MAYORAL GAMBLE: In what its publisher-editor called a roll of the dice, the Clayton Pioneer published online a "Mayor's Corner" column written by Julie Pierce the night before the council voted her in as mayor.

The column, headlined "New mayor among fresh faces at City Hall," was posted on the bimonthly's website Dec. 3. The council voted unanimously to select Pierce as mayor Dec. 4 -- the fifth time Pierce has held the seat since 1995.

"As your new -- and returning -- mayor, I have the honor of writing this column for the coming year," the column began.

Pierce said she wrote it before the vote because Clayton selects its mayor on a rotational basis, though the practice is not always followed. Vice Mayor Joe Medrano would have been next in line, but he resigned after a jury found him guilty of felony embezzlement in October, moving Pierce to the top of the rotation.

Also before the vote, Councilman David Shuey said Pierce expressed an interest in being mayor, but the conversation ended there. Pierce also talked about who should write the week's mayor column with outgoing Mayor Howard Geller. Geller said he told her to write it.

No one on the five-member council has suggested there was any Brown Act violation, which could occur when a quorum of council members -- in this case three of five members -- discuss an upcoming agenda item that requires a vote.


Advertisement

Pioneer Publisher and Editor Tamara Steiner said the Dec. 7 edition was posted online earlier than usual to report on the Clayton Valley Charter High football team winning its first North Coast Section championship.

"Since the mayor rotates and she was next up, I rolled the dice," Steiner wrote in an email. "If she hadn't been appointed, we still had time last night to pull the column before it went to press."

And if that were the case?

"That could have been embarrassing, frankly," Shuey said.

CALL IT KISMET OR CALL IT KASIE: Kasie Hildenbrand's last meeting as a Dublin city councilwoman Dec. 4 was marked by approval of two of her longtime causes: restricting tobacco retailers and approving plans for a swim center at Emerald Glen Park.

Councilman Kevin Hart grew wistful. "We should call it the Hildenbrand Aquatic Complex," he suggested.

A brief silence followed as the audience waited to see what others on the council would say about the idea of honoring the termed-out councilwoman.

Hildenbrand didn't hesitate long, though. "OK," she replied.

Then others in the room laughed. Maybe the seed of an idea was planted

"We're going to talk good about her all night," Hart said, "because she's leaving."

FINE VINYL? In a shipment from his wine club, a Concord resident found an unexpected gift -- "wineglass aroma covers" -- Vino Chapeau.

The circular plastic covers, seemingly of the same washable material used for flexible protective covers on cellphones, adhere to the top of a wine glass.

Here's the promoters' pitch:

  • Enhance wine aromas by concentrating them and making aromas much easier to identify.

  • Protect your wine from flying insects when you're outdoors on the patio or at a picnic.

  • Preserve cool temperature of white wines longer when you're outdoors on a warm patio.

    And here are the instructions: Place disc covering wineglass and swirl wine. Wait 15 seconds, then raise wineglass to nose. Slide disc off slowly and explore the aromas.

    You probably won't get a bug up your nose, but the usual connoisseur comments such as "hints of cherry and vanilla" might have to include a "waft of vinyl."

    CULTURE CLASH: The awards ceremony for an anti-drug poster contest in Concord coincided Tuesday with a City Council discussion on banning people from growing medical marijuana outdoors, bringing family and friends of two Mountain View Elementary School students in the running for the Red Ribbon Week prizes and medical pot advocates and critics.

    The students left before the medical pot item, but the winning posters remained behind the dais. One read: "Getting high is for the birds. Say no to drugs."

    Differences aside, the poster contest prize would befit elementary school students and medical marijuana users alike: a Skipolini's pizza party.

    Staff writers David DeBolt, Denis Cuff and Andrew McGall contributed to this column.