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Archive for July, 2010

Saint Mary’s Summer Wine Festival

Saint Mary’s College will be hosting their 6th Annual Summer Wine Festival on Sunday, Aug. 15, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

A list of some of the featured wines that will be available can be found online. In addition to wine, there will also be several local breweries in attendance and chocolates and cheeses to taste. A silent auction will be running as part of the festival.

Tickets for the wine festival are $35 if purchased by the end of July and $45 after that. There is also a special rate of $15 for designated drivers.

All proceeds from the event go toward Saint Mary’s College student scholarships.

Posted on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
Under: Moraga, Schools | No Comments »

Lafayette council race: Traci Reilly is in

We’ve got our first Lafayette challenger. Just got off the phone with Traci Reilly, currently the chair of the city’s Crime Prevention Commission, who pulled filing papers last week and already has a campaign website up.

Reilly has been a regular presence at City Council meetings and has often expressed her concerns about the proposed downtown specific plan.

Posted on Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Orinda: A paleontologist’s dream?

In the area where crews are preparing to dig the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel, paleontologists have already come across fossils dating back 10 to 15 million years.

The company PaleoResources Consultants was hired by CalTrans to look through all of the dirt being dug out for potential fossils. Although the major digging has not started, the hillside has already been a hot bed for fossils.

Paleontologists with PaleoResources Consultants believed they could potentially find as many as 1,000 different specimens during the entire duration of the digging. That estimate has increased quickly, as the group has already uncovered more than 500 specimens. Some of the more notable specimens include  fossils from ancient horses and camels.

Posted on Monday, July 19th, 2010
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

Classic movies on Thursday nights

The Lafayette Library and Learning Center has dedicated its Thursday nights to classic movies. From 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., a classic movie is shown, which is then followed by a discussion moderated by James Keller, an instructor in world drama, film and poetry.

The next screening is this Thursday, July 22. The movie “Summertime,” featuring Kathryn Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi will be shown. There is also a screening planned for the following Thursday, July 29, of the film “Pauline on the Beach.”

The screenings cost $8 for adults and $6 for seniors and students.

If the screenings are a success, the library plans to continue with them in the future.

Posted on Sunday, July 18th, 2010
Under: Lafayette | 1 Comment »

New trail to be built near Lafayette Community Center, Burton Valley

The City of Lafayette will add a new trail to its already impressive collection soon. The new trail will go from the Lafayette Community Center to the corner of Michael and Murray lanes in the Burton Valley community. The trail will be eight-feet wide and span approximately half of a mile.

The area where the trail will be is a commonly frequented area for hikers already who enjoy the walk through some of Lafayette’s more natural areas.

The trail, which will cost $366,750, will be completely funded by funds from Measures WW and AA.

Posted on Saturday, July 17th, 2010
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Lamorinda weekend reading

Happy election season! Don’t forget to get your shopping done early. And keep it tuned to the Lamorinda Sun blog for updates on who’s thinking about running for office in Lamorinda (in Orinda, it’s a LOT). The news this week: One Acalanes school board member says she’s not running again, while a Measure A campaign co-chair throws her hat into the race.

Lots of Lafayette news. They’ve released their updated housing element amid criticism from affordable housing advocates. On Monday, the council voted against putting charter city and transfer tax measures on the ballot. And this reporter took a look at just how much parcel tax you’d need to make a dent in Lafayette’s road problem. Finally, the lineup for Rock the Plaza has been released.

In response to some residents who want more input on the downtown plan, Orinda has scrapped Planning Commission meetings on the topic in favor of workshops.

Firefighters respond to a tw0-alarm home blaze in Orinda.

Paleontologists digging at the Caldecott fourth bore site find some really, really old stuff.

Finally, Bruce Burns officially takes the reins as superintendent of the Moraga School District.

Posted on Friday, July 16th, 2010
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Lamorinda election filing update

UPDATE (5:30, July 18): Christopher Severson, who’s the son of Orinda City Councilwoman Sue Severson, pulled papers Friday for the Orinda Union School District election.

Not much to update at the end of the week. Candidates have until August 6 to file for election. Asterisk means an incumbent.

Remember, there’s a difference between pulling papers and filing them. Pulling papers means a person has picked up a nomination packet. When they return the packet, then they’re a candidate.

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

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

Orinda City Council (three seats)
Pulled papers: Tom McCormick*, 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*

Moraga School District board (three seats)
Pulled papers: Kym Rhodes Leserman, Kathleen T. Ranstrom

Orinda Union School District board (three seats)
Pulled papers: Juliane Stone Rossiter, Sarah Genn Butler, Christopher Severson

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

Posted on Friday, July 16th, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »

Hall of Famer Gene Goodreault dies in Orinda

Gene Goodreault, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, died in Orinda on Tuesday. He was 92.

Goodreault moved to Orinda six years ago after spending the majority of his life in his hometown of Haverhill, Mass.

Goodreault was the star of the 1941 Boston College football team that won the Sugar Bowl. He also was named an All-American following the 1940 college football season.

His football talent earned him a spot in the National Football League when he was drafted with the 15th pick in the 1941 NFL Draft. Despite being drafted into the NFL, Goodreault entered the Navy and fought in World War II.

Posted on Friday, July 16th, 2010
Under: Orinda, Sports | No Comments »

Parcel tax math

There are always dangers when a liberal arts major starts playing around with numbers, but I decided to do just that today. You’ve been warned.

During the property transfer tax debate, many Lafayette residents, opposed to the idea of a tax passing with just a simple majority, suggested the city should look again at a parcel tax.

Parcel taxes in 2006 and 2007 failed to clear the two-thirds voter majority threshold, but some residents suggested if the city sought a lower parcel tax they may be successful this time around.

Which of course, begs the question, how much could a parcel tax really bring the city of Lafayette? That’s where the math comes in.

I fired up the ol’ Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and recreated the table you can find on page 17 of this city document, which details what the city’s road and drain repair budget looks like projected out to fiscal year 2019-2020 under the current funding mechanism.

Then I added another column that allowed me to enter various levels of parcel tax revenue and see how that affected the overall budget picture.

Some assumptions, first. There are 8,753 taxable parcels in the city of Lafayette, according to the county assessor’s office. So the calculations assume there’s no senior exemption and all of those parcels are subject to the tax. Also, the numbers assume the entire parcel tax would be used for road and drain repairs. Finally, the parcel tax numbers start rolling in during fiscal year 2011-2012 under the assumption that the council can’t go back in time and put a parcel tax measure on the ballot for the current fiscal year.

So how much would you need? If you wanted to eliminate the repair backlog by 2020, you would need to set the parcel tax at $143, just slightly lower than the parcel tax that failed in 2007.

What if, to increase your chances of getting the thing passed, you lowered the tax level? A parcel tax of $100 would bring the backlog down to $3.8 million by 2020, about 25 percent of the current total backlog of $15.3 million

Need to go even lower? A parcel tax of $75 would bring the backlog to $6.1 million, about 40 percent of the current total.

Whether or not the council wants to try this route again after so many failures is up in the air. But if they want to get the roads fixed by something close to the end of this decade, it’s clear they would have to ask for an annual parcel tax well above $100, and probably close to the $150 they asked for unsuccessfully in 2007.

You can take a look at the numbers here: Lafayette road repair parcel tax worksheet

Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Roads | 1 Comment »

“Mrs. Warren’s Profession” at Cal Shakes

California Shakespeare Theater, more commonly known as Cal Shakes, is currently performing the play “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” written by George Bernard Shaw. Timothy Near, who directed “Uncle Vanya” at Cal Shakes in 2008, is directing the play.

 The play will be performed six days per week through August 1. There are nightly performances Tuesday through Saturday of each week with matinee performances on Sundays. For a full calendar of dates and times of performances, visit the Cal Shakes website.

Tickets cost $34-70 and can be purchased online. Cal Shakes is located at 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way in Orinda, just off of the Wilder Road exit.

Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Under: Orinda | No Comments »