday, February 27th, from 9 am to 12 noon.

February Update:  We seem to have another direct District 4 contact now. For all-things Montclair, Patricia Rose may be reached at 510-238-6822 or Jenny’s still around but taking on additional tasks for Council Rep Schaaf.

March Update:  Thanks, Libby.  Jenny is still our go-to girl for all-things Montclair.

Montclair Virtual Art Gallery: Meet David Miller

Just as there are poet laureates, our East Bay Parks laureate should be artist David M. Miller.  He creates beautiful watercolors and oils, and shares our local scenery, weather and moods perfectly.

Let’s start with this Redwood Regional Park painting, which captures second generation trees and filtered light so well.  The image literally feels like the walks we take all the time, while wandering around the hillside trees.

Miller likes to experiment with different kinds of work, and created this thistle as a focal point for Wildcat Canyon scenery.  Using watercolor and ink, he’s able to shift from a typical view to something that’s…typically all over our socks after a walk.

We next travel to Lake Chabot, where Miller’s watercolor plays up the lakeside itself.  Notice the prominent reeds and growth around the large reservoir, along with the subtle colors which emerge here.  This image lets you stop and soak in the place, especially during the summer season.

Wrapping up the local parks tour, Miller captures a slightly ominous Tilden Park sunset.  We experience an imperfect, past-peak sunset, which contributes to our discomfort.  Add in the birds, and this painting feels a bit like Hitchcock, no?

David Miller lives in Berkeley, but we’ll claim him as a Montclarion.  His love of the Oakland and Berkeley hills is outstanding, and his plein air painting honors our place.  He grew up at Point Reyes, and embraced his artistic side while working as an engineer.  Now he insists on painting every single day, and experiments with political and other genres as well.

For the past decade, Miller has created and displayed his artwork around the Bay Area.  He last showed his works locally, at the Montclair Gallery, back in 2008.  Since then, he has been part of featured and group shows nearby.  Visit David’s website here, which lists his schedule and presents an even larger virtual gallery.  You may reach him at or call 510-816-9581.