Home NEWS Government Moraga Council Gets Thrifty, Passes On Passed Hat For Painted Rock

Moraga Council Gets Thrifty, Passes On Passed Hat For Painted Rock


Moraga’s Town Council has passed on a request to contribute to a local effort to buy and preserve a bucolic 84-acre parcel overlooking the town and known for the paint-slathered rocks regularly christened by bands of local high schoolers.

In a 3-2 decision (Korpus, Sos, Woehleke voting “nay,” Wykle and McCluer voting “aye,”), the council scotched the hopes of the John Muir Land Trust – who had come before the town council asking for a $100,000 donation to help rescue the Painted Rock property. Close to the $2 million in funding needed to acquire the property, JMLT had hoped Moraga’s council would ante up the funds, with matching donations pushing them closer to their goal.

But that wasn’t the way it worked out.

Citing more pressing fiscal challenges and problems with failing infrastructure, the Town Council said no to the JMLT request despite the misgivings of Mayor Wykle and council member McCluer.

“I believe that at this moment in time, our town’s fiscal realities do not allow us to contribute meaningfully to the purchase of this property,” council member Sos said, setting the stage for much of the evening. “I believe that we need to exercise fiscal austerity and not philanthropy.”

It’s a case of “So Near, Yet – So Far” for the JMLT and supporters of plans to acquire the site for $2 million by a May 31 deadline, with donors standing by to match any donations made by the town to in order to purchase Painted Rock and link it with more than 400 acres of adjacent open space.

The site has been an object of attention for more than just high schoolers armed with paint buckets, with developers eyeing buildable sites and developments already closing in on the property.

Several locals spoke out on behalf of a donation from the town, perhaps one for as little as the $10,000 the town donated to JMLT for acquisition of the Carr Ranch property in better times.

That option, however, is clearly off the table as Town Manager Cynthia Battenberg flatly declared in a report issued in support of the town’s position that Moraga’s budget does not include funding for donations or the purchase of open space.


  1. I support the Town Council’s decision to not make a donation. If Painted Rock and Open Space in general is important to the Moraga population than residents can make a donation with their own hard earned money to the JMLT.

    Good for the 3 Town Council members that chose fiscal discipline over discretionary/nice to have spending. We have another sink hole. We have a failing drainage system (that we correctly rejected a new tax on). We still have a temporary bridge to Canyon. We have an underfunded liability for our town employee retirements.

    A hard but rational decision was made. A fiscally prudent decision was made. A nice change of events in the Republic of California.

  2. Probably the better decision for the Council considering the town’s needs right now. I bought my piece of the painted lady just last week. Time for the rest of us Moragans to step up and finish this. I am still optimistic.

  3. A sad day in Moraga. My heart says yes and my head (fiscal responsibility) says no. I’m glad I didn’t have to make that decision. I would’ve called in sick.

  4. Part of what makes Moraga great is the open land around it. It’s unfortunate the Council voted the way it did, particularly when there is a foundation willing to match donations. A donation by Moraga, with a match, would have essentially preserved the area for generations to come. What a terrible, short-sighted decision.

    • I understand your point. I’m remaining optimistic, and counting on deeply-rooted Lamorindans (not just Moragans) with a little extra money in their pocket, and a kind heart.

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