EDITORIAL: Preserve Orinda’s Schools

EDITORIAL: Preserve Orinda’s Schools

Orinda’s schools are under attack.  Their educational quality must be preserved. On the November 2018 ballot, there will be two measures to raise property taxes in support of the Orinda Union School District (OUSD). The Icon enthusiastically supports both measures.  The measures did not, at press time, have official ballot titles. One measure, the Health and Safety measure, would finance school facilities.  This measure would authorize the sale of up to $55 million in bonds.  The tax rate for this…

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Is There an Anti-Arthritis Diet?

Is There an Anti-Arthritis Diet?

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, a bone disease damaging the spongy tissue called cartilage that covers a joint.  As cartilage wears away, bones in a joint rub against one another causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness.  This degenerative disease impacts nearly 30 million people across the U.S. When searching for an Anti-arthritis Diet, pseudo-science abounds:  avoid nightshade vegetables, like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers; stay away from dairy foods; avoid acidic foods and beverages, but drink apple cider vinegar—which…

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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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The Best Pizza in Town

The Best Pizza in Town

One of my favorite comfort foods is pizza. Locally, there is one restaurant that puts out a superior product. It is a small bakery-café called 54 Mint Il Forno, 1686 Locust St. in Walnut Creek.  It is the brainchild of Claudio and Daniele, who operated a white tablecloth restaurant of the same name at Treat Blvd. and Oak Grove for several years.  Their current Italian rendition is much more informal. Outside of operating a coffeehouse-like destination in the morning, 54…

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More Healthy Bread, Maybe Not

More Healthy Bread, Maybe Not

The vast variety of breads available in supermarkets and bakeries reflects the unquenchable appetite of Americans for this grain-based food.  Breads labeled as “whole grain” appear to be a smart way to add fiber to your diet. Whole grains improve regularity, slow digestion, reduce appetite, improve cholesterol, and prevent spikes in blood sugar — a major driver of obesity, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes. A whole grain bread uses the entire grain seed:  the bran (an outer layer…

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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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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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Chocolate: A Smart Food?

Chocolate: A Smart Food?

There is universal agreement that chocolate is a feel good food.  Chocolate melts in your mouth, releasing its sweet, creamy, cocoa flavor, and the brain follows with a burst of “happy” chemicals.   Beyond the sensory joy of eating chocolate, there are claims that chocolate is a healthy food for the brain.  Most of us would gladly eat more chocolate if proven to benefit the brain.  Several ingredients in cocoa have been proposed to explain the possible cognitive benefits of…

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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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