Bay Area Briefs

Wednesday April 03, 2002

VIP parking tightened at Oakland airport 


OAKLAND — Oakland International Airport officials say they plan to tighten the rules for a free VIP parking lot next to the terminals. 

Officials have said they were embarrassed by a recent report by the Oakland Tribune pointing out the large number of free parking permits handed out to former politicians and airport officials, judges, private business executives and even dead people. 

Most airport travelers pay as much as $30 a day to park at the airport. 

Aviation Director Steve Grossman suggested revoking parking privileges after four years and cutting down a list of 656 people who can park at the airport for free. 

Some port commissioners criticized the plan for not going far enough. 

Port Commission President Phil Tagami called for a plan barring politicians, business and community leaders, city officials and airline employees from parking in the lot for free. He said airport volunteers, employees and vendors, however, would continue to have the privilege. 



El Cerrito mourns festive man 


EL CERRITO — El Cerrito is mourning the man who was known for creating elaborate Christmas displays, which in the past attracted up to 70,000 tourists from as far away as Sacramento and San Jose. 

Sundar Shadi died Friday at the age of 101. 

From 1949 until failing eyesight forced him to retire in 1996, Shadi built Nativity displays on his sprawling hillside yard every Christmas. He created other displays as well, including an annual Halloween display and Thanksgiving exhibit. 

When asked why he went to all the trouble, Shadi replied: “Everyone has a duty to do something for their fellow beings ... I was enjoying my life, nice wife, nice house, nice children. So I felt I ought to do something for the community.” 

Born in 1900 near Sargodha, which is now part of Pakistan, Shadi came to the United States in 1921. He married UC Berkeley professor Dorothy Clarke. 

The El Cerrito Soroptimists Club is working to preserve what’s left of Shadi’s sculptures, including the farm scene and the Christmas Nativity scene.