Published October 31st, 2018
Letters to the Editor
Love Lafayette

Sadly, “Save Lafayette" has succeeded.
They have succeeded in saving Lafayette from the most intelligent, creative, honest, energetic, thoughtful and caring City Manager we could ever hope to have.
Why, oh why if these people do not like how Lafayette is organized, don’t they move elsewhere and leave those of us who love Lafayette in peace?
Mary Ann Hoisington

Danziger for MOFD District 3

I heartily endorse Steve Danziger for Moraga-Orinda Fire District 3. I’ve known Steve since he was Scoutmaster of my son’s troop 16 years ago. Steve is genuine, honest and extremely capable with a great sense of humor. He has over 20 years of public service experience, including as an Administrative Manager with the Oakland Fire Department, and has the knowledge and the background to hit the ground running. His goals include, but are not limited to, maintaining and enhancing fire safety, being fiscally responsible and accountable and strengthening relationships with the staff and the community. He will bring a knowledge, passion and experience that will help guide MOFD into the future. If you are in District 3, I urge you to vote for Steve Danziger on or before November 6th.
Susie Epstein
Acalanes Union High School Governing Board

Steve Woehleke for council

I am writing to strongly and enthusiastically recommend that all Moragans cast their vote for Steve Woehleke for Moraga Town Council. My wife, Marianna Laurence, and I have lived in Moraga for 20 years and have known Steve and his wife Peggy since our daughters became friends while attending Moraga’s public schools. I have personally served as trustee on the Moraga School Board so understand what it takes to be a successful public servant representing our special community. Since getting to know Steve, I have seen his unwavering commitment to our town demonstrated through sustained leadership serving on both the Design Review Board and Moraga Planning Commission. This exemplary level of service combined with Steve’s education background and professional experience make him an ideal candidate to serve on our Town Council at this critical time. What we need most now is a seasoned leader who brings an objective, analytical and disciplined approach to decision-making. Steve has the temperament and expertise to set the right priorities, taking into account sound management of our fiscal resources and physical assets while keeping in mind the quality of life we enjoy. Steve uniquely brings these critical leadership and business skills to the table. We can count on Steve to be laser-focused on immediate critical issues without losing sight of the need to plan for the future. Steve’s platform says it best, “Better decisions. Better outcomes."
Please join Marianna and me and vote for Steve Woehelke for Moraga Town Council.
Steve Hirsch

Susan Candell and Ivor Samson for Lafayette City Council

We are so fortunate to live in this small tightknit community where volunteering is the norm and where we all know one another. Most of the candidates running for City Council have served our community in many ways, for many years.
But unfortunately, simply being involved in our community isn’t enough for someone to earn our vote. Our vote needs to be based on issues and facts, voting records and the candidate’s philosophical ideas about our community and how it should be governed.
For me, it is simple. I am voting for the two candidates that I feel have the professional experience and technical background that we need, the sincere willingness to listen to all sides and work together on issues, the strength to stand up for their constituents on difficult issues, and the integrity that will help them guide our city.
So before you cast your vote, I encourage you to ask all the candidates questions, attend a meet and greet, read their websites or flyers. Make sure that your priorities align with theirs, and that you share the same vision for Lafayette.
If you do, I am convinced you will come up with the same answer as me. While we have five nice people running for office, Susan and Ivor are the best qualified candidates to lead our city. They have earned my vote.
Traci Reilly
Former Vice Mayor 2015, City Council Member 2012-2016

Bauer-Kahan and immigration

In this election, our values matter more than ever before. The Trump Administration has acted completely antithetical to American values by instituting a Muslim ban and separating children from their parents. Rebecca Bauer-Kahan is the only candidate running for Assembly who has stood up to Trump time after time. When the Administration announced the Muslim ban, Rebecca rushed to SFO to coordinate legal services for those impacted. As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, Rebecca is paying it forward, to provide refugees and immigrants the ability to strive for the American Dream that her own grandparents had. In office, Rebecca will continue to fight the Administration’s anti-immigrant policies, including ensuring state resources aren’t used to divide children from their parents. I’ve known Rebecca for years as a valued member of our community. She’s a person of character and integrity, with a strong moral compass, who always stands up to injustice and fights for what’s right. She is the clear choice for Assembly District 16.
Tamara Ireland Stone

No on Prop 8

I am a client of the Fresenius dialysis clinic in Walnut Creek. The care I have received at this facility is anything but what is depicted by the “YES" on 8 television commercials. The staff is well trained, attentive and obsessed with cleanliness and maintaining sterility. I have never seen a client/staff ratio of less than 5:1. This, in addition to nurses and doctors who are on site. Contrary to what is depicted in the “Yes on 8" commercials, I have never seen any cockroaches and the only bloodstains I have seen are my own.
While some patients may be charged $150,000 for treatment, the reality is, under Federal law, the vast majority of dialysis patients are covered under Medicare. In my case Fresenius bills Medicare $4,952 for each treatment – 3 times per week. Medicare “allows" $345! I’m not smart enough to know if Fresenius charges too much or Medicare allows too little. However, it does not appear that Fresenius is coining money. Their annual report confirms this: In 2017, they reported net income of $1.3 billion. Euros on revenues of $17.8 billion. Euros, a 7.3 percent profit margin. The average for Fortune 500 firms in 2017 was 11 percent.
Even the smart money on Wall Street agrees they are not coining money. Their stock has seriously under performed the averages during the two-year old bull market. (Fresenius is a German-based company whose stock is traded on the NYSE as FMC.)
We don’t need another costly, inefficient state bureaucracy monitoring the activities of dialysis clinics. Medicare already keeps a tight reign on these facilities.
Proposition 8 has nothing to do with patient care in dialysis clinics or its cost to the taxpayers. It is an attempt by the unions to organize the workers in these clinics and fatten their coffers with increased dues.
Steven Richards

Bauer-Kahan gets my vote

As an attorney, I pride myself on being able to sift through inconsistent facts and assertions; I search for hard evidence that will lead me to the truth. I am the recipient of multiple mailers from Catherine Baker that severely distort the truth about her record on environmental protection. The California League of Conservation Voters carefully tallied up all of Baker’s votes and gave her a low grade on environmental issues. I am particularly repelled by Baker’s slanderous television ad implying that Bauer-Kahan has taken bribes from lobbyists. The ad is almost identical to the one she ran against her opponent in 2016. I need a candidate who shares my values on environmental protection and basic human decency. Baker had demonstrated a lack of decency in her disgusting attacks on Bauer-Kahan. Democrat Rebecca Bauer-Kahan gets my vote!
Elaine Gerstler, Esq.

In support of gun violence prevention laws

As a mother of three, I’m beyond concerned about the horrific, bloody gun violence in our schools. Children and teachers are dying – we have no more time to waste. We must elect leaders who will enact gun violence prevention laws right now. I was upset to discover that my own Assemblymember, Catharine Baker, did not support closing a loophole in 2017 to keep guns off school campuses (AB 424), even though her mailers say she supports gun safety. I am now supporting Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, who has pledged to vote on the side of gun sense every single time, to protect all human lives, especially those of our children.
Holly Grossman

Eve and Kathleen straightforward choice

Like many Orindans, my wife and I attended the City Council Forum to hear positions and responses to questions from the five candidates. We thought the moderator did a good job asking a variety of questions that the audience submitted. She asked enough pertinent questions to clarify roughly two distinctive perspectives among the candidates.
As a long-term resident, active in volunteering and political affairs, I am concerned with maintaining our excellent schools (presumably all candidates are), safety, quality neighborhoods, and the semi-rural character of Orinda, the basis of our General Plan. For those questioning “semi-rural character," refer to the General Plan, ( Sections 1,2,4,5). Semi rural character includes the idea of “organic development" – projects like the Montessori school, which would have been located in the old abandoned Phairs building site, that along with dozens of young mothers I strongly supported, and projects like Bella Oaks, which would have been across from the library. In both cases, the developers went to great measures to comply with the General Plan and Orinda’s municipal code, including height and volume requirements. The City Council at the time (except for incumbent Eve Phillips who supported Bella Oaks) killed both of these projects. Eve Phillips and Kathleen Jenkins, whom I know well, favor an “organic development" approach to improve Orinda’s downtown, and make it more vibrant.
Listening to candidates Dennis Fay and Nick Kosla, I got the opposite impression and am troubled by their perspective. Both said they viewed Orinda’s General Plan as a living document. Both seemed less concerned with preserving Orinda’s semi-rural character. Nick Kosla, thought the downtown should be more centralized. This approach reminds me of The Urban Land Institute recommendations. Those recommendations focus on "housing as the value enhancer" theme (to fund the development). As mentioned in their presentation, ULI recommended 240 new downtown condos, in six new buildings, with a six-story building height. This seriously violates our general plan and semi-rural character, let alone numerous other problems. My take away from the City Council Forum is that candidates Dennis Fay and Nick Kosla are in accord with this kind of vision for the downtown.
Of course these are my generalizations. But for me, they are sufficiently clear that voting for Kathleen Jenkins and incumbent Eve Phillips is the best choice for Orinda. Be sure to vote. It’s your city.
Chris Kniel

Vote for Teresa Gerringer and Karen Maggio ... and also get involved!

As the mother of a 3 year old, a small business owner and someone who strives to be an active member of our community, I realize how much work it is to sometimes get out the door, never mind get big things done. It’s difficult and time consuming to navigate the system, learn all of the players and create the time to not only get involved, but also be a leader.
There is value in years of experience in volunteering on school boards, a local commissions or citizens task forces. For that reason, among others, I am supporting and voting for Teresa Gerringer and Karen Maggio in this election.
These two women are great examples of what it takes to be invested in our community. Vote for Teresa and Karen.
Most of all, I encourage all of us to learn by their dedication to our city and get involved in whichever way you can. Yes, use social media to be engaged, and also vote and identify a civic passion to give your time. That is how we can all Love Lafayette a bit better this Nov. 6.
Lauren McCabe Herpich

A vote for women’s rights

Many of my surgical patients are women with breast cancer, so I am naturally appalled at the Trump Administration’s efforts to severely rein in women’s rights, including limiting funding for critical women’s health programs. I was worried about these issues in California, so I did some research. Our Assemblymember, Catharine Baker, opposed funding for the “Every Woman Counts" program that provides women in underserved communities with cancer-prevention tests including clinical breast exams, pelvic exams, mammograms, and Pap tests. Baker also opposed the Reproductive Fact Act, which sought to protect women from unlicensed medical providers. As a surgeon, I cannot in good conscience vote for Baker given her votes. I am voting for Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, who has pledged to reliably champion women’s rights.
Mary Cardoza, MD, FACS

Recommendations for Moraga Town Council

Dave Trotter: Dave and I have not always seen eye to eye on some issues, but we recently had an open and fair conversation about those subjects and walked away agreeing to let bygones stay there. Dave is a tireless worker on Moraga’s behalf, a convincing mediator/negotiator, and a personable, congenial man. Notwithstanding, our past differences are outweighed by the continuity, intelligence and immense ‘local knowledge’ and leadership he brings to our Town Council.
Mike McCluer: Mike is relatively new to me, but the first thing that struck me about this fellow was his upbeat, contagious and powerful personality. Of course, I investigated his curriculum vitae and found him highly qualified, including an MBA. He has also worked with non-profit groups relative to children and the homeless. I see him as a selfless man with boundless energy and optimism along with solid business experience and credentials. It appears he has a realistic, broad-based view of our world and its problems.
He also appears to me, first impression, to be skilled at a natural discourse with folks unknown to him, affable and unassuming.
Woehleke: The person or persons responsible for making election signs which appear to imply that McCluer and Woehleke are running in combination is blatantly false. McCluer has publicly denounced this peculiar practice. These two men are very different in both their views and personalities.
I cannot in good conscience recommend Steve Woehleke. My own grandfather was a Civil Engineer who described his own professional associates as “a group that looks through the wrong end of the telescope," meaning they might be unaware and thus ignore many of the other myriad influences and elements in play which may be important to a project’s impact and its influence at large.
I fear he lacks the vision, temperament and ‘people’ skills for it. He may be a good fit for the Planning Commission, but certainly not the Town Council IMO.
Fritz Stoop

Gerringer for Lafayette City Council

We are writing this letter in support of Teresa Gerringer for the Lafayette City Council.
We have worked closely with Teresa for years, including when she was Co-Chairman of the Fundraising Campaign for the magnificent Lafayette Library and Learning Center and also when she was a liaison from the Community Foundation in building the Rotary stage at the Lafayette Reservoir. From personal experience we know Teresa is trustworthy, hard-working, and smart. She knows how Lafayette works and how to make it better.
On the City Council, she would work collaboratively and provide outstanding leadership for our town as it confronts issues of growth, housing, and traffic.
Please join us in voting for Teresa Gerringer for City Council on Nov. 6.
Dick and Robin Holt
Lafayette Co-Citizens of the Year, 2017

Severson for AUHSD governing board

As a current member on the Orinda Union School Board, I know that school board trustees must have the ability to listen to all viewpoints, to work together collaboratively, and to always keep in mind the best interests of the students. Chris Severson embodies these qualities and deserves your vote in November for Governing Board Member of the Acalanes Union High School District.
Chris has been a strong advocate for public education for many years. He has the benefit of experience — Chris served for four years with me on the board of the Orinda Union School District from 2010-2014. As a fellow trustee, Chris always acted with the utmost integrity and always kept the focus on what’s best for students. Chris was instrumental in helping lead the district during the last financial crisis and, as a result, the district was able to weather that storm with minimal impact on students in the classroom. Moreover, as an emergency room physician, Chris knows how important health and wellness are to student success, and intends to bring a focus on those issues with him to his role as trustee.
Chris will also bring a balanced perspective to the school board. The high school district is composed of schools in four communities: Orinda, Moraga, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek. Chris has children who attend or have attended Miramonte, Acalanes, and Campolindo high schools.
Chris is committed to maintaining and improving upon the excellent education our high schools provide. I urge you to vote for Chris Severson for Governing Board Member for the Acalanes Union High School District.
Julie Rossiter
Board Member
Orinda Union School District

Samson and Candell for Council

I attended Candidates Night and solidified my support for Ivor Samson (Incumbent, Attorney) and Susan Candell (Circulation Commissioner, Engineer). Samson and Candell are willing to do independent research, ask direct questions and hold staff accountable when necessary. They’ll work to solidify the partnership between the City and the schools. The Lafayette School District is running a serious structural deficit and it would be beneficial to taxpayers and students if the City and the District started sharing expenses when possible.
Ivor Samson has worked hard since his appointment to the City Council in 2016. Ivor Samson and Vice Mayor Cam Burks (an Ivor Samson supporter) successfully implemented safety and traffic calming measures on Reliez Valley Road. Samson worked with his colleagues to pass the new Conflict of Interest policy and Burks and Mark Mitchell joined Samson in this important vote. Given pending and potential litigation before Lafayette we need a tested legal mind on Council to ensure our legal interests are protected.
Susan Candell worked closely with Ivor Samson and Cam Burks on the Reliez Valley Road traffic issues. Susan has been a dedicated community volunteer in the areas of traffic and safety, including safe routes to school, the Downtown Specific Plan and development and zoning impacts. An engineer by trade, Susan has the ability to read, understand and explain complex technical documents like Environmental Impact Reports. The passage of AB2923, and the related loss of local control over development decisions make Susan’s analytical skills more important than ever.
Lafayette voters recently rejected Measures L and C - votes of no confidence in the status quo. City Manager Steve Falk recognized this disconnect and recently resigned. The next Council will select Falk’s replacement and that Council should be comprised of individuals with relevant municipal experience and knowledge. Who do you think will represent YOUR voice when hiring the next City Manager?
The candidates are all nice people who care about Lafayette; I applaud them all for running because I know it’s not easy. However, I’m looking for relevant municipal experience and expertise. I’m voting for Ivor Samson and Susan Candell!
Jean Follmer
Lafayette School District Governing Board Member, Elect

Getting the facts straight on Baker

I am deeply disappointed with the misrepresentations I have seen about Catharine’s outstanding record from the Bauer-Kahan campaign. Many mailers and recent letters to local newspapers have made misleading statements. For example, a recent letter to the editor stated that Catharine voted against Cap and Trade. Fact: Catharine voted for this measure and Governor Brown publicly commended her for it. Mailers claim that Catharine has voted against critical environmental legislation. Fact: Catharine Voted for 100% renewable energy, authored legislation to protect our coasts from more offshore drilling, and authored legislation to protect Californian’s clean air rules. Mailers claim Catharine isn’t who she says she is. Fact: Catharine is the ONLY candidate in this race to receive bipartisan endorsements from local elected officials in every single city and county she represents. If you want the truth about Catharine, look no further than her record and what she’s accomplished. Don’t believe the misrepresentations. I served for over a decade as an American diplomat with the U.S. State Department; working extensively with members of the U.S. House and Senate, and elected leaders from nations around the world. I have never come across a politician that has more integrity, is more pragmatic and has stronger principles, than Catharine Baker. She is the type of leader that we desperately need in Sacramento. Catharine has and will continue to serve us profoundly well and deserves to be reelected.
Cameron Burks
Vice Mayor, Lafayette

Trotter and McCluer for Council

To preserve our hills and open spaces, Moragans should support Dave Trotter and Mike McCluer for Town Council.
As a councilmember since 2006, Dave Trotter has been an effective leader on open space protection. He led the successful multi-year effort to strengthen the rules protecting hills and ridgelines. He’s unafraid to stand up for his principles, as when he cast the lone “no" vote against the Bellavista project now being built on Rheem Boulevard. Moraga needs Dave’s leadership again as the Council decides two major proposed developments in Bollinger Canyon and Indian Valley. Dave follows through on campaign commitments and has extensive knowledge of Town governance. We need him for one more term.
Current Planning Commissioner Mike McCluer has made open space protection a central campaign principle. He showed he means it two weeks ago when the 126-house Bollinger Canyon development came before the Commission. McCluer spoke convincingly of the need to uphold Moraga’s protections for hills, ridgelines and semi-rural character and he voted against the project, a recommendation that will go to the Council for a final decision. Mike also has a finance background, a useful skill set to add to the Council.
I cannot recommend Steve Woehleke for two reasons. First, as a Planning Commissioner, he opposed a fundamental premise of Moraga’s Open Space Ordinance limiting housing densities on landslide areas. Woehleke pushed for higher densities on unstable land by allowing massive remedial grading (like we’ve seen at Bellavista). The intent of MOSO is to protect hillsides and ridgelines, not grade them away. Second, the commission deliberations Commissioner Woehleke chaired were rambling and unfocused. They were among the least effective meetings I’ve observed as an environmental consultant who has spent decades attending hearings at the local and regional level. Hardly the stuff of better decision making.
Please support Trotter and McCluer to protect open space.
Malcolm J. Sproul

Dave Smith for Lafayette City Council

We are so fortunate to have 5 wonderful candidates running for the two seats available on Lafayette City Council. Over the years I’ve been very impressed and grateful to the men and women who have so unselfishly given their time to serve on council and the numerous committees that have helped keep Lafayette a great place to live. I am writing to encourage citizens to vote for Dave Smith for City Council because I believe it would be wonderful to have a fresh new voice in Lafayette. Dave may not have experience in our local politics but his wide range of experience in his jobs makes him an ideal candidate. The younger residents of our city need someone who understands their needs because he lives them too. I have seen firsthand, while sitting on a city commission, what the younger members can bring to the table. I’ve been so impressed with their enthusiasm, energy, and fresh ideas and know Dave shares these same attributes. Most of them have young families and busy, working lives, just like Dave, but are willing to share their time and talents for the good of the city.
For too long, the northeastern region of Lafayette, where 25% of homeowners live, has not been represented by anyone on City Council. Until we recently became very vocal about the terrible traffic in our area and how it is negatively impacting our lives, there did not seem to be much concern for our area because it isn’t in the downtown. Dave understands our frustration because he lives here and has had the frequently unpleasant experience of having to get kids to or from other parts of Lafayette during morning and afternoon rush periods, or to get to his own meetings. He opposes the current plan to build 315 apartments at the corner of Deer Hill and Pleasant Hill Roads for several reasons, included creating even more traffic there, and for many environmental and public health concerns among other things. As a Councilmember he would keep an open mind on this issue as additional information is presented.
My hope is that Dave’s candidacy will encourage more younger citizens to get involved with our city, to make their voices heard and to vote. Dave has some good, fresh ideas that could help reduce traffic congestion, encourage sustainable growth in the correct areas of our city, and enhance our quality of life. His skill in building coalitions and working collaboratively to solve problems is needed now more than ever. I hope you’ll vote for Dave Smith.
Linda Staaf

Former mayors for positive change

We are nine former mayors of Lafayette, and we are dismayed by the negative campaign rhetoric used by two of the five Lafayette City Council candidates. In contrast, Teresa Gerringer, Karen Maggio and Dave Smith are conducting positive campaigns.
Negative campaigns are infrequent in Lafayette’s 50-year history. In the past we have had civil discourse and issue discussions during campaigns. When disagreements arose, they were issue-oriented and without personal attacks.
We are upset by the exaggerations, misstatements, and half-truths at candidates’ night and in campaign material and campaign ads. Most especially, we are dismayed by the rhetoric against our volunteer commissioners and our City Manager, Steve Falk, who is one of the most respected city managers in California. Lafayette is run on a balanced budget, with
ample reserves and no pension debt. Few cities can boast these facts. After 28 years of exemplary service, no one, especially Steve, should be treated with such disrespect.
The attacks on the Planning Commissioners and the City Manager are an attack on us, and the voters who elected us. We, as Mayors and council members, made the policies carried out by the City Manager and commissioners. We are proud of our decisions and are honored by the service that so many have given. Lafayette’s meetings adhere to the state “sunshine" laws for open meetings, and we discipline those who have run afoul of these laws.
The city works with all our citizens to get their input.
We need council members who can forge agreements with each other and with neighboring jurisdictions. Traffic is a regional issue and we must elect council members who are collaborative in nature, not confrontational, to work cooperatively with the nearby cities whose drivers impact our roads.
We support Teresa Gerringer, whose 19 years of service on the school board, and Karen Maggio, whose years of service on the planning commission, are positive, proactive hard-working volunteers. Also, they both helped to build our new library. Their years of dedication to Lafayette distinguish them.
Lafayette needs them on the City Council.
Don Tatzin, Mayor 1986-87, 1991-92, 1996-97, 2001-02, 2008-09, 2013-14, 2017-18
Mike Anderson, Mayor 2007-08, 2012-13, 2016-17
Brandt Andersson, Mayor 2009-10, 2014-15
Carol Federighi, Mayor 2002-03, 2006-07, 2011-12
Carl Anduri, Mayor 2004-05, 2010-11
Erling Horn, Mayor 1998-99, 2003-04
Anne Grodin, Mayor 1993-94. 1997-98
Judy Garvens, Mayor 1995-96
Bob Fisher, Mayor 1970-71, 1974-75

Candell and Samson for Council

I know we’re all overwhelmed with campaign “news", but I feel strongly about the importance of thoughtfully choosing candidates in the upcoming City Council race in Lafayette. Personally, I’m concerned about the rampant growth occurring in Lafayette and how it has changed our City so dramatically over the past several years. We’ve lost the small, charming town feel that we used to have. The congestion, lack of parking and massive new development occurring throughout the City is affecting all of us in a negative way. And we, as citizens, don’t seem to have a say in what is happening.
There are two candidates that I am supporting who are committed to working hard on these issues and represent what I feel needs to be done moving forward. These two candidates are Susan Candell and Ivor Samson.
They are the only two candidates that rejected Measure L, and the only two to endorse our strict Conflict of Interest ordinance. They have worked tirelessly to make sure we have an open and transparent government, and will work with the citizens of Lafayette to represent what we want for our City. They are in favor of preserving open space and looking at how development affects our schools, quality of education, and the health and safety of our citizens.
It is the responsibility of each of us to take the time to learn the facts about each of the candidates and make a well- informed decision. I urge you to look at Susan and Ivor. I feel they are our only hope right now in preventing more massive development that cannot be supported by the size and infrastructure of our City.
Please join me in supporting Susan Candell and Ivor Samson.
Dana Vannelli

Yet Another Bank to “Revitalize" Orinda?

Ms. Jenkins, Orinda City Council candidate, blames the current Council for voting “down" a new retail/restaurant project at 25A Orinda Way, which in her view would have brought “new services and amenities" to Orinda’s downtown.
The facts: After obtaining approval in 2016 for a building at 25A consisting of nearly 14,000 square feet of retail including a restaurant on the first floor, and obtaining several extensions of time to build, the landowner – one who had limited development experience under his belt – sought a change: Turning close to 50 percent of the retail/restaurant space into services – i.e., a workout studio and a bank branch.
Both the City Council and Planning Commission approved the workout studio and denied the bank (but approved an ATM).
Their reasoning: Focus on enhancing retail.
The workout studio would be good for retail, bringing in more foot traffic. The bank, in contrast, with limited daily hours – closed on weekends – would not attract as much continuous foot traffic – hurting retail.
The Council vote on the bank was 4-1. Councilperson Phillips (running for re-election and praised by candidate Jenkins for her vote) backed the bank.
Orinda has eight banks. This ninth bank – part of an otherwise fully approved retail/restaurant project – was not the key to revitalize downtown.
Hanging their hopes for downtown renewal on a ninth bank indicates that Jenkins and Phillips are not in step with realistic, seasoned views of revitalizing a downtown.
We need steps to encourage experienced retail professionals to invest in Orinda. Encourage improved restaurants and more retail. Not more banks.
Dave Anderson

Candell and Samson for City Council

Our family lives in Burton Valley and we have two children who are enrolled in local schools. We are writing in support of Susan Candell and Ivor Samson for Lafayette City Council.
Ivor’s professional experience on the City Council and as an attorney are invaluable in protecting the city against current and pending litigation. Susan brings outstanding analytical and processing skills as a professional engineer.
Further, Susan’s experience on the Circulation Commission is much needed as our city faces increasing traffic and congestion issues. Burton Valley in particular will be impacted as plans for Moraga’s Bollinger Valley project move forward. It has been proposed that seven traffic lights be installed throughout Burton Valley in order to support the increased traffic from the 126 homes to be built for Bollinger Valley. Traffic patterns will increase and push through traffic to smaller streets where our families walk better to and bike. Lafayette’s Circulation Commission voted on 36 objections/concerns with the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and voted not to support the certification of the report or approval of the project until these concerns were addressed. As an engineer, Susan sent in a separate objection based on the fact that Moraga didn’t perform an HRA (Health Risk Assessment) to sensitive receptors within 1000 feet of the project. Susan also identified cancer risks for Acalanes students and faculty in the EIR for the Deer Hill homes project.
As many of the candidates are making similar statements regarding their positions on Measure C, the Deer Hill homes project, the conflict of interest (COI) ordinance and more, it’s important to examine their past actions and statements. Candidates Teresa Gerringer and Karen Maggio supported both measures; candidates Ivor Samson and Susan Candell opposed both; candidate David Smith said at the debate on September 20 that he did not reside in the City at the time of the Measure C vote.
In addition, Ivor and Susan are the only candidates who have come out in strong support of the new COI policy. Lafayette must maintain a fair, legal and ethical process for approving development projects.
Laura and Randy Levandowski

Seeking collaboration

I’m voting for Teresa Gerringer and Dave Smith for Lafayette City Council for a simple reason: I’m tired of antagonistic politics and am looking for people who combine a genuine desire to serve with an attitude of collaboration. My email inbox has been filling with outrage, and I don’t want that to be a louder voice than those of us who believe there is a better approach.
I worked closely with Teresa on the renewal campaign for a school bond measure. She was smart, dedicated and constructive, a pleasure to interact with. I came to trust her judgment and values.
Dave Smith I don’t know as well, but in our interactions, he comes across with exactly the attitude I’d hope for. We need balanced, open-minded people overseeing decisions made for Lafayette.
Using Lafayette Measure L as some kind of litmus test is giving power to arguments not based in reality. Traffic is a problem, but the main issue is that when the travel time on 680/24 gets bad enough, mapping software routes people through Lafayette. It’s that simple. A few more cars originating from within Lafayette may influence when the tipping point is reached, but the outcome (the equilibrium state) is identical. Nor is air pollution the problem. Change is. Some want it, others don’t. And, wanting it or not, some change is inevitable.
My goal is a different and better future than we’ll get by just saying no to everything.
Larry Zulch

A vote for Gerringer and Maggio

I am supporting Teresa Gerringer for Lafayette City Council. Before Election Season started, I didn’t know much or had heard of most of the candidates, but after attending the Homeowner’s Council’s Candidates Forum, I was very impressed with Teresa’s experience, knowledge, and her attitude to work together to solve the problems that Lafayette faces.
With the lawsuits hitting Lafayette regarding housing and development, and with traffic such a hot topic issue, we need elected members who can collaborate and can work with others locally and regionally to find solutions. Change in Lafayette is coming, even Susan Candell had mentioned, and we can either embrace it on our terms, or we refuse and are forced or sued into solutions that we don’t like.
I love Teresa’s experience with 19 years on the Lafayette School Board, and having been a community leader fundraising for our amazing library. I find it important that she is advocating for the students and parents, which help make our community so special. She is incredibly resourceful and hard-working and gets things done!
Our second pick is Karen Maggio. She has been on the Lafayette Planning Commission for 10 years so she is very familiar with how the city operates, and she helped to draft the city’s General Plan which led to our wonderful downtown and our state-of-the-art library. Karen also is a former Sustainable Lafayette board member and is a leader in managing sustainable communities at Mills College and the SF Presidio. With the recent international report release on fighting the climate crisis, we need an experienced leader like Karen to help our city advance its green goals while building a safe and healthy community for all!
Nancy Hu

Fay, Kosla and Worth for City Council on Nov. 6

On Nov. 6, Orindans will vote to fill three open seats on Orinda’s City Council. Three candidates in particular, Dennis Fay and Nick Kosla, along with incumbent Amy Worth, represent Orindans BEST prospect for momentum in the process of Downtown renewal.
Fay, Kosla and Worth each offer a wealth of experience on issues pertaining to Orinda’s Downtown. Dennis Fay, a former chair of the Citizens’ Infrastructure and Oversight Committee (CIOC) was instrumental in the development of Orinda’s program to repair its roads. Nick Kosla’s experience as Chair of the Orinda Planning Commission will be invaluable in future Council discussions about land use and business development in Orinda’s Downtown. Amy Worth is currently serving as Mayor in her 4th term on Orinda’s City Council and has a proven voting record on thoughtful Downtown revitalization, including the input of two independent consulting firms (The Urban Land Institute and Main Street America) to provide options for downtown renewal, and most recently, the green lighting of the Master Streetscape Plan.
The addition of these three highly qualified and forward-thinking candidates to Orinda’s City Council is exactly what we need to move forward with downtown. We offer our endorsement and urge others to vote for Dennis Fay, Nick Kosla and Amy Worth for Orinda City Council on Nov. 6.
What’s Up Downtown Orinda Steering Committee
Ali Drasin, Darien Destino, Ari Hatton, Kirsten Larsen, Trudi Loscotoff, Laura McDowell, Hillary Murphy, Laura Pavlovich and Emily Stoddard

Kosla for Council

I am voting for Nick Kosla for Orinda City Council because Nick knows what Orinda is and what Orinda needs.
I am fortunate to be able to raise my children in the same community I grew up in. I met Nick Kosla back in the early ‘90s when we both attended Miramonte High School. I returned to Orinda nine years ago and reunited with Nick when he sat on the Planning Commission for Orinda. Since then, I have gotten to know Nick and his family very well. Nick is actively engaged in our community and our school, Wagner Ranch Elementary. I have spent hours talking to him about the future of Orinda and how we want to preserve Orinda’s small town charm but see some progress in updating our downtown while preserving our schools and providing our families with a safe community. Nick understands Orinda and the challenges we face. Nick is passionate about our schools and our community, and his family is actively engaged in caring for our little town. I believe he has the right mindset and skills to help implement positive change where our downtown needs it while wanting to protect Orinda from turning into the high rise and chain restaurant communities we see around us.
Amy Stuffmann

Vote For Candell and Samson for City Council

Lafayette’s City Council Election has generated a lively debate in our community, and it’s important to understand why. A critical issue is whether or not newly elected Council members will try to weaken or reverse the conflict of interest (COI) policy that was adopted on March 26, 2018.
The new policy prohibits commissioners on the Planning Commission (PC) and Design Review Commission (DRC) from working for, or designing projects for, builders/developers in Lafayette. Lafayette residents may be surprised to learn that this unethical financial relationship had existed between some commissioners and developers for years. To stop this practice, it wasn’t enough for commissioners to recuse, because their firms or family would present the project to the PC or DRC on their behalf. Recusal is an important tool under most circumstances, but in the absence of a strong COI policy, it became a shell game.
Passage of the stronger COI policy ushered in dramatic changes during the past year, as witnessed with the resignations of 2 DRC commissioners and 5 PC commissioners. Since then, those vacancies have been filled with highly qualified commissioners, without conflicts, who are doing an outstanding job.
The policy change was a giant step for open-governance, transparency and democracy. Our community is now in a stronger position to protect public and environmental interests.
Ivor Samson and Susan Candell are the only candidates who voiced strong support for the new COI policy at the candidates’ night, hosted by the Lafayette Homeowners Council. Samson spearheaded the policy change and Candell advocated for its passage. A vote for Candell and Samson is a vote for more transparency, ethical governance, and democracy.
MaryJo Cass

Teresa Gerringer for Lafayette City Council

Please join me in supporting and voting for Teresa Gerringer for Lafayette City Council. Teresa has been an active member of the Lafayette community since moving here in 1996 and has served on the Lafayette School Board for the past 19 years. I had the privilege of serving with her on the school board from 2008-2014. She is a thoughtful, caring, engaged board member committed to hearing all sides of an issue, evaluating proposed solutions carefully and thoughtfully, and implementing policies and actions in a pragmatic, move forward manner. Teresa evaluated budget issues carefully and worked hard to limit class size and protect valuable programs for our students despite the severe underfunding of suburban school districts by the state. She values communication with the community and has worked hard to keep all of Lafayette up-to-date with the issues, concerns and successes of the Lafayette School District. I know she will bring the same spirit to the Lafayette City Council.
Art Kapoor

Bring civility back with Gerringer

Like all communities, Lafayette has had its share of growing pains. With visionary leadership, City Council, city staff and a collaborative citizenry have brought us amenities like the Library and Learning Center, Lafayette Park Hotel, and Veterans Memorial. But change always brings angst. Over the decades, Lafayette’s engaged citizens have a long tradition of vigorous but always respectful debate about the town’s future. In the past year, this collegial spirit of tolerance of diverse perspectives has been drowned out less by policy debates than personal attacks on city staff, neighbors with whom we disagree, and most shockingly by two city council candidates disparaging their fellow candidates at Candidates Night and in campaign literature. In response, for the first time that I can recall, nine past mayors have signed a joint letter to Lafayette citizens expressing their concern over this degraded dialogue and have endorsed Teresa Gerringer and Karen Maggio for City Council.
I, too, believe Teresa Gerringer is the stand-out candidate for City Council. At this moment of transition, Lafayette needs tested, collaborative, visionary and above-all positive leadership to navigate the next decade. It’s a privilege to endorse her candidacy. Teresa’s contributions to Lafayette span over 20 years, with highlights including co-chairing the Library Community Campaign and serving on the founding board, 19 years on the Lafayette School Board, founding member of the Community Foundation, Chamber of Commerce Advisor, and VP Contra Costa School Boards Association. As School Board President, she successfully guided challenging financial negotiations with the state, brought resolution to often passionate debates over complex issues, and always led with humor and grace in sometimes tense situations. She has received numerous state and local recognition awards for distinguished service. Importantly, she has always astutely avoided any conflicts of interest.
It’s time to take stock not only of how to manage the town’s growth, but how to bring civility back to community conversations. Teresa represents the leadership qualities to do both. Think positive, vote Teresa!
Kathy Merchant

Gerringer for Council

I am writing today to express my enthusiastic endorsement of Teresa Gerringer for Lafayette City Council. Teresa has served our community for over 20 years. She has proven her leadership through collaboration and hard work on the Lafayette School Board, the Lafayette Community Foundation Board, and as co-chair of the Lafayette Library Community Campaign.
I have been fortunate to work with Teresa for the past several years in my capacity as Stanley Middle School PTA President and RAPPORT (Lafayette School District’s parent clubs’ committee) Chair. What has impressed me time and again is Teresa’s unwavering dedication to her current constituents, the students and children of Lafayette. I have no doubt that she will continue to display that dedication to the citizens of Lafayette if elected to the City Council.
Kelly Daggs

Eve Phillips won’t improve downtown Orinda

First-term city council member Eve Phillips has consistently refused to revisit the core land use rules that have left our downtown in a state of deterioration, disuse, and dereliction. She was the sole vote against even starting a conversation on downtown, instead hoping that the approval of a few new businesses in our dilapidated buildings might somehow revitalize downtown. Perhaps these outlier positions is why she lists no endorsements from any current or past city councilmembers, who otherwise endorse Dennis Fay, Nick Kosla and Amy Worth. Ms. Phillips is out of step with Orindans and won’t offer the leadership we need to bring downtown back.
Sandi Balonick

Chris Severson for Acalanes Union School Board of Governors

I support Chris Severson and here is what I know of Chris:
1. Chris brings immediate passion for this job because of the five children that he and Pam are raising. He is invested. He understands better than most, the worries and concerns of parents.
2. Experience in school administration is already a no brainer for Chris. He has served as the President of the Orinda Union School Board. He knows what to do for the protection of children, for their learning and advancement academically, and for the support of the administration, staff and faculty of a school district.
3. Professionally, Chris determined early in his life to study and become an Emergency Room Physician. I envision that all who have received professional care of Chris in such an intense environment, have found a caring, level headed, professionally passionate fellow. When I commented earlier that Chris is all about the protection of others—children in particular—I would argue that he has that characteristic in his soul.
4. Chris does not give up. Besides life’s lessons that Chris has learned as a father, husband, and doctor, Chris is a marathon runner! Until one participates in a marathon, no one knows what it is like to find themselves at mile 21 and realize that the next three are uphill. Chris has qualified for the Boston Marathon a handful of times. He faces mile 21 in a marathon and no, he does not laugh at it, but he continues; steady, focused, and on it! He brings that quality to his life. He will bring that quality to the Board.
5. Chris is a lifelong resident. He has spent his youth observing his parents and their serve. His parents have been leaders of major business firms, of large religious groups, of school districts, and of city councils. It could be argued here, that Chris has service in his blood.
Like me, please consider voting for Chris Severson for the Governing Board of the Acalanes Union High School District.
Bob Packer

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