Hey, Jerry ... about those signs: The northern Delta has long been known for its rich agricultural heritage, but recently the seeds of protest have been growing faster than the acres of grapes, asparagus and corn that front the curving levee roads between Antioch and Sacramento.
Caltrans created an uproar last month when crews confiscated dozens of signs opposing Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to build twin tunnels that would siphon off Delta water to slake the thirst of Southern California farms and development.
The outrage spilled over to last weekend's annual Pear Fair in Courtland, a typically laid-back event known more for its pear pies and princess pageants than as a hotbed for political action.
Volunteers at the Restore the Delta information booth were deluged with more than 1,000 requests for "Save the Delta -- Stop the Tunnels" signs like the ones that briefly vanished from along the Highway 160 corridor during the Caltrans purge.
The anti-tunnels sentiment was also on full display during the fair parade, where dozens of chanting, sign-waving marchers drew hardy applause from the crowd. They walked with a Restore the Delta-sponsored float that featured a 10-foot billboard. The Grim Reaper, pulling a coffin-laden wagon labeled "Tunnels of Doom," brought up the rear.
If it rolled, walked or could be easily carried, odds were that it had a protest sign attached to it. It was a collective raised middle digit that organizers hoped would stretch to the Capitol steps in Sacramento.
A man who identified himself as a representative of the Delta Stewardship Council, the agency that oversees Delta resource management and may one day also be tasked with monitoring the state's tunnels if they are built, tried to keep a low profile as he surveyed the colorful protest signs proliferating around the festival grounds. "I'm probably the least popular person here right now," he quipped.
READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL: There may be an answer to San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh's popular locker room refrain, "Who's got it better than us?!?!"
From a transportation demand standpoint, the answer may be Tri Delta Transit.
OK; a little bit of a stretch. But, for the past few months, board members at the monthly East Contra Costa bus meetings have said they are constantly receiving inquiries about purchasing tickets for the bus shuttle to 49ers home games at Candlestick Park. Tickets are now on sale for the shuttle service, which picks up passengers at Park-and-Rides in Antioch, Brentwood and Pittsburg. Parking is free.
Individual day tickets are $17 for advance purchase and $20 on game day. An adult season pass is $135.
Though this year is Candlestick's swan song, the service may continue.
Talks continue with the 49ers about running the service to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara when the team moves to the new stadium in fall 2014, but nothing is finalized, Chief Executive Officer Jeanne Krieg said.
The Eye knows many will ask, "Why isn't there a shuttle for the Raiders?" Well, Krieg says, Tri Delta spoke to the Raiders organization several years ago, but it thought BART was adequate and did not want to give up parking spaces for buses.
MIND YOUR SPIT, PLEASE: A warning sign at a peach and nectarine booth at the Walnut Creek Farmers Market last Sunday provided a jarring contrast to many persons' ideas of healthy behavior in a public market.
"Don't spit the samples back in the containers," read the handwritten sign on the sample table.
"Eewww," said one woman shopper upon reading the sign. "You wouldn't think people need to be told not to do that."
Much as the Eye would like to embrace that sentiment, someone must not have gotten the memo and planted the seed -- or pit -- of the idea for the no spitting sign.
Honoring a Community Leader: Some of the best anecdotes don't make it into stories. The Eye found that out last week in writing a news obituary about longtime Discovery Bay leader Ray Tetreault.
During a phone interview with his wife Gabrielle about the 66-year-old and what volunteering meant to him, his wife of 27 years quickly choked up as she told The Eye while walking outside that several of her neighbors had lowered their flags to half-staff in honor of her late husband.
Staff writers Glenn Gehlke, Denis Cuff and Paul Burgarino contributed to this column.