Letters to the Editor

Measure R Spending Priorities
    I have been following the management of the Measure R funds by the SSTOC since its inception in March 2021. I was quoted in September’s article in The Orinda News on Measure R spending: “we were led to believe the funds would primarily be used for wildfire prevention.” Copies of the ads selling the tax can be seen at www.saferorinda.info/orinda-downplays-wildfire-prevention.
    The article states, the SSTOC was directed to focus on wildfire prevention, which would normally mean following a plan generated by a wildfire prevention expert. Orinda had none, so the SSTOC recommended to the council that the city use the UC Center for Catastrophic Risk Management (CCRM), including Orinda resident Dr. John Radke, to create the plan.
    However, the city staff, which had no expertise in the subject, advised the council the CCRM plan was pure research, claimed that the plan required significant public participation to generate results and said the city had other priorities. The council suspended action based on staff’s apprehension.
    Staff was wrong on two of three counts. The CCRM analysis employed modeling tools which have been in use since 2006 and other tested methodologies. Public participation in identifying vegetation on their properties to enhance the accuracy of the analysis was desirable, but not crucial (the SSTOC thought such participation would be welcomed by the public). But the staff was correct in stating that it had other priorities.
    I look forward to future Orinda News articles detailing spending on those “other” priorities.
    – Steve Cohn