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Author: Richard Colman

Plans For Low-Income Housing May Violate California’s Constitution

Plans For Low-Income Housing May Violate California’s Constitution

State of California and Bay Area regional governmental agencies’ plans to force local communities to construct low-income housing may be violating California’s Constitution. In November 1950, California’s voters passed Proposition 10, which prohibits any public body in the state from authorizing a low-rent housing project unless voters in an affected community approve the project. Proposition 10 was presented to voters as an amendment to California’s Constitution.  The amendment is now known as Article 34 of the state’s Constitution. Specifically, Article…

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Big Money Pays Off

Big Money Pays Off

Candidates who received the most money for the Orinda City Council’s November 2018 election all won. According to the Orinda City Clerk’s office, three candidates — Amy Worth, Nick Kosla, and Dennis Fay — collectively brought in $57,241.  That total, when added to money from Orindans for a Better Downtown (OBD), came to $61,640. OBD was a special group that supported Worth, Kosla, and Fay. The total of $61,640 represents 88.6 percent of all city-council campaign monetary contributions. For all…

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California is All Wrong on New Housing

California is All Wrong on New Housing

The target is 3.5 million new California homes by 2025.  That’s what California’s new Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom wants to see in the Golden State. When it comes to housing, Newsom has things backwards. Instead of encouraging the construction of new housing, Newsom should give people who live in California — or may at some future time want to live in California — an incentive to leave the state or never try to enter. Newsom should be following the plans…

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Orinda’s High-Quality Schools Imperiled

Orinda’s High-Quality Schools Imperiled

Imperious and remote forces are placing the quality of Orinda’s schools in jeopardy. While the Orinda Union School District (OUSD) is in the top one percent of public school districts in California, the State of California is planning to bring demographic changes to Orinda.  These changes, if carried out, could lower educational quality. The one percent figure that rates the quality of Orinda’s school comes from the 2017-2018 annual report of the Educational Foundation of Orinda.  The foundation helps provide…

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Regional Governmental Agencies Usurp Control of Local Communities

Regional Governmental Agencies Usurp Control of Local Communities

Unelected regional governmental bodies have decided to seek control over land use and other policies now governed by local communities. In December 2018, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted to have a 21-member steering committee support the Casa Compact, which is designed to ameliorate the shortage of housing in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. MTC is a regional governmental agency involved in transportation planning. The Casa Compact, which is also known as the Committee to House the Bay Area,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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