The Weekly Roundup
Friday, October 26, 2018 | What’s Doing in Lafayette?
Court of Appeal Decision in Save Lafayette Trees Case
Earlier this week, the California Court of Appeal issued a decision in the appeal by Save Lafayette Trees of the Superior Court’s dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the Tree Removal Agreement between the City of Lafayette and PG&E. The Court of Appeal’s decision upheld the Trial Court’s dismissal of three of Save Lafayette Trees’ claims against the City and PG&E, but found that the remaining fourth claim, concerning the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), had been served within the proper timeframe. The CEQA claim can be considered by the Trial Court, although the Court of Appeal did not issue any decision as to whether the CEQA claim has any merit.
“We have noted the Court of Appeal’s decision,” said Lafayette Vice Mayor Cameron Burks. “We will continue to work with Save Lafayette Trees, PG&E and the CPUC to ensure that Lafayette’s citizens have confidence that they are safe and that a fair and transparent process is being followed whereby PG&E can conduct the pipeline safety work it feels is needed and residents’ concerns about that work are properly addressed,” he added. Parties have roughly 30 days to seek Supreme Court review of the Court of Appeal’s decision.
Downtown Retail Workshop: Well Attended and Enlightening
On Monday, October 22, the City held a second Downtown Workshop where City Council members listened to a four-person panel of local business owners speak about their experiences operating a business in Lafayette. The panel consisted of: Larry Blodgett, owner of Blodgett’s Abbey Carpet & Flooring; Jennifer Perlmutter, owner of Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery; Connie Stokes Collier, Vice President of Diablo Foods; and Ford Andrews, owner of Sideboard. Each panel member spoke on a number of issues, including challenges and opportunities facing business owners in Lafayette, solutions for the City to pursue, and predictions for the future of downtown. Some of the enlightening ideas put forth during the workshop included improving the pedestrian experience along Mt. Diablo Blvd., upgrading the Happy Valley Center, loosening zoning restrictions and increasing exposure to the arts downtown. The City greatly appreciates the panel members thoughtful and informed discussion, and all members of the community who are actively engaged in making the City a better place to live, work, and play!
Parks, Trails & Recreation and Lafayette Community Center Foundation Annual Report: You Gotta Watch this Video
At this week’s Lafayette City Council meeting the Parks, Trails & Recreation Commission and Lafayette Community Center Foundation presented their annual update. The Staff report, which you can read here, outlined the Commission’s activities from 2017-18 and goals for 2018-19. Notable accomplishments included working with the Planning Department to finalize easements for the Rose Lane Trail, room upgrades at the Community Center and fundraising events such as the Bunny Brunch and Santa’s Bag Boutique. Goals included replacing the aging play equipment at Brook Street Park and bringing forward a new Trails Master Plan. You are not going to want to miss this great video produced just for the occasion: Watch here.
Recognition of Service: All 109 Years of it!
Also at this week’s Council meeting, Mayor Don Tatzin recognized the years and years (and years) of service that Parks, Trails & Recreation Commissioners Carol Singer (32 years), Lauren Herpich (1 year), Alison Hill (14 years) and Peter Read (15 years), Stephanie Stevens (10 years), Mark Poole (11 years) have devoted to our community. Also honored by the Mayor for her service was Lafayette Community Center Foundation member Susan Callister (26 years). We thank all of them for everything they have done to make Lafayette such a beautiful – and wonderful – place to live. By the way, that’s a collective 109 years of community service – talk about impressive! (Shown in the photo, left to right, are Susan Callister, Peter Read, Carol Singer, Alison Hill and Lauren Herpich.)
Get Out the Popcorn: Next Citizens’ Park Theater Revival Meeting is Nov. 7
What are you doing the day after the elections? Come on down to the City Offices, grab some popcorn and let’s talk about reviving the Park Theater: The next meeting of the Park Theater Revival Group will be held at City Offices on Wednesday, November 7, from 7:30-9pm. The Mayor has outlined the following goals for this meeting:
- Share the new information we have including from former parties interested in the theater. Included in this is the idea of keeping the façade but taking the back of the building down and using the space for outdoor events.
- Indicate the status of any other options to accept a density transfer.
- Suggest that the group has at least the following options for next steps: Please note that the City has not approved a budget for any of this work.
- Wait for a density transfer and then reconvene to determine next steps
- Obtain a structural condition review of the building
- Determine a preferred use if the density-transfer were to occur and begin to see how many might be interested in that use.
- Follow up with starting to determine building requirements which would then lead to cost estimates. This could be done for the top 1-3 use options. There would need to be funding for this effort.
- Ensure there is an interested 501(c)3 to receive a donation if that occurs.
Of course, any other options will also be discussed and considered. Come on down and join us.
Remembering Mike McNeill
We at the Lamorinda Spirit Van Program were very sad to learn that one of our very dear volunteer drivers – Mike McNeill – passed away from complications due to a fall. Mike drove Lamorinda older adults for four years after his retirement – from September 2014 until September 2018 – picking up Lamorinda passengers to go to their Wednesday afternoon appointments and errands. Recently he also drove Lamorinda Movers to their monthly Monday evening dinner program. One of Mike’s passengers sent the Spirit Van a donation, writing “In fond memory of Mike McNeill, a very kind volunteer with the wonderful Spirit Van for us seniors. He was a dear man, and I was saddened to hear of his recent passing. My condolences to family and friends. He certainly will be missed. Thank you, Spirit Van crew, for all that you do.” We will definitely miss Mike. It was always a joy to see him with his big smile and loving heart. We are grateful to Mike’s family for setting up a “GoFundMe” account to benefit the Spirit Van in lieu of flowers. You can make a donation here. His Memorial Service will be held at Hull Mortuary in Walnut Creek on November 3 at 11am.
Peace of Mind for Veterans: Operation Documentation
If you’re a vet, you know how hard it can be to gain access to benefits. Now, the Contra Costa County is hosting a free event in November to help veterans and their families access benefits they are entitled to because of their honorable military service to this country. The “Operation Documentation” veterans’ assistance event will be held Wednesday, November 14 from 8:00 am to noon at the Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder-Elections Office, located at 555 Escobar Street in Martinez.
Though there are over 54,000 veterans in Contra Costa County, less than 150 veterans recorded their DD-214 documents over the last 10 years. Over 60 veterans recorded their DD-214 documents at last year’s Operation Documentation event. At this year’s event, former military members and their families can record original or certified copies of DD-214 discharge documents free of charge, receive a comprehensive overview of the VA benefits they may be eligible to receive and sign up for a veteran’s distinction on their state driver’s license.
Representatives from various county departments will also be at the event to share tax breaks, job opportunities and other perks and services veterans may be eligible to receive. Refreshments will be provided. There is no cost for veterans and their families to record DD-214s or to retrieve a certified copy of the document, once it is recorded. Contra Costa residents who are on active duty can also receive a complementary certified copy of their marriage license from the Clerk-Recorder Division. For more information, please call 925-335-7900.
Get on the Map: Chamber’s Google/Social Media Workshop for Businesses
Over the past few years Robin Fox has been doing a series of workshops related to all aspects Social Media and online marketing on behalf of the Chamber. In some of these workshops, Robin has touched on Google profiles for businesses, including getting your shop on Google Maps, as well as other online profiles. The Chamber’s next such workshop is scheduled for Nov. 14, and it’s all about Social Media Visuals. The word on the street is that this is a good one for small businesses too! Be there. You can register or find out more here.
Read All About It: Events at the Library
Designed for adults and seniors, it’s the Contra Costa Performing Arts Society Concert “Jazz Piano,” on Friday, November 2, at 7pm. Join the concert in the Lafayette Library Community Hall and enjoy a musical evening of jazz piano with the Contra Costa Performing Arts Society. A variety of performers will play standards and new favorites for your musical pleasure. This is a free event sponsored by the Friends of the Lafayette Library and Learning Center. Learn more here.
Friends Corner Book Store Wants You
The broadest, and maybe the most meaningful definition of volunteering, is “Doing more than you have to because you want to, in a cause you consider good,” at least according to Ivan Scheier. With that said, if you want to support your library by volunteering to work in Friends Corner Book Shop? They are seeking volunteers to work for only a single 2-hour shift per week or be a substitute, as needed, for a 2-hour shift. If interested, please contact the Shop Manager at by email here and don’t forget: "Support your Library...Shop at Friends Corner Book Shop!"
Tomorrow: It’s Bentley Phoenix Vs. Urban Blues
The Phoenix will host the 5th seeded Urban Blues this Saturday at 7pm, in the Women's Volleyball North Coast Section Quarterfinals, and the entire Bentley community is invited to support our women's volleyball team as they continue to make history. To celebrate this event, Bentley will be providing a complimentary Fuddruckers truck from 5:15-6:45 pm in the administration parking lot next to the Little Theater. There will be burgers, music, games, and good company to enjoy as we gear up for the big game. $10 for adults, $6 for kids/senior citizens, children under 5 are free. Bentley will be paying for all students (K-12) to attend the game! Be sure to wear your Bentley gear! Please RSVP here. The Phoenix hope to see everyone this Saturday!
Walk Tomorrow in Tribute to Jeanette Fritzky
A tribute walk honoring late Council Member Jeanette Fritzky will be held at the Moraga Commons Park, 1425 St. Mary's Road, Moraga. The 1.6-mile roundtrip walk along the Lafayette-Moraga Trail on Saturday, Oct. 27, at noon, will benefit the American Cancer Society. The goal is to raise $20,000 and increase awareness about lung cancer.
Bay Area SunShares Program Ends November 15
Take advantage of this before it ends on November 15: Last year, SunShares helped over 200 homes install 1 Megawatt of solar energy. SunShares makes the process easy and affordable. The SunShares program has negotiated an extra 15%-18% discount on solar installation, and you simply need to sign up before November 15 to access the special discount. There is also a 30% Federal Tax credit available for solar installation until the end of 2019. Discounts on 2018 Sign up now at www.bayareasunshares.org.
Save the Date: November 27, Honoring Our Local Officials
The City is holding a reception to honor our outgoing local officials on Tuesday, Nov. 27, from 5:30 to 8pm, at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Join us to pay tribute to Steven Falk, Teresa Gerringer, David Gerson, Don Tatzin, Richard Whitmore and Rachel Zinn for their many, many years of public service to our community. Light hors d'oeuvres will be served and there will be a no-host bar. More details are forthcoming.
Photo for the Week
It’s the Spooky Season: You Will Be Scared this Weekend. That’s right, for the 15th year running, the Lafayette Youth Commission’s Haunted House will put a fright into you like nothing else (unless you choose the not-too-scary tour). Come explore the Haunted Laboratory, but beware of the evil scientist and watch out for the spooky experiments being done inside. It’ll be open for your chilling thrills October 27 & 28 (Saturday & Sunday), with these special hours for all ages: Not Too Scary - 5:-6:45pm - $3 per person; and Very Scary – 7:30pm-9:00pm - $5 per person. Tickets on sale now at www.lafayetterec.org
Poem for the Week
All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.
There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.
We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.
The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.
Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.
These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.
And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—
So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This weekly summary is prepared by City Manager Steven Falk for the Lafayette City Council, staff, and the Lafayette community. Do you have thoughts about this week’s Summary or a contribution for next week’s message? Forward it to him now! Do you have opinions about Lafayette? Share them at Lafayette Listens! You can subscribe to The Roundup here.