湾区城市巡礼:顶级学区Lafayette Orinda Moraga,拒绝喧嚣,理性房价

秀才 @ CashInHome.com 原创

湾区的传统好学区比如Palo Alto,Las Gatos和Cupertino等等大家了如指掌。但是有一个神秘的好学区常常被忽视,这就是Lafayette Orinda Moraga(LaMOrinda),整个地区所有的公立学校API都超过900分的“神级学区”!

其中Lafayette的Acalanes Union High学区更是全加州排名第八。特别重要的是这里的房价相对Palo Alto, Cupertino等地平易近人。2017独立房中位数在一百三十万美元左右。

LaMOrinda不是一个词——是当地居民自创的。指在康特拉科斯塔县(Contra Costa),一个由3座城市组合而成的地名,分别是拉斐特(Lafayette)、莫拉加(Moraga)和奥林达(Orinda)。由于此区的学校极好,因此联合成LaMOrinda。类似于三谷区(Tri-Valley)。随便在这三个城市找个地方,所有的学校从小学到初中到高中全都是满分十分。所有学校,都是,满分十分!所有学校都是满分,十分!(秀才:重要的事情说N遍)。


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Rent review programs in Lafayette: raising rents prompt call for council action

Rent review programs are unusual in a small town such as Lafayette but following complaints in August from residents whose rents have been escalating by as much as 20 percent, the Lafayette City Council is examining the pros and cons of just such a program.

In a packed room Sept. 25 the council heard from both renters and landlords with tensions running high as they attempted to determine whether or not to direct city staff to draft a rent review ordinance similar to a program introduced in May of this year in the city of Concord.

Lafayette Planning and Building Services Director Niroop Srivatsa emphasized that this was rent review as opposed to rent control and described it as a non-binding conciliation and mediation process. Staff asked for direction determining the scope of such an ordinance covering complexes with 25 units or more.

Should it be mandatory? Who shoulders the cost of the program, estimated in Concord to be about $150,000 annually? Should a 10 percent increase in rent be the trigger for mediation? Should such a program in fact apply to all rental properties or just larger complexes?

The council heard from residents who explained that additionally, rent increases are also being dressed up in other guises too and related stories of randomly increased pet fees, parking fees and changes in utility fees that also make living costs unaffordable.

Residents were visibly upset; many were from the same apartment complex on Second Street owned by Tilden Properties.
The council also heard from several landlords, some with just a few units, who explained that since they currently rent at below market value, they would be unfairly penalized. One landlord suggested that ahead of a new ordinance being introduced, he might be forced to raise rent now to the maximum to get in before the ordinance takes effect since being restricted to a 10 percent increase on an already low rent would be punitive.

As several speakers pointed out, despite there being 1,700 rental units in Lafayette, all the complaints that evening were coming from residents of Second Street.

Tilden Properties Representative Ryan Crowley also spoke. He said that his firm is sensitive to Lafayette and pointed out that when the company purchased the 117-unit property on Second Street in December they implemented several long-overdue improvement projects that had been deferred but which, he acknowledged, came at a cost to residents.

The discussion came back to the council between Lafayette City Council Member Cam Burks, Vice Mayor Don Tatzin and Mayor Mike Anderson with Council Members Ivor Samson and Mark Mitchell recused.

Burks was definitive in his view – that while he has sympathy for tenants, he is firmly against government intervention. He added that fiscally such a program presented a risk to the city and to the taxpayers.

Tatzin agreed that in general he doesn’t like government interference but said that sometimes the circumstances are warranted to protect residents. He said he could support a program that recovers fees only from those landlords proposing an increase in rent of more than 10 percent. He said that by allowing unmitigated increases he worries they would be signaling residents to move out.

Anderson acknowledged the importance of the question of housing. He reflected that sometimes in intervening “we damage the people we were trying to help,” by forcing out small owners with regulatory insertions in their process.
The council asked staff to come back at the first meeting in November with more information on how to structure and what the fiscal options might be for some sort of ordinance whereby a 10 percent increase would trigger mediation to be paid for at that time only by the landlord involved and only applying to units of 25 or more. Staff is also to have further discussions with Tilden Properties to see if an agreement can be reached.

The New Stanley Middle School’s Building Project Progressing Well

New Stanley Middle School project progressing rapidly

Exterior work on the new Stanley Middle School is nearly done and the interior jobs well under way. Hopes are for students and staff to move in right after the first of 2018.


Ever since ground was broken on July 19, 2016 for the new Stanley Middle School, work on the project has moved forward at a brisk pace. So much so that the plan is to move students into the shining educational edifice soon after the first of 2018.The building represents an investment of around $27.5 million funded by a school bond referendum approved by voters in 2007.

The new school will accommodate around 800 sixth through eighth graders from the Stanley and Mt. Holly areas. Total capacity will be around 1,000 students.

The two-story, state of the art facility will feature 135,000 sq. ft. of space in more than 40 classrooms equipped with the latest technology and teaching aids.

In a “flip-flop” of the school building and athletic fields, the new school will be built behind the existing building on the site of the football field. The old building will be demolished after students move into the new school during the 2017-2018 school year. The new athletic fields will be located where the current school building sits and should be finished in 2018.

The new school will feature: a modern library and media center, which will serve as the heart of the school and be located near the main entrance; a spacious cafeteria with stage area and large gymnasium to allow for a variety of uses; grades separated by wings, with the sixth grade on the main floor and seventh and eighth grades on the second floor as well as administration areas on each floor; separate bus and vehicle entrances plus 175 parking spaces and a pick-up lane that is able to accommodate 90 cars; maximum use of natural light and energy efficiency throughout the school; and new athletic facilities including a multipurpose football field with a six-lane track, a 300-foot baseball field, bleachers, a field house, and equipment storage facility.

The new school will replace the older building that formerly served as Stanley’s high school and junior high dating back to the 1940s.

Stanley Middle principal Rebecca Huffstetler says the students and staff have been watching progress on the new building with eager anticipation.

“The new school is going to be a source of great pride for Stanley and we are looking forward to getting into the new building and seeing how the new campus will serve our community for years to come,” Huffstetler said.

Moving the staff, students, and classroom materials into the new structure will be an interesting exercise in logistics. The plan calls for teachers to take a work day and move their classroom supplies into their respective rooms in the new building and for the students to occupy the rooms afterward

New in Moraga: West Commons Park Opens Now[Lamorinda]

West Commons Park Opens in Moraga

West Commons Park, Moraga

The new open space next to the Harvest Court development off Camino Ricardo in Moraga is now open. On the other side is Moraga Commons Park and the open space has been renamed, West Commons Park.


Continue reading “New in Moraga: West Commons Park Opens Now[Lamorinda]”

August Market Data: $742,000 is the new median home price in Bay Area, and what that buys you

The Bay Area’s notoriously high home prices continue to soar.

The median price paid for a Bay Area home in August was $742,00o, up 11.6 percent from $665,000 in August 2016, real estate information service CoreLogic said Friday in its monthly market report.

This marks the biggest year-over-year gain in 19 months.

“The median price dropped 3 percent from the month before, but prices typically dip between July and August, by an average of 1.6 percent over the past few decades,” Kathleen Pender pointed out in a San Francisco Chronicle story on the new report.

For first-time home buyers with limited budgets, the high prices continue to be discouraging.

 What exactly can prospective home buyers expect to find at the median price around the Bay Area?

On the market, homes identified which are priced within $5,000 of the August median (see in the gallery above), and found that what you get depends on where you look as the median price varies vastly from city to city.

In San Francisco where the median price was $1.2 million in August, you can buy a studio apartment around the median regional price. In the most eastern area of the East Bay in cities such as Antioch and Brentwood (both in Contra Costa County where the median price was $572,000), you can find a three-bedroom-plus home with a master bedroom closet the size of that S.F. studio.

“The farther you move away from the city the more house you get,” says realtor Terrylynn Fisher with Dudum Real Estate Group. “The more house, the more commute. Downtown Walnut Creek is highly desirable right now. For $750,000 you’d get maybe one or two bedrooms in a high rise. For a yard and dog, you have to go farther east.”

Case in point: Fisher is listing a 2,443-square-foot Clayton home at 1825 Yolanda Circle for $750,000 (see in gallery above). The large property has four bedrooms plus a den that can be converted into a fifth bedroom, three bathrooms, a kitchen with a breakfast bar, a formal dining room, and an expansive lawn in the front yard and a patio in the back.

“It’s actually a little under priced for Clayton because it’s bigger than average for this price range,” Fisher explains. But it’s not completely updated with a brand-new kitchen and brand-new bathroom. The location is great because the schools are highly rated. You can walk on the trails to downtown Clayton and there are views of Mount Diablo and toward Martinez and Benicia.”

Meanwhile, on the Peninsula where high-paying jobs at tech companies have attracted an influx of homebuyers, you get less for your money.

In Redwood City, we found a small and sweet cottage at 617 Macarthur Ave. with two-bedrooms and one bath tucked into 790 square feet on the market for $729,00.

“Its move-in ready,” says broker. “We really worked with how to maximize the space but also continue to keep the charm. She adds, “I think that the Peninsula has become untouchable with the influx of populations. And Redwood City back in the day wasn’t that fabulous, and now it’s so close to the tech companies and Oracle, and downtown is hopping.”

Source: SFGate

Lafayette’s Town Hall Theatre is opening its season with a newly revised version of “The Song of the Nightingale”

Now Lafayette’s Town Hall Theatre is opening its season with a newly revised version of Kahng’s first musical “The Song of the Nightingale,” which originally premiered in 2013 at Alameda’s Altarena Playhouse. Alameda playwright and composer Min Kahng has had a busy year. In July, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley premiered his musical “The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga” in Palo Alto.

The 35-year-old Bay Area native had to go back and forth between the finishing touches on his higher-profile new work and the tweaks he’d been meaning to make on his earlier piece ever since its original production closed.

“The Song of the Nightingale” is based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen set in ancient China. A kitchen maid gives a nightingale to the emperor as a gift, and he’s enthralled by its song and rewards her greatly. Soon enough, the emperor’s fancy drifts from the beloved bird to a new gewgaw, an artificial nightingale encrusted with jewels.

It may be counterintuitive to think of a play that premiered only four years ago as an early work, but Kahng had been playing around with this one for an awfully long time.

DC Scarpelli is the Emperor and Isabel To is Mei Lin in “The Song of the Nightingale” at Town Hall Theatre in Lafayette. Stu Stelland/Town Hall Theatre


“When I was in the third grade at Greenville Elementary School in Danville, we got to perform a kids’ play version of Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Nightingale,’ so that was my first introduction to the story,” Kahng says. “I believe that was the first role I ever played. Right around then is when ‘Beauty and the Beast’ hit theaters, so I think that event also got me excited about storytelling.”

It also got him in illustrating.

“I had a dream of becoming a Disney animator because of that movie. So I was sketching, I was drawing, and so one story in particular that I started to map out in my mind as a kid was Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Nightingale.’ I even have sketches from that age, where I was drawing characters out. I think ‘The Nightingale’ stood out to me particularly because they were Asian characters. As a kid wanting to tell a fairy tale, I think the fact that Hans Christian Andersen’s story takes place in China just appealed to me, to be able to see Asian characters in a Disney format. Years later, the animation dreams became less of a reality. But the Nightingale story stuck with me.”

Kahng says he’d been playing around with ideas for a ‘Nightingale’ musical at least since he was a teenager.

“I think somewhere in middle school or high school was when I discovered Broadway cast albums,” he says. “I oddly did not encounter the community theater world as a kid, so I didn’t even know that people were putting on musicals all around me, but I bought a lot of cast albums, and I was actually starting to write out the adaptation of ‘The Nightingale’ that early. There’s very little of that adaptation that exists in the current version.”

It was only after college, where he majored in music at UC Berkeley, that Kahng discovered local community theater and started to get involved.

“I started acting, I realized that I could play in pits for shows, I realized that I could direct music, and through that I started to see how other people had written their scores,” he recalls. “I realized like, oh, I could do this. In 2008 I reached a point with my corporate job where I was like, I think I want to try this arts career thing before I turn 30 to see how it goes.”

In 2010 Kahng self-produced a staged reading of his ‘Nightingale’ musical at Alameda High School, and three years later it premiered at Altarena. By then he’d also written his first of several pieces for Bay Area Children’s Theatre, so it wasn’t quite his first production.

“In my mind, though, ‘Nightingale’ is really the first project,” he says, “because it’s been a lifelong journey.”

Source: mercurynews.com

An attorney from Orinda and an Army veteran from Walnut Creek announce campaigns to unseat Assemblywoman Baker

An attorney from Orinda and an Army veteran from Walnut Creek (both Democrats) have recently announced that they plan to run against incumbent Catharine Baker to represent the Tri-Valley and the rest of District 16 in the State Assembly.

Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and Tom Tarantino, both Democrats, have launched their campaigns in advance of the June primary aiming to unseat Baker, a Republican who has held the position since 2014.

One of 25 Republicans in the 80-member Assembly, Baker has confirmed she will seek re-election to a third consecutive two-year term next year. The Dublin resident is eligible for eight more years of service in either house of the State Legislature under California’s term limits.

“I am running for re-election because I see that putting rigid partisanship to the side and focusing on the important issues and results is working,” Baker, 46, said this week. “That is my focus, and will be my focus.”

A civil attorney by trade, Baker was a political newcomer in 2014 when she defeated liberal Tim Sbranti, a former Dublin mayor, to win the open Assembly seat previously held by the Democrats. She won re-election comfortably in 2016.

Though Bauer-Kahan and Tarantino have announced their bids to challenge Baker, prospective candidates can’t officially enter the race until the nomination period opens in mid-February. The top two finishers in the June primary will face each other in a runoff election for the seat in November.

In addition to the San Ramon Valley, the 16th Assembly District also includes Livermore, Dublin, Pleasanton, Walnut Creek and Lamorinda.

Rebecca Bauer-Kahan

A 38-year-old Bay Area native, Bauer-Kahan defines herself as an attorney, environmental advocate, community leader, law professor and mother. She’s a lifelong Democrat, and her platform focuses on school funding and guaranteeing universal preschool, protecting the environment and fighting climate change, and improving transportation options.

“Today, California is on the front lines in the battle against the Trump Administration and extremists in Washington,” she said. “Our community deserves a representative who will stand up to those forces and truly fight for what’s important. I hope the people of the 16th Assembly District will take a closer look at Republican Assemblywoman Catharine Baker — and once they do, they will find she is seriously out of step with the needs of this district.”

This is the first time she has sought elected office.

Bauer-Kahan’s specialties as an attorney have ranged from ensuring major corporations comply with environmental regulations, working with tech companies on intellectual property cases and expanding her office’s pro bono program to include civil rights, immigration, homelessness and domestic violence cases, she said. Recently, she helped coordinate the legal services effort at San Francisco International Airport to aid refugees and immigrants affected by the Trump Administration’s travel ban.

She has taught appellate law and legal research and writing at Santa Clara University and Golden Gate University for the past seven years, and holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University Law Center.

She lives in Orinda with her husband and three children, where she is a leader in local non-profits and organizations.

Tom Tarantino

Tarantino, 39, grew up in San Anselmo in Marin County and served in the Army for 10 years, after which time he worked in public policy in Washington D.C., focusing on veteran affairs and advocacy.

Now he works on Twitter’s public policy team and lives in Walnut Creek.

“My wife, Tara, and I are building our life in the 16th District,” Tarantino said. “Like other families who are doing the same, I want our community to have better transportation options, the best schools, cleaner air and water, and affordable housing for all. We need leaders in California who can take on these fights and bravely defend our values.”

This is his first time seeking an elected office.

Tarantino enlisted in the Army Reserves at the age of 19 in 1997, and served on active duty from 2003-07. During his service, he helped repatriate refugees in Bosnia, trained soldiers and lead two platoons through combat in Iraq.

After leaving the service with the rank of captain, he joined Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), leading the organization’s D.C. office for almost two years. In this capacity, his work centered on upgrading the GI Bill, fighting to prevent for-profit schools from preying on veterans, advocating for mental health provisions in veterans benefits, and addressing sexual assault in the military and suicide rates in veterans, he said.

He attended the College of Marin and later University of California, Santa Barbara on an ROTC scholarship, and he holds a Bachelor of Arts in global studies and international relations.

Source: danvillesanramon.com