Oct 22 2017

The commercial proponents of extensive installations of “small” cell towers in Piedmont have stated that health issues cannot be considered when the City Council acts on the installations.  In support of their position, they refer to government regulators’ statements that the towers do not present a health issue and excluding health impacts from the permit process discussions.

More than one public person has come forward to state that the radiation emitted by the towers will present a health hazard to them because of their current medical conditions. Professionals from Piedmont have stated publicly on the record likely damage to humans, trees, insects, animals, and vegetation in cell tower areas.

CNN has been running a series of information programs providing data and evidence on the cell towers and cell phones as a potential health hazard.  To view programs, click below:

https://www.smart-safe.com/blogs/news/cnn-program-on-wireless-radiation-and-microwave-sickness-vital-signs-with-dr-sanjay-gupta

Oct 22 2017

Monday, Oct. 30th – 7:30 p.m.  City Council Chambers.  This meeting will be broadcast on Channel 27 and from the City website videos.

At its regular meeting of October 16, 2017, the City Council denied Crown Castle’s applications for Wireless Communication Facilities Permits and Variances for five of the sites included in the application: 150 Highland Avenue, 303 Hillside Avenue, 428 El Cerrito Avenue, 352 Jerome Avenue, and 1159 Winsor Avenue.

The Council continued consideration of three additional sites (near 340-370 Highland Avenue, 740 Magnolia Avenue, and 799 Magnolia Avenue) to a special meeting on Monday, October 30, 2017 and directed staff to prepare resolutions that would enable Council to deny these applications. The Council will make its decision on whether to approve or deny these applications at the October 30th Special Council meeting.

The final site, 314 Wildwood Avenue, will be considered by the Park Commission and will come back to Council for consideration at a later date.


City report below:

Crown Castle and Beacon Development filed applications in November 2016 for nine Verizon distributed antenna system wireless communication facilities, located generally around Piedmont Park and Piedmont High School. Crown Castle is a company that builds wireless communications facilities and then leases them to wireless service providers, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon.

The projects consist of five installations on the tops of existing utility poles, three installations on the tops of existing street light poles, and one installation on a new light. The applicants have proposed that ground equipment related to the pole top antennas be located in various locations including cabinets shaped like mailboxes, behind shrouds mounted on poles and street lights, and in underground vaults in the sidewalk.The proposal will require final approval from the City Council. Click to read more information about the application and the review process.

The Piedmont Park Commission considered this application at its regular meeting of June 7, 2017. The Piedmont Planning Commission considered this application at its regular meeting of June 12, 2017. The staff reports for these meeting are available on the Planning Department web page.

[Five applications were denied by the City Council at their October 16 meeting.  The denied cell towers are located at or near 150 Highland Avenue, 303 Hillside Avenue, 428 El Cerrito Avenue, 352 Jerome Avenue, and 1159 Winsor Avenue.]

A Piedmont Planning Department staff report prepared for the October 30, 2017 Council meeting is not yet available, however when made available, it will be published on this site.

Contact information for City Council:

Robert McBain, Mayor rmcbain@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 547-0597 2nd Term Exp. 11/20
Teddy Gray King, Vice Mayor tking@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 450-0890 1st Term Exp. 11/18
Jennifer Cavenaugh jcavenaugh@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 428-1442 1st Term Exp. 11/20
Tim Rood trood@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 239-7663 1st Term Exp. 11/18
Betsy Smegal Andersen bandersen@piedmont.ca.gov Unexpired Term Exp. 11/18
Oct 22 2017

Piedmont has a Council appointed Task Force that has been meeting for months to propose a Climate Action Plan for Piedmont.  Everything from energy usage to new requirements of property owners are part of the plan. The target date for Council approval of a plan is December. 

A community workshop is an attempt to engage Piedmonters and gather input on the plan.  The public is encouraged to participate.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, from 7:30 – 9:00 pm, at the Piedmont Community Hall, 711 Highland Avenue, in Main Park.

To read records of the Task Force meetings click > http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/committees/captf.shtml

The City announcement regarding the November 7 community workshop can be read by clicking below.

Press Release CAP Workshop Nov. 7

When further information is available, it will be published on this site.

Oct 20 2017

The City of Piedmont and the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) are making “Piedmont Stands United Against Hate” signs available to all residents.

In a joint project, the City of Piedmont and the Piedmont Unified School District have purchased “Piedmont Stands United Against Hate” signs, which are available to residents to show their support of Piedmont as an inclusive community.

These signs are the latest action taken by the City and the PUSD to demonstrate the commitment of Piedmonters to be an inviting, equitable, just, and safe community for everyone and to condemn, in the strongest possible language, the totalitarian impulses, violent terrorism, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that are promoted by hate groups.

“These signs are a visible way for Piedmonters to show their support for inclusivity and respect,” said Mayor Robert McBain. “We are pleased to be able to partner with the School District to help residents take a visible stand against intolerance and injustice.”

“The Piedmont Unified School District has instituted curriculum this year to provide training in equity, diversity, and social justice for staff, students, and the Piedmont community,” said Board of Education President Sarah Pearson. “We are pleased to partner with the City on this important endeavor.”

A group of residents are mobilizing to distribute signs to those who request them.

If you are interested in obtaining a sign, please contact Conna McCarthy at > 

mccarthycraigie@gmail.com.  

A limited number of signs will also be available at City Hall and the PUSD District Office.

The above press release is dated October 20, 2017. 

 

1 Comment »
Oct 20 2017

Students find areas to improve District and praise community involvement and educators.

The Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education convened on the evening of October 11th in a bi-monthly meeting to discuss the evolution of the Middle School and High School math programs along with the substantiality of textbooks and lab materials for classes. The Board also received an update on the Measure H1 facilities bond program and heard Blake Boehm on possible refunding of Capital Appreciation Bonds. During each of these presentations, the Board was briefed on the schedule for each program and came to a resolution on the sufficiency of the District’s learning materials.

Beginning with announcements from those in attendance, the Board was informed of the Piedmont Education Foundation’s plan, through the recently kicked off Giving Campaign, to reach 4.4 million dollars. The campaign is well on its way and has already reached 2.2 million dollars.

Announcements continued with an update from Josh Miller, the Piedmont High School and Millennium ASB (Associated Students Board) representative.  This year is the first year PHS and Millennium ASB worked together to decorate, plan and execute homecoming for the two schools.

Furthermore, all practices were canceled due to the poor air quality resulting from the California Wildfires. Those in attendance were then notified of the Board Workshop in the District office on October 12th to evaluate the budget before the Board moved on with the rest of the meeting.

Dr. Cheryl​ ​Wozniak, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, then began her presentation, beginning by informing the Board of the timeline to evaluate the newly implemented Secondary Math Program. The timeline begins with an evaluation of the successes and challenges of the program before revising any policies or procedures and creating recommendations for the School Board to hear. In response to questions from student audience members, Wozniak then explained that while the new program teaches the same information as previous math programs, it teaches it in a much more compressed timeline.

Following her slide presentation on the integrated math program, Wozniak addressed the the sufficiency of schools’ instructional materials, a motion that the Board found true and resolved.

During an interview before the meeting began, Wozniak explained that the “common core math standards cover every math level, but materials end at integrated math courses,” and she later informed the Board that all materials were sufficient for each student and were up to date.

Wozniak, a regular attendee of School Board Meetings, explained that when she attends, “she gets to hear major presentations and initiatives,” encouraging me and my peers to discuss our own experiences with the math program at Piedmont High School.

Taking Dr. Wozniak’s advice, I addressed the board, first expanding on conversations over the lack of use of Calculus textbooks, explaining that despite similar trends of past years, I had used the textbook more than ever before in AP Calculus BC.

I then brought up an issue I had seen in many science classes, but most recently in Ap Environmental Sciences. Many STEM classes do not have enough lab materials to find accurate results or any results at all, prohibiting students from getting a complete and well rounded education Although this experience was nerve wracking, with the encouragement of Dr. Wozniak and the importance of the matter at hand, I felt it was an extremely rewarding to speak out.

As the clock neared nine p.m., Michael​ ​Brady,​ ​Facilities​ ​Bond​ ​Program​ ​Coordinator for the H1 Facilities Bonds Program, stepped up to the podium to address the board. Brady explained that the program would begin in a four step process to select contractors for projects like the new theatre at Piedmont High School. Transitioning to discuss a new citizens oversight committee for the project, Brady brought up the issue of whether or not naming rights to portions of the new projects should be sold for donations.

While I think this is a very interesting take on donations, I do think it should be considered that many families donating large amounts of funds may prefer not to have their name displayed publicly or may wish to display someone else’s name. If this option is given to citizens, I believe this could be a brilliant and extremely creative way to encourage donations to the project.

The Board meeting was then concluded with a presentation on the extension of Bonds issued in 2006. This portion of the meeting extended past nine o’clock so I was unable to report on the conclusion of the Board. Overall, this meeting provided an excellent example of the day to day runnings of the Board of Education and showed how involved both private citizens and public figures are in the well being and progress of students in the Piedmont Unified School District.

by Charlotte Altieri, Piedmont High School Senior

~~~~~~~~~

A few other students and I attended a PUSD Regular Board of Education Meeting on October 11, 2017. The purpose of the meeting was to review the year in progress so far, institute necessary classroom changes, and to listen to information and opinions provided by Piedmont residents or staff at the meeting. The Board meets every second and fourth Wednesdays of every month and has repeating speakers along with new ones. The meetings are held at City Hall at 7:00 p.m.

Despite a small number in attendance, a lot was said during the course of the meeting. One of the directors of the Piedmont Education Foundation spoke about The Giving Campaign. She explained that their goal is to have a total of 4.4 million dollars donated, and people that can’t give the mean amount of money should at least contribute in some smaller way. They are already halfway to their goal, raising 2.2 million dollars so far. The main message put across was that all families should participate to some extent.

Another issue brought up by the Board of Education President, Sarah Pearson, was the Common Core math curriculum. Ben Barrett, a high school senior from the audience, spoke out on this topic explaining that both of his siblings are taking part in Common Core currently. He made it clear that the Common Core curriculum moves at a much higher pace than any math class that he took himself, but at the same time it has taught his siblings more than they would have learned taking the same courses as him. For me, it seems like a trade off where some students could really excel and grasp the material quickly, while their peers may only stay afloat with a tutor since the course moves so quickly.

Randall Booker, PUSD superintendent, brought up the topic of the NorCal fires and how they’re affecting the school district. Sports practices had been cancelled or moved indoors all week and there was talk about moving the Homecoming Dance indoors. Hanna Hohener, a high school senior and ASB president, spoke from the audience explaining that ASB will be holding a drive for donations the following week for fire victims. I definitely agree with ASB’s idea to do this as the fires have killed tens of people and have destroyed so many homes.

I got the chance to interview Dr. Cheryl Wozniak, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Piedmont Unified School District. She attended the meeting to make sure that all materials that students use sufficient and up to date. In regards to why she attended this meeting in particular, she said they “believe it’s a good time to stop and assess how things are going.” She also was looking forward to receiving outside information on how the new Common Core math curriculum impacts students. A big thing Dr. Wozniak preaches is community involvement, and that she encourages everyone with relation to the School District to come and attend meetings to voice their opinions. Throughout the course of the night, guest speakers and board members shared ideas on how Piedmont Unified School District could become a better, smarter and more efficient community.

by Jacob Prager, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 20 2017

On September 26, 2017,  the City of Piedmont’s Climate Action Task Force met to discuss what default renewable percentage the City should use with East Bay Community Energy, establish an outreach sub-committee, plan the forthcoming public workshop and report on their meeting with the School District.

The meeting opened with a presentation from Tom Kelly and Ben Foster of East Bay Community Energy (EBCE). EBCE is a nonprofit Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) electricity purchasing organization representing Alameda County and its cities. A CCA’s function to purchase electricity directly from the companies that generate it, and because a CCA is nonprofit, they have no shareholders demanding profit and they qualify for the nonprofit tax breaks, so an organization like EBCE reaps savings as compared to PG&E where costs are passed on to the consumer.

The City had voted months prior to switch from PG&E to EBCE for electricity purchases, but had not yet decided what the percentage of electricity from renewable sources should be the default amount for Piedmont residents. As it stands, PG&E provides a default thirty-two percent renewable energy plan, whereas EBCE will be able to provide between sixty to one-hundred percent renewable energy. The presentation from Kelly and Foster described the advantages and disadvantages between EBCE’s various renewable percentage tiers with regard to price and carbon impact.

The main issue discussed was what renewable tier the City should choose as its default rate for residents.

Obviously, the goal of the Climate Action Task Force is to get as high a percentage as possible, but if doing so causes a significant economic barrier for the average resident, it would make sense to drop to a lower tier of renewables.

Kelly reported on a study currently being undertaken of the economic burden placed on residents of cities that had gone through similar processes. Preliminary results show that on average, people at the one-hundred percent renewable tier only paid three to four dollars more per month, but these results are still inconclusive, being that only five cities were studied, as well as the fact that the study has not been completed. The City expects to reach its decision when results from the study are definitive.

In my opinion, it seems like a no brainer to set the default renewable rate to one hundred percent, but with only preliminary information, the study should definitely be seen to its completion before any judgement call can really be made. And if it ends up turning out that there is significant financial burden associated with one-hundred percent renewable in similar CCA programs, other options should definitely be explored. During the presentation it was brought up that individuals can opt-out of one-hundred percent renewable to a lower tier percentage-wise, or if they really want, back to PG&E’s service. It’s important that these opt-out options stay intact for the City’s final implementation.

Another topic discussed at the meeting was the forthcoming community outreach workshop and public forum to be held on November 7 at the Community Center. To help this, a community outreach sub-committee was established comprised of Margaret Ovenden and Steve Schiller.

By early November, the Climate Action Task Force hopes to have its Climate Action Plan fully drafted, and available for public consumption. The goal of the outreach workshop is to give members of the community a chance to voice opinions and ask questions about the changes proposed as well as to give the community a sense of what’s new for the Climate Action plan and how the community needs to be involved in making it actually happen.

Piedmont has a unique energy situation as the vast majority of energy consumed is in the residential sector, so for Piedmont to reach California’s carbon reduction mandate, most action is pinned on the individual households consuming energy.

Outreach sub-committee member Margaret Ovenden says that she “ hope[s] that students and their families will attend the community workshop and together think about how they can reduce carbon emissions through limiting home energy usage and transportation.” She continued, “Students have a bigger influence than they realize. You are the ones who are really going to be feeling the effects of climate change during your lifetimes, and even more so than your parents, you are going to see the importance of taking action now before it’s too late.”

The final topic discussed at the meeting was a report from the meeting between the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) and members of the Climate Action Task Force. During the meeting it was discussed in what ways Piedmont’s schools can be a part of the Task Force’s climate plan. The School District’s already existing plans for the energy savings in the construction and renovation of the High School will be added as a component of the Climate Action Plan. It was also discussed that even though City and School buildings don’t account for the majority of energy consumption, they play an important role in serving as role models and educating the community about climate issues.

Although at points the issues being discussed seemed arcane, I could see that it’s important for the Task Force and the City to get all the details — especially of the consequences of joining EBCE with 100% renewable electricity as the default — correctly so that citizens will be happy with the results and won’t resist taking action on the climate. As evidenced by this meeting, the Climate Action Task Force seems to be heading steadily towards reaching its goal of a completed Climate Action Plan by December.

by Griffin Ashburn, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 20 2017

Readers will be interested to note the differences in the student reports of the October 11 Piedmont School Board meeting.

On October 11, I went to a School Board meeting.  This meeting was very informative as it covered a variety of topics. Topics discussed were the Giving Campaign, Piedmont High and Millennium High School updates, fire relief programs, textbook sufficiency, Integrated Math, building plans for Piedmont and Millennium High schools, and CAPS bonds.

    Yearly, Piedmont engages in the Giving Campaign which holds the purpose of raising money for the Piedmont schools.  A representative from the Giving Campaign spoke to the “Big Check” or large sums of money donated to the school on September 19th. This year the Giving Campaign has set a goal of 4.4 million dollars. So far the Giving Campaign has 2.2 million dollars and are nowhere near done with the campaign. Currently, the Giving Campaign is asking each family to donate one-thousand six hundred and thirty three dollars per student enrolled. This number does seem high, but it all goes to rebuilding the Piedmont schools. In addition, if a family can not pay but wants to help, the Giving Campaign offers many opportunities for people to participate and lend a helping hand. Time is just as valuable as money!

Josh Miller, the Millennium High School ASB [Associated Student Body] Vice President, spoke to the happenings of both Piedmont and Millennium High Schools. He mentioned the end of the first quarter as well as the new college counselor that is helping both Piedmont and Millennium students launch beyond high school. An important topic Josh brought up was that Piedmont and Millennium ASB are now working together more than ever before. Piedmont High has its first ever Millennium representative as a full time member of the Piedmont ASB class. Homecoming week was the week of the meeting, so Josh also spoke to how ASB celebrations were cancelled due to the toxic amount of smoke in the air.

I made a statement on the fires due to my role as Piedmont ASB President. I spoke to how ASB is now hoping to help fire relief victims by collecting donations from the students and community members.

I also discussed that the basketball team is inviting Cardinal Newman High School, which was destroyed by the fire, to a tournament for free and donating all of the tournament’s proceeds to Cardinal Newman as they rise from the ashes. This pulled at Superintendent Mr. Booker’s heart strings as he attended Cardinal Newman as a student and it meant a lot to him that the Piedmont community was lending a helping hand to people in need. Mr. Booker also announced to us that the Homecoming football game would be postponed from Friday the 13th to Monday the 16th because of smoky air.

Dr. Wozniak, the Director of Curriculum at Piedmont Unified School District, addressed both the sufficiency of textbooks and the Integrated Math program. She told the board members that every student does have a sufficient textbook to use. Piedmont also now offers many online textbooks. One of the educational codes states the schools must have sufficient textbooks or instructional material. Therefore when many teachers do not use the textbook, they turn to other teaching resources making our school sufficient. Right now, the issue with textbooks is that many are outdated but new ones have not been written yet, so outside resources can often be more useful than the textbook would be.

Student Cameron Addis spoke to the issue of textbooks stating that for many of his classes he has never touched the textbook. Doug Ireland made a comical statement after that by asking what his grade was in that class. The room filled with laughter. Charlotte Altieri and Jacob Prager discussed about how in AP Environmental Science students are using outdated lab material and Dr. Wozniak took careful note of that.

Integrated Math has been a hot topic for many members of the Piedmont community.  Dr. Wozniak spoke to this by stating that she was going to approach getting feedback on how the first few years of Integrated Math has been going. She is planning on sending out a survey to students, parents and teachers with specific questions for them to answer. There is also a committee that meets monthly to assess this new Common Core process.

Student Drew Sacay being just a year ahead of the common core process spoke to his experience in the math program. Student Ben Barrett talked about what he has seen with his sister and her experience with the new common core standards.

I interviewed Dr. Wozniak and was able to get a little more intel on these topics. When I asked about the issue she was presenting, she told me that the first issue she was talking about was “required by law,” a simple check in on textbooks. The second was Piedmont and Dr. Wozniak going above and beyond by using a “proactive initiative.”

I also was curious as to what steps she was taking to get feedback about Common Core. She said that she was also hosting a Parents Night to talk about Common Core and how their child can benefit from what we have to offer. In addition, Piedmont High and Middle Schools Site Council will be assessing Integrated Math.

My last question for Dr. Wozniak was about what made her interested in the meeting beyond her role in them. She stated that she loved learning what other people are working on as well as what the students who attend have to say.

Continuing through the agenda Mr. Brady, Administrator, came to the podium to discuss measure H1 and the process of rebuilding the High Schools. The new schools started to feel very real when he discussed how the District will be hiring a contractor. They approach this issue in a very diligent three step process. Another topic he brought up was naming facilities. Although we did not come to a conclusion for naming facilities, the conversation sure got rolling.

Lastly, a man came in and gave us all a very thorough economics lesson. He talked primarily on the CAPS bonds and how we want to refinance those. There were two main ways to do this that had different pros and cons. Although I am not sure which option the School Board chose because the meeting went past 9 p.m. (the designated end time for all school activities on weekdays),  I do have full faith that the School Board will make an educated decision.

The Piedmont School Board meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month unless stated otherwise.

by HannaMarie Hohener, Piedmont High School Senior

~~~~~~~~~

The Piedmont Unified School District School Board meeting on October 11, 2017 took place at City Hall and began at 7:00 p.m. The board meeting opened up with the board members taking turns saying opening statements then Joshua Miller, the student representative on the board, updated the board on what’s going on around both Piedmont High School and Millennium High School. He focused on the events for the week at both schools as well as the current homecoming theme, which is actually the first time that both Piedmont and Millennium ASBs collaborated together on a project.

Board members updated the community on recent decisions. Notably Mr. Randall Booker, PUSD Superintendent, talked about the current fire situation from North Bay and how that affects us. Booker said that while there have been requests to take school off for the remaining days of the week due to the fires affecting the air quality, school is still in session. A decision was made affecting grades K-12 in areas such as PE and outdoor activities during brunch/lunch so that the school hallways and library would be open to those wanting to eat indoors. The Homecoming game is yet to be decided to be postponed but was decided later to be moved to the following Monday, October 17.

Following the statements made by Mr. Booker, speakers wanting to bring attention to the board topics that weren’t on the intended schedule were allowed to speak. Hanna Marie Hohener, our Senior Class President, brought up the newly established food drive helping those affected by the fires and the board took a vote to make this an annual food drive.

After those who wanted to speak on topics not listed in the agenda, the focus was shifted to H1 school planning presented by the H1 Program Coordinator, Michael Brady. This bond program is discussed at every school board meeting. The H1 program addresses gaps in Piedmont’s education system, from insufficient facilities to opportunities to modernize Piedmont’s curriculum. Additional funding was also discussed at the meeting including private fundraisers held by parents clubs and school clubs with the possibility for  the selling of naming rights of certain buildings or campuses. Also discussed was the four step plan on selecting applicants who would be chosen to be a contractor on certain projects. This plan included the initial questionnaire, his/her financial capability, legal ability, and finally a series of interviews conducted by board members, staff, and others associated with the project.

Following the H1 project discussion, the board heard a presentation on the resolution of sufficiency of textbooks and instructional materials, presented by Dr. Wozniak, Director of Curriculum and Instruction. The main point she made was clear, all school sites have sufficient textbook materials in all subjects. This is a routine check for the school board.

At this time Piedmont High School senior Cameron Addis brought up his experience with school textbook, stating that he rarely uses his physical textbook, as online textbooks are more convenient. The push for online textbooks should definitely be considered especially if textbooks can easily be brought up on chromebooks and if the text books are putting a dent in school budget. Other students shared similar views on the current textbook situation.

Next was the evaluation of the secondary math pathway also presented by Dr. Wozniak. The integration of Common Core Standards for Mathematics during the 2014-2015 school year resulted in the secondary math pathway. The secondary math pathway was proposed by the math task force which is comprised of teachers, administrators, parents, and students. The purpose of the evaluation to see the effectiveness of the program and to see if there is anything to improve by looking at the success and challenges, to revise any of the current policies or procedures, and to propose any recommendations to the school board. Future surveys and reviews are also planned for the future to continue to evaluation of the program.

My graduating class, the class of 2018, is actually the last class to not be apart of common core, but it’s interesting to see how this is going to affect the future graduating classes.

The School Board meets bimonthly, excluding special meetings, and hears issues regarding schools apart of the Piedmont district. The board specifically looks out for students and education while also making sure that taxpayers dollars are being used efficiently.

By Drew Sacay, Piedmont High School Senior

~~~~~~~~~~

On Wednesday, October 11, I attended a Piedmont School board meeting. The board consisted of 5 people that meet every other week to discuss issues in the Piedmont Unified School District and figure out how they should be addressed.

The topics that the board focussed on were the required report on textbooks in the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD), the evaluation of the integrated math program (CPM), and an H1 update.

The meeting began with Sarah Pearson, President of Board, asking the audience if there were any concerns that were not stated on the agenda. A man got up and began to talk about Earthquake insurance. He actually talked about the lack of earthquake insurance and said only 10% of households owned it. At this point, the Board of Education and the audience were confused on the relevancy to the PUSD. Board member Doug Ireland spoke up and asked, “How does this pertain to the school district?” The man explained that the earthquake is imminent and everyone will be affected.

The second to speak was Randall Booker, Superintendent, who showed his gratitude to the Piedmont basketball team for hosting a fundraiser for his past high school, Cardinal Newman, which burnt down in the recent fires.

Cheryl Wozniak, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, talked about 2 of the main focussed from the meeting. The first being the required report on school materials like textbooks and lab equipment.

I took the podium to discuss my experiences with textbooks in my last few years at Piedmont. I said that I rarely use textbooks and when I do need them, they can easily be accessed online. Wozniak responded by highlighting the fact that technology is often a barrier in learning. Jacob and Charlotte, fellow classmates, added their experiences and pointed out how the lab equipment is very out of date.

Michael Brady of the District was next to give the Board an H1 update. He talked about the 4 step process in order to pick a suitable developer for the construction on the Piedmont High School campus. The 4 step process includes a questionnaire and multiple background checks.

As the second subject, Cheryl Wozniak spoke to the evaluation on the new Secondary math program that has been put into place these last two years. Her goal was to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses through surveys that will go out to teachers, students and parents. She hopes to get plenty of recommendations and suggestions to improve the integrated math program. This discussion on the program is very interactive with additional meetings that can be attended by anyone in the community.

Ben, a fellow classmate, while not being a part of the new math program, has two siblings who are taking the course at the moment. He said the units are taught too fast and most of the time, they don’t fully understand the material.

Wozniak spoke to 6 students, including myself, when we asked her for an interview. She was there to report on school materials and how she will evaluate the new integrated math program. We asked about her reaction to the meeting and what her favorite parts of the meeting were. She said the meeting was and is always very informative. She really enjoys when community members, but especially students, participate in the discussion. In addition, she got an opportunity to directly ask high school students their opinion.

By Cameron Addis, Piedmont High School Senior

~~~~~~~~~~~~

    On October 11, 2017, I attended the Piedmont Unified School District Board meeting at City Hall. This particular meeting was called to discuss H-1 plans [bonding program for improvements to Piedmont High School], evaluate the secondary math pathway program, and to pass the resolution of sufficiency of textbooks at Piedmont High School.

    During the meeting, Dr. Wozniak persuaded the Board to pass the resolution of sufficiency of textbooks. The resolution was passed, however a few students at the meeting addressed their concerns about textbooks being widely unused in many classes.

Cameron Addis, a senior at Piedmont High School, spoke in favor of a switch to online textbooks, because of their easy accessibility. Dr. Wozniak also informed the board of the progress of secondary math pathways, a program put into place one year ago at Piedmont High School. Dr. Wozniak assured the board that progress was sufficient, however there were still aspects of the program that could be altered and adjusted.

Later, Mr. Brady updated the board on the progress of H-1, a plan to renovate Piedmont High School. Brady informed the board that they were in the process of finding developers for the project. Additionally, Brady stated that he and his team were currently calculating both the cost and timetable of H-1, and collecting donations for the cause. Lastly, Jake Boehm presented an overview of the potential 2017 CABS refunding.

    At the meeting, Dr. Wozniak was kind enough to allow me and other students to interview her. She informed us that she was attending the meeting both to pass the resolution of sufficiency of textbooks, and to update the board on the effectiveness of the secondary math pathways. Dr. Wozniak mentioned that she loved learning about the progress of the H-1 plan, and also enjoyed hearing the opinions of the community members at the meeting. Lastly, in order to get her particular issues addressed, Dr. Wozniak informed us that she would seek student committee feedback to better understand the flaws of the secondary math pathways program.

The School Board meets at least twice a month to address new issues and evaluate the progress of the Piedmont Unified School District.

by Ben Barrett, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 16 2017

At the October 16, 2017 Council Meeting, the matter of Crown Castle cell tower installations were considered.

Errors in the cell tower applications, hazards, incomplete information, safety, aesthetics, tree preservation, property value reduction, need, fire hazards, and noise were some of the issues raised in the over 3 hour public hearing with numerous impassioned speakers opposing approval of the cell towers. 

The Council voted unanimously to deny approval of five applications which are located at or near 150 Highland Avenue, 303 Hillside Avenue, 428 El Cerrito Avenue, 352 Jerome Avenue, and 1159 Winsor Avenue. 

Concerns expressed by three of the Council members, King, Cavenaugh, and Andersen led to their voting no to motions by Councilmember Rood and seconded by Mayor McBain to conditionally approve three proposed sites at or near 340-370 Highland Avenue, 740 Magnolia Avenue, and 799 Magnolia Avenue.  

Without the required 3 approving votes, the motions failed leading to a decision to continue further consideration of the 3 remaining sites noted above until a Special Council Meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 30.  

Staff was directed to bring back additional information on noise factors and detailed descriptions of proposed vaulting and other potential areas for denial.

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Oct 15 2017

FIRES, EARTHQUAKES, SAFETY PROBLEMS, STORMS –

The Wine Country fires point out the need for Piedmonters to participate in Alameda County’s emergency notification system.  

The AC Alert Emergency notification is available to all Piedmonters. Click below to get started:

AC Alert Emergency Notification System

The City has transitioned to the “AC Alert” system powered by Everbridge to make sure you know about issues that may affect your safety. This system allows the City to contact thousands of residents in seconds so you can find out about an emergency right away.

Please sign up – it only takes about a minute to enroll!  <

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Oct 15 2017

City Notice:

Wireless Application for Sites Near Piedmont High School  Mon., Oct. 16th – 7:30  PM  City Council Chambers

The City Council considered the Wireless Communication Facilities Permits and Variances submitted by Crown Castle NG West LLC and Beacon Development at its regular meeting on October 2, 2017. The City Council continued the Public Hearing to its regular meeting of October 16, 2017 and directed staff to prepare draft resolutions approving, with conditions, the proposed sites at or near 340-370 Highland Avenue, 740 Magnolia Avenue, and 799 Magnolia Avenue. The Council directed staff to prepare draft resolutions denying the applications at or near 150 Highland Avenue, 303 Hillside Avenue, 428 El Cerrito Avenue, 352 Jerome Avenue, and 1159 Winsor Avenue. The City Council will take action on these applications at the October 16, 2017 regular meeting. The staff report and attachments for this Council meeting are available on the City Council Staff Report Page. The City Council directed staff to work with the applicant to improve the design proposed for 314 Wildwood Avenue and to present the application and plans to the Park Commission before Council action on the proposal.


Crown Castle and Beacon Development filed applications in November 2016 for nine Verizon distributed antenna system wireless communication facilities, located generally around Piedmont Park and Piedmont High School. Crown Castle is a company that builds wireless communications facilities and then leases them to wireless service providers, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. The projects consist of five installations on the tops of existing utility poles, three installations on the tops of existing street light poles, and one installation on a new light. The applicants have proposed that ground equipment related to the pole top antennas be located in various locations including cabinets shaped like mailboxes, behind shrouds mounted on poles and street lights, and in underground vaults in the sidewalk. The proposal will require review by both the Park Commission and Planning Commission, as well as final approval from the City Council. Click to read more information about the application and the review process.

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