When Politicians React

WHEN PEOPLE TALK, do politicians listen? In some cases, no. But this a success story of a “grassroots effort” to get the grass (OK, weeds) trimmed back on one of our city-owned lots.
Not long ago, neighbor Joel Markowitz mentioned in an e-mail that there was a dangerous situation on a blind curve at Skyline and Manzanita drives.
“Would you know whom to contact at the city to get them to cut back all the weeds?” he wrote.
I forwarded the e-mail to Richard Cowan with Councilwoman Jean Quan’s staff, and he put me in touch with Deputy Fire Chief James Williams.
“The lot in question should be cleared by June 9,” Williams responded, adding, “Thanks for bringing this matter to our attention.”
And so it was done. The guys came in and wacked the weeds and the once junglelike lot is now “sporting” a trim new look. A crew cut.
So once again, the words ring true. It really does take a village.

E-MAIL BAG: Many pardons for forgetting the space between blue and bird in last week’s item about the Scrub Jays and the Pussycat. While Scrub Jays are blue, “they are not bluebirds,” says reader Larry Jacobs. “A bluebird would/could never harass a cat because they are way too small and skittish to hang around any mammal.”

FLIGHT PATTERNS: Speaking of flying critters, Martha Bauman has a regular butterfly house in her hills yard. Hundreds of Monarchs are sipping the nectar and flitting about in a big, white-flowered tree that’s in full bloom right now. By the way, this connection with the animal kingdom seems to run in Martha’s family. She reports that her sister-in-law once had a brood of birds nesting in her front door wreath.

OUTDOOR OFFERING: One of my favorite authors, whose novels are often set in the Oakland hills, has an outdoor reading in Larkspur next week. Jessica Barksdale Inclan and acclaimed writers Kim Addonizio and Susan Browne will be sharing their work under the Redwoods at the Lark Creek Inn, June 22nd. It’s part of the popular restaurant’s monthly outdoor dinner series and it’s free to the public. For more information, call 415-924-7766.

WAITING PATIENTLY: From the “get a life file” — I’m still waiting for the high chairs to return to the Montclair Starbucks. Manager Mike Knutsen says he’s looking for seats that meet the company’s safety and budget concerns, but high chairs are a low priority compared to things like ordering coffee and hiring employees. Still, it’s a shame to spoil the view from the best picture window in town. High up you get the low-down on life in the village with a front-row seat to everything from dog fights to traffic altercations.

AND FINALLY: The Town Crier would like to report a theft. It’s not a big-ticket item but a small piece of metal marking an Oakland hills street. Someone has stolen Uranus off its sign post at the intersection with Broadway Terrace. Perhaps it was a prankster or maybe even an astronomy buff. I can only report one thing with certainty. Uranus is missing and police don’t know where on Earth to look for it.


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