Oakland Shows its Strength


I’VE NEVER thought much about self defense. I’ve just always assumed that I would kick the daylights out of anyone who tried to attack me. I’d go for the kneecaps or the groin — and then run like crazy.

But that didn’t work for a friend of mine. She was accosted by two thugs in her parking garage. They roughed her up and took her purse. She ended up moving out of her Grand Lake neighborhood.

If you look at the statistics, they’re alarming. Three out of four women will be the victims of violent crime in the U.S. And watching Steven Segal movie or “Dirty Harry” won’t teach you self defense.

Doug Jones will. A fourth-degree black belt, Doug has studied martial arts for more than 30 years and runs DJ’s Martial Art and Fitness Unlimited on MacArthur Boulevard.

He knows what it’s like to win a fight. “I was diagnosed with cancer in 1983,” he says, “and I was given six months to live.” Twenty-one years later, his mission is more clear than ever — make his community safer and stronger.

Watching Doug donate his time to teach the eighth-grade class of Corpus Christi School was fascinating. He showed them maneuvers and yells to ward off attackers. It was serious business, but he did it with humor and fun.

When I left his studio in the Laurel district, I recalled the words I’d read in Doug’s brochure: “As I grow stronger I also grow wiser . . . sometimes it’s best to just walk away. Other times I must stand my ground.” It reminded me of the words of another strong man — Teddy Roosevelt. “Walk softly, but carry a big stick.” In my mind, these are words to live by.

Full circle

Round and round the pizza place goes — till it ends up back where it started — as a Round Table. Yes, Woodminister’s only pizza parlor is going back to the Round Table franchise. It’s life as a Paradise Pizza was short-lived, and it should re-open in about two weeks under the management of local businessman Alec Kerachi, who runs two San Francisco Round Tables.

“I have a reputation for reviving Round Tables,” Kerachi says, “and Friday, May 21, and Saturday, May 22, there’ll be free pizzas for everybody who attends and simply comes in and says ‘hello.’ ”

Kerachi says he’ll have an 8-foot-long salad bar at the Woodminster restaurant, and he’s expanding the seating, too. By the way, he’s negotiating to open Round Tables in Montclair (where Paradise Pizza is currently closed), in or near Piedmont, Grand Avenue and Emeryville.

Reader reactions

I had no idea folks were so passionate about their mail. Lots of comments are coming in about the new postal boxes in Montclair. After reading that the drive-by box at Colton and Mountain was overflowing, Lorraine Adams commented “Why don’t we just put another box there?” She says now that the publicity is out, people obviously are using it, and she often has cars in front of her and behind her when she goes to drop off her mail.

On a separate matter, there’s the idea that reader Tom McCord has to spruce up the shopping district. “People talk about making Montclair more than a village — well, something that Montclair could have that wouldn’t take much, is a huge clock.”

A lot of people agree with you, Tom, that a clock would be charming in the heart of the Village. Let’s hope the business association acts on the idea.

Paying the piper

Remember the fire safety measure that Oakland voted for in the last election? Well, the committee that pushed that assessment through is in debt — about $9,500.

Reader Jill Broadhurst says the group is looking for donations of all kinds to pay for campaign expenses. If you want to help, send your check to Keep Oakland Fire Safe, 33 Hiller Drive, Oakland, CA, 94618

Anchors aweigh

Boating on the Bay can set you back a few bills, unless you find a deal like this: It’s time again for the free public harbor tours at the Port of Oakland.

Once a month, starting May 20, you can get a free 90-minute ride up the Oakland Estuary. See the giant steel cranes as they lift and load. Watch the fourth-largest container port in the country — in full operation.

To reserve a spot on the next narrated tour, call 510-627-1188. Tours run through October.

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