President’s Message – December 2020

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Together (Apart)

    As 2020 nears its final days, we reflect on the worst pandemic in 100 years and on a year that has had its share of grief, social distancing and being together(apart). While everyday life has changed dramatically, voting occurred in large numbers throughout the country.
    Here in Orinda, we voted to continue with our two incumbent City Council members. We congratulate Darlene Gee and Inga Miller for their election to another four years on the council.
    We hope they will continue to address the city’s pressing infrastructure needs, downtown development and fire safety issues.
    We would also like to congratulate Craig Jorgens’ reelection to the MOFD Board while supporting his desire to address the need for continued fuel mitigation and a well funded wood chipper program.
    As always, we are delighted in the continued selection of Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, State Senator Steve Glazer and Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. Congratulations to them and their efforts to support the important issues in Orinda.
    The impactful Measure R, which passed in Orinda, will increase the sales tax by ½ cent. While the money will go to the General Fund, the council will be targeting continued public road and drain improvements in the city. The City Council, however, has vowed to spend the initial years of the monies towards fire safety. This will be a highly watched effort by the community. Our participation should be welcomed to ensure that the funds are spent wisely.
    This has been truly a different kind of year. The Orinda Association (OA), like other nonprofit organizations, has had to evolve to meet the needs of residents and situations as they arose. For instance, the Seniors Around Town Program (SAT) added to its transportation program a grocery delivery service and provider of reassurance phone calls to our seniors. It added an emergency component that has volunteers calling and assisting seniors during blackouts and possible fire evacuations.
    The 4th of July celebration became a video presentation of sights and sounds of past parades, combined with a citywide noise making effort at noon. The Annual Car show became a tour of 60 vintage cars through several cities. It was filmed in real time and shown on YouTube. This required great imagination and organization by the car committee.
    Besides these modified major events, the OA provided additional programs and services: The Orinda News delivered informative newspapers free to 9,000 households and businesses; the Volunteer Center, located at 26 Orinda Way (Library Plaza), and the Public Forums organized by the OA also contributed to service and communication needs of Orindans.
    None of this could have been possible without the active participation of board members and the many dedicated volunteers who help out each day. Also, we owe the success of these programs and services not only to the wonderful volunteers, but also to our generous donors throughout the year. We would like to take this opportunity and thank you for your generous donations last month in response to The Orinda News Giving Tuesday request.
    As we approach the end of the year, as spelled out in this December edition of The Orinda News, we are introducing another very creative manner to donate. We have partnered with two Rotary clubs to join a car donation program. You can now donate your vehicle to a good cause by choosing programs mentioned herein and noting that cause with your donation. And, you get a tax break! Please see the ad on page 3 and the story on page 2 to respond in this way. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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