May 11 2017

Report on May 3rd Park Commission Meeting – 

    On Wednesday May 3, I attended the Park Commission meeting at City Hall. This commission meets once a month to discuss the work being done to improve and renovate the parks and public spaces in Piedmont in order to make it a more beautiful and enjoyable place to live. This meeting was mostly updates on the various projects that have been happening around Piedmont.

The Linda Kingston Triangle is almost done and is quite beautiful. Hampton Park will get padding on the brick wall right next to third base very soon and the maintenance schedule is almost complete. In addition to Hampton, an RFP has gone out for Coaches’ Field in an effort to fix the drainage problem. The goals for Hall Fenway are replanting for more ground cover, replace the trees that were lost in the drought, and install better irrigation in order preserve water. This work will be funded by the Piedmont Beautification Foundation.

Park Commissioner Brian Mahany updated the Commission on the Arbor Day event, which had a fairly good turnout even though it was raining and there were many last minute changes. Next year, he suggested, there should be more public outreach and the activities should be more focused and theme based.

Finally, Dave Frankel gave his monthly maintenance report. The main topic was the fallen trees in the parks, which were mostly due to the heavy rains in the past month. However, these trees also did not have much uphill root growth because they were growing towards where they could reach sunlight. Since the trees have fallen, there is more sunlight, so there will be no replanting in order to avoid a repeat of this situation.

Also, Mr. Frankel discussed the beginning of IPM (integrated pest management) this year. The goal of IPM is to prevent the use of harmful pesticides in the Piedmont parks.

Finally, Mr. Frankel talked about turning on all of the irrigation systems in the parks, which includes drip irrigation systems.  I think it is a bad idea. Northern California, although “technically” out of the drought, still needs to preserve water because California has been in a drought for at least the last ten years. I would much rather have brown grass in the parks than run out of water.

After the meeting, I talked to Parks and Project Manager Nancy Kent. Ms. Kent is the staff liaison for the Commission, so she is at every meeting giving updates and proposals for the parks. At this meeting, there were few problems where Ms. Kent indicated concern. Of course, the few potential problems (i.e. Hampton Field) are on their way to being resolved.

by Emily Szerdy,  Piedmont High School Senior

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

May 3 Park Commission Meeting – 

   On May 3, 2017, I attended a Park Commission meeting. The Commission gathers on the first Wednesday of every month. The meeting was to update the Commission on the status of the parks, including the Linda Kingston Triangle, the Hampton Park Master Plan, the Hall Fenway, the success of Arbor Day, and the monthly maintenance report.

    My addition to the agenda was my proposal to connect the Park Commission with the Piedmont High School AP Environmental Science class. I attended the class last year and really enjoyed it. The class assigns volunteer hours for homework and having attended a past Commission meeting, I had the idea to start a dialogue between the city and the class. Attending the Park Commission meeting I felt that what is taught in the class is brought into reality by the Commission, and students love real world examples. I hope that they can work together so that Piedmont can stay beautiful and educate its future generations.

    The Linda Kingston Triangle is nearing completion, with its ribbon cutting event planned for late May. All that needs to happen is the flip of a breaker switch to turn on the three lights illuminating the landscaping. Once completed, the triangle will add to Piedmont’s already lovely environment.

    I am happy to see Hampton Park coming along. Five of the six backboards were installed on the basketball courts, and a foul pole was installed for the baseball field. In order to streamline maintenance on the field, the Commission is developing a maintenance plan with PRZ. Gillian Peters and Emily Szerdy both spoke out on their concerns for the park. There is a planter built where a rogue base runner could make contact, mentioned by Emily. Gillian added that the lights illuminating the planter are too bright, proving a distraction for drivers. These concerns are likely to be addressed. I’m sure Hampton Park could have some AP Environmental Science students make their mark on this park, also.

    The most intriguing part of this meeting was the update on Hall Fenway. The small park on the corner of Wildwood and Crocker Avenue, was once a section of a commuter railway line, part of the Key System. Knowing that, I looked at a satellite image of Piedmont.  When I looked at the image, it is obvious that houses have been built on the railway, because of how straight and narrow their plots of land are. The Hall Fenway will have work done to replace struggling shrubs and groundcover, renew the mulch and adjust the irrigation system. This park was always a breath of fresh air walking home from school for me.

    After the meeting had adjourned, I had the chance to interview Chester Nakahara. He is the Director of Public Works in Piedmont and was at the meeting because the Park Commission is under his purview. He mentioned that the Park Commission has finally gotten a break from consideration of the winter storms and they are able to move forward. He is pleased that his staff performs “continually superlative work”, and that students like me are attending these meetings. Things are moving swiftly as Piedmont is recovered from the winter.  The meeting surprised Mr. Nakahara by how short and concise the meeting was.

By Mathison Richards, Piedmont High School Senior –

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
May 7 2017

Local attorney Jeff Bleich, has been a U.S. ambassador to Australia, Special Counsel to President Obama, a bundler* for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and now wants to be California’s lieutenant governor. Three other Democrats have filed to run for California’s lieutenant governor.

Listen to his recent speech in Australia here.

Read Bleich’s statement here

Read LA Times here

* A bundler is someone who gathers campaign contributions from friends and colleagues, generally at the maximum allowable donation level for a candidate. Candidates like bundlers because of their connections and ability to arrange large volumes of campaign contributions, reducing the candidate’s fund raising time.

May 3 2017

Students express disappointment in the decision process –

As reported > here, “PUSD has announced a groundbreaking ceremony on May 18 for the Wall of Honor at the Chris Stevens Memorial library, which will house a database recognizing past and current service members from Piedmont.”

According to reports, the installation in the library did not receive School Board consideration nor approval because funding was coming from outside sources.

Perhaps unknown to the School Board, a controversy over the installation existed amongst students, who wanted the matter publicly aired and considered based on a process prior to approval of the project by the Superintendent.

In an editorial published April 26, 2017 in The Piedmont Highlander, Piedmont High School’s student newspaper, the editors agreed to the following statement:

“As an editorial board, we once again feel that the school has decided to enact something that would directly impact the student community without adequate input from students. If we were to take a poll about the Wall of Honor (which we urge the administration to do) – not even just asking if students support it, but if they have every heard of it – we estimate that more than half of the student body would have no idea what we are even referring to. This lack of information concerns us, and it should concern students, teachers, and the community alike.”  The Piedmont Highlander

A statement made by a prior Piedmont Highlander Editorial Board stated:

“Proposals like these should have a standardized process for approval in order to fully consider the nuances and create opportunity for thoughtful community feedback.

“As part of a standardized process, a set of criteria needs to be established. One criterion that we should consider is whether a campus display honoring graduates should honor them only for activities that directly involve the school. PHS generally does not recognize its graduates for their service to society — no matter how admirable – and it would be highly impractical to honor every graduate who leaves a positive impact on the world.”  The Piedmont Highlander

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.


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

May 2 2017

Resignation, Public Involvement, Selection Process –

Millennium High School Principal Sati Shah was appointed as the High School Principal & Associate Superintendent at Mt. Shasta High School in the Siskiyou Union High School District, beginning July 1, 2017.

Principal Shah helped to provide a smooth transition for students and staff when he stepped into the role of Principal at Millennium High School in 2015. He quickly focused on community-building and strengthening the culture at MHS. Principal Shah also provided key leadership in the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and course pathways and assisted in developing the Connected Learning 1:1 Chromebook program.

“While this is a tremendous loss for Millennium High School and PUSD, I wish to congratulate Sati on this exciting new chapter in his professional life. Mt. Shasta High School is a great fit for Principal Shah as he and his family spend considerable time in the Mt. Shasta area,” said Superintendent Booker. “Sati will be sorely missed by students, parents, and staff alike. He’s made a tremendous impact on the school that will be challenging to replace. I personally want to express my thanks for Sati’s dedication and leadership of Millennium High School for the past 2 years,” continued Booker.

The District will facilitate a process to advertise, interview, and select a new MHS Principal for the 2017-18 school year.

~~~ Selection Process for MHS Principal ~~~

The advertising of a Principal position across the country is facilitated via local, state and national papers/sites, including colleges and universities and school districts. ACSA (Association of California School Administrators) produces a well-read and broadly distributed publication called the Ed-CAL where all districts publish job postings.

The District will publish the position posting on May 1st on The MHS Principal is a 0.6FTE administrative position. To help round-out the position to full-time in order to attract qualified candidates, the District will also post a 0.4FTE Adult Education Principal. The selected candidate will assume the responsibilities of both positions.

Below is a link to the position brochure that is sent to colleges, universities, county offices of education, and school across the state.

Due date for applications: May 19, 2017.

~~~ Community Engagement ~~~

It is important that the community of educators, students, and families have an opportunity to provide the District with input as to the desired traits and educational vision of the next MHS Principal.

Superintendent Booker will meet with administrators, staff, parents, and students during the month of May to gather their input as to the desired traits and educational vision of the next MHS Principal.

Staff: May 12, 2017 – 8:00am Staff Meeting

Students: May 5, 2017 – 1:20pm

Parents: May 16, 2017 – 7pm – Room #47

Recognizing that not all families, staff, and students can/will attend the input meetings, an online survey/feedback tool has been developed for all constituents to be able to provide input as to the traits, qualifications and educational vision desired in the next MHS Principal.

Click here to access the survey:
The input gathered from the meetings and the online survey/feedback tool will be provided to the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education and the Interview Committee.

~~~ Interview Process ~~~

The first round of interviews will include representatives from teachers, classified staff, administrators, students, parents, and a Board Member. The interview committee is comprised of the following participants:

(1) Superintendent
(3) MHS Teachers
(1) MHS Counselor
(1) MHS Classified Staff (2) MHS Students

(1) Director
(1) School Site Administrator
(3) MHS Parents
(1) Adult Education Representative (1) Board Member
14 Members

The District will work with the MHS Parents’ Club Presidents to determine which parents serve on the committee. The District will also work with union leadership to determine which teachers and classified staff serve on the committee. Lastly, the District will work collaboratively with the MHS Associated Study Body (ASB) Leadership Class to determine which 2 students serve on the committee.

This first interview will occur on May 26th and typically lasts a full day. Prior to the 1st interview, when the interview committee has been selected, the District will send out an email to the group, giving them the executive summary from the community/student/staff feedback survey and asking each of them to bring sample interview questions that we can discuss as a full interview team. The first part of the morning will be spent jointly developing interview questions for the candidates.

At the end of the 1st round of interviews, the committee will make a recommendation to the Superintendent of their top candidates.

The District will schedule a 2nd round of interviews on May 30th for the top candidates to meet with the Superintendent. The Board of Education will also interview the top candidates.

The target date for a final decision by the Board of Education is June 14th, 2017. This will provide adequate time for a positive transition in preparation of the start date of July 1, 2017.

From the Office of the Superintendent – 760 Magnolia Avenue – Piedmont, CA 94611 – 510.594.2614

May 1, 2017

May 2 2017

Wall to honor Piedmont military service members.

“PUSD has announced a groundbreaking ceremony on May 18 for the Wall of Honor at the Chris Stevens Memorial library, which will house a database recognizing past and current service members from Piedmont.

“In 2015, Katie Korotzer and Terisa Whitted, Piedmont residents and parents of PHS alums who entered the armed forces, began their initiative to honor service members. With the help of the Piedmont Historic Society and other community members, Korotzer and Whitted collected a list of over 1,200 PHS alumni and residents who have served in the US military or the foreign service. The committee plans to incorporate this database of names into the Wall of Honor.

“The Piedmont Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, currently fiscally sponsors the Wall of Honor, so all donations made towards the $50,000 goal are tax deductible. As the Wall of Honor proposal called for funding through community donations and not the school’s general fund, it never appeared before the school board for a vote or discussion, Pearson said.”

Read the full report from The Piedmont Highlander student newspaper by clicking here.


May 2 2017

Due: Monday, May 15, 2017 –

The City of Piedmont is seeking nominations for the annual Piedmont Civic Volunteer of the Year Award.  This award recognizes a Piedmont resident for extraordinary service to the Piedmont community.  The award is given to a Piedmonter who has made significant cultural, political, health, safety, environmental, recreational, and/or social contributions that have enriched the community. The intent of the award is to annually recognize an individual whose efforts have helped to improve the quality of life in Piedmont.

“The Civic Volunteer of the Year award is an excellent opportunity to recognize and express appreciation to an individual for his or her contribution to making Piedmont a better place,” said Mayor Jeff Wieler. “I hope that recognizing someone who has given so much to our community will inspire others to volunteer for the greater good of our community now and in the future.”

The 2017 Piedmont Civic Volunteer of the Year Award will be presented at the City of Piedmont Volunteer Recognition Ceremony where those who serve on City Commissions and Committees and the winners of the annual Betty C. Howard Award for services to the Piedmont Recreation Department will be recognized. The Recognition Ceremony will be held at the Piedmont Community Hall on May 23rd.

The Piedmont Civic Volunteer of the Year Awardee will be chosen by the Mayor and a selection committee. Volunteer efforts during the 12-month period commencing January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016, will be considered.

Please submit your nomination(s) to the Office of the City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, California or via email to by May 15, 2017.

May 2 2017

Community input provides ideas for the High School building projects. – 

by Samantha Merigold, Piedmont High School Senior –

The Piedmont Unified School District held three Town Hall meetings to get the community’s input on the options for the new high school facilities.  I attended the third meeting on Tuesday, April 18.  The purpose of the meeting was to get feedback on the three proposed options for new facilities at the high school.

In Piedmont’s last election, Bond measure H1 passed, and as a result we have funding for new high school facilities, as they are the oldest of all the schools in Piedmont.  These meetings are held to hear from the community so the Board of Education can take these opinions into account when making a decision on the new designs in May.  The meeting started with a quick presentation and overview.  They described all three options, and then we moved on to table group discussions about the pros and cons of each option.

Option 1 included a new three story STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) building located behind the gym where the portables are currently.  Option 1 would have a completely new theater, and a 20s building remodel and office relocation.  The benefits of Option 1 are that it is the least expensive, it does the minimum of what is needed, and the STEAM building blends in with the topography well when it is located down the hill.  Some challenges include student flow going to and from upper and lower campus, and the tradeoff with the loss of view from the quad but the nice views from within the STEAM building.

Option 2 places the new STEAM building where Alan Harvey Theater is currently located and a new theater.  The PHS offices would be in the STEAM building and the 20s building would undergo a remodel.  Option 2 would provide a new face for the school, the STEAM building would be central campus, and there would be a clear entrance to the school that the PHS offices could oversee.  Some additions that would be nice for Option 2 would be some rooftop student space, because with the new building a lot of lunch spots are lost.  A drawback is it takes an extra ½ a year.

Option 3 would place the new STEAM building where Binks Gym is currently located, replaces the 10s building with a new gym, and places the PHS office in the 40s building.  Benefits of option 3 include a good location of the gym, it is very clear and easy to find for visitors.  The amphitheater is removed because no one really used it anyways, and the PHS offices are at the entrance.

When we started the final recommendations portion of the meeting, we came up with the suggestion that it would be nice to have the location of the Wellness Center, counselors, and College and Career Center all near each other and easy to find.  We thought a helpful alteration to option 3 would be to put the PHS offices in the STEAM building, and keep MHS in the 40s building.  Also a major concern for students is parking, but they have already explored possibilities for parking and they are far too expensive.

After the meeting, I had the opportunity to speak with Eileen Ruby, a member on the board of the Piedmont Education Foundation.  She attended this meeting because she voted for this bond and wanted to see where it was going.  She said what happens at this school is part of the District, so it is important for her to be there.  She is also often asked for her opinion on the new facilities so she comes to these meetings so she can have an educated response to give them.

This meeting consisted of table group discussions, so I was able to speak on several different topics.  For Option 1 I brought up my past experience from the middle school, explaining that the classrooms there had nice views, but the windows were always closed and classrooms far too warm, so the view from the quad is more valuable than the views from the rooms in that building.  I also spoke on the challenge of student flow to and from the STEAM building.  The only way to get to it would be down several flights of stairs, with narrow walkways and too many students moving through.  I mentioned the fact that there are always several injured students at PHS and there is no way someone would be able to maneuver their way there on crutches.

For Option 2, I mentioned that PHS does not look like a school and a lot of people don’t even realize it’s a high school when they drive past.  Option 2 would provide a new face for the school, and make it easy to find as well as showcase our beautiful new STEAM building.  I also talked about the benefit of having a clear entrance to the school.  It is better for safety, and the PHS offices can oversee who comes in and out of the school.  For Option 3 I talked about how the gym is very hard to find, I constantly get asked by random drivers if they are in the right place when looking for the gym.  Having the gym in the front would make it easier to find and also showcase Piedmont’s athletics, something that is a huge part of our student body.  I explained that the amphitheater gets very little use, you can hear everything that everyone says in there so not a lot of people eat lunch there, so we are not losing much by getting rid of it.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

[To view the Piedmont Highlander student newspaper report on the 3 proposals for the High School click here.]

May 1 2017

Public participation on Piedmont’s Commercial/Mixed Use Zone D regulations on Grand Avenue has generated potential changes.  The Civic Center Commercial/Mixed Use Zone D will remain designated for increased development as previously approved by the City Council.

Approximately twenty participants attended the prior Grand Avenue Commercial/Mixed Use Zone D workshop (April 19, 2017).  The draft changed regulations will be discussed further on:

Wednesday, May 3rd – 6:00 p.m. at the Kehilla Community Synagogue, Fireside Room, 1300 Grand Avenue, Piedmont. Enter on Fairview Avenue through the gate.

The changes appear to be more restrictive for development and more compatible with existing residential neighborhoods.  Those interested in the final proposal will find the May 3rd meeting important. 

Civic Center Commercial/Mixed Use Zone –

Unlike the Grand Avenue Commercial Zone, the Civic Center Commercial/Mixed Use Zone at Highland and Vista Avenues, has already been approved for more development based on 2017 action by the City Council. The properties near or next to the schools (Havens, PHS, PMS, MHS) and residences in the center of Piedmont drew little participation regarding potential impacts including the Piedmont School District, the greater community, or neighboring residents.

A Potential Legal Issue Remains –

A potential legal issue continues based on the City Council changing all of Piedmont’s Commercial Zones to Commercial/Mixed Use without voter approval as noted in Piedmont’s > City Charter. (*See note below at end of this article.)


Following the first workshop on the Grand Avenue Commercial /Mixed Use Zone D, changes have been proposed by the Planning staff. Click below to view the proposed changes for Grand Avenue:

 >  Draft Amendments Grand Avenue Subarea 5-3-2017

Editors Note:  The date of the next workshop is noted incorrectly on the Planning Department draft changes documents.  The workshop is May 3 NOT May 1. 


Letter from Planning Director:

The City of Piedmont will hold the second of two community workshops to consider the Planning Commission’s recommended revisions to the regulations for the thirteen properties along Grand Avenue that are in the City’s commercial/mixed-use zone (Zone D). The regulations under consideration are those related to structure and landscape coverage, building height, setback requirements, and parking. In addition, city staff is recommending a revision to the density of multi-family dwelling units allowed in Zone D mixed-use developments: from the current 12 dwelling units per acre (1 unit per 3,630 SF of lot area) to a proposed 20 dwelling units per acre (1 unit per 2,178 SF of lot area), which would be in conformance with the > Piedmont General Plan. [See note at end of this article]*

Approximately 20 Piedmonters attended the first community workshop on April 19th and participated in a lively discussion. With the comments provided by the participants, City staff has drafted amendments to the Commission’s recommended revisions that address resident’s concerns. The second workshop will be a follow-up to the first workshop and will provide an opportunity for members of the public to review and discuss the proposed amendments. The schedule and location of the second community workshop is as follows:

Follow-Up Community Workshop

You can find more information on the Planning Commission’s recommended revisions to the regulations for the City’s commercial/mixed-use zone (Zone D) by visiting the City’s webpage on the topic.

You are encouraged to provide your comments by attending the workshop and/or by submitting written comments by noon, Wednesday May 3, 2017. You can submit your comments to me, or on paper to 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.


On March 20, 2017 the Piedmont City Council unanimously adopted a comprehensive update to land use regulations in the City Code. The revised Chapter 17, Planning and Land Use, will be in effect April 19, 2017. However, in taking action to adopt the comprehensive update, the City Council determined that more time was needed to consider the Planning Commission’s recommended revisions to regulations for the Grand Avenue subarea of Zone D, the commercial/mixed use zone. Thus, the regulations for the Grand Avenue Zone D subarea related to structure and landscape coverage, building height, setback requirements, and parking were not updated to allow for additional public engagement and consideration. In addition, city staff will introduce a recommended revision to the density of multi-family dwelling units allowed in Zone D. The two community workshops have been scheduled to provide public engagement and comment before Council takes up the matter again.

Relevant Documents

Please follow the link below to find the regulations in Chapter 17 effective April 19, 2017. Regulations related to structure and landscape coverage, building height, and setback requirements in zone D are found in code section 17.26.050 on pages 18-19. Zone D parking regulations are found in code section 17.30.030, pages 23-24.

>   Chapter 17, Planning and Land Use (Not Codified)

The revisions to Chapter 17, Planning and Land Use recommended by the Planning Commission and being introduced by city staff are shown in tracked changes format in the following document.

>   Recommend Revisions to Divisions 17.26 and 17.30 of Chapter 17, Planning and Land Use

Public Participation

Members of the public are encouraged to participate throughout this process by submitting comments and attending the meetings. Written comments may be submitted to Kevin Jackson, Director of Planning, or 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611. All meetings have been publicly noticed. In addition, staff maintains a list of community members who wish to receive notices and copies of reports directly via email. Anybody who wishes to be added to the list related to revisions to City Code Chapter 17 may contact Planning Director Kevin Jackson at or (510) 420-3039.

*Piedmont’s General Plan was approved by the City Council.  Piedmonters did not vote on the General Plan.   Where inconsistencies between the General Plan and the > City Charter present, the City Charter controls. 

< For more PCA coverage on zoning issues, use the PCA search engine on the left side of this page and insert the word  “zoning.”