PORTOLA NAME LIVES ON: The new middle school that opens next month in El Cerrito will be named for the late equality activist Fred Korematsu rather than retaining the Portola name of the old campus. But, if only because of a technicality, the Portola name will still be used for one aspect of the new campus -- the school's PTSA.
Because of all the legal paperwork involved, the parent group will be called the Portola PTSA for the 2014-15 school year, according to a July 28 message.
"The Portola PTSA is separate from the school district, so we are working to align with the name change. The transition plan involves changing the name on our California State PTSA charter and bank accounts, securing and migrating all current information to a new Internet domain, electronic communications/social media accounts. We do not have a firm time frame for completion, but all components are under way.
"What does this mean to you? Official correspondence from the school and district will be from Korematsu Middle School. Correspondence from the PTSA will be from Portola PTSA. Information will still be available at Portolanews.com, and you can still reach us at PortolaPTSA@gmail.com.
We will notify you as we become Korematsu PTSA and how to access the corresponding communication portals."
EYE ON MEETINGS: The Eye did a double take when looking at a meeting notice for a Pittsburg school board workshop last week.
The Aug. 2 meeting called for the meeting to be held at the home of board member Laura Canciamilla.
This was something the Eye had to see to believe.
So, the Eye went to the early-afternoon meeting and noticed a posted agenda on the front door of the home. Canciamilla politely asked The Eye, who was the lone member of the public to show up for the meeting, if he wanted a pulled pork sandwich or a Diet Coke. (It smelled delicious, but The Eye declined.)
The workshop was designed to create evaluation standards for new Superintendent Janet Schulze in a more relaxed atmosphere, board members said.
After the chance for public to comment, the board retreated to the dining room for closed session. Canciamilla's husband, Joe, left the house to get the car washed at a Pittsburg High School fundraiser, sneaking out the garage so as not to interrupt the meeting.
SCANNER CHATTER: Overheard on the police scanner on a recent weeknight: First responders were called for medical assistance to a party in Brentwood when a woman's grass hula skirt caught on fire during a luau.
PERSONAL APPEAL: Lady Gaga has done it. Conan O'Brien has done it. And Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne has joined the list of public personalities making water-conservation pitches on radio or television.
In a radio ad on Tri-Valley-based KKIQ, Thorne says local residents are "in the same boat together" and need to save water. It's part of a $200,000 public information campaign by the city to promote conservation in a year of severe shortages in the Tri-Valley.
In a statewide television campaign, singer Lady Gaga, comedian O'Brien and rocker Sammy Hagar each make similar pitches.
O'Brien quipped on one ad: "If you don't shower, that will save water."
Using public personalities is a familiar strategy to enlist public support on big issues, but it takes some advance planning.
"We didn't have time to consider using personalities because we were in a hurry to get our messages out to the public as soon as possible earlier this year," said Sue Stephenson, spokeswoman for a consortium of Tri-Valley water agencies that joined forces for the media campaign.
The group used professional radio voices. "Anything that helps out is great," she said.
Staff writers Chris Treadway, Paul Burgarino and Denis Cuff contributed to this report.