May 24 2017

Three reports on May 10, 2017 School Board meeting –

by Shannon Yan, Piedmont High School Senior –

On May 10th at 7:00 p.m., the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education met for its bimonthly meeting to hear from community members and to review topics such as the implementation of Integrated Math 3 and the designs of the new STEAM facilities at the high school. During the announcements, Board Member Cory Smegal read a few lines from her emails with Board Member Dr. Pearson calling the recent anti-semitic incidents “painful” and highlighting the “importance for kids to be upstanders.” Before getting to scheduled topics, the School Board opened the podium to any community members that wished to speak.

Dr. Alicia Gruber Kalamas, whose family has lived in Piedmont for over 40 years, spoke about the 2015 Bird Calling Contest. She detailed how one of the judges, was a close family friend to the 1st and 2nd place winners of the Bird Calling Contest. She told the School Board that they “have two options: a second meeting with those who want more information, or under duress under court order.” Kalamas also brought up Piedmont High’s athletic director, Vic Acuna. After Kalamas spoke, Board Member Swenson  said that she was “tired of the systematic character assassination of Vic Acuna” to which the audience rose to their feet and clapped.

On the topic of anti-semitism, many community members spoke. Police Chief Bowers spoke about how the anti-semitic acts are considered “hate incidents” and not “hate crimes” and the Police Department is currently conducting an investigation. Bowers said he felt for the victims “because growing up, that was [him].” He hopes any students affected will come to the Police Department so that the department can determine if this is a “hate crime.”

Mr. Barnes, a longtime Piedmont resident, spoke from the Jewish community expressing disappointment with the “lack of detail from the Piedmont School administration” and how “middle schoolers are now believing that the act didn’t even happen.”

I agree with Mr. Barnes’s  point about the lack of specificity of what actually happened. The speakers in the assembly largely focused on hate speech and what was said to the victims. Furthermore, by having performing students recite pre-written scripts, it felt staged.

Another topic that was pursued by those present was the firing of Coach Lavdiotis, a longtime basketball coach at Piedmont High. Mr. DeLuca spoke about how he was sad to see Lavdiotis let go and how he believed that he did not get a “fair shake.” Mr. Tate talked about how Coach Lavdiotis contributed many traditions to the Piedmont athletic community such as the Palm Drive tournament and the MLK tournament. On the other hand, Mrs. Elvekrog spoke about how “change can be a force for good” and that “she is not aware of a single basketball player who is in protest of searching for a new coach.”

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by Joseph Chu, Piedmont High School Senior –

The Piedmont Board of Education convened on the evening of May 10, 2017. The meeting commenced at 7:00 p.m. The general purpose of board meetings is to make decisions regarding the School District and include public input as a part of their decisions such as: the budget, education policies, setting District goals, and forming a local education vision. Participating members of the Board for this meeting were Andrea Swenson, Cory Smegal, Amal Smith, and Doug Ireland along with Superintendent Randall Booker and Finance Manager Song-Chin Bendib.

This meeting’s agenda included presenting the 2017 Arthur Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award to Hillary Cooper, hearing about the recent reports of anti-semitic, racist and other forms of hateful speech and conduct at Piedmont High School, and the assembly that was held at the high school to initiate student discussion and awareness about these issues. Other items included on the agenda included conducting a second hearing for approving the proposed levy of current School Support Tax Measure A, conducting a second hearing for approving 2017-18 Contract Openers between the District and Classified School Employees Association, a presentation for new math courses that are being proposed to meet the Secondary Math Pathways’ requirements: Integrated Math 3 and Honors Math Analysis, and finally reviewing and discussing the recommended concept designs for Piedmont High School’s new STEAM facilities, auditorium changes, and its projected costs and other concerns regarding its construction.

Announcements of the graduation dates for Millennium High School, Piedmont High School, and 8th Grade Graduation. The Millennium High School Graduation will take place on May 31st at 1:00 p.m. in the Veteran’s Hall. The Piedmont High School Graduation will be held on June 1st at 5:00 p.m. in Witter Field. The 8th Grade Celebration Ceremony will be held on May 31st at 5:30 p.m. at Witter Field.

The most heated items of discussion during this meeting surrounded topics that were not on the agenda of the meeting.  These topics were the recent events of anti-semitic, racist and other forms of hateful speech and actions, the newly appointed Athletic Director, Vic Acuna, and the firing of the former coach of the PHS Men’s Basketball Team, coach Lavdiotis.

Dr. Kalamas, a Piedmont resident, expressed concern for incidents of racism and anti-semitism at Piedmont High School and discontent at what she said was a “delayed and anemic response” on the part of the school board regarding these issues. Kalamas also addressed her own concerns about nepotism and cronyism in the school administration. Board Member Swenson responded with a statement that she was “horrified by the systematic assassination of [the current] Athletic Director, Vic Acuna”.

Among the other members of the Piedmont community who offered their own concerns and questions regarding the incidents of hateful speech and actions at Piedmont High School, Piedmont Police Chief Jeremy Bowers said that the Piedmont Police Department is committed to working closely with the community to address this problem and to continue investigating these incidents.

Several coaches and athletic professionals voiced their support for reinstating coach Lavdiotis and some expressed their disapproval of Athletic Director Vic Acuna.

Piedmont High School students Victoria Hou and Shannon Yan gave their opinions on non-agenda topics, as well.

Hou addressed the high school assembly that was held to initiate discussion and awareness for high school students regarding the incidents of hate speech and actions. Hou said that she hoped that the School Board would provide more clear and specific information regarding those incidents because she felt there was a general sense of confusion in the student body regarding this topic.

As a senior at Piedmont High School this year, I agree with Victoria Hou in terms of the feeling that the information that was given to students about those serious incidents was not clear and I have heard various stories about what actually happened. I would appreciate it if the school gave out an official statement about what exactly happened so that students and other members of the community can be on the same page about their understanding of these issues.

Yan proposed that the School Board allow high school students to be able to take more classes in  economics and government, since there is currently only one class offered for each of these subjects, both being only a semester long and strictly offered to seniors. Yan said that there are other students who hope to be able to pursue these subjects more fully through additional classes.

After the session for addressing non-agenda topics had closed, the Board moved to its agenda topics.

Hilary Cooper gave her acceptance speech for the 2017 Arthur Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award. Piedmont High School AP Art student Tong Zhou presented a ceramic tree that she made to Mrs. Cooper for her service.

Next, the Board approved the tax level increase of 2% for the School Support Tax Measure A, and 2017-18 Contract Openers between the District and Classified School Employees Association.

Following these actions, a presentation was given to the Board about new math classes that would fulfill the Secondary Math Pathways’ requirements: Integrated Math 3 and Honors Math Analysis. Integrated Math 3 would replace the Algebra II class of the traditional math pathway. Honors Math Analysis would cover the topics of Math Analysis as well as AP Calculus, AB’s first semester’s worth of coursework. This class would be part of the accelerated math pathway. A second reading for these new classes will be held on May 24, 2017.

Following this presentation, the board held a discussion about the cost and other logistic details for Option 2B of the series of concept designs for new Piedmont High School STEAM facilities. Cost estimates were based on compiled data from other local related school construction projects that have been happening within the past three years. The Board also discussed potential uses for any surplus from the budget they have for the STEAM facilities construction and the need to demolish and rebuild the current Alan Harvey Theatre, due to it’s multiple safety hazards, structural degradation and need for more seating and restrooms. The Board’s general consensus was that while estimates of cost must be carefully and accurately calculated to avoid overstepping the budget, construction must begin as soon as possible to reduce costs of the project, which are expected to increase as more time passes.

Mrs. Conn was at the Board meeting this evening to congratulate Hillary Cooper for receiving the Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award for 2017. She nominated Mrs. Cooper for this award. Mrs. Conn was also attending the meeting because she heard someone would come to the meeting to complain about the new PHS Men’s Soccer Coach. She had written a letter in support of the new coach and came to this Board meeting to express her support for the new coach. But it turned out that this person with complaints about the new soccer coach never showed up so she didn’t have to say much. She was impressed by how intense the beginning of the Board meeting was, especially around the topics of the new Athletic Director Vic Acuna and also the anti-semitic, racist and hateful speech/actions that happened recently at PHS. Mrs. Conn said that she will continue to write letters and do what she can to support the new soccer coach if more complaints are brought against him.

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          by Trang Le, Piedmont High School Senior

    The School Board meeting held on the night of May 10th was incredibly crowded. Small groups of concerned parents, coaches, and PHS staff spoke in hurried, hushed voices over plastic cups of wine and complimentary cheese outside the City Hall. The small chamber in which the meeting was held only could accommodate a mere 48 people. The small room adjacent to it provided a livestream of the events unfolding, and all the seats in both chambers were taken. Even so, crowds of Piedmont residents stood outside the chamber or sat on the carpet within, looking for answers from the Board of Education concerning the recent occurrences of anti-semitism within PHS and PMS.

    The Board opened with a statement acknowledging the hate speech, informing the audience of the assembly held at PHS that Monday. The Superintendent stressed to the critical audience that the School board prioritized students emotional state above everything else, and that these recent incidents do not define Piedmont. However, this and the complimentary cheese did little to sate the critical audience.

   Quickly moving on, the Board addressed the recently dismissed Basketball Coach and emails about annual coaching positions. With this, the atmosphere of the room changed to a restless one and it was obvious that their actions roused resentment among the residents. The speaker cards were then gathered, read aloud, and the podium opened to whoever wanted to speak out on the topic of hate-speech and fired coaches.

   The first and most controversial speaker, Alicia Kalamas, addressed both of these and more. She accused the School Board of their “anemic and delayed reaction” to the anti-semitism and racism on the school campuses as well as her emails. She also accused the Board of being racist themselves, briefly bringing up last years’ Bird Calling Contest and claiming it was rigged to knock an African American student from their rightful third place. Her speech was very briefly interrupted to tell her that she was rapidly approaching her five minute speaking limit. Kalamas then finished her speech by addressing a potential firing of the Athletic Director, claiming that she had sent an email some time ago questioning his credentials and employment in the Piedmont Unified School District.  Quickly wrapping up, she finished with a thinly veiled threat of legal action against the School Board if they did not properly address her concerns.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
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May 24 2017

 by Alex Markowitz, Piedmont High School Senior – 

    On May 17th, I attended a Piedmont Recreation Commission Meeting in the Piedmont City Council Chambers at the City Hall. The Commission, which is made up of seven members, is in charge of city-sponsored recreational activities and facilities. Some of the items that were covered in the meeting were summer camps, renovations to Hampton Field and Beach Elementary, and the Capital Improvement Project Review Committee.

    Chair Betsy Andersen began the meeting by touching on the recent hate-related incidents that took place at Piedmont High School. She noted that the Recreation Commission would be very willing to work with the High School, as Piedmont’s Recreation Department has a similar impact on Piedmont’s youth. I thought that it was important to discuss these issues and it was encouraging to hear the city’s desire to take steps against hate speech and discrimination in the city.

    Next, Recreation Director Sara Lillevand gave the Commission an update regarding the Piedmont Recreation Department’s upcoming summer camp programs. She stated that there will be 175 available camps for elementary schoolers, and many of them will offer transportation for campers. She said that they opened registration one month earlier, which has helped enrollment numbers increase, while the revenue has increased by 22% compared to this time last year. Additionally, Director Lillevand noted the success of the Counselor-in-Training and Junior CIT programs, where high school and middle school students apply for jobs assisting camp staff. Applicants must pick up their own applications and conduct sit-down interviews, often for the first time in their lives. Two members of the audience, Chris Conn and Greg Wick gave feedback about the CIT program, mentioning that last year it was overstaffed and the ratio of CIT’s to campers was too high. The Commission recognized these concerns and agreed to take them into consideration while also pointing out that they do not want to reject many CIT applicants.

    Next, the Commission was updated about progress on the Hampton Park and Beach Elementary renovations. The Hampton Field renovation is basically complete, as the last hoop was installed. There were some setbacks, such as damaging tree-falling incidents over the winter and recent graffiti, but both have been repaired. The next steps will be to ensure that proper maintenance steps will be taken in the future, especially for the grass. Since I used to be a frequent visitor of the field, I was aware of the damages that the Under-8 soccer season had on the grass every year. So, I asked if soccer games will continue to take place on the new field, and if so, will any measures be taken to prevent damage. Director Lillevand replied that they were optimistic with this type of grass and that Piedmont Soccer Club will make Under-8 players wear turf cleats which are less damaging. There is also a new project starting at Beach Elementary School which could renovate all areas besides the turf field. The master plan is progressing well and public input is being taken into account when decisions are made about what to do with that space.

    The final subject of the agenda was an update on the Capital Improvement Project Review Committee. On May 6, the Capital Improvement Project Committee invited the public on a tour to see and discuss potential projects throughout the city. They talked about Crocker Park, where trees represent a safety hazard by intruding on the paths. Another dangerous area was the “four corners” intersection near Wildwood Elementary, where pedestrians are at risk from speeding cars. Overall, it was good to see the city listening to residents regarding which parts of the city need improvements.

    After the meeting I spoke to Vice Chair Steve Roland. Commissioner Roland said that his and his daughter’s interest in sports contributed to his decision to join the Commission. He sought improved sports facilities throughout Piedmont and is excited with the projects that they have accomplished thus far, in the upgrades of Beach and Hampton. Although there is still much progress to be made, the Commission is moving things in the right direction and more improvements are still to come.

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by Alex Ngo, Piedmont High School Senior –

Although Piedmont is a relatively small town, there are many things that go on within the city that most would not know.  The Recreation Commission meeting, which generally occurs once a month, is a perfect way to learn what goes on within our city.  Every month new topics are discussed primarily revolving around the parks and recreation within Piedmont.  Topics like updates on the new Hampton Field Construction and Programs in the Piedmont Recreation Department were heavily discussed during the meeting.  Additionally, it was very admirable to hear that the Recreation Commission really wants to involve itself with the current issue of hate speech in Piedmont.  One would not immediately see the Recreation Commission as a group that would deal with hate speech within Piedmont schools, so hearing Chairwoman Elizabeth Andersen speak up on this issue was unexpected.  Although it was not on the agenda for this month’s meeting, acknowledgment of the issue was pleasing to hear.   Andersen also went on to suggest this issue be put on next month’s meeting.

After the meeting had ended, I personally addressed Chairwoman Elizabeth Andersen to better understand her interests within the Recreation Commission , and possible goals of the Commission.  When asked what did she want to hear about in this meeting specifically, she referred to the aquatics programs as a topic of her interest, as well as sparking discussion on the current issue in Piedmont, which is hate speech and the anti-semitic events that recently occurred; issues that must never be ignored. It is good to hear that the Recreation Committee would like to take part in stopping this issue in Piedmont.  This issue is a possible discussion topic on next month’s agenda, and is definitely one to look forward to.

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by Greg Wick, Piedmont High School Senior – 

  On May 17th, 2017, I attended the Piedmont Recreation Commission at City Hall. The Commission meets every two weeks on Wednesday to discuss issues related to the parks, the pool and the Recreation Department. The major issues that were discussed at the meeting were updates on summer programs and enrollment, updates on Hampton Park and updated facility master planning projects of the pool, the Recreation Department, Beach Playfield and Coaches Field.

On the topic of the summer programs, the Commission members talked about how enrollment for summer programs was up 22 percent from the year before at this time and that they are expecting to have more kids enroll this summer than they had last year. They also talked about how Jr CIT’s and CITS are able to get volunteer and paid jobs to look after kids. At this point, I got up to speak because I have been a CIT for the past 3 years. I talked about how I have not been able to get the amount of hours I have asked for because the CIT’s were overstaffed and the amount of children were under enrolled. An example I gave of this was last year when I worked at Havens Schoolmates and during most of the day how we had more CIT’s than enrolled children. I explained that this caused CIT’s to focus more on themselves than the actual children because there are so few of them to be able to play with. The Recreation Director Sara Lillevand agreed and said that they are trying to work on solutions to fix this issue.

The Commission members then discussed the Hampton Park improvement and how the last basketball hoop had been added as well as the making of donor bricks had started and should be ready by the fall. One of the fellow attendees brought up the concern of the slope near the basketball courts because it was quite steep and could cause people to fall if someone was chasing after a basketball. I agreed with this point because I had played at Hampton before and had seen a couple of my friends get cuts and bruises from falling down the slope.  Lillevand agreed and said that they are trying to build a low fence around the basketball courts to make it harder for the ball to roll down the hill.

    After this the talk switched to aquatics and the Commission revealed that plans for the pool had been approved and that a date for analyzing the cost of the plan had been set for the City Council meeting on June 5th. They then began to talk about Beach Playfield and how they are going to listen to proposals in June on how to upgrade all aspects around the playfield. Finally they announced that they had hired the consulting company LSA which had helped make plans to update Coaches back in 2006-2010. They said that they are trying to restart improvements on it because it has fallen behind in recent years.

    Once these issues had been discussed fully, the Commission chair ended the meeting at 8:30 pm and I went up to interview her. Her name is Betsy Andersen and I asked her about how she felt about the problems brought to the Commission today. She said that she agreed with my point of trying to stop overstaffing at the Recreation Department because she has a daughter who is a Jr. CIT.  She said that the ability to get hours for her to volunteer is, “chaotic and stressful.” In order to solve this, I suggested that the Rec try to reduce the hours that a person can sign up for from 4 hour blocks to 2 hour blocks which would give more people the opportunity to work during the day.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
May 22 2017

The Piedmont Board of Education will discuss and consider the issues and concerns with recent incidences of discrimination on the Piedmont High School campus.  Speaking during the unscheduled public participation segment of the May 10 meeting, students and community members came to the Board expressing deep concern and seeking solutions for the highly distressing and disruptive problems on the high school campus.

 The Board has scheduled the matter for their consideration at approximately 7:30 p.m. during the May 24, 2017 School Board meeting held in the  Piedmont City Hall Council Chambers.  The meeting is open to the public and can also be viewed live from the City website or via Piedmont Cable Channel 27, KCOM.  

READ the agenda for the meeting here.

Below READ the staff report detailing the issues, actions, and potential solutions:

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May 22 2017

City Council Meeting: Monday May 15, 2017

by Lane Manalo-LeClair, Piedmont High School Senior – 

    This past Monday I attended a City Council meeting at the Piedmont City Hall. It was a quiet, chilly evening; I kept my jacket on as I took a seat in the back of the small room. The Piedmont City Council meets on the first and third Mondays of the month, in the City Council Chambers located at 120 Vista Avenue.

    At 7:30 p.m., the members of the Council filed into the Chambers, smiling and laughing with each other. The mayor, Jeff Wieler sat in the middle behind the curved wooden table, with a gavel resting by his right hand. Sitting left of him was Robert McBain, Vice Mayor, and Council member Tim Rood. On the right of Wieler was Teddy Gray King, and her fellow Councilwoman Jennifer Cavenaugh. After a brief joke by Jeff Wieler regarding the Chinese takeout they had just consumed, all rose, faced the flag and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. As part of the first generation not to say the pledge of allegiance in school, I mouthed the words and tried to speak along, to no avail.

    The first item on the agenda was to pass a consent calendar. This calendar had previously been discussed in the last meeting, but needed a vote. Teddy G. King moved to approve the calendar, and the Council followed suit, voting unanimously to approve the calendar.

    This was my first taste of local government. I was introduced to the idea that one Council member must move on an issue, and another must second, before a vote can take place. All votes that night were unanimous, but I assume a simple majority is all that is required by the Council.

    Next was a public forum, in which citizens get the opportunity to speak up about issues regarding the city to the Council. At this point, Sarah Pearson, the School Board Vice President gave a speech about the recent anti-semitic and racist behavior occurring within the District. She said that the School Board is all for a respectful and welcoming environment, and that they have “commitment to a learning environment that is safe and secure.”  Mayor Wieler thanked her and expressed his support for the School Board and their efforts in this non-isolated issue.

   The next item on the agenda was called the “Presentation of Proclamation Regarding Elder Abuse Awareness Month”. In this presentation Mayor Wieler spoke amiably, thanking the DA’s office for their continued efforts to prevent elder abuse, and prosecute perpetrators of elder abuse. He also recognized June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month. Making his way around the table, Mayor Wieler personally handed over the certificate to the Deputy District Attorney in the Elder Protections Unit. She accepted the award and spoke to the Council and audience, affirming that “elder abuse and neglect still exists” despite efforts to eliminate it. She encouraged the Council to create more community awareness of the issue.

    It was pointed out to the Council and audience that Adult Protective Services, the District Attorney’s Office, and the police department are all places an individual can go in order to report elder abuse. Signs of abuse include dirty clothes, undernourishment, home in disarray, or a change in home appearance, as well as bedsores. At the end of her speech, the Deputy District Attorney encouraged the Council and the audience to wear a purple ribbon in order to spread awareness about elder abuse. To this, Mayor Wieler immediately pinned his own purple ribbon onto the lapel of his suit jacket. Following the attorney, Police Chief Bowers spoke seconding that the police are available to deal with elder abuse cases.

    Second, East Bay Mud District Director Marguerite Young Spoke about the water situation in the surrounding watershed and EBMUD work going on in the area. She reported that the East Bay watershed is 167% of normal; water should not be a problem this year. She mentioned that EBMUD is working to replace pipes in the Bay Area with the average pipe being seventy five years old. The rate at which they will replace them is forty miles per year, or as Councilwoman Cavenaugh pointed out, 400 years to replace all pipes.

    Lastly, Young spoke about a topic close to Piedmont, the Piedmont reservoir. There are plans underway to replace the currently inoperable reservoir with two water storage tanks, which would be completed by the end of 2018.

    Immediately following the presentation, was discussion about the Sewer Rehabilitation Project. This act proposed apportioning $3,467,994 dollars for the fifth installment of seven, to replace Piedmont’s sewage pipes. When completed 80% of the city’s sewage pipes would be replaced. The group D’Arcy & Harty Construction had the lowest bid, but the Council wanted to counter with a higher amount in order to complete the project. In addition, the Council would vote to set aside more money for the surveillance and inspection of the sites. After an associate from D’Arcy & Hardy Construction spoke briefly (in a notably strong Irish accent), the Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara spoke in greater detail about the financing, construction, and community involvement in the project. After deliberations and questions ended, Robert McBain motioned to approve the project, with Tim Rood seconding. The Council unanimously said aye to the project.

    Last, and perhaps the most heated topic, was the new cameras to be installed at the intersection of Grand and Oakland avenues.  For the last few years Piedmont has been home to automatic license plate readers, or ALPRs. This past spring, a new police video camera was used to monitor the new Hampton Park, but it proved to be an inadequate test of the technology. The Council was deliberating setting aside $10,000 from the Citizens Option for Police Services Fund to install a new surveillance camera at the aforementioned site. It would be a fixed camera that recorded over itself every 90 days. If there was a suspect picked up by the ALPRs or a pursuit of a vehicle, the police and the dispatcher could, in theory, access the camera to see where the suspect was going.

    The funding is to test this device’s usefulness to the police, and work out any quirks. Chief of police, Jeremy Bowers spoke in detail about the planned project, citing its potential use to police officers. He also acknowledged the concern for privacy and 4th Amendment rights, promising to look into blurring out faces of passers by in tape used by police.

    After Bowers spoke, there were many questions from the Council. Vice Mayor Robert McBain asked whether there was any evidence that these cameras deterred crime, in addition to their ability to help solve crime. Many members of the audience spoke on this issue. One citizen endorsed Chief Bowers and cited the recent attempt to abduct a child near Havens Elementary School as a potential scenario in which this technology would be useful. Linda Schaefer agreed, saying that Piedmont needed to “up the game.”

    Morty Glick told the Council that people do not feel safe at night in Piedmont, and talked about some families’ attempts to hire private security. He said, “Piedmont, it’s scary these days.”  Susy Struble took the podium for the whole time allotted to her, saying to the Council, “I am confused by the rush. There is no crisis. As Chief Bowers has pointed out publicly, crime is down in Piedmont, and yes, the research on the efficacy of public surveillance is inconclusive.”  Struble argued strongly for the need for a community conversation before any action taken by the Council. Despite Struble’s efforts and a slight hesitation by Councilwoman King, a half-hour later, the motion was passed unanimously.

    I interviewed Susy Struble about the meeting. When asked why she came to the meeting Struble responded by saying, “ [I came] to work to ensure the Piedmont community would have oversight and insight into public surveillance and to stop the pilot surveillance program until the community was given the opportunity to discuss and approve any surveillance policy or implementation.” After the decision by the Council, Struble said she learned that, “The the Piedmont City Council and Police Chief have no interest in genuinely engaging the community on public surveillance.” Promising to engage the public more, Councilwoman King conceded the vote, perhaps angering Susy Struble.

The swing of the gavel signaled the end to the meeting, and people began to file out of the room and mingle outside in the cool May evening. As I walked back to my car I reflected on my first experience in local government. I realized that local government is a cornerstone of democracy in the United States, dating back to the townships in colonial America. I was glad to spend one night as a part of this rich tradition.

Interview with Susy Struble

-Why did you go to the City Council meeting?

To work to ensure the Piedmont community would have oversight and insight into public surveillance and to stop the pilot surveillance program until the community was given the opportunity to discuss and approve any surveillance policy or implementation.

-What issues brought you there?

Public surveillance and the need for community oversight of public surveillance program.

-What did you learn from the meeting?

The Piedmont City Council and Police Chief have no interest in genuinely engaging the community on public surveillance

-What next step will you take to get your concern about the cameras addressed?

I already have community support and links to the EFF, ACLU, and the Oakland Privacy Group. I will continue to build community support, watch what related state laws are in development (e.g. SB 21), and start a public campaign

-Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’m happy to send you my statement if that would help

Statement by Struble: 

I remain deeply concerned for many reasons, topmost of which is the absence of genuine public engagement. Piedmont citizens should have a say in how they and their families, their children, their daily activities, are watched, if at all.

The implementation of broader public surveillance – which the pilot project represents and indicates is the plan – is significantly different from the somewhat more limited implementation of license plate readers. As I recall, many residents raised deep reservations about that program, but it was made palatable to the community by the City’s assurances that no personally identifying photos were being taken. That is not the case here, and the fact that these proposals and the policy were put forth without public engagement is really a betrayal of trust.

Public surveillance cameras cannot be considered in a vacuum – because they don’t operate in a vacuum. There are multiple, complex contexts in which this policy and related proposals must be considered. There will be more surveillance tools available and more opportunity for data to be combined, shared, stolen, and misused – and to be used for evidence-based public policy reasons. But we need to have this community conversation — and have it often, because this is a constantly changing area. This is also why we need a surveillance policy that is independent of the technology platform. There are myriad surveillance technologies available, as Chief Bowers indicated, more than just surveillance cameras, and the community deserves a say in how they are used.

I don’t believe Chief Bowers has presented a case for why public surveillance is the solution that’s better than alternatives available to us.

I am confused by the rush. There is no crisis. As Chief Bowers has pointed out publicly, crime is down in Piedmont, and yes, the research on the efficacy of public surveillance is inconclusive.

 Some examples: A recent review from a Commissioner of Alberta, Canada found the consensus amongst empirical studies to be that video surveillance has little effect on violent crime, and only a small positive effect on property crime. This positive effect on property crime, moreover, was substantially less than the effect of improved lighting.Also unclear is the effect of the extent to which criminal activity was simply displaced to non-surveilled areas. Finally, given the cost of deploying, maintaining, and operating such systems, no data exists to demonstrate that video surveillance is a more effective use of public resources than traditional law enforcement. Even the Oakland police department has stated “there is no conclusive way to establish that the presence of video surveillance cameras resulted in the prevention or reduction of crime.”

The City should embark upon an adequately long process of community education and engagement *before* any implementation of a public surveillance program, pilot or not – and note a “pilot” is still a working surveillance system. I say adequate time because the community needs ample time, particularly working parents with multiple obligations. Public surveillance poses complex legal, technical, and social issues that require a good amount of education and even more robust discussion. There are areas where state and federal law are silent, inconclusive, vague, and/or pose areas of possible conflict. For example: is the community prepared to hand over any and all data to the federal government? Under all circumstances? That’s a pretty interesting question at any time, but perhaps especially now.

I very respectfully encourage the City Council to educate itself on these issues. They aren’t as simple, as hopefully some of Jen’s [Cavenaugh] questions around public records requests brought to light. Oakland’s City Council did a great amount of self-education before it took any action and worked very closely with the community – so did Berkeley, so did BART, so did Providence RI, and the list goes on. I respectfully suggest that Piedmont follow suit.

 Public surveillance might be something the Piedmont community supports, perhaps across the board, or perhaps only in some cases under certain criteria — or perhaps not at all — but we deserve a say in whatever happens.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
May 22 2017

 Heated School Board Meeting Airs Personnel Dispute and Hate Incidents –

    The Piedmont School Board met at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10th, in the City Council Chambers. Though the agenda of the meeting was to go over logistical policy for Piedmont schools, such as reviewing tax allocations from the H1 Bond Measure or evaluating math classes for the Common Core curriculum, the first hour of the meeting was dedicated to heated commentary from the community about the Athletic Director, Victor Acuna, and the current hate incident controversy at the high school.

    Concerned community members argued both on Acuna’s behalf and against him. Some of the controversy surrounding the new Athletic Director is attributed to the non-renewal of the former coach of the Piedmont High School Boy’s Basketball team of over two decades, Coach Lavdiotis.

    Since Lavdiotis’ contract was not renewed, some community and regional individuals sparked disagreement with Victor Acuna’s dismissal of an upstanding community member and beloved coach.  One speaker in particular, Alicia Kalamas, Piedmont resident, brought up Acuna’s personal life, pointing to custody litigation and his previous position at a high school in Arizona. However, other community members supported Victor Acuna, saying that his decision was justified, and that Coach Lavdiotis may not be the best coach for the Piedmont High School Boy’s Basketball team any longer.

    Board trustee Andrea Swenson expressed her frustrations with the Acuna controversy, stating that she is tired of the character assassination of the Athletic Director, which she feels is perpetuated by The Piedmont Post; she received a standing ovation for her comments in support of Acuna.

    Other non-agendized items that community members spoke about were the hate controversies at the high school. Earlier that week, members of the Piedmont High School community and the Piedmont community at large learned of anti-semitic, racist, and homophobic incidents at the school through a student-held assembly.

    Multiple community members spoke about the hate incidents. Police Chief Bowers spoke about his role in addressing the hate incidents. He stated that since none of the eight victims have come to the Police Department about the hate incidents, they cannot be classified as hate crimes. Still, he asserted, the community must come together and protect the victims during this time, and that he sympathizes with the victims of the incident. Other community members also discussed the anti-semitic incidents in front of the Board, conveying their concerns as parents and asking for accountability and answers.

    When I addressed the Board about the hate incidents, I also mentioned the issue of accountability and transparency. I spoke about my experience as a student watching the high school’s assembly and the lack of details or clarity that the assembly provided. I walked the Board through what specifically was going through my mind as I attended the assembly, and how I had to ask around afterwards for details on the incidents, confused and unaware. Concluding my speech, I requested the School Board to explain what exactly was happening with the anti-semitic incidents so that the students knew about what horrible things were going on within our student body. As a student, I was and still am confused about the discriminatory incidents at the high school due to a lack of a clear explanation from the administration. I believe that the administration should have a transparent conversation with the members of the community in order to resolve things, as opposed to keeping the incident under wraps.

    After comments from the audience, the Board continued with the agenda, which involved recognizing Hilary Cooper for Volunteer of the Year, which included working to pass Measure A parcel tax and reviewing two possible math courses for Piedmont High School, Integrated Math 3 and Honors Math Analysis.

     I spoke to Michael Brady, Director of Alternative/Adult Education, who expressed his support for the math courses. Mr. Brady, who was there to give a presentation to the Board on the H1 bond program, told me that it was a relief to hear about the courses.

    “It was very nice to see closure on the math instruction,” Mr. Brady told me, “because it is the culmination of literally years of work.”

    Mr. Brady also expressed his support of the community members and their concerns.

    “People can speak about non-agendized items because it’s a part of the democratic process. People can speak to the items not on the agenda and have the ability and freedom to do that.”

    The School Board meets every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. Though they have an agenda, any member of the community can become involved in deliberations by expressing their concerns to the Board at the beginning of every meeting and when agendized items are considered.

by Victoria Hou, Piedmont High School Senior –

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

Discrimination and hateful actions impact park.  

Summer Camp programs have a high rate of registrants. 

by Alex Paton, Piedmont High School Senior – 

I attended a Recreation Commission meeting on the 17th of May 2017. During this monthly meeting, issues regarding parks and recreation throughout Piedmont are discussed by commission members and residents of Piedmont. Fundamentally, these meetings provide an opportunity for the community to discuss and brainstorm potential improvements within the Piedmont parks and recreation system.

During the meeting on May 17th, four main issues were discussed. The first of these issues was the anti-semitism, racism and general hate that has been drawn to attention throughout the community, and how this has manifested throughout the parks. The city and community are working together as a whole to move forward from these incidents and display a positive message for the younger members of Piedmont. Specifically, graffiti at Hampton park is being removed and cleaned up, and older members of the community are being encouraged to speak out and set a positive example of coexistence.

Next, the upcoming summer programs in Piedmont were discussed. There was great optimism throughout the commission as there are now 175 camps offered over 10 weeks this summer and so far, camp registration is up 22% from this time last year. Camps offered range from arts and crafts to cooking to athletics. In addition to more opportunities for campers this summer, there is also more opportunity for counselors and CITs. Greg Wick, Piedmont High Senior,  gave positive reinforcement for the new opportunities for counseling this summer and expressed his disappointment for the lack of working opportunity he experienced in the past. Overall, the Recreation Commission was overjoyed and thankful for the early success.

The recent improvements at Hampton Park were then discussed. The sixth and final basketball hoop was put up since the last meeting and just about every aspect of the park is complete. Trees which fell on and near the basketball courts have also been cleaned up and appropriate repairs have been made. I believe that the basketball courts are nice, however there is a potential hazard when the ball goes off the court and rolls down a hill. I expressed this observation and concern during the meeting, to be met with a nice reply from Carrie Graham Lee. She said they were going to put in a low net to stop this issue from occurring. I am in favor of this much needed improvement. Although not official yet, Elizabeth Smegal Andersen stated that Hampton Park is complete and open for recreation!

Lastly, updates on facility master planning projects and the Capital Improvement Projects Review Committee [CIP] were given. Aquatics are being studied for cost, meetings with the architect for the Veterans Hall have nearly concluded, Beach playfield is being evaluated for updates and Coaches Field is being reassessed for use analytics. The CIP Review Committee is also continuing to review public safety issues, such as the poor lighting at the intersection of St. James and LaSalle.

Once the meeting had concluded, I interviewed a citizen who attended the meeting. This resident of Piedmont, named Garrett Schwartz, was drawn to the meeting because of previous decisions made by the commission that he did not necessarily agree with. He did not have any current issues to be addressed, instead just wanting to “see the inner workings of the Commission and understand their decision making process”. I have to say, if everyone was so involved with the local government as Mr. Schwartz, our society would see great improvement.

 ~~~~~~ A second report on the May 17 Commission meeting  ~~~~

By Olivia Tefft, Piedmont High School Senior –

    At 7:30 p.m. on May 17, 2017, six commissioners met for a Piedmont Recreation Commission meeting. The commissioners were:  Kobi Eshun, Carrie Graham Lee, Betsy Smegal Andersen, Chairwoman, Jeffrey Dorman, and Steve Roland.  Also, present was Recreation Director Sara Lillevand.

   The purpose of this meeting was to go over recreation issues in Piedmont, ranging from summer camps to the maintenance of public parks and fields. This meeting also touched upon public safety in the schools and on the streets of Piedmont.

   One of the main points of this conference was to inform the audience of the summer activities offered through the Piedmont Recreation Department. Sara Lillevand informed the commission and the audience of new programs, like Summerfest ‘17, an affordable summer camp program facilitated by Schoolmates, and Camp Hampton, which will utilize the newly renovated Hampton Field. Lillevand also pointed out that summer camp revenues have increased 22% this year, and over 3,000 participants are registered (76% Piedmont residents).

    Two audience members, Piedmont Seniors Chris Conn and Greg Wick, spoke to Lillevand about the issue of overstaffed PRD summer camps. She acknowledged the difficulty of parsing out the perfect amount of CITS [Counselor in Training Staff] for each summer camp, but also mentioned that this problem should be mitigated this year with the high summer camp enrollment.

    The Hampton Park Improvement Project was also discussed. Lillevand informed the audience that all of the basketball posts have been put up as of today, and that the tennis backboard was put up last week. Hunter Stern, an audience member and senior at Piedmont High School, asked about hate speech graffiti that this field might be subject to, considering the outbreak of hate speech at PMS and PHS. Lillevand told him that no hate speech graffiti had occurred yet, but a conversation definitely needs to take place for the maintenance of this park.

   I agree with Hunter – I definitely think this pristine field could suffer from hateful graffiti, and I think protective measures should be put in place to prevent something harmful like this.

   Some other smaller issues that were brought up were Linda Beach Play Field and Coaches Field Master Planning, as well as uneven pathways at Crocker Park due to old trees that push up the pavement.

    The “4 Corners” intersection was also addressed because safety issues for pedestrians and drivers have arisen due to this intersection. Krysia Olszewska, an audience member, spoke about this intersection, recounting how it is difficult to see cars on the right side of the road, and therefore improvements should be made.

    At the end of this meeting, I interviewed Commissioner Steve Roland. He has been involved with the Recreation Department since 1996, and was also a sports coach for his 3 children when they participated in rec sports. He wanted to stay involved in the community after they all graduated, and the Recreation Commission was the perfect extension to continue his civic involvement. The main issue he focused on is upgrading park facilities like Coaches Field and Beach Field. He understands the difficulties of these renovation as addressed in these meetings because of difficulty getting funding for these projects. He mentioned that Hampton Park was a combination of private donations, East Bay Regional Park Bonds, and City funds.  Coaches Field and Beach Field would require similar funding. The main step he is taking in addressing this issue is continuing to participate in these meetings and trying to raise awareness and funds for these projects.

The Recreation Commission meets once a month to discuss recreation issues.

Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
May 17 2017
Many Piedmonters have noticed a tall pole (example of proposed installations) at the entrance to Piedmont Park and Witter Field next to Wildwood Elementary School.  Some concern has been expressed regarding the installation of cell towers at some of the ten locations listed below.

The following is the City’s announcement dated May 16, 2017 informing Piedmont residents of an application to install wireless communication poles.

City to Consider Application for Small Wireless Facilities

The City of Piedmont is considering an application from Crown Castle NG West LLC for nine proposed Verizon small cell wireless communication facilities, located generally around Piedmont Park and Piedmont High School, for a new Distributed Antenna System (DAS) installation. Crown Castle NG West LLC is a company that builds wireless communication facilities and then leases them to wireless service providers, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon.

The Park Commission is scheduled to consider the applicant’s request to remove street trees at some of the sites at its regular meeting of June 7, 2017 [5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers] and make a recommendation to the City Council.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the design and location of each proposed small cell site at its regular meeting of June 12, 2017 [5:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers] and make a recommendation to the City Council.

The City Council will consider the matter at a date to be determined, based upon the action of the two Commissions.

Each of these meetings [Park Commission and Planning Commission] will be televised live on KCOM-TV [Cable Channel 27], the City’s government TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/video

The project consists of five proposed installations on the tops of existing utility poles, three proposed installations on existing street lights, and one proposed installation on a new street light. The applicants have proposed that ground equipment related to the pole top antennas would be located in vaults beneath the sidewalk. A map of the proposed installations is shown below and on the City website. The proposed small cell wireless communication facilities would be located near the following addresses:

  1. 340 & 370 Highland Ave.
  2. 505 Blair Ave.
  3. 799 Magnolia Ave.
  4. 358 Hillside Ave.
  5. 303 Hillside Ave.
  6. 428 El Cerrito Ave.
  7. 355 Jerome Ave.
  8. 1159 Winsor Ave.
  9. 314 Wildwood Ave.

The City will post updated information regarding this application on its web site and use other electronic means to keep the public at large informed of the status of this application. The City will also notify residents near the proposed sites, as required by City Code.

Placement of wireless communication facilities is governed by state and federal law, including rules requiring cities to allow certain wireless communication facilities in the public right-of- way. Cities cannot place conditions on, deny, or approve a proposed wireless facility based upon the health effects if the applicant demonstrates that the project meets federal safety requirements. Under the Federal Telecommunications Act (1996), the federal government decides the safe levels of exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation.

In early May 2017, Crown Castle constructed a mock-up to represent the height and form of a proposed new street light and wireless antenna near the Wildwood Avenue entrance to Piedmont Park. In addition, signs have been posted at each of the proposed sites to help build awareness of the proposal.

Residents are invited to send comments regarding the proposal, addressed to the Park Commission and to the Planning Commission, to Piedmont City Hall care of:

Senior Planner Pierce Macdonald-Powell at pmacdonald@piedmont.ca.gov

All comments received will become part of the public record and will be provided to the Commissions and City Council. For more information, including application materials, please visit the City of Piedmont’s web site at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/

To view the maps and information provided by the applicant, click below:

http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/publicworks/docs/crowncastle/coveragemap.pdf

May 17 2017

Planning Commission confronts applications for additional bedrooms without off-street parking and high fences next to sidewalks. 

by Leah Kochendoerfer, Piedmont High School Senior –

 On Monday, May 8th, 2017 at 5:00pm, the Planning Commission met in order to consider approval of projects proposed for property in Piedmont. Between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., the members of the Planning Commission discussed four specific cases: 419 Moraga Avenue, 156 Wildwood Avenue, 139 Lexford Road, and 361 Moraga Avenue. Four projects were conditionally approved; however, each had their own set of adjustments necessary to ensure approval.  

The resident of 419 Moraga Avenue submitted an application seeking the approval of modifications to her windows, as well as the approval of a room conversion into a bedroom without providing the necessary parking ratio. The application had previously been denied under the Small House Policy, in which bedroom count cannot exceed a certain number without simultaneously increasing parking. However, the resident argued that similar construction had taken place in neighboring homes in which bedroom to parking ratios had been consistent with her plans, and thus her construction should be approved. When asked why she could not create more parking in order to make the increase in room count legal, she suggested that her driveway was too steep for a car to park, and a garage could not be added without demolishing the entire house, thus indicating the Variance criteria of unusual physical circumstances. Susan Ode and Eric K. Behrens, members of the Planning Commission, both rejected the resident’s argument by stating that no house should be compared to another, as each is in a unique circumstance. Another commissioner introduced the consideration of traffic on Moraga, noting that creating another unit would only increase car flow down the already busy street. Ultimately reflecting the Planning Commission’s decision, Tom Ramsey noted the importance of being consistent and supported the variance under the condition that the driveway could be modified in order to supply an additional parking spot.

 The subsequent resident submitted an application for the construction of a new six foot wooden fence with two gates on their Wildwood Avenue property. The resident expressed the need of a new fence after having experienced several incidents of stolen property, and also commented on the benefits of adding more room to the property, the convenience of having access to the home through a side yard, and the general aesthetic of a new fence.

Responses from the Planning Commission included Commissioner Eric Behrens who stated that the fence was out of character and not, in fact, aesthetic.  Commissioner Susan Ode noted that the horizontal planks would not match the vertical ones. Additionally, Commissioner Jonathan Levine suggested that neighboring houses along Wildwood Avenue do not have these fences and a fence this tall would look imposing from the street. Similarly, Commissioner Aradhana Jajodia stated that the fence calls attention to itself and takes away the otherwise open feeling. Commissioner Tom Ramsey worried about the precedent this situation would set in allowing people to set up six foot tall fences when desired. Thus, the Planning Commission came to the conclusion that the fence would be approved only if it followed the four foot maximum outlined in the Design Guidelines.

I personally believe that the four foot maximum fence height is a valid code, as the City of Piedmont should be a relatively open space that makes neighbors feel welcome. A tall fence would definitely separate the house from the otherwise community feel, and make surrounding residents less comfortable when walking alongside it.

Next, the Planning Commission discussed the application for a new house and fence design submitted by Paul Simonetti wanted to install a gate and fence along his property.  Simonetti stated his concern about recent break-ins. He was also looking to plant a new maple tree. Commissioner Behrens was  concerned with the sight-lines when exiting the driveway, to which Simonetti ensured that the fence would slowly decrease in height when backing out of the driveway, allowing for an unobstructed view of the street and potential cars.

Commissioner Ramsey brought up the code involving a foot-wide section between the fence and the sidewalk, which the Commission and Simonetti agreed could be used for landscaping plants. Lastly, while Commissioner Levine agreed that the arbor would distinguish the house entrance, it needed to be a more modest size. Therefore, the project was approved under the conditions that the tree would not be planted and that a foot wide landscaped section would be installed between the sidewalk and fence.

The residents of 361 Moraga Avenue, sought approval for the construction of additional office space in order to increase living space for their family of four. After having two storage rooms built, the owners stopped the project in December in order to ensure the project was up to code. The owners gathered signatures from neighbors approving the variance and now only needed permission from the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Levine addressed his concern that the office space could be transformed into a bedroom when sold in the future and advertised as a five-bedroom house with two bedrooms sharing one bathroom. This would go against the Small House Policy, as the property only holds one parking spot currently. When Levine asked the residents about the possibility of increasing the garage size, an owner stated that the garage was surrounded by concrete and any modifications would thus be infeasible.

On the other hand, Commissioner Behrens assured that access to the bathroom was not direct and thus the house could not be advertised as five-bedroom. Additionally, Commissioner Aradhana Jajodia stated that if someone truly wanted to do illegal construction with the intent of increasing the bedroom count in a house, they would not have come to the Planning Commission to seek approval in the first place. The application consideration concluded with the Planning Commission approving the plan with the condition that the framing of the door be removed, confirming that the space is purely office space, not a bedroom.

 Amy Shen, attended the Planning Commission meeting seeking approval for a home remodel as well as a variance on her lot size. Because the City of Piedmont only allows residents to have structures on 40% of one’s lot, plans to exceed this limit require the approval of a variance by the Planning Commission. When asked what she learned through the process of these meetings, she responded that she “learned that design is subjective and that because of the limitations of speaking time, you have to be direct in presenting what you want to say as well as in the documentation you present prior to the meeting.” Because the Planning Commission did not authorize the proposed remodel, she will now have to begin the process again with a new design, addressing the changes advised by the Planning Commission members.

The Planning Commission meets once per month on the second Monday of the month at 5:00 p.m., to discuss the alteration and construction plans of Piedmont homes.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

May 11 2017

The May 15 City Council meeting will include consideration of expending $10,000 for a pilot program placing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at strategic Piedmont locations to provide live video feeds.  The City Council deferred further consideration of cameras at Hampton Park based on privacy issues.

The staff report can be read here.

The ACLU has reservations about Public Video Surveillance except in high profile terrorist targets, concluding that its benefits – preventing at most a few street crimes, and probably none – are disproportionately small. It’s arguments against most installations are:

1. VIDEO SURVEILLANCE HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN EFFECTIVE

2. CCTV IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO ABUSE

3. THE LACK OF LIMITS OR CONTROLS ON CAMERAS USE

4. VIDEO SURVEILLANCE WILL HAVE A CHILLING EFFECT ON PUBLIC LIFE

Read more details from the ACLU here

Read the May 15 City Council agenda here.

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May 11 2017

The Piedmont City Council continues the practice of working on the City Budget without benefit of recordings or broadcast. The public is welcome to come to the meeting and speak to the various issues related to the budget: capital expenditures, revenues, taxation, employee benefits, new projects, roadways, sidewalks, trees, recreation, public safety, Schoolmates, planning, sewers, or any other issue related to City budgetary matters.  

Special City Council Budget Meeting

Saturday, May 13, 2017

9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

East Wing, 801 Magnolia Avenue (across from Piedmont High School)

Agenda:

1. Overview of the Proposed FY 17-18 Budget by the City Administrator

2. Presentation by the CIP Review Committee of Project Proposals for FY 17-18

3. Review of Departmental Budgets for FY 17-18

a. Police

b. Public Works

c. Recreation

d. Fire

e. Administration

f. Other Funds Budgets

City announcement:

The Piedmont City Council will consider the proposed annual budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 at three separate meetings. A Saturday work session will be held in the East Wing of 801 Magnolia Avenue on May 13, 2017 beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Public hearings regarding the proposed budget and the levy of the Municipal Services Tax and the Sewer Tax will be held during regularly scheduled City Council meetings on June 5 and June 19, 2017.

The public is invited to attend these meetings and speak to the City Council about spending priorities for the city in the coming year.  Click to visit the 2017-2018 Proposed Budget page, where all sections of the budget are available for download.

For questions on contents of the budget, please contact Interim Finance Director Jim O’Leary via email at joleary@ci.piedmont.ca.us or by phone at 420-3045 with any questions.

If you wish to write to the Council regarding the budget, please send an e-mail to the City Council at citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.