This is troubling, and frankly, a little anxiety-provoking.
Here's the situation: I live on one of Alameda's quaint little "courts." It is paved (more or less) and you can drive along it (in contrast to, e.g., Marti Rae Ct.), but it's technically a "private street"; it's not city-maintained, it's part of our titled property (each of us owns a little chunk of it), but it's an "easement," in that we have to allow limited, reasonable access to service and safety vehicles. Our (my neighbors and I) understanding, however, is that access encompasses "in and out," but not necessarily "through," and that we can take reasonable steps to hinder casual through traffic from drivers wanting to use the street as a shortcut.
Through traffic wasn't such a big deal when I moved in eight years ago this week, but the strangest thing has happened since then. All these small people seem to have appeared, almost like magic. At last count, among the eight families on the court, there are three children under 6 and one 10-year-old who would love to be able to play ball in the street, despite its plethora of really bad bounces. And, by the way, a few cats.
A few months ago, one of the new mothers had what turned out to be an inspired idea. She took this old, beat-up traffic cone she had, put a hand-made "no thru traffic" sign on it, and placed it at the end of the court.
I was skeptical at first, but I was increasingly impressed by the extent to which through traffic had been reduced. Apparently — even though, if you look at it, it's easy enough to maneuver around the cone — people feel it makes it just a bit too inconvenient, and choose instead to go the additional 100 ft. (and that's all it is) to the real intersection. But it turns out we seem to have a neighbor…
Somebody apparently disagrees with our opinion about our ability to abate traffic, but is too much of a coward to confront anyone in person. One night in June, the cone disappeared. The mother who placed it there originally found it, a few days later, in someone's pickup truck nearby. There are details here about which I am not entirely clear, but the cone was returned, and placed back at the end of the court. No action was taken, as the MWPITO was concerned about retaliation. (That's why I'm trying to be as vague as possible.) Then, at the end of June, the cone disappeared again.
That pissed me off. I don't have any kids myself, but I'm a "it takes a village" kind of person, and besides, I live here too. So I ambled over to Hawkins, the traffic sign place you can see off the freeway in Albany, and bought a new, official-looking cone and a little professionally-printed sign to go with it. I put my name and address on them, and added that removal would be treated as theft. I then called APD and requested an officer come by and take a report that I was, in fact, placing a cone and sign there for the purpose of traffic abatement and local safety.
Last night, late, I heard someone race down the court. This morning, we discovered the cone was gone. Worse than that, this reprobate, this gutless wonder, this weaselly coward (apologies to actual weasels), this nutless monkey, dumped spaghetti sauce on my neighbor's car and egged their porch. We called the police and made a report, but we had no hard evidence of the actual event. Yet.
I feel violated. I mean, my car wasn't hit, the cone's cost was minimal, but I feel almost as violated as my neighbor, I think. And a little scared. Not enough to keep me from doing something, however, if I can figure out just what to do. My first thought is to get another cone and sign; replacing it would feel defiant but might incite the nutless monkey to escalate, but I think I will. I don't know if any of us on the court are in a position to set up a camera; I'd love to do that.
We've been discussing more permanent solutions to the traffic issue, but that's not the point. It's one thing for someone to be rude and stupid, to see a traffic cone on a small street like ours with a "no thru traffic" sign and drive through anyway, no doubt thumbing his nose and enjoying the feeling of finally having beaten the system and gotten away with it, at least this one, trivial little time. Not much you can do about that, is how I feel, no point getting bent out of shape about it.
But it's something else entirely to steal someone's property, to deface and vandalize someone's car, to deface and vandalize someone's home. Their. Home. If this were Florida, we could legally shoot him.
We don't know who did this. Yet. Lucky for him, 'cause, y'know, some people think I'm nuts, but I know some people who are really crazy.
I'm just sayin'