Old Timers and veteranos remember Moraga’s orchards, chicken coops, horses clopping through town. Newbies are seeing excavators, the orchards all but gone, horses replaced by SUVs and the few chickens still around looking over their shoulder in case there’s a town inspector in the neighborhood.
In fact, the sound of clip-clopping horses ridden by singing vaqueros and hired for a local wedding some years back brought out many locals for a long, wistful last look – inspiring an almost dreamy reverie for what used to be. For many standing along St. Mary’s Road that day, the horses were a reminder that the very thing that drew them to the area in the first place – its rural appeal – is fast disappearing in the face of advancing construction and growth.
There are those who applaud the building, for whom a hillside scraped bare by excavators is the portent of new homes, tax revenue, a breath of new life in an old town.
Others, many of them those Old Timers we mentioned early on, see only the end of a way of life that lives on now only in the sales brochures, a promise of a home in a semi-rural environment free of the problems of big – or at least bigger – city life.
We said years ago that the battle lines were forming on the issue, and would no doubt harden as more excavators come, more developments planned, the roads get harder to navigate and the schools fill up with kids for whom Moraga’s rural past will only be experienced in history books. The City Ventures development along Moraga Way and other approved construction already underway has added fuel to the fire and locals, tired of merely shaking their heads as the earth movers rumble by, are taking their struggle to the people.
Some locals are canvassing the neighborhoods and organizing petition drives in an effort to scale back the development they are beginning to see today. They need 1,000 signatures and the petitioners plan to be available for people who wish to sign both before and after classes at Los Perales Elementary today, June 8.