Dec 4 2016

Several people have asked when “It’s Official” so please know that you’re all welcome to attend Piedmont’s City Council Installation Ceremony on December 5th, 6:30 p.m., at Piedmont’s Community Hall (reception to follow).

 RSVP’s requested to Lisa Argue at

As I shared throughout the campaign, I really do value your input and ideas and I want to hear from you. I will be shutting down my campaign website and this email account soon, but starting Dec. 6th, you can email me at

You can also engage with the whole council at any time. City Council meetings occur generally on the first and third Monday of each month. You are always welcome to attend a council meeting and share your ideas on any issue you care about. The time allowed for that is the Public Forum and it takes place during the first 10 minutes of every meeting. You can also tune into council and commission meetings on the city’s cable channel KCOM or download video or audio of city meetings from the city’s website.

With deep gratitude,

Jen Cavenaugh


Editors Note: PCA does not support or oppose specific candidates for public office.
Dec 4 2016

The newly elected members to the Piedmont Unified School District Governing Board will be officially sworn into office during a Special Board Meeting on:

December 7, 2016 in the District Office Board Room, located at 760 Magnolia Avenue, beginning at 6:00 p.m.  The public is invited to join in the activities. 

On November 8, 2016, the Citizens of Piedmont elected:

Sarah Pearson, incumbent

Andrea Swenson, incumbent

Cory Smegal, new member

Nov 30 2016

A swearing in ceremony for the newly elected Council members and the election of a mayor and vice mayor will take place in the Piedmont Community Center, located in the Main Park on – 

Monday, December 5, starting at 6:30 p.m.


 Certified election results here. 

A reception will follow the “reorganization” of the Council and the election of the Mayor and Vice Mayor.

The public is invited to attend and participate in the activities. 


After a very active election period with four Piedmonters running for the two open seats on the five member Piedmont City Council, Jen Cavenaugh and Bob McBain were chosen to serve 4 year terms on the City Council.  Cavenaugh, a first time candidate, won 42% of the votes, while incumbent and Vice Mayor McBain won 30%.  Appointed incumbent Jonathan Levine received 26% of the votes.  N. “Sunny” Bostrom-Fleming received 2% of the votes. See results below.

Campaign finance reports indicate that Cavenaugh significantly exceeded the amount of campaign money raised by her opponents. Read the East Bay Times article on candidate campaign finance reports here.

Below are the election results.

# of Votes                         % of Total
 Jen Cavenaugh


4627 42.43%
Bob McBain


3236 29.67%
 Jonathan Levine


2818 25.84%
N. ”Sunny” Bostrom-Fleming


198 1.82%


26 0.24%
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Nov 28 2016

Public Safety Committee will meet on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA. There will be no video recording or public broadcast of the meeting.

There will be an opportunity for members of the audience to address the Committee on items off and on the agenda.

The December 1 Public Safety Committee Agenda includes:

  1. Approval of Public Safety Committee Meeting Minutes for 9/29/16 pca-public-safety-2016-09-29-draft
  2. Introduction and Welcome For Chief of Police Jeremy Bowers
  3. Report From the Chief of Police Regarding Recent Arrests and Notable Crime
  4. Update on Communications Related To Increase In Robberies
  5. Update on Neighborhood Meetings in 2016
  6. Update on Distribution of Get Ready, Piedmont Guides and Checklists
  7. Review of Fire Department/Public Safety Open House Event
  8. Discussion on Use of Public Safety Radios In Neighborhoods
  9. Discussion of Scouting Initiatives To Enhance Public Safety
  10. Update on School Liaison Activities
Nov 21 2016

The following letter was sent to all school parents and guardians.  The letter is now addressed to all Piedmonters.

November 21, 2016

Dear Piedmont Neighbors,

Reactions to the national election and recent alarming acts of prejudice and bigotry in Piedmont have led us to reflect on our values and who we are as community leaders. While we may have differing political, religious, social, or sexual orientations, we each feel strongly that, at our very core, we value diversity, respect, and inclusivity.

We, along with Piedmont Unified School District and City of Piedmont staff, are committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and civil community through our policies, our programming, and our leadership. We stand firm in our collective belief that a safe and civil environment in our schools and across Piedmont is paramount.

To be clear, we will stand firmly united to promote acceptance and kindness, and we will stand up to bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and violence. We will stand in support of our diverse community, honoring and protecting every resident regardless of race, creed, color, gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, orientation, or identity. We will strongly uphold our established policies prohibiting discrimination, hate-motivated incidents and hate crimes, hazing, harassment, intimidation, bullying, cyberbullying, and other disruptive or violent behaviors in our schools and our city.

The City and the School District share these values. The City Administrator and the School Superintendent collaborate to ensure that our community is welcoming and works together for the betterment of its citizens. Our Police and Fire Departments, along with all City Department Services, work in concert to keep our residents safe and secure. Our teachers are holding age-appropriate discussions with students, including reminders about the importance of reflection, respect, and civic engagement. They teach our students the skills, attitudes, and competencies to stand in the shoes of others; exercise empathy; speak out against bullying; make responsible, caring choices; solve problems peacefully; and, as they grow up, become the architects of a better world.

We recognize that we live in challenging times and navigating the waters ahead may not always be smooth. We want to reassure our community that we will take care of each other, we will respect each other, and we will not tolerate the intolerable. By focusing on our shared values of respect and inclusivity, we have an opportunity to come together to be our best selves, to support each other, and to strengthen our community.


Piedmont Board of Education

Andrea Swenson, President

Sarah Pearson, Vice President

Amal Smith, Member

Doug Ireland, Member

Rick Raushenbush, Member

Cory Smegal, Member-elect


Piedmont City Council

Jeff Wieler, Interim Mayor

Robert McBain, Vice Mayor

Teddy Gray King, Councilmember

Jonathan Levine, Councilmember

Tim Rood, Councilmember

Jennifer Cavanaugh, Councilmember-elect

Signed by, Randall Booker, Superintendent of Schools

Nov 20 2016

Hoping a New Agency will Produce Greener Electricity – 

On Monday, November 21, the City Council is expected to approve the second reading of the authorization of Piedmont’s participation in a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) Authority.  State policy permits Piedmont to aggregate electricity demand within our City and prioritize alternative energy supplies from sources other than PG&E.  PG&E would continue to bill, transmit and distribute the electricity to Piedmont homes.  It would also continue to provide meter-reading, maintenance and outage response services.

PG&E already provides “some of the nation’s cleanest electric power,” said utility spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian.

The 2015 power mix of PG&E’s energy consisted of 30% renewable sources, and the company is heading toward the state’s 33 percent benchmark at least by 2020. Adding its 23% nuclear and 6% hydroelectric sources, last year 62% of the power PG&E provided was carbon-free.

State regulators allow the utilities to levy a charge on departing CCA customers to compensate them for the cost of the power that the utilities had already purchased to serve anticipated load. Piedmonters will be automatically enrolled in the CCA before allowing them to opt out. However, those who prefer to continue to receive PG&E energy, cannot submit opt-out requests to PG&E.

If you receive notice that your electric service can be served by a CCA, and you want to opt out of the CCA program, you must submit your opt-out request directly to the CCA. Submit an opt-out request if:

  • Your area is transitioning to the CCA for the first time
  • You start a new electric service within an existing CCA area

The number and type of customers who opt out of the CCA affect the market negotiations and resulting rates for those remaining in the CCA. Some predictions of CCA rates did not figure in impacts from opt out customers. Other analyses assumed less than 10% customer opt outs, according to the Good Energy August 1, 2016 feasibility study. It notes that terms are not subject to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approval.

The East Bay Community Energy Authority would come into being after three jurisdictions sign the Joint Powers Agreement. Berkeley and Emeryville joined on November 1. Good Energy reported significant administrative and start-up costs for existing California CCAs.  The new public agency would set its own customer billing rates, buy and sell its own electricity and procure its own clean power.

The East Bay Community Energy Authority would set rates. Therefore, rate comparisons for Piedmont are not known at this time. Community Choice Aggregation Piedmonters who choose “Deep Green” (a goal of 100% renewables) CCA electricity may pay more per KWH, while “Light Green” (a goal of 50% renewables) CCA may cost a little less or more. To get an idea of the rate comparisons see existing CCAs:

Rate comparison tables for the first bay area CCA, Marin Clean Energy (MCE).

San Francisco’s CleanPowerSF is offering a mix of natural gas and 35 percent renewable energy from Calpine Corp., as well as a 100 percent renewable option, which comes from Iberdrola Renewables’ Shiloh Wind project in Solano County. Only 220 customers have opted for the “super green” option.

Rate comparison tables for CleanPowerSF (CPSF)

The intent is to speed up the development of new sources of green energy but the means of accomplishing that is unclear and Renewable energy certificates (REM) seem to compromise that goal.  REMs qualify as renewable content even if “unbundled,” meaning the CCA is not actually using renewables in their location; simply, there are renewable units somewhere on the grid. This would mean no local GHG  (greenhouse gas) reduction due to crediting pre-existing renewable sources.

The matter is not without controversy as some in the community have questioned CCA’s transparency and oversight, unnecessary potential energy cost increases, complicated processes, and the establishment of a parallel new energy agency authorized by the City of Piedmont.  Other citizens are enthusiastic, hoping for greener energy from this approach.

The item is number 9 on the November 21 agenda. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers starting at 7:30 p.m.  Live and recorded broadcasts of the meeting can be found on Cable Channel 27 and the City website.

Read the staff report here. 

Nov 19 2016

City-wide notifications of the significant zoning changes are needed before ordinances are adopted by the City Council in January, 2017.

Piedmont is on the brink of two significant changes that will fundamentally alter how residents maintain and modify their homes.  One change is seamless and could go virtually unnoticed by residents.  The other change is controversial and could significantly alter how residents enjoy their private and public property. 

The first change is how you will get the power to run your home. 

First, there are two kinds of power sources – non-renewable (fossil fuels, natural gas) that generate green house gas (GHG) and renewable (solar, wind, hydro) that doesn’t.  Like most cities in the East Bay, Piedmont gets its power from PG&E and most of that power is non-renewable.  And because of global warming, like all cities in California, Piedmont is required to reduce it’s GHG 15% by 2020 and 40% by 2030.  
To address this urgent need, cities in Alameda County have banded together and formed the East Bay Community Energy Authority, whereby all 14 municipalities decide to direct rate-payer revenue to either buy or develop renewable power for their residents.  You will still get a PG&E utility bill and pay for energy transmission but your bill will show that your utilities are provided through the new Energy Authority.  Feasibility studies have shown that your utility bill could be slightly cheaper than that provided by PG&E and will certainly have a greater percentage of renewable energy.  Piedmont residents will automatically be enrolled in the new Energy Authority but will be given multiple opportunities to decline and stay with PG&E at no charge. 
By joining the authority, Piedmont will take significant strides towards reducing it’s GHG output.  Extensive background information on the new Energy Authority is available at  Three Piedmonters with energy expertise have offered to answer questions from residents: Councilmember Tim Rood ( Alex DiGregorio ( and Justis Fennel (

The second change deals with how you remodel your home. 

If there’s one thing Piedmonters take possibly more seriously than global warming its their home remodel or that of their neighbors, governed by Chapter 17 of the Piedmont Municipal Code. City Council is about to adopt major changes to the code and unlike your energy bill, you won’t be able to decline so you better get your two 2 cents in now. 
Chapter 17 revisions are being undertaken to modernize the code, reorganize it logically, and address development changes called for in the Piedmont General Plan, a community survey and planning process conducted in 2009 to guide city growth (I was on Council at the time).  Over the past year, the Planning Commission has held public meetings on various topics (second units, new technologies and many others) but attendance has been sparse.
Proposed changes to the code are voluminous but can be summarized in two words – increased density.  For the average resident, the proposed changes should be viewed from two perspectives – that of your property and that of your community.  From your property’s perspective, the new code allows accessory structures (structures up to 15 feet high and 400 square feet – garages, hot tubs, patios) within the 5 foot setback so long as it is within 35 feet of the rear property line.  As long as the structures are not habitable, you and your neighbor can build right up to the property line.  You might also see wireless communication hardware out your front window.  The new code allows for co-location of wireless communication facilities in all public right of ways (think street poles) at the discretion of the Planning Department Director.  Previously, wireless installations required a hearing at Planning and Council but it is not clear under the new code how or if residents will be notified of wireless installations outside of their homes.
From the community perspective, your street may become more crowded. The old rule that you can’t add a bedroom without adding off-street parking is eliminated.  The new code allows up to four bedrooms to be added as long as there are sufficient uncovered spaces in the driveway.  The code now accepts tandem driveway parking but practically this will increase on street parking in the neighborhood. 
The biggest community change you will notice is in the Grand Avenue business corridor and Civic Center.  Here multi-use, multi-story development is being allowed with no required street setback nor off-street parking for businesses under a certain size.  In particular, the Shell Station at 29 Wildwood has been highlighted for this development.  Staff’s rationale for these permissive code terms is that they will foster pedestrian-friendly development – if you can’t park there, you’ll walk there.  That may be true for the Civic Center but not for the Grand Ave corridor – more Oaklanders will walk to shops there than Piedmonters.  Staff cites successful multi-use development just down the street in Oakland but fails to acknowledge the public parking lots and slant parking that support that.  Better neighborhood and city planning analysis is needed before these changes are adopted. 
There are many other changes to the zoning code so visit to see the full report.  The report is lengthy and cumbersome – it may be easier to email Kevin Jackson, Planning Director, at, with your questions.  And the city should implement a city-wide notification of these changes before they are adopted by City Council in January.
Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont City Council Member
Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the author.  Emphasis added for ease of reading. 
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Nov 19 2016


Piedmont Schools Resale Shop Needs a New Location! Ideas are needed! 

Did you know that Dress Best for Less (DBFL), Piedmont’s own non-profit resale shop, is one of the largest donors to the Piedmont Education Foundation (PEF) every year?

Dress Best For Less –  3861 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland, CA 94611

For decades Piedmont schools have benefited from numerous volunteers and voluminous donations of clothes and resalable items for the thrift store on Piedmont Avenue adjacent to Commis Restaurant.  The fund raising effort regularly donates to the Piedmont Education Foundation (PEF), estimating contributions of over a million dollars to benefit the schools.

Recently, the owner of the shop’s property informed Dress Best For Less (DBFL) they would not be renewing the long held lease as Commis Restaurant would be taking over the space to increase the size of its popular upscale restaurant.  Most of the clients of the thrift store originate from the Kaiser Hospital facilities making it an ideal location for DBFL.

  Since 1982, DBFL, a 501c3 charitable organization, has donated over $1 million to PEF.  The resale operation sells and recycles donated goods from local residents. DBFL supports Piedmont schools while helping Piedmonters reduce, reuse and recycle.

 Gayle Sells, Chair of DBFL Board stated, “We are currently looking for a place to rent on Piedmont Ave as half our customers are from Kaiser. However, we are open to other ideas.”

The Carriage House Marking Room is proposed to be eliminated for a new Aquatic Center development.

Carriage House Marking Room at Magnolia and Bonita Avenues – 799 Magnolia Ave., Piedmont, CA – 510-653-0221

Compounding challenges for DBFL, the proposed Aquatic Center includes destruction of the Carriage House, valued as a quaint landmark of Piedmont’s past. The Carriage House has long served as the DBFL sorting and marking room and a very convenient drop off center for donations.  On any day of the week Piedmonters can be seen bringing bags and boxes of toys, outgrown clothes and housewares to the Carriage House.

The elimination of the Carriage House as a marking room is not immediate. However, if a bond is approved by voters for the Aquatic Center, a new marking room will need to be purchased, rented or built in a central Piedmont location for the convenience of volunteer workers and donors, who donate or work at the Carriage House before picking up kids or after swimming next door. 

Are there any other City owned properties that could serve as well as the Carriage House for donations and recycling in the community? Perhaps the east wing of 801 Magnolia Avenue or the City garages on Magnolia Avenue?

According to Gayle Sells, Chair of DBFL Board, “We hope that the city and school community can find us another space if the pool gets the go ahead.  Our board supports the idea of a new community pool.”

Recycling locally is an important contribution to fulfilling our required reduction of greenhouse gases and reaching the objectives of Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan. 

If you have ideas or can help relocate DBFL, let DBFL know at


On the last Saturday of the month, there is a $10 bag sale from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Carriage House Marking Room – Bag Day is a popular adventure allowing avid thrift shoppers to stuff a standard brown grocery bag full of items for $10.


“DBFL strives to resell only the highest quality donations. Everything on the floor is either in new condition or gently used.  If anything is placed on the floor that is found to have holes, stains or looks too worn, it is removed.”

DONATING at the MARKING ROOM Carriage House

Marking Room at Magnolia and Bonita Avenues – 799 Magnolia Ave., Piedmont, CA – 510-653-0221

• All donations are preferred during business hours at the Marking Room, however a new drop box outside of the Carriage House is available at all hours.
• All sporting goods and furniture should be donated here.
• Please DO NOT leave donations outside. They will be stolen.
• We do not take computers or other electronics.
• No skis, cribs or soiled goods.

3861 Piedmont, Oakland, CA – 510-658-8525

• Small donations are accepted Monday through Saturday 11am-6pm.
• Do not leave items outside

While DBFL greatly appreciates the generosity of all of your donations, please be aware that large furniture, inoperable electronics, car seats, edible products and cosmetics will most likely be discarded automatically.

Donations can be dropped off and the then the donor can print their own Donation Form by clicking below:  

Cleaning closets? Recycle and reuse with Dress Best for Less! DBFL is always in need of gently used and good condition clothing, books, sporting goods and other small household items that will produce revenues for the schools. (Please no computers, non-working electrical items, or soiled, stained, moldy items!). Donate items at the marking room at 709 Magnolia Avenue, across from Piedmont High School.

Shop at the Store for Great Bargains. DBFL is the best upscale resale store in the East Bay! We sell only the most current styles and labels as well as household items in a friendly, organized atmosphere.  Come to the Store located at 3861 Piedmont Avenue.

DBFL Store:
3861 Piedmont Avenue,
Oakland, CA 94611
Phone – 510-658-8525
Tuesday -Saturday – 11am to 6pm

Marking Room:
799 Magnolia Avenue,
Piedmont, CA 94611
Phone – 510-653-0221
Monday – 10:00am – noon
Tuesday – 9am – 1:30pm
Wednesday – 9am – 4pm
Saturday – 10am – noon

DBFL is an important resource for Piedmonters and Piedmont Schools. 

Read more about Dress Best for Less here. <

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Nov 19 2016

League of Women Voters of Piedmont

Holiday Luncheon

Senator Loni Hancock

2016 Election Round-Up

Friday, December 2, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Piedmont Veterans Hall

401 Highland Avenue

The LWV Piedmont is pleased to announce Senator Loni Hancock will be the keynote speaker at its annual Holiday Luncheon on December 2, 2016. The outgoing state senator will provide insight into what the 2016 election results mean for California, the Bay Area and the future. The Senator will also provide a personal perspective of her nearly 14 years in the California Legislature, first as an Assembly Member from 2002 to 2008, and as State Senator from 2008 to 2016. Throughout her legislative career, Senator Hancock has focused on education, the environment and economic equity, while representing nearly 1 million constituents.

Speaker and lunch is $25 in advance or $30 at the door. To reserve your spot, visit and click the Reserve Now button. Payment via credit card, debit card or PayPal account accepted. Payment by check should be made payable to LWVP and sent c/o Ward Lindenmayer, 40 Highland Ave, Piedmont, CA 94611.

There is no fee for the speaker portion of the program. Doors open at 11:15, the program begins at 11:30 with lunch following the presentation.

Editors Note:  PCA does not support or oppose candidates for public office or ballot measures. 
Nov 14 2016

During the afternoon of Monday, November 14, 2016,  approximately 200 Piedmont High School, Millennium High School and Piedmont Middle School students left their campuses to join with students from Oakland Technical High School in protest of the presidential election.

The Piedmont Police and Fire Departments along with District teachers, staff and administrators monitored the protest. The safety and order of the march was maintained.  Some students left the march after reaching Oakland Tech, while others continued on to Oakland City Hall.

“I am thankful for the support of Piedmont’s city services, Oakland Unified’s administrative team, and that the walk-out was peaceful.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact my office at .”

Randall Booker, Superintendent Piedmont Unified School District