Feb 21 2017

 VOLUNTEER for important positions!

Be a part of Piedmont’s decision processes!

Application Deadline: Monday, March 20th – 5PM

The City Council of Piedmont is looking for talented volunteers to be appointed to Piedmont commissions and committees. Interested Piedmont residents may download the > Application for Appointive Vacancy.

Applications are due to City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, on or before the deadline of Monday, March 20, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

No. of Vacancies No. of Incumbents Eligible
for Reappointment
Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee 2 Vacancies 2 Incumbents
CIP Review Committee 2 Vacancies 2 Incumbents
Civil Service Commission 1 Vacancy 0 Incumbents
Park Commission 2 Vacancies 0 Incumbents
Parking Hearing Officer 2 Vacancies 2 Incumbents
Planning Commission 3 Vacancies 1 Incumbent
Public Safety Committee 2 Vacancies 2 Incumbents
Recreation Commission 3 Vacancies 2 Incumbents

Interviews with the City Council for these positions will be scheduled for Monday, March 27, 2017.   All applicants must be interviewed.  No appointments will be made without a Council interview.

You can read about the duties of the commissions and committees by clicking here.  The Planning Commission considers construction laws, applications regarding houses, apartments, and buildings in Piedmont, some as referred by the City Council or Planning Department. 

For more information, contact City Clerk John Tulloch at: 

jtulloch@ci.piedmont.ca.us (510) 420-3041

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Until February 24th, the City Council is also recruiting for members of the 2030 Climate Action Plan Task Force. For more information on appointments to that body, please click  > Volunteers Sought for Climate Action Plan Task Force.

Feb 21 2017

Dress Best for Less to Move to a New Home on Lakeshore Avenue

Dress Best for Less (DBFL) will be closing it’s doors on Piedmont Avenue in under two months and moving to a new location at 3411 Lakeshore Ave. (between Shakewell and Greetings).

Grand Opening at 3411 Lakeshore Avenue

Saturday, April 1
Mark your calendar!

Join the Mailing List to Stay Informed

Sign up for our mailing list to receive more information: DressBestforLess.org.

Keep Shopping!

In the meantime, shop the Piedmont Ave store and the Marking Room for great bargains as we clear out inventory in anticipation for our big move.

Want to help?

We are in need of volunteers including handy men and women to help with plumbing, painting and more to help us get our new store ready.  Please contact DBFL President Gayle Sells at 510-654-6193 for more information.

Where

Dress Best for Less
3861 Piedmont Ave and 799 Magnolia Ave
Oakland and Piedmont, CA 94611

Contact

Gayle Sells
510-654-6193
moc.liamg@lfbdpohs
dressbestforless.org

Feb 21 2017

Below is a student report on the Piedmont Unified School District Board Meeting of February 8, 2017.

The Piedmont Unified School District School Board meeting on February 8, 2017, took place at City Hall and began at 7:00 PM. opening up with statements from each board member on recent community activity. Max Miller, the student representative to the Board from Millennium High School gave statements concerning the goings-on at both Piedmont and Millennium high schools. Miller focused on service learning and community service at both schools, the Millennium community dinner, which supports the Millennium trip to Camp Augusta, an upcoming night rally at Piedmont High, new musical Legally Blonde, and a college presentation from Ms. Bly.

The other board members updated the audience on recent events they had attended in the community. Notable events included upcoming Elementary School Enrollment Day, an information night regarding transitional and traditional kindergarten, and a community engagement meeting regarding Measure H1 to take place on April 1st, from 9:00-12:00 AM. All these reports were presented by Superintendent Randall Booker. In these opening remarks the Board also discussed the process for finding a new principle for Piedmont High, and Board President Sarah Pearson mentioned a recent coffee discussing the transition held by co-principals Eric Mapes and Irma Munoz.

Following opening remarks, the Board moved to a presentation by Blake Boehm from KNN Public Finance, LLC, regarding Measure H1 finances. Currently the Board is largely concerned with the implementation of Measure H1, a large bond passed June 2016. H1 addresses gaps in Piedmont’s education system, from insufficient facilities to opportunities to modernize Piedmont’s curriculum.

Boehm discussed bond implementation, specifically focusing on upcoming parcel tax hikes and how to guarantee that taxpayers are paying only the necessary amount to fund the bond. The bond will be instituted in three series, for a total of 66 million dollars to be spent starting in 2018. Bond sales to the community will take a maximum 6 years, and any debt incurred during this time will be paid for with property taxes. Boehm was optimistic that a continual trend of high fiscal value and community growth in Piedmont would ensure that the bond would continue to be valuable for years after its initial implementation, and saw no problems paying off any debt in upcoming years. As interests rates continue to increase, Boehm stated that savings could even surpass current predictions. At Boehm’s conclusion, the Board voted to see another presentation from Boehm at the next Board meeting.

Following presentations on Measure H1, the Board heard presentations in support of implementation of Extended Day Kindergarten (EDK) by Piedmont kindergarten teachers and the principle of Wildwood Elementary School Carol Kramer. EDK is a proposal to lengthen the normal day of a Piedmont kindergartener from half day schooling to a full day. Supporters of this change state that kindergarteners are better able to become immersed in the curriculum with a longer day, and would have more time for exploration and play. Presenters also stated current kindergarten models are outdated and need modernization. Furthermore, Measure H1 allocated funds specifically geared towards the district-wide implementation of EDK. These monies would pay for more facilities, better materials, and a higher salary for kindergarten teachers working a full day.

Opposition to EDK stated that a longer school day could increase stress at a very young age. The Board voted unanimously to move forward with EDK across the district. EDK would bring back some elements of joy and play to school, where these have clearly been lacking currently.

From my perspective, the Board correctly ruled in this case, and the benefits of implementing EDK will be seen not only in kindergarteners themselves, but across the board as they move up through Piedmont schools. While the opponents of EDK are justified in their concerns over increased student stress, EDK would actually help alleviate the stress of moving from half-day kindergarten to full-day first grade. The benefits would also extend to working parents, who could spend less on childcare. The Board will continue to hear opinions concerning the nuances of executing EDK in all three elementary schools for the remainder of the school year.

The School Board meets bimonthly, excluding special meetings, and hears issues pertaining to Piedmont schools. The Board attempts to promote better schooling for all Piedmont residents while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used as efficiently as possible.

By Madison Wilson, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Feb 21 2017

The League of Women Voters, Piedmont is holding a FUNDRAISER ON SUNDAY, MARCH 12TH FROM 3-5:00 PM

The League of Women Voters annual fundraiser event is open to the public. Keynote speaker will be Berkeley Professor Steven Raphael discussing “Crime and Punishment in California: Recent Trends and Reforms”Dr. Raphael is an adjunct fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and professor of public policy at UC, Berkeley. His research focuses on the economics of low-wage labor markets, housing, and the economics of crime and corrections.

He is the author of The New Scarlet Letter? Negotiating the U.S. Labor Market with a Criminal Record and Why Are So Many Americans in Prison? He is editor in chief of Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society and a research fellow at the University of Michigan National Poverty Center, the University of Chicago Crime Lab, and the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Germany. He holds a PhD in economics from the UC Berkeley.

Date: Sunday, March 12, 2016

Time: 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Refreshments from 3-3:30pm

Location: Piedmont Community Center, Highland Avenue

Tickets for the event are $25.00 per person in advance and $30.00 at the door. To purchase tickets in advance go to >

 

or send your check payable to LWVP in care of Ward Lindenmayer, 40 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

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Editors’ Note:  The Piedmont Civic Association (PCA) and the League of Women Voters, Piedmont are separate, non- affiliated organizations. 
Feb 9 2017

Finance Director Kiran Bawa will leave the City staff as of March 6, 2017, having arrived in March 2016. 

Finance Director Kiran Bawa to leave Piedmont for Virginia –

City Administrator Paul Benoit announced that Finance Director Kiran Bawa will be leaving the City of Piedmont effective March 6, 2017. Ms. Bawa will leave Piedmont to move to Virginia to fulfill an unanticipated family obligation. During her time here, Ms. Bawa helped revise the City’s purchasing procedures, spearheaded the implementation of financial transparency software, and worked tirelessly to ensure that taxpayer dollars were well spent.

Ms. Bawa came to Piedmont in March 2016 from the City of Oakland, where she served as Budget Director. Prior to her work in Oakland, Ms. Bawa served as capital planning and grants manager for the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District.

“I am very sorry to see Kiran leave Piedmont,” said City Administrator Paul Benoit. “In her short time here, she quickly learned and understood how Piedmont’s finances work. She also helped to move Piedmont forward in significant ways. Her hard work and great interpersonal skills helped her become an invaluable member of Piedmont’s management team.”

“I was extremely delighted when the Council appointed me as Finance Director in 2016, Finance Director Kiran Bawa said. “The work environment was excellent and professionally satisfying. The Council, staff, and the community provided all manner of support as well as opportunities to make financial operations more efficient. While I do not wish to leave Piedmont, my upcoming move to the east coast to be with my future husband is the primary factor.”

The City Council and City Administrator will work in the upcoming weeks to develop a plan to replace Ms. Bawa as Finance Director.

Feb 9 2017

Park Commission Meeting:  Stay Off My Turf!

On February 1st, 2017, I attended the Park Commission meeting from 5:30 to 6:25 p.m.  I was one of only three people in the audience section, and the only person there who was not a returning attendee.  The main focuses of this meeting were an update on Hampton Park, the Linda-Kingston Triangle, the installation of new playground equipment for the Recreation Center Tot Lot, and the Monthly Maintenance Report.

Celebration was in order after Staff Liaison, Nancy Kent, revealed that the no-netting, sand-based sod was successfully installed at Hampton Park earlier in the day.  This natural sod will serve as a great improvement to the muck that generations of young Little League prodigies were forced to endure.  Also, the new irrigation sprinklers were fully functioning, proving that the drainage was working properly.  The sod needs a month to take root, so the public is implored to stay off the turf!  The Commission felt hopeful that the field will be ready for public use by March, just in time for baseball.

I am thrilled to hear of this progress, because I personally grew up playing on the old Hampton grass, and can attest firsthand to its dire need for improvement.  Youth sports are a critical area of character development for many children, and I am glad that the city realizes the value in keeping these fields safe and up to date.

The Commission then went on to discuss how the city is still waiting for PG&E to “give [them] power” to the Linda-Kingston Triangle.  The recently completed beatification project needs the electricity to power its light fixtures. Nancy Kent shared that the Mayor of Piedmont had submitted the Triangle to an awards program, that recognizes innovation in public streets.  The Mayor believes that the Triangle should be recognized for making traffic safer, creating a better pedestrian route, providing a subtle gateway into the city, and functioning as its own mini-park.  The Mayor will hear back later this month if the Triangle is to be recognized.

A complaint was filed by a citizen that the Linda-Kingston Triangle has reduced parking in the adjacent streets.  However, this complaint has no valid basis because the Park Commission created the Triangle in a very careful manner that took zero parking spaces from the community.

Next the Commission discussed the installation of the new playground equipment for the Recreation Center Tot Lot.  The old playground equipment was deemed hazardous by certified inspectors back in July, 2016, forcing the Recreation Department to start from scratch.  The purchase of the new equipment was approved in November, and by mid-January the playground was completely installed.  Thanks to the efficiency of those working this project, the turnaround time was very quick, providing a safer and improved structure for the Recreation Center.

Lastly, the Monthly Maintenance Report discussed the damaging effects of the recent rain storms that have ravaged Piedmont.  The storms have been keeping all the city workers on full alert because as one member of the audience put it, “the trees are toppling like dominos”.  The most affected residential areas have been along St. James Drive and La Salle Avenue, while Dracena Park, Piedmont Park, and Beach Field have taken the hardest blows for the Parks Department.  Beach Field has suffered from a tree that fell onto the field itself (taking out a lamppost on its way down) and another that fell onto the roof of the Beach Field bathroom building, thankfully causing only minor damage.

Due to this increase of falling trees, all twenty park-pedestrian-pathways have recently been cleared and cleaned.  Also reported was the decaying of many London Plain Forest trees, which have been declining due to old age and drought.  Although the average lifespan of street-trees is now unfortunately less than twenty years, many of these London Plains have been in the Piedmont community for almost eighty years.

The meeting was described by Park Commissioner, Betsy Goodman, as “good, fast, everyone was happy”.  While Goodman acknowledged that some city government meetings could “drag on,” she was proud and pleased with how “very efficient” the meeting went overall.

The Park Commission meets the first Wednesday of every month at the Piedmont City Hall.  The purpose of this group is to help manage and make improvements to the public parks of the community.

Sam Rosenbaum, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Feb 9 2017

If you have a great capital improvement idea, the committee would like to hear from you.

Deadline: Monday, March 6, 2017 –

The Capital Improvement Projects Review Committee (CIP) is soliciting proposals for new city projects which would enhance our community. Ideas submitted by individuals, community organizations and City staff are all considered.

Download the > Proposal Form. Proposals are due no later than March 6th at 5:00 PM at 120 Vista Avenue, Public Works Department. 

All applicants/residents that have submitted proposals will be personally invited to attend the CIP Meeting to be scheduled in March. At this meeting, applicants will be asked to briefly describe their projects to the CIP Committee. The CIP Review Committee will then determine which projects will require a site visit.

The CIP Site Visit Tour will be scheduled for a Saturday in early May. The tour will commence at City Hall at 9:00AM and then will proceed to CIP tour stops located throughout the City. At each of the tour stops the CIP Committee will see the locations for proposed projects first hand.

At noon a working lunch will be provided at City Hall for Committee members, city staff, and interested citizens. At this working lunch the CIP Review Committee will attempt to compose their list of 2017-2018 CIP projects that they recommend as a part of this year’s budget process. The CIP chair in conjunction with CIP Review Committee members will be asked to prepare a list of recommended projects and narrative that will be forwarded to the City Council for consideration in the budget process.

Completed forms should be returned to the Department of Public Works, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont.  If you have questions regarding the CIP process, please contact Nancy Kent, Parks & Project Manager, at (510) 420-3064.

Feb 9 2017

The Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee will meet on Monday, February 13th at 6:30 pm. The meeting will be held in the East Wing of 801 Magnolia Avenue (Piedmont Center for the Arts Building).  This location does not provide for broadcasting of the meeting. Those interested in City finances and a potential bond measure may speak at the meeting.

The agenda lists a review of the 2016 -2017 Mid-year Financial Report and the City’s bonding capacity. 

The City has been studying and planning improvements to recreation facilities including a new aquatics center with potential for-profit activities such as a food concession, etc.  In addition, the City has been considering various Civic Center projects. Fiscal projections have indicated a need for additional funding to finance the projects. Bond funding has been mentioned as a potential source of funding.

The City’s bond capacity informs many decisions.

Bond approval per the City Charter and State laws requires approval by 2/3rds of Piedmonters voting on any bond measure.

Feb 5 2017

Everyone can follow Piedmont High School sports on the new website!

Piedmont Athletics is ready for action!
New website blends Athletics, Boosters & Hall of Fame.

The Piedmont Athletic Department is proud to announce the launch of PiedmontAthletics.com, a new website that celebrates our student athletes’ competitive spirit and provides our athletic community with lots of great information about Piedmont High sports.

The new website features unique team pages for all boys and girls sports, downloadable rosters and schedules and links to useful resources.  Athletic Director Vic Acuña believes the athletic department has the website it needs to take Piedmont Athletics into the future and to the next level. “For the last 4 months we’ve been planning and building a website that leverages our new branding, delivers a substantial amount of information about our sports programs and is easy to maintain. This is the type of website that you will find in major sports programs around the country. The new athletics web site hits it out of the park,” beams Mr. Acuña.

The new website has been in production for many months as alumni, parents, local photographers and athletic department staff contributed to the content and visuals. “Today’s sports marketing campaigns take advantage of crowd-sourcing to create a community feel”, according to brand designer and web developer Steve Humphries. “The new Piedmont Athletics website allows the fans of our teams to contribute photography, score results and their fan experiences, simply by tagging their social media posts with #PHSResults.”

The new Piedmont Athletics website also houses the PHS Boosters Club resources and information, along with the Piedmont Sports Hall of Fame website.  “Our board is excited to have a place to celebrate and support our student athletes and hopefully provide an easier platform to help our parents with all things related to their athlete,“ says Boosters Club President Beth Barrett.

Visit www.PiedmontAthletics.com, a new resource for the Piedmont sports community.

Click HERE to view the announcement for Piedmont High School’s NEW Athletic Website!

Feb 5 2017
In 2016, the City of Piedmont experienced a 3.6% increase in crime as compared to 2015, from 224 UCR reportable crimes in 2015 to 232 in 2016. This represents the first annual increase in overall crime since 2012 and is attributed to the increase in robberies.
Robberies and burglaries realized an increase from 2015 to 2016. The City has experienced 65 reported burglaries in comparison to 51 in 2015, an increase of 27%. Robberies also increased from the two incidents in 2015 to 17 in 2016. Three of the robberies were home invasion robberies where the suspects entered through unsecured entrances, encountered the residents and took items such as cash, jewelry and computers by means of force and fear.
Burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, and larceny theft (a UCR term for general theft) represented 85% of the City’s total reportable crimes (198 out of 232). These property related crimes have continually decreased over the last four years. From 2015 to 2016 there was a decrease of 3.4% (205 to 198); and since 2012, property crimes have decreased 40.5% from 333 reported in 2012 to 198 reported in 2016. Larceny thefts accounted for 55% of the total property crimes in 2016, with the vast majority of those being thefts of property from parked, unoccupied vehicles.

Read the complete report, including the locations of crimes, here.

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