Montclair Safety’s Changing Of Guards

The Montclair Safety & Improvement Council (MSIC) was created in 2003, and has been working on quality-of-life issues ever since.  Now the founding steering committee heads plan to step down, so there will be an elected “changing of the guards” ahead.

MSIC is an all-volunteer group representing the Montclair core, which means the Village and areas south of Thornhill.  Like many Oakland neighborhood groups, they focus on crime prevention, traffic safety, beautification and emergency preparedness – but these guys do it with enthusiasm!

Montclair SIC Logo

What’s special about this Council is the level of communications occurring among its leaders, Beat 13Z cops and first responders, village merchants, elected power-that-be, city administrators and plain ‘ole Montclarions.  The Yahoo! message board is very heavily used as well, and lights up anytime there’s something cooking out there.

We have watched how locals can share something suspicious – like a person or car that’s been casing a street or two – and how that ultimately helps.  While the subject matter is mostly about problems or potential problems, at least there’s a way for Beat 13Z folks to share quickly.

In essence, the Montclair SIC acts much like an activist watchdog group for Montclair’s core.  Chairman Nick Vigilante and Vice Chair Jill Broadhurst should be applauded for their sheer stamina and commitment alone.  And it’s now time for the next generation of leaders to step up and influence the quality-of-life around here.

If you can devote sufficient time and energy, then please throw your hat in the ring for one of the MSIC leadership positions.  Below is a copy of Chairman Nick’s email which encourages neighbors to run for the MSIC steering committee – give it some consideration.

Hello Everyone,

The Montclair Safety and Improvement Council (MSIC) will be sending out an official email to let you know all the details about the elections.

As many of you know, I and several others helped form the MSIC in 2003, with help from Council Member Jean Quan’s Office.  MSIC thanks Council Member Quan and Sue Piper for their fantastic support through the years.

The MSIC Steering Committee tries really hard to help the Montclair community, and you as the members of the Montclair community play a big part in it.  I thank all of you for the great work you do for your neighborhoods, and for Montclair.  You make Montclair a better and safer home for us all.

Myself-Chair, and Jill Broadhurst-Vice Chair, have been with MSIC since day-one.  I have decided not to seek re-election as Chair.  Jill has decided not to seek re-election as Vice Chair.  This is not due to any internal problems or controversies.  Both Jill and I will continue with MSIC, but in other capacities.  I will continue with crime prevention, and help Doug Mosher with the great work he is doing with the MONS Groups.  Jill will continue with beautification and the great work she does with that group in Montclair.

There are lots of you out there (Other MSIC Steering Commitee Officers and Reps, MONS, CORE, Watch Group Leaders, etc.) who have great potential to contribute on a broader level for Montclair.  I ask you to consider the possibility of an Officer position on the MSIC Steering Committee – Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary.  There are other Representational positions on the MSIC Steering Committee as well, which may come open.

MSIC will soon publicize a public meeting in November; one which is a regular public meeting.  At this public meeting, there will be a interesting topic of interest to all of you.  I’ll keep that a secret right now!  The MSIC Steering Committee election process will also take place at the November meeting, but that is not the reason for the meeting.  MSIC is required to hold elections every year.

An official notification will follow from MSIC, as I mentioned above.

My email is intended to give everyone an advance opportunity to explore the idea of serving on the MSIC Steering Committee, which for me has been a great learning experience and opportunity to serve you.  Thank you,

Nick Vigilante

Speak Up About Montclair’s Public Spaces

Streetscape planning for Montclair Village takes another step forward on Thursday evening at 6:30pm, when Montclarions are invited to share their opinions about beautification efforts.  Maybe more than a few benches, like those outside Starbucks?

The meeting takes place on Thursday, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm, down at the Zion Lutheran Church, 5201 Park Blvd (map).  You’ll have an opportunity to learn about and discuss public spaces in the Village.

Last June, the first public meeting was held to set priorities for a landscape architect creating the master plan.  At that time, dining, crosswalks, benches, public art, furniture and safety were identified as priorities.

Since then, architect Leslie Brown has developed plans at the behest of the Montclair Village Association and Montclair Safety & Improvement Council.  When these are finalized, the next step will be to obtain necessary approvals and funding as well.

As the process lumbers on, Villagers are asked to contribute to the plans – so speak up now.

Make Montclair Village Shine

We are a vocal bunch about ways to improve the Montclair Village streetscape – but our voices are merely mumbles among friends and neighbors. Now we’re getting organized.

Tonight there’s a joint meeting between the Montclair Village Association (MVA) and Montclair Safety & Improvement Council (MSIC), to bring “shoppers and merchants together to brainstorm ways to improve the look and ambiance of the Village.”

The meeting takes place at Zion Lutheran Church (5201 Park Blvd, map), at 6:30 pm tonight. If you can’t attend, then send ideas to MVA Executive Director, Roger Vickery:

MVA and MSIC want to consider everything that beautifies the town. Some of the topics include views, traffic flows, intersections, signs, benches, and other forms of spit-shine.

I think its safe to say that we need better “hang out” space. I like the idea of pedestrian areas without cars, but I’m sure there are opponents. Anyway, let’s see what we can develop collectively.

After ideas are gathered, a landscape architect will prepare drawings and costs and share them publicly. A master plan will be finalized – to trigger the funding, permits and actual improvements.

What are your hot buttons? How would you improve the Village? Please comment here, thanks.