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 station).

The housing could be as high as 85 feet.

The sponsor of SB 827 is State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).  The bill’s co-sponsor is Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley).

Under SB 827, the State of California would be able to dictate land-use policy within the designated transit zones.

If the state can grab a limited amount of land now, what is to prevent the state from taking over entire communities, dictating land-use policies to whole cities?

The Soviet dictator Josef Stalin took farmland away from peasants.  The result was food shortages and famine.  California does not need to imitate a tyrannical, Communist leader.

Appropriately, Orinda Mayor and City Council Member Amy Worth, with the approval of other city-council members, wrote Sen. Wiener on Feb. 23, 2018.  In her letter, Ms. Worth said:  “SB 827 would exempt certain housing projects from locally developed and adopted height limitations, densities, parking requirements, and design review standards.”

On March 5, 2018, State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) and State Assemblywoman, Catherine Baker (R-Dublin) expressed, at a town-hall meeting held in Orinda, opposition to SB 827.  Glazer called SB 827 a “crazy bill.”

From about 2004 to about 2016, the Orinda City Council had, in general, supported real-estate development projects in Orinda.   An example is the Monteverde/Eden Housing project at 2 Irwin Way (across the street from Orinda’s firehouse on Orinda Way).  Ground-breaking for the project, which is now complete, took place on Jan. 25, 2013.  Monteverde has 67 units of residential space but only 30 parking spaces.  The project violates Orinda’s 35-foot height limit.  In 2010, Ms. Worth called the project “… a termendous asset to Orinda” (Lamorinda Weekly, Apr. 28, 2010).

More development in Orinda cannot be tolerated.  The city has used up virtually all of its available land.  The city’s schools face overcrowding.  Parking and traffic conditions are intolerable.  The city’s semi-rural environment is threatened.  More development will require more police services and fire services.

From 2011 to 2015, California faced a severe drought.  Expanding housing development in the state will only lead to more water consumption.  If there is another drought, water use statewide could be severely restricted.  Orinda residents should consider what their homes would be worth if there were no running water.  Would anyone buy a home that has no running water?

SB 827 is the equivalent of an imperialist takeover of Orinda.  The city must not become a colony of Sacramento or any other place.

All Orindans should mobilize to oppose SB 827.  Failure to do so will result in Orinda’s becoming another Tokyo or New York City.  More high-rise, high-density housing in Orinda will lead to lower property values for single, detached family homes.

Orindans should ask themselves why they have chosen to live in Orinda.  Perhaps Orinda residents have always wanted homes with lawns, gardens, swimming pools, and the other benefits of suburban living.

The State of California must be stopped in its efforts to destroy the state’s local communities.

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