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Archive for January, 2011

High school basketball and soccer from Friday

The Acalanes boys basketball team knocked off rival Campolindo, 57-51, Friday night. Miramonte won their DFAL game against Dougherty Valley, 56-48.

The Campolindo girls basketball team dominated their game against Acalanes, winning by a score of 61-44. Miramonte lost a close game to Dougherty Valley, 49-45.

In boys soccer, Campolindo tied their game with Las Lomas, 2-2, while Miramonte lost to Dublin, 2-1. Acalanes won their game today, 1-0, over San Ramon Valley.

On the girls side in soccer, Campolindo continued their winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Las Lomas. The Miramonte girls played to a scoreless draw with Dublin. The Acalanes girls beat Deer Valley, 3-1, in a nonleague game.

Posted on Saturday, January 8th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

Earthquake shakes the area

Many Lamorinda residents received a little shake Friday, as an earthquake shook the area around 4:10 p.m. The earthquake registered a magnitude of 4.1 and was centered about 10 miles south of Mount Hamilton.

Following the 4.1-magnitude earthquake, a series of smaller earthquakes also happened, although few of these were felt in the Lamorinda area. The smaller earthquakes registered magnitudes of 2.6, 2.1, 1.4 and 1.1.

There have been no reports of injuries or damage caused by Friday’s earthquakes. There is not typically damage caused by earthquakes this size.

Posted on Friday, January 7th, 2011
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

Lafayette’s redevelopment agency could get ax under Gov. Brown’s budget

My colleague Katherine Tam wrote a story about East Bay cities bracing for the possible elimination of their redevelopment agencies when Gov. Jerry Brown releases his budget next week.

I checked in with Lafayette City Manager Steven Falk and Administrative Services Director Tracy Robinson earlier this week, but their comments didn’t make the cut for the regional story. So I’ll highlight some of them here.

Let’s start with Falk, who’s always ready with a good quote:

“California’s biggest problem is unemployment, and redevelopment is California’s best tool to deliver new jobs, so this proposal makes no sense whatsoever. To me its akin to a fisherman who is so hungry that he eats his bait.”

And here’s Robinson:

“Obviously the easy answer is we wouldn’t be able to do any more redevelopment projects, for example, anything identified for the downtown plan. But most of our money at this point is already committed to debt service, and as you know, we already said that for the next couple of years all of the revenue that would be projected to be coming into the redevelopment agency would be needed to pay down debt. So in that sense, I’m not sure, I would assume that Jerry Brown is not going to tell all the bond holders, ‘Too bad for you, you’re not going to get your money back.’ I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I would assume that would be bad.”

Here are the numbers: The city expected to get about $67 million dollars, maybe a little less due to the economic downturn, over the life of the redevelopment agency, Robinson said.

For fiscal year 2010-11, the city projects it will receive about $2.9 million in revenue from the redevelopment agency, nearly $900,000 of that slated for affordable housing projects.

The agency has three outstanding bond series: $5,585,000 for the veterans hall in 2002, $11,680,000 for the library in 2005 and $9,600,000 for the library in 2008 (those numbers are the original amount of the bonds and do not factor in payments the city has made or interest accrued). The city will make about $1.7 million in bond payments in 2010-11.

The redevelopment agency also has a number of outstanding loans. As of June 30, 2011:

  • $515,355 to the city’s parking fund
  • $5,447,093 to the city’s general fund
  • $13,591,135 to the library foundation

And lastly, here’s how redevelopment agencies work: Redevelopment agencies allow cities to invest a portion of property tax revenue from within the agency area back into that same area, theoretically raising property values, and tax revenues, as blight is eliminated.

How does the city get the money? When a city establishes a redevelopment agency, the amount of property tax from properties within the redevelopment area that is sent to other agencies is capped for the life of the agency. The difference between that amount and the actual property tax collected is sent back to the city and called the “tax increment.” The money can only be used on projects within the redevelopment area.

Lafayette has used redevelopment funds to help build the new library and veterans’ hall, and plans to use the funds for improvements that are penciled out in the still-being-drafted Downtown Specific Plan.

If you’re Jonesing for some more RDA info, you can check out the homepage of the California Redevelopment Association.

Posted on Friday, January 7th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | 1 Comment »

Don Tatzin gets spot on LAFCO

Lafayette Councilman Don Tatzin has won a seat on the Contra Costa County Local Agency Formation Commission. Tatzin has been on the council since 1985 and for the past decade has been the Contra Costa Mayors Conference’s alternate to LAFCO.

Here’s the post from Times’ political editor Lisa Vorderbrueggen:

Lafayette Councilman Don Tatzin won the hotly contested fight earlier tonight for an appointment to a powerful county agency charged with overseeing orderly growth and discouraging suburban sprawl.

The Contra Costa Mayors Conference, in an 11-8 vote, chose Tatzin over Oakley Mayor Jim Frazier as one of its two appointees to the Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO.

Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor and Richmond Councilman Tom Butt withdrew their names after it became clear neither had the votes to win. Taylor supported Frazier, while Butt threw his support behind Tatzin.

Each city has one vote and the outcome split largely on geographic lines, with most of west and central Contra Costa cities lining up behind Tatzin, while East County cities preferred Frazier. The Oakley mayor also earned votes from Concord,Danville and San Ramon.

Tatzin, who has served as the conference’s alternate on LAFCO for the past decade, is known as an even-keeled, smart and conscientious public servant, but privately, some mayors said they thought he was too laid back. They want a firm advocate on the countywide board.

But Tatzin and his advocates lobbied hard on his behalf in the past month, and it worked.
The 26-year local government veteran and attorney also delivered a strong and succinct two-minute message during his statement  to the mayors.

He particularly appealed to this group’s strong focus on local control, telling them that he believes it is LAFCO’s job to celebrate and preserve community diversity, and “facilitate change, not initiate change.”

The Mayors Conference will fill Tatzin’s alternate seat in March. Butt and Taylor have both indicated they will apply for the seat.

Posted on Friday, January 7th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

Orinda crime statistics for December

The Orinda Police Department made 14 total arrests during the month of December. Seven alcohol-related arrests consisted of five for driving under the influence and two for drunk in public. Two arrests were made for possession of drugs, and three arrests were made based on previous warrants. There was also one arrest each for stealing a vehicle and for possessing counterfeit bills.

Three vehicles were reported stolen, and three stolen vehicles were recovered in December. There was also one report for each of the following crimes: commercial burglary, residential burglary and petty theft from a vehicle.

Police also responded to 99 false residential alarms during the month.

Posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2011
Under: Crime, Orinda | No Comments »

Saint Mary’s to bid for 2012 presidential debate

nixon kennedy debateSaint Mary’s College is making a run at one of the biggest political stages there is: a presidential debate.

The college is preparing a bid to host one of the four debates to be held during the 2012 presidential election.

The debates are organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, and you can take a look here at their criteria for hosting one of the events.

A producer with the debates — they are a television event, after all — toured the campus recently and seemed to think Saint Mary’s would be a feasible site, said Michael Beseda, the college’s vice president for communication.

McKeon Pavilion, the school’s main gym, would be the debate hall. The college would likely set up a tent on the adjacent athletic practice field to accommodate media.

Both Beseda and Director of Community and Government Relations Tim Farley said the reaction from local officials to whom they have spoken has been very supportive.

And, according to Farley, Mayor Karen Mendonca plans to mention the college’s bid at the Contra Costa Mayor’s Conference meeting tonight to begin drumming up support in the broader community.

Saint Mary’s hosted a senatorial debate between Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina this fall.

The CDP organizes debates during the general election, three for presidential candidates and one for vice presidential candidates. The billions and billions of other debates we see during the primary season are usually at least partly sponsored by media outlets.

In 2008, the presidential debates were held at the University of Mississippi, Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., and Hofstra University just outside New York City. The vice presidential debate was held at Washington University in St. Louis.

The college must submit its bid by March 31.

Posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2011
Under: Moraga | 1 Comment »

DFAL basketball tips off

Miramonte earned the only Lamorinda win in the DFAL’s opening night on the boys side by beating Acalanes, 62-60. The Matadors improve to 6-7 overall, and the Dons fall to 7-7 overall.

Despite a strong fourth quarter push, the Campolindo boys fell to Dougherty Valley, 61-59. The Cougars drop to 9-5 overall.

On the girls side, the Miramonte-Acalanes match-up was a highly anticipated one with both teams entering the game with 11-1 records. The Matadors dominated the game from start to finish though, winning, 84-57.

The Campolindo girls stayed close with Dougherty Valley through halftime, but the Cougars couldn’t keep up in the second half, losing, 71-52. They drop to 11-3 overall.

Posted on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Schools, Sports | No Comments »

Duson is Lafayette’s Business Person of the Year

Larry Duson has been announced as the Lafayette Business Person of the Year by the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.

Duson currently serves as the Branch Manager of the Bank of the West in Lafayette and has held the position for over 10 years. Duson has also served as the president of the Chamber of Commerce twice and as the president of the Lafayette Rotary Club.

Duson will be honored at the Chamber of Commerce’s meeting and dinner event on Friday, Jan. 28, at the Lafayette Park Hotel.

A flyer and registration form for the dinner is available on the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce’s website.

Posted on Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »

MOFD called for fire, find burnt Christmas tree

The Moraga-Orinda Fire District  and Moraga Police Department responded to calls of a fire in the backyard of a home on Corte Azul, off of Paseo Grande. The fire was called in when people using the Campolindo turf field saw large flames shooting up in the neighboring yard.

Responding officials from the MOFD determined that the cause of the fire was that the resident of the home was burning his Christmas tree using an accelerant. Other responding trucks were called off by the first-arriving truck.

Smoke and small debris blew over from the neighbor’s yard into the air at the  Campolindo turf field.

Posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2011
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Moraga Community Chorus looking for singers

The Moraga Community Chorus is currently looking for additional singers to take part in the chorus for its spring program. The public is welcome to join the chorus, and no audition is required.

The rehearsals begin this Tuesday, Jan. 4, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. All of their rehearsals take place at the clubhouse at Miramonte Gardens. The clubhouse is located at 1 Miramonte Way in Moraga.

After a few months of rehearsals, the chorus will perform shows throughout the community at a variety of events.

For more information on joining the Moraga Community Chorus, call Tom Marnane at 925-376-6312 or Fred Lezak at 925-376-9468.

Posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2011
Under: Moraga, Music | No Comments »