Misery Loves Company

IF MISERY LOVES company, then last week’s kvetching made me a lot of new friends.

All week long, I’ve been hearing complaints about one thing or another. But what really hit home was my ranting about recycling thieves.

Rita Kresha said her street used to have the same problem until the homeowners embraced Section 19 of the California Penal Code. It states that removing anything set out for recycling is a misdemeanor, punishable by law.

“We have lived on Glen Eden at Piedmont Avenue for 12 years, and have kept our street clear of scavenging by having copies of this law in English and Spanish and challenging the guys (always men), presenting the copy and sternly warning that if they ever appear on our street again, they will be met by the police.”

Other readers have told me they take more drastic measures.

“I put dirty diapers on top of the cans and bottles,” said one neighbor.

Another told me she took a photo of the Dumpster divers and turned it into the police. “Most scavengers have criminal records and are looking for more than just cans and bottles,” an Oakland policeman told me recently. “Let’s just say they’re not Boy Scouts.”

FASHION PLATE: Montclair readers are in for a treat when professional shopper Maureen French starts her column in the newspaper. French is a Montclair mother of twins (yikes!) who’s had a career in fashion for 20 years. Now she runs her own personal shopping business and you should see her in action. She helped me pick out a great outfit for my bartending debut at Montclair Bistro the other day and we were like two whirling dervishes in the women’s department at McCaulou’s. When the dust cleared, I looked like a million bucks for the price of some slacks and a blouse.

ROAD BLOCK: Driving is always an adventure on the winding canyon road called Pinehurst. Just ask Megan Carey, who’s route to school was blocked by a downed tree the other day. Luckily her dad had a chain saw and with the help of another man was able to clear the path in just minutes. The mountain men may have saved the day, but I’ll bet the kids were disappointed. They could have had a “tree day” break from school.

NIGHT OUT: Montclair musician Caren Armstrong is playing at Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage on March 24. Armstrong teaches guitar in the hills but she’s also known for her witty and poignant songwriting. She’s going solo Friday night with songs from her new CD, as well as some old favorites.

CELEBRITY SIGHTING: Channel 4 anchorwoman Wendy Tokuda was spotted doing a little weed control in Redwood Park the other day. She was pulling up Scotch Broom and Poison Hemlock by the roots as her dog looked on.

Tokuda lives in Montclair and volunteers in the parks, pulling up invasive weeds and replacing them with native plants. She reportedly has a killer native garden in her own yard, too.

GOVERNMENT TORTURE: My visit to the Oakland DMV last week was worse than death and taxes combined. Sitting in the waiting room, a robotic recording came on every couple of seconds announcing the next number to be served. It was loud and annoying and eventually it forced me outside in the chilly rain to wait while my daughter took her driving test.


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