Grade Your City: This Week -- Orinda

It’s the “rinda” of Lamorinda’s turn to be put to the test. If you're a "Rindan," what grade would you give the city of Orinda?


It's finally Orinda's turn to try and make the grade. 

This summer, the people of Lamorinda have spoken, and Lafayette and Moraga have been graded, both receiving a majority of "B’s" as the local citizenry evaluates life in LaMo.

Now it’s Orinda’s turn to be graded, so pull out your gold stars and red pens, because Lamorinda Patch is asking you to give Orinda a grade. What do you think of Orinda as a city? How’s the livability? The city council? The coffee shop options? 

Orinda can be quiet, but we have heard some complaints lately.

Detiorating roads is a hot topic around town, and the city council recently voted to adopt a 10 year Roads and Drains Maintenance and Repair Plan, which would start to deal with the problem.

Orinda's Gold Rush-era has also been getting a little rundown lately, with the Friends of the Joaquin Moraga Adobe hoping to turn the historic building into a museum, while a developer plans to build a subdivision on the land and use the building for something else.

Orinda employees also recently gave the city council a vote of “no confidence” after union discussions regarding the reorganization of different city departments turned sour. And then, of course, there are the leaf blowers...

So, what are your issues with Orinda? Do you have any? Let us know by voting in the poll below, and adding any thoughts you have in the comments section. 

LaRay Spencer July 27, 2012 at 06:37 AM
I give Orinda an A. This city is commited to preserving a way if life that respects people as they age and values the family unit. Orinda works to be a progressive, healthy and environmentally sound community while respecting people's boundaries. It loves its children and teens and teaches them service as a way if life. I had the honor of living in Orinda for years but when I moved away, I realized how much I valued what was there. I am grateful to now work in LaMorinda. LaRay Spencer Club Manager 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport
Owen Murphy August 01, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Orinda is an imperfect, but wonderful, place to live and raise a family, thanks to the ongoing wisdom, intelligence and activism of its citizens. But it is not without threats. For example, powerful, non-elected, outside forces, like MTC, seek to promote their own self-serving agenda of high-rise, high-density, affordable housing development in Orinda's downtown, by withholding the dispersal to the city of urgently-needed tax revenue, collected by the state, unless the city's general plan and its associated zoning and codes are so modified. The impact to Orinda's infrastructure and school system would be profound. The bright citizens of Orinda should be able to say yes-or-no on any such proposed plan, as they always have - at the ballot box. Such matters should not be decided by surrogates and special interest groups, applying pressure and peddling influence behind closed doors.
Herb Brown August 01, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Perfect is a high standard to meet, but it is close. My idea of perfect is Portola Valley. I came to Orinda via the Oakland Hills Fire Storm. Perhaps Orinda can use some cosmetic improvements (Carmel could probably use some cosmetic changes), but it certainly does NOT need wholesale changes to make it more like Oakland. In fact, Oakland is just through the tunnel. If there are some who want to make Orinda into Oakland, save yourself a lot of time, just go to Oakland. It is there waiting for you. And there is a there, there.
Charlie August 01, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Charlie Brown Orinda was a great place to live. But the fact that the MTC and ABAG are effectively conspiring with the City of Orinda to re-zone and change Orinda's general plan with MTC's and ABAG's One Plan Bay Area model should awaken Orinda's citizens to the dire consequences that will follow. The quality of Orinda's schools will deteriorate overnight, and any uniqueness that Orinda now lays claim to, e.g. its semi-rural character, will be lost forever. Private property values will sink due to further road deterioration because all money that would be spent for maintenance and/or restoration will be destined for MTC's and ABAGS mixed-use One Plan Bay Area development. This "One Plan" mandates monetary rewards for compliance and penalties for non-compliance. I am not an alarmist nor am I against upgrades to Orinda's downtown area. But One Plan Bay Area is a shocking cookie-cutter stack-and-pack plan (8 other Bay Area cities are also targeted), which admittedly seeks to concentrate a majority of Orinda's citizens into a transit hub - utterly without consent of Orinda taxpayers. This is MTC's and ABAG's idea for "sustainability", low-cost housing, and diminishment of green house gases. What it is in reality is a money grab by special interests under the noses of Orinda citizens. So, yes; it was once a near-perfect place to live and raise a family. Those days are coming to a close.
Chris August 02, 2012 at 01:29 AM
On a recent Tuesday Night Concert in the Park, I was reminded about what I enjoy most about Orinda. I needed the reminder because, now that our kids have moved to the other side of the tunnel, I sometimes wonder why we're still here. Every time I "ski the moguls" down the road, dodging potholes and being jolted through the dips and bumps, I can't help but be annoyed at mismanagement and misplaced priorities. And when I've tried to speak at city meetings to voice opinions about why the road repair tax proposals get voted down and how they might be made more appealing -- or about retail development or town plans -- council members seem to just be trying to rush the public comment session through rather than listening for any valuable input from Orinda residents. Now, I am appalled at the One Plan Bay Area's "progress" through our small town, with nary an explanation, and certainly not an unbiased one. It seems like Orinda decisions are going to be made by non-Orindans, with little participation or knowledge by the citizenry. Let's act like we're all in this together, follow a true democratic process where big decisions are voted on and elected officials represent their constituency, and let's all get informed and be allowed to be heard. Then we can go back to enjoying our parks, our concerts, our farmer's market, our recently improved restaurant offerings, our coffee shops, our kids, friends, and neighbors.
KFrances August 02, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Up or Down Vote with a simple majority. Local, Fair and Honest.
Chris Kniel August 02, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Orinda is a wonderful place to live and grow up in. The location, schools, and semi rural environment are ideal from many perspectives. Our two kids went through Orinda schools and are now just finishing or just entering grad school. My concerns are that the city government does not bend or adjust to reflect the will of the people. They go through the motions but they don’t seem to connect the dots. For example, citizen input at City Council Meetings is rarely followed up. Creativity or thinking out of the box [as in solutions to problems] seems limited and one senses the “political correctness factor” trumps the quality of content. Going forward, it is essential that we have a resident voting procedure on key issues, as mentioned by a previous reviewer. Key issues would include any revisions to the General Plan. I agree with others that we should dismiss ABAG and other agencies that are trying to tell us what to do.
Janet Maiorana August 07, 2012 at 02:03 AM
We have lived in Orinda for 47 years. and believe we are no longer living in the best of times. In the old days the roads were maintained. My major comcern is the City Council's lack of concern that Orinda has been paying more than our fair share for fire services. In 1997, the City Council detached from the Board of Supervisors Fire Protection Service in order to stop Orinda from subsidizing other communities. The Council formed MOFD which unfortunatly did not remedy the financial inequity problem as we now subsidize Moraga wasting some $1 million annually. Over the last 12 years we have asked the Orinda City Council to detach from MOFD, and form an Orinda Fire District. It makes me angry to think of millions of Orinda tax payer dollars that have been wasted, and continue to be wasted subsidizing Moraga. The City Council has refused to form an Orinda Citizen Task Force to study the financial inequity between Orinda and Moraga when paying for MOFD.


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