Your Life Does Not Depend On Measure R
The Orinda Firewise Council says: "Vote like your life depends on it!" That is Darlene Gee’s and the rest of the City Council’s message to the residents of Orinda to get them to stampede to the polls in panic to support Measure R which will hand the City Council, and future councils, a $60 million blank check to spend however they wish.
But the facts don’t show that much of the sales tax will actually go to fire prevention.
The only document provided by the City specifying how much it “might” spend of Measure R’s $60 million collected over 20 years is a “Needs” report, presented to the Council on July 21. It said that the City should spend $500-750,000 for 3-4 years and could then reduce the spending. There was no indication of where those numbers came from and the minutes of the meeting show no one on the Council inquired.
Also on the agenda on July 21 was the annual budget for 2020/21, approved by the Council. In it was an appropriation of $50,000 for fire prevention. This was despite the fact that the budget showed $1.2 million available from sales tax revenues plus $3.5 million in sales tax receipts not-yet-spent and in reserve.
What is the plan? What will the Council actually spend on fire prevention? The East Bay Times recommends a no vote because there is no plan.
There is plenty of money in reserves to provide fire prevention until the City does come up with a plan if the City is really serious about preventing fires in Orinda. So far, it does not look like they are and giving them $2.4 million a year hoping they will get serious could be a very expensive mistake.
Your life does not depend on passing Measure R. It could depend on the Orinda Council and MOFD coming up with a fire prevention plan.