Browsed by
Author: Richard Colman

Big Money Influences Orinda City Council Races

Big Money Influences Orinda City Council Races

Mountains of cash helped influence the results of the November 2018 races for the Orinda City Council. For the city-council races, the table below shows how much money each candidate received between September 23, 2018, and October 20. 2018. The election may mean the return of Orinda’s traditional oligarchs to policy-making by the city council. Five candidates ran for three city council seats.  The winners were Amy Worth, Dennis Fay, and Nick Kosla.  The losers were Eve Phillips and Kathleen…

Read More Read More

EDITORIAL: Free Fall in Orinda

EDITORIAL: Free Fall in Orinda

The City of Orinda is facing decline. Orinda, perhaps the nicest place anywhere to live, has gone from a community of 5,000 in 1960 to over 19,000 today.  While Orinda’s schools are still excellent, educational quality is likely to decline severely once more residences —  most likely high-rise, high-density residences — are built and more pupils arrive in a city that has no more classroom space. During the evening rush hour in Orinda, driving one mile from the city’s BART…

Read More Read More

Taxes, Fees & Prices Rise

Taxes, Fees & Prices Rise

Since the autumn of 2017, prices, taxes, and fees have risen — sometimes sharply — in Orinda (and elsewhere). On Nov. 1, 2017, the State of California raised taxes on gasoline by 12 cents a gallon.  Fees for vehicle registration also went up.  The new taxes and fees are designed to raise $52.4 billion for the repair and maintenance of the state’s roads, bridges, and freeways. In March 2018, the fees Orindans pay for garbage collection went up by 9.8…

Read More Read More

Housing, Overpopulation, & Taxes

Housing, Overpopulation, & Taxes

Anecdotal evidence coming from Silicon Valley goes like this:  A family earning $300,000 a year may not be able to obtain a loan for a house. Silicon Valley, which is about 40 miles south of San Francisco, is the home of many high-technology companies such as Apple, Facebook, Intel, and Google. An internet search shows that the Silicon Valley has a population between 3.5 million and 4 million. Homes in Silicon Valley often cost $2 million or more.  A 20…

Read More Read More

Orinda: Going, Going, Gone?

Orinda: Going, Going, Gone?

Demands by the State of California on Orinda are seriously jeopardizing the desirability of living in Orinda. Essentially, the state, for years, has been usurping Orinda’s ability to control the city’s destiny. The state’s attack has been especially obnoxious.  Orinda’s schools, its semi-rural environment, and its open spaces are in jeopardy. Two state-mandated programs are depriving Orinda of local control. One program is the Housing Element.  According the website of the California Department of Housing and Community Development, “Since 1969,…

Read More Read More

Development Proposed for Large Orinda Valley

Development Proposed for Large Orinda Valley

An engineering firm has outlined a proposal for the development of housing in Southwood Valley, a large, natural area in the midst of Orinda. The Southwood plan might not comply with Orinda’s General Plan.  Each city in California is required to have a General Plan, which is a document covering a city’s governance, especially in the area of land use. At a meeting at the Orinda Public Library on April 16, 2018, Design Resources, an engineering firm in Walnut Creek,…

Read More Read More

The State Wants More Control Over Orinda

The State Wants More Control Over Orinda

The State of California wants to dictate more land-use policies to Orinda and elsewhere. Additional state mandates for Orinda (and other cities) go beyond a recent plan to require high-rise, high-density housing in transit-rich areas. In February 2018, the Orinda City Council supported the sending of a letter by Amy Worth, a member of the Orinda City Council and the city’s current mayor, to State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). The letter stated that the City of Orinda opposes State…

Read More Read More

Housing & the Free Market

Housing & the Free Market

Economically, everything appears to be getting worse in Northern California.  The same situation may also exist in Southern California.  Housing in Northern California is drastically overpriced.  Try finding a decent home for less than $1 million or $2 million (or more).  Taxes are high.  California leads the nation in the sales tax, the gasoline tax, and the top-bracket of the state’s personal income tax (13.3 percent).  The freeways are jammed in Northern California.  There is limited parking, assuming one can…

Read More Read More

Orinda Opposes State Land Grab

Orinda Opposes State Land Grab

A land grab of local communities’ territories by the State of California has drawn the opposition of the Orinda City Council. On February 23, 2018, Amy Worth, a member of the city council and the city’s current mayor, wrote that the City of Orinda opposes State Senate Bill 827 (SB 827), which, if enacted, would seize control of a local community’s land near transit stops. Specifically, SB 827 would give the State of California control over a given city’s land…

Read More Read More

Garbage Rates Soar in Orinda

Garbage Rates Soar in Orinda

Garbage-collection rates in Orinda soared 9.75 percent between March 2017 and March 2018. A typical garbage bill that was $114.09 in March 2017 went to $126.22 in March 2018.  Garbage bills cover a three-month period. Between March 2007 and March 2018, garbage rates in Orinda increased 90 percent.  During this interval, bills went from $66.00 to $126.22. Recycle Smart is the company that provides solid waste services for Central Contra Costa County residents and businesses.  The company serves Orinda, Lafayette,…

Read More Read More