Nov 23 2014

Time to get ready for the 13th annual Piedmont Turkey Trot ~ a community event!

The 3 mile walk/run through Piedmont November 27th, 2014 ~ Thanksgiving morning~ 8:30 am

The race starts at the Exedra (Blue Vase) in Main Park at Highland and Magnolia Avenues. 

$30 for ages 13 years and older

$20 for ages 12 years and younger

Must register by Tuesday, November 25th for this pricing

After November 25th, late registration will be available for $40 for ages 13+ and $30 for ages 12 and under.

For more information and registration go to:

http://piedmontturkeytrot.com/

Long sleeve tech shirts will be available to the first 2400 registered entrants.

Net proceeds from the Piedmont Turkey Trot benefit local charities and organizations.

“The 2014 Piedmont Turkey Trot is proud to continue to have net proceeds benefit the PHS Cross Country and Track and Field Teams – and for the first time, the City of Piedmont’s Athletic Facilities Preservation Fund.”

Nov 18 2014

A subcommittee of the Board of Education and select community members will interview search firms to assist the Board of Education in their selection of a new Superintendent of the Piedmont Unified School District. The public is welcome to attend the  10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Friday, November 21 meeting held in the District Offices at 760 Magnolia Avenue.   This meeting will not be broadcast or recorded.

“While the interview and final selection of a Superintendent will rest with the five Board members, the Board asked to establish a small subcommittee to select which firm to use. The following people will serve on the committee to review and interview the search firms: Paul Benoit, City Administrator; Ray Gadbois, former member of the Board of Education; Katie Korotzer, President of the Associated Parent Clubs of Piedmont; Carol Cramer, Principal of Wildwood Elementary School.”  Board Vice President Sarah Pearson and Board member Doug Ireland will also serve on the committee.

The committee will hear presentations from the following firms:

1. HYA Executive Search

2. Leadership Associates

3. McPherson-Jacobson Executive Recruiting

4. Ray & Associates

5. Proact Search

After all presentations are completed, members of the public may speak to provide feedback to the committee prior to their deliberations.

“Although the subcommittee does not need to conduct the interviews in public, we are choosing to post this as a “Special Board Meeting” to invite the public to listen and give input. There will be time for public comment after all of the firms have presented and before the committee deliberates in private. Later, the chosen search firm will seek input from students, parents, community members and staff in a variety of forums regarding the qualities most valued in a candidate for the Superintendent position. Input from across the community will be essential. At this early stage we were looking for a small group people who represent parents, staff, and community and/or who have had experience working with search firms.”

 CONFIDENTIAL DELIBERATIONS

“The committee will adjourn to deliberate on the selection of the firm for the search process. The Board Vice-President will coordinate the negotiation of a contract with the selected firm for Board ratification on December 10, 2014. It is anticipated that representatives from the firm selected will provide details of the next steps in the search process to begin in January 2015.

It is anticipated that a Superintendent will be selected by the beginning of April 2015.”

Read the staff report.

Meeting agenda.

 

Nov 18 2014

Click on the following link to read the November 4, 2014, agreement between the School Board and the newly formed Piedmont Turkey Trot nonprofit organization.

Read the Turkey Trot Contract 11-4-14

Nov 17 2014

The following is an article written by Piedmont High School student observer Minhong Yang. 

On Monday, November 3, 2014, the Piedmont City Council met in the City Hall Council Chambers at 7:30 sharp that evening for its semi-monthly meeting. Acting as the legislative branch of the city government, the council reviewed various proposals on issues that ranged from the street use permit for the annual Turkey Trot Race to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan, most of which welcomed the members of the public to participate in the decision making process before the votes were casted by council members.

The major issue discussed at the meeting was the consideration of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (PBMP) as recommended by the Planning Commission. As one of Piedmont’s most comprehensive community based planning projects, PBMP’s goal is to promote safer and more convenient walking and bicycling in the city while paying special attention to the needs of school children. Since the summer of 2013, the City’s planning staffs, particularly Kate Black and Janet Chan, had been preparing this extensive plan based upon inputs received at 9 commission public hearings, 2 special sessions at community workshops, 2 online community surveys, several Piedmont Unified District Board meetings, and a number of other community outreach.

The final draft plan was introduced by Mr. Niko Letunic, the City’s transportation and planning consultant, through a detailed powerpoint presentation. According to Mr. Letunic, PBMP has received a $1.6 million fund from the Alameda County Transportation Commission. Covering a 10-year period, the plan contains a series of projects to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists throughout the city. Those that are the most important and promising physical improvements for improving conditions, such as bikeway network and enhanced street crossings at busy locations, are given high-priority; those that may be implemented if the city obtains additional funding, such as curb ramps and bollard lighting, are given low-priority. Most of these projects target the Civic Center, arterials, and routes to school.

Public testimony for PBMP was received from Sue Herrick, Park Commission Chair, and Nick Levinson, Recreation Commission Chair, who praised the plan for providing an excellent template for clear and consistent safety measures, as well as regulations for both pedestrians and school children with bicycles. They emphasized that the compelling concern is safety, particularly for school areas and major intersections, and voiced strong support for slowing traffic speeds. Tracey Woodruff, a resident of Piedmont, also showed strong support for PBMP, noting specifically how the road diet for Grand Avenue would help to protect school children when they cross this heavily-traveled area. Her opinion was concurred by Margaret Ovenden and Susy Struble, who also noted the need to reduce traffic congestion at school sites and the need to improve pedestrian and bike safety along areas not directly mentioned in PBMP, respectively. Finally, members of the council, including Tim Rood, Jeffrey Wieler and Robert McBain, all complimented the plan, and requested the City to work with the City of Oakland in implementing the Grand Avenue road diet, to pay more attention to sidewalk maintenance, and to work with community organizations in raising more money for improving pedestrian and bicycle pathways within the community. PBMP was then passed unanimously.

I personally support PBMP, mostly for its overall detailed layouts and efforts to improve students’ safety around school areas. In fact, this was the topic that I spoke about during the meeting. I voiced my hope to see street guards at both the middle school and high school to ensure students’ safety as well as to reduce traffic congestion. My concern was well-received by the council members, particularly the mayor, Margaret Fujioka. I was initially a little nervous about speaking in a city council meeting, but afterwards I felt that this experience was not scary but was rather pleasant and refreshing.

In an interview with Ms. Fujioka, she said the council is currently trying to reach out to the community by making announcement during the meetings, regularly putting up posts on the city’s website, and having more articles about city projects on The Piedmont Post in order to encourage more people to participate in the projects that the city is working on. She noted PBMP as an example of great public participation, and expressed her hope to see more of it in the future.

Minhong Yang

1 Comment »
Nov 16 2014

Piedmont has been out of compliance with State of California Conflict of Interest laws for decades.

State law, called the Political Reform Act (PRA), requires government entities, including Piedmont, to biannually assess their Conflict of Interest Code for compliance with state laws.  The Piedmont City Council has not updated Piedmont’s Conflict of Interest Code, Policy #24, since 1988.

On Monday, November 17 at their regular meeting, the Piedmont City Council will assess which employees will be required to file personal economic disclosure Form 700  in compliance with State law.  As noted in the staff recommendation, nine staff positions are proposed to be added to the list of individuals required to report. These include Building Official, Planning Director, Parks and Project Manager, Recreation Supervisor, amongst others.

Boards, commissions, committees, and consultants not mentioned in the proposed revised Code.

Although not mentioned in the proposed revised Code, appointed boards, commissions and committees advising or deciding on public expenditures are frequently required to comply with economic disclosure Form 700.

Assets and income of public officials which may be materially affected by their official actions should be disclosed and in appropriate circumstances the officials should be disqualified from acting in order that conflicts of interest may be avoided.

Gov. Code section 81002(c)

No public official at any level of state or local government shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his official position to influence a governmental decision in which he knows or has reason to know he has a financial interest.

Gov. Code Section 87100

Unpaid members of boards and commissions and consultants to state and local government agencies also may be required to disclose their personal financial interests if they make or participate in making governmental decisions that could affect their private financial interests.

“Disclosure is made on a form called a “statement of economic interests” (Form 700). The form must be filed each year. Filed forms are public documents that must be made available to anyone who requests them.” http://www.fppc.ca.gov/?id=6 

Since 1988, Piedmont has expanded to ten the number of commissions, boards and committees, who may advise or act on expenditures of City funds.  For example, Piedmont has added the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee and the City Council Audit Subcommittee.

While overseeing and controlling millions in retirement funds, the Piedmont Police and Fire Pension Board is not listed in the proposed revised Conflict of Interest Code.

The City Council and the Planning Commission are required to file financial disclosure statements.  The 1988 Policy #24 on Conflicts of Interest Code was not on line or in the staff report.

Consultants

State law also applies to consultants who may have a conflict of interest. In Piedmont, consultants are frequently used for advice on planning, finances, taxation, and public improvement projects; however consultants are not mentioned in the proposed revised Code.

Agency Conflict-of-Interest Code Biennial Notice Requirement

The Political Reform Act requires every government agency to review its conflict-of-interest code biennially to determine if it is accurate or, alternatively, that the code must be amended.

Elements of a Conflict-of-Interest Code

City Agencies

Link to the Fair Political Practices Commission website.

Read the Piedmont staff report.

The 1988 Conflict of Interest Code, Policy 24, was not included in the staff information and was not retrievable on line.

The matter will be considered at the Monday, November 17, 2014, Council meeting in City Hall starting at 7:30 p.m.  The meeting will be broadcast on KCOM Channel 27 and live streamed from the City of Piedmont website.

The public may attend the meeting and address the City Council.

1 Comment »
Nov 10 2014

As of November 10, 2014, Piedmont’s long time representative on the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), Katy Foulkes,  appears to have been defeated. Foulkes well known in Piedmont as a former council member and mayor had served on the EBMUD Board for 20 years winning election five previous times.

Foulkes dominated in Contra Costa County, while Young led in Alameda County where most of the votes were cast.  Marguerite Young was heavily supported by the Sierra Club and unions.  Over 50,000 votes were cast in the election with Young winning by approximately 2,000 votes.

Unofficial election results, as of November 10, 2014, are:

Foulkes – 25,060

Young – 27,128

 

 

Nov 8 2014

The Annual Piedmont Turkey Trot will continue.

Following a November 4, 2014 Closed Session to discuss litigation issues regarding the newly formed Turkey Trot organization, the School Board approved in the regular meeting an agreement with the organization by three affirmative votes. School Board member Doug Ireland made the motion, seconded by Board President Andrea Swenson and joined by Amal Smith in approving the action.  Vice President Sarah Pearson abstained because of her perception of a conflict as her daughter participates on an impacted athletic team.  Board member Rick Raushenbush voted no and read the following statement into the meeting record.

“Although I understand the desire to resolve the dispute with the individuals who created the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation, I voted against the District entering into this Agreement. I did so because the PHS athletic community has never had any opportunity to provide their thoughts on who should run the Turkey Trot in the future and how its proceeds should be allocated.

Since 2003, the Turkey Trot has been run and supported by volunteers from the PHS running teams. A small number of volunteers were entrusted with the honor of organizing the race, and many student and parent volunteers made it happen. In 2013, the leadership volunteers again collected funds from the District to finance the race, and students and parents again volunteered on race day. But after the race, with no notice to the District, parents or student athletes, a few individuals formed Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation and kept the race proceeds.

When the District realized that none of the race proceeds had come to the District, the District found out about the formation of Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation and began efforts to obtain the funds to benefit Piedmont student athletes. At a February meeting, the District encouraged the organizers of the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation to meet with stakeholders–student athletes and their parents to discuss how to run the race in the future, as well as provide the 2013 race proceeds to the teams. The organizers did not agree to meet with stakeholders and did not return the race proceeds.

From February to the present day, the District has asked the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation organizers to meet with student athletes and parents to discuss who should run the Turkey Trot.

They never have. In mid-summer, over half a year after the 2013 Turkey Trot, the organizers finally repaid some of the money advanced by the District for the 2013 race. But still student athletes and parents have not been consulted.

The Agreement states that the District agrees that the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation will now solely manage, organize and run the Turkey Trot in Piedmont. In short, the Agreement asks the District, without consultation with student athletes or parents, to agree to a significant change in how the Piedmont Turkey Trot is run and who benefits from the funds it raises.

In my view, the cardinal sin committed by the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation organizers is that they unilaterally, without notice to anyone, asserted that they controlled the Turkey Trot and would decide who benefits from the funds it raises. Perhaps student athletes and parents would agree–perhaps they would not. We don’t know because the stakeholders have never had a chance to be heard. The Agreement asks the District to join the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation organizers in making the same mistake. I vote no.”

Rick Raushenbush, Member of the Board of Education

 

Draft minutes of the November 4 meeting state:

“Board Member Smith agreed with his statement and expressed concern over a very difficult situation. She commended the Board President and Superintendent on their efforts to get this matter resolved.  President Swenson expressed the hope that the Turkey Trot Corporation will reach out to parents with current runners on the PHS Cross Country and Track Teams.

“Board Member Pearson agreed with the statements of other Board members and encouraged the Turkey Trot Corporation to amend its bylaws so that the intent to support the PHS Cross Country and Track teams is more explicit.

“The agreement is available upon request to the Office of the Superintendent.

“It was moved by Mr. Ireland and seconded by Ms. Swenson to authorize the Superintendent to signed the proposed agreement as presented.

The motion passed as follows:

AYES: Swenson, Smith, Ireland

NOES: Raushenbush

ABSENT: None

ABSTAIN: Pearson (her daughter is on the teams involved)”

No members of the public spoke to the matter.  The Turkey Trot issue was not named on the agenda.

5 Comments »
Nov 5 2014

The following is the press release from the Piedmont Unified School District regarding Superintendent Constance Hubbard leaving the District on June 30, 2015.

~~~~~~~~~

PRESS RELEASE – November 5, 2014

After 12 years as Superintendent of the Piedmont Unified School District, Constance Hubbard announced today that she would not seek to renew her contract that expires on June 30, 2015.

“I wish to thank the members of the Board of Education, both past and present, for their faith and confidence in me over the past fifteen years,” said Superintendent Hubbard. “In every respect, Piedmont has been a remarkable place to work as evidenced by the amazing students who are in our schools. I am proud to have served alongside a truly outstanding corps of educators who first teach from the heart before teaching from the book, a classified staff whose dedication and commitment to their work is unmatched by any group I have encountered, and a team of administrators who tirelessly go about the business of serving the needs of each and every child. Combined with the support of parents and the community, Piedmont is a public school system truly dedicated to serving all students.”

PUSD Board President Andrea Swenson, speaking on behalf of the Board of Education, thanked Superintendent Hubbard for her service and commitment to the Piedmont Unified School District, “We have been fortunate to have a leader for the past 12 years who always first asks the question, ‘what is in the best interest of our students?’ Connie has built a strong team that focuses on academic excellence as well as social-emotional development, acknowledging that we are preparing students not just for college but for life. The Board has high expectations that the foundation that Superintendent Hubbard has built will serve us well as we welcome a new Superintendent. We will all miss Connie, and feel privileged to have worked with her. We wish her all the very best.”

During Superintendent Hubbard’s tenure, Piedmont Unified experienced 12 years of academic excellence. Fostering collaboration between the community and staff, she successfully led the District through an unprecedented state-wide economic recession, oversaw the completion of the Seismic Safety Bond Program, and ushered in numerous curricular advances including the implementation of Common Core Standards, technology initiatives, and much needed social and emotional programs for students.

The PUSD Board of Education will facilitate an open, inclusive search process for the next Superintendent of the Piedmont Unified School District. To ensure a smooth transition for the District, the Board will discuss and approve the search process as part of the Board Agenda of November 12, 2014. It is the Board’s intent to select a search firm and finalize a timeline before the winter holidays in order to begin the search process in January 2015.

For further information contact the PUSD at 510-594-2614

Nov 5 2014

A Report on the Special Piedmont Planning Commission Meeting

- by Jordan Wong, a Piedmont Resident and PHS Student

The City of Piedmont Planning Commission met  on Thursday, October 30, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers for a special session.  This meeting’s purpose was to provide an update on the progress  on the state-mandated Draft Housing Element that all cities in California are required to comply with and submit.The Housing Element document’s purpose is to spell out the housing policies for all California cities from 2015-2022.

The City of Piedmont is small and has no land to further develop for any new housing. With the help of a private consultant, Barry Miller, the Planning Commission is able to include the addition of second units as a way to comply with the Housing Element. Part of the draft process is to allow residents to have the opportunity to provide comments or suggestions. There was no opposition from the Commission or audience about the progress and content of the draft at that meeting.

Barry Miller, a consultant  for  the City of  Piedmont, presented a detailed explanation of the draft and the Commission concurred with his findings and recommendations. Director of Planning, Kate Black, reported that she was happy with the working draft with Barry Miller’s work thus far in finding a way to comply with the State and preserving the landscape of Piedmont. Piedmont resident, Dimitri Magganas, from the audience, commended the Commission for their work on the Housing Element draft and wanted to bring to their attention that there was a lot of unused public space. It is unclear if this comment meant public space could be considered to add more housing or if there was a way to open up some of these public spaces for development.

In an interview with the Director of Planning, Kate Black, she said it was important for the public to be informed about the Housing Element’s progress. The special meeting was an update on the progress of the draft and if the public wanted to make any suggestions on what had been presented, that evening was a good time to do it. The next action of the Planning Commission is to present the Housing Element to the City Council for further action.

The topic I presented was on security cameras and the need for guidelines and/or regulations for their placement and installation. This is an ongoing issue in my neighborhood and I really feel that there is a privacy issue that should be addressed by the Planning Commission.  Director of Planning, Kate Black, acknowledged my concern and said that they will be reviewing and updating the Code soon and will add my request to their agenda. I was a little nervous about speaking in public, but the Commission members were very nice and appeared to pay attention to what I had to say about the security cameras. Personally, I think they were surprised that I was there and had an issue to present.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The following is the text of Mr. Wong’s comments to the Planning Commission.

“Hello, my name is Jordan Wong, I am a senior at Piedmont High. This is an item that is not on your agenda this evening. I observed the Planning Commission uses design review for home remodeling and fences. Do you foresee adding design review for home security cameras in the future? There is a proliferation of security cameras on so many homes in Piedmont. I suggest there should be some guidelines for placement. They are not only unattractive but they stick out like a sore thumb which some may find interesting because there is so much input needed for a fence but nothing for a camera.  I bring this up particularly as I feel there is an invasion of privacy in my own backyard. A home for sale behind my house, currently unoccupied, had security cameras installed. One in particular looks down into our backyard. As you can understand, I feel it is an invasion of privacy and I would like a review of security camera placement requirements of either a permit or a design review. Thank you.”

Nov 4 2014

On Tuesday, November 4, Piedmonters voted by a margin of 94.6% to 5.3% in favor of  changing our local election calendar from February to November concurrent with the California General Election. (Only a simple majority was required to change the City Charter.)  Measure GG was put on the ballot by the Piedmont City Council.  The measure not only moves the date of the City’s election, it also changes the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education annual election of its President and Vice President.

Piedmont poll workers reported a quiet but steady arrival of voters during the morning and early afternoon, with many simply dropping off their “Vote by Mail” ballots rather than filling out their ballots at the poll or posting them.

Voting on Highland Ave

Voting on Highland Ave

 

 

Read about the effects of Measure GG and its full text here.