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Archive for June, 2011

Rancho Laguna playgrounds gone

After reviewing the playgrounds at Rancho Laguna Park in Moraga, Parks and Recreation Director Jay Ingram determined that they may no longer be safe for kids to play on.

He had the Municipal Pooling Authority come to inspect the playgrounds. The MPA determined that the playgrounds were in fact unsafe.

The wooden playgrounds, which were installed in the 1980s, were removed by the Town of Moraga shortly after the inspection.

The town plans to replace the old wooden playgrounds with new plastic and steel playgrounds by June 2012. A committee has been formed to raise $100,000 for their construction.

Posted on Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Moraga, Lafayette police look for possible assault suspect

From Moraga police:

This morning at approx. 10:30 a.m. a 12-yr.-old boy walking home on Camino Pablo observed an 11-yr.-old female juvenile being pinned against a fence on the pathway between Camino Pablo and Kazar Court by a 20-yr.-old white male adult. The 11-yr.-old female was described as having brown shoulder length hair, and was wearing an orange tie-dye t-shirt and reddish shorts. The female had two dogs on a leash with her. The male was described as having brown hair, brown goatee and was wearing a dark plaid jacket and gray pants. An extensive area check was conducted by the Moraga Police Department, and the Lafayette Police Department. Neither the female, nor the male was located. Anyone with information is asked to call the Moraga Police Department at (925) 284-5010.

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Posted on Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Under: Crime, Moraga | No Comments »

Red, White and Blues Festival

On Friday, July 1, the nonprofit group Generation Green has organized Moraga’s First Annual Red, White and Blues Festival. The event will take place from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Hacienda de las Flores, 2100 Donald Drive.

Tickets are $25 if purchased online in advance or $35 at the door.

Admission to the event includes a wine glass and wine tasting coupons to be used at the six featured wineries in attendance. Appetizers and live music will also be available throughout the night.

For more information on the event or the nonprofit group behind the event, visit Generation Green’s website at

Posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
Under: Moraga, Music | No Comments »

Surprise! Orinda’s roads still among region’s worst

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission came out with its annual assessment of Bay Area roads, and once again, Orinda streets rank among the worst.

The MTC rates roads on a 0-100 scale called the Pavement Condition Index, or PCI. Orinda’s average PCI for 2010 was 49, putting the city’s streets in the “poor” category.

Lafayette’s PCI is 72. Moraga’s is 58.

You can read the MTC’s full report and see PCI ratings for other Bay Area cities here.

Posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
Under: Orinda, Roads | No Comments »

Saint Mary’s summer teaching seminar this week

It may be real short notice, but Saint Mary’s College offers this seminar for K-12 teachers Thursday at the college. To learn more about it, read here:

Saint Mary’s Summer Institute for teachers Thursday
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 06/22/2011 12:33:45 PM PDT

MORAGA — Saint Mary’s College will hold its second annual Summer Leadership Institute For K-12 Educators Thursday, June 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Soda Center on the Moraga college campus.

“Transforming Ourselves & Our Schools: Achieving Results In Difficult Times” is the focus of the academic seminar hosted by the Saint Mary’s Kalmanovitz School of Education. An important aspect will be discussion of how educators can continue to meet the academic needs of California’s K-12 students despite increasing financial restraints.

Discussions will include leaders such as Gordon Jackson, assistant superintendent for California’s Department of Education; motivational speaker Darrell “Coach D” Andrews, author of several books, including “Believing The HYPE-Seven Keys To Motivating Students of Color;” award-winning educator T.C. Roekle, author of “Designing Thriving Schools;” and the recently appointed new Dean of the Kalmanovitz School of Education Phyllis Metcalf-Turner.

The cost is $50 for the general public and $25 for Saint Mary’s students, staff and faculty. The fee includes continental breakfast, lunch and materials. For more information, visit the event website or call 925-631-4700 or contact professors Kathy Perez, 925-631-4506 ( or Rebecca Proehl, 925-631.4994 (

Posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

New Rheem Theatre anniversary celebration

The New Rheem Theatre will be celebrating its first anniversary this Saturday, June 25.

At 3:00 p.m., the movie “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” will be shown. Actor Zachary Gordon from the movie will be in attendance. There will also be a variety of games set up for children. Tickets are $8.

At 6:00 p.m., the movie “The Majestic” will be shown. Writer Michael Sloane will be in attendance. Tickets for this showing are $25. All proceeds from the event will go directly toward the theater upgrading their sound system.

For more information about the event, visit the New Rheem Theatre’s website.

Posted on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
Under: Moraga | No Comments »

Orinda school board changes meeting time

Orinda Union School District board meetings will start a little bit later next school year. The board on Monday agreed to move their meeting time from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in an effort to make the meetings more accessible to the community.

In the past, some residents had complained the 4 p.m. start time was too early for many community members to attend.

The board considered starting meetings as late as 7 p.m., but Superintendent Joe Jaconette cautioned that the need to avoid having meetings run into the early hours of the next morning could result in fewer items placed on each agenda.

Trustees also considered moving the meeting day from Monday to Thursday in order to give members of the public more than just the weekend to read staff reports and contact the district with questions if they have them. State law requires agendas to be posted 72 hours in advance — Friday afternoon for a Monday meeting. Staff reports (and any other meeting documents) do not have to be made publicly available until they are given to board members, although agencies typically release them along with the agenda.

The agenda for a Thursday meeting would need to be posted on Monday afternoon, and some board members worried it could be difficult for staff to have meeting documents ready that early in the week.

Posted on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
Under: Orinda, Schools | No Comments »

The summer heat is here

The heat is here, but it may not stay too long. While tomorrow is expected to be in the high 80s and may reach into the 90s again like it did today, the cooling down process is expected to start on Wednesday.

The current forecast for Wednesday shows the high at 84 degrees with the high dropping to 78 degrees on Thursday.

After that, the next six days (Friday-Wednesday), are expected to be full of nice, comfortable mid-70s days.

Summer is definitely here. Let’s hope it stays comfortable and that we can avoid triple digits for as long as possible.

Posted on Monday, June 20th, 2011
Under: Lamorinda | No Comments »

The week ahead: June 20 through June 24

calendar.jpgUPDATE: see below.

Continuing in my series of sporadic blog series, here’s what your local governments are doing this week:

Orinda Union School District Board of Trustees: 4 p.m. Monday, district office conference room, 8 Altarinda Road, Orinda

  • They’ll approve their 2011-12 budget and ratify a tentative bargaining agreement with the Orinda Education Association, but the big-ticket item is a discussion at the end of the meeting about the request from some parents to investigate the learning environment at Wagner Ranch Elementary School. Board packet here.

Orinda City Council: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Orinda Library auditorium, 26 Orinda Way, Orinda

  • Council members will take one last look at the 2011-13 biennial budget, which is balanced but includes nearly $90,000 over the two years in reductions “to be negotiated” with the city’s bargaining units. The city has asked its employees, the bulk of whom are represented by the Teamsters, to make concessions to help close a budget deficit. The employees say they are willing to make concessions in exchange for no layoffs, but the city’s budget includes the elimination of a planning position. The council will also do their annual review of the Wilder project. Agenda and staff reports here.

Moraga Town Council: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School auditorium, 1010 Camino Pablo, Moraga

  • The council will honor James Rueb of the Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church and approve its 2011-12 budget, which is balanced. Agenda and staff reports here.

Lafayette School District Governing Board: 7 p.m. Wednesday (6 p.m. closed session), Stanley Middle School library, 3455 School Street, Lafayette

  • Some good budget news: the board will consider reinstating some of the cuts it has made over the past three years, including six teacher furlough days. The 2011-12 budget and an agreement with Solar Monkey to install solar panels at Happy Valley Elementary School are also on the agenda.

Acalanes Union High School Governing Board: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, district offices, 1212 Pleasant Hill Road, Lafayette

  • Agenda hasn’t been posted on the district’s website yet,┬ábut I imagine it will include budget stuff.Had the meeting date wrong on my calendar. The AUHSD board will not meet until June 29.

Lafayette School District Governing Board and Lafayette City Council (joint meeting): 6 p.m. Thursday, Lafayette Elementary School library, 950 Moraga Road, Lafayette

  • The council and board will discuss items of mutual interest, including ways to reduce traffic congestion around schools and opportunities to improve student behavior at the library.

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

California redistricting maps released

Times Political Editor Lisa Vorderbrueggen had a pair of great articles this weekend about the redistricting process for Congressional, state Senate and state Assembly districts. For the first time, the nonpartisan California Citizens Redistricting Commission, and not politicians, are redrawing the lines. The first draft of the new maps were released earlier this month.

The first article, highlighting some of the major changes in the East Bay, isn’t online for some reason, but here’s the part of the story that talks about the changes for the Lamorinda area:

Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda would no longer share and Assembly member with Berkeley (Nancy Skinner), but instead merge with a San Ramon Valley district held by Democrat Joan Buchanan. The cities will also swap Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, for Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez.


Orinda Councilwoman Amy Worth, who helped successfully fight a move in 2001 to place Lamorinda in the district of then-GOP Rep. Richard Pombo, of Tracy, is satisfied.

“Miller is (a) great advocate for education, and he is one of the most senior members of Congress,” Worth said. “I believe the Bay Area delegation will continue to work together as they always have.”

A shame Garamendi’s district could get completely reshaped just months after he got better known.┬áLamorinda would retain its state senator, Mark Desaulnier.

The second story, online here, details redistricting’s effect on the state’s complicated odd-even election pattern for state Senate districts.

And here are the relevant maps:

New Lamorinda state Assembly district

New Lamorinda state Senate district

New Lamorinda Congressional district

And just for reference, here is a map of the current 10th Congressional District. I remember as a young politics major at Saint Mary’s working briefly as an intern for then-Rep. Ellen Taucher, who represented The Fightin’ 10th, and hearing the district decribed as a Rorchach test gone wrong. The new map, which links Lamorinda not with Livermore and Fairfield but instead with Concord and San Ramon, certainly seems to make more sense. What do you think?

Posted on Monday, June 20th, 2011
Under: Lafayette, Lamorinda, Moraga, Orinda | No Comments »