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Archive for November, 2010

ELECTION UPDATE: Severson’s seat seems safe

The gap between those who appear to have won seats on the Orinda council and school board and those who have not continues to widen.

It seems safe to say Sue Severson has held onto her council seat. Her lead over challenger Scott Zeller has grown from 59 votes earlier this week to more than 400.

The school board race remains close. Tyson Krumholz’s lead over Bekki Van Voorhis-Gilbert has held (mostly) steady, dropping from 177 to 172 votes.

I just got off the phone with Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder Steve Weir, who said his office is still working through the roughly 50,000 mail ballots that were dropped off at the polls on Election Day. They’re hoping to finish that process by noon Saturday. After that, he said, they’ll have to count the “five percent of ballots that take as long as the first 95 percent.”

Here are the vote totals, updated about 4:45 p.m. Friday:

Orinda City Council

Candidate Percent Total votes
Amy Worth (i) 25.4 4,955
Dean Orr 20.1 3,952
Sue Severson (i) 20 3,903
Scott Zeller 17.9 3,486
Tom McCormick (i) 16 3,114

Orinda Union school board

Candidate Percent Total votes
Julie Rossiter 22.6 3,996
Christopher Severson 20.8 3,681
Tyson Krumholz 20.15 3,564
B. Van Voorhis-Gilbert 19.2 3,392
Sarah Butler 17.1 3,022

You can view updated vote totals for all Lamorinda and Contra Costa County races at the elections office website.

Posted on Friday, November 12th, 2010
Under: election, Orinda, Schools | 1 Comment »

Lamorinda schools fill NCS Water Polo Championships

In the NCS Boys Division 1 Water Polo Championships, Miramonte and Acalanes will face off Saturday in the title game. Acalanes, the number one seed, beat De La Salle, 4-1, in one semifinal, while Miramonte, the second seed, beat San Ramon Valley, 12-7, in the other. The Campolindo boys lost in the Division 2 semifinals Thursday night to Alhambra, 13-8.

In the NCS Girls Divison 2 Water Polo Championships, second-seeded Campolindo will face the fourth seed, Acalanes, in the final on Saturday. Acalanes knocked off the top-seed, Las Lomas, 6-2, in one semifinal, as Campolindo won, 8-6, over Marin Catholic in the other.

The Girls Division 2 final will be at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, and the Boys Division 1 final will be at 5:30 p.m. Both games will be at the Soda Aquatic Center at Campolindo.

Posted on Thursday, November 11th, 2010
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

California Independent Film Festival moving to Moraga

rheem theatreAfter just one year in Orinda, the California Independent Film Festival is moving a few miles down the road to Moraga.

The festival will take place at the New Rheem Theatre between Jan. 28 and Feb. 3, CAIFF President Derek Zemrak told the Moraga Town Council on Wednesday.

CAIFF took over the Rheem Theatre earlier this year and have held a number of successful events there, including teen dances and World Cup viewings.

The festival moved to Orinda from Livermore last year.

Posted on Thursday, November 11th, 2010
Under: Moraga, Orinda | 1 Comment »

Moraga council approves Dollar Tree

This will be posted at ContraCostaTimes.com tomorrow morning and updated later in the day:

MORAGA — Despite substantial public opposition, the Town Council on Wednesday night gave the go-ahead for a Dollar Tree in the Rheem shopping center.

The council voted 4-1 to uphold the Planning Commission’s conditional approval and at the same time deny a residents’ group’s appeal of that approval.

The residents group argued Dollar Tree’s products and working conditions presented a health and safety hazard and the store’s presence in Moraga would negatively impact neighboring businesses and residential property values.

Council members said they understood the concerns but that there was no legal justification for denying the application.

Councilman Dave Trotter cast the lone no vote, saying he disagreed with the removal of a condition that would require Dollar Tree to compensate the town for any legal expenses that arose from approving the store.

Town staff felt that condition could discourage other businesses from coming to Moraga.

Posted on Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
Under: Moraga | 1 Comment »

Veterans Day memorial events

There will be a Veterans Day memorial at the Moraga Commons starting at 11:00 a.m. For more information on that memorial, read this previous post.

A Veterans Day ceremony will take place at Campolindo High School beginning at 3:00 p.m. During the ceremony, two plaques will be dedicated to former Campolindo graduates who died in combat. After the ceremony, at 4:00 p.m., a reception will take place at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Building.

On Sunday, the Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church will be honoring several veterans at its 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services, which will also be followed by receptions. Veterans will share wartime stories and mementos from their days fighting for our country.

Posted on Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

ELECTION UPDATE: Severson’s lead grows to 303

The county has just released an updated vote total, but more ballots remain uncounted. The elections office said today they do not yet know if they will have another update later in the week.

In the Orinda council race, Sue Severson has increased her lead over Scott Zeller from 59 votes to 303.

Candidate Percent Total votes
Amy Worth (i) 25.37 4,297
Dean Orr 20.17 3,415
Sue Severson (i) 19.9 3,370
Scott Zeller 18.11 2,925
Tom McCormick (i) 16.16 2,737

The gap between third and fourth place has also widened in the school board race. Tyson Krumholz now leads Bekki Van Voorhis-Gilbert by 177 votes.

Candidate Percent Total votes
Julie Rossiter 27.5 3464
Christopher Severson 20.91 3,219
Tyson Krumholz 20.15 3,102
B. Van Voorhis-Gilbert 19 2,925
Sarah Butler 17.26 2,657

The results of the other four Lamorinda races have not changed. You can view the updated totals at the elections office website.

Posted on Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
Under: election, Orinda, Schools | No Comments »

Camino Pablo’s mascot stops by

As school was getting out today at Camino Pablo Elementary School in Moraga, kids were held up in their classrooms after a bobcat was spotted on the hill above the school. Parents who were waiting for their children were also asked to come into classrooms for their safety, while parents waiting in their cars weren’t completely sure what was going on.

Moraga police came to the school and issued an “all clear” after approximately 20 minutes of no further sightings of the animal.

Perhaps the school should have welcomed the animal, as the bobcat is the school’s mascot.

Posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Under: Moraga, Schools | 1 Comment »

ELECTION UPDATE: About 5,000 vote-by-mail ballots remain uncounted in Orinda

About 5,000 uncounted v0te-by-mail ballots remain in Orinda, according to City Clerk Michele Olsen via county Clerk-Recorder Steve Weir.

And those ballots could represent as much as 60 percent of the total votes cast in both the city council and school board races. More on that later.

First, here’s how the numbers break down:

  • 6,975 vote-by-mail ballots were issued for Orinda
  • 1,953 were included in the Election Day count
  • Mandatory vote-by-mail ballots (people who live in areas for which there is no polling place) are counted as VBMs when they are issued but included in the Election Day total. Olsen said the number of mandatory VBMs in the city is small.

That means 5,022 uncounted VBMs remain, less the mandatory VBMs.

Now, here’s why it’s a big deal: Because each ballot can have as many as three votes each for city council and school board, there are as many as 15,000 votes uncounted for each race.

That, of course, assumes that everyone used all three of their votes. And that’s a big assumption.

But still, it means Sue Severson’s lead over Scott Zeller — 59 votes, or 0.6 percent — is that much slimmer.

We should be getting an update from the county on Friday, which means we may finally know then who’s on the council (and the school board).

Posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Under: election, Orinda | 2 Comments »

Lafayette closer to $500,000 in budget cuts

The Lafayette City Council asked staff to include more than $500,000 worth of budget reductions in the mid-year budget update they will see on Dec. 13, City Manager Steven Falk said this morning.

Staff made the recommendations and said they were necessary because the city’s five-year budget projections show expenditures outpacing revenues.

Following concerns, primarily from the Chamber of Commerce and business owners, about the recommendation to end city funding of downtown promotional expenses, the council created a subcommittee that will work with the chamber to come up with alternative funding sources, Falk said.

Those expenses, $80,000 annually, include the cost of banners and decorative lighting as well as police and public works support for the Reservoir Run and the Art and Wine Festival.

Posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Blood at Lafayette bank remains a mystery

Rumors have been flying around Lafayette about blood found this weekend at an ATM. Times’ public safety reporter Robert Salonga has the story here.

Posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »