Mar 23 2017

Suspect: RUSSELL BERNARDINI – Birth date: December 16, 1955 – Location: 100 block of Dracena Ave, Piedmont – Date/Time: March 20, 2017 – Approximately 11:00 p.m. – Charges: Auto burglary, possession of burglary tools, possession of stolen property, violation of parole.

SYNOPSIS: Piedmont Police Officers responded to the 100 block of Dracena Avenue concerning an auto burglary in progress. Neighbors had contacted the victim after witnessing a suspect in the victim’s vehicle.

Arriving officers contacted RUSSELL BERNARDINI concealed among bushes near the burglarized vehicle. BERNARDINI was identified by witnesses. The suspect was arrested for auto burglary and possession of burglary tools.

BERNARDINI was on active parole out of Marin County. A rented U-Haul vehicle was found near the crime scene and officers were able to associate it with BERNARDINI. Officers located numerous bicycles, hand tools, baby strollers, and other items believed to have been stolen inside the vehicle.

Investigators from the San Rafael Police Department and Fairfax Police Department have identified some of the recovered property as reported stolen to their agencies. The investigation is on-going to identify additional victims.

Anyone with information and/or inquiries related to this case is asked to please contact Piedmont Detective Bob Coffey at (510) 420-3015.

If residents see something suspicious, call the Piedmont Police Department at:

(510) 420-3000.

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Mar 23 2017

Years of work to improve Hampton Park, –  the tennis courts, softball field, play areas and grass field – will culminate with a grand celebration on Saturday, March 25.

Numerous individuals, organizations, and the City have contributed along with the East Bay Regional Park District bond funds to complete the comprehensive park renovation.

Hampton Park City Celebration

Free

Please join the City of Piedmont to celebrate the re-opening of Hampton Park! Tour the renovations and play in the park!

Kids activities, refreshments served and brief remarks at 3:30pm. (Weather permitting!)

When

March 25, 3 – 4:30 p.m.

Where

Hampton Park
Corner of Hampton and La Salle Avenues
Piedmont, CA 94611

Contact information – 

Piedmont Recreation Department
510-420-3070
su.ac.tnomdeip.ic@drp

Mar 23 2017

Entire DBFL Store on Sale – 75% Off!

Where

Dress Best for Less
3861 Piedmont Ave
Oakland, CA 94610

Shop the Dress Best for Less store on Piedmont Avenue the rest of March for amazing deals. The entire store is now 75% off. Shop for women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, books, CDs, DVDs, home decor and more. Already great prices will be even better.

Proceeds support school programs for the Piedmont K-12 schools.

Spring Cleaning?

Mark Your Calendar:

  Grand Opening of new Dress Best for Less store

Saturday, April 1

at 3411 Lakeshore Avenue

Think of Dress Best for Less for your gently used, high quality donations. Volunteers are hoping to stock the new store at 3411 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland with the best of the best including designer clothing, purses, jewelry and fine home goods. Your quality donations help sales with the proceeds passed on to Piedmont schools.

Donations may be dropped off in Piedmont at the Carriage House (DBFL) next to the pool, across from the Arts Center and High School at Magnolia and Bonita Avenues.  A secure bin is now available for donations at all times.

Mar 22 2017

Piedmont’s AC Transit bus #11 “Piedmont to Fruitvale Avenue” has long been the core transit service for Piedmont with 123 bus stops connecting with Piedmont stops to major destinations including four BART stations in Oakland. For example, the #11 bus linked City Hall, high schools, middle school, recreation programs, Havens School, banks, and other Civic Center sites with Grand Avenue, Whole Foods, several churches, Kaiser Center, Broadway, Lake Merritt, Highland Hospital, Dimond Library, and Fruitvale. Additionally, caregivers, nannies, maids, commuters, and others have relied on the service from International Boulevard, 14th Avenue, and Fruitvale to Piedmont.

Bus #11 will be eliminated on March 26, 2017.

AC Transit indicates that the new line #33 will replace part of the route of the terminated Bus 11, but it does not connect Piedmont with Lake Merritt BART or the Fruitvale area. Bus #18 will serve Lake Merritt BART from Broadway via 7th and 8th streets.

The new line Bus #96 will connect Oakland’s 12th Street with the Dimond district.

Bus line #33 will operate in a “U” pattern from Piedmont’s Civic Center to its end at Medou Place in Montclair. It will operate on Highland Avenue, Oakland Avenue, Harrison Street, passing Kaiser Center, connecting to two BART stations in downtown Oakland before heading to Montclair.  Since the route typically takes 40 minutes from Highland Avenue in Piedmont to Medou Place in Montclair, this will not be an efficient way to reach Montclair Village.  The new bus line #33 schedules posted at Piedmont bus stops may confuse riders, since the destination is listed as Montclair, whereas people riding bus #11 have been heading in a different direction, toward downtown Oakland and beyond.

For further information go to > http://www.actransit.org/customer/contact-us/#Travel

 

Mar 22 2017

 

On March 6th, 2017, I attended a Piedmont City Council meeting, that occurs every two weeks to discuss bills and pass laws. This particular meeting focused on planned revisions to the City Code, specifically revisions to planning and land use, Chapter 17, and repeals of policies in the City Code. The Council also talked about adopting Interim Design Guidelines.

The meeting began with the pledge of allegiance, and most notably the passage of a resolution affirming the action of the Alameda County Mayor’s Conference against hate speech through the passage of Resolution 01-17, as well as a discussion of its importance. Council members thanked the Mayor for his participation during the meeting and stressed the importance the resolution had as a symbol of progress.

Next, the meeting opened to a public forum. I was the first speaker, and I urged the Council to choose one of the best candidates, my mother, Tracey Woodruff, who had been interviewed before the start of the meeting, for the Climate Action Plan Task Force. The next (and last) speakers were also students. Katy Savage spoke about stopping the blockage of storm drains and Shannon Baack spoke about putting crosswalks on dangerous parts of  St James Drive.

After Shannon left the stand, the Council began the main agenda. The first issue they presented was the recommended City Code changes, specifically zoning code changes and short term rental changes, mostly concerning fine tuning the code to address current building patterns and to increase ease of use, as well as simplification of the chapters.

After a staff report on the specific changes of the City Code, the discussion of the code began. During the discussion, it was brought up by a Council member that the laws regarding the Grand Avenue sub area had been getting a lot of attention but are a small part of the code. It was proposed that when the changes are adopted, the regulations of the Grand Avenue sub area would be reverted to status quo. Although the city said they would try to work with the people who had complaints regarding the Grand Avenue sub area while keeping the status quo, City Administrator Paul Benoit said that the entire public is never happy about any one decision, and that the decision regarding zoning laws will be no different.

Councilmember Jen Cavanaugh stressed the importance of public knowledge and perception of the problems addressed by the City Council. The more people know about a problem and the changes it requires, the less people are unhappy when the Council makes a decision. In fact, a couple of Council members stressed the importance of the process of the creation and approval of such changes.

Every step is important. Overlooking or rushing something could cause easily preventable mistakes and an unhappy public. Council members understand the importance of a careful process. During the discussion, it was made clear that this meeting was not to be the meeting where the changes were finally approved. Rather, its purpose was to determine the intent of the Council members and include them in the final draft of the changes to the code, in regards to the Grand Avenue sub area.

The floor was then opened up to public forum. The Mayor suggested that those who want to passionately speak on the Zone D regulations for the Grand Avenue sub area and short term rental should “save their fire” for a later meeting, when the Council focuses on those two issues.

The first speaker approved the Council’s decision regarding the short-term rentals. The second speaker, Joy Koletsky Jacobs was upset that Grand Avenue sub area residents weren’t adequately notified of the meetings regarding the changes to the code for said sub area. She asked that residents be notified by mail and not email, as a person is more likely to give attention to their mail rather than their email. The third speaker, Mark Loper, decided to save his fire for a later date.

The fourth speaker, Ted Kinch, spoke of his worry about the loss of parking and increase of traffic that might come with the Zone D changes, which includes the Civic Center. The center is near a school, so the increased traffic might lead to problems with children walking to school.

The fifth speaker, Miguel de Avelon thanked the council for separating the Zone D and short term rental changes. The sixth speaker, Dimitri Magganas, expressed his neutrality on most of the changes, but disliked the idea of having AirBnB in Piedmont.

After public forum closed, the Council reviewed the addendum revisions. These included limiting the number of signs in commercial establishments to a percentage of window area rather than a strict number cap, and reverting short term rental regulations to the current status quo, as well as changing the regulation of Zone D, which includes the Grand Avenue sub area regulations for lot coverage, landscaping, structural height, street yard setback, side and rear yard setback and reverts them to current regulations.

The floor to ceiling height for the Civic Center sub area will also be increased from 12 feet to 15 feet in the draft.  Another recommended change was to permit ground floor residential use except for entry into the upper floors, as well as reverting parking for Zone D to current regulations, meaning that the parking spaces required for dwelling units greater than 700 square feet to 2 rather than 1.5, as well as deleting the provision that exempts parking for the first 1500 square square feet of commercial floor area. For commercial uses, they recommend keeping the one parking space per 150 square feet for high volume spaces and 250 square feet for low volume spaces.

The Council then discussed deferring the discussion of short term rentals and Zone D (Grand Avenue sub area) to a later date. They decided to save the resolution for those issues for another meeting. Councilmember Jen Cavenaugh then went on to thank the public for their attendance to the meetings.

The conversation then turned to parking, regarding the changes that this new draft brings. In the draft, uncovered and tandem parking counts towards a house’s parking requirements. When questioned on the inclusion of tandem parking in the revision, the Planning Director explained that this was decided based on precedent from the Planning Commission. Although the code allowed tandem parking, it was pointed out that it is an unused practice in most cases, and that most would rather park in their driveway or on the street.

There was worry that the parking revisions were discouraging on-street parking by not allowing people to park in 20 foot setback (distance from building to property line). However, people are welcome to park in their own 20 foot setback, it is just not counted towards required parking for a home.

One Council member pointed out that the law assumes that if you add a room you add a car, which has not proven to be in correlation. He says that he doesn’t want parking to be a problem for people who want to expand their house, and pointed out that adding more ways to fill the parking requirement will help those who want to expand. In their review, the Planning Commission has the power to request more parking from a residence than meets the parking requirement, if they feel that the parking situation around the residence is unsafe.

Finally, Council member Teddy G. King pointed out that efforts to accommodate vehicles has become a problem in California, in regards to carbon emissions and global warming, and that the city of Piedmont has adopted an environmental policy that has to do with moving people out of their vehicles. Tandem parking would help relieve streets of congestion, and serve as an alternative to multiple parking spots, thus decluttered streets and encouraging fewer cars.

Another planned change is to Zone C, multi-family home parking requirements. This change would reduce the parking requirements of a multi-family home if they are to be redeveloped. The concern brought up with this change is that the multi-family homes are usually next to residential neighborhoods, and that nearby residents are upset by redevelopment because they fear it means fewer parking spaces. However, the changes are not limiting parking; they are lowering the required amount. The thinking is that the city doesn’t want to force residents to build unnecessary and useless parking.

The developers are free to put in more parking if they feel the need to do so, the City just doesn’t want to force people to create parking if they don’t need it. More parking spaces makes moving to Piedmont more expensive, as new residents have to pay for their own parking.  This lowers the number of people moving to Piedmont. This is consistent with the Planning Commissions goal of creating a low density urban environment.

The Council then moved on to the changes regarding Zone E, which are essentially very large residential properties. The changes proposed are roughly the same as those proposed for Zone A, allowing people to build up to their property line. Both Zone A and E have the same development pattern: a front yard, a house in the middle of the property, a backyard, and garages and others structures towards the back of the property. The revision is meant to incentivize this building pattern by making it easier to build accessory structures in the back of the property next to the property line. This is to ensure that the front yard remains open, that the house is not next to an accessory structure, and that the backyard remains open between the buildings. This building pattern creates space between the structures and on the property, a more ideal and pleasing design for both the residents and their neighbors as it allows for more privacy.

A revision also allows people to build site features without having to add them to their lot coverage. The intent of the structure coverage limit is to limit the amount of structures on a building that would have a negative impact on nearby structures. However, having a small number of additional structures on a property really doesn’t have any adverse effect, so the Planning Commission decided to allow a certain amount to be built on a property without adding to the coverage limit.

Site features such as a hot tub, built-in barbeque or bench really don’t have a negative impact, and these are the features that people usually want to add. Because people apply for such changes on a regular basis, the Planning Commission wants to remove this requirement of an application, so that it can be addressed in code rather than variance. Essentially, the Planning Commission is trying to improve the process to make it easier for residents.

During the discussion of revisions to property regulations the clock struck 9:30 p.m. This was the student curfew for school activities, and so I had to leave the meeting in accordance with the school code. Although the meeting continued for another half hour I was unable to write about it, because I wasn’t there.

by Xavier Woodruff-Madeira, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Mar 22 2017

Student wants community to have more information on District Bond activities along with developing good programs for healthy relationships. 

When Sarah Pearson called the Piedmont School Board meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8th, there were more people sitting behind the dark wooden semi-circular desk than in the audience. The School Board meets to discuss and shape the future of Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) every other Wednesday evening, unless a special meeting arises or the Wednesday falls over a school break. At this meeting, the three main items on the agenda were updates on the H1 Bond funding measure passed in June of 2016, the Healthy Relationships curriculum at the high school, and suicide prevention measures.

To begin, Max Miller, Millennium High School’s Vice President spoke on behalf of the Piedmont High and Millennium High community, updating the school board on upcoming events. From the annual Falcon fundraising dinner switching the style of catering to the upcoming plays at Piedmont High School (PHS), both campuses were bustling with spring time activities. After Miller spoke, a community member read a speech without telling the audience or school board it’s origins. When he finished the excerpt, he asked everyone if they knew where it was from. Stumping the entire room, he revealed it was written by Pericles over 2,000 years ago, noting it’s parallel to the Gettysburg Address by the 16th President Abraham Lincoln. This non sequitur speech segwayed into the Board updates from all five board members present. Recalling all the meetings they attended, each school-related meeting had anywhere from one to four school board members in attendance. Superintendent Booker talked about the search to find a new PHS principal.

Sam Williamson spoke after the updates about the memorial service for his kindergarten teacher which was held simultaneously in the Veterans Hall. He passed around a picture of himself with his teacher; she will be missed by all her students and the entire Wildwood School community.

The first item on the agenda addressed the budgeting strategy the District will take to build a new building and an update on the lengthy process to find a contractor. Chris Delong spoke on behalf of his firm that was hired by the District to look into the process of getting state funding to help construct the new science building. Delong presented his ideas, hoping to be rehired by the District to continue his work with PUSD. Having worked years in Sacramento, Delong knows first hand the tedious work it takes to tap into the seismic construction fund, and he wants to help Piedmont with that task. The Board unanimously rehired his firm after questions by School Board members Amal Smith and Andrea Swenson.

Michael Brady updated the Board on the successful search for a construction firm. The new firm has outstanding references and consistently showed they can both work with a time limit and budget. However, I think that this H1 funding measure needs more transparency. The Piedmont community deserves more updates about how their money is being spent and what exactly is being done to ensure the building of new science buildings. Whether that’s through the Piedmont Post, or an email, the District should do a better job conveying their progress.

The next item, also presented by Brady, showed the School Board PUSD is following the new laws Governor Brown passed surrounding “Yes means Yes” legislation and Healthy Relationships education. Brady touched on the contents of the law, the Healthy Kids survey to be taken in April throughout middle school and high school, and what work has already been done to address these standards. One facet of the survey that was brought up by both Smith and City Council member Jen Cavanaugh was the decision not to question middle schoolers about their sexual activity. Brady and Booker believed that more thought needed to be put into these questions before throwing them on the survey.

City Council member Cavenaugh took time to speak with me after the meeting about the importance of healthy relationships. She expressed, “I am passionate about creating a community that values healthy relationships.” After the District sent an email out that afternoon reflecting much of what Brady said at the meeting, Cavenaugh sent an email to School Board members that very evening, then brought her notes to the meeting and spoke about the importance of starting the discussion about healthy relationships at a young age. Cavenaugh will continue to work within the Healthy Relationships Committee to ensure Piedmont plays it’s part in educating its students.

I spoke out at this meeting about weaving the healthy relationships discussion into our English classrooms through a diversification of the curriculum.

The next school board meeting will be on March 22nd at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers and is open to the public.

by Danny De Bare, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Mar 22 2017

    On February 11th, the Planning Commision met in Piedmont’s City Council Chambers at five o’clock. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss variances and design review of building applications within Piedmont.The session began with an approval of minutes from the prior meeting, followed by a public forum.

   I, Brock Settlemier, spoke out on an individual issue that was not on the Planning Commission’s agenda.  There is an absolute lack of motorcycle parking in the City of Piedmont.  An initiative taken by the city was the “Complete Streets Plan”, to balance the transportation system of Piedmont, making it compatible for all cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, and senior citizens.  However, they left out the minority group of motorcyclists in Piedmont.  As a licensed motorcycle driver, owner, and student of Piedmont High School, I strongly voiced my concerns and advocated for the creation of motorcycle parking for the school.  The possible benefits would be a more balanced transportation system, a new way to commute to school for students/faculty, safer roads for motorcyclists, a reduction in greenhouse gasses, and a new modernization for the City of Piedmont.

    The major issue discussed at the meeting was item four of the agenda, 110 Fairview Avenue Variance and Design Review.  The owners, Mike Smith and Anne Beth, wanted to add a second story of 1,278 sq/ft to their home.  They live in a small, one story, Dutch Colonial home.  With their disabled son, grandchildren’s toys, and a lack of a decent socializing space, the applicants wanted to build up by adding the second story.  This proposed second floor would contain a bedroom, bathroom, and closet.  Their most convincing argument was that their addition would be more compatible with the neighborhood, where most of the houses are two stories and 2000 sq/ft or more.  This addition would make 110 Fairview more similar to the other homes in the area.  The architect was commended by Aradhana Jajodia for maintaining the style of the home, building up and saving space in the backyard.

    Mike and Anne were met with heavy resistance from nearby residents about their second story addition.  The owner of 129 Nova Drive, opposite the house, stated that the addition would be an issue of privacy.  He stated that, “A net 17 windows looking onto my back garden and into the house.”  This was one of the major issues of the design plan and was a repeated concern throughout the other neighbors’ statements.  Luckily, the owner was open to future conversation to find an alternative.

    The contractor of the house took the podium next.  He worked on 110 Fairview Ave ten years before, and was in support of the proposed plan.  His argument was clear.  The house would not expand on its small, original footprint.  The plan was underdesigned, and would not meet the maximum square footage that the city allowed.  The second story addition would not be too monumental.

    Down the street, Terry London voiced his concerns against the project.  He stated that the building would block their only view of the Piedmont Hills, completely obstructing the master bedroom’s view and seventy percent of their guest room.  In a later interview with him, he stated that the rules and regulations guiding development in Piedmont, “Don’t always take into account the specifics of particular situation, like height, topography, and the surrounding homes.”  He will remain involved in the future of the project.

   The meeting was a textbook example of how our government works efficiently in the United States.  Opening up the agenda to the public gave all the neighbors the opportunity to voice their opinions to the officials, who thoroughly considered and questioned each individual on their opinions.  Voices from both sides of this argument were effectively dealt with in the Commission’s final decision.

    The Planning Commision made a final deliberation on the issue in front of the audience, but closed to further opinions.  Planning Commissioner Tony Theophilos spoke out first from the Commission by addressing the issue of privacy.  He believed that there should be a reduction of windows, and finding a balance could be feasibly found.

   Next, Commissioner Aradhana Jajodia said the architect did a quality job on the design, except the back of the house was unpleasant looking from the neighbors point of view.

    Commission Chair Eric Behrens believed 108 Fairview Ave was the only house with a significant view of the Piedmont Hills.  He said “it seemed a little too big to me.”  Behrens suggested the applicants build down rather than up, such as a basement.

    Finally, Commissioner Jajodia made a motion to reject the design. It did not comply with the design review view guideline and the design presented a scale and mass violation.  Her perception was that the building should not overpower or dominate any of the surrounding homes.  The item was delayed to another meeting to allow a new plan by the architect.

   The Planning Commission meets once a month for a net four hours at minimum.

By Brock Settlemier, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions are those of the author.
Mar 22 2017

 

    On March 8th the Piedmont Unified School District School Board meeting took place in City Hall.  The meeting takes place every month and this particular meeting started off with a run down of all the recent activities and school related topics that the board members felt needed to be addressed.  The Millennium High School representative, Max Miller, addressed recent and upcoming events for both PHS and MHS.  He talked about the plays coming up (The Clearing and Sense and Sensibility), gave an athletics overview for the spring sports teams, and touched on the annual fundraiser that MHS students organize in March.  The MHS community dinner seemed to be a crowd favorite among all the board members and Max Miller mentioned how they are trying a catering service instead of having the students serve the food.  At least four of the board members raved about the recent musical production, Legally Blonde, put on by Amy Moorhead and claimed it was a community builder.  Other than the updates on high school events there was talk of a speaker series, Provocative Talk for Parents, Math and Information Night for ninth graders, and the Proposed Gated Havens meeting.  The Superintendent, Randall Booker was recognized for his great efforts in organizing a lot of events as well as searching for a new principle in replacement of Brent Daniels

    After the board members introduced different topics, they gave the audience a chance to speak about topics that were not on the agenda.  Dimitri Magganas spoke about his support for International Women’s Day that took place on March 8th.  Chris Dewong and Mr. Brady talked about H1 and how Piedmont was one of the first schools to apply for school funding.  Chris Dewong mentioned different construction programs such as the New construction and Modernization program.  The New construction would take place if a new school needed to be built or portables needed to be replaced by a new building.  Modernization is a project to enhance the educational environment of a preexisting facility.  Lastly, Mr.Brady brought up his Healthy Relationships survey.  Mr.Brady’s survey dealt with students and their relations to other people as well as their comfort with issues like STIs, contraceptives, sex, drugs and etc. The survey seemed very useful and helpful for the school board and parents to get a grasp on how advanced the students at PHS/MHS are and if any actions need to take place to spread awareness about safe sex and protection. This topic sparked lots of audience members, including myself to discuss their feelings on the effectiveness of the survey and if PUSD had done a good job in the past promoting healthy relationships.  While I was speaking, I provided Mr. Brady with a suggestion for his survey.  He earlier mentioned how he was having trouble deciding whether not to give the survey to middle school students and that he had mixed feelings from parents on the subject as well.  I thought it would be a good idea to offer the survey to only high school students the first year and on the survey have a question asking the students if they would have felt comfortable answering these questions when they were in middle school.  I thought this would be a good solution because it gives anonymous advice from students that were very recently in the same shoes as the middle schoolers and are more in touch with what steps the middle schoolers are at.

    I interviewed Dimitri Magganas before the School Board Meeting and he stated that he regularly attends the school board meetings and is a huge supporter of H1.  He mentioned that even though he is in favor of H1, he has many concerns regarding the measure.  The measure requires construction and contractors and Dimitri mentioned how expensive contractors are and the skyrocketing prices for east bay construction costs.  He had a very interesting and unique way to look at the H1 proposal and was very insightful.

by Mia Arthur, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Mar 22 2017

At their March meeting, the Park Commission discussed the approval of new post mounted signs and path medallion designs for on and off leash areas for dogs at Dracena Park. These new signage designs include post mounted signs which would be aluminum panel signs with a map which identifies the areas where dogs can be on and off leash. While the path medallions would be placed on the pavement or path intersections to indicate areas where dogs are off leash.

The agenda began with background information which was provided by Parks and Project Manager, Nancy Kent, which was then followed by discussion by the Park Commissioners and Piedmont Police Department.

The Commission brought up their opinions on the new signage and medallions being added to Dracena Park in which they are concerned about the scale of the post signage and their impact on the community friendly ambience of the park. It was highly recommended by the Commissioners to try a mock-up to visualize where the signs can be placed to be aesthetically pleasing as well as have an explicit message for park visitors. The Commission unanimously agreed on the addition of the signs but still needed to deliberate on the design, location, size, and material of the signage and medallions.

Afterwards, the Piedmont Police Chief addressed increased presence of animal control in the park and a recent case of a sign being stolen. The Piedmont Police Department has investigated the case and are therefore wary of vandalism and signs being stolen. They are hopeful with the addition of the new signage that more park visitors will be aware of the designated dog leash areas.

In my opinion the addition of new signage to Dracena Park is advantageous in properly and clearly indicating the areas of where dogs can be on and off leash. In developing new signage ideas, it will further enforce Park regulations which could be incremented in other parks.

I interviewed a member of the commission, Patty Siskind, who closely worked at the college and career center at Piedmont High School, and has a business in landscape design. She stated that she came to the meeting as a part of a designated subcommittee for the new signage proposal. Her concerns were pertaining to the overall atmosphere and scale of new signage in Dracena Park. Siskind stated that the signs were too tall and therefore has an impact on the outlook of the park. She plans on addressing her concerns by further engagement with the Park Commission in addition to working with City Council and staffs who are designing the new signage.

The Park Commission meets once a month to discuss updates on the various parks in Piedmont.

by Nicole Jiang, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Mar 22 2017

    I attended a Recreation Commission meeting at City Hall. They opened with the routine public forum, which had no speakers. Given the untimely death of a beloved kindergarten teacher, a memorial would be held . After opening statements, the Commission proceeded to discuss recreational subjects. The construction at Hampton Park was looking good and on schedule, even with the rainfall.

    The Chair of the Commission invited the manager of the pool to the podium to speak on his seasonal status and the upcoming seasons. He presented two very nicely drafted brochures (spring and summer) to go with his presentation. He talked about the winter season that was almost over and how all nine of their lifeguard trainees had passed their examinations.

    After winter, he stated how he was excited for spring because that’s when the activities reappear: swim team, medium and baby pools open again, and swim lessons. In the summer, even more begins to surface. They have a record staff in the summer as that’s the season with the most action. They have 50 total staff members/guards, in general. They also have the Fire Department come and run drill scenarios with the staff in training.

    After the pool report, Recreation Director Sara Lillevand spoke about the Hampton project and the Linda/Beach restrictions. That’s when I asked if the Linda Beach restrictions were in place temporarily because of the construction at Hampton. She said yes. I followed that asking how much longer they would be in place. Ms. Lillevand said that the projected time was until the Hampton project was finished, April 1st if nothing else fails. The reopening of Hampton would be followed by a big barbecue celebration.

By Sophia Landes, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.