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The Weekly Roundup

Post Date:11/09/2018 3:14 PM


Friday, November 9, 2018 | What’s Doing in Lafayette?


Lafayette Mourns the Loss of Council Member Mark Mitchell - Memorial Service Sunday

The City of Lafayette is mourning the loss of Council Member Mark Mitchell, who passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on Monday, November 5. Council Member Mitchell, who was first elected to the Lafayette City Council on November 6, 2012, after being appointed to the Planning Commission in 2001, served as the City’s Mayor from 2015-16. He has been hailed throughout the community as truly dedicated to Lafayette, his life-long home.

Lafayette Mayor Don Tatzin said, “Mark was a thoughtful and dedicated public servant and we are all saddened by his passing. Our thoughts are with his family at this time. Mark was the type of person we should want to emulate. He was particularly helpful in improving the relationship between the City and the Lafayette School District and working to improve the East End. Mark’s actions reflected well on the City and on him. He served on the Council for one reason: to better the City, not to enhance his position or draw attention to him.”

While serving on the Planning Commission from 2001 to 2012, Council Member Mitchell, who was Chair of the Commission in 2008, worked on a number of long-range documents and policies that set the framework for development in Lafayette. Always displaying great deference to the general plan, some of his work as a planning commissioner included updating the general plan and its housing element, helping to guide the downtown specific plan, revising the hillside ordinance and the rezoning hillsides to low-density residential, creating more realistic guidelines for senior housing, and supporting creation of the Lafayette Library & Learning Center.

“During my years in Lafayette, I’ve not met a person who loved our City more than Mark Mitchell. His political philosophy was simple: Whatever is best for Lafayette,” said City Manager Steven Falk. “As his City Manager, there were periods where Mark and I spoke to each other every single day. I will miss his curiosity, his positive attitude and encouragement of good staff work, his willingness to change his mind if he heard a better argument, his willingness to embrace an unpopular decision, and his fearlessness in defending that position. And of course, his abiding love for all things Lafayette. Mark Mitchell was just a very fine, amiable man who chose to live his life as a citizen,” Falk added. “He always put his community before himself, and for that, he deserves our highest respect and honor.”

There will be a celebration of Mark Mitchell’s life on Sunday, November 11, at 1:00 p.m., at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 1035 Carol Lane, in Lafayette. In lieu of flowers, his family has requested that donations be made to any charity that residents and friends feel is important to them or to Habitat for Humanity ( Mark volunteered with Habitat throughout his life. It united his love of building and his love of community. Please share your memories of Mark in the City of Lafayette’s Electronic Memory Book here. Your memories will be shared with Mark's family and will remain posted in our Electronic Memory Book devoted to Mark. 


The Results Are In: Two New Council Members Elected

The results of Tuesday’s election are not yet official, but here is the preliminary vote count for the Lafayette City Council race according to the Contra Costa County Elections Office: 

Susan Candell, 27.98%, 3,503 votes (left photo)
Teresa Gerringer, 23.29%, 2,916 votes (right photo)
Ivor Samson, 20.65%, 2,585 votes
Karen J. Maggio, 15.52%, 1,946 votes
Dave Smith, 12.55%, 1,571 votes 

The overall results are not expected to change significantly, although there are still ballots to be counted. The vote should be certified at the beginning of the December and the new Council Members will be seated officially at the December 10 City Council meeting. Our congratulations go out Council Members-elect Susan Candell and Teresa Gerringer!


The Park Theater Revival Movement is Gaining Momentum  

Park Theater

A committed group of folks met at City offices on November 7 to continue discussion on just how to revive the Park Theater, our iconic, near-landmark building that some say is the very heart of Lafayette. Although there was little new information to share, that did not dissuade the gung-ho group from moving forward on the many ideas that have been put forth on how the theater can be brought back to life. Everything from a senior center to an outdoor amphitheater with park nestled behind the façade was debated. Cost is everything here, as no funds are currently available for renovation of the building and operating whatever might be housed in the once-glorious Art Deco palace.

Everyone decided that it was important to develop a very clear vision of what they are trying to accomplish in order to engage the larger community. So, one of the next steps is to identify a set of principles the group would like to apply to the project overall. Additionally, the group was asked to write down all the potential uses for the space that it had come up with so far. This will help the focus on several possibilities that may help garner the support of the wider Lafayette population and to assess which ideas have the most support. After that, the group will come up with a more specific action plan. Look for them around town in the near future asking you for your ideas on how to revive our beloved Park Theater.


PG&E Pipeline Safety Meeting this Tuesday at 2pm

At the September 10, 2018 City Council meeting PG&E, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Save Lafayette Trees (SLT) committed to continued dialogue and engagement around the issue of PG&E’s pipeline safety work in Lafayette. There will be a meeting of the parties on Tuesday, November 13, at 2pm at the City Offices to continue the discussion of the many facets of pipeline safety in Lafayette. The meeting is intended to be a working meeting outside of the time constraints of a City Council meeting. The following will be in attendance: Gina Dawson (SLT), Michael Dawson (SLT), Dave Kosters (SLT), Joe Echols (PG&E), Tom Guarino (PG&E), Marvin Nushwat (PG&E), Sumeet Singh (PG&E), Ken Bruno (CPUC), Greg Wolff (COL), and Eric Singer (COL). This is not a formal public hearing, but members of the public may attend. The matter was scheduled to that evening’s City Council meeting for staff to report out regarding the 2pm meeting. However, with the passing of Council Member Mark Mitchell, the Council lacks a quorum for this item and therefore it has been moved to the consent calendar for continuance to the December 10 Council meeting when two new Council Members will be seated. This will then provide a quorum for the item. 


The Brook Street Park Play Structure Envisioned

The Parks, Trails and Recreation Commission is getting ready to recommend a replacement Play Structure for the Brook Street Park to Lafayette City Council. The wooden play structure at the small neighborhood park on Brook Street is in need of replacement and the Parks Subcommittee has spent the last several months collecting public feedback and considering options for the play structure. Next Wednesday the Subcommittee will present the recommendation to the PTR Commission before it goes to City Council. The recommended design will replace the current pirate ship structure and spring riders with airplane and helicopter structures, swings and a spinning bowl, similar to the popular feature at the Lafayette Community Center playground.

The airplane play structure will be made of recycled plastic material and will feature “R3” badging to promote reduce, reuse and recycle. The swing set will include two toddler swings and an Expressions Swing. The Expression Swing is the ultimate parent-child bonding experience, as it is a traditional strap swing with a toddler swing that hangs in front of it, so parents face their child as they both swing in joy. Other improvements will include the replacement of play bark with synthetic turf and organic infill, replacement of the chain link fence material and the creation of a smooth transition between the asphalt path and curb around the play area. The PTR Commission will be taking feedback on the replacement proposal at their November 14 meeting, 7pm at the Lafayette Community Center. To submit a comment or request more information please email Parks, Trails and Recreation Director, Jonathan Katayanagi at


Lafayette Police Visit After School Awesome

The onsite after-school program at the Lafayette Community Center got a special visit from Officer Seliga and the Lafayette Police Department. The program was learning all about community helpers this week and they were so excited to not only talk to a police officer but to also explore his police car.



Turn On That Siren: Chamber Mixer at the Police Station


Lafayette’s Chamber of Commerce sure knows how to throw a mixer. And likewise, Lafayette’s Police Department sure knows how to not only protect us, but play host at its new police station. Put the two together and you have a wonderful evening of food, fun, and lots of behind-the-scenes glimpses into just what makes our police force so effective. The Chamber’s Board President Kathy Merchant and Lafayette Police Chief Ben Alldritt welcomed all and Mayor Don Tatzin spoke about how grateful we are to have such a dedicated force serving our community. Kids got to turn on the sirens and adults enjoyed the view from the trail-climbing all-terrain vehicle. You too can enjoy the fun by visiting our photo gallery here. Make sure you check the Chamber’s schedule of mixers, ‘because you don’t want to miss these great events.


Traditional Inspiration: Lafayette’s 40th Annual Community Thanksgiving Breakfast

Everyone is invited – politicos, non-profits, school representatives, business leaders, community leaders, Rotarians, Chamber members, just plain residents – to come together to share in a breakfast and enjoy keynote speaker, Donna Wright Sommerville, co-founder of Grateful Gatherings at the 40th Annual Community Thanksgiving Breakfast, on Friday, November 16, 7am-8:30am, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, in Lafayette. Grateful Gatherings began in 2013 when Donna and her family saw a 10-year-old named Ayisha on the local news talking about being homeless during the holidays. Donna connected with the family and delivered Christmas dinner and presents. A few months later, Ayisha’s family was placed in a new apartment but had nothing to furnish their new home… nothing! Donna emailed 20 friends; within four days, Ayisha’s family had enough furniture and household items to set up their new home and new life. Pastor Dan Senter from Our Savior’s Lutheran Church will provide the Invocation and Rev. Robin Wells from the Lafayette United Methodist Church will do the Benediction at the end of the breakfast. Register here.


Another Breakfast: This Time with Santa to Benefit the Lafayette Historical Society!

Enjoy a private meet and greet with Father Christmas as you savor off-the-menu pancakes and a choice of freshly squeezed orange juice or pour over coffee at Sideboard, 3535 Plaza Way, site of Lafayette’s original Pioneer Store. At your table, learn about Lafayette’s past through historical photos, bring to life a special kids’ coloring sheet and bid on a variety of silent auction items with all proceeds going to the Lafayette Historical Society. Families also receive an annual family membership to the Lafayette Historical Society through 2019 (value $50). This festive Breakfast with Santa happens Sunday, December 9, at 8:30am, and is not only an opportunity to take those precious holiday card photos, but also make memories that will fill your past and inspire your future. For more information and to book, go to:


Town Hall Theatre’s “Lost & Found” Season Continues with West Coast Premiere of Great Expectations


Great Expectations, the adventure-packed adaptation of the classic Dickens’ coming-of-age story by Gale Childs Daly, will have 12 performances, including two previews, November 29 through December 16, 2018, at Town Hall Theatre Company, 3535 School Street, in Lafayette. Tickets are $18 - $30, and are available through the Box Office at (925) 283-1557 or online at There will be Opening Night gala on Saturday, December 1, a literary salon, on Wednesday, December 5, 2018, and their Theatre Club, a post-show talk-back with complimentary wine, on Friday, December 7. Come and enjoy full bar and entertainment in Town Hall’s lobby one hour before performances!


Spring May Be Way Off But Put These Chicken Workshops on Your Calendar


Longtime Lafayette resident Papa John Kiefer will, once again, offer his workshops on “How to Raise Your Own Chickens.” These are not to be missed and topics will include raising young chicks, laying hen maintenance, and sustainable coop construction. These fascinating workshops are free and will be held in Lafayette from 1-3:30 pm, on Sunday, March 3, and Sunday, March 17, 2019. Reservations are required, contact Location provided upon registration. What’s more is that the City has a whole webpage dedicated to raising chickens and, well, not quite on the subject, honey bees too. Read up on the subject here before you sign up for Papa John’s workshops. It’s good to know that chickens and bees are permitted in any single-family zoning district in Lafayette, although there are dimensional requirements for where they are located. Now, you have no excuse not to raise chickens at home.


Montelindo Garden Club: It’s Monarch Butterflies & Bake Sale

Do you enjoy seeing Monarch butterflies? If so, come hear Victoria “Tora’ Roche speak about the plight of Monarch Butterflies and efforts to foster their development and to create habitat for them. Tora is the founder of the Pollinator Posse, a volunteer organization that creates “pollination corridors” for Monarch butterflies around the East Bay. Come learn how you can help support Monarch butterflies in your garden. It all happens Friday, November 16, from 9am to 11:30 am, in the Library ‘s Community Hall. The event is free and open to the public. If you plan to attend, it would be appreciated if you RSVP to For more info, click here: Speaking of such things, don’t forget: "Support your Library...Shop at Friends Corner Book Shop!"


CPUC’s Review of Utility Wildfire Mitigation Plans

This is very timely: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has opened a proceeding to guide and review investor-owned electric utilities’ wildfire mitigation plans and stakeholders are urged to provide their input. This input will assist the CPUC in determining the scope of the proceeding, provide guidance to the electric utilities on what plans should contain, and will be integral to the review of final plans. Utility wildfire mitigation plans are central to California’s strategy to prevent and prepare for catastrophic wildfires under SB 901, and stakeholder review and input is crucial. Lafayette’s community can have an opportunity to provide guidance and review of wildfire plan components including: 

  • wildfire prevention strategies for electric utilities
  • protocols for mitigating impacts of public safety power shutoffs
  • utility procedures for maintenance and inspection of lines
  • outreach to first responders and customers, including low-income, elderly, disabled, and those with limited English
  • restoration of service after a wildfire 

In order to have the plans in place for traditional fire season, the CPUC has adopted an expedited schedule for this proceeding. You can find further information for the proceeding, including links to all documents and how to participate here: You can also review CPUC’s fire threat map here:


This Tuesday’s Public Meetings

Usually, Monday is public meeting night in Lafayette. But this week, we celebrate Veterans Day on Monday so the City’s open meetings will be held on Tuesday, November 13, at the Lafayette Library & Learning Center, 3491 Mount Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette, California 94549. This Tuesday’s public meetings are: 

  • The City Council, beginning with a closed session at 5pm, in the Community Hall. There will be a performance by Stanley Middle School’s Julia Burke flute Choir at 6:30pm, and the public meeting will start at 7pm. You can find the meeting agenda and staff reports here.
  • The Design Review Commission, beginning at 7pm., in the Arts & Science Discovery Center. You can find the meeting agenda and staff reports here.
  • Youth Commission Meeting, 6pm, at the Lafayette Community Center, Sequoia Room, 500 Saint Mary's Road, Lafayette, California 94549


Comment on Tuesday's City Council Agenda


The best way to let your views be known on issues facing the City is through Lafayette Listens, our online public engagement site. Comment on any agenda item using Lafayette Listens and others can see and support your stance on key issues. View the entire agenda and comment here. Please comment by noon on Tuesday, November 13, so that we can provide your views to the Council for consideration at their meeting. Thank you for your participation in Lafayette’s public meetings!


Photo for the Week

Poem for the Week 

Fire on the Hills 

The deer were bounding like blown leaves
Under the smoke in front the roaring wave of the brush-fire;
I thought of the smaller lives that were caught.
Beauty is not always lovely; the fire was beautiful, the terror
Of the deer was beautiful; and when I returned
Down the back slopes after the fire had gone by, an eagle
Was perched on the jag of a burnt pine,
Insolent and gorged, cloaked in the folded storms of his shoulders
He had come from far off for the good hunting
With fire for his beater to drive the game; the sky was merciless
Blue, and the hills merciless black,
The sombre-feathered great bird sleepily merciless between them.
I thought, painfully, but the whole mind,
The destruction that brings an eagle from heaven is better than mercy. 

- Robinson Jeffers



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.

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