May 2 2016

Aquatics Master Plan Meeting

 Wednesday,  May 4,  7:00 p.m.

801 Magnolia Avenue in the East Wing of the Piedmont Center for the Arts Building across from Piedmont High School. 

Aquatics Master Plan Steering Committee Meeting: 

The City Council has appointed a committee to investigate a plan for the Piedmont Municipal Pool and Aquatics.  Two Council members are on the Steering Committee, Tim Rood and Teddy King. 

The May 4 meeting is a public meeting to discuss with the consultant new pools, new ideas for aquatics and other associated matters.  The meeting will not be recorded or broadcast.  Anyone interested can attend and participate in the meeting. 

Agenda for the meeting.

Staff report to the City Council.

For further information, contact:

Recreation Director Sara Lillevand at:   (510) 420-3070

May 2 2016

May 24, 2016

Piedmont High School
Annual Bird Calling Contest

You can purchase tickets at:

Tickets are limited.


“Wax,” a student asked one lazy afternoon in 1963, “can we do something to liven things up around here?”  With this request in mind, Mr. Leonard J. Waxdeck recalled an interesting experience from his factory days and created the show that everyone knows today as the Piedmont High School Bird Calling Contest.

That was the beginning of the legend, as it has been reprinted in contest programs for more than five decades. It goes on to recount the multiple appearances on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”, followed by multiple appearances on “Late Night with David Letterman” as well.

Though the Contest changed irrevocably in the fall of 1994 with the death of its founder, it has been carried on by the many who share in the spirit of innovation and fun of Mr. Waxdeck.  In honor of the tradition that he created, we continue to present the Annual Piedmont High School Bird Calling Contest year after year. Our hope is that with the support of the community and students, this venerable tradition will continue for many years to come.


Many people wonder about the criteria for a winning call. Is it the delicate soloist with the enchanting whistle worthy of first-place? Or is the best act the routine that receives the most enthusiastic response from the audience?  To assist any armchair judges in the audience, the following criteria are used.  Though judges give scores for each of the three criteria, points alone do not determine the winners. There are intangibles that set the winners apart.

  • Authenticity of Call

The judges will act as experts of the Contest to certify the authenticity of the call.

  • Poise and Delivery

Both stage presence and smoothness of delivery are considered. The beauty and singularity of the birdcall are essential.

  • Content of Introduction

Contestants must write their own ‘sketches’. It should include pertinent information about their bird. The information should be organized, well-composed, and in good taste. Humor can be a plus or minus, depending on its appropriateness.

Past Winners

2015 Tyler Ellis, Maret Sotkiewicz
2014 Sami Barney, Katie Cummins, Jasmine Nadim
2013 Gabe Bolio, James Clifford, Eli Nash
2012 Tialli Moya-Smith, Sheli Shacker, and Cameron Anderson
2011 Caitlin Baldridge, Austin Kelley, Theo Quayle
2010 Andrew Moorhead, Emma Nicholls, Zach Piser
2009 Anna Kritikos, Claire Rogers, & Rosie Talcott
2008 Derek DeRoche, Eric Sezgen, & Eric Wheeler
2007 Drew Joseph & Drew Kessler
2006 Dana Han-Klein & Claire Menke
2005 Claire Neumann & Kelsey Webster
2004 Laci Halliwell, Brandon Paris, & Bunny Rutherford
2003 Andrew Meyer & Cullen Reddy
2002 Alex Hirsch
2001 Jill Pervere & Rachel Winograd
2000 Eli Liliedahl-Allen & Courtney Labree
1999 David Lau & Paul Celestre
1998 John Shumway & Carl Moren
May 2 2016

The Piedmont Park Commission will meet on Wednesday, May 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, located in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will be broadcast live on cable Channel 27 and on the City’s website.

Agenda for the meeting:

  • Approval of April 6, 2016 minutes
  • Public hearing on requested street trees and replacement plantings for Lorita Avenue
  • Update on Linda/Kingston Triangle
  • Update on Trident Maple planting in Main Park
  • Update on Hampton Park Master Plan
  • Update on Arbor Day
  • Monthly Maintenance report
May 1 2016

On Monday, May 2, starting at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall, the City Council will consider approving agreements with Alameda County for ambulance and advanced life support measures. The current agreement expires October 31, 2016.  Additional agreements will be considered with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, the Alameda County Transportation Commission, and for Prescription Drug disposal.

The Proposed FY 16-17 Budget for the City of Piedmont will be presented.

The Council will consider a resolution commending a number of volunteers who will each receive the resolution at the reception on May 19 at the Community Hall.

Nominations for Piedmont Civic Volunteer of the Year are due May 6. (Nomination Form)

Staff Reports for May 2, 2016 Council Meeting:

05/02/16 – Approval of a Resolution to be Presented to Volunteers at the Annual Volunteer Reception for 2016

05/02/16 – 2nd Reading of Ord. 722 N.S. Modifying Section 3.8 of the City Code to Allow for Expanded Use of Linda Beach Playfield During the Renovation of Piedmont Sports Field (Hampton Field)

05/02/16 – Approval of Agreements with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office for the Following:

a. Critical Incident Handling (Mutual Aid)

b. Evidence Collection and Processing

05/02/16 – Approval of the Master Programs Funding Agreement between the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) and the City of Piedmont

05/02/16 – Approval of the Extension of an Agreement with Alameda County Regarding First Response Advanced Life Support and Ambulance Transport Services

05/02/16 – Approval of Agreements Related to Prescription Drug Take Back Program in the Police Department

05/02/16 – Receipt of the 1st Quarter 2016 Crime Report from the Chief of Police

05/02/16 – Consideration of Authorization to Sign a Letter of Support Authorizing Participation in the 2016 East Bay SunShares Program

05/02/16 – Consideration of a Resolution Approving an Agreement and Establishing a Project Construction Budget for the Oakland and El Cerrito Aves. Pedestrian Improvement Project

The meeting on May 2, 2016 will be broadcast live on Channel 27 and from the City website under online videos.

May 1 2016

On Monday, May 2, the City Council will consider a Contract for the Oakland Avenue & El Cerrito Avenue Intersection Pedestrian Improvement Project to Pacific General Engineering, in the amount of $25,500. Total construction cost is estimated at $28,050.

In recent months, the City has received several complaints regarding unsafe conditions for pedestrians using the crosswalks at the intersection of Oakland Avenue and El Cerrito Avenue.

This intersection (as well as several others along Oakland Avenue) were identified as higher priority projects in the adopted Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. Based on observation at this intersection, the Public Works Department has looked into installing Pedestrian Crossing Signs with rapid flashing LED lights around the perimeter of the sign for high visibility. The LED lights are activated when a pedestrian pushes a crossing button. The lights are solar powered, similar to the speed signs recently installed along Oakland Avenue. The plans for this project as prepared by the City Engineer is attached as Exhibit A to this report.

In accordance with Sections 2.155-2.158 of the City’s Municipal Code, three contractors were approach and asked to provide bids. The contractors included Pacific General Engineering, Interstate Grading and Paving, and Granite Rock. Bids were received from Pacific General Engineering and Interstate Grading and Paving. Granite Rock declined to submit a bid, as they indicated they would have to subcontract out the majority of the work.

The two bids received for this work ranged in priced from $25,500 to $35,314, with the low bid submitted by Pacific General Engineering.

Based on information received, staff has examined the bid submitted by Pacific General Engineering and found it to be in conformance with the requirements of what was requested in the bid information. Based on the bids received and in accordance with the Public Contract Code requirements, staff is recommending that the Council authorize award of the Oakland & El Cerrito Ave. Intersection Pedestrian Improvement Project contract to Pacific General Engineering based on their low bid of $25,500.

If approved, the work is estimated to be completed prior to June 30, 2016.

This project would be funded from Measure B and BB Bicycle and Pedestrian monies. Based on the bids received, staff is recommending the following overall budget:

By: Chester Nakahara, Public Works Director John Wanger, City Engineer

1 Comment »
May 1 2016

New Commissioner urges Recreation Facilities use priority for residents, $55,000 private donation pledged for Hampton Park may show up later or not be needed, Betty C. Howard Award to employee Katrina Morris and volunteer John Morrison –

 On April 20th, 2016, at approximately 7:30 p.m., the Piedmont Recreation Commission called into session its monthly meeting. The Commission works with allocating, regulating, renovating, and creating park properties. According to Director Sara Lillevand, who facilitated the meeting, these tasks actually have a very “large breadth” in the city.

 The meeting, specifically broken down into nine agenda items, began with a warm welcome to three new members of the Commission: Glyn Burge, Jeff Dorman, and Vincent Fisher. Each was given an introduction stating their background. After the meeting, Fisher kindly granted an interview in which he stated that he had previous experience in local government in Connecticut, from where he had just moved. He mentioned that his top priority was dealing with “the space issue” which plagues Piedmont parks and making sure that “Piedmont residents get priority” when it comes to park use. After the members were applauded into their new roles, the Commission voted on the next Chair and Vice-Chair, unanimously electing Elizabeth Smegal Andersen and Brian Cain, respectively.

 After a couple of brief formalities, the Commission unanimously approved their minutes and reviewed the Commission’s duties.  Then the Commission began its main point of discussion, the Hampton Field renovation Master Plan. Since the plan had already been approved the previous Monday by the Council, the discussion turned out to be more of a recap of events rather than a discussion of possibilities and details.

 Director Lillevand led the rearticulation, highlighting her personal investment in the project and noting that the Hampton renovation had been about ten years in the making.  She verbalized her appreciation for the many people who worked painstakingly to see the project come to fruition, as well as the private sponsors whose donations made the project feasible.

 Interestingly, Lillevand stated that of the $254,000 pledged for the Hampton project at a January meeting, only $199,000 was actually handed to the Mayor at the Monday meeting.  While this may seem disconcerting, given the members’ lack of reaction, this drop may have been expected, or the remaining $55,000 may show up later or not be needed at all.

 Lillevand concluded by reiterating just how much this development is needed by the community, as Hampton holds league soccer and baseball games, recreational tennis and basketball, as well as summer camps and general park-usage. When asked whether the tennis and basketball courts would be maintained so they do not reach their current level of wear again, she gladly explained that the courts have been placed on a “facility master plan” that has a rotation for resurfacing Piedmont courts.

 After going over how the City planned to deal with the loss of park space during construction time, which will occur this summer, Lillivand stated that opening up Beach Playfield for longer hours on the weekends would be done.

 The commission began discussing the Aquatics Master Plan. Unlike the Hampton situation, no plan is currently in effect, and so the members were able to share ideas on how they felt the aquatics in Piedmont could be enhanced.

 Director Lillevand explained how various stakeholder groups such as competitive swimmers, passholders, and the general public each would get their own meetings in order to express their desires. Additionally, she mentioned some of the current proposals to get more out of the Piedmont Community Pool, which included building new pools, hosting fitness classes, providing adaptive education, and restructuring pools.

 While increasing recreational use is not a bad ideal to have, currently the pools are in such high demand that doing so would restrict access to many groups. As Andersen said, “no groups feel like they have enough water space,” and so the most beneficial change would be to create more pool space. Once more pool space has opened up, then the Recreation Department can focus on providing more activities without having to cut into the already limited time many groups receive. While no voting occurred on the aquatics plan, most members seemed to agree that, in general, Piedmont should revamp its aquatics.

 To conclude the meeting in a most fitting way, the Commission voted unanimously to give the Betty C. Howard Award to Katrina Morris, an employee, and John Morrison, a volunteer. The annual award is bestowed upon citizens who perform superior service, show programming ability, demonstrate loyalty and dedication, and work many hours in service of the Recreation Department and Piedmont community. Once descriptions of the nominees’ work in service were given, and they were officially put into consideration, they were chosen with a simultaneous “Aye.” With that, the meeting was adjourned.

Report by David Monical, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
May 1 2016

Vehicle lanes on Grand Avenue will be reduced to one lane in each direction with a turn lane in the middle.  A new bicycle lane will be installed in both directions.  Curb parking will remain the same. Work will be conducted at night. 

Beginning May 1st, the City of Piedmont will implement a road diet on Grand Avenue between Wildwood and Greenbank Avenues and create a bicycle lane for the full length of Grand Avenue within Piedmont.

On April 18th, the City Council approved a contract with the Chrisp Company to create a bicycle lane on Grand Avenue and implement the road diet called for in the city’s adopted Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. The cities of Piedmont and Oakland are working closely together to complete this project so that work on both sides of the city limit are completed in a coordinated way and that there is a minimum impact on residents.

The Grand Avenue Road Diet was identified as a high priority project in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan because it will improve conditions for both pedestrians and cyclists on Grand Avenue and on common school routes, and because the project has very strong community support. The road diet on Grand Avenue will keep the same physical width of the street, but the street will be restriped from two lanes in each direction to one car lane and one bike lane in each direction, with a turn lane in the middle. The parking lanes will remain as they are. By making intersections simpler to navigate and creating clearer sightlines at crosswalks, road diets have the added benefit of significantly reducing traffic collisions.

The work in Piedmont will begin the night of May 1st and continue through the night of May 11th.

The work related to this project will occur overnight, which is different than the way most projects are handled in Piedmont. The overnight work is necessary to minimize the impact to residents travelling on Grand Avenue, businesses in this commercial corridor, and to coordinate the work with the City of Oakland. Noise from night time work will be minimal and is not expected to be disruptive to residents. On-street parking restrictions will be required during two to three nights of construction between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.. Residents will be notified in advance of parking restrictions, and “no parking” signs will be posted. City staff will work with the contractor and the City of Oakland to monitor the project to ensure it meets project plans and specifications and has minimum impact on residents and businesses.

More information on the project is available by visiting the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan Page of the City’s web site at

Residents with questions regarding the project should contact Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara at (510) 420-3050.

May 1 2016

City to Conduct Annual Paving Projects –

The City of Piedmont will pave several streets as a part of its annual paving project between April 25th and June 8th. Streets to be paved are Harvard Road between Portsmouth and Annerley Roads, Requa Place, and Moraga Avenue near the intersection of Ramona Avenue. Work will take place between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. each day. This paving project was approved by the City Council on September 15, 2015*.

The paving will occur as follows:

Harvard Road: April 25 through May 6 and May 17 through May 30

Requa Place: May 16

Moraga Avenue: April 29, May 31 through June 2 and June 6 through June 8

The work on Moraga Avenue includes safety improvements near the Ramona Avenue intersection to install a high-friction surface treatment, signage, traffic and lane marking improvements to help reduce speeds and improve traction in this area.

Bicycle Lanes on Moraga

The project also includes bicycle lane striping and signage on Moraga Avenue from Ramona Avenue to Pala Avenue. The striping and signage installed for this project will connect to the similar improvements installed on the remainder of Moraga Avenue as a part another recently completed paving project. Once complete, the entirety of Moraga Avenue in Piedmont will have bicycle lanes in both directions.

There will be traffic control and parking restrictions in place during the work. Please use alternate routes if possible. Work locations may be changed if conditions necessitate.

Residents with questions regarding the projects should contact Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara at (510) 420-3050.

*Editors’ Note: The pavement press release appears to refer to the September 21, 2015 action by the City Council.


May 1 2016

Monday, April 18 City Council meeting –

At 7:30 p.m. in the evening of Monday, April 18, 2016, I attended a Piedmont City Council meeting. The City Council meets on the first and third Monday of every month, to allocate city funds, and improve and maintain the infrastructure of the city.

There were several issues discussed in this meeting by various members of the Council as well as the community, but the most pressing issues were the option for Piedmont to switch over to Community Choice Energy, the repair and renovation of Hampton Park, the addition of bike lanes to parts of Grand Avenue, the renewal of Piedmont’s contract with Richmond Sanitary Services, and looking into improving Piedmont’s public pool facilities.

To start the meeting, Bruce Jensen from the Alameda County Planning Department, and Tom Kelly gave a presentation on the benefits of Piedmont switching over to Community Choice Energy (CCE) from PG&E. CCE offers the community a choice for clean energy at a competitive rate to that which PG&E offers. The benefit of switching to CCE, is that Piedmont can come closer to its goals of being environmentally friendly, while still providing energy at a reasonable price. CCE is an opt-out program, meaning that everyone is automatically signed up for it, unless they expressly indicate in writing that they would not like to participate in the program. One worry about CCE is that if too many people opt-out, it will not be economically viable, and would end up costing the consumers more. Based on the discussion, I think that Piedmont should switch over to CCE. At the very least, it gives people options and prevents PG&E from having a total monopoly. In the best case, if most people stay in the program, CCE provides cleaner energy for a lower price than what Piedmont currently offers.

The next matter addressed at the City Council meeting was the repair and renovation of Hampton Park. Currently, Hampton Park is shut down every winter due to flooding and water damage from poor drainage. The city has to repair it annually, just for it to be damaged again the following winter, leading to a cycle costing the city $25,000 a year. In 2008, funds were raised to make long term changes to the park, preventing the annual flood damage, but the improvements were delayed due to the recession and more pressing priorities.

It has been so long since the City Council has originally raised the funds for the Hampton Park restoration, that they are now at risk of losing that money, so this has become a major focus of the Council. The Council unanimously agreed to fund the restoration of the park, and went on to discuss the logistics of where activities would be held while Hampton Park is undergoing renovations.

The Council came to the agreement that Beach Field would be able to temporarily take the displaced activities from Hampton Park, and the Council unanimously approved opening Beach Field on Sundays to allow for more activities. City Clerk John Tulloch said that, “he’s glad the park is getting improvement” as he’s seen many people use it and take advantage of the great space.

After that, the repainting of Grand Avenue to add bike lanes was discussed. Oakland is currently trying to add bike lanes to Grand Avenue, and Piedmont would like to “piggy back” on their work and continue the bike lanes on the part of Grand which is in Piedmont. Oakland has generously offered to fund some of the painting of bike lanes on the part of Grand in Piedmont. The council unanimously agreed to fund the rest of the addition of bike lanes to Grand Ave in Piedmont, and Council member Tim Rood commented on how it was ideal timing as it would be repainted before the annual Bay Area Bike to Work Day on May 12th.

The Council then discussed the renewal of Piedmont’s contract with Richmond Sanitary Services (RSS). The Council members all agreed that RSS does a fantastic job of collecting Piedmont’s waste, and unanimously agreed to negotiate a renewal of their contract.

The final issue the Council addressed was the improvement of Piedmont’s public pool facilities. Council members King, and Rood were nominated to look into ways to improve the public pool facilities. Both Council members accepted the task, and a motion was unanimously passed to look into ways of improving the pool facility.

Reported by Stuart Ashford, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
May 1 2016

Chair and Vice Chair Elected, Minutes will be Timely by May, Hampton Park construction starts in June with completion by mid-October ‘16 or as late as mid-February ‘17

April 20th Piedmont Recreation Commission – 

I sat in on the City of Piedmont Recreation Commission Agenda on April 20, 2016.  The Recreation Commission is a group that meets monthly to discuss the issues pertaining to the Recreation Department of the City of Piedmont.

In this particular meeting the issues addressed were: the election of Chair and Vice Chair, the approval of Recreation Commission Minutes, the Review of Recreation Commission Duties and Powers, an update on the Hampton Park Master Plan, an update about potential temporary changes to Beach Playfield use during Hampton construction, an update to the Aquatics Master Plan, a CIP update, and a consideration of Betty C. Howard Awards.

For the election of Chair, Betsy Andersen was nominated by herself and was supported by the rest of the Commission. As for the Vice Chair, Andersen nominated Brian Cain who was unanimously supported.

For the approval of Recreation Commission Minutes, the Commission seemed to be a month late in terms of having their minutes under control, but Director Sara Lillevand assured the Commission that they would be back on track by next month.

The next order of duty was to review the Recreation Commission Duties and Powers to remind all who are present about the function and role of this commission in our city. Director Lillevand explained that some of the roles were to: consider/recommend programs and facilities for the Recreation Department, and to take care of pertinent matters along with advising the Council on recreational matters.

The update on the Hampton Park Master Plan went as follows: the construction is planned to start in June and is completed in a single phase. Many of the decisions about the rehabilitation have come from the community and general public. Some huge private donations have made the project able to be completed in a single phase. The project is targeted to be completed by mid-October ‘16, but could go as late as mid-February ‘17. At this time, A student named David Monical asked a question about the upkeep of the tennis facilities at Hampton throughout the future to which Director Lillevand responded by saying there will be stricter upkeep of the courts in the future after the project.

The update on the Beach Playfield pertains to how the playfield will be used as overflow space while Hampton is under construction. The Commission was talking about having Beach field open to scheduling on Sundays to alleviate the demand for field space during the construction period. It was at this time that Calvin Polvorosa asked a question about how the construction at Hampton might increase the use of tennis courts around the City and how that was going to be addressed, to which Director Lillevand stated that the Commission had not looked into the issue, but will explore options about that issue in the future as the project progresses.

The Aquatic Master Plan update went over the recent changes to the plans for the pool area and how that was going to go. It was at this time that a student by the name of Liam Bonacum asked what the main issues were concerning the aquatic center right now, to which Lillevand responded by stating that pool space and time were the limiting factors for the present setup.

For the CIP Update, Director Lillevand listed some of the issues that were being addressed, including: an update to coaches playfield, Howard entrance to Beach field, sand volleyball setup below the bridge at Beach, an update, and addition of lights at Dracena Park, and an update to the Community Hall Master Plan.

The next order of business was the nomination of the Betty C. Howard awardS. This award is given to recognize the dedicated staff and volunteers who performed outstandingly over the previous year(s). This year’s employee nominee was Katrina Morris, a Schoolmates employee at Havens Elementary. The Commission unanimously agreed she should be honored based on the recommendation by Director Lillevand. John Morrison, former Piedmont Middle School Principal, was honored for his volunteer contributions.

After the meeting concluded, I spoke with Jeremy Flake from the audience to discuss his involvement with the issues at hand. He said that he was there to see if the update to Hampton would include the basketball courts. Since Director Lillevand stated that the courts will be replaced and/or refurbished, Flake had no need to address with the Commission.

By Calvin Polvorosa, Piedmont High School Senior

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