Hills cop turns to pedal power


Nothing beats a beat cop on a bicycle. Just ask the seven suspects rounded up in the hills, recently, for soliciting

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Officer Maureen Vergara patroling the hills.

without a license. “It’s easy for them to duck and hide around here,” says officer Maureen Vergara. “But on the bike I can sneak up on them.”

Armed with her gun and handcuffs, Vergara rides her mountain bike around the hills at least once a week – responding to calls about door-to-door solicitors. “Their company is supposed to get a police certificate,” she says, but in most cases they don’t. They just hire a bunch of people and bring them up in a van to neighborhoods that seem “ripe for the picking”. Some of the solicitors have criminal records – outstanding warrants and drug violations and such. In almost every case, they’ve been hired without background checks.

But so far, we’re one step ahead of them. Neighborhood watches use e-mail and listserves to report on suspicious activity. Vergara is quick to respond – fit and trim and ready for action.

I don’t know about you – but I feel safer already.


Bare necessities: Nature is calling but no one is answering at Montclair Park, where the outdoor bathrooms have been padlocked and closed for business. One reader reveals she broke down in tears, recently, when her toddler suddenly needed the toilet during a weekend outing. Park and Rec supervisor Mark Zinn says they’ve thrown up their hands. “We’ve had to close those bathrooms because of continuous vandalism, graffiti and human feces smeared inside and out,” he writes, adding the thugs throw gravel and other foreign objects in the toilets on a weekly basis.” Destroying public property is nothing new – but this level of disregard for others is frightening. Zinn says he’s open to suggestions on how to handle this situation – given the ongoing budget crisis in Oakland.


Filling the void: Feeling blue since your kid left for college? Hills mom and author Julie Renalds is starting a support group, this month, for empty nesters. She’s been there herself – finding the process of sending her own teen to college so painful she wrote a guidebook to help others through the process. Find out more about the support group by calling Julie at 510-531-5670.


Baubles and beads: It looked like a pirate’s booty, the sparkling jewels laid out across the living room of Wendi Moradian’s hills area home. Moradian held a jewelry party, recently, to showcase the jewelry she imports from Asia, through her connections with a friend in London.  And as any woman will tell you – it’s all about the accessories: “It’s wonderful to see how a simple long-strand peacock pearl necklace can transform the look of a white blouse or plain dress,” Moradian shares. “It just makes you feel fantastic!” Guys- does this give you any ideas for holiday gifts? You can reach Wendi at wmpearlsandmore@gmail.com.


Double duty: It’s hard enough finding a good contractor these days – but one who can save your life? Reader Tina Lowden says her contractor, Mark Henderson, turned into a superhero at her house in the hills recently. He was working on an outside wall when he glanced into the kitchen and saw Lowden choking on a piece of meat. “I was turning blue,” she recalls, saying her contractor raced inside and started performing the Heimlich maneuver on her. It took three times to dislodge the meat, but he finally popped it out of there. And Lowden?  She still gets choked up when she talks about it.


Got news? You can reach Ginny Prior by phone at 510-273-9418, by email at ginnyprior@hotmail.com. Log onto www.ginnyprior.com and take this week’s Town Crier poll on vandalism in Montclair Park.


One thought on “Hills cop turns to pedal power

  1. Dear Ginny,
    I am so glad to learn about bicycle cops circling the hills. My retired neighbors enjoy passing door-to-door solicitors of all kinds in my direction, and offering them my full name as well. With neighbors like these, who needs the neighborhood watch?

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