IN SEARCH OF FIDO: An East Contra Costa website that reunites pets with their owners received a shout-out recently when it did just that for an Oakley official.

Councilman Doug Hardcastle remarked during a council meeting that he'd discovered Fido Alert -- East Contra Costa County, a Facebook page where locals post announcements of dogs (cats, too) they've lost or found.

It seems Mac, Hardcastle's 110-pound German shepherd, jumped a 6-foot fence and went on the lam a couple of weeks ago; in searching for the big boy, the councilman met someone who asked whether he'd tried issuing an all-points bulletin on Fido Alert.

Hardcastle hadn't heard of the website, but his wife wasted no time posting a photo of their wayward canine on it.

"Like 20 minutes later I got a phone call saying, 'I think we've got your dog,'" Hardcastle marveled.

Mac, as it turned out, had strolled across Oakley's busy Main Street, his perambulations cut short more than half a mile away only after a stranger intervened.

"I was amazed how quick it happened," Hardcastle said of the results Fido Alert delivered.

what parking tickets?: The Richmond City Council last month passed a 66 percent increase in parking tickets, raising most violations from $30 to $50. Code Enforcement Director Tim Higares said the move puts the city on par with surrounding jurisdictions, will deter illegal parking and generate about $150,000 in new revenue. But what The Eye found most interesting was Higares' admission that Richmond just this year hired a firm to monitor tickets and ensure payment.


Advertisement

"The truth is, when you didn't pay your parking tickets before, nothing would happen," he said. Higares said no records were available of how many people didn't pay parking tickets and how much revenue was lost. The Eye would guess that those are big numbers.

Not every city leader is happy with the new program of increased fees and robust enforcement.

Councilman Corky Boozé, a former race-car driver known for collecting fleets of cars -- and parking many in the streets around his house -- is livid at the new regime. He was on a trip to China during the October council meeting when the increases were approved, and he said a letter he sent from the Far East asking that the item be postponed until he returned was ignored. The council passed the fee adjustment by a 5-0 vote.

"They didn't want Corky there because I would have pointed out that Higares and Code Enforcement just want higher fees to take money from poor people in the city to pay for his bloated staff," Boozé growled.

ANTIOCH FAMILY TO FEUD: Antioch resident Monica Gascon knows what she and her children will be talking about over the Thanksgiving dinner table: their appearance on "Family Feud" the night before.

Gascon and her daughters Leanna Prather and Therese Minton, both of Antioch, Genevieve Nutt, of Vallejo, and son Mario Minton, a Marine stationed in Novato, will appear on the Wednesday show that airs at 7 p.m. on KPIX.

"It was a real bonding experience. It gave us an excuse to practice, and it was just really fun," said Gascon, who added that the family also will be getting together when the show airs.

The family is the second from East County to appear on the show recently, following the Coniglios from Pittsburg.

Gascon can't reveal what happened on the show and whether the practice paid off, but the experience of going to the expenses-paid recording of the show in Atlanta was a lot of fun.

"It was awesome. It was a great experience," she said.

GIVING THANKS: The Concord City Council recently was on the receiving end of thanks from residents who were appreciative of city action -- and said so! What a nice turn, given that city councils are typically more accustomed to hearing complaints from their constituents.

A neighborhood watch group in the Almond Avenue, Bonifacio Street and Mt. Diablo Street area thanked the council and police for helping to improve an ongoing problem, while a stop sign at Joan and La Vista avenues prompted thanks from another group.

"Concord should be proud of the mayor and a council that has listened," said spokesman Hal Barbour.

"Aye," says The Eye.

Staff writers Rowena Coetsee, Robert Rogers, Eve Mitchell and Catherine D. Jacobson contributed to this report.