weather map mirage: The Eye blinked last week when it noticed several Great Lakes look-alikes in central California on KTVU's online weather map.

Plainly visible on one of the station's Live StormTracker sites, the four bodies of water that appeared to be somewhere around Stockton dwarfed the 6.2-square-mile Los Vaqueros Reservoir near Brentwood.

But -- as disappointing as this might be to water skiers and windsurfers -- they don't exist.

It turns out that the long-standing apparition was a computer glitch, according to KTVU Chief Meteorologist Bill Martin, who said the map images change as they're displayed at different elevations.

Although the aerial view was accurate most of the time, the lakes inexplicably would appear when depicted at a certain distance, Martin said.

He said the station already had known about the problem for well over a year when keen-eyed Oakley resident Dave Roberts alerted it to the creative cartography in January.

"I would say he was totally sharp," Martin said of Roberts' attention to detail.

But solving it was up to the company that provides the maps that KTVU and other television stations to use for their weather reports, Martin said.

The vendor corrected the malfunction just last week, he noted.

Roberts jokingly suggested an alternative:

"They could construct four large lakes east of Brentwood to match the maps," he said.

SENSITIVE TOPIC: A collection of well-meaning members of Richmond's Human Rights and Human Relations Commission had a bright idea last year: Develop and recite a "code of ethics" before each council meeting in hopes that collectively hearing the soothing words and admonishments to kindness might reduce the rancor.

So they did. But instead of calming the council, the code of ethics itself became a divisive wedge issue for months before going out in a blaze of inglorious vitriol at a recent council meeting.

Councilman Corky Boozé took aim at the code, proposing an agenda item at the April 16 meeting to look into the apparent scandal of City Clerk Diane Holmes' weekly reading of the code, which should be read by a local "youth or elder," according to the ordinance establishing the code.

"It says youth or elder, not the city clerk!" Boozé thundered. Holmes showed no visible emotion.

The discourse rapidly devolved. Boozé barked at Mike Parker, a resident and member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance who criticizes Boozé, that he "ain't as big as a flea."

The code of ethics, adopted amid a chorus of praise and virtues extolled in January 2013, is no more. The council voted to suspend the reading, presumably judging that it did more harm than good.

Boozé has been consistent. He was the lone member to vote against the code of ethics in the first place.

Part of the original code of ethics resolution included the entreaty to all council members to consider "sensitivity training." None did.

POLICE CHIEF TURNS SNAKE CHARMER: No matter the circumstances, the Eye has found that some people's first reaction upon spotting a snake is fear.

For several attendees of last week's Keep Antioch Beautiful barbecue following the morning cleanup event, that's exactly how it played out.

Several folks spotted a four-foot-long snake at Contra Loma Regional Park. Their first reaction: get police Chief Allan Cantando to handle it.

When asked about the incident, Cantando said he quickly identified that it was not a rattlesnake but rather a garden snake. After that, he and another volunteer picked up the snake and moved it to a nearby hill, away from the crowd.

A DYNAMIC DUO: Antioch Unified Superintendent Donald Gill took a moment during last week's school board meeting to publicly thank students, staff and faculty for their handling of a series of bomb hoaxes and evacuations at the district's high schools.

Board President Joy Motts added her appreciation for Gill's executive assistant Nancy Billeci.

"She's like Robin to your Batman," Motts said.

Billeci jokingly replied she prefers "Tinkerbell" or "Wendy" to Gill's "Peter Pan."

Staff writers Rowena Coetsee, Robert Rogers and Paul Burgarino contributed to this report.