Elections 2012: Linda Delehunt, Candidate for Orinda City Council

Orindan Linda Delehunt is in the race for one of two available seats on her city's City Council

General Information

Name : Dr. Linda Delehunt
Also known as : Linda
Place of residence : Orinda



Attended college : Yes
College : UC Berkeley (B.A.), Cal State East Bay (M.S.), University of the Pacific (Doctorate)
Degree : Ed.D.
Year of graduation : 2002

Grad school

University : Cal State East Bay
Degree : Educational Leadership
Year of graduation : 1993

Ph D.

University : University of the Pacific
Area of research : Leadership characteristics and their effect on student achievement
Year of graduation : 2002

Employment Information

Job titles held : NA
Employers : State of California, Self-Employed Business Owner, Berkeley Unified School District, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Alameda Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District, Orinda Union School District

Political Information

Party affiliation : Independent
Running for a: Local office
Running for position: Orinda City Council
Incumbent: No
Previous elective offices : NA
Unsuccessful bids for elective offices: NA

Party HQ

Address 91 Overhill Road

Campaign Manager

Name : Michael Delehunt
Title : Attorney


Other facts

Moving Orinda Forward I am a fiscal conservative and a sophisticated budget analyst. I have spent my career in the public sector advocating for targeting public money efficiently and effectively. I believe that people are best served by public budgets that are carefully crafted to support their needs. Orinda is in dire need of infrastructure repair and its budgets are "past due" in supporting that goal. If Humpty Dumpty were to sit on an Orinda wall, he would be in great danger of falling into a bottomless Orinda pothole. Orinda needs to move forward to correct its infrastructure deficiencies, and engage the ENTIRE community in a discussion of how best to re-configure its downtown while at the same time, honoring its general plan to support its legacy as a charming, small and unique city.

Linda Delehunt September 16, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Hi Carolyn, I have spent most of my professional life and energy devoted to improving education for children in poverty. in so doing, my work evolved into ensuring that budgets supported the priority needs of recipients. My advocacy for schools and children has been behind-the-scenes work in Sacramento. No, I was not at the August, 2010 meeting. As is true for a majority of our hardworking residents, my work in Sacramento kept me dependent on the integrity of our elected officials. Now that I'm retired, I am shocked to find that citizen discontent with our City Council appears to be rampant. My conversations with citizens reflect these outrages: "Glazer ran 8 years ago on the promise that he would repair the roads and didn't; Smith sits on the garbage board, and rates have skyrocketed; "they all" built themselves a "Taj Mahal" instead of repairing roads, etc. Steve Cohn's task force presented a solution for the infrastructure repair that would be dependent on the same transfer tax system that Berkeley, Oakland and Piedmont employ. It would end after 10 years, and provides for the repair of all infrastructure and annual maintenance. My reference to a $52 million city deficit represents the infrastructure work that the City Council has apparently shelved. It is unconscionable to leave our citizens stranded on roads that are impassable. I am finding that my budget advocacy skill set has found a new home, Orinda.
Carolyn Phinney September 16, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Hi Linda, Your last post was written in a different style and voice than all previous posts. Kudos to those who helped you write it. However, it does not get you off the hook for not knowing what a deficit is in your previous posts. Nor did you respond to my question about whether or not you participated in the hearings about the ordinance to which you object. So, you are proposing to only tax those buying/selling a home to pay for our roads. Those people who have lived here for years and driven on these roads and run them into ruin without paying for them should not have to pay a penny to continue to enjoy the use of these roads. Wow. Let's screw the people coming (who can't defend themselves) and leaving (who cares, they are leaving). Let those of us who actually are responsible for the state of the roads and state of the budgets -- the long-term, ongoing residents -- laugh all the way to the bank. I'll stick with our current council, thank you. They are far from perfect and I've been all over their case about the proposed height limit being deceptive (55 feet half way up the rise of the roof) and the fact that proposed development never pays for itself (as one of them admitted), so we would be paying for the development for years to come. But, you know what? I attended meetings and hearings and made my points. AND THEY LISTENED. Has the limit been changed? Participate before you complain.
Carol Penskar September 16, 2012 at 07:27 PM
@ Eileen: regarding your comment about the limitations of evening meetings: An excellent opportunity to engage with the City Council *directly* on budget issues occurs every year in the Feb - May time frame in the form of the Council's budget workshops. These are almost always *day time* meetings, on various days, at various times. Generally, there are from 4 - 6 of them, which are then followed by 1 - 2 evening workshops at the start of a Council meeting. The workshops have a lot of give and take between the Council and the visitors and lots of topics are visited, *any* that are in the budget. You can directly engage the Council with your ideas, comments, concerns. Having attended these for the better part of 5 years, there is almost *never* anyone from the community there. Everyone reading this: please come to the next round of workshops, next spring. The Council will be developing the next 2 year budget. The more community input, the better. All dates, times, agendas, an materials are available in advance on the City web sit. Please, please come! Start checking the City calendar in Feb. for the first one.
Linda Delehunt September 16, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Carolyn, I have been writing for years, and change my style according to the response required. I do apologize for my delayed response to you but I was talking to voters all day yesterday in order to determine the extent of the problem. Almost every person I spoke with liked the idea of the transfer tax because it does not kick in until the house is sold. Buyer and seller typically split the tax. It also serves young owners well since it does not add to any increased burden of the already high annual property tax. So I guess I should have asked exactly how you are proposing to pay for the roads? It is obvious to me that the current City Council is simply planning to privatize them. Since the bonds have not passed TWICE, and the sales tax won't pay for infrastructue, but only covers 33% of annual maintenance, the reality is that the current Council is planning to simply ignore the problem past the 2016 election year, thereby forcing neighborhoods and individuals to fix their own. The City Council is scamming the public. They have the obligation to deal with the road problem and they have not. As I see the world of Orinda roads, under the current regime, we should all get ready to write a great big check when our road fails as was the case for two elderly ladies with whom I spoke yesterday. This is unacceptable.
Carolyn Phinney September 17, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Dear Linda, Given that I am not running for City Council, I do not have to have a proposal. As far as I can tell, the only reasonable solution is to bite the 52,000,000 bullet. However, the economy is slow and this is not the time. Hence, the sales tax will patch us along until richer times. I believe the people who use the roads should pay, not those moving away or just arriving. If you buy something in Orinda, 98% chance you used the roads or the delivery truck used the roads. I don't like sales tax, because it is regressive. I also don't like the fact that we have just put in place an internet tax, are about to put into place 1/4 cent for Prop 30 -- which we should all pray passes or our property values will fall through the floor as our schools deteriorate. However, when between a rock and a boulder, there isn't a heck of a lot of choice. So, I'm voting for Prop 30 for sure...and the sales tax reluctantly...it's best to fix some roads than to fix none. Isn't that the way we all spend our money?
Linda Delehunt September 17, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Carolyn, I do respect your opinion. As I've stated before, I'm not in favor of the sales tax because I believe it will do more to harm small business than it will to alleviate our road problems. In addition, if you approach the road problem piecemeal, I'm afraid that at the end of the line, many roads will never get done, leaving some residents essentially stranded in their houses. As you know, the terrain in Orinda and the propensity for houses to be located at the top or bottom of hills makes our road problem even more complicated; in particular, if the city doesn't address all of the roads comprehensively, some folks may literally be unable to get in or out of their houses via their road with no remedy at their disposal. As I've stated before, I find this unacceptable. In terms of Proposition 30, I and not running for school board. I will say, however, that I find it very disturbing that our state leaves millions of education dollars unspent annually that should and could go to children. By example, "Race to the Top" represents just one of the many funding streams that never reach our schools and children. It may be true that we need more money in education, however, I would like to see an alignment of state and federal policy so that California could actually utilize all federal dollars that are offered annually to the state.
Dr. Harold Miller September 21, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Join bekki gilbert is bad for osud. We are Orinda parents who have seen the tactics bekki used to try and discredit the ousd over the past several years bekki has used underhanded methods to discredit the members of the ousd. In my book that's just plain evil. We don't need an elected official that uses underhanded methods. Vote for someone who is honest, bekki is not that person.
Carolyn Phinney September 21, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Dr. Miller, This has nothing to do with the city council race. On other pages, when you do talk about issues and candidates for school board, could you please provide us some specific behaviors or such. This seems like a smear campaign, otherwise. Thank you.
Dr. Harold Miller September 21, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Comments from a Wagner parents about Bekki Van Voorhis-Gilbert. She lost in the last elections and we need to make sure she looser in this election too. We have several other fine candidates to choose from. The actions Bekki Van Voorhis-Gilbert and her "friends" are taking are destroying the possibility of a cohesive environment at Wagner Ranch. I'm sure that the vicious attacks by these so-called "community leaders" don't make it easy for Principal Arnerich to foster a "positive social climate" either. In addition, bringing up personal issues with an administrator in a public forum and then releasing it to the general public is completely inappropriate and out of place. Issues should be dealt with on an individual basis. Janice has always been incredibly supportive as a Principal and we are lucky to have such a talented and capable woman at the head of Wagner Ranch.
Carolyn Phinney September 21, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I hope on the school board race pages that you will tell us why there are so many parents complaining about what is going on at Wagner Ranch. Are all these Orinda parents wrong? I know one of them who has posted and she is very sensible and has serious complaints. Is it possible to address the problems or do we have to have this go on for decades unaddressed. From the outside looking in, this seems very unhealthy for the community and must be hurting the children. I'm sure glad mine have safely graduated during the years when Orinda schools were the top in the nation.
Big Wayne September 22, 2012 at 01:34 AM
---------- how about posting your e-mail addresses so i might send you-all, individually, a question or suggestion ? BigWayne19@Comcast.NET
Linda Delehunt September 22, 2012 at 04:50 AM
lindadelehunt@gmail.com Just remember...I am running for City Council, not School Board !
Carolyn Phinney September 22, 2012 at 05:24 AM
carolynphinney@comcast.net we know Linda, but some who are lobbying against school board are posting everywhere that Orindians look...that's why I asked them to move onto pages that were about that race. At least we are talking!
Nancy Lee September 22, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Carolyn are you representing any candidates in the race for city council or school board?
Linda Delehunt September 22, 2012 at 04:07 PM
True...Talking is a good thing! The more the merrier and the broader the conversation the better. I'm really thrilled to provide the format.
Carolyn Phinney September 22, 2012 at 04:28 PM
You seem very sweet. Nice new pic, btw!
Linda Delehunt September 22, 2012 at 05:06 PM
You are very kind! Thank you. The conversation is great! Lead on!
Ann Carilo September 22, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Bekki Gilbert is bad for the board - Vote for one of the qualified candidates. Join the Orinda parents who believe Bekki is Bad for the (OUSD) Board. We don't want someone who's full of negative energy. Vote positive and vote for one of the other qualified candidates. P Jason Lurie Matt Moran (i) or Sarah Butler
Eileen September 30, 2012 at 07:06 AM
Thanks for letting me know about the budget meetings. I might attend in the spring. That said, most of my concerns regarding a lack of dialogue between the Orinda city council and its residents do not involve line items in the budget. Rather, they involve input to larger discussions concerning changes in city rules, regs, policies concerning (1) development in the downtown area and (2) unfettered use of leaf blowers. In both cases, I've written letters to the city council and spoken at meetings, using facts to support my (and others') case - and the feedback from city council members has been mostly* crickets* (silence). Ironically, on the leaf blower question, Mr. Glaser has asserted, here on Patch, that a "thorough airing" of concerns regarding LB use in Orinda was held some two years ago. I will agree that some members of the pubic, at one city council meeting, rose to speak regarding some kind of limitation on leaf blower use in Orinda. And one or more city council members added their own comments/judgment into the record, that night. (Notably Councilmember Severson advocated that those complaining of noise from leaf blowers install "triple-pane windows" and "shelter-in-place." ) That said, what transpired would not meet the dictionary or common-sense defintion of a "thorough airing." This infomed lack of satisfaction with the structure of public discussion in Orinda is what drives me to ask candidates for public office to do more and do it better, going forward.
Steve Cohn October 02, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Candidate Delehunt, with the release of the Emergency Services Task Force report on 9/12, what is your current thinking regarding the City Council representing its residents' interests with regards emergency services? Last year the Council turned back a petition from 220 residents asking it to form its own task force to review the operations and finances of our emergency services provider, MOFD, stating that reviewing MOFD's services to Orinda's residents was not in the Council's purview. Given the facts on MOFD's operations and finances reported by the Task Force, I have three questions on what you feel about the City's responsibility to ensure proper and sustainable emergency services for its residents and representing their best interests. I am submitting these same questions to both of your City Council opponents.
Steve Cohn October 02, 2012 at 08:51 PM
1) Orinda taxpayers pay 64% of MOFD's total tax revenue. Since 58% of MOFD's firefighters (11 of 19) are stationed in Orinda, Orinda taxpayers are paying 14%, about $1 million, of Moraga's emergency services expense. At the 2009 Tri-Agency meeting, MOFD defended this 14% subsidy by stating that Moraga units fully serviced 700 Orinda homes and provided backup service to another 800 with no reciprocal service from Orinda into Moraga. These homes create 17% of Orinda's service and make the 14% support of Moraga's emergency services costs justifiable. However, the Task Force's review of actual operations shows that MOFD's description of service from Moraga into Orinda is unsupportable. There is, in fact, significant reciprocal service from Orinda into Moraga with the only net service from Moraga into Orinda being 100 ambulance operations per year representing about 3% of Orinda's total service. The cost of these operations is reduced by the fact that 70% of them generate user fees so the total value to Orinda residents is less than $100,000 per year. The almost $1 million of subsidy from Orinda taxpayers to Moraga is contrary to the cost-sharing basis-of-formation of MOFD when Orinda detached from ConFire for precisely this reason. Do you believe it is the Orinda Council's responsibility to act as the residents' representative to work with the MOFD Board and the Moraga Council to address this so as to prevent a drastic action such as detachment from reoccurring?
Steve Cohn October 02, 2012 at 08:51 PM
2) The Task Force report illustrates that 39% of time critical emergencies in Orinda are responded to in excess of the 6 minute standard set by MOFD in accordance with industry standards. This is despite the fact that Orinda has four times as many firefighters per capita as ConFire which handles the same number of incidents per capita as MOFD. It appears that the reason for this sub-standard service is that the available emergency responders are concentrated in the same three stations they were when the district was formed; staffed to handle the rare fire while not responding as rapidly as would be optimal to medical emergencies. MOFD's long range financial plans show no efforts to change this configuration. Do you believe it is the City Council's obligation to act as the residents' representative work with MOFD to improve this sub-standard service or, since the voters put their emergency services needs in MOFD's hands at the recommendation of the 1997 City Council, do you believe that this sub-standard service is solely the residents' problem and they must deal directly with MOFD on their own with no support from the Council?
Steve Cohn October 02, 2012 at 08:51 PM
3) The Task Force report demonstrates that MOFD has accrued approximately $700 million in long term liabilities while acquiring only $120 million in assets to offset these. The Task Force estimates that the existing assets will only pay off $200-300 of these liabilities leaving $400-500 currently unaccounted for. Revenue projections show that there should be enough revenue to pay for these unfunded liabilities but service may be further compromised. One Orinda resident who is not part of the Task Force but appears knowledgeable of such matters, Finance Committee member Carol Penskar, has stated that she believes that MOFD is actually at risk of actually going into bankruptcy. If this happens the obligation of providing emergency services to Orinda residents might fall back onto the shoulders of the City. Do you think that the City should become, if not actively involved at least actively aware of how MOFD is dealing with this issue? If yes, what steps do you believe the city should take?
Linda Delehunt October 15, 2012 at 04:55 AM
(1) Yes, I believe an official Task Force should be appointed by the City Council that would focus on how to better understand how Orinda residents' emergency services needs are being met so that the Council can appropriately represent its residents in this important discussion. Clearly the issues need to be sorted out so that service can continue at a cost equitable to all citizens. The City Council should lead the conversation so as to ensure service and protect Orinda's contract position. (2) Without a doubt, it is the City Council's obligation to act as the residents' representative and work with MOFD to improve this sub-standard service. (3) The City should not only become, but also become actively involved in MOFD's dealing with this issue? The City Council should begin conversation with MOFD to actively examine the budgetary situation and then utilize its best thinking to rectify the budget imbalance so as to prevent a catastrophic failure of MOFD.
Carolyn Phinney October 15, 2012 at 05:15 AM
Totally changing the subject, Carol Penskar, is it true that an automobile purchase will be taxed in the city of the owner, rather than the city of purchase? So, Orinda would collect the new tax on sales of cars?
Chris Nicholson October 15, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Sales tax on cars always depends on address used to register the car. DMW doesn't care where you bought the car. I am not 100% sure that local taxes get passed to localities, but that seems to be a logical corollary.
Carol Penskar October 20, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Linda: You or someone on your behalf are placing flyers in mailboxes. Did you know that this is illegal? Specifically, it is illegal to place unstamped items in mailboxes. The USPS's website (PDF) : "Except under 2.11 [dealing with newspaper boxes attached to mailboxes], the receptacles described in 1.1 may be used only for matter bearing postage. Other than as permitted by 2.10 or 2.11, no part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle." Note that "door slots and non-lockable bins or troughs used with apartment house mailboxes" are excluded from this prohibition, and can be loaded up with as many flyers as they can hold. "
Linda Delehunt October 21, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Carol, Thank you for your clarification of the USPS rules regarding flyers. These rules are important for all of us to understand and know as we participate in the democratic process. Just to reassure you, I am aware of these rules and have been following them as have those wonderful KNOWN individuals who have chosen to distribute on my behalf. As you might know, I have no official campaign committee; I have chosen not to take donations so as to avoid any conflicts of interest which might potentially cloud my decision-making in the event I am so fortunate to become a Councilperson. Thus, I really have no one with whom to share this USPS message. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there may be folks out there distributing on my behalf with whom I am not acquainted and so your sharing these rules is helpful to them and all. Thank you for taking the time to look up the official legal citation.
Carol Penskar October 23, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Linda: re: "I have chosen not to take donations." For this reason, you have not formed a campaign committee and not filed disclosure statements regarding who is supporting you with monetary and nonmonetary donations, as required by state law. Please confirm that you have paid for everything - your signs, your newspaper ads, your fliers - yourself. Thank you.
Linda Delehunt October 23, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Yes I certainly have paid for everything myself. I have accepted no donations.


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