People power stops cell tower


MONTCLARION: January 6, 2012

“Power to the people.” Remember that old ’60s sticker that was slapped on everything from brick walls to VW vans? Well, the people have won big on Estates Drive, where neighbors say T-Mobile has withdrawn its application to install a 55-foot monopine at the Dingee Reservoir.

I reported last fall that homeowners were rallying to keep the cell tower (designed to look like a tree) from “taking root” in their neighborhood. They even hired an attorney to help them write an appeal to the Planning Commission.

“If T-Mobile hadn’t rescinded its application,” says neighbor Laura Thomas, “we would have addressed this issue at a City Council meeting. Thank heavens we were spared that step!” The irony, says Thomas, is that the Planning Commission OK’d the application in the first place, considering the fact that Oakland’s symbol is a tree.

Around town: Oakland police are using a service called nixle.com to augment its neighborhood-watch program. The website posts alerts by district, so residents can see what crimes are being committed in their neighborhoods. Sign up, like I did, and you’ll get emails and/or texts when there’s pressing police action in your part of town.

Warm fuzzy: A new children’s book is making bedtime more inviting for energetic toddlers. Toasty Town tells the story of a child with an active imagination and a handmade teddy bear that discovers bedtime isn’t a badthing after all. Oakland author Gary Branchaud says he read so many books to his kids growing up that he added “write a children’s book” to his “bucket list.” He wanted it to have rhythm, color and creativity. But above all, he wanted to show that something as simple as reading to your children can make bedtime fun.

Looking forward: We set lofty goals and lay out grand plans in January. Weight loss tops the list, followed by long-delayed chores, volunteer work and getting our financial houses in order.

I don’t mind the resolutions — in fact they’re kind of comforting. But the money thing is a bummer. January feels like a warning shot to the bow of a listing ship fired by a pirate named Uncle Sam. He’s bearing down on us, whether we’re ready or not. It really puts a damper on the festivities.

So what can we do to keep spirits bright? Eat, drink and be merry sounds like the combo that got us into this mess in the first place. Eat, pray, love comes to mind, but that’s so … Hollywood. I’m going with dream, dare and do. I have a good feeling about 2012 … how about you?

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