Jul 22 2017

Piedmont’s First Annual National Night Out Tuesday, August 1st 

Throughout the United States neighbors have been gathering annually to familiarize themselves with one another and to learn how to be responsive to neighborhood safety concerns.

Piedmont’s new police chief, Jeremy Bowers, has initiated a Piedmont celebration of “National Night Out,” (NNO) which has been recognized throughout the USA as a way to engage neighbors in protecting their homes, themselves, and neighbors.

Tuesday, August 1st , marks the City of Piedmont’s inaugural participation in National Night Out.

For a bit of background, “National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide on the first Tuesday in August. Neighborhoods host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits and much, much more.” Read for further information > (https://natw.org/about)

In Piedmont’s initial year, there are four NNO neighborhood events which will occur on Tuesday, August 1st.  They are:

100 Block of York Avenue …….6 – 8 p.m.

300 Block of St. James Avenue…..5 – 7 p.m.

200 Block of Greenbank Avenue 6 – 8 p.m.

100 Block of Crest Road time TBA

Members of the Piedmont Police Department will be visiting each of the above locations throughout the evening.

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If you would like further details or want to participate, contact Captain Chris Monahan at 510-420-3012.

Jul 10 2017

Going out of town?  Give the Piedmont Police Department a phone call at 420-3000 before you leave your home.

The Police Department will make routine checks of your home when you are away to determine if there is any suspicious activity.  If you have an alarm system, the police will also have prior knowledge of how to get in touch with you concerning problems. 

Home checks are one of the outstanding services offered in Piedmont.  Take advantage of the opportunity to further secure your home by giving the Police Department a call prior to going away on vacation.

 

Jun 4 2017

The staff reports for the meeting are:

06/05/17 – Approval of a Modification to a Conditional Use Permit for Sarah Baldwin, DMD at 1375 Grand Avenue, Suite 101

06/05/17 – Introduction and 1st Reading of Ord. 732 N.S. Making a Technical Correction to Section 8.1 of the City Code to Clarify that the 2016 California Fire Code is in Effect

06/05/17 – Authorize the City Administrator to Sign a Letter of Support Authorizing Participation in the 2017 East Bay SunShares Program

06/05/17 – PUBLIC HEARING Regarding the Proposed Budget and Fee Proposals for FY 17-18 and the Levy of the Municipal Services Tax and Sewer Tax

a. Presentation of Report from the Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee

b. Report on the FY 17-18 Budget Proposal

06/05/17 – Introduction and 1st Reading of Ordinance 733 N.S. Amending Chapter 17 of the City Code Related to the Grand Avenue Sub Area of Zone D

06/05/17 – Report from the Chief of Police Regarding Diversity Education and Outreach as well as Collaboration with PUSD and Other Stakeholders (Oral Report)

06/05/17 – Consideration of the Award of Contract for the Linda Avenue Crosswalk Improvement Project to Bay Construction in the Amount of $328,672.80 and approval of an Overall Construction Budget of $406,515

06/05/17 – Consideration of the Operational Analysis for the Aquatics Center Master Plan Conceptual Design

The agenda for the City Council – Monday, June 5, 2017   < meeting.

May 22 2017

City Council Meeting: Monday May 15, 2017

by Lane Manalo-LeClair, Piedmont High School Senior – 

    This past Monday I attended a City Council meeting at the Piedmont City Hall. It was a quiet, chilly evening; I kept my jacket on as I took a seat in the back of the small room. The Piedmont City Council meets on the first and third Mondays of the month, in the City Council Chambers located at 120 Vista Avenue.

    At 7:30 p.m., the members of the Council filed into the Chambers, smiling and laughing with each other. The mayor, Jeff Wieler sat in the middle behind the curved wooden table, with a gavel resting by his right hand. Sitting left of him was Robert McBain, Vice Mayor, and Council member Tim Rood. On the right of Wieler was Teddy Gray King, and her fellow Councilwoman Jennifer Cavenaugh. After a brief joke by Jeff Wieler regarding the Chinese takeout they had just consumed, all rose, faced the flag and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. As part of the first generation not to say the pledge of allegiance in school, I mouthed the words and tried to speak along, to no avail.

    The first item on the agenda was to pass a consent calendar. This calendar had previously been discussed in the last meeting, but needed a vote. Teddy G. King moved to approve the calendar, and the Council followed suit, voting unanimously to approve the calendar.

    This was my first taste of local government. I was introduced to the idea that one Council member must move on an issue, and another must second, before a vote can take place. All votes that night were unanimous, but I assume a simple majority is all that is required by the Council.

    Next was a public forum, in which citizens get the opportunity to speak up about issues regarding the city to the Council. At this point, Sarah Pearson, the School Board Vice President gave a speech about the recent anti-semitic and racist behavior occurring within the District. She said that the School Board is all for a respectful and welcoming environment, and that they have “commitment to a learning environment that is safe and secure.”  Mayor Wieler thanked her and expressed his support for the School Board and their efforts in this non-isolated issue.

   The next item on the agenda was called the “Presentation of Proclamation Regarding Elder Abuse Awareness Month”. In this presentation Mayor Wieler spoke amiably, thanking the DA’s office for their continued efforts to prevent elder abuse, and prosecute perpetrators of elder abuse. He also recognized June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month. Making his way around the table, Mayor Wieler personally handed over the certificate to the Deputy District Attorney in the Elder Protections Unit. She accepted the award and spoke to the Council and audience, affirming that “elder abuse and neglect still exists” despite efforts to eliminate it. She encouraged the Council to create more community awareness of the issue.

    It was pointed out to the Council and audience that Adult Protective Services, the District Attorney’s Office, and the police department are all places an individual can go in order to report elder abuse. Signs of abuse include dirty clothes, undernourishment, home in disarray, or a change in home appearance, as well as bedsores. At the end of her speech, the Deputy District Attorney encouraged the Council and the audience to wear a purple ribbon in order to spread awareness about elder abuse. To this, Mayor Wieler immediately pinned his own purple ribbon onto the lapel of his suit jacket. Following the attorney, Police Chief Bowers spoke seconding that the police are available to deal with elder abuse cases.

    Second, East Bay Mud District Director Marguerite Young Spoke about the water situation in the surrounding watershed and EBMUD work going on in the area. She reported that the East Bay watershed is 167% of normal; water should not be a problem this year. She mentioned that EBMUD is working to replace pipes in the Bay Area with the average pipe being seventy five years old. The rate at which they will replace them is forty miles per year, or as Councilwoman Cavenaugh pointed out, 400 years to replace all pipes.

    Lastly, Young spoke about a topic close to Piedmont, the Piedmont reservoir. There are plans underway to replace the currently inoperable reservoir with two water storage tanks, which would be completed by the end of 2018.

    Immediately following the presentation, was discussion about the Sewer Rehabilitation Project. This act proposed apportioning $3,467,994 dollars for the fifth installment of seven, to replace Piedmont’s sewage pipes. When completed 80% of the city’s sewage pipes would be replaced. The group D’Arcy & Harty Construction had the lowest bid, but the Council wanted to counter with a higher amount in order to complete the project. In addition, the Council would vote to set aside more money for the surveillance and inspection of the sites. After an associate from D’Arcy & Hardy Construction spoke briefly (in a notably strong Irish accent), the Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara spoke in greater detail about the financing, construction, and community involvement in the project. After deliberations and questions ended, Robert McBain motioned to approve the project, with Tim Rood seconding. The Council unanimously said aye to the project.

    Last, and perhaps the most heated topic, was the new cameras to be installed at the intersection of Grand and Oakland avenues.  For the last few years Piedmont has been home to automatic license plate readers, or ALPRs. This past spring, a new police video camera was used to monitor the new Hampton Park, but it proved to be an inadequate test of the technology. The Council was deliberating setting aside $10,000 from the Citizens Option for Police Services Fund to install a new surveillance camera at the aforementioned site. It would be a fixed camera that recorded over itself every 90 days. If there was a suspect picked up by the ALPRs or a pursuit of a vehicle, the police and the dispatcher could, in theory, access the camera to see where the suspect was going.

    The funding is to test this device’s usefulness to the police, and work out any quirks. Chief of police, Jeremy Bowers spoke in detail about the planned project, citing its potential use to police officers. He also acknowledged the concern for privacy and 4th Amendment rights, promising to look into blurring out faces of passers by in tape used by police.

    After Bowers spoke, there were many questions from the Council. Vice Mayor Robert McBain asked whether there was any evidence that these cameras deterred crime, in addition to their ability to help solve crime. Many members of the audience spoke on this issue. One citizen endorsed Chief Bowers and cited the recent attempt to abduct a child near Havens Elementary School as a potential scenario in which this technology would be useful. Linda Schaefer agreed, saying that Piedmont needed to “up the game.”

    Morty Glick told the Council that people do not feel safe at night in Piedmont, and talked about some families’ attempts to hire private security. He said, “Piedmont, it’s scary these days.”  Susy Struble took the podium for the whole time allotted to her, saying to the Council, “I am confused by the rush. There is no crisis. As Chief Bowers has pointed out publicly, crime is down in Piedmont, and yes, the research on the efficacy of public surveillance is inconclusive.”  Struble argued strongly for the need for a community conversation before any action taken by the Council. Despite Struble’s efforts and a slight hesitation by Councilwoman King, a half-hour later, the motion was passed unanimously.

    I interviewed Susy Struble about the meeting. When asked why she came to the meeting Struble responded by saying, “ [I came] to work to ensure the Piedmont community would have oversight and insight into public surveillance and to stop the pilot surveillance program until the community was given the opportunity to discuss and approve any surveillance policy or implementation.” After the decision by the Council, Struble said she learned that, “The the Piedmont City Council and Police Chief have no interest in genuinely engaging the community on public surveillance.” Promising to engage the public more, Councilwoman King conceded the vote, perhaps angering Susy Struble.

The swing of the gavel signaled the end to the meeting, and people began to file out of the room and mingle outside in the cool May evening. As I walked back to my car I reflected on my first experience in local government. I realized that local government is a cornerstone of democracy in the United States, dating back to the townships in colonial America. I was glad to spend one night as a part of this rich tradition.

Interview with Susy Struble

-Why did you go to the City Council meeting?

To work to ensure the Piedmont community would have oversight and insight into public surveillance and to stop the pilot surveillance program until the community was given the opportunity to discuss and approve any surveillance policy or implementation.

-What issues brought you there?

Public surveillance and the need for community oversight of public surveillance program.

-What did you learn from the meeting?

The Piedmont City Council and Police Chief have no interest in genuinely engaging the community on public surveillance

-What next step will you take to get your concern about the cameras addressed?

I already have community support and links to the EFF, ACLU, and the Oakland Privacy Group. I will continue to build community support, watch what related state laws are in development (e.g. SB 21), and start a public campaign

-Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’m happy to send you my statement if that would help

Statement by Struble: 

I remain deeply concerned for many reasons, topmost of which is the absence of genuine public engagement. Piedmont citizens should have a say in how they and their families, their children, their daily activities, are watched, if at all.

The implementation of broader public surveillance – which the pilot project represents and indicates is the plan – is significantly different from the somewhat more limited implementation of license plate readers. As I recall, many residents raised deep reservations about that program, but it was made palatable to the community by the City’s assurances that no personally identifying photos were being taken. That is not the case here, and the fact that these proposals and the policy were put forth without public engagement is really a betrayal of trust.

Public surveillance cameras cannot be considered in a vacuum – because they don’t operate in a vacuum. There are multiple, complex contexts in which this policy and related proposals must be considered. There will be more surveillance tools available and more opportunity for data to be combined, shared, stolen, and misused – and to be used for evidence-based public policy reasons. But we need to have this community conversation — and have it often, because this is a constantly changing area. This is also why we need a surveillance policy that is independent of the technology platform. There are myriad surveillance technologies available, as Chief Bowers indicated, more than just surveillance cameras, and the community deserves a say in how they are used.

I don’t believe Chief Bowers has presented a case for why public surveillance is the solution that’s better than alternatives available to us.

I am confused by the rush. There is no crisis. As Chief Bowers has pointed out publicly, crime is down in Piedmont, and yes, the research on the efficacy of public surveillance is inconclusive.

 Some examples: A recent review from a Commissioner of Alberta, Canada found the consensus amongst empirical studies to be that video surveillance has little effect on violent crime, and only a small positive effect on property crime. This positive effect on property crime, moreover, was substantially less than the effect of improved lighting.Also unclear is the effect of the extent to which criminal activity was simply displaced to non-surveilled areas. Finally, given the cost of deploying, maintaining, and operating such systems, no data exists to demonstrate that video surveillance is a more effective use of public resources than traditional law enforcement. Even the Oakland police department has stated “there is no conclusive way to establish that the presence of video surveillance cameras resulted in the prevention or reduction of crime.”

The City should embark upon an adequately long process of community education and engagement *before* any implementation of a public surveillance program, pilot or not – and note a “pilot” is still a working surveillance system. I say adequate time because the community needs ample time, particularly working parents with multiple obligations. Public surveillance poses complex legal, technical, and social issues that require a good amount of education and even more robust discussion. There are areas where state and federal law are silent, inconclusive, vague, and/or pose areas of possible conflict. For example: is the community prepared to hand over any and all data to the federal government? Under all circumstances? That’s a pretty interesting question at any time, but perhaps especially now.

I very respectfully encourage the City Council to educate itself on these issues. They aren’t as simple, as hopefully some of Jen’s [Cavenaugh] questions around public records requests brought to light. Oakland’s City Council did a great amount of self-education before it took any action and worked very closely with the community – so did Berkeley, so did BART, so did Providence RI, and the list goes on. I respectfully suggest that Piedmont follow suit.

 Public surveillance might be something the Piedmont community supports, perhaps across the board, or perhaps only in some cases under certain criteria — or perhaps not at all — but we deserve a say in whatever happens.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
May 22 2017

 Heated School Board Meeting Airs Personnel Dispute and Hate Incidents –

    The Piedmont School Board met at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10th, in the City Council Chambers. Though the agenda of the meeting was to go over logistical policy for Piedmont schools, such as reviewing tax allocations from the H1 Bond Measure or evaluating math classes for the Common Core curriculum, the first hour of the meeting was dedicated to heated commentary from the community about the Athletic Director, Victor Acuna, and the current hate incident controversy at the high school.

    Concerned community members argued both on Acuna’s behalf and against him. Some of the controversy surrounding the new Athletic Director is attributed to the non-renewal of the former coach of the Piedmont High School Boy’s Basketball team of over two decades, Coach Lavdiotis.

    Since Lavdiotis’ contract was not renewed, some community and regional individuals sparked disagreement with Victor Acuna’s dismissal of an upstanding community member and beloved coach.  One speaker in particular, Alicia Kalamas, Piedmont resident, brought up Acuna’s personal life, pointing to custody litigation and his previous position at a high school in Arizona. However, other community members supported Victor Acuna, saying that his decision was justified, and that Coach Lavdiotis may not be the best coach for the Piedmont High School Boy’s Basketball team any longer.

    Board trustee Andrea Swenson expressed her frustrations with the Acuna controversy, stating that she is tired of the character assassination of the Athletic Director, which she feels is perpetuated by The Piedmont Post; she received a standing ovation for her comments in support of Acuna.

    Other non-agendized items that community members spoke about were the hate controversies at the high school. Earlier that week, members of the Piedmont High School community and the Piedmont community at large learned of anti-semitic, racist, and homophobic incidents at the school through a student-held assembly.

    Multiple community members spoke about the hate incidents. Police Chief Bowers spoke about his role in addressing the hate incidents. He stated that since none of the eight victims have come to the Police Department about the hate incidents, they cannot be classified as hate crimes. Still, he asserted, the community must come together and protect the victims during this time, and that he sympathizes with the victims of the incident. Other community members also discussed the anti-semitic incidents in front of the Board, conveying their concerns as parents and asking for accountability and answers.

    When I addressed the Board about the hate incidents, I also mentioned the issue of accountability and transparency. I spoke about my experience as a student watching the high school’s assembly and the lack of details or clarity that the assembly provided. I walked the Board through what specifically was going through my mind as I attended the assembly, and how I had to ask around afterwards for details on the incidents, confused and unaware. Concluding my speech, I requested the School Board to explain what exactly was happening with the anti-semitic incidents so that the students knew about what horrible things were going on within our student body. As a student, I was and still am confused about the discriminatory incidents at the high school due to a lack of a clear explanation from the administration. I believe that the administration should have a transparent conversation with the members of the community in order to resolve things, as opposed to keeping the incident under wraps.

    After comments from the audience, the Board continued with the agenda, which involved recognizing Hilary Cooper for Volunteer of the Year, which included working to pass Measure A parcel tax and reviewing two possible math courses for Piedmont High School, Integrated Math 3 and Honors Math Analysis.

     I spoke to Michael Brady, Director of Alternative/Adult Education, who expressed his support for the math courses. Mr. Brady, who was there to give a presentation to the Board on the H1 bond program, told me that it was a relief to hear about the courses.

    “It was very nice to see closure on the math instruction,” Mr. Brady told me, “because it is the culmination of literally years of work.”

    Mr. Brady also expressed his support of the community members and their concerns.

    “People can speak about non-agendized items because it’s a part of the democratic process. People can speak to the items not on the agenda and have the ability and freedom to do that.”

    The School Board meets every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. Though they have an agenda, any member of the community can become involved in deliberations by expressing their concerns to the Board at the beginning of every meeting and when agendized items are considered.

by Victoria Hou, Piedmont High School Senior –

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
May 22 2017

Discrimination and hateful actions impact park.  

Summer Camp programs have a high rate of registrants. 

by Alex Paton, Piedmont High School Senior – 

I attended a Recreation Commission meeting on the 17th of May 2017. During this monthly meeting, issues regarding parks and recreation throughout Piedmont are discussed by commission members and residents of Piedmont. Fundamentally, these meetings provide an opportunity for the community to discuss and brainstorm potential improvements within the Piedmont parks and recreation system.

During the meeting on May 17th, four main issues were discussed. The first of these issues was the anti-semitism, racism and general hate that has been drawn to attention throughout the community, and how this has manifested throughout the parks. The city and community are working together as a whole to move forward from these incidents and display a positive message for the younger members of Piedmont. Specifically, graffiti at Hampton park is being removed and cleaned up, and older members of the community are being encouraged to speak out and set a positive example of coexistence.

Next, the upcoming summer programs in Piedmont were discussed. There was great optimism throughout the commission as there are now 175 camps offered over 10 weeks this summer and so far, camp registration is up 22% from this time last year. Camps offered range from arts and crafts to cooking to athletics. In addition to more opportunities for campers this summer, there is also more opportunity for counselors and CITs. Greg Wick, Piedmont High Senior,  gave positive reinforcement for the new opportunities for counseling this summer and expressed his disappointment for the lack of working opportunity he experienced in the past. Overall, the Recreation Commission was overjoyed and thankful for the early success.

The recent improvements at Hampton Park were then discussed. The sixth and final basketball hoop was put up since the last meeting and just about every aspect of the park is complete. Trees which fell on and near the basketball courts have also been cleaned up and appropriate repairs have been made. I believe that the basketball courts are nice, however there is a potential hazard when the ball goes off the court and rolls down a hill. I expressed this observation and concern during the meeting, to be met with a nice reply from Carrie Graham Lee. She said they were going to put in a low net to stop this issue from occurring. I am in favor of this much needed improvement. Although not official yet, Elizabeth Smegal Andersen stated that Hampton Park is complete and open for recreation!

Lastly, updates on facility master planning projects and the Capital Improvement Projects Review Committee [CIP] were given. Aquatics are being studied for cost, meetings with the architect for the Veterans Hall have nearly concluded, Beach playfield is being evaluated for updates and Coaches Field is being reassessed for use analytics. The CIP Review Committee is also continuing to review public safety issues, such as the poor lighting at the intersection of St. James and LaSalle.

Once the meeting had concluded, I interviewed a citizen who attended the meeting. This resident of Piedmont, named Garrett Schwartz, was drawn to the meeting because of previous decisions made by the commission that he did not necessarily agree with. He did not have any current issues to be addressed, instead just wanting to “see the inner workings of the Commission and understand their decision making process”. I have to say, if everyone was so involved with the local government as Mr. Schwartz, our society would see great improvement.

 ~~~~~~ A second report on the May 17 Commission meeting  ~~~~

By Olivia Tefft, Piedmont High School Senior –

    At 7:30 p.m. on May 17, 2017, six commissioners met for a Piedmont Recreation Commission meeting. The commissioners were:  Kobi Eshun, Carrie Graham Lee, Betsy Smegal Andersen, Chairwoman, Jeffrey Dorman, and Steve Roland.  Also, present was Recreation Director Sara Lillevand.

   The purpose of this meeting was to go over recreation issues in Piedmont, ranging from summer camps to the maintenance of public parks and fields. This meeting also touched upon public safety in the schools and on the streets of Piedmont.

   One of the main points of this conference was to inform the audience of the summer activities offered through the Piedmont Recreation Department. Sara Lillevand informed the commission and the audience of new programs, like Summerfest ‘17, an affordable summer camp program facilitated by Schoolmates, and Camp Hampton, which will utilize the newly renovated Hampton Field. Lillevand also pointed out that summer camp revenues have increased 22% this year, and over 3,000 participants are registered (76% Piedmont residents).

    Two audience members, Piedmont Seniors Chris Conn and Greg Wick, spoke to Lillevand about the issue of overstaffed PRD summer camps. She acknowledged the difficulty of parsing out the perfect amount of CITS [Counselor in Training Staff] for each summer camp, but also mentioned that this problem should be mitigated this year with the high summer camp enrollment.

    The Hampton Park Improvement Project was also discussed. Lillevand informed the audience that all of the basketball posts have been put up as of today, and that the tennis backboard was put up last week. Hunter Stern, an audience member and senior at Piedmont High School, asked about hate speech graffiti that this field might be subject to, considering the outbreak of hate speech at PMS and PHS. Lillevand told him that no hate speech graffiti had occurred yet, but a conversation definitely needs to take place for the maintenance of this park.

   I agree with Hunter – I definitely think this pristine field could suffer from hateful graffiti, and I think protective measures should be put in place to prevent something harmful like this.

   Some other smaller issues that were brought up were Linda Beach Play Field and Coaches Field Master Planning, as well as uneven pathways at Crocker Park due to old trees that push up the pavement.

    The “4 Corners” intersection was also addressed because safety issues for pedestrians and drivers have arisen due to this intersection. Krysia Olszewska, an audience member, spoke about this intersection, recounting how it is difficult to see cars on the right side of the road, and therefore improvements should be made.

    At the end of this meeting, I interviewed Commissioner Steve Roland. He has been involved with the Recreation Department since 1996, and was also a sports coach for his 3 children when they participated in rec sports. He wanted to stay involved in the community after they all graduated, and the Recreation Commission was the perfect extension to continue his civic involvement. The main issue he focused on is upgrading park facilities like Coaches Field and Beach Field. He understands the difficulties of these renovation as addressed in these meetings because of difficulty getting funding for these projects. He mentioned that Hampton Park was a combination of private donations, East Bay Regional Park Bonds, and City funds.  Coaches Field and Beach Field would require similar funding. The main step he is taking in addressing this issue is continuing to participate in these meetings and trying to raise awareness and funds for these projects.

The Recreation Commission meets once a month to discuss recreation issues.

Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
May 11 2017

The May 15 City Council meeting will include consideration of expending $10,000 for a pilot program placing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at strategic Piedmont locations to provide live video feeds.  The City Council deferred further consideration of cameras at Hampton Park based on privacy issues.

The staff report can be read here.

The ACLU has reservations about Public Video Surveillance except in high profile terrorist targets, concluding that its benefits – preventing at most a few street crimes, and probably none – are disproportionately small. It’s arguments against most installations are:

1. VIDEO SURVEILLANCE HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN EFFECTIVE

2. CCTV IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO ABUSE

3. THE LACK OF LIMITS OR CONTROLS ON CAMERAS USE

4. VIDEO SURVEILLANCE WILL HAVE A CHILLING EFFECT ON PUBLIC LIFE

Read more details from the ACLU here

Read the May 15 City Council agenda here.

May 11 2017

The Piedmont City Council continues the practice of working on the City Budget without benefit of recordings or broadcast. The public is welcome to come to the meeting and speak to the various issues related to the budget: capital expenditures, revenues, taxation, employee benefits, new projects, roadways, sidewalks, trees, recreation, public safety, Schoolmates, planning, sewers, or any other issue related to City budgetary matters.  

Special City Council Budget Meeting

Saturday, May 13, 2017

9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

East Wing, 801 Magnolia Avenue (across from Piedmont High School)

Agenda:

1. Overview of the Proposed FY 17-18 Budget by the City Administrator

2. Presentation by the CIP Review Committee of Project Proposals for FY 17-18

3. Review of Departmental Budgets for FY 17-18

a. Police

b. Public Works

c. Recreation

d. Fire

e. Administration

f. Other Funds Budgets

City announcement:

The Piedmont City Council will consider the proposed annual budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 at three separate meetings. A Saturday work session will be held in the East Wing of 801 Magnolia Avenue on May 13, 2017 beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Public hearings regarding the proposed budget and the levy of the Municipal Services Tax and the Sewer Tax will be held during regularly scheduled City Council meetings on June 5 and June 19, 2017.

The public is invited to attend these meetings and speak to the City Council about spending priorities for the city in the coming year.  Click to visit the 2017-2018 Proposed Budget page, where all sections of the budget are available for download.

For questions on contents of the budget, please contact Interim Finance Director Jim O’Leary via email at joleary@ci.piedmont.ca.us or by phone at 420-3045 with any questions.

If you wish to write to the Council regarding the budget, please send an e-mail to the City Council at citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.

May 3 2017

The Capital Improvement Project Committee, plus interested individuals, will participate in a “potential” project tour on Saturday morning, May 6, 2017 to view and discuss projects currently under further consideration.  The Committee will make recommendations to the City Council for their action during the annual budget process.  The activities and tour are open to the public. 

Regular Agenda:  [All times are approximations.]

1. Tour of Sites to be Considered by the CIP Review Committee starts at 8:00 Piedmont Park Tea House in Piedmont Main Park.

8:15 – 8:45 –  Crocker Park Path Improvements (Corner of Crocker Ave & Hampton Rd.)

9:00 – 9:30  –  St. James Lanterns (Corner of La Salle Ave. and St. James Dr.)

9:45 – 10:15  – Wildwood, Winsor, Warfield, and Wallace Avenues Intersection Improvements

10:30 – 11:15  –  Linda Beach Tot Lot and Park Improvements (Linda Beach Playfield)

11:30 – 12:00 –  Coaches Field Turf and Lighting Improvements (898 Red Rock Road)

Times are approximate. Map and project descriptions will be available at all tour stops.

2. Working Lunch at Tea House in Piedmont Park  [Discussions and considerations of projects will occur.]  The public may attend.

READ THE  AGENDA AND SEE THE MAP WITH PROJECT LOCATIONS BY CLICKING  >>>>>>>>>    CIP Tour Meeting_May 6, 2017_Complete

For transportation details, contact the City at 42o-3040.

May 1 2017

Based on reader inquiries, PCA asked City Clerk John Tulloch to provide answers to questions regarding the installation of cameras at Hampton Park.  Below are the questions and answers followed by an excerpt from the minutes of the April 3, 2017 City Council meeting.

Please see the following responses to your questions about the proposal to install Public Safety Cameras at Hampton Park. Please note that at its meeting of April 3rd, the Council did not approve the installation of public safety cameras at Hampton Park. The Council did approve a policy governing use of public safety cameras for the City’s existing cameras in and around the Police Department. John Tulloch, City Clerk

Q:         When will the matter be considered further by the Council?

A:         There is no date set at this time for further consideration of Public Safety Cameras by the Council.

Q:         Who first proposed the installation of cameras at Hampton Park?

A:         The installation of cameras at Hampton Park has been a matter of discussion between the Police and Public Works departments for several months.

Q:         Who is in charge of the proposed camera plan?

A:         The Police and Public Works Departments are jointly managing the proposal.

Q:         Will there be any community outreach on the proposal other than at a Council meeting?

A:         If this matter is taken up again, additional outreach would be at the discretion of the Council.

Q;         How much will the cameras cost to install and maintain?

A:         Please see page Agenda Report Page 2 of the staff report on this matter on the city’s web site at: http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2017-04-03/public_safety_camera.pdf

Q:         How will the recordings be preserved?

A:         Please see Agenda Report Page 5 of the aforementioned Agenda Report.

Q:         Have there been incidents at the Park indicating security problems?

A:         The City and its residents invested a tremendous amount for the refurbishment of Hampton Park. The cameras were intended as a preventative measure, as well as evaluation of the technology available. Subsequent to Council consideration of the item on April 3rd, there was a vandalism incident at the park.

Q:         Are cameras proposed for any other parks or recreation facilities?

A:         Please see Please see Agenda Report Page 3 of the aforementioned Agenda Report.

Q:         Have there been security concerns at any other City facilities?

A:         The City continually evaluates security at each of its facilities.

Sincerely,  John O. Tulloch, City Clerk

City of Piedmont
120 Vista Avenue
Piedmont, California 94611
Phone: (510) 420-3040
Fax: (510) 653-8272

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Below are the approved City Council Minutes of April 3, 2017  regarding Public Safety Cameras: 

Public Safety Camera System at Hampton Park

City Administrator Benoit explained technology serving as a tool to the Police Department and enhancing public safety. With the recent renovation of Hampton Park and relative affordability, staff was proposing leasing a camera system to monitor Hampton Park to evaluate the use and efficacy of Public Safety Cameras in Piedmont. If approved, staff would report back to the Council after a year of use.

Chief Jeremy Bowers discussed the ways in which public safety cameras enhanced public safety. Cameras at Hampton Park would provide the opportunity to protect the significant investment made at the park. He reviewed the implications of public safety cameras and proposed policy explaining that the use of cameras and balance of personal privacy rights. He stated the purpose was to evaluate, strategize, analyze data, and provide a recommendation to the Council after a year of use. He explained the components of the technology and policy regarding use by other than Police personnel.

Public Testimony was received from:

Susy Struble stated her belief that substantial justification had not been presented for the installation of Public Safety Cameras. She stated her desire for a long community discussion regarding the use of cameras which would include parents, children and high school students.

Rick Schiller expressed concern about installation in parks as a surveillance tool. He stated additional discussion was necessary, but that he was strongly opposed at this point.

Councilmembers McBain and Wieler indicated support for the cameras, on a trial basis, for the purpose of protecting the City’s investment at Hampton Park.

Councilmember Rood suggested adopting the policy to govern the existing cameras and to forego any approval of installation at Hampton Park until more community input was received. He suggested alternative installation of Public Safety cameras on the commercial stretch of Grand Avenue.

Councilmember Cavenaugh stated she was open to technology and focused on public safety but wanted to ensure that this was not a solution implemented prior to a strategy being approved. She stated her desire for a great deal of public input on this topic prior to approval.

Resolution No. 23-17

RESOLVED, that the City Council approves implementation of Public Safety Camera System at Hampton Park and a Public Safety Camera Policy.
Moved by McBain, Seconded by Wieler
Ayes: McBain, Wieler

Noes: Cavenaugh, Rood Absent: King MOTION FAILED

Resolution No. 24-17

RESOLVED, that the City Council approves of the proposed public safety camera policy.
Moved by Rood, Seconded by McBain
Ayes: McBain, Rood, Wieler

Noes: Cavenaugh Absent: King