Town Crier: Suggestions for Montclair’s Loitering Youth Problem

MONTCLARION: May 4, 2012

If it takes a village to raise a child, then Montclair Village needs help. Too many teens are in town after school and there’ve been recent reports of fighting and other bad behavior. How do we address this perennial problem? One way is for all of us to help.


Parents — please tell your kids not to litter or loiter outside businesses. It’s one thing to have a yogurt or an ice cream with friends. That helps merchants. But standing around in large groups, swearing and blocking the sidewalk are turnoffs to people who shop here. Better to put your kids in an after-school program and know that they’re safe. And every child needs a reminder to be courteous and kind — even as they’re trying to be “cool”.financial aid. Role-play situations in which group activity may or may not be appropriate. Encourage students to see their behavior from other view points.

Merchants and shoppers — maybe a Mayberry approach is the best way to handle interaction with teens. If you see a kid littering or using bad language, politely remind them of their manners. Encourage them to take pride in their town, and if they want to hang out — perhaps Montclair Park is a better place for it.

In a more serious situation, if you see violence or vandalism, call 510-777-3211 on your cell phone and ask police dispatch to send out an officer. Reporting these incidents will help OPD determine future patrol patterns.

Teachers and administrators — please talk to your students about appropriate behavior in public places. Have a list of after-school and summer activities for kids along with information on

And lastly, we may want to consider lobbying for a different midday bus stop — one by the park instead of in town. That act alone may help funnel teens to an area more appropriate for hanging out. I’ll collect comments on my website with an online poll at

Email bag: Speaking of kids, reader Constance Young floats an idea that’s worth mentioning here — putting a soccer field on top of a building. They did this at Cal above a parking garage, and it’s a great way to maximize city space. She says a soccer field above the Rockridge Center at 51st and Broadway would also solve “all this hullabaloo and strife over Moraga Canyon and where these poor children are going to play soccer.”

On another matter, reader Robert Heywood wants to know what’s up with the viaduct retrofit project on Park Boulevard. It was supposed to be done by now. Blame April showers for part of the delay, Robert. According to the city’s Supervising Civil Engineer Danny Lau, they should have the bridge up to seismic standards and the roadway completely open again sometime in June.

On stage: I love the little Julia Morgan Theatre in Berkeley. It’s a gem of a playhouse with good acoustics, comfy seats and free parking. But even I was surprised at the quality of the current performance of “Lucky Duck.” This play is sweet, smart and sassy with strong performances by the entire cast and musical ensemble. It’s the tale of a “simple, mega, superstar duck” — part fairy tale, part American Idol, all adorable. It runs through May 13. See for more information.

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