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Author: Richard Colman

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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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EDITORIAL: Orinda Faces Imperialism

EDITORIAL: Orinda Faces Imperialism

To build so-called affordable housing, the State of California continues to threaten the sovereignty of local communities like Orinda. Senate Bill 827 (SB 827) in the California State Senate, if enacted, would allow the state government to grab a local community’s land near a transit hub. Specifically, SB 827 could require a local community to build high-rise, high-density housing within one-quarter mile of a frequently used bus route and within one-half mile of a train station (such as a BART…

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Taxes & Fees Rose, Often Sharply, in Orinda in 2017; Crime Up on BART

Taxes & Fees Rose, Often Sharply, in Orinda in 2017; Crime Up on BART

Orinda’s residents saw rises — in some cases sharp rises — in taxes and fees in 2017.  Almost all of the major increases were above the rate of inflation, which in 2017 was about 1.8 percent. In March 2017, garbage-collection fees went up 4.5 percent.  The average garbage bill is now $114.00.  In 2016, the average bill was $109.  Ten years ago, in 2007, the average bill was $66.  In 10 years, garbage rates have gone up 73 percent. In…

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New Fee on Orinda Business is Coming

New Fee on Orinda Business is Coming

A new mandatory fee — not called a tax — will be applied to many Orinda businesses in early 2018. The fee will be set by the Orinda City Council.  The council authorized the fee at a meeting on Nov. 21, 2017.  Voting for the fee were council members Amy Worth, Darlene Gee, and Dean Orr.  Voting against the fee was council member — and mayor at the time — Eve Phillips.  Inga Miller, another council member recused herself from…

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EDITORIAL: Thank You, Mayor Phillips, For Your Excellent Work

EDITORIAL: Thank You, Mayor Phillips, For Your Excellent Work

Eve Phillips was mayor or Orinda from December 2016 to December 2017 and did an excellent job. In The Icon’s opinion, she is the best mayor Orinda has ever had. Ms. Phillips deserves enormous credit for her letter of August 18, 2017.  In that letter, Ms. Phillips wrote members of the California State Legislature, expressing her opposition to Senate Bill 35, which, Ms. Phillips wrote:  “. . .would pre-empt local discretionary land use authority . . .” For too long,…

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Trump to Orinda: Drop Dead

Trump to Orinda: Drop Dead

The tax plan that President Donald Trump signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017, is a dagger pointed at the financial heart of Orinda. According to real estate brokers and accountants, home values in Orinda will plummet 10 percent to 20 percent. Effective in January 2018, federal income-tax deductions that benefit Orinda homeowners will be reduced or eliminated. Orinda-based real estate broker, Alexander Gailas of AG Realty, said the new tax bill will put “a huge dent in real estate.” …

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