Town Crier: It takes a cat to do a politician’s job right


MONTCLARION: August 3, 2012

I really put my foot in it this week. I jumped right into a fray over politics, knowing it would be awkward. The conversation arose during a walk on the Village trail. “Look at all these squirrelly dogs, sniffing and yipping at each other,” I said to my friend. “I’m so glad Montclair has a cat for a mayor.”

A slip of the tongue, I admit. After all, my friend was walking her dog, an adorable mini pinscher that kept getting “oohs” and coos from other pup owners. Maybe I was a little jealous. My cat never gets attention like this.

But, come to think of it, politicians shouldn’t be treated like rock stars. Montclair has a cat for a mayor. Nobody is fawning over her. She just rolls up her paws and gets the job done. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s the way it should be.

Email bag: Speaking of Montclair Village, the rumors are true — the family that owns Sarber’s Cameras is getting set to retire. David Sarber tells my colleague, Mimi Rohr (front page of today’s paper) that he’s talking with potential buyers about taking over the venerable shop, a family-owned business that dates back to 1964 in Montclair. Stay tuned for more on the story.

Meanwhile, Reader Joy Shussett weighs in on the Montclair trail, saying it’s one of the things that draws her to shop in the Village. “It is such a delightful experience,” she writes, “enjoying this remarkable climate and gorgeous flora andfauna, not having to drive or park and being treated with interest and attention as I make my selections.” She wonders why more people don’t walk to the Village to shop.

And reader Martha Preble sums up the sentiments of many, with her wish list for the Village: “I wish there were a healthy grocery store, good restaurants, a bakery, organic produce, maybe a wine bar …” she writes.

It’s true that many merchants try hard to respond to their customers’ wishes. Touch Salon & Gallery owner Teresa Bozikis (2068 Antioch Court) says she’s closing her shop to retool in mid-August. When they reopen, look for more locally-made clothing and wearable art — and something she calls steam punk gear, which I’ll have to check out.

Obama rama: Here’s a twist on a political fundraiser — local pianist Lois Brandwynne held a benefit recital for President Barack Obama in Berkeley this week. It was a successful coproduction put on with the help of her sister, Marcia. You may remember Marcia as a KGO and KTVU news anchor here before moving to Los Angeles. Ironically, their father is Big Band conductor Nat Brandwynne, who worked with Lena Horne and Frank Sinatra, among others. His orchestra played for Richard Nixon’s second inaugural.

Fast talkers: Every week, Alameda County holds public trustee foreclosure auctions. Sometimes they’re in hotels, sometimes on the courthouse steps in Oakland. It’s fascinating to watch the proceedings. You’ll see everyone from fat cat investors to first-time homebuyers at these auctions. They’re fast-paced and free to observe — as long as you don’t accidentally scratch your nose and have it mistaken for a bid.

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