Letters to the Editor

Casa Compact, SB50 Housing Plans Would Destroy Orinda
    Residents of Orinda are attracted to their city because of the excellent schools, the enchanting environment, the low crime rate and all of the other pleasant elements associated with suburban living.
    However, two governmental plans, if enacted, will destroy the assets of Orinda. 
    One plan is the CASA Compact, a project concocted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). The CASA Compact will mandate the construction of additional housing in Orinda, a city that is full. The CASA Compact’s recommendations include unlocking “public land for affordable housing” and the “removal of regulatory barriers to additional dwelling units.”  The source of the quoted words is a March 4 press release from MTC. The estimated cost for the compact is $1.5 billion per year.
    The second plan is state Senate Bill 50 (SB50), which will require Orinda to construct even more housing. SB50 will, according to Curbed San Francisco (edition of March 12), a real estate publication, set “minimum requirements for low-income housing.”  SB 50 is still being debated in the state legislature.
    Neither the CASA Compact nor SB 50 will have any effect on civil rights, especially the federal government’s Fair Housing Act of 1968. The act bans discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing.
    The Orinda City Council (as of April 8) has not taken a stand on the CASA Compact or SB50. In 2017 and 2018, Orinda mayors Eve Phillips and Amy Worth wrote a total of four letters to members of the state legislature. The letters argued for local control in Orinda.
    Curiously, four recent surveys of California and Bay Area residents show that 50 percent or more are considering leaving the state or the Bay Area. If there is such an exodus, no new housing will be needed.
    Any changes affecting Orinda’s housing must go, in a referendum, before the city’s voters. 
    If Orinda ultimately turns into some version of Tokyo or New York City, Orinda’s residents can say that their city council was silent when the city’s assets came under attack.
    –Richard Colman