President’s Message – July 2020

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Achieving Positive Change

    It’s been a turbulent time for our nation. First the pandemic, then a senseless act of violence that galvanized the country.
    We grieve the hideous killing of George Floyd and join the voices of peaceful protestors demanding a more just society, including the hundreds who demonstrated on both sides of Highway 24 in Orinda June 6.
    In a public letter, Mayor Darlene Gee upheld everyone’s right to protest under the First Amendment. City leaders have begun a process to achieve positive policing. Let us take this moment to reaffirm our commitment to decency and the dignity of all people. As we celebrate the birth of American independence, let us commit to equal justice for all.
    The Orinda Association (OA) mailed postcards to all Orinda homes informing this year we are celebrating the Fourth of July differently: Together (apart). Because of the shelter-in-place orders and risks involved with large gatherings, it was decided not to have the usual parade and park events of past years.
    A variety of inclusive and virtual activities are planned for July 4, according to event co-chair Diane Lautz. Don’t miss a You Tube “Memories of Parades Past” narrated by Steve Harwood at 10:30 a.m. Go to http://www.OrindaParade.com. At noon, there will be five minutes of noise, including police and fire sirens and church bells. Please join us by getting a noise maker and making some noise. These five minutes are to honor our nurses, doctors and essential workers. Don’t forget to decorate your homes, mailboxes and balconies.
    There is an abundance of generosity in our community. Toward this end, we thank all the people who generously donated to purchase the needed test kits to test senior homes in Lamorinda.
    “It was a fabulous outcome,” said Sue Severson, president of the Orinda Community Foundation. “There were no positive cases in Orinda’s Senior Village or Monteverde of either the residents or employees.”
    Meanwhile, the city has been working for the past several months on the Downtown Precise Plan (DPP). An online survey received 728 responses. In addition, there have been numerous interviews with interest groups and property owners. The results were shared at the June 10 meeting of the DPP subcommittee. The two City Council members on the committee are Nick Kosla and Inga Miller.
    Based on the summary of interviews, there appears to be a general consensus that many residents want a more vibrant and refurbished downtown. They also want to preserve the historic nature and small-town feel. There seems to be a desire to provide incentives to owners to improve their businesses.
    The DPP will give a clear direction and vision of what the downtown will look like in the future. Do we add more parking? Do we enhance creek-facing parcels that can be used by the community? How do we keep the semi-rural character? Do we update zoning codes?
    This effort will amend the General Plan and will have a significant impact on our town for years to come. Residents should take the time to contact the Planning Department at mpatel@cityoforinda.org to provide their input. It’s not too late.

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