Is Democracy dead in Orinda?

“Excellent” to “good” is the way 98 percent of Orindans described their city in a January 2012 survey conducted by the FM3 organization in Oakland. The survey was sponsored by the City of Orinda. At the February 7 meeting of the Orinda City Council, Mr. David Metz of FM3 said that Malibu, California, has a similar rating. But Orinda’s favorable rating could fall precipitously if the city council continues its practice of ignoring voters.

On February 21, the city council unanimously voted to advance a plan to put a 67-unit apartment complex in the heart of downtown. The complex would be at 2 Irwin Way (across the street from the Safeway). There is no guarantee that the complex will adhere to Orinda’s downtown limits on building heights. Moreover, the project will increase downtown Orinda’s current parking and traffic-congestion difficulties.

Furthermore, the city has ambitious plans to turn other parts of downtown into a mass of high-rise, high-density apartments and stores.

Orindans must not allow an autocratic city council to impose its plans on residents.

In a true democracy, the city council would authorize a city-wide referendum, allowing voters to approve or reject substantive changes to downtown.

A key problem with the Orinda City Council is that its members never have press conferences or hold town hall meetings. When it comes to exchanging views with residents, all the city council does is let residents speak for up to three minutes at city council meetings. The council pretends to listen.

Orindans who love their city should contact Mayor Steve Glazer and the other members of the city council to demand more democracy. Mr. Glazer can be contacted at

Does anyone want Orinda to lose that Malibu-type favorable rating of 98 percent?

Print Friendly
Share the joy


  1. Eugene says

    “apartment complex[es] in the heart of downtown” – what madness is this? Everyone knows that downtowns are for parking lots, not apartments.