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Category: Local Interest

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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Downtown Properties Sold

Downtown Properties Sold

Two downtown Orinda properties were recently sold and will not be developed. On Nov. 16, 2017, the Rite Aid drug store and the Orinda post office (two adjacent parcels) were sold for $12.9 million.  The transaction was an all-cash deal.  Both properties are located on Orinda Way. The properties were owned by the Regents of the University of California.  The new owner is McNellis Partners a privately held real estate company.  For over 30 years, McNellis Partners has redeveloped shopping centers…

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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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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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Sad Blueprint For Orinda

Sad Blueprint For Orinda

In its fall 2017 issue (volume 2, number 4), The Icon reported, “Orinda has many assets:  excellent schools; a semi-rural environment, friendly people; a low crime rate; a salubrious climate; and beautiful homes.” No one knows how long “traditional” Orinda will last.  But powerful forces want to destroy local control and transform the community into some sort of Tokyo or Manhattan. Developers and supportive political forces have plans to add additional housing to Orinda, a city which is full.  There…

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Town Hall Meeting

Town Hall Meeting

Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon), pictured, spoke at a town-hall meeting in Orinda in September.  Also speaking were County Supervisor Candace Andersen and Orinda Mayor Eve Phillips.  All three elected officials support local control of municipalities and oppose Senate Bill 35, now law, which takes land-use authority away from local communities and gives it to the State of California.

Why Live in Orinda?

Why Live in Orinda?

Why do people move to Orinda?  What did they expect to find in such a warm, friendly place? Orinda has many assets:  excellent schools; a semi-rural environment; friendly people; a low crime rate; a salubrious climate; and beautiful homes. Rarely, if ever, does life get better than it does in Orinda. But are Orindans’ expectations being met today? The Orinda of 1960, 1970, or 1980 is being challenged.  The population has grown.  The schools are on the verge of overcrowding,…

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California’s Phony Water Shortage

California’s Phony Water Shortage

By Richard Colman California does not have a water shortage.  The federal government, through subsidies, mismanages the water that is available in California. The impact financially is enormous. Orinda residents, who obtain their water from the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), pay about $7 per 1,000 gallons of water.  Growers who receive federally subsidized water in such areas as Fresno, can pay 42 cents for the same amount of water. Thus, an Orinda resident is paying 17 times more…

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Orindans Powerless to Stop Water-Rate Hikes

Orindans Powerless to Stop Water-Rate Hikes

By Richard Colman Water rates for Orinda residents and businesses are going up massively. On July 11, 2017, the directors of the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) voted 6 to 1 to raise water rates.  A 9.25 percent increase will take place from July 2017 to June 2018.  Between July 2018 and June 2019, there will be another rate increase of 9.0 percent. Thus, in a two-year period, water rates will be going up by 19 percent. How can…

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