MUCH LIKE the other two municipalities in Lamorinda, the Town of Moraga is well-run and we believe that voters there should return the two incumbents to the two seats up for election.
David Trotter and Ken Chew have been strong and independent representatives on the Town Council and the challengers -- Dennis and Elani Wanken and Seth Freeman -- did not make a compelling case for their removal.
As is the case with most municipalities in California, Moraga is hurting for revenue. But the town has been responsible in how it has managed funds. Trotter points out that during his year as mayor that the town reduced its general fund budget from $7 million to $6 million, a substantial reduction indeed.
During the economic recession a number of businesses have left Moraga and attracting more is an important priority, but the town simply does not have the money to hire an economic development director. At Chew's suggestion, however, the town has advertised for a volunteer economic director. He reasoned that Moraga has many qualified experts who may want a chance to serve the community. It is a novel approach and, as Trotter said, it is an experiment well worth trying.
Some consideration has been given to asking voters to approve Moraga as a charter city, which would allow it to establish a real estate transfer tax. But Trotter rightly points out that any such effort should be done regionally in collaboration with Lafayette and Orinda.
An odd feature to this race is that Dennis and Elani Wanken are married to each other. While there is no legal impediment to prevent a husband and wife from serving on the same council, it would present particular challenges. For starters, they could not talk to any other board members about council business without violating the Brown Act.
But putting that aside, we believe Trotter and Chew have done a good job and we think they should be re-elected on Tuesday.