SATURDAY MORNING LIVE: Antioch's Coffee with the Cops meetings are hardly the place where you would expect big laughs, but The Eye caught several comments from residents at Saturday morning's informal meeting that had the crowd cracking up.

Some of Chief Allan Cantando's opening remarks were the warm-up act. In describing the work officers can do if they have enough staffing, he said: "A full jail is a happy jail."

One man suggested the cops use decoy police cars or "decoy police officers."

Another woman said Antioch would be well-served having a group of "grandmas" mentoring youngsters, because they command the most respect from those who may be committing crime or finding trouble.

The most laughs came from Mary Lopez. The 81-year-old shared how she dealt with a group of menacing-looking kids outside the Save Mart across from her home at Somerset, an assisted living community for seniors.

"I knew they were saying something nasty about me in Spanish, saying when she comes down off the curb, push her down and take her purse," Lopez said. "I answered them by saying something nastier in Spanish. I said, 'I may have arthritis, but if they try anything, this left leg will kick them right in the ... well, where he doesn't want to be kicked."

The young men fled, she said.


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SIGN OF THE CANINES: You've heard of no parking, no loitering and no trespassing zones. Now, the Mount Diablo Dog Training Club has introduced the "no pee zone." The warning is emblazoned in blue spray paint stenciled on the wall of the club's Detroit Avenue building in Concord, a "handy spot" for male dogs to relieve themselves, said Loretta Delinger.

"They constantly pee on the building," said Delinger, a trainer at the 69-year-old club. "It's just a tongue-in-cheek thing."

FORGOTTEN congressman: Toward the end of a Feb. 21 town hall meeting in Danville, speaker Mike Arata apologized for nearly forgetting to introduce former Congressman Bill Baker, who was there to give a few closing comments about the town's update to its general plan.

"So soon they forget," Baker said as he began his remarks after more than an hour of talk had already gone on.

"I feel like Elizabeth Taylor's seventh husband. I know what I'm supposed to do, but I don't know how to make it exciting," he said to big laughs from the audience.

TRASH TALK: Pleasant Hill residents weren't pleased when trash piled up along the Gregory Lane offramp from southbound Interstate 680. An unsightly display of toilet paper, bags of food, sheets and pillows was no way to greet visitors to their fair town, they said.

Caltrans, which owns the strip of land bordering the offramp, in January sent a crew to remove litter, trim trees and brush and spray weeds. But the agency balked at clearing out a fenced-in, triangular area that contained the worst refuse, including an overturned portable medical toilet. According to Caltrans, its property -- and maintenance responsibility -- ends at the chain-link fence surrounding the trashy wedge.

Grudgingly, the city cleaned up the area but insisted that the property belongs to Caltrans.

So, the transportation agency called in the big guns in its Right-of-Way Department. After a little digging, they unearthed a 1973 deed conveying the wedge from the Bankers Life Co. to Pleasant Hill. Presented with that smoking gun, the city acknowledged its error and pledged to keep the wedge clean. So folks, the next time the trash blooms, direct your ire at City Hall.

Staff writers Paul Burgarino, David DeBolt, Jason Sweeney and Lisa P. White contributed to this column.