Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for April, 2011

2010 Public employee salary database online

Want to know how Bay Area public agencies spent $15 billion in your tax dollars last year? Now you can.

Bay Area News Group’s annual public employee salary database is now live, allowing you to see for yourself how much government agencies spent on hundreds of thousands employees during 2010.

And for the first time, you can see a full accounting of that money, including salaries, pensions, insurance costs and deferred compensation.

We also have data available from 2008-2010, each year after the Supreme Court ruled that public employee compensation is public record.

Bay Area News Group sent more than 500 public records requests to government agencies throughout the Bay Area. You can see salary information from the 255 agencies that have responded to those requests here.

For the others, you can now check the status of our request here. If an agency is listed as “pending,” that means it has responded to our request but the data is not available yet (for example, the agency has told us on what date it will send the information or sent it in a format that could not be uploaded to the database).

Salary information from the cities of Lafayette and Orinda, the Moraga-Orinda Fire District and the Moraga School District is available. Data from the town of Moraga and the Acalanes and Lafayette school districts are pending.

Then there are those entities that have not responded to our requests or simply won’t provide the data. The Orinda Union School District is one of them. You’ll find a “no reply” status next to them in our database. We’ve sent multiple e-mails asking for salary information, to which we have received no response.

This is your money. You have a right to know how its being spent. So we’re asking for your help. If there is an agency for which you would like to see salary information but has not responded to our public records requests, we’re providing an email address to which you can send your own request asking them to release the data. For the Orinda school district, contact Superintendent Joe Jaconnette.

For more on public salaries and benefits, here’s an article by Thomas Peele, Daniel Willis and John Woolfolk about how many part-time public employees receive full-time health insurance and others are required to take cash payouts even if they decline coverage.

If you have any questions about the project, omissions from the Request Status database, requests for entities you would like us to prioritize and news tips about the contents of the salary database, send an e-mail to

And for updates, follow @PublicSalaries on Twitter.

Posted on Monday, April 25th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda, Schools | No Comments »

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from the Lamorinda Sun blog!

With the forecast and the skies showing a sunny day, it should be great weather for all of the Easter picnics and events going on around Lamorinda.

If you are driving around the Bay Area for your Easter celebration, check for constantly updated traffic reports and to find the quickest route to where you are going.

Drive safe and enjoy your Easter celebration!

Posted on Sunday, April 24th, 2011
Under: Lamorinda | 1 Comment »

Local movie debuts Friday

The film, too perfect, with a major Lamorinda influence will make its debut at the Orinda Theater this Friday, April 29, at 7:00 p.m. There will be two additional screenings at the Orinda Theater on Sunday, May 1, at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 pm. All screenings include a Q&A session with the cast and cost $10.

The film was written, produced and directed by Orinda-based movie producer Julie Rubio and stars students from Orinda Intermediate School and Miramonte High School. The movie was shot throughout the Lamorinda area.

On Friday, May 6, at 7:00 p.m., there will be a special screening at Miramonte High School where 25% of the proceeds will be donated to the school.

Posted on Saturday, April 23rd, 2011
Under: Orinda | No Comments »

Time for a “Taste of Lafayette”

One of the more popular events in Lafayette, “Taste of Lafayette,” is returning on Tuesday, May 17, for its ninth consecutive year.

“Taste of Lafayette” is a tour of many of Lafayette’s restaurants, giving tour-goers a taste of the food at each location.

The event begins in Lafayette’s Plaza Park at 5:30 p.m. for live music and wine. Participants can then either walk down Restaurant Row or board the shuttle. With 15-20 restaurants participating, there are a lot of stops. After the tour, coffee and dessert will be available in Plaza Park.

Tickets for the tour are $45 with proceeds benefiting the Lafayette Community Foundation and the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce’s website.

Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Restaurants | No Comments »

Burglaries on the rise in Orinda

Got an email this morning from the Orinda Police Department saying daytime burglaries are on the rise. Police believe the burglars are watching residents leave their house or posing as maintenance or service workers to determine if anyone is home before entering.

Police are asking residents to be aware of unfamiliar vehicles on the street, unexpected people knocking on your or your neighbor’s door and solicitors.

Residents should report any suspicious activity, including vehicle description, license plates and suspect description if possible, to police  dispatch at 925-284-5010.

Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2011
Under: Crime, Orinda | No Comments »

Presidential debate team visits SMC

My colleague Lisa Vorgerbrueggn reports that presidential debate organizers have made two trips to Saint Mary’s College, which is hoping to host a debate in 2012.

You can read the details on her blog.

Posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2011
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Springhill having a Fiesta & Auction

The Springhill Elementary School’s Parent Faculty Club will be hosting their Fiesta & Auction on Saturday, May 7, from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.

The event, which is set up to raise money for the school, will be full of “Margaritas, Mariachi, and Mexican cuisine,” according to the event flyer. There will be an auction featuring a wide variety of donated items.

Tickets for the event can be purchased any time online. Single tickets are $75, and couple tickets are $150.

The event will take place at the Sammann Barn, 25 Cosco Ct. in Lafayette. There will be parking available at the nearby Happy Valley Elementary School.

For more information, visit the Springhill Parent Faculty Club website at

Posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Schools | No Comments »

Earth Day in Lafayette

Lafayette will be hosting an Earth Day Celebration this Saturday, April 23, which is free and open to the public.

From 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., elementary school students can participate in a bicycle course at Stanley Middle School that will focus on bike safety.

From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Lafayette’s Plaza Way will become “Eco-Way,” which will be home to a variety of booths of different environmental groups in the area. There will also be gardening demonstrations.

From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., visitors will be able to purchase organic lunches and enjoy live music and other activities in Plaza Park.

For more information, visit

Posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | 1 Comment »

Website, theater to hold fundraiser for schools

rheem, a local resource and social networking site, will hold a fundraiser for areas schools at their launch party Thursday night.

The New Rheem Theatre is sponsoring the launch party and will provide refreshments. In addition to raising money for schools, the event will celebrate the launch of LamorindaWeb and showcase the theater’s new food, beer and wine service.

The launch party will take place from 5:30-7 p.m., followed by a special screening of “Race to Nowhere” and a question and answer session with director Vicki Abeles.

Movie tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors, with half of the proceeds benefiting the Lafayette Partners in Education, the Education Foundation of Orinda and the Moraga Education Foundation. Prizes will be raffled off, with tickets $5 apiece and all proceeds going to the foundations.

For more information or to RSVP, visit

The theater is located at 500 Park Street in Moraga.

Posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda, Schools | No Comments »

Lafayette says 315-unit apartment complex application incomplete

Lafayette has told the developers of a proposed 315-unit apartment complex at what is commonly known as the “Christmas tree lot” that their application is incomplete.

The proposal, called the Terraces of Lafayette, would scatter the apartment units throughout 14 buildings on a roughly 22-acre hillside property at Deer Hill Road and Pleasant Hill Road.

The city sent a letter yesterday to the developer saying it needs more information before it can process the application, including additional maps and revised site plans, a photo and visual analysis, and a traffic impact study.

You can read the letter here: Terraces Application Determination. You can learn more about the project and see the plans here.

UPDATE: Susan Stafford, a spokeswoman for Terraces of Lafayette, commented via email, “We are carefully reviewing the City’s letter and are working on a response.”

The “Christmas Tree Lot” is owned by the Dettmer family, and is among several parcels that have been the subject of city discussions for years. Last April, the City Council agreed to “downzone” the Dettmer property from its current zoning, administrative and professional offices, to “LR-5,” a low-density designation that would mean a maximum of four single family homes would be allowed on the site.

The planning department said they have not moved forward with that project because of staff contraints and work on other, higher priority projects. As a result, the council has not yet formally approved the downzoning.

Multi-family housing, up to 35 units per acre, is allowed with a permit in “APO” zones. Once the city determines the Terraces application is complete, the zoning in place at that time applies throughout the project’s approval process, even if the council subsequently changes it.

View Larger Map

Posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
Under: Lafayette | No Comments »