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The Weekly Roundup

Post Date:11/16/2018 3:28 PM


Friday, November 16, 2018 | What’s Doing in Lafayette?


Mark Mitchell’s Memorial Service

Mark Mitchel Memorial Service small

Lafayette came out in numbers on Sunday to pay its respect for late Council Member Mark Mitchell, who died unexpectedly of nature causes on Monday, November 5. His Celebration of Life was held at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and it seemed like the entire town was there to honor Mark, a life-long resident of Lafayette. Pastor Dan Senter, who played tennis with Mark the morning he died, offered a moving welcome. City Manager Steven Falk, who was close to Mark for many years, provided inspirational reflections on Mark’s life and legacy. Mark’s family spoke of their loss and also told stories about Mark’s life, his activities, and his love for playing piano, although, as they put it, “the piano didn’t love Mark.” Music filled the sanctuary as photos from Mark’s incredibly active life were shown. Afterwards, friends and family gathered at the Lafayette Park Hotel to continue the celebration honoring Mark and his life’s commitment to Lafayette. 

If you would like to make a donation in Mark’s memory, his family has requested that you do so to any charity you feel is important or to Habitat for Humanity ( Mark volunteered with Habitat throughout his life and it united his love of building and his love of community. Also, you can share your memories of Mark in the City of Lafayette’s Electronic Memory Book here.


Lafayette’s Wildfire Evacuation Plan

The news reports from the Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise, a city similar in size to Lafayette, could not be more heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and their homes. With this in mind, we wanted to remind everyone that we have a wildfire evacuation plan for the City of Lafayette. You can find the plan here: It is particularly important to note the evacuation routes for each of the City's zones, beginning on page 17. Take time to review the escape route for where you live or work and, if you have not already done so, develop an evacuation plan and discuss it with your family. We live in a wooded area and there is the possibility of a wildfire threatening our community. Be prepared, be safe and review the City's Wildfire Evacuation Plan regularly. If you would like more information about the Evacuation Plan, or to get involved in local emergency preparedness initiatives, please email our Communications Analyst, Jeff Heyman, at


Air Quality Safety Tips from James Leach

During prolonged periods of heavy outside particulate pollution like we are now experiencing, our inside air quality is often just as bad as outside. Even though you don’t smell smoke from the coarse particulates in the outside air, the fine particulates are still able to penetrate inside. Our homes and other structures aren’t airtight. As the wind blows, when we open doors or windows and run vent motors that exhaust to the outside (bathrooms & kitchens), the outside air enters inside. The only way to draw down the level of particulates is through filtering. 

Forced air heating and cooling systems have filters in their return air ducks or at the furnace. Using good quality filters and keeping them clean can make a big difference in how much harmful fine particulates you will be exposed to. There are also freestanding air purifiers available. They come in many sizes and prices vary considerably. You should also avoid generating particulates inside the house such as from smoking or using cooking methods that produce a lot of particulate, such as frying and toasting. 

We have an older home built in the early 40s and it isn’t very tight. We have a single return air filter located in the center of the home. I’ve been using a 3M Filtrete brand air filter purchased at ACE hardware. These cost a little more but capture finer particles than do the cheaper filters. By running our furnace fan continuously I have been able to draw down the inside fine particulate level by 60 to 100 Air Quality Index (AQI) points compared to the outside air. This is a big improvement and well worth your attention. Under normal circumstances, I usually change the filter about every three months. Yesterday I noticed that the inside AQI was rising. I checked the filter that had been installed just a few days before and found that it was filthy. A new fresh filter was installed and the AQI quickly came down. You can view the local network of PurpleAir monitors at To learn more about fine particulates visit the Sustainable Lafayette site under the Purple Air in Lafayette topic. 

James Leach, Sustainable Lafayette member and one of two recipients this year of the Lafayette Green Award, provided this excellent advice concerning the poor air quality conditions we find ourselves facing.

The City’s Latest Bollinger Valley Project Letter

As we have been reporting, the Town of Moraga has been holding public meetings on the proposed housing development known as Bollinger Valley. The proposed project is located in Moraga, near the Lafayette border and would very likely impact our community and residents are, rightly, very concerned about the potential impacts the project will have on Lafayette. Both the Lafayette Circulation Commission and City Council recently held public meetings to discuss the project and submitted to the Town of Moraga an initial letter on November 5, 2018. A second letter from Mayor Don Tatzin concerning the project was also sent to Moraga Mayor Dave Trotter and the Town Council this week. You can read that letter here. More information on the overall project can be found here on the Town of Moraga’s Bollinger Valley webpage.


Testing, Testing: Second Northbound Right-Turn Lane at Moraga Road & Mt. Diablo Blvd.

In March 2018, the Lafayette City Council adopted the Downtown Congestion Reduction Plan, which provides for testing a second northbound right-turn lane from Moraga Road onto Mount Diablo Boulevard. On Tuesday, November 13, 2018, the City of Lafayette began testing this new right-turn lane. This pilot project is intended to evaluate whether the additional turning capacity at the subject intersection can effectively reduce traffic congestion farther upstream on Moraga Road (south of the intersection). It will run for about 90-days and the data gathered will be brought back to the Council for consideration early next year. The pilot project consists of several pavement striping changes. Most noticeable is the additional right-turn arrow in the middle northbound lane on Moraga Road, just before Mount Diablo Boulevard. Approximately 300 feet before reaching this intersection, drivers should also note an accompanying advance directional sign showing the new turn movement option. After turning right from Moraga Road, drivers will also notice that on Mount Diablo Boulevard approaching First Street, the City has added dashed striping for the two eastbound left turn lanes, which is designed to facilitate merging after the turn from Moraga Road.  

As part of this pilot project, the east leg crosswalk (running south-north from Plaza Park to Bank of America) at Moraga Road/Mount Diablo Boulevard is closed. Orange barricades with fencing and signage are in place to direct arriving pedestrians to use the alternate crosswalk across Moraga Road; pedestrians may also choose to detour to the east to cross Mount Diablo Boulevard at First Street. The overhead pedestrian signals are also turned off and covered. Concurrently, signal technology upgrades are also being installed at both Mount Diablo Boulevard/Moraga Road and Mount Diablo Boulevard/First Street. The new technology will include updated signal controllers (i.e., the computers that run the signal timing plans) and video detection with traffic data collection capability. The signal tech upgrades represent the first steps toward implementing another Downtown Congestion Reduction Plan strategy to achieve better signal coordination and traffic management along Downtown arterial roadways. While this pilot project is active, we are interested to learn about users’ opinions of the changes. Please feel free to submit feedback directly to James Hinkamp, City of Lafayette Transportation Planner, at or 925.299.3229.


Following Up: PG&E, CPUC and SLT Meeting

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 was a meeting of the parties on Tuesday, November 13, from 2-4pm at the City Offices to continue the discussion of the many facets of pipeline safety in Lafayette. The meeting was intended to be a working meeting outside of the time constraints of a City Council meeting. Representatives were there from PG&E, CPUC, SLT, the City, and the public. It was a good meeting with open dialogue discussing the broad topic of pipeline safety in the community, including proposed tree removal under the CPSI.  There was agreement in the room to meet again in January, and likely beyond, to work through PG&E’s risk assessment of threats to its gas transmission and distribution system.  Discussions will surely include ASV’s, excavator dig-ins, and the CPSI.  Staff anticipates providing the City Council with an update of the proceedings after each meeting. 


Update: PG&E Exposed Pipeline Replacement Project

PG&E’s continues to work on the safety of the gas transmission pipelines serving the Lafayette community, and, as such, is replacing a segment of exposed pipeline along the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail. PG&E Gas Pipeline Safety work will continue until December 14, according to the utility. PG&E crews will break for Thanksgiving, from November 21-25, during which time the trail will be open during the day, however residents are encouraged to utilize caution as equipment will be left on site, behind secure fencing. PG&E would like to remind residents that they will not see an interruption to their gas service, but should immediately contact PG&E should they smell gas. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact PG&E local customer outreach specialist Julian Lacson at 925-348-3532.


Meet Greg Wolff, Assistant Planning & Building Director


Growing up in bucolic Cooperstown, NY, in a family where public service was a priority, Greg fondly remembers the family farm and the outdoors and his family’s commitment to the community. His father was a justice-of-the-peace and his mom an educator and entrepreneur, and members of Rotary, the school board, and the historical society. Greg attended Cornell University, where he studied architecture, landscape architecture and city planning. But at Cornell he picked up something else: the sport of equestrian polo. He was on a national championship team his junior year and, later, coached Stanford University’s men’s and women’s polo teams for ten years. 

Nowadays, Greg, when he has time, volunteers at the local food bank, scouting, and with youth sports. He is passionate about STEAM education, 21st Century learning and the maker movement, which he shares with his wife and their two elementary school-aged sons. Greg, who has worked for the City for more than 20 years, feels fortunate to work in a community with great leadership, informed and engaged citizens, and where planning is valued. And why did Greg chose to pursue city planning? Because, he says, society is not just the people, it is the places we build and the things we do in those places. Planning has the capacity to materially affect people’s quality of life and the natural and built environments are the tangible fabric of the community, in Greg’s view. And in going about his work, Greg says, aesthetics matter; the way we interact matters. By the way, if you wish to bring Greg a slice of cake next time you come to the counter, his preferred flavor is lemon.   


CPUC Workshop on Public Safety Power Shutoffs


The California Public Utilities Commission is holding a public workshop to gain input from community members and local government officials around Public Safety Power Shutoffs, which are also known as de-energizations. The Workshop is to be held Friday, December 14, 2018, from 9am to noon, at the Santa Rosa Veterans Building, 1351 Maple Ave. Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Please address any questions concerning Public safety Power Shutoff to Naveed Paydar of the CPUC, at (415) 703-1437.


Events All Over the Place: The Chamber is in Full Swing This Season


Mixer at Lafayette Physical Therapy: It’s November Mixer at Lafayette Physical Therapy, 3468 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Suite B110, Lafayette on Wednesday, November 28 from 5:30pm-7:00pm.

Not to be missed: “It’s a Wonderful Life in Lafayette” Holiday Celebration. This must-do is a free, fun, family-friendly celebration – tree lighting, live music, community sing-a-long, kid's crafts, photo ops and more! Friday, December 7, 4pm-6:30pm. Be there when Santa parades along Golden Gate Way arriving at Lafayette Plaza Park at 4:30 p.m.

Holiday Mixer at the Lafayette Library and Learning Center: One of the best events of the season is the December Mixer at Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Boulevard, on Wednesday, December 12 from 5:30pm-7:30pm. Bring a canned food donation of three cans and admission is free! Chamber members, $10, non-chamber members $20. Cash only at the door, please. Find out more about these events right here.


Read All About It: Library Happenings

Library Magic

Xtreme Science Magic is coming to the Library on Monday, November 19, from 11am to noon in the Community Hall. You might ask, science and magic? It doesn’t get better than Xtreme Science Magic! This lively and interactive show is jam-packed with experiments, demonstrations, and loads of audience participation. Geared for ages 5 and up, you can find out more about this free event here.

Then it’s Snapology: Attackbots with LEGO WeDo 2.0 for ages 9-12, on Monday, November 19, and Tuesday, November 20, from 3- 4:30pm in the Homework Center. Imagine, a two-day class that features robotics, engineering and programming concepts for students using iPads and programmable LEGO bricks. Registration is required and space is limited. Find out 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!" 


Appointments to the Transportation & Circulation and Youth Commissions

Thanks to our citizens who have volunteered to serve, this week the City Council made appointments to both the Youth Commission and the Transportation & Circulation Commission. To the Youth Commission, the Council appointed Alex Haase and Callan O’Brien. And appointed to Transportation & Circulation were Gayle Taylor and Stella Wotherspoon. Mr. Haase has lived in Lafayette since 2015 and Mr. O’Brein, who is also a part of the Acalanes Key Club, has been in town for seven years. Ms. Taylor, who is an attorney with Adobe, has lived in Lafayette since February 2015, and has served on the Rancho Colorados Long-Term Planning Committee. Living in Lafayette for nearly six years, Stella Wotherspoon has been a geospatial analyst at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission as well as a software systems analyst and product manager at Oracle.  You can find out a lot more about these hard-working Commissions – and the other bodies that serve our City – on our Commissions & Committees page right here.


RSVP Now for the Reception Honoring Our Outgoing Officials

Join the City of Lafayette in honoring these local officials who have served our community for many years: Steven Falk, Teresa Gerringer, David Gerson, Don Tatzin, Richard Whitmore and Rachel Zinn. It is all happening on Tuesday, November 27, 5:30pm to 8pm, at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial, 3780 Mt. Diablo Boulevard. The reception is open to everyone! Join us in paying tribute to our local officials by RSVPing here.


Monday’s Public Meetings

Monday is public meeting night in Lafayette. Meetings are generally held at the Lafayette Library & Learning Center, 3491 Mount Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette, California 94549. This Monday’s public meetings are: 

  • The Planning Commission, beginning at 7pm, in the Community Hall. You can find the meeting agenda and staff reports here
  • The Transportation & Circulation Commission, beginning at 7pm, in the Arts & Science Discovery Center. You can find the meeting agenda and staff reports here.


Photo for the Week

Share your photos of wild turkeys at the reservoir and around town on Instagram @lovelafayette and also make sure to tag #lovelafayette. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Poem for the Week 

A Turkey Speaks 

I have never understood
why anyone would
roast the turkey
and shuck the clams
and crisp the croutons
and shell the peas
and candy the sweets
and compote the cranberries
and bake the pies
and clear the table
and wash the dishes
and fall into bed
when they could sit back
and enjoy a hamburger.

- A Turkey


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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