Home town Fourth of July


THIS WEEKEND WE PAY homage to Old Glory. We gorge ourselves with burgers and dogs, chips and dips and red, white and blue desserts.

But America’s birthday, for many, means small town parades and band-shell concerts.

Here are some of my local favorites:

The Piedmont parade: Known for the generous show of candy that rains down on spectators young and old, the Piedmont parade is a favorite for the “see and be seen” crowd. Highlights include the mop and bucket brigade, the bagpipe players and the Piedmont Community Band (of which I’m an honorary member).

The Orinda parade: Although not nearly as idyllic as the Piedmont parade, it’s a sweet hometown offering nonetheless. If you go, forget the barbecue and just pick up fried chicken at the Casa Orinda.

The Moraga Commons: No parade, but the town’s popular park has a whole day of old-fashioned activities — culminating in an evening concert and fireworks. Bring a blanket and don’t be late. The display is sensational but short.

Jumpin’ Joint: What’s a plate of spaghetti without a little Sinatra on the side? Frankie and the boys serve it up their way at the Italian eatery Joey and Eddie’s on Stockton Street in San Francisco. For the price of a family-style meal, you get the Rat Pack at your dinner table — crooning like they’re playing The Palace.

The night I was there, they were so convincing, they had folks eating out of the palms of their hands. OK, not literally, but if you’re looking for pizazz with your pasta fazool, this is the place.

E-mail Bag: Thanks to reader Ruby Long for making me aware of an innovative new “village” for seniors in the Piedmont Avenue area. It’s actually a network of services that older folks can access for a monthly fee — things such as rides to the doctor and the grocery store, home cleaning and repair and daily contact visits for the frail and elderly.“The idea is to provide services for people as they age,” Ruby writes, “and to make sure they are healthy and safe.” It’s also a great way to help seniors stay in their own homes. The concept began in Boston and is now in a number of cities across the U.S. If you’d like to help or need more information, call Ruby at 510-595-9514 or send her an e-mail at roobeedew@sbcglobal.net.

Fresh Look: It’s out with the mold and in with the new as the Montclair Library gets ready to reopen July 6. Closed for several months for mold removal, our little storybook branch is now spore-free now and even sporting a new diaper changing table in the restroom, thanks to the Friends of the Montclair Library. Come to a party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 18 and toast the reopening. There’ll be refreshments, face-painting and a used book sale.


One thought on “Home town Fourth of July

  1. Hi Ginny, Read your Montclairion column about parking meters. I read this in Wikipedia:

    Parking meters have been challenged in court many times, but are considered legal if the parking meters used for purposes of parking regulation and not for revenue purposes. In an 1937 case in Oklahoma [6], D.E. Duncan contended that the ordinances impose a fee for the free use of the streets, which is a right of all citizens of the state. The Courts ruled that free use of the streets is not an absolute right, but agreed with an unpublished 1936 Florida court decision that said, “If it had been shown that the streets on which parking meters have been installed under this ordinance are not streets where the traffic is sufficiently heavy to require any parking regulations of this sort, or that the city was making inordinate and unjustified profits by means of the parking meters, and was resorting to their use not for regulatory purposes but for revenue only, there might have been a different judgment.”
    The Supreme Court of North Carolina judged that a city could not pledge on-street parking meter fee proceeds as security for bonds issued to build off-street parking decks. The court said, “Streets of a municipality are provided for public use. A city board has no valid authority to rent, lease or let a parking space on the streets to an individual motorist ‘for a fee’ or to charge a rate or toll therefor. Much less may it lease or let the whole system of on-street parking meters for operation by a private corporation or individual.” [7]
    In an apparent contradiction, Chicago agreed in December 2008 to privatize their 36,000 parking meters for $1.15 billion in revenue. A partnership between Morgan Stanley and LAZ Parking will purchase the 75-year lease on the parking meters and revenue collection. The recent agreement has not yet been challenged in court. [8] The Chicago parking meter privitization deal has resulted in meter boycotts, vandalism, and political problems for the Daley administration as hourly rates have been increased. [9]
    The very first parking meter ticket resulted in the first court challenge to metered parking enforcement. Rev. C.H. North of Oklahoma’s City’s Third Pentecostal Holiness Church had his citation dismissed when he claimed he had gone to a grocery store to get change for the meter. [10]

    I haven’t looked at the Oakland Charter but I wonder if its legal to raise the parking meter rates in our “fair” city.

    Frank Zamacona
    Oakland, resident

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