Feb 19 2019

Information for Piedmonters considering financing options for the installation of solar systems.

Piedmonters, and Californians in general, were encouraged to install solar energy systems following the passage of California Assembly Bill 2188 in 2014. Given the substantial cost * of the systems, some homeowners were enticed by the solar lease option, which required no initial cost. The February 18, 2019 Bloomberg Businessweek investigative report explained that the third-party-owner solar systems have no initial cost for the homeowner, but tie the property to a 20 year lease.

The offer to install a free solar system seemed to be an easy way to add value to a home and lower electric bills at the same time. A few years later as the lease payments escalate, some homeowners are less enthusiastic. Because the homeowner does not own the system, the tax credits are not available to them –instead they go to the solar company that owns the system. In addition, the solar array may have been sized too large as more energy saving devices (appliances, light bulbs, etc) replace previous units. One purchaser cited by Bloomberg saw monthly electric costs actually increase a year after the installation. When a house goes on the market, the lease obligation goes with it as an obligation of the future owner for the remainder of the 20 year lease. The result is that instead of making the home more attractive to prospective buyers, it can be a barrier. Buying out the remainder of the lease is an expensive proposition for the seller, but may be required by the buyer’s mortgage provider. Purchasing a solar panel system may be more economical than than the lease option.

As of 2020, California will require solar panels on all new homes, likely to be third-party-owner solar systems rather than the fully paid solar installations that would belong to the home purchaser. California Assembly Bill 2188 passed in 2014 required all city and county governments to adopt expedited/streamlined permitting processes for small residential rooftop solar energy systems.

* $22,000 was the cost in 2018 for a typical 6-kilowatt residential rooftop PV (Photovoltaic) system, according to the National Council of State Legislatures, but cost of a PV system varies depending on capacity, labor, permitting fees, inter-connection fees, taxes, transaction costs and indirect expenses.

Feb 17 2019

City of Piedmont
CIP (Capital Improvement Program) Review Committee
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – 7:00 p.m. – City Hall Conference Room, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA

This meeting will not be broadcast. The public can attend the meeting and make comments.

Public Forum: This is an opportunity for members of the audience to speak on an item not on the agenda. The 10 minute period will be divided evenly between those wishing to address the Committee.

Regular Agenda

  1. Introduction of Committee Members and Election of Chair
  2. Review of Proposed Work Schedule for the CIP Review Committee for Fiscal Year 2019-2020
  3. Review of Solicitation Methods for Public Input on Potential CIP Projects
  4. Presentation of Current CIP Projects and CIP Wish Lists
    Announcements, old business and consideration of future agenda items

No background information has been publicly provided. Information will be available at the meeting.

For additional information, contact: Staff Liaisons: 

Chester Nakahara – cnakahara@piedmont.ca.gov – (W) 420-3061 & Nancy Kent – nkent@piedmont.ca.gov – (W) 420-3064

Feb 17 2019

Beginning on Monday, February 25th, the City of Piedmont will conduct an emergency removal of four mature Eucalyptus trees and one Monterey Pine tree located in upper Dracena Park near the intersection of Park Way and Dracena Ave. These trees are being removed because they pose a significant fall risk and could endanger public safety. This removal was recommended in the report of an independent arborist which assessed seventeen Eucalyptus trees in Dracena Park. The report provided an assessment of tree health and structural conditions, assessment of tree risk, and management recommendations for these and other trees in the park. The Park Commission was notified of the pending removal at its regular meeting on December 2, 2018.

The work is scheduled to begin on February 25, 2019 and will last for approximately two to three weeks. To ensure the safety of the surrounding neighborhood and park users, a section of upper Dracena Park will be closed for the duration of the project. Though inconvenient, this closure is necessary to ensure public safety during the tree removal.

Tree removal work will be undertaken weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The removal is expected to generate substantial dust and noise. As part of the removal process, a tree chipper and crane will be on site and our contractors will need to maintain safe zones around the equipment. In addition, to allow safe operation of equipment related to the tree removal, Dracena Ave. between Park Way and Blair Ave will be closed to through traffic and parking will be prohibited on this block during work hours. Street parking will also be prohibited on Park Way adjacent to Dracena Park. Signs will be posted to define no parking zone. Traffic controls will be in place and staff will be on site to assist residents with access to their homes.

Please drive carefully in this area and respect all traffic instructions as this will assist us in completing the project as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about this or have any special circumstances that the City should be aware of, please contact Parks & Project Manager Nancy Kent at (510) 420-3064 or (510) 406-6342 or via email at nkent@piedmont.ca.gov. You may also contact Public Works Supervisor Dave Frankel at (510) 207-2114 or via email at dfrankel@piedmont.ca.gov.

Feb 12 2019

February 11, 2019

Randall Booker, Superintendent, Piedmont Unified School District – 760 Magnolia Avenue – Piedmont, CA 94611 rbooker@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Robert McBain, Mayor, City of Piedmont, 120 Vista Avenue – Piedmont, CA 94611 rmcbain@piedmont.ca.gov

Re: Retention of Police Officer to Serve Full-Time in Piedmont Unified School District

Dear Messrs. Booker and McBain:

I write to you on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Piedmont. Our organization supports the importance of transparency in local government and a high level of education within the Piedmont Unified School District. It is our understanding that the Board of Education will be voting during its upcoming February board meeting on the issue of whether to employ a full-time police officer in the school district as a School Resource Officer. We are also informed that should the Board of Education approve the employment of this officer, the City Council will then vote on whether to approve this position since the officer would be a member of the Piedmont Police Department.

Our League Board has discussed this issue and we believe that a decision by the Board of Education and the City Council on this matter is premature at this time, and as such, would be counter to our positions on local government and education.

Specifically, we are concerned with transparency and the ability of the Board of Education and the City Council to make an informed decision on this matter with the information currently at their disposal. For example, we are concerned there is a lack of information surrounding the explicit objectives of having a police officer on school campuses, what training the officer would be required to fulfill, what weapons the officer would carry or retain on campus, what the officer’s objectives would be, how success or failure will be measured, and what consequences may arise for the students as a result of having an officer on campus. These are just several among many unanswered questions that we feel should be addressed prior to any formal decision-making processes and, in fact, long before students, teachers and parents are surveyed on their views on the issue of hiring such a police officer to serve in the schools.

We thus urge both the Board of Education and the City Council to exercise due diligence in gathering information about both the benefits and potential consequences in hiring a School Resource Officer, and to fully communicate and share information with all stakeholders in this community about these details before holding any formal vote on the matter.


Nancy A. Beninati,President, League of Women Voters Piedmont

Feb 11 2019

For school year 2019 -20, Piedmont’s School District faces a drop in Elementary School enrollment. Middle School enrollment will also be down. (See attached chart in downloadable staff report.) The elementary students could be reassigned to equalize class sizes between the three elementary schools. Or, students living outside Piedmont may be admitted to fill the classroom spaces.

When space is available, students may be admitted, under certain conditions, from outside of the School District based on the state law called >“Open Enrollment”. Under the law, students from underachieving school districts may be allowed to transfer into higher achieving school districts based on classroom and teacher availability.

Implications of Program Capacity

“The District’s programmatic capacity as defined [in the staff report] will be utilized in making decisions about the placement of resident students who, in some cases, must be redirected to sites that are outside of their neighborhood school zone when capacity will be exceeded. In addition, programmatic capacity will guide the District’s ability to accept or deny and place inter-district transfer requests [students from outside of the Piedmont Unified School District].”

School District Staff Report

The School Board will consider the enrollment and capacity issue on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 8:45 p.m. in Piedmont City Hall Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue. READ the Agenda below for timing: >https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=70531&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False . The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and from the City website under videos of the School Board meeting of February 13, 2019.

VIII.A. Enrollment and Capacity Study 
Time Certain:8:45 PM Speaker:Randall Booker, Superintendent READ Downloadable Staff Report: >Background – Enrollment 
Feb 4 2019

City Council Consideration of Police Officer in the Piedmont schools.

Draft minutes of the January 7, 2019 City Council meeting to be considered Monday, February 4, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. :

“Police School Resource City Administrator Paul Benoit indicated that the Police Department had applied Position for and received a grant from the State of California to possibly fund a School Resource Officer (SRO) position. He indicated that the application timeline for the grant did not allow for City Council or the Board of Education to discuss the possibility of a SRO prior to the application. Mr. Benoit recognized that the application for and receipt of the grant was ahead of preferred sequence of events.

“Mr. Benoit stated Chief Bowers and Piedmont  Unified School District Superintendent Booker would conduct public outreach and return to the City Council and Board of Education for determination of whether or not to accept the grant and establish the SRO position.

“Mr. Benoit indicated that the grant offered a grant opportunity and, should the Board of Education and City Council choose to move forward, a discussion would need to take place before the grant funding expired as to whether the program would continue and how it would be funded.

“Chief Bowers summarized his and Superintendent Booker’s discussions for a SRO and discussed existing programs offered to students by the Police Department. He indicated that a reliable and consistent presence in the schools is necessary to foster true and trusting relationships between students and the Police Department. He informed the Council of the duties and effectiveness of an SRO.

 PUSD Superintendent Randall Booker stressed the importance of assigning appropriate tasks to the SRO, and the dangers of involving a SRO with school discipline. He discussed the importance of hiring the correct person for the position, ensuring that they have core values of service and education. He provided statistics on the need for caring adults on campus and a stronger, positive connection between students and officers.

“Chief Bowers explained the grant funds, which would cover the first three years, and discussed the proposed community engagement. Chief Bowers indicated that he and Superintendent Booker would visit schools as well as parent and community groups to discuss and hear feedback on the proposed program. They would then return to the Board of Education and City Council, which will decide whether to establish the program and accept the grant.

“Public Testimony was received from: Sunny Bostrom-Fleming indicated support for an SRO and commended Chief Bowers for applying for the grant.

“Tonda Case, Co-President of Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee, questioned whether a SRO was an appropriate solution for Piedmont. She suggested increased public engagement and outreach to determine if a SRO is necessary.

“The Council acknowledged the work of the Police Department in applying for the grant. They commended the relationship between the City and the PUSD. The Council agreed with the proposed outreach program, making suggestions as to how outreach could be most effectively undertaken. The Council requested the Board of Education make a decision on whether it wanted to pursue the program before the matter is brought back to the Council for consideration. (0785, 0765)”

Communicate with the City Council:

Robert McBain, Mayorrmcbain@piedmont.ca.gov
Teddy Gray King, Vice Mayortking@piedmont.ca.gov
Jennifer Cavenaughjcavenaugh@piedmont.ca.gov
Tim Roodtrood@piedmont.ca.gov
Betsy Smegal Andersenbandersen@piedmont.ca.gov

 To send comments to  all Councilmembers > citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us. To send via U.S. Mail, use the following address: City Council, City of Piedmont, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611

Communicate with the School Board:

Amal Smith, President, amalsmith@piedmont.k12.ca.us
Cory Smegal, Vice President, csmegal@piedmont.k12.ca.us
Andrea Swenson, aswenson@piedmont.k12.ca.us
Sarah Pearson, spearson@piedmont.k12.ca.us
Megan Pillsbury, mpillsbury@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Feb 4 2019

Piedmont residents can safely and conveniently dispose of unneeded medicines and household sharps (hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, certain lancets, and devices that are used to penetrate the skin for testing or the delivery of medications) in the Piedmont Police Lobby, 403 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611.

State law (H&SC §118286) makes it illegal to dispose of home-generated sharps waste in the trash or recycling containers.

Approved sharps containers must be: made of a heavy-duty plastic; able to close with a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lid, without sharps being able to come out; upright and stable during use; leak-resistant; and properly labeled as “sharps waste” or with the biohazard symbol and the word “BIOHAZARD” to warn of hazardous materials inside the container.

For additional information, contact the Piedmont Police Department at 510/420-3000.

Feb 2 2019

AC Transit Local Fare Change Public Hearing
Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 2:00 pm — 5:00 pm. 1600 Franklin St, Oakland

The AC Transit Board of Directors will hold a Public Hearing on Wednesday, February 13, to consider a new local fare schedule for FY2019-20 through FY2023-24.  The first increase would be $0.15 on July 1, 2019, adjusting the current adult fare from $2.35 to $2.50; subsequent $0.25 adjustments would take effect each alternate year through FY2023-24.
  • An option to increase fares based on the rate of operating cost increases.
  • Clipper fare incentives (discounts) of up to $0.50 for adult single fare and up to $0.25 for Youth/Senior/Disabled single fare.
  • The Clipper fare would be used as the basis for setting 31-Day and monthly pass prices.
  • The Senior/Disabled monthly pass and the Youth 31-Day pass would be 30-times the Clipper single fare.
  • Cost of the Day Pass would equal two times the single fare plus $0.50 rounded to the nearest $0.50.
  • A proposed mobile ticketing application would include a 7-Day Pass priced at ten times the single Clipper fare, and fare capping which ensures riders who pay by the trip do not incur further charges once reaching the cost of a Day Pass, 7-Day Pass or 31-Day Pass.

A decision on The proposals will occur at the February 27, 2019, Board of Directors meeting at the earliest. If approved, the first fare increase in the new local fare schedule will take effect July 1, 2019.

Transit to the Hearing Site – AC Transit Headquarters at 1600 Franklin Street, Oakland

All AC Transit bus lines serving downtown Oakland stop within walking distance of the public hearing site. For trip-planning, visit www.actransit.org or call 511 (and say, “AC Transit”).  The site can also be reached via BART to the 19th St. Oakland station.

Please do not wear scented products to the meeting.

Feb 2 2019

In February 2018, the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) established a new five-year Transbay fare program that increased Transbay fares by $1 on January 1, 2019. In 2020, the Transbay fare will increase an additional $.50, and will increase an additional $.50 in 2022.

Local bus fares will be on different increase schedules proposed to be July 1, 2019, July 1, 2021, and July 1, 2023. (See related article on proposed local fare increase here.) In 2017 AC Transit dramatically increased local bus service for Piedmont, offering City employees participation in reaching Piedmont’s carbon footprint reduction.


(Age 19–64)
(Age 5–18)
(Age 65+)
& Disabled
Local Single Ride$2.35$1.15$1.15
Local Day Pass$5.00$2.50$2.50
Transbay Single Ride$5.50$2.75$2.75


(Age 19–64)
(Age 5–18)
(Age 65+)
& Disabled
Local Single Ride$2.25$1.10$1.10
Local Day Pass$5.00$2.50$2.50
Transbay Single Ride$5.50$2.75$2.75
Local to Transbay Upgrade $3.15$1.60$1.60
Jan 31 2019

“The ten robberies which were reported during 2018 were generally street robberies where suspects approached individuals on sidewalks, driveways, or other public areas and took items of value by means of force or fear. One of the robberies was a home invasion robbery where the suspects confronted residents. The suspects in that incident were identified, arrested, and have been charged with numerous felonies. Burglaries, defined generally as the unlawful entry into a dwelling or specified structure with the intent to commit a theft or other felony, decreased from 60 incidents in 2017 to 47 incidents in 2018. Larceny-theft increased from 97 reported offenses in 2017 to 123 reported offenses in 2018. Motor vehicle theft also increased in 2018.”

In 2018, Piedmont police officers made 17 arrests and recovered 29 stolen vehicles with a valuation of $257,800 in events directly related to the Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) cameras. By comparison, officers made 28 arrests and recovered 39 stolen vehicles with an approximate valuation of $254,933 in 2017.
Also provided with this report is a printout of the Piedmont Police Department Case Disposition Report. This report shows the number of police reports generated by the Department during the year, as well as the disposition of those cases.

“While the Police Department continuously conducts proactive patrols to mitigate thefts and other crimes, we cannot overemphasize the importance of residents and visitors employing basic crime prevention actions such as not leaving valuables in vehicles.”   Piedmont Police 

School Resource Officer – Police Officer within the High and Middle School

The Superintendent of Piedmont Unified School District and the Police Chief established regular monthly meetings in May of 2018 for information sharing and to identify collaborative opportunities for improvement. The Department and PUSD proposed a School Resource Officer (SRO) position to the Board of Education and City Council.

Public outreach efforts to parents, students, staff and other community stakeholders are currently underway. Comments can be made to the School Board and City Council.

The Board of Education and City Council will ultimately decide whether to implement the recommended SRO program. Should the program be approved for implementation, the first three years of the salary and benefits would be paid for by a State of California, Department of Justice tobacco grant.

The Crime Report will be discussed at the Piedmont Council meeting on Monday, February 4, 2019, in the Council Chambers, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue starting at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be broadcast live from the City website under videos and on Cable Channel #27.

Read the full 2018 Year End Crime Report including the Crime Map by clicking below: