The Weekly Roundup, November 1, 2019
Friday, November 1, 2019 | What’s Doing in Lafayette?
The Week That Was: Power Outages, Tennis Club Fire
The recent fire at the Lafayette Tennis Club is a reminder of how thankful we should be – no one was seriously injured in the scary blaze. That’s due to the quick work of Lafayette’s police officers and our local fire crews, who were on standby in the event just such a fire broke out. 790 parcels were evacuated on both sides of Highway 24, and lives were indeed saved by our first responders. Let’s keep them in mind when we sit down later this month for Thanksgiving. (And thanks to Lafayette resident Richard Usinger for that great photo.)
It looks like PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs, known as PSPS events, have passed for this fire season. But it is good to always be prepared in case the power goes out. Be mindful of alternative energy sources for light, charging phones and medical devices, and other necessities. Plan ahead and have enough food and water for at least a week, and make sure your grab-and-go emergency kit are ready. The City of Lafayette provides resources on a special webpage to help you prepare: http://bit.ly/LafayettePSPS.
When an emergency does happen, as a supplement to emergency alerts put out by Lafayette’s Police Department and county officials, Lafayette posts updates on the City’s Website (https://www.lovelafayette.org), social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor, and sends out e-mail updates. If you haven’t already, sign up for alerts from the Lafayette Police Department here: http://nixle.us/lafayette-police-department and for Countywide CWS Alerts here: http://bit.ly/CoCoCoCWS. These alerts, which are used for emergency notifications, just might save your life. Keep in mind, of course, that alerts and update require cell service or an internet connection, something that was lacking for some residents during the recent outage. Lafayette’s Emergency Preparedness Commission is looking into how best to communicate during emergency situations and will be making recommendations to the City Council.
Thanks to Lafayette PD Wildfire Cameras Deployed in Lamorinda
While on the subject of wildfires, over the last month the City of Lafayette’s Police Department began working with ALERTWildfire to deploy cameras in the Lamorinda area and greater Contra Costa County to give emergency personnel an added advantage in wildfire situations. Two cameras have been installed, one on a peak in Moraga and one on a peak in Orinda. Installation of cameras on Mt. Diablo, on the south and north side of Briones, and on the south side of Moraga are in progress. With the completion of this project the Lamorinda area will be covered. At this time, the ConFire Communications Center has access to the cameras.
The cameras are funded entirely through the ALERTWildfire program from region-specific sponsors, while the data infrastructure to support the cameras is provided by local agencies. Select tower sites maintained by Contra Costa County will have a wildfire camera affixed to the top for optimal fields of view. The program is run by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory and University of Nevada, Reno, and utilizes high resolution cameras that are mounted in strategic locations, usually atop antenna towers, to monitor large areas of open space that may be subject to wildfires. The public can see each camera’s live view on the ALERTWildfire website: http://www.alertwildfire.org/.
Many counties in California have already deployed these cameras and CalFire and CalOES are aware of this project moving forward in Contra Costa County. Credit for this happening in our county goes to City of Lafayette employee John Cornell. He has spear headed this and has used his technology expertise, contacts, and ingenuity to make this a reality in Lamorinda. ConFire and Moraga-Orinda Fire are excited that John has led the charge and are in full support. Nice work, John, thank you!
Lafayette Recognized For Financial Security
We love to read this in the local press: “The Bay Area’s most financially secure city was Lafayette, which was ranked 469th out of 471.” In other words -- #3 in the whole state! That’s according to the California State Auditor’s Fiscal Health Analysis of the State’s cities. The State Auditor has published an interactive online dashboard that identifies financially secure cities, like Lafayette, as well as high-risk local governments, such as Richmond and Oakland, that are facing fiscal challenges. The site assesses each city by their levels of risk using various financial indicators. Through this interface, California residents, state and local policymakers, and interested parties will have a data driven view of each city’s risk assessment. Lafayette was noted for our defined contribution retirement program, low debt and other fiscally prudent practices. Be proud of our city and check out the State Auditor’s dashboard here: https://www.auditor.ca.gov/bsa/cities_risk_index.
The Library’s 10th Anniversary
You’re invited! In fact, everyone in town is invited to come and celebrate the Lafayette Library & Learning Center’s 10th Anniversary with a free public “birthday” party on November 9, from 12 noon to 3:00 p.m. The party will featuring three music performances, including hula dancing, cake, coffee, barbecue, children’s author readings, rocket building and launching, a VR experience, an xBox raffle, and much more. The Lafayette Library is the heart of our community, it supports and nurtures the people of Lafayette and surrounding areas. It’s not just books, DVDs or newspapers, it’s the people who use it for a variety of purposes. Thanks to financial support from the LLLC Foundation and Friends of the LLLC, the Library is open seven days a week. It has welcomed roughly 4 million visitors and hosted 10,000 programs, enjoyed by 380,000 people during its first decade. Find out more at https://www.lllcf.org/day-at-the-library-2019.
BART’s Delayed Lafayette Track Closure
On the weekend of October 26-27, BART had planned to have a track closure in Lafayette along with the shutdown of the two left eastbound lanes of Highway 24 at Oak Hill Road throughout both Saturday and Sunday. However, due to the elevated fire danger and the PG&E PSPS, the lane closures were lifted at 5:00 p.m., on Saturday. The lanes remained open throughout the rest of the weekend. That reduced the time the lanes could be closed to stage equipment and material by up to 38 hours. BART has partnered with Caltrans throughout the project to limit traffic impacts due to lane closures and this was again the case on Saturday, October 26. Both lanes were reopened Saturday before the PG&E PSPS occurred in Lafayette. However, as a result of the reduced hours of the lane closures, BART will need one day of single-tracking along with overnight lane closures on Highway 24 to complete the work that had been planned for the weekend of October 26-27. Although a date has not yet been decided, BART is working on details and is coordinating with Caltrans. The work is not expected to require daytime lane closures on Highway 24, and we will let you know when it is scheduled.
Take Two: Speed Humps Ahead
Due to the PG&E power outage, the installation of the two temporary trail speed humps placed along Carol Lane was delayed. They will now be installed on Tuesday, November 5. The first location will be near the Springstone School, and the second location will be closer to Moraga Blvd. The process began with a Transportation Action Request (TAR). Staff worked with the TAR applicant and helped form the Carol Lane Neighborhood Action Team, which held several meetings that had great turnout from neighbors. They worked collaboratively with City Staff to collect data and develop solutions. The Carol Lane folks followed the City of Lafayette’s Traffic Calming Guidebook and took the necessary steps from a neighborhood standpoint. Staff scored the Carol Lane project area against other potential traffic calming areas throughout the City to develop a priority list. Carol Lane scored the highest, which made it the City’s top candidate for traffic calming measures. Staff brought the request for speed humps to the Transportation & Circulation Commission in August 2019. The Commissioners recommended placing two sets of temporary speed humps along Carol Lane and then re-evaluating them in six months. Please travel through Carol Lane with caution as it may take some time for drivers to get used to the speed humps.
In Your Neighborhood – It’s the RecycleSmart Audit
RecycleSmart will be performing neighborhood audits at random to gather data on garbage collection in Lafayette. Each morning, from about 6:00 to 10:30 a.m., a small group of 3-5 people will be walking different neighborhoods, lifting the lids of residential green organics carts to check for food waste participation and contamination. They will leave informational cart tags behind to help residents use the right bins when disposing of trash. You’ll know them since the auditors will be wearing RecycleSmart gear and have bright neon vests. If you have any questions, please telephone RecycleSmart’s Ashley Louisiana at (925) 906-1801, ext.109.
Preparedness Tips and Tasks
The Lafayette Emergency Preparedness Commission is charged with preparing the city and residents for all hazards. Each week they present a tip or a task that can make you more prepared for a wildfire, an earthquake, or other disaster. This week, in light of the latest round of PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoffs, they say it is time to review what went right and where one could improve. This is called an “AAR” or “After Action Review.” First, celebrate your successes. What went right? List the preparedness actions you took, and which actions proved to be of benefit, and what did you do that was not necessary for this event? Would it be necessary for a different type of event?
Next, list what happened that you were not well prepared for. List what challenges you faced that could have been eased had you done something differently beforehand. How will you prepare for these challenges before the next PSPS event? What if the shutoff had been for seven days, would you have needed additional supplies, more gas or propane, etc.? Finally, list what happened that you could not prepare for. What happened that was not predictable? What was predictable but beyond your capability to prepare for? Ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety. What are you going to do to be ready? Were your neighbors similarly prepared or did they do better or worse than you did? What can you learn from them? Can you, as a neighborhood, do better next time? If you have any comments or suggestions, please send the Emergency Preparedness Commission an email at email@example.com.
From the Superintendent: The Schools Report
Thanks to everyone who helped make another power-free day of school a success. The Monday start to school was challenging with air quality at a recent low, a fire nearby two of our Lafayette schools that caused our families and staff to be evacuated, and that darned electricity. The school district sends out a big thanks to City Manager Niroop Srivatsa and Police Chief Ben Alldritt who kept us informed about power outages and were responsive to the fire concerns. Many thanks to the drivers who come through our school intersections at drop off and pick up times and patiently wait for our students to get across the street without a signal guiding the traffic. Our teachers and staff do yeoman's work on these days to be creative with the students in their care and to protect our facilities as well as our communication and information systems. If you have questions about how we make the decision to stay open or to close, or about how we monitor air quality, please feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LPIE Looking for a New Executive Director
After serving 20 years as Lafayette Partners in Education’s Executive Director, Myrna Kimmelman plans to retire at the end of June 2020. That means LPIE’s search for her replacement is in full swing. You can read the job description here. Please spread the word to any interested candidates you may know. LPIE will be reviewing resumes as they come in with formal interviews coming in the new calendar year and a start date in March. Thank you for your help with our search! If you have any questions, please contact LPIE at email@example.com.
Town Hall Theatre Announces Staged Reading of the River
Town Hall Theatre’s first In the Wings staged reading of the 2019-20 Season is a one-night only performance of The River, a lyrical and mysterious new play about a man and a woman (or women, possibly), and fishing, by Tony Award winner Jez Butterworth. The River will have one performance on Monday, November 11, 2019, at Town Hall Theatre Company, 3535 School Street, in Lafayette, CA. Tickets are $10 general admission and free to subscribers, and are available through the Box Office at (925) 283-1557 or online at www.TownHallTheatre.com.
Read All About It: Events at the Library
Sweet Thursday: Wendy Pearl: Thursday, November 21, at 7:00 p.m., in the Don Tatzin Community Hall. At this special event Wendy Pearl, SF Bay Area Sales rep for Penguin Random House, will discuss her favorite books of the year — which will be available for purchase as great holiday gifts and book club ideas. Remember: "Support your Library...Shop at Friends Corner Book Shop!"
Lafayette Chamber’s 41st Annual Community Thanksgiving Breakfast
You won’t want to miss this hometown favorite, the kick-off to the holiday season, on Friday, November 22, at Lafayette Veterans Memorial Center. Not only is breakfast provided by Lavash Mediterranean Restaurant, but the keynote speaker will be Sean Perlmutter, pictured, of Pivotal Twist. In his 20 minute talk, “the Strangers of Kindness,” Sean Perlmutter will discuss the challenges to kindness, why they need to be overcome, and how to make kindness a core part of your daily existence. Everyone is invited. Politicos, non-profits, school representatives, business leaders, community leaders, Rotarians, our Chamber members, etc., to come together, share a Thanksgiving breakfast, and enjoy our special speaker. The breakfast starts promptly at 7:00 a.m., and ends by 8:30 a.m. No tickets will be sold at the door, so get yours now Online Registration is Open. Don’t wait, this event sells out every year.
Council's Legislation Committee and a Legislative Update
The City Council’s Legislation Committee met this week on October 30, and received a legislative update from Townsend Public Affairs. The Legislature concluded the first year of the 2019-2020 Legislative Session on September 13th, and Governor Newsom had one month to act on the measures that were approved by the Legislature. Ultimately, of the 1,042 bills that were sent to the Governor, 870 were signed into law, while 172 were vetoed. While the Legislature approved 1,042 bills during this legislative session, 2,625 were actually introduced and those that were not approved are now considered two-year bills. While the Legislature will not advance the majority of the nearly 1,600 two-year bills, it is important to understand what measures may be considered when the Legislature returns in January 2020. While the list of bills of interest to the City of Lafayette is rather lengthy, you can review the bills and learn more about Lafayette’s legislative efforts on the City’s Legislative Agenda page.
This Week’s Public Meetings
Monday is public meeting night in Lafayette, but there are also meetings throughout the week. Unless otherwise noted, public meetings are held at the Lafayette Library & Learning Center, 3491 Mount Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette. To view all of this week’s public meetings please visit our full calendar.
- Planning Commission, Monday, November 4, at 7:00 pm, in the Lafayette Library & Learning Center, Don Tatzin Community Hall, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. Read the agenda and staff reports.
- Transportation & Circulation Commission, Monday, November 4, at 7:00 pm, at the Lafayette Library & Learning Center, Arts & Science Discovery Room, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette.
Photo of the Week
If you were lucky enough to stop by City Offices on Thursday (Halloween), you were treated to its transformation into "Disco Desco", complete with strobe lights, the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, a "dance floor" and staff dressed in their 70's finest.
Quote for the Week
Being in a band you can wear whatever you want - it's like an excuse for Halloween every day.
The Roundup is prepared each week for the Lafayette Community, City Council, and Staff. If you have thoughts about this week’s Roundup or a contribution for next week’s edition, please email the City of Lafayette's Communications Analyst, Jeff Heyman. Subscribe to the Weekly Roundup and learn more about Lafayette’s publications and social media sites here.