City Council Veteran Becomes New Orinda Mayor

Caroline Cook

Victoria Smith returns to her second term as head of the Orinda City Council

Entering her second term as Mayor, Victoria Smith was appointed to serve as the presiding officer of the Orinda City Council on Dec. 7.

Smith began her career in Orinda city government in 2004, when she was elected to a four-year term on the Council. In 2007, she served as Mayor Pro Tem for one year, and served as Mayor from 2008 to 2009. In 2008, she was elected to a second four-year term on the Council.

According to City Clerk Michele Olsen, each of the Council members are elected to staggered four-year terms, where five members rotate on different cycles.

“Victoria and Vice Mayor Steve Glazer are on the same cycle for Mayor, were elected in 2008, and won again, meaning that they go up for reelection in 2012. Amy Worth is on her fourth term, Sue Severson is starting her second term, and Dean Orr is starting his first term,” said Olsen.

The first Council meeting of the session takes place every December. The rotation is based on numbers from previous elections where the candidates with the top two numbers are the Mayor and Vice Mayor. Under Orinda’s weak Mayor system, the Mayor leads the meetings but has equal power to all the other Council members.

Regarding priorities for her tenure, Smith wants to maintain and enhance the quality of life in Orinda by repairing roads, revitalizing senior housing, creating bike trails, and creating a citywide recycling program.

Although the city doesn’t have the money in their budget, Smith hopes to obtain federal grant money to continue building upon the Moraga Way repaving project, in addition to fixing other problematic Orinda roads. To create more affordable living options for local senior residents, she plans on working with the Chamber of Commerce to transform the old Orinda Library into senior housing situated near a County Connection bus stop. Smith also hopes to create a plan for more green methods of transportation, including walkways, trails, and bikeways throughout Orinda, including Safe Routes to Schools.

In addition to her voluntary service in city government, Smith currently works as a real estate attorney. She has a Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, and a J.D. from Hastings College of Law, has served on the City Planning Committee, and as a Board member on the Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority.