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Archive for November, 2009

Orinda crime statistics for October 2009

The Orinda Police Department made seven arrests during the month of October. Three arrests were made based on arrest warrants. There was one arrest each for the crimes of possession of drugs, sale of marijuana, domestic battery and drunk in public.

Nine burglaries were reported during October, eight of which were auto burglaries. Three incidents of grand theft and one incident of petty theft were reported. Incidents involving vandalism were reported three times. One vehicle was reported stolen, and the police were also able to recover one stolen vehicle.

Police responded to 103 false residential alarms throughout Orinda during October.

Posted on Friday, November 6th, 2009
Under: Crime, Orinda | No Comments »

Pension reform group files ballot initiatives

As the Moraga-Orinda Fire District prepares to leave the controversy-laden era of Pete Nowicki, news that a pension reform group has filed a pair of reform initiatives. From political reporter Lisa Vorderbrueggen’s Political Blotter blog:

The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility filed language for two ballot initiatives with the Attorney General’s Office this week that would cap public employee retirement benefits, raise the eligible retirement age and eliminate the use of vacation pay and other perks to spike retirement pay.

Nowicki became a sort of poster child for pension reform after it was reported he cashed in unused vacation time and other benefits to raise his annual pension from $185,000 to $241,000, as is allowed under the rules of his retirement plan. MOFD, like other public safety agencies in the county, participates in a retirement system that allows retirees to receive as pension of 3 percent of their final salary for every year they’ve worked.

Nowicki has been the district’s interim chief on contract since he retired at the end of January, but that contract expires Nov. 19. Former Alameda County Deputy Fire Chief Randy Bradley was appointed Wednesday as the district’s new, permanent chief.

Posted on Friday, November 6th, 2009
Under: Moraga, Orinda, Uncategorized | No Comments »

Investment caution goes both ways

Turns out companies are worried about their investments in cities, not just the other way around.

Lafayette City Manager Steven Falk sends out this article from Bloomberg News, which says Allstate has decided their money is not in good hands with state and city governments, at least not as much as they’d like. They’re reducing their investment in municipal bonds, specifically citing the fact that so many government agencies are running deficits.

Orinda is, of course, now looking at their investment policy after they got caught up in the bankruptcy filing of lender CIT Group. They sold their $750,000 in corporate bonds from CIT on Thursday. The council has asked staff to look at adding language discouraging the city from investing too much in one company. At $750,000, CIT was the city’s second-largest investment in one company, behind the $1.25 million in General Electric, according to the most recent investment report.

Posted on Friday, November 6th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

New Lafayette library promo video

Hat tip to The East Bay Daze.

Posted on Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

MOFD gets their new chief

The Moraga-Orinda Fire District has officially announced their selection for new fire chief on Wednesday. Randy Bradley will become the new head of the MOFD.

Bradley had previously been a fire deputy chief for Alameda County. He also worked as the chief of the Lawrence Livermore Fire Department, a department who mainly deals with wildland fires. He is also currently chairman of a National Fire Protection Association committee. It was this experience that helped push him to the top of the group of applicants for the position. Nearly 60 people applied for the position of MOFD chief.

Posted on Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Under: Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »

Ghost driver?

Not many Halloween incidents on the Lafayette and Orinda police logs this week. But one caught my eye. Police called a Lafayette woman after her car was found abandoned in Walnut Creek. She had parked it that night on the street on Los Arabis Drive.

I’m going to guess the police department’s story is that the car was stolen. But, given this occurred on All Hallows’ Eve, I don’t think we can discount the possibility that ghosts took this woman’s car and went joyriding to Walnut Creek.

Posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
Under: Lafayette | 1 Comment »

Measure G passes

According to unofficial election results, Measure G will pass with 74 percent of the voters approving it. It needed two-thirds of the votes in order to pass.

The passing of Measure G ensures an extension of the current Acalanes Union High School District parcel tax. Without the passing of Measure G, the parcel tax would have expired in 2011.

The parcel tax costs taxpayers $189 per year, resulting in $6.7 million for the school district.

Measure G not passing could have potentially been detrimental to the district. Without the parcel tax, the district would be forced to lay off a large number of teachers and cut programs.

Posted on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Schools | No Comments »

Woman burned in Orinda house fire dies

The woman that was severely burned during a fire at her home on Descanso Drive in Orinda on Oct. 13 died over the weekend as a result of the burns.

An investigation of the fire by police and fire investigators determined that the fire was intentionally set by the woman using lighter fluid as an accelerant in the master bedroom of her home. A further investigation into the woman’s background revealed she had been experiencing recent personal issues. Investigators believe the woman set the fire intentionally to commit suicide.

Her son who was also home at the time of the fire was able to safely exit the home.

Posted on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Under: Crime, Orinda | No Comments »

MOFD close to new fire chief?

When the Moraga-Orinda Fire District Board of Directors extended interim Chief Pete Nowicki’s contract in July through the end of October, it was because they were hoping to have his replacement named by the end of September, giving Nowicki the 3-4 weeks he says he needs to transition the new chief into the job.

Now it’s the middle of November, and the district is still without a new fire chief. But they may be close. Wednesday’s meeting includes a closed session agenda item discussing the appointment of a new chief. That’s not new. They’ve been having these closed session meetings fairly regularly and board members have said they have a leading candidate and have been checking references and negotiating compensation.

But during the open session, there’s an agenda item for “New District Fire Chief Appointment Review And Potential Approval of Employment Contract.” Theoretically, if everything regarding the new fire chief is hammered out in closed session, they could approve his contract in the open session.

That raises the question, if Nowicki needs 3-4 weeks to transition the new chief into the job, and his contract currently is set to expire Nov. 19, will he ask for another extension to give him more time for that transition?

Posted on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009
Under: Moraga, Orinda, Roads, Schools | No Comments »

Lafayette business featured in San Francisco Business Times

Hat tip to City Manager Steven Falk, who sent out this article from the San Francisco Business Times in his daily e-mail blast about Lafayette sign company GNU.

The article is for subscribers only, although Falk did include the entire text of the article in his e-mail, which can be found on the city’s Web site here.

Posted on Monday, November 2nd, 2009
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »