Town Crier: Coming to a neighborhood near you – more meters

MONTCLARION: March 4, 2011

Oakland never met a tax it didn’t like, and parking meters seem to be the new cash cow.

Last June the City Council voted to spread the joy that only a ticket dispenser can bring and add enough meters to generate $267,000 a year.

Never mind that they didn’t know where to put them — they just forged ahead like they’ve done with so many other misguided projects. (Can you say pot farm fiasco?)

“I think it was unwise of the council to take this action,” says newly-elected Councilwoman Libby Schaaf, “without agreeing first on locations or at least clearly setting out a methodology for selection, which it appears they did not.”

The good news is she has just forged a compromise on the number of new meters planned for Mountain Boulevard from Snake Road to Scout and Moraga Avenue along Montclair Park.

The original proposal brought to committee in January would have metered both sides of the street. Tuesday night, the City Council agreed to Schaaf’s request to cut the number of proposed meters in Montclair from 50 to 22, and just on the east side of the streets.

“I know this means placing meters along Montclair Park, where I frequently bring my children to play, ” says Schaaf, but “the street already has a 2 hour time limit.”

Besides, she says, “the city has already been spending the projected revenues from the action they took in approving them last June.” The bottom line is we’re getting more meters and we’re getting them soon. But on the bright side, things could have been worse.

CRIME LOG: The so-called grocery store bandit has been carted off to jail in Oakland. Police say the man who followed six women home from hills markets, then robbed them, was caught in the act on a home surveillance camera. It’s proof that we’re getting savvy about security and recording things like suspect descriptions and license plate numbers.

E-MAIL BAG: Speaking of crime, I guess the guy who robbed realtor Lois Johnson recently wasn’t hungry. He followed her home from a hills pizza parlor and grabbed her purse when she got out of the car, leaving a delicious and piping hot pie behind. Actually, he probably had bigger fish to fry. It didn’t take long before her debit card was dinged for a $600 Internet charge.

OAKLAND MARATHON: It’s Montclair’s version of a stampede. The Oakland Marathon is coming through the Village on March 27, and reader Tod Vedock says as many as 2000 more runners will be coming up Mountain Boulevard and past the Farmers Market before crossing over Highway 13 on LaSalle Avenue. “We just want people to be prepared, as honking cars and people yelling at our runners and volunteers does not leave the best Oakland impression,” he says. Yes, there are some detours and street closures from 7 to 9 a.m., but it’s worth it. The city expects to see more than $2 million in revenue from the event.

SQUAWK TALK: All my talk about Ravens has reader Eric Reynolds wishing there weren’t so many of the aggressive black birds in the hills these days. He says they’ve been preying on smaller red-tailed hawks over Shepherd Canyon like attack planes over enemy territory. It usually happens, he says, on sunny days after the rain, and he’s already witnessed a handful of attacks.


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