Montclair: Resident raises idea of police assessment for hills coverage

MONTCLARION: May 10, 2013

Alarms, patrols and reinforced doors. These are a few of our favorite things as we pony up money to protect our homes. But what if we pooled our resources and formed a Crime Protection Assessment District? Sound familiar? It wasn’t that long ago that we agreed to a tax to fight fires.

Reader Omar Hurricane says the same principles can apply to hiring police for the Oakland hills.”Residents are paying a lot now for private security patrols, camera systems, alarm systems and door reinforcements,” says Hurricane, adding it seems likely there would be interest in paying for police who would just serve the hills.

Hurricane is a highly decorated physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In crunching the numbers, he thinks an assessment of $80 per household could pay for 10 police officers focused solely on the hills. “This would provide a much needed service to the underserved and frustrated hills residents who can’t wait years (if ever) for the city of Oakland to properly staff the OPD and provide basic law enforcement in the hills,” he wrote in an email to District 4 City Councilmember Libby Schaaf.

For her part, Schaaf says she’s happy to pursue the idea if her constituents agree. “I’ve had several inquiries about whether residents can pay for additional police, and the answer is ‘yes,’ ” she says. Schaaf says, much like sports teams who pay for officers to provide extra security at games, residentscould pay for supplemental policing. Schaaf says she’ll help any group who wants to explore the logistics and costs of an idea like this. You can contact her at

On screen: Now that plastic bags are being banned in cities around the Bay Area, you may want to find out the dirty little secret behind these toxic totes. Piedmont filmmaker Michelle Hill’s documentary “Bag It” is being shown at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Piedmont Center for the Arts. It’s a free screening of the 75-minute movie that premiered in 2010 at the Ashland Film Festival. Tunnel talk: The Rheem and Orinda theaters are bringing in star power for this weekend’s Classic Film Festival and Classic Film Hall of Fame. At the Orinda, Boris Karloff’s daughter, Sara, will share rare footage of her dad at Saturday’s screening of “Frankenstein.” Mickey Rooney will introduce “National Velvet” at 7 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, Chris Costello reflects on the movie “Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein” and Cloris Leachman shares her thoughts on “Young Frankenstein” at the Rheem. For showtimes and costs, see


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