Tiny Gnomes in Oakland Spark Controversy

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Little, cheerful gnomes popping up in Oakland are causing a commotion; PG&E doesn't like the creatures painted on its utility poles. Christie Smith reports.

    A band of garden gnomes is causing a stir in one Oakland neighborhood.

     The little creatures with pointy hats and beards are popping up where some say they don't belong. 

    Someone is painting small six-inch pieces of wood with the images of gnomes and mushrooms, in an effort to cheer up parts of the city.

    But those gnome tiles are being attached to power poles in the Lake Merritt neighborhood, and according to the Chronicle, PG&E owns some of the poles and wants the gnomes to come down. 

    That's because the agency reportedly doesn't want others to repeat the pattern and and place more objects on the utility's equipment and  jeopardize the integrity of the poles.
    By some accounts it has become a gnome man's land with more than 100 of the tiny creatures on poles.

    At least one neighbor said he liked the gnomes - whose artist or artists is unknown.

    Alfred Cowlah said, "It's not bothering anyone, It really doesn't matter.  Somebody has some art down there, let it be...I mean I don't see the problem."
     

    By mid-day on Monday, the hashtag #Gnome was trending, and PG&E tweeted that the agency was looking for a solution. "We've heard you, and appreciate your feedback. We're working on finding homes for the #Oakland gnomes..more 2 come."