Letters to the Editor

MOFD Board and City Council Need to Work for Orindans
    Orinda taxpayers will fund MOFD with $20.6 million this year; $2.3 million per firefighter stationed in Orinda. This includes all overhead and 24/7 service, but it only costs MOFD $1.8 million per firefighter to provide this service.
    Where does the additional $4 million (for “our” nine firefighters) go? To Moraga, which only pays $1.3 million for each of their eight firefighters.
    Our MOFD Board representatives, Steve Danziger and Michael Donner, who are up for election, had four years to remedy this, but have done nothing. They could have increased Moraga’s parcel tax, which Moragans agreed to pay three decades ago or saved money by staffing the Moraga ambulance with paramedics instead of expensive firefighters. But they have not.
    It is time to give someone else a chance by electing Vince Dell’Aquila and Mike Roemer to replace them.
    We also need to elect a City Council – we have six new candidates to choose from – who will insist Orinda’s tax dollars to MOFD are used for services in Orinda, as the 1997 City Council promised us they would do when they talked us into forming the MOFD.
    Neither the MOFD Board, nor the City Council has ever kept track of how our millions of dollars going to MOFD ($300 million since MOFD was formed) are spent. It is time to start. We need to use our tax dollars for wildfire prevention, not a subsidy to wealthy 
Moraga.
    – Steve Cohn

Support for Roemer for MOFD
    I support Mike Roemer for MOFD Director. I’ve known Mike for almost 20 years through my lifelong friendship with his son Conor. Mike is deeply knowledgeable about fire safety through his years of volunteer work and has a proven track record in community leadership from his years in the DA’s office.
    Even more important, Mike cares deeply about his neighbors and has a sense of integrity befitting a reputable community servant.
At a time when fire safety in Lamorinda is more critical than ever before, we must elect leaders who will prioritize community safety and well-being above niche special interests.
    I’m confident, as a MOFD Director, Mike would look after the safety and best interests of all Orinda and Moraga residents in the same way he does his immediate family, and would devote fair and analytical deliberation to every decision.
    I hope to never see the day Orinda is seriously threatened by wildfires, but the reality is we face growing danger with the passing of each year.
    We need protectors on the MOFD board to ensure our community is ready for all eventualities.
    Based on my almost 20 years of being around Mike, I can confidently say if you value safety and integrity, and want a MOFD director who will make the same decisions for the community that he would for his own family, then voting for Mike is the easiest choice you’ll make during this election cycle.
    – Declan McManus

Support for Hasler, Dell’Aquila and Roemer for MOFD Board
    We’ve had a sea change in awareness about living sustainably with wildfire. It turns out we are as vulnerable as any of the other towns and cities devastated by a wildfire. Our community has responded in many wonderful ways. We’ve started Firewise groups; voted in Measure R, to be used for mitigation and prevention education; cleared our roofs of leaves and created a defensible space around our homes.
    There is one more piece to this prevention pie. We need the Moraga Orinda Fire Department (MOFD) Board of Directors to be behind the community’s efforts to prevent a wildfire, too.
    While MOFD does an outstanding job in so many ways, the board has not valued those prevention efforts as much as we need them to. I’ve been to many MOFD board meetings and the three board members currently up for re-election have been excellent about fire suppression issues, but efforts to prevent fire have mostly been achieved without their support.
    This year, an election year, they have shown a bit more openness to fire prevention goals. We need new blood. All three of the challengers have been deeply involved with Moraga and Orinda communities for years. They are independent, with no obligations to any single interest groups. I have met with and endorse all of them.
    Please consider Greg Hasler (Division 1), Vince Dell’Aquila (Division 3) and Mike Roemer (Division 4) for the MOFD Board on Election Day.
    – Melanie Light

Michael Roemer for MOFD Board
    We have been residents of Orinda for the past 20 years, where we have raised our family. Our children attended Glorietta Elementary, OIS and Miramonte. We have enjoyed living in this great community, having developed many deep and long-lasting friendships. One of our dear friends is Michael Roemer, who is running for a seat on MOFD Board.

We have known Michael and his beautiful family, his wife Julie, children Conor and Erin from the day our children attended Glorietta Elementary School – over a decade ago.
    Michael has many strong qualities that make him an ideal candidate, to not only serve, but also do an amazing job making our community an even safer place to live and raise a family. Michael’s strong intellect, integrity, humbleness, desire to make our community and the world, a better place to live, truly sets him apart.  

    Join the Akazawa family in supporting the Roemer family. Michael is a rare type of leader, which we strongly need more of. Please elect him to serve on the MOFD board.
    – Dean and Catherine Akazawa

Sleepy Hollow Traffic Safety Concerned Parents for Stuart House
    Stuart House has been exceptionally receptive to our concerns regarding traffic safety around our schools. He has been a wonderful sounding board and someone we would consider a mentor in navigating the intricacies of TSAC (Traffic Safety Advisory Committee). We support Stuart House for City Council.
    – Dana Wentworth and Robert Schroeder

Stuart House for City Council
    I’m proud to support Stuart House for City Council. His broad experience in facilities management and logistics will be important and helpful for the entire community.
    – Carol Brown

Support House for City Council
    In the time Stuart House has lived in our Glorietta neighborhood, he has helped make it a more friendly and safe place for local kids to walk to school. I believe the knowledge and experience he will bring to our City Council will make all of Orinda a better place to live.
    – Tim O’ Brien

Miramonte School Garden Demolition Completely Unnecessary
    I was shocked and dismayed when I recently discovered that under the cover of COVID-19, the three student garden sites at Miramonte H.S. were razed. As a master gardener and parent volunteer, I installed a habitat garden the “Poppy Patch” in 2003 with the help of my Nature Club and Barbara Denny, who later became the school’s first environmental science teacher. Already on site was a fenced, raised bed garden and shed installed years previously.
    Over the years, with Barbara’s support (she won Orinda’s William Penn Mott, Jr. Environmental Award in 2011) amid multiple challenges, the gardens flourished. Her successor, Chrissy Orangio, with the backing of former principal Julia Parks, extended them. An organic garden with brightly painted fence posts and nine irrigated raised beds, a meditation garden with benches and flowers funded by the Lafayette Garden Club and a permaculture “food forest” with a new greenhouse donated by the Orinda Garden Club, multiple Eagle Scout projects and the aforementioned shed, repaired and painted Miramonte green by students – are now gone.
    What remains is weeds and rubble.
    These gardens were a resource for the life sciences, health, foods, art, journalism, photography and Special Education classes, and all served as outdoor classrooms and meeting places. Destroying this infrastructure was an expensive and impudent endeavor. Acalanes and Campolindo high schools retain their gardens.
    Our students, their teachers, our community and Barbara’s memory (sadly, she passed in July) deserve better.
    – Linda Mizes

Support for Donner for MOFD
    I’d like to recommend incumbent Michael Donner for Moraga Orinda Fire Protection District Director, District 4. His priority is keeping our district safe and he has been a great success. His decisions are based on firefighting experience – in other words – he knows what he is doing. He has made sound financial decisions so that even in a down turn, we won’t face layoffs again. His endorsements are a list of people who know about fire safety, know about public policy and how to retain and recruit the best firefighters.  
    Michael has dedicated his life to public service, volunteering in countless ways as a coach, a mentor and helping our school districts with emergency preparedness. We have worked together on several non-profit boards and projects that include Random Acts of Kindness, MOCHA and countless food and clothing drives where Michael personally delivers assistance to fire victims around 
California.  
    He is out in the world making a difference, not in an office thinking about politics. Michael has the best interest of our community foremost on his mind, while also advocating for fair wages and a healthy morale amongst the brave folks who keep us safe.
    – Lara Dutto

Defacing Signs Must Stop
    In violation of Designated Approved Locations in The Public Right of Way Resolution 24–14, Orinda Municipal Code section 17.18.6 (B), election signs were defaced with red paint. 
    The defaced signs are located at Saint Stephens Drive at El Nido Ranch Road and Saint Stephen’s at Hidden Valley Road, referring to Resolution 24–14, Orinda municipal code section 17.18.6 (B). The defacing appears to be at random. 
    I hope we can find out who is responsible and do something about this totally irresponsible and reprehensible behavior.
    – Chris Kniel 

Dell’Aquila and Roemer to MOFD
    I personally know Vince Dell’Aquila and Mike Roemer to be highly qualified candidates for the Moraga-Orinda Fire District (MOFD) Board. Their outstanding skills and passionate community volunteerism will be a great asset to the MOFD board, plus they have a solid commitment to protect our communities and families from wildfires.
    – Sue Severson

New Members for MOFD
    Orinda needs independent elected representatives to properly represent us. In 2018, when our current MOFD board members Michael Donner and Steve Danziger were elected, over 90% of their financial support, $24,000, came from special interests outside the community.
    Orinda’s most urgent need is wildfire prevention, which “our” fire department, MOFD should be leading. But the MOFD Board has refused to spend any money on this, requiring the residents of Orinda to tax themselves an additional $3 million a year (Measure R sales tax) to deal with this.
    Meanwhile, the $20 million we are paying MOFD is being misspent, with the service to Orinda only costing the district $16 million. The other $4 million a year should be spent for fire prevention in Orinda, not elsewhere in the district.
    We need a change in leadership. Support Dell’Aquila and Roemer. Visit http://www.VinceForMOFD.com and http://www.MikeRoemer4MOFD.com.
    – Mark Cutone

Support Dell’Aquila and Roemer
    Orinda could benefit from new leadership on the MOFD Board. These candidates have no ties to outside interests and are committed to Orinda’s best interests. I believe Dell’Aquila (www.VinceforMOFD.com) and Roemer (www.MikeRoemer4MOFD.com) could do the job.  
    Wildfires are a major concern to all in this community, yet not enough has been done to address the issue. New guidance from these long-standing community members to address supportive wildfire prevention strategies is needed. Orinda needs new advocates on the MOFD Board of Directors.
    – Wendy Bradfield

Dell’Aquila and Roemer for MOFD
    Orinda and Moraga residents were upset in May when there was an item on the MOFD agenda to consider dissolving the MOFD and consolidate with Contra Costa Fire. Due to public outcry, that agenda item was never discussed. Most of us prefer local control over our own fire department and our own tax dollars. In the last MOFD board election, incumbents were supported by $22,000 in contributions from outside our district. Let’s keep the MOFD board locally funded. For that reason, I urge voters to support Vince Dell’Aquila and Mike Roemer for the MOFD board, two candidates who have the best interests of Orinda and Moraga in mind.
    – Kathleen Finch

Edda Coleman for OUSD Board
    I have had the opportunity to spend some time with Edda in an effort to understand her positions on issues critical to the education of our children. She is smart, thoughtful and has done her homework. Please join me in voting for Edda Collins Coleman for one of the three open seats on the Orinda Union School District Board (OUSD).
    As you decide on your vote for school board, here are some things I have learned about Edda:
    As a parent of three children, Edda has been an active part of the OIS Parents’ Club Board and a school volunteer.
    Edda is committed to sustaining and enhancing the OUSD curriculum.
    Edda’s work experience has taught her how to build consensus and partnerships.
    Edda understands that Orinda is changing and she is in a good position to represent those interests.
    You may learn more about Edda’s campaign at https://www.electedda.com. Please consider a yard sign or other volunteer opportunity.
    She has my endorsement and my full support.
     – Dennis Fay

Re-Elect Steven Danziger
    In November, voters in MOFD District 3 will have the opportunity to re-elect Director Steven Danziger. For many others, and myself, it is no contest! Steven has demonstrated he is an effective leader, consistently taking actions to make our district safer. As a two-term president and current vice president, he’s been at the forefront of efforts to increase fire prevention programming, strengthen the district’s finances, ensure firefighters have the training and equipment they need and led the board during the pandemic turmoil.
    Steven has 30 years of government experience and 20 as administrative manager with Oakland Fire. He knows local government – particularly the operations, finances and programs of the Fire Service.
    He cares about our community and making us safe from wildfires. As Fire Adapted Community Ambassador and trained CERT volunteer, Steven volunteers with numerous local organizations, is presently Chair of Orinda Parks & Recreation Commission, was scoutmaster, swim club board member and he is a UC Master Gardener, making dozens of presentations on home hardening/firescaping – reaching thousands. I understand his opponent has no background in government or fire and very little record of community volunteering.
    Our “heroes,” the men and women who serve MOFD, endorse Steven. They know what it takes and if you support our firefighters, you should vote for Steven. It is clear we need to re-elect Steven Danziger to the MOFD Board, so he may continue to represent District 3 and help make our community as safe as possible.
    – John “Bob” Heath

Michelle Chang for OUSD Board
    OUSD will have an election of new members in November, and we are lucky to have so many willing to serve. After reviewing the qualifications of all of the candidates, one stands head and shoulders above the others. Michelle Chang was a teacher and administrator in another District and now is a mom in ours. She brings a wealth of experience to the position that is unmatched by the other candidates. Please join me and vote for the best candidate for the position – Michelle Chang. We need her!
    – Terry J. Murphy

Elect Vince for MOFD
    I am writing in support of the candidacy of Vince Dell’Aquila for the MOFD Board of Directors, Division 3. I have known Vince for 25 years and have worked closely with him in his roles as Athletic Director of Miramonte High School and coach of Miramonte and Solano College teams. Vince is hard working, conscientious, works well with others and is a man of integrity. I am confident he would make a positive contribution as a member of the MOFD Board of Directors.
    – Steve Harwood