Sep 6 2017

Because of the vacancy created by Jeff Wieler’s resignation as mayor, the City Council meeting of September 5, 2017 called for the election of a new mayor and vice mayor to be selected by the Council from amongst themselves.

The Piedmont League of Women Voters asked that some description be made about each nominee and their qualifications.  This request was honored by Councilmember Teddy King who nominated Bob McBain for Mayor, and then by Councilmember Tim Rood in nominating King for Vice Mayor.

McBain and King have long histories of volunteerism in Piedmont having served on numerous commissions and committees. Bob McBain was elected Mayor of Piedmont and  Teddy King was elected Vice Mayor.  Both were elected unanimously, as the selection process followed a tradition of choosing the most tenured Council members and the individuals with the most votes in their election cycle.

Sep 6 2017

Speakers at the September 5, 2017 Council meeting, praised the Council for its fast reaction to recent controversial remarks made by prior mayor, Jeff Wieler.  Before Wieler resigned from the Council all Councilmembers had gone on record publicly stating Wieler should resign from his council seat for the sake of the City.

During the Public Forum, citizens addressed the Council with the following points:

  • A representative of the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee thanked the Council and the public for their involvement and concern.  Notice was given of Piedmont’s upcoming anti-discrimination films.
  • A new resident was shocked by the comments reported in the media, indicating opinions typical of the alt-right.  The publicly available open facebook page of Councilmember Tim Rood was praised as a good resource to learn a Councilmember’s opinions. It was suggested that all Councilmembers establish an open facebook page so that residents can learn about the positions of their elected Councilmembers.
  • The Piedmont Civic Association (PCA) was praised for providing timely and accurate information on the issues.
  • Speakers said there should be no place in Piedmont government for prejudicial statements and in the future more attention would be given to the Council actions.
  • One speaker asked residents to write Jeff Wieler and note matters where he had contributed positively to the City.  In this way, he would learn to use his mind and his mouth for positive results.

During Public Forum, California’s sunshine law, the Brown Act, does not allow the Councilmembers to engage in discussions with speakers. 

Sep 6 2017

After what Mayor Bob McBain described as a couple of tumultuous weeks, the Council undertook approval of a resolution addressing inclusivity and opposition to hate groups.  Councilmember Jennifer Cavenaugh explained that more work needs to be done.

The following resolution was approved unanimously.

09/05/2017 – Consideration of a Resolution Reaffirming Piedmont’s Commitment to Inclusivity and Opposing Actions of Hate Groups 

Sep 4 2017

The Piedmont Park Commission will meet on Wednesday, September 6 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 items include:

  • Citywide On and Off Leash signage,
  • Wall design for Dracena Park,
  • Heritage Tree Program,
  • Santa Lucia and Douglas fir trees in Dracena Park,
  • Update on Hampton Park Maintenance

Read complete announced agenda here.

Read Park Commission July 5 minutes here.

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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

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Sep 3 2017

Preparedness Priorities Debated

On Friday, August 25 the Urban Shield Task Force met in Oakland to discuss the future of Alameda County’s Urban Shield training program.  The controversy focuses on whether terrorism is the most important crisis for Bay Area preparation.  The funding program’s terrorism nexus requires that 25 percent of all grant funds go for “terrorism prevention activities.” Yet Alameda county’s Emergency Operation Plan lists terrorism preparedness as the eighth-most important disaster scenario, according to critics of Urban Shield.

Piedmont residents Melissa Gjerde, Lauren Mayfield, Rohaina Hassan and Jordan Bailey opposed the program on other grounds, stating “Urban Shield programs that promote/train for a militarized police force are fundamentally racist and Islamophobic.”

Also objecting were members of the Stop Urban Shield coalition who prefer investing in disaster prevention, which they consider more important than the Urban Shield.

The Urban Shield Task Force )voted down a motion to avoid funding requiring terrorism preparedness, which some called crucial for BART. Also rejected was the proposal to urge the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to lobby Congress to remove the “nexus to terrorism” requirement.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted to create a task force to study and report back on Urban Shield on January 10, 2017.  The task force is composed of more than a dozen appointees.

Read about Bay Area Urban Shield here.

Read more about EMS Urban Shield here.

Read ABC 7 news report here.

Sep 1 2017

Meeting will be in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, Tuesday, September 5 at 7:30 p.m.

The Piedmont City Council will vote on September 5, 2017, to elect a new mayor from the Councilmembers to fill the vacancy resulting from Jeff Wieler’s resignation as Mayor of Piedmont.  Vice Mayor Bob McBain has been in an interim “acting” position since the vacancy occurred pending the election by the Council of a new mayor.  McBain is the most tenured member of the Council.

If McBain is elected Mayor, the Vice Mayor position, as described in the City Charter, will require election of a new Vice Mayor.

The public is welcome to speak to the agenda item.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Channel 27 and from the City website.  The City keeps recordings and makes them available from the City website.

Comments regarding the selection of a new Mayor and/or Vice Mayor can be sent to the Council members as follows:

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

 

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

Sep 1 2017

The Council has 30 days from September 5 to select someone to fill the vacant Council seat left by Wieler’s resignation.

Effective September 5, 2017, Jeff Wieler resigned as a Piedmont Councilmember.  Now, the City Council has the task of filling his vacant seat – unexpired term – that ends in November/December 2018.

The Council has 30 days in which to complete the task of filling the vacant unexpired term held by Wieler.  The agenda for the September 5, 2017 Council meeting does not include consideration of a process for selecting the replacement Council member.  According to the City Administrator, Paul Benoit, the Council may hold a Special Meeting to consider the selection process.

Those interested in applying for the unexpired seat can make inquiry with the City at 420-3040. 

Historically, the Council has asked for applications which must be from qualified electors of Piedmont – those who are registered Piedmont voters. In previous years, applicants submitted a standardized written application followed by an interview session held by the remaining four Councilmembers. By law, all applications and interviews are open to the public.

As the Councilmember selection is political, applicants frequently lobby the public and the Council.

Throughout the process, Councilmembers must follow the Brown Act (California’s sunshine law) by conducting all considerations and discussions of the applicants in a public meeting.  Councilmembers may not discuss privately amongst themselves who they think should be appointed.

When former Mayor and Councilmember, Margaret Fujioka, resigned her unexpired position on the Council, Jonathan Levine was chosen from amongst the applicants.  He subsequently ran for a regular four year term on the Council; however he did not win in that election.

The Council chosen appointee to the Council will serve until December 2018, when the unexpired term ends.  To continue to serve on the Council, the appointed individual must be elected at the November 2018 General Election.

The process of filling a vacancy is set out in the Piedmont City Charter as follows:

(C) FILLING OF VACANCIES. A vacancy on the City Council shall be filled by appointment by the Council, with said appointee to hold office until the next general municipal election, when a successor shall be chosen by the electors for the unexpired term. If the Council does not fill such vacancy within thirty (30) days after the same occurs, then such vacancy shall be filled by the Mayor. 

Questions may be posed to the City Administrator, Paul Benoit, at 510/420-3040.

The public can provide input to the Council by using the following contact information.

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

 

Aug 30 2017

It is with great sadness that I announce my resignation from the Piedmont City Council effective Tuesday September 5, 2017.

I will provide the City Administrator with a formal letter of resignation, which I will ask him to read at that meeting.

Throughout my service on Council, I strived to do what was best for Piedmont, and tried to be fair and open to everybody’s opinions. I challenge people to find a single instance where my personal opinions affected any vote or action I’ve taken Piedmont.

 In closing, I want to say I’m proud of the contributions I’ve made to Piedmont.  I helped reform Piedmont’s parcel taxes to provide funding for our high quality municipal services and to help retain the skilled people who provide them.  As a Chair of the Municipal Tax Review Committee, I successfully fought for a Charter amendment that allowed Piedmont to maintain an adequate General Fund reserve, and also helped structured a sewer tax that has allowed Piedmont to lead the East Bay cities in upgrading our infrastructure to reduce pollution in San Francisco Bay.  I’ve contributed on at least seven civic committees, and spent nearly 12 years on the City Council, missing sessions only when hospitalized.

I’ve written my “Piedmontage” column in the Piedmont Post for 14 years, with the aim of providing a clear, easily read, discussion of significant issues facing Piedmont.  Nobody has ever accused me of inserting personal political biases into any of my hundreds of columns about Piedmont’s civic issues.

In closing, I want to say that I have a deep love for our beautiful city, and think it has been an honor to work with so many fine civic volunteers.  I especially want to say how much I appreciate our city employees.  It has been my privilege to spend time with our police, firefighters, and public works employees.  Our employees and our skilled management team make Piedmont the superb city it is.

The City Council and staff have important issues to deal with, from cell towers to labor negotiations to garbage service.  It would be unfair to the City and a personal betrayal of my principles and past efforts if I allowed this circus to continue distracting residents, the Council, and City Staff.  I also don’t need any more obscene hate mail or veiled threats of violence.

I apologize for helping create this situation.  Continuing to fight the situation might make me feel better, but will not help our community.

Therefore, I am tendering my resignation from the City Council, effective as of Tuesday September 5, 2017.  My best wishes to you and to my former colleagues on the Council.  I am grateful to the friends, former colleagues and everyday citizens who have reached out with their support and understanding.

Jeffrey Wieler, Former Mayor and Councilmember

August 30, 2017

______________

City Press Release:  August 30, 2017

Jeffrey Wieler Resigns from Piedmont City Council

On Wednesday, August 30th, Jeffrey Wieler resigned from the Piedmont City Council effective Tuesday, September 5, 2017.

Mr. Wieler was elected to the City Council in 2010 and 2014. He previously served on the City Council from 2002 to 2006. The text of Mr. Wieler’s resignation is available on the City’s web site at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us *

Contact: Paul Benoit, City Administrator   420-3040

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