The Final Countdown: Dennis, Nick and Amy for City Council

Local Elections: The End Game = A Better Downtown

We are off to the races! The race for Orinda City Council that is. The deadline is tomorrow for Orinda to cast its votes for three candidates to fill three seats for the next three years.  Yes three is the magic number.

As a reminder, WUDO is endorsing three candidates for City Council: Dennis Fay, Nick Kosla and incumbent, Amy Worth.  We believe each of these candidates has the combination of experience and motivation to get our downtown moving in the right direction.  If you choose to read no further, please get out there and VOTE for Dennis, Nick and Amy.

Now the Why...

Here at WUDO, it’s obvious that we’ve been following this race  closely. Heck, we’ve been following every step of the downtown conversation closely…for years.  We’ve dedicated hundreds of hours to gathering information, studying the facts, learning the history, speaking to business owners, building owners and the city, organizing events and most importantly attending city council meetings to try to move things along.

Throughout this process, we have concluded that incumbent candidate Eve Phillips is not a candidate who will move downtown forward. Although her PR message is “pro downtown” Phillips has clearly demonstrated the opposite position, time and again, vote after vote.

Back in July 2015, Phillips voted against even starting the conversation about downtown revitalization (Orinda City Council Meeting held July 21st, 2015). In 2016, Phillips voted against bringing in thought leaders from outside agencies. And earlier this year, Phillips voted against a plan to improve downtown Orinda’s streetscape. The list goes on and on. Again and again at council meeting after council meeting, Phillips is predictably a “no” on nearly every downtown related issue.

Please, if you are on the fence at the polls tomorrow, don’t let campaign rhetoric fool you. Eve Phillips is demonstrably not in favor of progress for Orinda’s downtown. Nick Kosla, Dennis Fay and Amy Worth are qualified and ready to move forward. Please spread the word and vote Dennis, Nick and Amy for City Council. They are our ticket to a better downtown.

Fay, Kosla and Worth: WUDO’s Picks for Orinda City Council.

This November, three open seats on Orinda’s City Council signal a potential turning point for progress with Orinda’s downtown.  Three candidates in particular, Dennis Fay and Nick Kosla and Amy Worth represent Orindans BEST prospect for momentum in the process of Downtown renewal.


Fay, Kosla and Worth each offer a wealth of experience on issues pertaining to Orinda’s Downtown.  Dennis Fay, a former chair of the Citizens’ Infrastructure and Oversight Committee (CIOC) was instrumental in the development of Orinda’s program to repair its roads. Nick Kosla’s experience as Chair of the Orinda Planning Commission will be invaluable in future Council discussions about land use and business development in Orinda’s Downtown.  Amy Worth is currently serving as Mayor in her 4th term on Orinda’s City Council and has a proven voting record on thoughtful Downtown revitalization including leveraging the input of two independent consulting firms (The Urban Land Institute and Main Street America) to provide options for downtown renewal, and most recently, the green lighting of the Master Streetscape Plan which kicks off October 13th.

The addition of these three highly qualified and forward-thinking candidates to Orinda’s City Council is exactly what we need to move forward with downtown.  We offer our endorsement and urge others to vote for Dennis Fay, Nick Kosla and Amy Worth for Orinda City Council on November 6th.

Want to Help? It’s Simple.

Beyond voting, we encourage you to take it a step further and help these candidates win on November 6th. Visit each candidates’ website to volunteer to spread the word, host a yard sign or donate. Forward this message to your friends and neighbors to let them know who you’ll be voting for on November 6th. Get out the word, then get out and vote! (Coming soon!)

ConnectOrinda Event, Oct 13, 2018

Wouldn’t it be lovely if the walk from the Village side of downtown to the Theater side were seamless and pleasant? What if our sidewalks were widened, or the maze of parking spaces near Rite Aid were organized? What if the creek were unearthed and along side it there were a pleasant walking path? So many good ideas float around, and hopefully some will be put into action soon via the Orinda Streetscape Master Plan.

The city planning department is kicking off the Streetscape effort on Saturday, October 13th with a community event from 10 AM - 2 PM. Take a walking tour and share your ideas, compete in a scavenger hunt, and get in on the planning. It’s happening at Library Plaza and we hope to see you there! Learn more at


Simple Math: Food Trucks + Friends = Fun

Food trucks.jpg

Its no secret that we at What's Up Downtown Orinda are fans of food trucks.  Who doesn't welcome the opportunity to get out of the house on Thursday evening and gather with friends and family for a little food and fun ... all conveniently located in our very own downtown.  Bonus: we don't have to do the cooking.

Since last Summer, we have been enjoying Orinda's Taste of the World Thursday Night Street Feast.  Our sense is that many of you have been, too.  Did you know that next Monday, May 14th at 7pm the City Council will be looking into making the weekly Thursday night food truck pilot program a permanent fixture on Orinda's event calendar?  After engaging in a formal RFP process, the council will be reviewing a proposal from Taste of the World Market and discussing what shape this event will take going forward.

We would love to know how you feel about the Thursday Night Street Feast.  Do you love it and want to see the event continue?  Can it be improved?  Haven't been yet?  Well, why not?  Want to see more events like it?  Please send your feedback to City Clerk Sheri Smith at, or better yet, come to the City Council Meeting on Monday, May 14th at 7pm and be a part of the process.


I Voted

I Voted.png

Did you receive your vote by mail ballot for the June 5th primary election?  We love voting at the kitchen table, or anywhere else for that matter.  Among the many items on the ballot, we are excited to cast our vote for two in particular.

Measure J: Library Services Parcel Tax


For those of you who are fans of Orinda's Public Library, please be sure to vote YES on Measure J.  This measure provides critical funding to our city's beloved Library.  Money will go towards library service hours; utilities, maintenance, repair of the library building and its systems and equipment; replacement of worn and outdated books and materials; and library programs for children, families and seniors.  To read more about this measure, please click through.

Rebecca Bauer-Kahan is running for Assembly

Rebecca Bauer-Kahan.jpg

Orinda resident Rebecca Bauer-Kahan is running for California State Assembly and we are excited to cast our votes for her.  According to her web site, some of Bauer-Kahan's priorities include:

  • Ensuring our children get a top-level education from pre-k through college by fully funding our public schools and guaranteeing universal pre-school so that every child has the opportunity to succeed
  • Protecting the environment and battling climate change

  • Working to improve transportation options, finding traffic solutions and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, including fixing our roads, working to make BART more reliable and building more BART parking

  • Protecting a woman’s right to choose

  • Increasing access to quality, affordable health care

  • Keeping our families and children safe by making California a model for the nation on gun violence prevention

  • Assuring balanced budgets, while protecting key state programs

  • Helping small businesses thrive and growing our local economy

For a good read, check out Bauer-Kahan's personal and professional background.  Inspiring to say the least.


What's Up This Holiday Season, Our Second Installment!

The merriment continues! Get your calendars out, you won’t want to miss what’s happening this coming week in Orinda.

Create a new holiday tradition at the Orinda Ballet...

Orinda Ballet Academy & Company celebrates their 9th season presenting “A Sweet Dream Nutcracker”.  

Performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday Dec 8-10th at the Orinda Library Auditorium.  Tickets are available in advance or at the door.

Help your littles learn to give back…

Local group Mindful Littles has two events coming up that can help your family shift the focus of the season to giving.

Sunday December 10th from 3-4:30pm at the Orinda Community Church.  Assemble and decorate holiday food baskets for the Bay Area Crisis Nursery while learning about the BACN and the families they help.  Purchase your tickets here:

Thursday December 14th from 12-1pm in the Orinda Library Garden Room. Spread some holiday cheer with Seniors Around Town. Seniors Around Town is having a holiday party and Mindful Littles has been invited to join the festivities to pass out candy and join in the holiday spirit. Register here:

Embrace Your DIYness, You Crafty Thing...

December 14th at 4pm in the Orinda Library Garden Room. Just for Teens: Make holiday gift bags, boxes and tags with artist Valerie Adinolfi. All materials provided. For grades 6-12. No registration required.

December 17th from 2-4pm in the Orinda Community Center Kitchen.  Join the Orinda/Tabor Sister City Foundation for a Czech Christmas Cookie Class. $10 Suggested Family Donation. RSVP to

Toys, Tunes and Trains Oh My!

Saturday December 9th, 6-8pm at Theatre Square.  Toys come to life!  Come meet all of your favorite characters. Other holiday activities as well for the entire family to enjoy.

Tuesday December 12th at 5pm in the Orinda Library.  Enjoy holiday music with Mary Fuller on Viola.

Thursday December 14th at 7pm at the Orinda Theatre.  Free movie screening of the holiday classic The Polar Express!










Let's Talk Housing...

Hello WUDO Supporters. We hope you’re easing your way into the holiday season and enjoying some of the fun local activities around town. We’ve been covering those for you in our 2nd Annual What’s Up Downtown Orinda Holiday Guide; look for more in our next installment later this week!

Today we have a few other items on our list we’d like to chat about. First, the Orinda City Council Meeting tonight at 7pm in the Orinda Library Auditorium: the Council will recognize outgoing Mayor Eve Phillips for her dedication to the role over the past year and a new Mayor will be nominated and sworn in for the coming year. We wonder who that will be?

One thing’s for certain: we’ll be asking our new Mayor and the entire City Council to put an updated General Plan at the top of their list for 2018. We’d also love to see a Downtown Specific Plan created to address the development opportunities that may present themselves in the next several years. This recent article on the transformation of a dark spot in the sleepy town of Santa Cruz got our creative juices flowing...

We were encouraged that 2017 brought movement in that area with the help of consultant groups Main Street America and ULI and we are still waiting to hear from City Council on how they can use the recommendations from these two groups to reshape Orinda's outdated General Plan.  

The Downtown dilemma comes down to a few hot button points, one of which is housing.  What type of housing, if any, is right for Downtown Orinda and where is the right place for it?  How will it affect our City’s character? Parking? Schools? Wow… so much to think about and we will be back with more on all of this in the New Year.

Adding to the excitement is a slew of new legislation recently passed in Sacramento that could affect the way the state interacts with local governments when it comes to issues of housing.  This recent article in the New York Times does a much better job than we can in explaining the potential impact on Orinda.

WUDO Supporters, you can help today by reaching out to our City Council and urging them to get moving on reshaping our outdated General Plan. Let’s chart our own course for the future together.




What's Up This Holiday Season!


Can you believe that the holiday season is again upon us, and our little town is about to be full of holiday cheer? There is nothing sweeter than a homegrown holiday season, so over the next six weeks, we'll share the best of local events, restaurants to try and places to shop locally this holiday season.  We hope to see you on the streets of Orinda gifting, dining, drinking and spreading the holiday spirit. 

Here are some fun things to do over the next few weeks! More to come after Thanksgiving... 

Fun stuff to Do

Send a Letter to Santa Through December 24th Orinda Hardware (56 Moraga Way) will have a mailbox outside their store for deliveries to the North Pole.  Return letters guaranteed when you add a return address to your envelope!

Earn that Second Piece of Pie! Thursday November 23rd at 8:30am @ MCC. Bring your family and friends to enjoy the start of your Thanksgiving Day with the 1st Annual MCC Turkey Trot Fun Run. Your race contributions go to the Food Banks of Contra Costa & Solano Counties.  

Ditch Kitchen Duty

Shhhh...Nobody needs to know your pie is not homemade! Get "Thanksgiving to Go" at Wild Magnolia. Stop by and inquire about a made to order Thanksgiving feast.  Now kick up your feet and enjoy the day.  2 Theatre Square.

See the Big Man... Twice! 

Santa will be in the house at the Orinda Tree of Lights Ceremony. Saturday December 2nd, 4:30pm-6:30pm @ the Orinda Tree of Lights, Orinda Village (near Bank of America). Dedicate a memorial light in honor of a loved one at this time honored Orinda tradition.  Voice ensemble groups from Orinda’s elementary and middle schools perform, Santa makes a guest appearance (selfies encouraged) and cider, cocoa are on tap for all to enjoy! Event proceeds benefit Hospice East Bay.  

Come get in the spirit at Theater Square. Saturday December 2nd from 5-8pm. Performances by Lamorinda Theatre Academy.  Horse and Carriage rides (you read that right!), ornament workshops, tree lighting and yes, more photo opps with the jolly guy in red. 

Shop til you Drop

41st Annual Orinda Holiday Bazaar. November 18th 10-4pm @ the Orinda Community Center, 28 Orinda Way.  Liven up your holiday shopping experience with cheery handmade items, clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, candles, home decorations, knitware, organic food items and more. Admission is free!

Hit the Pop Up Shop! If you haven't tried Hoffsi Chocolates, you haven't lived! Now through December 23rd during the day, Cine Cuvee is transformed into a holiday pop up shop by Hoffsi Chocolates and Hollie's Home Grown - two artisinal brands that are locally owned by amazing Lamorinda women.  Stock up on delicious olive oils, salt blends and more delectable chocolate creations than you can imagine for Thanksgiving day and every event throughout the season.

Get your tree locally. McDonnell Nursery, 196 Moraga Way. McDonnell’s fabulous fresh Christmas Trees will be in the week of Thanksgiving.  Free tree cleaning and delivery with every purchase.  You’ll also find gorgeous holiday decor to fill your home.   

Happy Holidays, Orinda!