Nov 23 2015

The recommendation by the Planning Commission to prohibit short-term rentals will be on a Council agenda in January as announced by  Interim Planning Director Kevin Jackson.

The Piedmont City Council will hear the Planning Commission’s recommendation regarding the regulation of short-term rentals at one of their regularly scheduled hearings in January 2016. You can find more information regarding the Planning Commission’s recommendation to the Council by reviewing the draft minutes and/or video of the November 9, 2015 Planning Commission hearing. [Found on the City of Piedmont website]

To receive a copy of the 141 page staff report prepared for the Planning Commission dated November 9, 2015; ask to be added to the email notice list; or make inquiries – contact:

Kevin Jackson, AICP

Interim Planning Director

120 Vista Avenue,  Piedmont, CA 94611

Tel: (510) 420-3039   Fax: (510) 658-3167

Comments and opinions regarding short-term rentals may be addressed to the City Council via:

 City Clerk John Tulloch\


Interim Planning Director:

City Clerk and City Council:

Piedmont website where draft minutes of the draft Planning Commission are posted next to the video listing of the November 9, 2015 meeting >

Piedmont website where the November 9, 2015 Planning Commission meeting video may be viewed in its entirety >

Nov 23 2015

Waste Management Announces Imposed Recycling Fines –

The Alameda County Waste Management Authority (the Authority) began issuing fines to non-compliant businesses and multi-family property owners still in violation of Alameda County’s Mandatory Recycling Ordinance. In Piedmont recycling and organics collection is mandatory for all businesses and multi-family buildings with five or more units.

Fine amounts can vary from $100 for a single violation to $400 depending on the number and type of violation(s). Continued non-compliance can result in additional penalties according to the ordinance that became effective went into effect on July 1, 2012. There is a 30-day appeal period that allows fine recipients to contest the citation. As of November 23, 2015 100 citation notices have been served. Inspections will continue and may result in more citations.

The purpose of the Ordinance is to reduce the amount of waste Alameda County sends to landfill and to help reach long-term waste reduction goals – specifically, to ensure that by 2020, waste sent to landfills contains less than 10% of materials that are easily recyclable or compostable. For businesses, the amount of this “good stuff” in the garbage varies by industry. In 2014, 25% to 59% of the items in businesses’ garbage containers could have been recycled or composted.  Looking at multi-family properties, an average of 46% of their “garbage” is actually recyclable or compostable.

Nov 22 2015

Report on the Board of Education Meeting of November 10, 2015 followed by opinion discussing Piedmont’s Dress Code presentations. Written by Piedmont High School student Chloe Combes.

    The Board of Education for the Piedmont Unified School District meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. The board met on the 10th of November, 2015, a Tuesday, as City Hall was closed the following day for Veterans’ Day. The purpose of these meetings is to make announcements to the community, hear from various school staff associations, receive comment from the public, and review and approve action items such as calendars, donations, and budget.

At this particular meeting, the Board of Education first heard the public speak to items not included on the Agenda. Every person who came before the Board at this time was a member of Mr. Keller’s senior civics class. First, Louis Teitelbaum discussed the importance of including the Bible in the English curriculum at Piedmont High School in order to further students’ understanding of the literature already part of the English curriculum. Then, I presented my speech on the issue of dress code presentations at the Middle School and High School and how such presentations lead to self-objectification and victim blaming, as well as serious mental and physical health issues for both girls and boys. Following, Connor Addiego spoke on the necessity of parking near the football field for handicap accessibility. Finally, Reece James expressed his opinion on the school calendar for next year concerning the testing schedule, explaining that finals being after the break was beneficial for seniors, who are under increased pressure applying to colleges in December.

    After the time for non-agenda related items was closed, the Board made announcements concerning site planning at all the schools in the district as well as the upcoming book drive. Then, Superintendent Randall Booker gave a history on the Reorganization of the Board, emphasizing that this was the first year that the the board would be reorganized in December.  After President Andrea Swenson and Vice President Sarah Pearson had both put their hats in the ring for re-election, Mr. Raushenbush commented that he enjoys that the presidency rotates every year (as California’s education code requires that the Board of Education votes every year).

   Next, the Board of Education discussed the Tri-School Plan, a series of goals being created by the principals at Havens, Beach, and Wildwood which adhere to more general LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan) goals in terms of instructional excellence, social and emotional growth, and parent involvement and leadership. They then outlined what their next steps would be, such as integrating health standards and celebration of student work.

    After the Board approved the Tri-School Plan for Student Achievement, it discussed temporary borrowing from the Alameda County Treasury. The reason for this temporary borrowing is that the State does not give any apportionments to K-12 schools until December. The borrowing would allow the schools to meet cash flow needs and  would be returned within the fiscal year (by April). This was quickly approved and Ms. Kashani was called to discuss the Instructional Calendar that was voted for by the teachers, as she was the representative of the Association of Piedmont Teachers. She explained the statistics of the survey that was taken by parents and teachers concerning the calendar. The survey demonstrated that parents and students often find winter break to be stressful rather than relaxing due to finals being placed afterwards.

   Superintendent Booker showed a powerpoint of the new calendar explaining all the changes from the old one to the board, such as the Thanksgiving week schedule as well as the weeks preceding winter break.  He also explained the new “Flexible Professional Development” which designates certain days of the year for teachers to have teacher development with their fellow department members. Eighteen hours in total are required for this development, which can be done outside of the designated days if teachers wish. On this particular issue, I had mixed opinions.

   Reece James expressed that it is difficult for seniors to have both finals and college applications due in this time frame, and Winter Break is an excellent time to review and catch up on school work. However, I understand that it is important for students to have Winter Break as an actual break from school rather than just additional time to study and stress over upcoming finals. The new calendar was approved by the board

    Afterwards, a few announcements were made such as the Middle School Site Plan, the LCAP meeting, which Board Member Amal Smith attended, and the Millennium High School potluck, which Vice President Pearson attended. Ms. Pearson announced the upcoming play “Servant of Two Masters,” as well as the upcoming sexual assault prevention and non-suicidal self injury meetings.

   The Consent Calendar including a $3,000 donation to Piedmont High School was quickly approved as a “Perfect Consent Calendar.”  The meeting was then adjourned.

   I sought out board member Mr. Richard Raushenbush to ask him a few questions about the meeting. When asked what the next step would be in an area of concern to him, he said that another way to alleviate student stress would be to create a master testing schedule, which has been on the board’s agenda for discussion in the future. This would ensure that multiple tests would not fall on the same day. He then expressed the issue that it can be difficult to create a testing schedule for the entire year but to have a physical calendar would be a quicker and a much easier solution.

   Mr. Raushenbush said he chose to be on the School Board in order to “serve people other than himself, “I always wanted to do some form of public service and the school board is local,” he said, and it fits in with the amount of work that he otherwise has. He concluded, “This is my opportunity to do something that benefits others.”


My own speech to the board was as follows.

Hello, my name is Chloë Combes and I would like to discuss the way that dress codes are presented to students in Piedmont’s schools, specifically at Piedmont Middle School and Piedmont High School.

    I have previously read through the Dress Code in the Student Handbook for Piedmont High School and there is absolutely nothing unreasonable about it. It requires that students wear shoes, as is mandated by state law; it prohibits students from wearing t-shirts affiliated with unsanctioned social clubs, as well as clothing which reveals undergarments or draws inappropriate attention to the wearer; it prohibits clothing or jewelry which promotes illegal behavior, contains sexually suggestive pictures, slogans, or graphics demeaning to any sex; and prohibits clothing demeaning to any individuals or groups of people. These regulations are in place to prevent disruptive or inappropriate behavior. I firmly believe that our dress code is completely sensible and it should be in place in order to ensure that no teacher or student feels uncomfortable due to another person’s choice in clothing. Our school dress code promotes a safe environment at our schools.

    However, I take issue with the way that these dress codes are presented to us. Whenever my classmates and I have had an assembly or had administrators come to our classrooms to discuss the dress code with students, there has certainly been a disproportionate focus on female students. They often tell us we need to cover all the “b’s”: our behinds, our breasts, our bellies, and our bare shoulders. In middle school, we had quarterly assemblies, 12 total, where 10 minutes were dedicated to explaining this to me. That is a total of two hours over my three years at Piedmont Middle School. I agree that wearing clothing that is too revealing can make students, teachers, and administrators uncomfortable, both boys and girls. However, “uncomfortable” is not the word that administrators or teachers use to describe the effects of such clothing choices. Instead, they use the word “distracting.”

    Such assemblies or discussions, in my experience, begin at the age of 10. Since I was 10, I have been told my body is distracting and therefore, sexual. I have been made a sexual object that my fellow male classmates are inherently distracted by, and that the blame is on myself. This is called “slut shaming” and objectification. There is no doubt that this promotes a “boys will be boys” mentality. Females learn to view themselves in the eyes of men who supposedly cannot control themselves rather than the female’s own wants and needs. This is called self-objectification and has been proven by the APA to be linked to depression, mental health issues, and eating disorders.

    This also has a negative effect on boys, many of whom are still children when these discussions begin. They learn that a female body is a sexual object regardless of context. It teaches them that it is acceptable to disrespect girls and that they are not responsible for their misbehavior. They can blame the female because she is showing too much skin. This is the cause for predatory behavior such as harassment, sexual assault, and victim blaming.

   Fortunately, on a day to day basis, I do not see a double standard concerning the dress code at our school. However, there have been some situations which have been unsettling. For example, three weeks ago at our school-mandated pep rally, two men from the water polo team participated in the rally in only their speedos. Almost every member of our school administration was present and yet, to my knowledge, absolutely no punitive action took place. This is not an isolated event. In past years, this same situation has taken place with no administrative response. I was not uncomfortable with the event, but there is no doubt that this was in violation of the school dress code. This tells me that our administration is willing to make excuses for certain members of the student body who, as mentioned before, are men.

    Last year, an administrator, who was a woman, came to each class, including my history class and told me the way I dress is the way I present myself to the world and tell people who I am. This, she said, will dictate how people think of me and treat me. What this told me was that if I dress in a certain way, I am no longer entitled to respect from others, neither for myself nor for my body. The way that I, along with my male and female classmates, have been taught about the school dress code has perpetuated rape culture in our schools.

   The faculty in our schools need to look at how our dress code is being presented to students, the vast majority of whom are children who are experiencing major changes both mentally and physically. We are impressionable. Both girls and boys need to be taught about our school dress code in a way that does not sexualize the female student body or promote the objectification of women as a whole.

Thank you, Chloe Combes

Editors’ Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the author. 
Nov 22 2015
High School Student Hana Elabed reported on the November 16, 2015 City Council meeting.

    On Monday, November 16th, I treked up to Piedmont City Hall in order to hear the City Council meeting. The Council typically meets on the first and third Monday of each month. The meeting promptly started at 7:30 p.m. and ended at approximately 9 p.m. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and hear about things that were listed on the agenda. The agenda included the approval of minutes, the acceptance of the Highland Avenue Parkway Drainage Improvement Project, discussion of the Book Drive, discussion of the Toys for Tots drive, consideration of the appointment of James O’Leary as an interim contract Finance Director, and the 3rd quarter crime report.

    Mayor Margaret Fujioka called the meeting to order and directed everyone to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Fujioka moved to the consent calendar and Vice Mayor Jeff Wieler said, “I think we need to pull the Highland Avenue reimbursement.”  Mayor Fujioka then entertained a motion to approve the meeting minutes from the last Council meeting and the motion passed unanimously. Next, there was a motion to accept the Highland Avenue Parkway Drainage Improvement Project and Council member Robert McBain moved approval and Council member Teddy G. King seconded the motion. The Council voted unanimously to approve the motion.

    After the Public Forum, the Council went to ceremonial matters. Mayor Fujioka smiled and said, “Tonight, we have two ceremonial matters, both really fun opportunities here in Piedmont.”  Fujioka then introduced two representatives from the organizations that will be receiving donated books. Anne Katz of the East Bay Collective Book Project approached the podium to speak about her organization.  Katz started by saying how pleased the organization is to be working with the City of Piedmont again after getting 900 books last year. She stated, “This year, I expect to quadruple that number at least because we have all three elementary schools who are going to be joining us.” Katz said the organization deals with kids who have never owned a book in their lives and they can’t believe it when you give them a book and they are allowed to keep it. Last year the organization gave away about a quarter of a million books to social service agencies.

Katz then invited Peter Scharass up to the podium to talk about his organization. Scharass states, “Low income kids end up with a big difference between their performance in 12th grade and the performance of higher income kids. There is actually an 80% difference between the two.” He stated his organization is purposeful and evidence based and their goal is to obtain kids books and get their parents to read to them.

President of the Piedmont School Board Andrea Swensen said a few words about her excitement in getting Piedmont involved in the Book Drive for the second year in a row. She held up Cat in the Hat and said, “I brought my favorite book as both a child and a parent.” This year, the places to drop off books are the three elementary schools, City Hall and at a bin at the Turkey Trot, which takes place on Thanksgiving Day.

Mayor Fujioka then talked about her love of the Book Drive and said that you cannot overstate the importance of early childhood reading and getting kids hooked on books. “I want to encourage all of our residents to donate generously.”

I think that this is a wonderful thing to become involved in and I encourage anyone to give whatever they can to these causes. Here in Piedmont, kids are very lucky and privileged and any chance there is to give back, is a something that people should participate in.

    Mayor Margaret Fujioka  then moved to discuss the annual Toys for Tots drive that is sponsored in Piedmont by the Fire Department. Fire Chief Bud McLaren spoke about the drive.  He stated, “This is one of the most exciting times of the year for me, because we are honored to pair up with the United States Marine Corps Reserve and collect toys for underprivileged children in Alameda County that won’t be as blessed as our children are.”

The Fire Department is going to collect, unwrapped, new toys from November 16th to December 21st. They collect for all age groups from infancy to teenagers, however the chief encourages people to bring in toys for older kids because they haven’t gotten a lot of those in the past. There are three drop off locations for those who want to donate toys: the Fire Department at 120 Vista Avenue, the Shell Station at 21 Wildwood Avenue, and Highland Partners Real Estate office on Highland Avenue.

Chief McLaren stated if anyone is unable to drop their toys off, he would be more than happy to come pick them up from you. Piedmont in the past has given more toys than any other community, and the Marines have even had to get a bigger truck to pick up our toys.

    The next agenda item was consideration of the appointment of James O’Leary as Interim part-time Finance Director and an engagement agreement with Regional Government Services. The previous holder of this job, Erick Cheung, is resigning to take a position involving less commute time and no night meetings. City Administrator Paul Benoit recommended James O’Leary, who has an extensive background in finance as Assistant Finance Director for the City of San Leandro and San Bruno. Benoit pointed out that since O’Leary’s former employers asked for him to come back, that is a good sign. O’Leary stepped up to the podium to express his excitement for starting this new job and the challenges he hopes to overcome. Fujioka asked O’Leary, “Will you be working on another assignment the same time you are working with Piedmont?” to which O’Leary responded, “No, I will only be working with Piedmont.” The motion to hire O’Leary passed unanimously.

 Next was  consideration of actions regarding Phase 5 of the sewer rehabilitation project. Fujioka asked, “Can you clarify if we are reimbursing the state or the City of Piedmont?”  Chester Nakahara, Public Works Director stated, “The loan we are getting is from the California State Water Resources Control Board, so we are repaying the loan to the state.”

To date, the City has completed 35% of the design documents for Phase 5 of the sewer project. The project is going to end up replacing about 6 miles of sewer line and the projected cost of that work is about $3.8 million. Mark Obereld was introduced as the head engineer for the project. The City submitted the initial application to the state a few weeks ago and so the process has started. The staff is anticipating that Phase 5 will start in October 2016 and will be complete by October 2017. After Phase 5 is complete, 80% of the City’s total sewer system will be new. The other 20% will be completed in Phase 6 and 7.

Fujioka made a remark about the non-specificity in the title of the loan proposal and City Attorney Michelle Kenyon stated, “The state really frowns on people making edits to this and it is almost impossible for the state to agree to edits.” Jeff Wieler stated, “Wouldn’t it be a waste of time to have the City Attorney pursuing changes for the state bureaucracy? I would be opposed to using resources to try and negotiate with the State of California.” Fujioka stated, “My theory is that it never hurts to ask.”  The motion for the sewer loan was approved  unanimously.

    The last item at the meeting was the third quarter crime report from the Chief of Police, Rikki Goede. The City of Piedmont has seen a 1% decrease in crime since the prior quarter. The Chief encourages people to make sure to lock their cars every night because the car burglaries rate has gone up. Also, do not leave any valuables or anything of substance in the car. The Chief also encourages people to wait by the ATM until their transaction is fully complete because people can steal your code and get money out of your account.

There has been a decrease in speeding because of the new speed limit signs inserted on Oakland and Highland Ave. The Chief also encourages people to make their house look lived when they go out of town. She wants students to know that the police officers are not there to just get them in trouble, but more there for their safety.

“I think that the officers need to make more of an effort to develop relationships with the students because they are in our lives a lot.”

Fujioka stated, “It’s a new day in Piedmont for increasing public safety”.

Close to the end of the meeting Vice Mayor Wieler stated, “I would like to commend the high school students for actually sticking it out through the entire meeting, most of your colleagues don’t do that. I think if you approach the City Clerk, he’ll make a note saying that you should get extra credit.”

 After the meeting, I introduced myself to Councilwoman Teddy G. King who has recently become a part of the Council and I had the opportunity to ask her a couple of questions. When asked why she wanted to join the Council she said, “I have a strong belief in public service and when given the opportunity I ran for public office. I wanted to put more things in place in order to protect the kids better. Honestly, I ran because Councils have historically not had any women with kids in the school system, it tends to be more empty nesters or men.”

I found it gratifying that King took the initiative to run for City Council for the reasons that she had. King stated that there are many things on her agenda to bring up to the Council, but on the top of her list is “improving recreational opportunities and I am very happy that the City is finally talking about improving Hampton Field again,” King noted, “I think it is going to be difficult for me and my colleagues to find the funding for that and it will take some political heavy lifting”.

Overall, the meeting was a very interesting thing to attend and it was fascinating to be able to meet the mayor and other councilmembers. I look forward to attending more in the future.

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Nov 22 2015

The City of Piedmont and the Piedmont Unified School District are joining with Oakland Rotary’s KinderPrep and the East Bay Children’s Book Project to collect books for children who lack access to reading materials. New or gently used books for children in Kindergarten through second grade are especially desired but books for students up to twelfth grade are also welcome.

The book drive is specifically seeking these books:

Any Pete the Cat book in the series.

Anything by Mo Willems (Pigeon series)

Any Dr. Seuss book

Anything by Laura Numeroff with title “If You Give a …..”

Any book on this website:

Drop off books at Piedmont City Hall on weekdays until December 17th from 8:30 a.m. to Noon and 1:00-5:00 p.m. Book bins will also be available at Piedmont’s three elementary school sites during school hours from November 30th to December 11th.

The Book Drive will benefit two local organizations: Oakland Rotary’s KinderPrep program, which is committed to fostering literacy and a love of reading in early childhood and the East Bay Children’s Book Project, which helps build literacy by putting books into the hands of children who have little or no access to them.

For more information on the Holiday Children’s Book Drive, please contact the City Clerk’s office at (510) 420-3040 or the Superintendent’s Office at (510) 594-2614.


Nov 22 2015

“The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens,” according to the Toys for Tots mission statement.

The annual Toys for Tots drive is sponsored by the Piedmont Fire Department in association with the United States Marine Corps Foundation. Toys are collected for underprivileged children in Alameda County. The Fire Department is collecting unwrapped, new toys until December 21st. Toys for all age groups from infancy to teenagers are appreciated, however toys for teens and preteens have been lacking in the past.

Drop off locations to donate toys:

Piedmont Fire Department, 120 Vista Avenue,

Shell station, 21 Wildwood Avenue,

Highland Partners Real Estate office, 342 Highland Avenue.

Nov 22 2015

Since 1966 Piedmont Scouts have sold trees at Christmas time to support their programs. Net income from the sale of trees currently provides approximately 30% of the annual operating expenses.

The 2015 Tree Lot will operate November 28 to December 23, 2015 at Coaches Field, 890 Moraga Avenue.

Monday – Friday 4:00pm – 7:30pm
Saturday – Sunday 9:00am – 7:00pm

Nov 22 2015

The City of Piedmont’s offices will be closed for Thanksgiving Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27.

Nov 17 2015

The City is making changes to the turn around point in front of the Police Department and Excedra at Highland and Magnolia Avenues. Pick up and drop off of students will be impacted. 


The City of Piedmont will make changes to the intersection of Highland and Magnolia Avenues to improve public safety and reduce traffic congestion. The changes will involve closing to all vehicular traffic the paved area between the traffic island in front of the Exedra and the Veterans’ Hall which is currently used as a drop off point and turn around. These changes were approved by the City Council at its regular meeting of October 5, 2015.

As currently configured, this intersection is hazardous to pedestrians and drivers, especially during the drop off and pick up times for Piedmont High School and Piedmont Middle School. Residents often turn in to this area from both directions of Highland Avenue to drop students off for school, resulting in a traffic backup on both Highland and Magnolia Avenues. This makes pedestrian crossings dangerous at the Exedra and at the corner of Highland and Vista Avenues.

When the activity level is high, a long queue can develop causing backups onto both directions of Highland Avenue in front of the Veterans’ Hall. The traffic created by these queues hampers the ability of police cars, which park on Highland Avenue adjacent to this area, to respond in a timely manner to emergencies and other calls for service. In addition, the congestion is multiplied when there are students using the various pedestrian crosswalks that lead to this area, and cars appropriately stop to allow the pedestrians to cross.

Once the change is made, the closed area will be painted and signed to reflect the change in use. The City recognizes this change will require some parents and students to change their drop off routine, but in this case, the public safety benefits outweigh the inconvenience that residents will have to face.

This work is scheduled to be completed during the week of November 23, 2015.

For more information, contact City Clerk John Tulloch at 420-3040.

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Nov 16 2015

On Tuesday, November 17, 2015, at 4:00 p.m., liaisons from the Board of Education and City Council will meet at the Piedmont Unified District Office Board Room, 760 Magnolia Avenue, Piedmont.  The public is welcome to attend and participate.  The meeting will not be recorded or broadcast.

The November 17 agenda includes discussion of:

A. Pick-Up and Drop-Off of students at Magnolia Avenue

B. Facilities Master Planning

1. School District Update

C. Trash at Piedmont Park

D. School Safety/Crisis Management

            Notice received 11/16/15