The Weekly Roundup
Friday, September 28, 2018 | What’s Doing in Lafayette?
Longtime Lafayette City Manager Steven Falk Announces Resignation
Twenty-eight years is a long time by any standard, save geologic time. And it is thus with the resignation of City Manager Steven Falk, who at this week’s City Council meeting announced that he is resigning his position – after 28 years – effective January 2019. Steven has worked for the City of Lafayette since 1990, and has held the City Manager position since 1996, an eternity for city managers statewide. As part of his farewell, which caught Council-goers by surprise, Steven said this:
It has been the great privilege of my professional career to serve Lafayette for twenty-eight years, and I am proud of our many accomplishments on behalf of this splendid city. Our residents are engaged; the city council is a model of civility; and the professional staff is brilliant in every way. The time has come, however, for Lafayette to hear a new voice from the city manager’s office and for me to discover my unexplored potential. I hereby resign the position of Lafayette City Manager, effective at the New Year. In the meantime, I will assist the organization in every way as it makes the transition to a new city manager. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve this extraordinary community for so many years. I will always Love Lafayette!
Mayor Don Tatzin praised Falk for his nearly three decades of service to the City and ticked off a list of improvements that Lafayette saw during Steven’s tenure, not the least of which were the construction of the Veterans Memorial Building and the Lafayette Library and Learning Center, building the Community Park and Buckeye Fields, purchasing Leigh Creekside Park, renovating Lafayette Plaza, undergrounding powerlines and initiating the street-pole banner program, the list goes on…including the fiscal discipline he instituted at the City. The Mayor also noted Steven’s trendsetting communications, Lafayette Vistas, this publication, the Roundup, and Lafayette Listens. And who knew that Steven invented the City’s best-known slogans, “Love Lafayette” and “Green Hills, Great Schools.”
The Vice Mayor and other Councilmembers present also applauded Falk’s work on half of the City. The City Council has not yet decided upon a process for choosing Falk’s successor. There will be a reception for retiring public officials, which will include Falk, on November 27, at the Veterans Memorial Building in Lafayette. Details will be forthcoming. You can read the Mayor’s entire remarks here. You can listen to audio of the Council meeting here, and see photographs here.
Still Standing: The Park Theater Revival Meeting Report
Well, that non-stop chatter we wrote about last week turned this week into action as a curious and committed group of 25 or so residents joined a handful of City staff to brainstorm on just how to save Lafayette’s Park Theater. For two hours on Tuesday evening, Mayor Don Tatzin presented a tour de force presentation on just what it would take to keep the iconic film venue a part of our city’s downtown. With Vice Mayor Cam Burks in attendance, the group, who offered a myriad of ideas for the cinema, heard from the Mayor that it really came down to money (as most things seem to nowadays.) Without redevelopment funds, a way was needed to 1) Buy the property; 2) Renovate the – how can we put this gently? – aging structure; and 3) Provide on-going funding for its operation. Reality seemed to set in, although with thinking-caps firmly in place, a group of dedicated citizen-revivalists committed themselves to finding a solution to save our beloved Park Theater. Perhaps the popcorn served helped set the tone for future meetings. We’ll keep you posted.
Dialog Continues: Follow Up on the Council’s PG&E Safety Meeting
Vice Mayor Cam Burks, who spearheaded the PG&E safety meeting on September 10, thanked the parties involved in dialog recently for engaging with one another and moving forward in a civil and pragmatic manner, with realistic expectations. The Vice Mayor stressed that open and frank dialogue translates into progress, and said that most importantly, in the critical interest of maximizing the greatest degree of public safety for the city of Lafayette, it is vital that leaders from PG&E, CPUC, and Save Lafayette Trees meet in person to work together on potential solutions. He noted that the delivery of a proposed solution would be welcomed for consideration by the City Council. The Vice Mayor hopes that this could happen as soon as possible and its priority is providing safety to the community. The City Council, City staff and Lafayette community writ large, he said, are not pipeline safety experts – and that we must rely on PG&E and CPUC for this; so this is an imperative element of anything that comes before the Council. The City is willing to provide meeting space and to have representation present, if need be. You can watch a video of the Council’s September 10, PG&E Safety Meeting here.
Open Space-Parkland Opportunity for Lafayette
At Monday night’s Lafayette City Council meeting the Council considered a request from the John Muir Land Trust to work jointly on agreement pertaining to the acquisition of the “Batwing” shaped parcel at 3333 Hamlin Road in Lafayette. The approximately 20-acre, hilly parcel between St. Mary’s Road and Sweet Drive is zoned R-20, which suggests a maximum development potential of 40 units but, because it lies within the hillside overlay district wherein the maximum number of units is determined by the average slope of the parcel, the yield could be less than a quarter of that number. Acquiring the property as parkland is of significant interest to the City, as it would satisfy needs outlined in several City plans and surveys. The Council briefly discussed the property in open session, took comments from the public and forwarded the matter to closed session where sensitive matters such as price, terms and negotiation strategies could be discussed. Why the Batwing? Here’s why:
- The Lafayette General Plan set a goal of 5 acres of Parkland for every 1,000 residents. The City needs to add 44 acres to the current 91 acres to meet this goal. The Hamlin Road Property would add 20 acres of needed parkland.
- The Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan further supports a need for additional parkland and specifically identifies a need for a nature-based Community Park.
- The Open Space Plan identifies the Hamlin Road property as a high priority location for open space preservation.
- The Trails Master Plan and Trails Implementation Plan call for a trail on the property. A trail on the Hamlin Road property would serve as the first step to establishing a connection between Stanley Middle School, Lafayette Elementary and Buckeye Fields.
- The Community Conversion Survey identified open space preservation as the number one priority for participating residents. The survey results also suggested that residents were also most willing to pay for open space preservation.
Meet David Flores, Facilities Maintenance Worker
Originally from Peru, David has lived in the USA for 18 years and has been a citizen since 2006. Even though he has been a city employee for 3 years, he has actually worked at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center for a total of 6 years, having previously served as a contractor. David is the oldest of three siblings, and his sisters still live in Peru. He recently sponsored my mother, who is now living in the United States as a resident with David and his wife. He says he really enjoys his job at the library, and likes working with, and getting to know all the other City employees that come to Monday City Council meetings. His favorite part? When they leave all the leftover cookies for him! Say hi to David the next time you visit the Library and Learning Center.
Get Out the Candy: It’s a Halloween Street Closure for Moraga Boulevard
Take note you All Hallows Eve revealers: Moraga Boulevard, between 4th Street and Hawthorn Drive, will be closed to through traffic on Halloween (Wednesday, October 31, 2018) from 5:30 – 9:00 p.m. Earlier this year, Moraga Boulevard area residents submitted a Transportation Action Request petitioning the City to close the street for Halloween trick-or-treating. Residents expressed concerns related to traffic safety, namely potential conflicts between high volumes of pedestrians trick-or-treating and passing vehicles. While the proposed closure would affect more than 100 residences, there were nearly the same number of signatures supporting the idea. That level of support prompted City staff and neighborhood representatives to collaborate on the scope of the closure and the resultant proposal, described above, was submitted for approval by City Council at its September 24th meeting. The ghosts and goblins will be happy to know that the Council subsequently adopted Resolution 2018-53 approving the closure. It is now safe to scoop up as much candy as you can carry.
More Super Events at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center
Join NY Times best-selling author Ben Fountain on Wednesday, October 17, 1 -2pm, the Community Hall for an afternoon author’s talk. Ben Fountain is the author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and, now, Beautiful Country Burn Again, a searing indictment of the state of our nation. His new book moves from the early days of the Iowa Caucus to the defining moments of the National Conventions and culminates in the aftershocks of the weeks following election night. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit this site.
How about a Paper Flowers: Craft Workshop on Wednesday, October 3, 2:- 4 pm, in the Arts & Science Discovery Center? Join the Library for a fun-filled afternoon of paper crafting led by the clever crafter, Sandy Higgins. The theme, “From paper to petals” will have you creating a variety of paper flowers for decorative use. Ages 16 & over (or ages 8-15 with an adult). Limited Space so register early here. Don’t forget: "Support your Library...Shop at Friends Corner Book Shop!"
Upcoming Solar and Electric Vehicle Program Workshops
SunShares is a renewable energy program making it easier and more affordable for Bay Area residents to go solar or purchase an electric vehicle (EV). SunShares offers a 15% discount on solar installation and pre-vetted solar providers. Plus, you can still take advantage of the 30% Federal Tax Credit for solar. Here’s what’ going on:
- Online webinar: 10/10 from noon - 1 PM. RSVP.
- In-person workshop: 10/11 at 6:30 PM at Concord Council Chamber, Concord City Hall, 1950 Parkside Drive, Concord 94519. RSVP.
Learn more about the program and sign up at www.bayareasunshares.org.
Accessibility Improvements at Lafayette Station Resume Oct. 1
On Monday, October 1, 2018, BART will resume work inside Lafayette Station to improve customer access. The agency expects the work to be completed by approximately November 1, 2018. BART also indicates most of the work will take place during off-peak hours between 9am and 3pm Monday-Friday or normal operating hours on Saturday and Sunday. There are no special signs planned for this work, however, when necessary the work areas may be barricaded for BART patrons’ safety. At the south entrance of the station, BART will install an accessible fare gate and move two ticket vending machines to a new location in the station. This information bulletin has also been delivered for distribution at the station and it is posted on bart.gov as a news article. For more information, please visit this site.
RecycleSmart Walking Organics Cart Audits Begin Soon
Just what are organics carts? Those are the green bins all of us drag curbside each week for composting. To help make sure things that ought to be composted are actually in the carts, each morning, from about 6:30-10:00am, a small group of 3-5 people will be walking different neighborhoods in Lamorinda and thereabouts, lifting the lids of residential green organics carts to check for food waste participation and contaminants. Here is the auditor’s walking schedule:
- Monday, Oct. 1 - Orinda
- Tuesday, Oct. 2 - Danville
- Wednesday, Oct. 3 - Moraga
- Thursday, Oct. 4 - Lafayette
- Friday, Oct. 5 - Walnut Creek
Staffers will wear RecycleSmart gear and have bright neon vests and would be happy to answer any questions residents have about just what should and should not go in a green cart.
Invasive Species? The Walnut Creek Watershed Council Wants You to Know More
The Walnut Creek Watershed Council, Diablo Valley College, Contra Costa County Flood Control District, and Contra Costa Resource Conservation District are holding a forum on October 4, from 6-9pm at Diablo Valley College, to bring together experts from around the region to share their knowledge of invasive species. Invasive species are plants that evolved in one region of the globe, but are moved by people to another region where they can flourish, impacting native wildlife, water, and food sources. Some common invasive species are New Zealand mud snail, pampas grass, ice plant, tree-of-heaven, and giant reed (Arundo donax). Come learn about local efforts, and meet professionals working to create healthier watersheds in Contra Costa County, and beyond. Find out more here.
Walk to School Day 2018 is Almost Here!
Now that students have returned for the 2018-19 school year, it’s time to get ready for Walk to School Day, on October 10, 2018. Kick-Off a Safe Routes to School Project. It's Active, Healthy, Safe and Sustainable Transportation! Walk to School Day is an annual international event when children and adults walk or bike to school. It started in 1998 with just a few schools. Now, thousands of people in California walk to school each October. And what are the benefits of walking?
• Improves Student Health and Well-Being
• Increases Physical Activity for Students and Community
• Reduces Traffic Congestion and Pollution
Thousands of schools have signed up to participate. Schools that have not done so are invited to join the movement and encouraged to register now! Need some tips? Check out event ideas, how to plan and ways to include your mayor. See Who's Registered Celebrate Walk to School Day on Oct. 10th and throughout October and check out Who's Walking 2018 to see which schools are registered in your neighborhood.
Open Sesame Closing
We have some sad news to impart: Sue Jun, the sole owner and operator of Open Sesame store in La Fiesta square, is retiring September 30, and closing Open Sesame for good. Sue Jen has been operating Open Sesame for 32 years, since its opening in 1986 in Lafayette. The store, with its selection of products for the health-conscious eater and its extensive selection of vitamins, supplements and oils, is truly a part of Lafayette’s history, being one of the first organic and vitamin store around the area. We wish Sue Jun a very happy and well-deserved retirement.
Lafayette Citywide Garage Sale Early Registration is Oct. 1
It’s coming up, Lafayette’s first citywide garage sale, on Saturday, Oct 6, 2018, all day, everywhere. Here’s how it works: If you're a seller, register the address of your garage sale online or by calling (925) 671-5813. Deadline to register online is Friday, October 5. To receive a lawn sign, you must register by Monday, October 1. A lawn sign will be brought to you by our sponsoring business. If you register after Monday, you may not receive a lawn sign. Find out lots more here, and remember, one person’s junk is another treasure! Don’t forget: "Support your Library...Shop at Friends Corner Book Shop!"
Upcoming Chamber Events
Lafayette Res Run for Education!
Sunday, October 21, 2018, 8am 5K start, 8:15am 10K start, 8:45am 2mile start
For details about this year's Res Run for Education, click here. The Lafayette Chamber and the City of Lafayette are co-sponsors of the Lafayette Res Run for Education which is traditionally held on a Sunday in October.
Ribbon Cutting at Radiance Family Wellness
Join us for a Ribbon Cutting on Thursday at October 4, 5:30pm-7:00pm at Radiance Family Wellness, 914 Dewing Ave., Lafayette. This event is free, but registration is requested. Learn more here.
Online Business Profiles Matter: 10 Things You Need to Know
Potential customers are searching online for "nearby" solutions you offer. Are they finding you? Help them by optimizing strategic online business profiles. This includes Yelp, Google Local, and Bing, as well as NextDoor, your Chamber website profile, and more. In this popular workshop, we outline easy steps to get started. 6-7:30pm, Library Homework Center. Speaker: Robin S Fox, Digital Strategist. Learn more here.
Watch Where You Put That: Political Sign Posting
The campaign season is in full swing and our City Offices have received calls regarding improperly placed political signs. All candidates receive the “Political Signs” handout in their candidate handbooks, but once in a while a wayward sign makes its way on to public property, which in California is a no-no. All signs improperly placed will be removed by our Code Enforcement Officer and taken to the City’s Corporation Yard at 3001 Camino Diablo. Signs removed can be retrieved at the corporation yard. The bottom line is that signs may not be placed across or in the public right-of-way, utility easement, or public or publicly maintained property without an encroachment permit approved by the City Council. And, remember, signs may not be placed on a tree, shrub or other natural objects, which may or may not include a dog, but we’re not entirely sure about that.
At its meeting on Monday, Sept. 24, the City Council made appointments to the City’s Crime Prevention Commission and the Public Art Committee. To the Crime Commission, the Council appointed Rees Morgan and Stephen Gelman, and to the Public Art Committee, Jenny Rosen was appointed. Morgan is an attorney with Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass, and has lived in Lafayette for six years. The former federal prosecutor and has served on the Commission, including as chair, since 2017. Gelman, a Lafayette resident for the past 12 years, operates Gelman, Franks and Associates, a Lafayette-based business. For 22 years, he was a federal law enforcement special agent and an active/reserve US Navy Intelligence Officer. Rosen, a writer and visual artist, has lived for a total of 23 years in Lafayette. She has an impressive resume in civic and volunteer service, including for Acalanes High School, Burton Valley Elementary, Urban Farmers of Lafayette and California College of the Arts in Oakland. You can find out more about the City’s Commissions and Committees here.
Photo for the Week
Another beautiful sunset. This magnificent photo was taken in Lafayette by Patrick Thomas Gilmore.
Quote for the Week
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
― Rabindranath Tagore
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.