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The following letters and other commentary express only the personal opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Piedmont Civic Association.

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Sep 3 2017

Action needed now to protect health and property values. 

Fellow Piedmonters – I’m writing today because few Piedmonters know about a terrible situation which could affect a number of children as well as home values.

Two weeks ago I was shocked to learn that a cell company called “Crown Castle” has filed an application to put nine cell sites, each with multiple transmitters right in front of homes and schools in Piedmont.

There are plans ahead to expand this number to 68 sites within Piedmont, in the residential areas.

I’m a retired Aerospace Engineer at UC Berkeley Physics and have published over 30 science papers on Electric and Magnetic Fields. I’ve done the research on the equipment they list and it is clear they are going to bathe the schools and the upper floors of these residences with substantial microwave levels, levels not allowed in any other country.

Since most Piedmonters are here because of the schools, I thought all parents would be shocked at all of this. All homeowners should realize that they face a 20% decrease in their home value if such a cell were nearby. https://www.emfanalysis.com/property-values-declining-cell-towers/

So, PLEASE send an email saying Piedmont Council should vote NO on the application! Address to pmacdonald@piedmont.ca.gov and citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us

AND IN SACRAMENTO WE HAVE A PROBLEM! The California Assembly is going to vote [The bill is SB 649.] this week to allow cell carriers to do all of the above WITHOUT our city’s consent. Call/email Assembly Member Tony Thurmond (Alameda Cty) at (916) 319-2015 https://lcmspubcontact.lc.ca.gov/PublicLCMS/ContactPopup.php?district=AD15

Best Regards – Peter Harvey and Prudence Ashley

Sep 1 2017

Statement from Acting Mayor Robert McBain

September 1, 2017

The past days have been tumultuous, sad, and extremely difficult for Piedmont residents and for the city organization. The opinions and postings of former Mayor Jeff Wieler were in no way reflective of the values and sensibilities of this community. We, his colleagues on the City Council, took swift action to communicate our collective outrage and disappointment in his statements. At the same time we were clear and consistent in our requests that he should resign as Mayor and from his position on City Council. In the end, Jeff made a decision that was well-advised and in the best interests of all concerned.

I am proud of how the Piedmont community responded swiftly to the situation and affirmed our shared values. Our residents are intelligent, committed, and engaged in civic affairs. We have great schools, a history of sound leadership, and a City organization of talented people committed to providing excellent services. We are a resilient community and will be quick to get back to focusing our attention on all that makes this such an outstanding place to call home.

So, what is next? Our City Council will be meeting next Tuesday, [Sept. 5, 2017] with a full agenda. First up will be the election of Mayor and Vice Mayor. In accordance with the rules set out in our City Charter, the Councilmembers elected to these offices will serve through the general election of November 2018. In December 2018, the Council will again elect a Mayor and Vice Mayor from its members. As to the vacancy created by the resignation of Jeff Wieler from his seat on Council, the Charter directs the City Council to fill the vacancy within thirty days.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Council will also consider a resolution reaffirming Piedmont’s commitment to inclusivity and opposing actions of hate groups, a contract for the development of a Master Plan for the Linda Beach Playfield, and bring renewed focus and discussion on the subject of a new aquatic facility for Piedmont. We look forward to taking care of the city’s business and working together to make this an even better community.

Acting Mayor Robert McBain  rmcbain@piedmont.ca.gov

Aug 29 2017

Jeff Wieler’s indiscreet statements about an intimate female part are online and on television.  

Wieler has resigned his position as mayor of Piedmont while continuing to serve on the Piedmont City Council.  Yet, numerous individuals are calling for him to resign from the City Council.  

Not good enough. He needs to personally apologize to each and every person in this town whom he has directly and needlessly insulted during his years on the Council. And then he should resign from the Council.

Mike Rancer

Tim Rood’s Facebook page addressing Jeff Wieler:

Following Jeff Wieler’s resignation as mayor, but not from City Council, the drumbeat of emails from outraged citizens continues as new outrageous posts continue to emerge. Mr. Wieler’s boorish and offensive online posts and the widespread publicity about them have caused him to utterly forfeit the respect of broad segments of the Piedmont community, as well as that of his colleagues, and have sullied Piedmont’s reputation – not to mention opening many more eyes to the obvious journalistic shortcomings of the Piedmont Post as a source of unbiased information about local events.

This self-imposed mess isn’t in the slightest an issue of partisan politics, and it’s also not an issue of free speech – it’s really just a matter of treating elected office as the privilege that it is and treating constituents (and others) with due respect.

A citizen-led recall campaign would take months and could cripple the Council and staff’s ability to advance the City’s business.

Jeff, I thank you for your service, but I think you know in your heart of hearts that for the good of the community, it’s appropriate for you to step down from the Council.

Tim Rood, Piedmont City Councilmember

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I think compassion is too high a bar for the councilman -basic civility would be a start. There seems to be a thread through his statement that his comments on NATIONAL affairs were offensive to the liberal sensitivities of Piedmont, completely ignoring the invective and hateful content of his speech.

What is needed now from the councilman is not compassion but contrition and that could best be shown by his stepping down from council. There is a post on Quora (is that Latin for sexist?) attributed to the councilman that makes his Facebook posts pale in comparison. It’s not a national issue, not a conservative opinion but a denigration of women. If true, The councilman needs to resign.

Former Councilmember Garrett Keating

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Councilmember Wieler’s degrading labeling and name calling of those who espouse a liberal point of view has rendered him impotent as a City Council leader and as an elected representative of Piedmont in meetings with Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley and beyond.
He cannot continue to claim service to Piedmont and express contempt for Piedmont residents.

 Conna McCarthy

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Acting Mayor Bob McBain pressed Wieler to resign from the City Council. http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/08/30/piedmonts-new-acting-mayor-presses-wieler-to-leave-city-council/

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View Channel 5 CBS report on latest concerns regarding Wieler’s public statements on a national website >HERE

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While making offensive remarks, Wieler utilized his elected Piedmont positions – Piedmont Councilmember and Mayor.

Former Mayor Jeff Wieler’s resignation as mayor has sparked interest and concern far beyond Piedmont’s borders. Readers can google his name online and observe the reach of his comments and actions reflecting on Piedmont. The national Quora website features more than 100 Wieler opinions on a range of issues, some of which have been found to lack basic civility.

We need to immediately remove Jeff Wieler from the Piedmont City Council.  His comments on social media are disgusting and should not be tolerated in an elected official.

He and his love of vaginas should be home alone with no role in deciding our city’s public policies.  

Kristina McLaughlin

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[“Having a vagina is not a vision that inspires. And before some feminist harpy objects to the last sentence, I want to say that I dearly love vaginas.” Jeffrey Wieler, July 19, 2017 ] Read the entire statement by clicking below.

  Answered Jul 19 

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A “small sampling” of Mayor Wieler’s online views:

“The left burns buildings and deprives people of free speech and physically attacks conservatives. There’s a b***** named Falatco who led a gang that attacked a Trump rally in Berkeley.”

“Black lives matter encourages cop killing.”

“The Left is dangerous and un-American.”

“Transgenders are mentally ill”

‘The left is Intellectually bankrupt”

“Democrats are the plantation slave masters of today” (article)

“Fight the leftie barbarians”

“The tinfoil hat crowd of the left should be pitied because insanity is a terrible fate”

“Some people hate Trump, but more people hate liberals”

“The loonies of the resistance are worth a laugh, but not much more than that.”

_____________

Jeffrey Wieler, Elected official in California, and poly-sci major at Princeton

https://www.quora.com/If-shes-so-smart-why-did-Hillary-Clinton-underestimate-Donald-Trump-and-his-supporters

Additional links on Wieler below:

https://www.quora.com/profile/Jeffrey-Wieler

Read an online review of Wieler’s comments below:

http://forum.isthmus.com/viewtopic.php?t=68176

Read about the website Quora and commenter participation requirements HERE.

Readers seeking more information on Jeff Wieler and his activities can google his name.

~~~~~~~~~

Jeff Wieler has served on the Piedmont City Council for over 11 years. His initial service was for four years when he decided not to seek re-election.  After a break of 4 years, he was encouraged to seek election once more, which is allowed by the Piedmont City Charter.  He was elected to this second term of four years after which he again sought and won re-election for an additional four year term, as permitted by the City Charter.

Wieler will be “termed out” in November/December 2018 and cannot seek re-election until another 4 years have elapsed. He is currently Piedmont’s most tenured Councilmember.

Councilmember contact information:

Robert McBain, Acting Mayor rmcbain@ci.piedmont.ca.us (510) 547-0597 2nd Term Exp. 11/20
Jennifer Cavenaugh jcavenaugh@ci.piedmont.ca.us (510) 428-1442 1st Term Exp. 11/20
Teddy Gray King tking@ci.piedmont.ca.us (510) 450-0890 1st Term Exp. 11/18
Tim Rood trood@ci.piedmont.ca.us (510) 239-7663 1st Term Exp. 11/18
Jeff Wieler jwieler@ci.piedmont.ca.us (510) 428-1648 2nd Term Exp. 11/18
Aug 28 2017

Jeff, your point is well taken that people on both sides of the political aisle can and should do a better job of listening to each other and that this would be a better way to achieve goals that accomplish results reflective of shared values.
But a key ingredient of good listening is compassion and a true desire to understand the needs of the other human beings in the conversation.

While you have explained your facebook postings as simply being re-posts from other sites, the fact is that those re-posts show a total lack of compassion; in fact they venture far into the territory of classic bullying behavior.  Name calling, labeling, colorful insults and grouping of individuals into categories are all behaviors that are so destructive of effective communication and community participation that we begin teaching even our youngest children not to engage in them.

Your two plus decades of community service are commendable.  However, I can’t help but feel that the missing element at this point in time is care and concern for the individuals who make up the full spectrum of your constituency.

National politics, talk radio, internet & facebook groups are quite abstract. Getting to know the fellow human beings of Piedmont (PADC [Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee] is a great place to start) and building some friendships outside the realm of politics is a much more ‘real’ and useful approach for local leadership.  While there is no doubt that the national political arena creates absorbing, outrageous and even terrifying ideas to consider – our local community must put all that aside in our day to day lives. Local leadership is at its best when the focus is on the needs, cares and concerns of the individuals who make up our shared community, and through compassionate consideration of these concerns arrive at agreeable solutions to the problems at hand.

I hope you will find a way forward, possibly by remembering why you were drawn to public service in the first place, and hopefully by leaving toxic national politics out of the equation when it comes to local concerns.

Respectfully submitted,
Katie Korotzer

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Aug 27 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017, Special Council Meeting to consider ” the Removal of Jeffrey Wieler from the Office of Mayor” has been cancelled, as there is no item to be considered on the agenda. 

Wieler has resigned as Piedmont Mayor; he intends to continue his service on the Piedmont City Council until the end of his term in November/December 2018.

City of Piedmont PRESS RELEASE below:

Jeffrey Wieler Resigns as Mayor of the City of Piedmont Will Serve the Remainder of Term as Councilmember – 

In a letter tendered to the City Administrator, Jeffrey Wieler resigned from the position of Mayor of the City of Piedmont effective Sunday, August 27, 2017. Wieler intends to serve out his term on the City Council, which will end after the November 2018 General Municipal Election.

Pursuant to Section 2.08 of the Piedmont City Charter, Vice Mayor Robert McBain is now serving as Acting Mayor.

The Special Meeting of the City Council scheduled for Monday, August 28th has been cancelled as the only item on the agenda was “Consideration of the Removal of Jeffrey Wieler from the Office of Mayor.”

Attached to this release is Mr. Wieler’s letter of resignation from the position of Mayor.

Contact: Paul Benoit, City Administrator August 27, 2017     ……  420-3040

Wieler Resignation  < letter

Aug 27 2017

Read the statement by Mayor Jeff Wieler on his resignation by clicking below.

Wieler Statement 

 

Aug 25 2017
Piedmont is no place for a RACIST and anti-LGBTQ mayor. Jeff Wieler’s political outbursts on social media show that he clearly has no regard for his diverse group of constituents. It sounds like Wieler needs to move to coal country where his anti-liberal hateful rhetoric will resonate amongst the uneducated.
I have lived in the Bay Area for my entire life, and there is absolutely no way this man can claim his comments were incorrectly interpreted. Saying that the Black Lives Matter movement is designed to incite violence against the police (the term the mayor used is “cop killing”) is an extremely dangerous accusation. Considering racially profiled black men are dying at the hands of police in growing numbers, the Black Lives Matter movement was created to help stop the violence. Only a racist would say such things.
Calling trans people “mentally ill,” is just the kind of hurtful stereotypes that allow people to continue to discriminate and even harm trans people. Wieler even stooped so low as to call progressives, “dangerous and un-American.” Stoking the fires of hate has already proved dangerous in Charlottesville, at black churches, at Jewish synagogues, and many places people should feel safe in this country. This kind of hatred should not be allowed from the leader of any community, as that is truly un-American.
As a refusal to give a moment of silence for the murdered woman in Charlottesville, Wieler clearly is not a mayor who stands for equality and justice for his entire constituency. His hateful comments illustrate the level of his prejudice and his desire to discriminate against people in his own community. He must be removed from office.
Lisa E. Hern
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Aug 22 2017

– Remarks Prepared for 8/21/17 City Council Meeting

Thank you to Jennifer Smith Cavenaugh and Teddy Gray King for encouraging speakers at the August 21, 2017 Piedmont City Council Open Forum.

No one should have to show up at a City Council meeting to make sure their council members condemn the violence and hate that resulted in the deaths of two Virginia State troopers and a peaceful protestor as the direct result of racism, bigotry and hate. But there is a reason we are all here tonight. We all showed up because it is important to us to show moral leadership and speak unequivocally against the bigotry and hate that was on display in Virginia.

After I had commented that I found President Trump’s failure to denounce Nazis especially disturbing in light of the fact he has Jewish grandchildren, Mayor Wieler defended President Trump’s comments as adequate, arguing that the antifa protesters “picked a fight.”

An interesting point of view, despite the fact that Republican leaders, Business Leaders, Clergy and others expressed outrage at President Trump’s comparison of the behaviors of two opposing protest groups as equally wrong; Despite the fact that the messages of hate and bigotry advocated by White Supremacists, the KKK and the Alt right resulted in murder.

I am personally concerned that Mayor Wieler appears to judge the behavior of people who are actively trying to legitimize racial discrimination, people who carry signs and chant anti-Semitic, racist, and homophobic slurs with the behavior of counter protesters. There cannot be 2 sides. We can condemn those who champion violence and racial discrimination without conflating those who protest AGAINST discrimination.

Most importantly, I am here because Piedmont children are listening. I have encouraged Mayor Wieler to make a personal connection with the families he represents. Our children are seeing messages of hate across media screens.

There are children in our town who have recently been the victims of anti-Semitic jabs; there are children in our town who have been victims of racial bias and there is a current lawsuit against the city by a former police officer calling out incidents of racism.

Justifying the President’s pathetic response to the tragedy in Charlottesville has local repercussions on the well being of Piedmont families.

So when I asked Mayor Wieler if he would join City Councils across the United States sharing a moment of silence in observation of the tragedy in Charlottesville, he responded:

“As a moment of silence, I will stop engaging with you.”

He then referred to me as a “Lurid Partisan” and an “Irish Catholic claiming to be Miss Sensitivity.”

Which brings me to the second reason I am here tonight

It is unacceptable for a nonpartisan mayor to express hatred for liberals. Mayor Wieler, you have a public FaceBook page and you post on it almost daily…often several posts a day. AND, you regularly represent Piedmont at Bay Area Conferences of local small town leaders. Allow me to suggest, YOUR IDEOLOGY DOES NOT REPRESENT PIEDMONT:
A small sampling of Mayor Wieler’s thoughts:

“The left burns buildings and deprives people of free speech and physically attacks conservatives. There’s a b***h named Falatco who led a gang that attacked a Trump rally in Berkeley.”

“Black Lives Matter encourages cop killing.”

“The Left is dangerous and un-American.”

“Transgenders are mentally ill.”

‘The left is Intellectually bankrupt.”

“Democrats are the plantation slave masters of today.” (article)

“Fight the leftie barbarians.”

“The tinfoil hat crowd of the left should be pitied because insanity is a terrible fate.”

“Some people hate Trump, but more people hate liberals.”

“The loonies of the resistance are worth a laugh, but not much more than that.”

Finally, I am here tonight to tell you, Mr. Mayor, when you threaten to use your friendship with the Editor of the hometown newspaper to denigrate those who would disagree with you, you have crossed a line.

You crossed a line when you threatened me and threaten people I care about with an “investigative story that I would not like.”  You abuse your power Mr. Mayor.

Piedmonters should hope for leaders who are open-minded, even tempered and emotionally stable.

Beyond that, Piedmonters should feel safe in knowing their small town mayor isn’t going to confer with the small town newspaper editor over lunch to invent ways to take down a member of the community with whom they disagree.

That is an abuse of power.

I would fully support this City Council in a decision to elevate Vice Mayor McBain to Mayor while allowing Jeff Wieler to quietly finish his term on the Council through November 2018.

by Conna McCarthy, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Jul 1 2017
In case you missed it, there was an interesting pair of front-page headlines in last week’s Piedmonter. City Council: “Budget OK’d; municipal sewer taxes rising in July.” Education: “District withholds teacher raises.” Let that sink in for a minute and then ask yourself – which would you choose, paying more for sewers or paying teachers what they are owed? To answer that, you need to know a little about Piedmont’s sewers and a little about the teacher retirement fund.
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Like Piedmont overall, our sewers are the best in the East Bay. That was not true 20 years ago but after EPA made all East Bay cities replace their old lines, Piedmont increased the Sewer Tax and every few years replaces sections around town – this summer’s work will take the city to 80% completion, 8 years ahead of schedule. The Sewer Tax increase amounts to about $25 per parcel and raises an additional $60,000 to bring annual sewer revenue to $2.4M. Piedmonters rejected a 50% increase in the Sewer Tax a few years ago, and it’s a good thing they did – the need was not there.
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The need is there for the School District. At a recent School Board meeting, the business official said that District teachers will not get their 2017-2018 salary increases in order to maintain educational programming. The reason – school districts must increase their annual contributions to the underfunded employee pension funds (CalPERS and CalSTRS). The state has mandated these annual increases from the districts going forward and they represent a real problem for maintaining the School District’s current programming – read Rick Rausenbush’s assessment at http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/01/31/piedmont-my-word-increased-pension-payments-threaten-states-schools/ to see how bad it could get for the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD.)
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So back to the question, sewers or schools? That seems like a no-brainer given the condition of our sewer system and the PUSD projected deficits but it’s not that simple. City revenues and School revenues are two different pots of money and they don’t share. That’s too bad because the mantra of any resident, new or old, is that they came to Piedmont for the schools and stayed for the community. With the robust housing market, the City’s revenues are at all time-highs, thanks to the home sale transfer tax and property reassessments. In addition, the City benefits from state revenue increases more than PUSD – the new gas tax will increase City funds for street paving (TBD) and permanent funding increases to state public safety funds will bring $100K to Piedmont. As a result, the City has added two positions and is giving out 2% raises. The picture is not so rosy for the School District – the school has cut positions and programming and, according to the Superintendent, more cuts may be needed. For more details, see city and school budgets at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2017-06-19/1718budget.pdf (City) and www.piedmont.k12.ca.us. (School.)
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Another way to understand this funding disconnect is to look at how the City and School District maintain required annual reserves. Each is required to maintain reserves as part of their budget – for the City, it is up to 25% of the General Fund, for the School District, minimum 3%. For the past several years, the City has met this cap by transferring over $1M in General Funds to special accounts – this year $800,000 to Facilities Maintenance, $400,000 to Equipment Replacement. For the School District it is just the opposite – the school budget had to be reduced by over $400,000 this year in order to meet their reserve requirements.
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The Piedmont City Clerk recently proposed removing the 25% cap written into the City Charter so even more reserves could be held by the City. Instead, Council directed staff to undertake a review of the City Charter and address the 25% cap and other ambiguous Charter provisions. Perhaps there can be new Charter provisions so the City and School District can “share the wealth” so to speak. Such language won’t be forth coming from City Hall so residents should weigh in when this City Charter review comes to Council.
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Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont Council Member
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Jun 19 2017
Listening is important.

In his column “Silence is Golden,” Mayor Jeff  Wieler took heart in that no speakers showed up to address the Grand Avenue zoning changes adopted by Council at a recent Council meeting.  I think he may be confusing neighborhood absence at the meeting with acceptance. 

Anyone familiar with the process knows how unresponsive the Mayor and some Council members were to neighborhood and community concerns about the initial zoning proposal.  Starting from a “community workshop” that amounted to a presentation by the developer that was followed by tailor-made zoning code, the neighborhood had to push hard to get City Hall to listen to their concerns and consider the General Plan.

With the help of some Council members, the city hired a planner and held workshops with the neighborhood leading to the final zoning code passed Monday night.  After attending many Planning Commission meetings and workshops, many neighbors probably didn’t see the point in appearing before a Council that had not listen to them in the first place.

And speaking of listening, I hope the Mayor will listen to his Planning Commission and reject the the Crown Castle cell tower proposal. 

Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont Council Member

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