ONE DROP AT A TIME: With the Pleasanton City Council's May 6 decision to issue mandatory 25 percent cuts to water use for all residents, some local businesses are letting it be known they're doing their part. Acura of Pleasanton and Lexus of Pleasanton recently sent out emails alerting customers that their dealership will temporarily halt courtesy car washes. However, the dealer will continue cleaning windows and vacuuming the interiors of vehicles being serviced.

"Please remember that we are in this together, and we ask that everyone do their part in this time of need," the message reads. "By working together as a community, we will get through this one drop at a time."

TO PLANT OR NOT TO PLANT: The drought may complicate landscaping for a $32 million freeway lane project in Danville that is nearly finished.

The auxiliary lanes along two miles of Interstate 680 are expected to open some time in June after completion of the joint project by Caltrans and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.

The landscaping, however, is a little harder to predict.

Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this year issued a moratorium that bars most Caltrans landscaping projects on freeways in areas with serious water shortages.

Danville, however, is in the East Bay Municipal Utility District, where the water board has declared that its water shortages are not severe enough this summer to warrant drought restrictions or severe water restrictions.


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Local officials say they think EBMUD will sign off on the water and Caltrans will sign off on the landscaping.

"We're optimistic, but we're still waiting to hear," said Randy Iwasaki, executive director for the Contra Costa Transportation Authority.

He noted that the landscaping contract will call for drought-resistant plants along the side of the freeway.

STAR-SPANGLED SWITCH: It's one thing to let the community know about a Fourth of July parade and fireworks show at a vendor booth; it's another to let the community know about the event at a vendor booth with residents dressed up as Uncle Sam and Captain America.

The Eye witnessed that firsthand Thursday at the Contra Costa County Fair.

The Celebrate Antioch Foundation passed out patriotic-wrapped Tootsie Rolls and index card-sized fliers to passers-by. The committee is holding Antioch's Fourth of July celebration at the fairgrounds instead of downtown.

Admission is free.

"It's just a lot of fun, and it's creating a lot of excitement," said Wayne Harrison, who dressed up as Uncle Sam.

Several youngsters wanted to meet the costumed characters. Some stopped in the early afternoon to shake Harrison's hand or take pictures with him.

Committee member Walter Ruehlig came later in the afternoon dressed as Captain America.

FROM MEDIUM TEMPO TO TEDIUM TEMPO: If the Lafayette City Council wants to boost attendance at its meetings -- especially when a sometimes Eye-glazing item such as the fiscal year budget is on the agenda -- here's a suggestion: Set those budget numbers to music.

At the council's Tuesday meeting, Stanley Middle School music director Bob Athayde and his Stanley Jazz Messengers big band made for a cool start to the meeting, playing before accepting a proclamation from Mayor Don Tatzin.

A noticeable draft occurred when parents, students and the band's fans rushed to depart Lafayette Community Hall after the council moved on. Tatzin then announced, "I'm sorry, the fun part of the meeting is over."

Budget talk soon commenced.

Staff writers Denis Cuff, Jeremy Thomas, Paul Burgarino and correspondent Lou Fancher contributed to this column.