Oct 21 2014

-  The application deadline has been extended to October 31, 2014 -

The voter approved committee to oversee and advise on future school parcel tax rates requires three members to represent property owners in Piedmont.  It is unknown how many, if any, resident property owners have already applied, but the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Trustees has extended the application deadline to solicit applications for membership on the School Support Tax Sub-committee for Measure A, the school parcel tax based at $2,406 per parcel.

According to Superintendent Constance Hubbard:

The deadline for applications for the School Support Tax Advisory Subcommittee has been extended.  Applications are due by October 31, 2014.

Applications may be downloaded below or from the District website, and obtained by contacting the Superintendent’s office. Membership on this committee is open to property owners living in Piedmont who are not employed by the School District.

CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION FORM  Due by October 31.

CLICK HERE FOR SUBCOMMITTEE CHARTER

Oct 21 2014

At the Wednesday, October 22, 2014, School Board Meeting starting at 7:00 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers, the Board is expected to authorize issuance and sale of 2014 General Obligation Refunding Bonds in the aggregate of up to $11,000,000.

On October 8, the Board  considered information provided by the District’s bond consultant KNN (Kelling, Northcross and Nobriga) on the mechanism to refinance outstanding bonds in order to issue bonds with a lower interest rate. The financial action is expected to save Piedmont property owners approximately $800,000 over the next seven years.

The meeting is open to the public and will be broadcast on Cable Channel 27 KCOM and also live streamed on the City’s website. Recordings will be made of the proceedings and available to the public following the meeting.

Read the staff report here.

Read the agenda for approximate times of agenda items here . 

Oct 20 2014
To the Piedmont City Council:                                                                                                                                                          October 20, 2014
Congratulations to the new members of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee (BAFPC).  Expanding the size of the committee is probably wise given the many long-term financial challenges facing the city. Alternatively, eliminating the explicit addition of members to conduct a biennial review of the municipal parcel tax is not advisable given the important role this volunteer review has served in maintaining citizen support for the tax.
  I have commented before that subsuming the role of the Municipal Tax Review Committee (MTRC) to the BAFPC is not wise – the committees by definition took different views of city annual and long-term financial needs, to the betterment of city budgeting and fiscal planning.  In fact, it was the 2011 MTRC that recommended the establishment of a committee to look at the long-term financial needs of the city.  By overburdening the BAFPC, the biennial review of city services will likely not be as comprehensive as was undertaken by the MTRC.  The review of city services is especially called for given two recent developments:
            – Recommendations from the 2011 MTRC report:           “The committee recommends that the City undertake a prioritizing of City services and modify the detailed budget presentation designating certain services (costs, etc) as “mission-critical” and other services as not in that category in order to assist future Councils to create a priority of funding.   The City should adopt formal objectives for the appropriate fund balance levels of funds related to capital and equipment replacement and use these levels as guidelines in allocating revenues.”  These two unanimous MTRC recommendations are meant to assist Council with annual budgeting for city services but have not been undertaken.
- Annual property transfer tax receipts: Piedmont has realized unprecedented property transfer tax receipts these past two years. The trend in this revenue source needs to be examined and considered by Council when setting the annual tax rate for city services.
Finally, the role of the BAFPC in reviewing the sufficiency of the Municipal Services Special Tax (Parcel Tax) needs to be clarified.  As the Piedmont City Code indicates, the purpose of the parcel tax is to provide annual municipal service levels that Council considers are necessary:
SECTION 20B.2 AUTHORIZATION TO LEVY SPECIAL MUNICIPAL TAX -
If in any fiscal year commencing on or after July 1, 2013, the City Council shall determine that municipal services, including, but not limited to, police and fire protection, street maintenance, building regulations, library services, recreation, parks maintenance, planning and public works and similar services, are necessary for the public good, welfare and safety, and that the cost of making available such services will exceed the amount of funds generated through other revenue and income of the City for such services, then it may levy a special tax for such fiscal year on each parcel of real property within the City in a manner provided herein. This is a non-ad valorem parcel tax which, pursuant to California Constitution Article XIII D, Section 3, shall be deemed a special tax as defined pursuant to Section 53721 of the California Government Code.
The purpose of the tax is not to meet the “ongoing financial needs of the city” such as unmet pension and retiree health care obligations.   No doubt BAFPC may consider other revenue sources to meet those needs but the parcel tax should not be part of that consideration.  I recommend that you modify the resolution with the following text:
e)            Periodically review and comment on the sufficiency of the Municipal Services Special Tax (Parcel Tax) to address the municipal services levels of City. This charge shall be accomplished not later than eighteen (18) months prior to the expiration of the tax as set forth in Chapter 20B of the City Code.
Garrett Keating, Former City Council Member and Public Safety Committee Member
Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.
Oct 19 2014

At their October 20 meeting in City Hall starting at 7:30 p.m., the City Council will modify the charge and membership of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee (BAFPC); make appointments to the committee; consider the smoking restriction ordinance; and upgrade the salary and job descriptions of the Planning Director and others in the Planning Department.

 Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee

City Administrator Paul Benoit recommends reestablishing the BAFPC, which was recently permanently established by taking the following actions:

1) Modify the membership of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee to seven regular members and one alternate member; 2) Clarify the role of the alternate member; and 3) Remove the option to appoint additional members for the purpose of studying the Special Municipal Services Tax.

2) Appoint the following residents to the Committee:

Three Year Term: William (Bill) Hosler & Dirk tenGrotenhuis

Two Year Term: Angela Carmel Michael, Shel Schreiberg, & Jennifer Cavanaugh

One Year Term: Karen Sullivan & Christopher Moore; John Chiang (Alternate)

Read the staff report.

Smoking restriction ordinance

The City Council has considered the matter once and the staff has returned with potential language for the ordinance.  Read the staff report.

New job descriptions and increased compensation in the Planning Department

Following an outside consultants’ evaluation of Piedmont’s job descriptions, the Planning Department is identified for revisions in compensation and descriptions. For example, the Planning Director, who currently makes approximately $123,624 will become the Director of Planning and make $135,984 per year.  The position is currently held by an employee hired under Piedmont’s prior retirement plan with a benefit of 3% of the average highest 3 years of compensation times each year worked. Retirement age is 60.  Read the staff report.   Read the budget .

Also at the meeting will be:

10/20/14 – Receipt of the 3rd Quarter Crime Report from the Police Chief

10/20/14- Update on Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Operations Center Evaluation 

 Read the full meeting agenda.  The meeting is open to the public and will be broadcast via Channel 27 KCOM and streamed from the City website.

2 Comments »
Oct 19 2014

The Piedmont School Board will hold a Workshop to discuss a review of District Facilities on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, in the District Office, Piedmont Unified School District, 760 Magnolia Ave, Piedmont at 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

The meeting open to the public will not be broadcast or recorded. Individuals interested in the discussion can obtain full information at the meeting.

The Board will conduct a workshop on School Facilities. Staff will review the history of the Seismic Safety Bond Program (SSBP), Modernization Program, Deferred Maintenance and Master Plan options. The Board is requested to provide direction to the staff as to desired next steps for review of District facilities needs planning.

Bond Capacity for capital improvements – the potential for additional bonds:

At the October 8, 2014 Board meeting, KNN (the School District Bond consultant) estimates that PUSD’s available bonding capacity will increase significantly. Estimates are:

$18.5 million in 2014-15; 

$26.3 million in 2015-16;

$34.8 million in 2016-17;

$43.4 million in 2017-18;

$52.4 million in 2018-19; and

$61 million in 2019-20.

 Capacity of facilities to accommodate increasing enrollment:

The capacity of facilities to accommodate changing enrollment is a significant issue for PUSD, where student population grew by 150 over the last four years.  This is unusual growth for Piedmont. Also, although only 40% of Piedmont residents have students in the schools, this percentage may increase at any time.

School Capital Facilities Fund:

The Capital Facilities Fund (CFF) includes funds that provide for the eventual replacement of Witter Field and similar projects that were neither included in bond-funded construction programs nor classified by the State as “deferred maintenance.” PUSD allocates approximately $50,000 per year in the CFF specifically for Witter Field. In addition, the District collects facility rental fees; donations from local lacrosse, soccer, and baseballs clubs; and contributions from the City of Piedmont for athletic facilities preservation, all of which are deposited in the CFF “Witter Field” account. PUSD is now close to achieving its goal of raising $700,000 by the end of 2015 for Witter Field turf and track replacement scheduled per the expiration of the warranty.

 

Read the full staff report.

Contact School Board Members.

Meeting agenda.

Oct 19 2014

The following statement was made at the City Council and School District Liaison Committee meeting of Friday, October 17, 2014.

Thank you to the City Council and School District Liaison Committee members for this opportunity to speak on the topic of the Turkey Trot.

My name is Katie Korotzer. I currently serve as the president of the Associated Parents Clubs of Piedmont, which encompasses 6 parent clubs and 14 school support groups. I’m speaking to you as a representative of the parent volunteer community.  This parent volunteer community carries forth a very long legacy of service to others and financial stewardship of funds raised for our schools.

Since the publication of the FAQ about the Turkey Trot by the superintendent’s office in late September, the parent volunteer community has had many conversations and reactions to the situation we now face. 

As parents of students currently attending PUSD schools we feel that our voice should be considered when arriving at a solution.  We have had friendly conversations with the organizer of last year’s Turkey Trot and hope to continue those conversations in order to reach an agreement that would be acceptable to all stakeholders.

As parents, we recognize that there are pre-existing legal and financial matters that we are not party to and which must be resolved before any agreements can be finalized.

As you all are aware, every year from 2003 to 2013, the Turkey Trot has been organized by a group of people consisting of parents of student athletes along with Cross Country & Track coaches, as a fundraiser for the Piedmont High School Cross Country & Track Teams.  (Refer to Hard Copy documentation: photocopies of race permit applications by Cross Country team for City Street Closures each year for the decade between 2003 & 2013). 

The Cross Country and Track Teams are part of the 14 sports that are offered for boys and girls at PHS.  Most, if not all, of these 14 teams conduct their own annual fundraising drives ranging from simple car washes, to what has over the past decade become a very successful annual Turkey Trot.   Teams raise money to pay for things such as uniforms, equipment and transportation.  All of the 14 sports have parent and coaching representation within Boosters, a parent volunteer run 501c3 organization since 1978.   

One of the questions before us today is regarding “ownership” of the Turkey Trot. Who has the “right” to make decisions about this PHS Cross Country and Track Team fundraiser?

Should it be the group of cross country & track student athletes, current parents and coaches that for the past 10 years have filed for the City Permit, or should it be the newly formed Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation?

That may be a bigger question than can be answered in today’s meeting. 

Whatever the answer, the parent volunteer community believes that the Turkey Trot is a wonderful event, which brings in a huge group of runners from Piedmont and surrounding areas.  No one knows for sure if these runners are motivated to run because proceeds benefit the student athletes of the PHS Cross Country & Track teams.  But the fact remains that since its inception, the event has been sponsored by PHS Cross Country & Track teams. Without the involvement of these student athletes, their parents and their coaches, the event would not have been occurring and growing as it has for the past decade.

Parent volunteers are therefore in support of the Turkey Trot occurring in 2014, but with the following suggestions for this year’s Street Closure Permit Applicant – the newly formed Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation.  Parent volunteers have reason to believe that these suggestions will be taken by the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation and are looking forward to a friendly, cooperative dialogue within the next few days with the spokesperson of the corporation.

The suggestions for the Turkey Trot Corporation are:

  • Parents of current student athletes be included as board members, and that this be an ongoing practice each year.
  • An articulated plan be developed for succession of event management to avoid volunteer “burn out” and a sense of “event ownership by any one individual”.
  • That the entity responsible for planning the Turkey Trot have on it’s board in advisory capacity: (1) a city representative and (2) a school based representative such as a school board member or district employee, and (3) a PHS cross country or track coach.
  • That the organizing entity of the Turkey Trot engage in a yearly committee/board discussion, with minutes taken and available for public review, of how any excess net proceeds after Cross Country and Track team fundraising needs are met, would be used.
  • And that prior to City approval of the 2014 Street Closure Permit, the organizing entity comes to an agreement with the City as to how funds are going to be distributed on an annual basis, preferably in keeping with the tradition as stated in Council Agenda Reports of the past three years (2011,2012, 2013): “All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to support the Piedmont High School Cross Country and Track teams”.

Additionally, there have been several suggestions from the parent volunteer community regarding a change to the traditional language of the next sentence in the Council Agenda Reports referred to above, which refers to excess funds and which currently reads: “as well as acquiring exercise equipment to benefit the whole school” to something such as one of the following suggestions which have come from the parent volunteer community and from the newly formed corporation:

  • “Student athletes should decide how Excess Funds would be used”
  • “Excess funds be distributed equally to all teams”
  • “Excess funds go into a Witter Track & Field Replacement Fund”
  • “Excess funds go to offset City of Piedmont costs to host the event”
  • “Excess funds go to support running in Piedmont, perhaps through the Rec Dept.”
  • “ Excess funds go to as-yet unidentified charities; perhaps local food banks because the event occurs on Thanksgiving”

As a parent volunteer group, there is no set consensus on the use of these “excess funds”; yet parent volunteer trust could conceivably be placed in a representative board as described above to discuss these possibilities and make this decision from year to year on behalf of the parent volunteer and student athlete community.

It is now the job of City and School representatives to move forward regarding issuance of the City Street Closure Permit.

These remarks will be shared with the spokesperson of the Turkey Trot corporation today, for inclusion in what parent volunteers believe will be productive and cooperative talks within the next few days, ideally leading to a healthy reconciliation of perceived differences between stakeholders.

Thank you.

Katie Korotzer, President of the Associated Parents Clubs of Piedmont

Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.
Oct 19 2014

Citizens with relevant experience are invited to consider serving on BART’s Earthquake Safety Program Citizens’ Oversight Committee. This is a chance to ensure that public money is being spent as intended? The Committee is tasked with verifying that Measure AA bond revenues  are spent appropriately on earthquake safety retrofits. The Application Deadline is November 28, 2014

The Earthquake Safety Program Citizens’ Oversight Committee will be a five (5) member committee serving two-year terms. There is no compensation, but BART fare is provided to and from meetings 2 to 4 times per year, as determined by the committee.  One committee member and one alternate will be selected by the BART Board for each seat as follows:

  • One member with expertise in seismic retrofitting;
  • One member with expertise in auditing;
  • One member with expertise in engineering;
  • One member with expertise in public finance or project management; and
  • One member shall represent the community at large.

Committee members and alternates must be citizens of the BART District (Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties) who not elected officials of any government and not employees of BART. Members of the Committee and their will not be eligible to bid on BART Earthquake Safety Program work.  Please read the Standing Rules and Application and Appointment Procedures carefully for restrictions on membership.

The duties and responsibilities of the Committee are:

  • Review scheduling and budgeting of projects to be funded by the bond measure.
  • Confirm that work is completed and bond funds are expended in accordance with the bond measure.
  • Inform the public concerning expenditures of bond revenues.

Length of Term:

Members shall serve two-year terms without compensation, although the District shall provide BART fare for transportation to and from meetings. The Committee will meet 2 to 4 times per year, as determined by the committee.

Background:

On June 10, 2004, the BART Board of Directors passed a resolution placing Measure AA on the November 2004 ballot to assist in funding BART’s Earthquake Safety Program. The program will upgrade the original BART system operating facilities to ensure that they can return to operation shortly after a major earthquake. Residents of Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco counties passed Measure AA on November 2, 2004.

The ballot measure stipulated that upon approval of the bond by the voters, the BART Board of Directors is to establish and appoint members to a Citizens’ Oversight Committee.

Contact:

Direct questions about the Earthquake Safety Program Citizens’ Oversight Committee or application process to Kate Claassen, Community Relations Liaison, at (510) 874-7371 or eqcommittee@bart.gov, or visit www.bart.gov/earthquakesafety to obtain an application.

Oct 16 2014

- Facts about Piedmont’s annual Turkey Trot provided by the Piedmont Unified School District Superintendent, Constance Hubbard – 

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions 

The District wishes to alert parents and students to significant events with respect to Piedmont’s annual Turkey Trot.

Background:

Since 2003, the Turkey Trot has been run by the PHS Cross Country Team, PUSD coaches, and families. The Piedmont Unified School District financed the Trot (shirts, timers, etc.) with student funds held in the Piedmont High School Associated Student Body (PHS ASB) account. All proceeds were used to support Piedmont High School’s Cross Country & Track programs, and to acquire exercise equipment to benefit the whole school.

In December 2013, a few of the race organizers independently filed papers to incorporate as the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation to assume responsibility for this annual event. Although the organizers obtained funds to finance the 2013 Turkey Trot from the PHS ASB account as per usual, afterwards they claimed that the proceeds would be distributed at the discretion of the Turkey Trot Corporation.

At this point, the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation has neither reimbursed the District in full for the funds provided in 2013 nor turned over the profits of the November 2013 Turkey Trot. The intention of the organizers going forward is not clear, as the new web page states for the 2014 event states that “proceeds from the race benefit various local charities.”

Students and parents have asked the District to clarify the relationship between the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation and the Piedmont Unified School District. This information sheet is intended to address the most frequently asked questions about the history and status of the Turkey Trot. Nonetheless, several questions remain.

A Brief History of the Turkey Trot:

The Turkey Trot has existed in its current form for 12 years, and throughout that time has been a fundraiser sponsored and organized by the Piedmont High School Cross Country Team. It has grown from a few hundred to thousands of runners. With that growth, there has been significant growth in revenue and also organizational support.

Some former Cross Country parents worked closely with coaches to lead the effort and many community volunteers helped, but the event was primarily staffed by current Cross Country team members and their parents. In recent years, the Cross County team has not needed all the proceeds from the fundraiser, and revenue has been used to acquire exercise equipment for the benefit of the entire PHS student body.

There are organizational and up-front costs associated with running the annual Turkey Trot. These costs include, but are not limited to, the purchase of race day t-shirts, official timers, and insurance. The District has always paid these costs, either up front or from race proceeds. In recent years, proceeds from the previous year’s race were budgeted to fund the next year’s race. These funds were held in a special fund for Cross Country & Track held by the PHS Associated Student Body.

Changes in 2013:

The 2013 Turkey Trot was organized and run as it had been in past years. The District paid approximately $23,000 in upfront costs, including $14,879 in race day t-shirts. Students and parents volunteered their time to make the event a success, with the understanding that 100% of the proceeds would benefit Cross Country & Track and student athletics. The event was marketed to the community (with advertising in local and regional media) as a fundraiser to support PHS Cross Country & Track programs.

The City of Piedmont’s permit and the Turkey Trot insurance documents also state that all proceeds would benefit PHS Cross Country & Track programs and student athletics. However, to date the organizers have not delivered the proceeds of the 2013 Turkey Trot to the District for these student athletics programs.

Following the 2013 Turkey Trot, a few of the long-time organizers of the Turkey Trot independently created the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation. Although some coaches may have been aware of the creation of this entity, the Board of Education, School District administrators, PHS Boosters (the organization primarily responsible for raising funds to support student athletics) and, to the District’s knowledge, athletes and their parents, were not. The corporation (which was formed in December 2013) deposited all proceeds from the 2013 Turkey Trot into its own bank account.

Requests for an Accounting and for Proceeds from the 2013 Turkey Trot:

When the Board of Education, District administrators, and PHS Boosters were informed of the creation of the new Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation, and learned that the Turkey Trot proceeds had not been delivered to the District, they initiated a series of discussions and meetings with the identified founder to resolve outstanding issues concerning the 2013 Turkey Trot.

Specifically, the District asked how much was raised by the 2013 Turkey Trot, how much was spent in race preparations and operations (with a detailed accounting of expenses), and how much remained to be remitted to the District to support the PHS Cross Country & Track programs. The requested information was promised but not provided.

In February 2014, District staff met with the some of the founders of the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation and were told the gross proceeds from the 2013 event were approximately $54,000. The District asked at that meeting, and immediately thereafter in writing, for a copy of the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws (which specify how the Corporation intends to spend funds that it receives going forward), a complete accounting of the 2013 race proceeds and expenses, and that all proceeds from the 2013 Turkey Trot be paid to the District to deposit in the special fund for Cross Country & Track held by the PHS Associated Student Body.

Again, the requested information was promised but not provided.

The District continued to pursue this information and return of the 2013 Turkey Trot proceeds in numerous communications, both oral and written, with the identified founder of the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation. The District has attempted to resolve this matter informally out of respect and recognition of the organizers’ long service to the community, and the identified founder’s repeated promises that the information and proceeds would be forthcoming.

As a result of the District’s efforts, the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation has since partially released funds to the District. The Corporation delivered $19,879.23, stating that it is keeping $30,000 of the 2013 proceeds to fund the 2014 Turkey Trot. The founder refused to sign an agreement to return the full amount of the 2013 Trot proceeds to the District for use in supporting “the Cross-Country and Track teams as well as exercise equipment to benefit the whole school” as stated in the City of Piedmont’s permit approval for the 2013 Turkey Trot.

Aside from the partial reimbursement of the upfront costs invested by the District, no other funding has been provided by the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation to support the Cross Country & Track programs and student athletics. However, students and parents should be advised that the District remains fully committed to support all student athletic programs, and the Cross County & Track programs will continue to receive the financial and program resources they need for the 2014-15 season.

Unresolved Questions:

As the accounting and disbursement issues concerning the 2013 Turkey Trot remain unresolved, it is unclear what the relationship will be between the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation and PHS athletic programs going forward.

Relevant questions for parents, students and the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation include:
• Who should run future Turkey Trots in Piedmont? Although the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation seeks to do so, other stakeholders have not had an opportunity to present their thoughts.
If future Turkey Trots are run by the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation, to whom does it intend to donate the proceeds?
• Does Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation intend to be transparent with the community regarding the proceeds and expenses of the Turkey Trot, and to whom it makes donations?

The Piedmont Unified School District remains open to facilitate a discussion among representatives of the Piedmont Turkey Trot Corporation, student athletes, parents, and PHS supporters to answer these questions to foster the long tradition of collaboration among community members, parents, and students in support of student athletics in the District.

If you have any questions, please direct them to the Office of the Superintendent at; chubbard@piedmont.k12.ca.us

September 24, 2014

1 Comment »
Oct 16 2014

October 15, 2014

Dear Mayor Fujioka, Vice Mayor Wieler, and City Council Members Rood, King, and McBain:

Unfortunately, I am unable to attend the City Council meeting this coming Monday evening, October 20, 2014, as I wanted to speak on the subject of smoking restrictions in Piedmont. Thus, I am writing to you as a third generation “Piedmonter”, being a resident for 50 years this October 2014 and a property owner myself for 34 years.

All three of our children grew up in Piedmont and enjoyed the amazing community and services offered by both the City and Schools, including attending recreation department programs, participating in sports, participating in after school educational programs, etc., with two of our children graduating from Piedmont High School. My wife Holly and I, and my father as well, have been tireless community volunteers and proudly helped both the Schools and City in so many ways. Thus, my family is very ingrained in Piedmont and seriously concerned about maintaining its wonderful quality of life.

With this, I am wholeheartedly in support of Piedmont adopting a No Smoking Ordinance as soon as possible. As such, I am in support of extending the secondhand smoke protections in Piedmont to include many of our outdoor public spaces and as well I strongly suggest that this ordinance address the proliferation of unregulated electronic cigarettes.

People who smoke need to be discouraged from smoking when they are around others, especially children, the elderly, and those with lung, heart, or other chronic conditions.  To ensure safe air passage for our children, their parents, our teachers and others to from school and around the schools, I strongly support the adoption of a smokefree buffer zone around the perimeter of all of our schools.

As stated above, it is just common sense to include the use of electronic smoking device emissions in the protections, since the toxins emitted like formaldehyde may not be safe to those nearby.  In fact, a recent study showed that non-users had measurable levels of nicotine in their bodies from being close by when these devices are used.  A note of importance, these devices can and have been easily altered to allow users to add other substances into the liquid solution for inhalation.

I also strongly support efforts to regulate the sale of these devices and prohibit the distribution of free sampling and the distribution of heavily discounted coupons for all tobacco products including these devices within the Piedmont city limits.  As an asthmatic myself and an American Lung Association volunteer for 30 plus years, I have long supported efforts to reduce tobacco use by adults and youth and I would hate to see electronic cigarettes with their “Captain Crunch” and Gummy Bear” flavors lure a new generation of youth into becoming addicted to nicotine.

Over 65 local California communities have already added e-cigarette regulations into their existing secondhand smoke protections including Hayward, Dublin, San Leandro, Berkeley, Union City, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek, and Richmond.

In conclusion, I not only urge Piedmont residents to support the City Council’s efforts to protect all residents in Piedmont from outdoor secondhand smoke, but to also urge the school community to explore how they can partner with the City in keeping tobacco and nicotine out of our shared air and out of our lungs.

Thank you very much and with warmest regards,

Michael A. Gardner

Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.
Oct 15 2014

Want to learn more about City/School mutual issues?

The City Council and School Liaison Committee meetings are a great way to find out about matters such as: the No Smoking Ordinance; City and School District Capital Facilities Projects; City and School Agreements; Turkey Trot; and Emergency Preparedness.  The Liaison Committee will meet on:

Friday, October 17, at 8:30 a.m. in the Piedmont Unified School District, Administration Office, 760 Magnolia Avenue.  

The meeting is open to the public.  There will be no broadcast or recording of the meeting.  Interested individuals should be present for full information.

The Committee’s agenda includes:

An opportunity for the public to speak on items not on the agenda. (Total Time allotted = 10 minutes. Speakers may be asked to limit their comments.)

Regular Agenda – The public may speak on any of the following items:

1. Discussion of Emergency Preparedness

2. Discussion of Turkey Trot

3. Discussion of District / City Agreements

4. Discussion of City / District Capital Facilities Projects

5. Discussion of No Smoking Ordinance

  1. Discussion of Schedule of Future Meetings – Agenda Topics

Committee Roster:

CITY MEMBERS:
Margaret Fujioka, Mayor
Jeff Wieler, Vice-Mayor
Paul Benoit, City Administrator
SCHOOL DISTRICT MEMBERS:
Andrea Swenson, School Board President
Sarah Pearson, School Board Vice President

Constance Hubbard, Superintendent