Orinda City Council must go

In April 1653 Oliver Cromwell, told the English Parliament, “You have been sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!” The same must be said for the Orinda City Council!

cromwell_parliamentCromwell’s words are applicable to the Orinda City Council. For the last four years, the council has make parking and traffic worse, favored plans that will lead to overcrowded schools, approved downtown buildings that violate the 35-foot height limit, and failed to control crime.

Members of the current council are Steve Glazer, Victoria Smith, Amy Worth, Sue Severson, and Dean Orr. The terms of the last three members expire this year.

As The Orinda News, a local newspaper, so ably reported in March 2014, “Parking in Orinda is getting so bad that business owners are losing customers.” On January 25, 2013, ground-breaking began on a 67-unit senior citizens center at the intersection of Orinda Way and 2 Irwin Way (across the street from Citibank and the Safeway).

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Orinda Grove Development by Pulte. Photo courtesy Lamorinda Patch

The center, which may open later this year, has about 30 parking spaces, not enough to make Orinda’s miserable parking and traffic situation better. The center will exceed the 35-foot height limit, blocking the views of nearby hills. Precious, irreplaceable trees were cut down to make room for the center.

In 2013, the city adopted a Housing Element, a plan requiring Orinda to construct residences for low-income individuals. There is nothing wrong with low-income individuals living in Orinda. However, a more efficient way to develop shelter for such individuals is to give them cash to live in a place of their choice.

What would happen if Orinda constructed hundreds of new homes for low-income people and nobody moved in? Who would pay the bill? The city council never bothered to find out if more Orinda residents would lead to overcrowded schools, lowering the quality of the city’s excellent educational system.

Between 2012 and 2013, burglaries in Orinda soared. According to official figures from the Orinda Police Department, burglaries went from 56 (in 2012) to 86 (in 2013), a 54 percent increase. Auto thefts went from 7 (in 2012) to 15 (in 2013), a 114 percent increase.

Orinda needs new leadership. Orindans should, in the words of Oliver Cromwell, tell its city council: “In the name of God, go!”