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Archive for July, 2010

More speed bumps in Lafayette?

Speed bumps may be added to Reliez Station Road between Pleasant Hill Road and Olympic Boulevard if the neighborhood’s residents vote that way.

The City of Lafayette has sent ballots out to residents in the area. The ballots are to be returned to the city in early August. Once the ballots are received, the city will decide whether or not to install the speed bumps.

That section of Reliez Station Road is often victim to speeding, as drivers use it as a shortcut when many cars are on the road. The “shortcut” allows drivers to skip over the often busy intersection of Pleasant Hill Road and Olympic Boulevard.

Posted on Sunday, July 25th, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Roads | 2 Comments »

“Time After Time” in Orinda

The Orinda Starlight Village Players are currently performing Allyn Ackbourne’s “Time After Time.” They will be performing the play through August 7 in the Orinda Community Park.

Performances are at 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There will also be a show on Sunday, Aug. 1, at 4:00 p.m, and one on Thursday, Aug. 5, at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets are $16 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased from the box office next to the theater 30 minutes prior to the show.

The Orinda Community Park is located next to the Orinda Community Center and the library.

Posted on Saturday, July 24th, 2010
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

Pub trivia with charity in mind

Petar’s will be hosting a pub trivia night on Wednesday with charity in mind. During the trivia night, donations will be collected for the Family Giving Tree.

The Family Giving Tree is a charity working to give children in need backpacks and school supplies for the upcoming school year. They were able to provide 13,843 backpacks last year and are looking to top that this year.

The trivia night will begin at 6:30 p.m. Petar’s is located at 32 Lafayette Circle in Lafayette.

For more information about Family Giving Tree, visit their website. Petar’s can be found online at

Posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2010
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Lamorinda weekend reading

Election fever: Catch it. We’ve got some challengers in council races, Traci Reilly in Lafayette and Dean Orr (current Planning Commission chairman) and Scott Zeller (downtown plan foe) in Orinda.

In other news, in case you missed it:

The developer of the Wilder project in Orinda will pay more than $500,000 in a settlement to the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Three new businesses could be coming to the Rheem shopping center in Moraga.

The Murray Lane Trail project in Lafayette will likely go out to bid again.

St. Mary’s will see it’s largest freshmen class ever (and becoming a Gael is never a bad decision). ABC7 news with the story; Patch has some local reaction.

Those new bocce courts in Rancho Laguna Park? They may be built after all.

Posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »

The charter city of Bell, Calif.

You may be following the tale of a few city officials in the Los Angeles suburb of Bell, who the L.A. Times reported this week are making ridiculous amounts of money.

City manager: Nearly $800,000 a year. Assistant City Manager: $376,000. Police chief: $475,000. And the part-time City Council? Four of the five make about $100,000 each. The fifth found out just recently he’s the only one making $8,000.

The city manager, assistant city manager and police chief have agreed to resign. Their lucrative salaries were built into their contracts.

But what about the council (whom residents are also demanding resign)? How did they become so well paid?

By becoming a charter city, according to the L.A. Times:

A state law enacted in 2005 limits the pay of council members in “general law” cities, a reform prompted by the high salaries that leaders in the neighboring city of South Gate bestowed on themselves.

But the year the law passed, the Bell City Council held a special election with only one item on the ballot. It asked voters to approve a measure calling for Bell to convert to a “charter” city.

The move was billed as one that would give the city more local control, and there was no mention that it exempted Bell from the salary regulations. All five council members signed the ballot statement in favor of Measure A.

Total voter turnout? Three-hundred ninety, with 86 percent in favor.

There are two points to make about this story. One is that, as many Lafayette residents argued during the charter city debate, there can be so-called unforeseen implications of becoming a charter city. Charter cities have authority over “municipal affairs,” but that standard is hard to understand, in large part because the courts have been so inconsistent in defining it. I doubt Bell’s residents knew when they were voting for a charter they were giving the council control to exempt themselves from salary limits.

But the other point, and it’s an important one, is that its unlikely this would have happened in Lafayette. Had the document gone to the voters, it likely would have included a clause granting Lafayette only those powers afforded charter cities specifically mentioned in the adopted charter. In other words, unless the charter says you can do it, you can’t do it. So if the council wanted to exempt itself from salary limits, language allowing them to do so would have needed to be in the original charter or in an amendment later approved by the voters.

Bells charter didn’t include such limitations. And it obviously cost them.

Posted on Friday, July 23rd, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

BART fare cut will not happen

Do not expect to see the BART fares reduced any time soon. The BART board decided to postpone the vote regarding the previously proposed fare cut at their meeting last night.

The board did not schedule a date to discuss the fare reduction at a future meeting, and it is unclear whether that discussion will even be necessary.

Following a 6-3 preliminary vote by the board in favor of the cut, the public has expressed feelings that BART should instead use the funds to clean trains or save for emergencies. BART Director Joel Keller has expressed that he would change his vote now to oppose the fare reduction, pushing the votes in favor to five, one below the minimum of six needed to pass a fare change.

Posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Orinda | No Comments »

More Gaels in Moraga this year

Our TV partner, ABC 7, has this report:

Posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
Under: Moraga, Schools | No Comments »

Bocce courts may be built after all

The new bocce courts in Rancho Laguna Park could be happening. You may recall about a month ago the Moraga Town Council voted to waive $4,900 worth of permitting fees for the new courts. Since the total number of fees at that time was estimated to be about $7,700, the bocce club said they’d rather not build the courts if they had to pay the difference in fees.

A re-evaluation of the project site, however, appears to have changed things. The new courts are proposed for a little-used section of the park that has sand volleyball courts. A large chunk of the original fee estimate came from the presumed need to grade the site, said parks director Jay Ingram. But now the town is looking at just laying the new courts directly on top of the sand, likely eliminating the need to do any grading and bringing the fees down to about $300, plus $100 for each tree removed. That’s well under the $4,900 limit set by the council.

Ingram said he’s optimistic the courts will be built and is waiting for design plans from one of the bocce club’s members.

Posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Planned cut on BART fares may not happen

The BART board will be making their final vote on a plan to reduce BART fares by approximately three percent for a period of three months. While the fare reduction was approved in a preliminary vote on June 10 by a vote of 6-3, there is a chance that the final vote tonight may not allow the fare reduction plan to pass.

After surveying the public, the BART board has found that the majority of the public would prefer the current funds surplus to be saved or used for cleaning the trains.

Because six votes are needed to pass a fare change, only one board member needs to change their opinion from the June 10 preliminary vote.

Posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Orinda | No Comments »

Election filing update

Updated list of who’s pulled papers for the November election. If they’re listed under “filed,” then they’ve returned the papers and are officially on the ballot. An asterisk (*) denotes an incumbent.

Lafayette City Council (two seats)
Pulled papers: Brandt Andersson*, Don Tatzin*, Traci Reilly

Moraga Town Council (two seats)
Pulled papers: Dave Trotter*, Ken Chew*

Orinda City Council (three seats)
Filed: Tom McCormick*
Pulled papers: Amy Worth*, Sue Severson*, Dean Orr, Bob Larsen, Scott Zeller, Richard Newman

Acalanes Union High School District board (three seats)
Filed: Susie Epstein, Tom Mulvaney*
Pulled papers: Richard Whitmore*

Lafayette School District board (three seats)
Pulled papers: Art Kapoor*, Theresa Gerringer*, Berch Parker, David Gerson

Moraga School District board (three seats)
Pulled papers: Charles MacNulty*, Kym Leserman, Kathleen Ranstrom

One of the three seats up for re-election is current vacant.

Orinda Union School District board (three seats)
Pulled papers: Juliane Rossiter, Sarah Butler, Christopher Severson, Rebecca Van Voorhis

Moraga-Orinda Fire District board (three seats)
Pulled papers: Frank Sperling*, John Wyro*, Dick Olsen*

Posted on Wednesday, July 21st, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »