Letters to the Editor

“Safety Element” Key Issue Is Not Addressed
    In reviewing the proposed City of Orinda “Safety Element,” approximately 81 pages, the Overview section and the Public Safety Issues section say nothing whatsoever about crime, crime prevention, crime mitigation or the like. The subject is totally ignored.
    Obviously, the increase of crime in the Bay Area and Orinda is everyone’s problem and it needs to be addressed. Perhaps the subject is of far greater concern than many of the issues listed in the 81-page document.
    As a practical matter, the issue of expanding and increasing crime as part of Public Safety in Orinda cannot be ignored any longer. It should receive the highest priority and needs to be addressed by any responsible City Council.
    – Chris Kniel

MOFD Should Not Spend Money on More Firefighters
    Last month The Orinda News reported on MOFD’s plan to hire another response unit in Orinda.
    In the past year, Moraga Orinda Fire District’s (MOFD) six response units responded to 3,455 incidents, 2,285 of which were emergencies. That equates to one emergency per day, per response unit.
    And yet, MOFD is considering adding yet another response unit at a cost of between $1 million and $1.5 million per year.
    Three years ago, Orinda residents told the city wildfire prevention was their number one concern, because MOFD was doing nothing about it. They then voted to tax themselves over $3 million a year to provide this service MOFD was not providing.
    Now what is MOFD proposing? To spend a million dollars a year on superfluous service we do not need, while spending virtually nothing on service we do need.
    MOFD has two new directors. Maybe it has also gained some common sense. I encourage everyone to write Orinda’s three representatives (see emails below) and tell them we don’t need more personnel (we already have more firefighters per capita than anyone else). We need money spent on removing the fuel that feeds a wildfire, which could destroy Orinda.
    Email them at: Steven Danziger (stevedformofd@gmail.com), Mike Roemer (mroemer@mofd.org), Craig Jorgens (craig.jorgens@gmail.com).
    Please write them about what you think of them spending one million of our tax dollars on superfluous service, as opposed to what we really need – vegetation mitigation for wildfire prevention.
    – Steve Cohn

School District Parcel Tax
    I don’t oppose the proposed Orinda Union School District parcel tax, (The Orinda News Jan. 2023 issue). Everyone agrees on the need to attract and retain “high quality instructional staff.” But I am troubled by the district’s resistance to a no-cost way to help attract and retain teachers and staff.
    I have urged, to no avail, the district to pass a simple resolution urging Orinda City Council to adopt an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.
    Such an ordinance would require any new housing development include a percentage (set by the council) of affordable housing units (per state law, a four-person household qualifies for a moderate-income affordable housing unit with a household income of up to 
$171,000).
    Such ordinances are ubiquitous; Lafayette has one. Such an ordinance would not cost the city, the district or the taxpayers anything. It would increase the supply of affordable housing in Orinda and thus help attract and retain teachers, although admittedly, would not be limited to teachers. It would also increase Orinda’s diversity.
    I even drafted and submitted a proposed board resolution to Ms. Glimme and to the school board. It is vanilla and does not ask the council to adopt any specific percentages or requirements. The response has been less than enthusiastic and has consisted of an obsession with process.
    I urge the district to adopt my proposed resolution, urging the council to adopt an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance without delay.
    – Nick Waranoff