Published October 19th, 2016
Key Differences Emerge At Candidates Forum
By Sophie Braccini
Photo Andy Scheck
Close to 200 residents crowded into the Serbian Church in Moraga last week for a debate between candidates running for the contested town council race.
It was civil, the candidates sometimes noting common standpoints as they responded to the eight questions they were asked. But significant differences emerged regarding whether the Moraga Center Specific Plan should be reconsidered, whether the plan for a private/public partnership for the Hacienda should be pursued, and about new traffic impacts in town.
Graig Crossley, Jeanette Fritzky, Kymberleigh Korpus and Roger Wykle, who are competing for three town council positions, displayed very different ways of addressing the issues even when they agreed. Incumbent Wykle drew on his record on the council, Korpus passionately advocated for what she believes in, Fritzky stressed her willingness to act in accord with consensus opinion, and Crossley relied on his past experience with town's affairs and the tenets of common sense.
The most burning questions revolved around the Moraga Center Specific Plan (MCSP) and the City Ventures development on Moraga Road next to the fire station. Wykle explained that he had asked since the beginning of the project for smaller units, set back further from the road. He added that he had supported the latest appeal (opposing the project). He also explained that the council is working on the zoning of the MCSP. He expects this process will define a type of semi-rural downtown that should combine revitalization with preserving Moraga's character.
Fritzky echoed the view of the other candidates that the City Ventures development is now a done deal. While not articulating a direct opinion on this topic, she said that for future developments she was opened to looking into new planning processes that would make it easier to visualize what the developers are proposing, and would seek to build a town-wide consensus. She said that surveys show that the people want to preserve ridgelines and hillsides, but that there is no consensus on what to do with the MCSP.
Crossley stated that the City Ventures project, as now approved, was not appropriate on the scenic corridor. He further expressed that the whole MCSP needed to be re-examined by the whole community. He added that the needs of the property owners have to be taken into account and that to build a downtown that will be attractive, it has to make sense to all parties.
Korpus, who has been on the planning commission since the beginning of the year, is most passionate about this issue. She was active in opposing the City Venture project arguing that it was not compliant with the fundamental principles set in the General Plan. She believes that it is true of the whole MCSP and that it should be reconsidered. She said she was not anti-development, but that new projects should not compromise Moraga's semi-rural character.
The candidates did not agree on the future of the Hacienda de las Flores. Crossley sees it as a successful public venue, as demonstrated during the recent Hacienda nights. He added that recreation is a public service provided by the town to residents and does not have to be a profit center. Korpus did not agree and said that she would rather stop the losses. She also agreed with Wykle that the exploration of a public-private partnership the town started should be completed and all possibilities explored. Fritzky noted that there was no consensus in town on what to do with the Hacienda, and that it was up to the community to decide what it wants done with the town's asset.
Management of infrastructure and transit was also a topic of differentiation among the candidates. Wykle and Crossley see that Moraga has a traffic problem mostly linked to schools' commute. Wykle mentioned opening of negotiations with both high schools, Campolindo and Miramonte, and also the Moraga Livable Roads plan that will make walking and biking to school safer.
Crossley noted that storm drain issues were also an infrastructure issue.
To address commute time, Fritzky proposed staging school times and having people adjust their schedules. She also noted that with more development would come more traffic.
Korpus took the topic a step further saying that traffic patterns have changed in recent years, that people coming from Oakland now find their way east through Moraga thanks to mobile apps such as Waze, and that the traffic studies that were done six or seven years ago should be redone. She mentioned security risks linked to increased numbers of cars and said that new ways to enter and exit Moraga should be considered, maybe at the end of Camino Pablo or through Bollinger Canyon.
For those who were not able to attend the meeting, Lamorinda Weekly recorded it and it is online at and The recording is divided in chapters according to the questions that were asked. Moraga Citizens Network (MCN) organizes this forum in keeping with its mission to promote civic awareness. MCN had asked for questions to its 1,500 members and selected eight for the candidates.

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