Almost Daily Briefing
News Roundup for #LoveLafayette
President Trump threatens to cut off FEMA aid to California for forest fires - In the midst of a government shutdown, President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off federal emergency aid to California for forest fires. (SF Gate)
Concord meeting ends in shouting as tenants, advocates call for immediate rent control -A new ad hoc committee is expected to discuss potential solutions to the housing crisis in Concord, but that could take some time, and renters and their advocates were calling for more immediate change during Tuesday's meeting. (East Bay Times)
Contra Costa Co. Swears In New Schools Superintendent -Recently elected Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools, Lynn Mackey will be sworn in today (Patch)
Berkeley school board president and wife in critical condition after driver crashes into them while they were crossing a street (Berkeleyside)
From the Lamorinda Weekly
Maintaining local control for land use high on new mayor’s list -This year sees Lafayette coming off a divisive election with two brand new city council members and, as of press time, one yet to be appointed. Without a permanent city manager, it will fall to the experience of the city’s new mayor and vice mayor to provide leadership over the coming weeks.
New Year, new city council lineup -Although at press time the city council was still awaiting the appointment of a fifth member, who will fill the seat left by the sudden passing of Council Member Mark Mitchel, right now the lineup is Mayor Cam Burks, Vice Mayor Mike Anderson, and council members Susan Candell and Teresa Gerringer.
Greg Wolff appointed acting planning and building director -With Niroop Srivatsa stepping into the city manager’s shoes until a permanent replacement is found, Assistant Planning Director Greg Wolff will be at the helm of the planning department, acting as interim planning and building director. With more than 20 years working for the city, Wolff has plenty of experience.
Cancer Support Community to bring holistic healing to Lafayette -CEO Jim Bouquin knew as soon as he set eyes on the 5.75-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Lafayette Reservoir that this would be the perfect location for the new Cancer Support Community building and grounds.
PG&E to conduct Wildfire Safety Program in Moraga -Before the next fire season gets underway Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has expanded its Community Wildfire Safety Program to include Moraga within the coming months, depending on weather and other factors. The program is a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of wildfires and keep the community safe.
Moraga Mayor Roger Wykle looks ahead to 2019 -Appointed as Moraga’s mayor for a second term, Roger Wykle has high hopes for the town’s future. Wykle’s first contribution to Moraga was serving on the Planning Commission between 2009 and 2012. He successfully ran for town council in 2012 where he eventually was appointed to his first term as mayor in 2015.
New Parks Department recreation supervisor takes over -Jasmine Bateson comes to Moraga as the new recreation supervisor for the Parks and Recreation Department, having had previous experience in the cities of Dublin and San Leandro, where she managed two facilities.
A snapshot in timePears or peace? - the United Nations in Lamorinda -Back in 1945, for a brief moment in history, the Moraga Valley was under consideration as the permanent location of the United Nations.
New Orinda mayor to bring her message to the people -For new Orinda Mayor Inga Miller, it’s all about communication. Miller, council member since 2016 and selected by the council as mayor for 2019, intends to hold office hours at city hall the second Wednesday of each month to meet with constituents.
Master transportation engineer joins Orinda council with an eye on downtown development -New Orinda Council Member Dennis Fay says that the city has a responsibility to assist the Bay Area to shoulder some housing needs, but, he adds, “tailored to the needs of Orinda.”
New council member Kosla brings development experience to the table -Although there have been a lot of negative comments about developers during the current attempt by Orinda to update its downtown, Nick Kosla was very open during his campaign about his experience in development and with developers.
Transportation executive Darlene Gee steps up as vice mayor -Not surprisingly, Darlene Gee’s most passionate issue on the Orinda City Council continues to be the roads program. “With good luck and timing, we managed to do an awful lot of repair in Orinda,” she says, adding, “But while the condition of residential streets is much better, we still have to find real solutions for longer-term maintenance, as well as addressing the larger roads classified as collectors and arterials, and storm drains.
MOFD and ConFire promote new operations chiefs -Two veteran firefighters will run the operations divisions of the Lamorinda fire agencies in 2019, both men having been promoted in the fourth quarter of last year.
Former MOFD director Steve Anderson has not lost his passion -Always one to willingly speak his mind , Steve Anderson - the district director ousted from the board in the general election - slammed the Moraga-Orinda Fire District board as dysfunctional, may or may not have helped rig its 2019 election of officers and under certain circumstances would again run for a board seat.
Fire investigator who helped nab arsonists retires -Vic Massenkoff, the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District investigator who sleuthed down the origin and cause of thousands of fires and helped prepare the criminal cases against two serial arsonists in Lafayette, put away his gun, badge and turnout gear in early January after more than 40 years in fire and law enforcement.
Three generations of dentists serve Lamorinda for 55 years -In July, Blake Swimmer became the third generation Swimmer to practice dentistry in Lafayette. His grandfather, Al Swimmer, began the general dentistry practice in 1963 when Lafayette’s population was only about 7,000. For 38 years he served thousands of Lamorinda residents, the last 12 years, from 1988 to 2001, with his son, Mark.
American Red Cross teaches kids disaster safety with Pillowcase Project -Does your child know what to do in the event of a natural disaster? The American Red Cross has implemented a program called The Pillowcase Project aimed at teaching children how to get through this type of situation with a modicum of awareness.
SMC Jan Term course delves into the rise of women in a country hit hard by genocide -Acute listening, deeper learning and broader humanitarianism are lofty aspirations to set for 2019. Nonetheless, these are the ambitious, aimed at outcomes for 18 Saint Mary’s College students enrolled in a Jan Term travel course, “Rwanda Rising: Women, Leadership & Peacemaking.”
LLLC Sweet Thursday event features local author, activist -Consider it progress if a half-constructed small-scale castle or unfinished hand knit project linger indefinitely in the closet of San Francisco-based writer Ingrid Rojas Contreras. When the Colombian-born writer’s image-filled, poetic prose is blocked, she flexes her creative muscles by building realistic model replicas of iconic architecture like Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre or knitting a first-time-ever blanket.
Celebrating the Year of the Earth Pig -Chinese New Year starts Feb. 5 and this Earth or Golden Pig year promises to be a more relaxed, easygoing and peace-loving year, with relationships eased. The Earth element rules for the second year in a row, according to the Taoist Five Elements. Celebrations and the good life are abundant and more grounded so remember the importance of yin/yang, and the lessons of balance.
Front porch open mic launches in Lafayette -For Lamorinda musicians looking for an opportunity to strum guitars, play their fiddles or hum bluegrass harmonies with like-minded country fans, there haven’t been many options locally. Until now, that is, after a couple of Lafayette residents decided to do something about it and launch an open mic event with a kickoff at Lamorinda Music’s Big Room on Saturday, Jan. 19.
OIS String Orchestra and Jazz Band make sweet music in Fairfield -The Orinda Intermediate School String Orchestra and Jazz Band under the direction of the school’s instrumental music teacher, Greg Mazmanian, “Mr. Maz,” performed holiday music at the famed Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield on Saturday, Dec. 15. The ensembles have appeared at the candy factory for several years running and relish this “sweet” annual gig!
Leo Club offers support to education -Each year the Campolindo High School Leo Club, which is a service club sponsored by the Lamorinda Lions, donates a portion of its fundraising activities. This year Leo Club President Eleanor Kim presented a check for $500 to Campolindo High School Principal John Walker. This was the 16th year the Leos have given back to the community and their total donation to date exceeds $4,000.
Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary visits Guatemala to help build house, distribute donated books-A 10-member delegation from Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary Club has returned from a weeklong goodwill mission to Antigua, Guatemala, where, among other things, it helped to build a new house for a local family and to distribute 700 books aimed at children aged 6-17.
‘A Sense of Place’ at the Moraga Art Gallery -Wenda Pyman’s latest exhibit of beguiling landscape photographs entitled “A Sense of Place” kicks off the new year at the Moraga Art Gallery. Calling to mind the camera work of Ansel Adams and Eliot Porter, Pyman captures the luminous and timeless splendor of places like Mt. Diablo, Morro Bay, San Francisco’s Baker Beach, and the Florida Keys.
‘Becoming Astrid’ (Unga Astrid) opens at Rheem and Orinda theatres -Movie releases at the beginning of the year bring to Lamorinda their load of glossy big productions, heroic tales, bold Sci-Fi releases, all more or less reproducing an expected Hollywoodish format where the storyline could be guessed within a few minutes. Not so with “Becoming Astrid,” a breath of fresh cinematographic air that will blow into Lamorinda theaters Jan. 11,
State’s water infrastructure and politics to be discussed during Jan. 10 info session -Lifetime learners and people who care about California’s water supply will not want to miss the OLLI @Berkeley Info Session held Jan. 10 at the Lafayette Library. OLLI, the jolly moniker that’s an acronym for UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, is known to offer unique, rigorous, education courses to people age 50 and older.
Classical music concert at St. Mark’s on Jan. 12 -Ensemble Ari, a group of Korean American musicians in the Bay Area who strive to bridge Korea and other communities through western instruments while honoring Korean history and culture, will perform music by Bach, Handel, Cassado and living composers Ruviaro and Ahn at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Orinda.
Live at the Orinda announces a stellar artist lineup for 2019 season -The Live At the Orinda concert series, which presents world-renowned musical artists at the beautiful art-deco Orinda Theatre, will kick off its 2019 season on Saturday, Jan. 19 with legendary actor/singer Rita Moreno in her first Bay Area concert in many years, followed by a matinee performance on Sunday, Jan. 20.
Governor Gavin Newsom proposed $305 million to better address natural disasters, including wildfires and earthquakes. The state’s wildfire season is now year-round thanks to climate change. The Camp Fire in Paradise, California last year was the worst in California’s history, killing more than 80 and ravaging the town. (Reuters)
HOUSING, TRANSPORTATION AND CITY PLANNING
YIMBY Senator Named Head of California Housing Committee -Last week, California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins named SF-based State Senator Scott Wiener the head of the senate's committee on housing. (Curbed San Francisco)
This Insane Battle to Block a New Apartment Building Explains Why San Francisco and Other Cities Are So Expensive -Bob Tillman has spent nearly 5 years and $1.4 million trying to convert his laundromat into new housing. (Reason)
Marin's State Senator Drafting "Strategic" Housing Bill -"Senate Bill 4 will take a strategic approach to infill, workforce affordable housing throughout California without taking a one-size-fits-all approach," State Sen. McGuire (D-Healdsburg) said. (Marin Independent Journal)
Advocates sue Fresno for ignoring state land use/transportation policies (Fresno Bee)
'It's Like We Don't Exist': California's Invisible Rural Housing Crisis -The town of Winters lies 30 miles from California's capital of Sacramento and half that far from three other cities with a combined population of almost a quarter-million people. Despite its proximity to urban areas, Winters, with 7,300 residents, qualifies as a rural area under federal guidelines, and like small towns across the state and country, it faces an acute shortage of affordable housing (Christian Science Monitor)
Caught in the shutdown, U.S. workers in California and elsewhere brace for missing paychecks…Story.
S&P downgrades PG&E's credit rating" by POLITICO's Colby Bermel…Story.
Welcome to California's Unemployment Belt… Story.
California island offers $130,000 for new lighthouse keepers… Story.
California's foie gras ban will go back into effect…Story.
California Legislature Mulls Cannabis Bank Charters…Story.
THAT OTHER LAFAYETTE
Lafayette names Castle Rock's Fritz Sprague as new city administrator -"We were fortunate to have many qualified candidates apply for the administrator position," Lafayette’s Mayor said.
More parents are naming their babies after groceries. The rise of Kale, Sage, and Saffron suggests parents are finding inspiration in the wellness movement.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
President Donald Trump, shown with Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown during a visit last November to a neighborhood impacted by the Camp wildfire, has tweeted that he seeks to withhold FEMA funds for California fires. See Top Story, above. (Photo: SF Gate)
The Almost Daily Briefing (ADB) is an aggregation of links to news articles from local and regional newspapers, magazines, websites, and other news sources. Its purpose is to alert readers to current issues and affairs that may impact Lafayette. The ADB does not promote, favor, disfavor, support, reject, or endorse any position, candidate, campaign, or proposition, and nothing about the ADB, including the selection, presentation, arrangement, or content of the links presented should be construed as an advocacy position. Please note: At times, the ADB features articles from sites that limit access for nonsubscribers. If you have questions about the ADB, please contact the City of Lafayette's Communications Analyst, Jeff Heyman, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can subscribe to the ADB and learn more about Lafayette’s publications and social media sites here.