FROM pearl harbor TO the CLASSROOM: After surviving the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, fighting in the Pacific theater during World War II, and suffering wounds to his head and leg that hospitalized him for more than a year, Concord's John Egan, 91, served as a globe-trotting teacher for the Department of Defense. So he was right at home Dec. 7 as he and fellow Pearl Harbor survivors caravaned through Concord and Walnut Creek, visiting young students en route to the annual lighting of the Mount Diablo beacon.
"I used to be a teacher," Egan told a group of about 30 students from Foothill Middle School. "Sit down! Be quiet! Wipe those smiles off your faces!"
The students laughed.
"Those were great days," Egan said. "I got to intimidate kids, and I got paid for it."
SPEAKING OF THE BEACON: Dan Stefanisko, a ranger at Mount Diablo State Park, said he received a call from a woman who lives along Morgan Territory Road complaining that the beacon was shining into her house.
She backed off a little when the ranger explained that it was only lit one night per year, Dec. 7. Dick Heron, one of the volunteers on the restoration team, said they may want to raise the beam a bit next year so that it shines higher in the sky, and not into homes.
SEE WHERE THIS ONE IS GOING: Antioch's city leadership couldn't help but crack a couple jokes at the tail end of a recent City Council meeting.
The council was considering amending its zoning laws to allow fortuneteller businesses in certain commercial districts. After a few questions were asked about the proposed ordinance, Mayor Wade Harper chimed in.
"Well, I'm sure they already know what our vote is going to be on this," he said, drawing some chuckles from the crowd. The ordinance passed 4-1.
A few minutes later, City Attorney Lynn Tracy Nerland read a schedule of upcoming meetings for December.
When she said staff was assuming the City Council would not want to meet on the fourth Tuesday in December, which falls on Christmas Eve, Harper said, "You can predict the future, too."
MAYORAL PERKS: After longtime Lafayette City Council Member Don Tatzin had finished heaping praise on outgoing Mayor Mike Anderson on Monday during the annual reorganization, Tatzin noted the uniqueness of the occasion.
"Mike is about to enjoy a double retirement, both as mayor and from his day job with the East Bay Regional Park District," he said. "The big difference in these retirements is he stays with us (as a member of the council), but not with them.
"In addition, even though he's going to be retired as mayor, he's going to receive the same compensation as he got as mayor."
Council members in Lafayette, unlike many neighboring cities, receive no stipend for their service.
the kids are all right: The Eye sometimes takes a break from political intrigue and investigations to just enjoy the positive goings-on in Richmond. The latest example was Wednesday night at the historic Hotel Mac in Point Richmond.
That night, about 20 youths from underprivileged communities were seated, in dapper suits and pretty dresses, at an elegant white-linen table setting to enjoy what for most of them would be their first formal, four-course meal. The assemblage was there thanks to the local Police Activities League and its sponsors.
The dinner was both an educational opportunity and a reward banquet for youths who had performed well in the mentor program, which is new this year. The dinner was held in the upstairs dining room, a beautiful setting festooned with historic pictures and often the site where the city's most powerful politicians and business leaders dine.
Moments after Richmond PAL Director Larry Lewis addressed the group, explaining the formalities of a proper dinner ("This isn't Burger King"), 13-year-old Taelon Hill perused his menu. Taelon, wearing a white suit his mother recently bought him, said he'd never been to a restaurant fancier than Red Lobster. His mentor, Mark Torres, 48, joined him in ordering the Chicken Cabernet.
Hill said he loves to play sports, and he and his mother and his mentor are aiming for him to go to UC Berkeley.
"I want to play in the NFL," Taelon said with a smile. "But I know that I have to study a lot to get into Cal."
Staff writers Gary Peterson, Susan Pollard, Paul Burgarino, Tom Barnidge and Robert Rogers contributed to this report.