Town Crier: The ups and downs of living in Oakland

MONTCLARION: March 29, 2012

The doctor is in.

The Town Crier is feeling a little like Lucy Van Pelt, these days, fielding phone calls and emails that are better handled in a complaint department. Yes, crime is up in the hills and yes, $2 is too much to pay for parking. And yes, the Town Crier knows she is referring to herself in the third person right now.

It’s time for an attitude adjustment.


On the subject of crime — Councilwoman Libby Schaaf held a town-hall meeting this week (too late for my deadline), and she’s on top of the problem. Meanwhile, we’re looking out for each other like never before.

On parking — we’ve got something that many business districts don’t have.

“Very few merchants have a parking garage,” says the head of the Montclair Village Association, Winter Williams. “That turns a perceived weakness into an asset.” Speaking of parking, the new Montclair business directory is out this month, highlighting every Village merchant who offers garage validation. That’s 44 merchants so far, with others coming on board all the time. Businesses buy books of tickets for about 75 cents an hour and pass them out free to customers. You can do your banking and get an hour of free parking. Pick up something from the drugstore and get another validation sticker. The garage will take up to two stickers at a time, which means two hours of free parking.

So it seems there are solutions — we just have to seek them out. As Lucy Van Pelt says, the doctor is in. That’ll be 5 cents.

Email bag: Just one more tidbit on parking because reader Jonathan Taylor says it so … bluntly. “Can we stop complaining about parking costs? Please? They are not coming down, and anyone who babbles on about paying ONE DOLLAR (for 30 minutes) to park has lost touch with reality or doesn’t get out enough.” Ouch. That hurts.

And it’s good to hear from Mike and Diana Harcourt regarding Village issues. They started Montclair Coffees and Teas back in 1976 when most of their workers were high school students. “Because of them and the Village being a great place to have a small coffee house, our business flourished,” they write. Like many of us, they’re concerned about the number of vacant store fronts and would like to see more “imaginative small businesses” move in. “While our service-oriented businesses are valuable, we strongly feel that the emphasis should be placed on encouraging small retail businesses to locate here.”

In memory: There’s an empty seat at the doughnut shop, in honor of Lincoln Mintz. The longtime Oakland attorney died recently, and an open memorial will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Tower Chapel at Mountain View Cemetery. Mintz held court every morning with friends, discussing the news of the day and sharing stories about his years as a criminal defense attorney.

Animal tales: And finally, one of my relatives is breaking into the big-time. My cousin, Beth DeCaprio, is all over the news with her rescue of the world’s smallest puppy. Google “Beyoncé, the Dachshund” and you’ll find all kinds of videos on the pooch who’s the size of an iPhone. Beyoncé has already cheated death four times. You go, girl.


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