Letters to the Editor

Double Standard Over Roads
    The article “Sales-Tax Survey Results Expected at Mid-March Council Meeting” (The Orinda News, March, 2020) reports on some Nextdoor postings which deserve comment. 
    Gary Gallaher’s posting “… They should be made public only if they are brought up to the standard of public roads” fails to take account of the fact that many private roads were in better or equal condition to the public cul-de-sacs that private and public road residents were all forced to upgrade via road bond taxes. 
    Why should private road residents now have to bring their roads up to any better standards? Why such a double standard for people paying the same taxes?
    Mr. Gallaher’s post goes on to say “… Most of us do not use the ‘private’ roads anywhere near as much as ‘private’ road owners use the public roads we all pay for.”  Where is the logic here? Residents of a private cul-de-sac and those of a public cul-de-sac off the same public collector road use the collector similarly, and neither likely uses the other’s cul-de-sac. Yet the private residents are forced to help pay for fixing the public cul-de-sac while the public residents don’t help pay for the one classified as private.  
    Garbage trucks damage both the private and public cul-de-sac, yet the city only fixes the public one. Surely even a child would detect something logically and morally wrong with the very different treatment of people paying identical taxes.
    Regarding Mary Gilles’ question as to whether there is an easily accessible map of private roads, the information is contained in http://orindaroadfacts.info/orinda_street_data.
    Finally, JK Kim’s apparent assertion that “some of the private roads in the city are nothing more than long driveways to a home” may be correct in a few cases (and these roads probably shouldn’t be adopted), but the vast majority of private roads seeking public adoption have similar numbers of homes to those on public roads they are taxed to support. 
    While 97 out of 204 of the private streets have five or fewer homes on them, there are also 52 public streets with five or fewer homes. My road, Canyon View Drive, has 17 homes, and is larger than many public cul-de-sacs maintained by my taxes. 
    To add further insult, our residents must self-fund the replacement of culverts under Canyon View that directly drain water from public Diablo View Drive above. The city’s incomplete and fragmented drainage system upgrade plan draft shows no remedy for such forced subsidization of public-serving drainage on the backs of private property owners.
    – Joel Libove