Jan 23 2018

Update regarding a home invasion robbery that occurred on October 10, 2017, at approximately 10:30 PM, on the 1300 block of Oakland Avenue in the City of Piedmont.

Piedmont Chief of Police – Press Release

Through the diligent efforts of Piedmont Police detectives, with the assistance of the Oakland Police Department, the first of three home invasion suspects has been charged with Robbery, Burglary, Kidnapping, False Imprisonment and Elder Abuse. The suspect listed below is currently in custody on other unrelated charges and has a lengthy criminal history including two non-violent strikes.

Charged is Dante Brown, 35, a resident of Oakland. The Piedmont Police Department’s investigation to identify the two remaining suspects is still ongoing. They are described below:

Suspect # 1 was a male black adult in his 20’s, 6’00” tall, average build, last described wearing an all-black North Face jacket, a white mask, jeans, and black and white shoes. He was armed with a small revolver.

Suspect # 2 was a male black adult in his 20’s, 5’8” tall, average build, and unshaven. He was last described wearing all black, possibly a black zip up sweater, beanie, and Nike Air Jordan basketball shoes. He was armed with a black semi-automatic firearm with an extended magazine.

If anyone has any information related to the suspects or this incident, please call Detective Jeff Spranza at (510) 420-3013. If you wish to remain anonymous you may call the Piedmont Police Department Tip Line at (510) 420-3055. For press inquiries, please contact Captain Chris Monahan at (510) 420-3012.

403 Highland Avenue ▪ Piedmont, CA 94611 ▪ Phone (510) 420-3000 ▪ Fax (510) 420-1121

Prior PCA articles can be read > HERE.

Jan 23 2018

It’s Time to Nominate A Community Member Who Benefited Piedmont’s Youth.

Announcement from the Piedmont Unified School District:

Nominations are being accepted for the 2018 Arthur Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award.  The Award was established eighteen years ago by the Piedmont Board of Education in honor of  late Piedmont community member Arthur Hecht. This award is presented annually to individuals who have volunteered their efforts over a period of time and made a difference because of their involvement and commitment to Piedmont’s youth. Staff, students and community members are invited to submit a nomination.

The deadline for nominations is Monday, March 19th by 4:30 p.m.

Nomination forms can be: a) hand-delivered in a sealed envelope, marked “Hecht Award Nomination,” to the Superintendent’s Office, Piedmont Unified School District Administration Office, 760 Magnolia Avenue, Piedmont; or b) emailed to seggert@piedmont.k12.ca.us. All forms must be received by the deadline of 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 19, 2018.

2018 Nomination Form

Past recipients have included: Hunter McCreary, Ann Chandler, Ruth Cuming, Lisa Lomenzo, Cynthia Gorman,  Grier Graff, Julia Burke, Maude Pervere, Janiele Maffei Tovani, Andrea Swenson, June Monach

Several times there have been joint recipients, such as Cathie Glettner / Marion Souyoultzis, Fritz and Mary Wooster,
Elizabeth (Betsy) Gentry, Anne-Marie Lamarche / Mark Menke, Mary Ireland / Bill Drum.

Jan 22 2018

School Board will consider a number of policies on sexual harassment, complaint procedures, hate incidents, suspension and expulsion at their 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, January 23, 2018 Board meeting in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will be broadcast on Cable 27 and from the City website under videos.

Readers accustomed to one click access will find a different process for the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) staff reports.

Readers must first click on each link (noted in blue below), then download the report to their personal computers, after which the School District staff reports can be read. (See links in blue below.)

The following links go to the PUSD staff produced documents to be considered by the Board. The policy considerations are to begin at approximately 7:30 p.m.

1. Background – Healthy Relationships and Sexual Harassment
2. BP-AR 6142.12 Healthy Relationships/Sexual Assault Prevention
3. BP-AR 1312.3 – Uniform Complaint Procedures
4. BP-AR 4030 – Discrimination – Hate Motivated Incidents-Hate Crime- Harassment-Bullying – Employee Version
5. AR 4031 – Complaints Concerning Discrimination in Employment
6. BP 5131 – Discipline Code – Schools Rules and Procedures
7. BP-AR 5141.4 – Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Procedures
8. BP-AR 5144.1 – Suspension and Expulsion Due Process
9. AR 5144.2 -Suspension and Expulsion Due Process – Students with Disabilities
BP-AR 5145.3 – Discrimination / hate-motivated incidents and hate crimes / hazing / harassment (including sexual harassment), intimidation, bullying
VII.B. Presentation and Acceptance of 2016-17 District Annual Financial Report (Auditor’s Report) 

Annual Financial Report 2016-17
VII.C. Review Schedule of Board of Education Meetings for 2018-19 

2018-19 Regular Board Meeting Dates
VII.D. Approve 2017-2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding between the California School Employees Association (CSEA), Chapter 60 

8:35 PM
Speaker: Randall Booker, Superintendent
The Board will be requested to approve the collective bargaining agreement  and Memorandum of Agreement for 2017-2020 between the District and the California School Employees Association (CSEA), Chapter 60.
Attachments:
Background – CSEA Contract Approval
CSEA Tentative Agreement
CSEA-PUSD Memorandum of Understanding

~~~~~~~~~

Comments may be sent directly to School Board members by clicking their email addresses below:

Sarah Pearson
President
spearson@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Amal Smith
Vice President
amalsmith@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Doug Ireland
direland@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Cory Smegal
csmegal@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Andrea Swenson
aswenson@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Jan 19 2018

New Version Climate Action Plan (CAP 2.0) is available for public review for a 45-day period.

The document can be read HERE.

The new draft Climate Action Plan 2.0, with amendments, and the CEQA Negative Declaration are available on the Climate Action Program page. A limited number of paper copies of the CAP and CEQA Negative Declaration are available for review at the Public Works counter in City Hall at 120 Vista Avenue.

The CAP includes five major strategies intended to reduce GHG emissions:

  • Buildings and Energy:Minimize energy consumption; create high-performance buildings, and transition to clean, renewable energy sources.   The buildings and energy strategy recommends energy efficiency retrofits for existing buildings, enhances energy performance requirements for new construction, increases use of renewable energy, and improves community energy management.

  • Municipal:Minimize the carbon footprint of all city operations and activities, and working to educate the community in concrete actions they can take part of to reduce the overall city’s GHG emissions.The municipal strategy recommends reduction of municipal water use, better solid waste management, reduction of transportation emissions, as well as those that are generated from city buildings and energy use.

  • Waste and Water:Minimize waste and celebrate water as an essential community resource.The waste and water strategy builds on past City successes by increasing waste diversion rates and recommending water conservation measures applicable to both indoor and outdoor water use.

  • Transportation:Create an interconnected transportation system and pattern that shifts travel from personal automobiles to walking, biking, and public transit. The transportation and land use strategy identifies ways to reduce automobile emissions, including improving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, enhancing public transit service, and improving the City’s vehicle fleet.

  • Consumption:Increase awareness on consumption choices that will generate less or zero greenhouse gas emissions.The consumption strategy identifies reducing food waste, choosing products and services that will have a smaller or no carbon footprint throughout the complete cycle of demand, production, purchase, transportation, use, and disposal, among others.

    The City of Piedmont invites residents and and business owners to review and comment on the Climate Action Plan 2.0 and CEQA Negative Declaration during a 45-day review period from January 16, 2018 to March 2, 2018. Both the current draft Climate Action Plan 2.0, with amendments, and the CEQA Negative Declaration are available on the Climate Action Program page.

    The Climate Action Plan Task Force is a group of residents with expertise in various aspects of climate solutions who were appointed by the City Council in March of 2017 to assist with this process. The task force has held ten public meetings over the past year to discuss the proposed updates, including a community workshop on November 7th. At its meeting on January 10, 2018, the Task Force discussed the latest draft of the Climate Action Plan and voted to recommend that City Council approve it, with minor amendments.

Contact information for comments and questions noted below:

Kevin Jackson

Planning Director

kjackson@piedmont.ca.gov

(510) 420-3039

 

Jan 17 2018

Should voters decide?

There was no Council call to inexpensively add the short term rental decision to the upcoming November 2018 City ballot, allowing Piedmont voters to decide whether or not short term rentals were appropriate for the City. 

A short term rental (STR) is the rental of a living space, sleeping room, accessory housing unit, apartment, or a house for a period of under 30 days.

In a surprise rejection of the Piedmont Planning Commission and staff recommendations to prohibit short term rentals (STRs), the majority on the City Council decided the commercial use of Piedmont homes for hotel/condominium style short term rentals should be allowed.

Mayor Robert McBain stood alone on the Council in opposing the short term rentals, stating he did not believe the rentals were in keeping with the residential character of the City and agreeing with the Planning Commission and Planning Commissioner Eric Behrens, who detailed the numerous reasons to ban the STRs.

The STR matter had been pending for City Council action since 2014.  The Planning staff informed the Council that the emphasis in Piedmont planning ordinances and the General Plan had been to permit accessory housing units to meet regional demands for housing, not provide for STRs.

Stories of recent police STR problems, changes to neighborhood feel, loss of privacy as renters came and went at all hours, lack of familiarity with Piedmont standards for quiet, further parking demands proved of little concern to the Council majority who wanted to be part of the larger community and offer hotel style short term rental of Piedmont rooms, living spaces and homes.

Those in favor stated:

  • Council resignations led to a policy change
  • No studies supported resident or Planning Commission concerns
  • People should be able to rent their homes as a hotel/resort
  • No hotels are available in Piedmont for guests
  • Vacationing Piedmonters want someone to occupy their home
  • Home buyers need to offset high Piedmont taxes with STR rental revenue
  • Piedmonters had already begun to rent their homes/rooms
  • Piedmont would be elite and unneighborly if it excludes STRs.
  • Neighbors could inform the rental property owner if there were problems caused by renters.
  • Few people would want to rent their homes or rooms
  • Piedmont is not a tourist destination
  • Trying the STR system would determine if problems presented themselves

The Council majority took little heed to those opposing STRs with concerns of:

  • Commercialization of Piedmont homes
  • Costly City administrative functions to oversee rentals
  • Safety and security concerns with ever changing unknown renters
  • Prior robbery and illegal activities already on record
  • Traffic impacts from those unfamiliar with Piedmont streets
  • Loss of privacy and quiet in neighborhoods
  • Change to the character of the community
  • Inconsistency with residential zoning per the City Charter
  • Contrary to the General Plan and zoning ordinances
  • Property owner requirement to carry commercial business insurance
  • Irregular hours of clients/renters both night and day
  • Demand for more parking in many areas
  • Disruption of the fabric of the City
  • Piedmont, as a residential City, was not designed for commerce and businesses in homes with narrow, curvy streets
  • Additional demands for City services
  • Changing Piedmont focus from education to commercial activities

One Piedmonter on La Salle Avenue stated she needed the income and had purchased her home with intent to rent space and commercialize the home.  Over 80 people had stayed in her home.

Another resident complained of high taxes and the need for someone to stay in their home when they vacationed in France.

The many pleas to keep STRs out of Piedmont were not persuasive to  the Council majority, nor was the possibility of permitted accessory housing units flipped to STRs of concern.

The Council was in a quandary over what to do, because no ordinance language had been drafted to allow STRs.  City Administrator Paul Benoit stated he was getting an idea of what the Council wanted and Councilmembers could send him items to be included in a draft ordinance permitting STRs.

The Council as a whole did not want the matter to be returned to the opposed Planning Commission for their renewed consideration of draft ordinance proposals.

There was NO call for the public to submit comments or ideas on the matter, only for the Council’s input to Benoit. There was no discussion of a ballot measure to allow Piedmont voters to decide to ban or permit STRs.

Anyone interested in STRs may send a comment directly to the City Council and City Administrator Paul Benoit to the links below:

Comments may be sent directly to City Administrator Paul Benoit by clicking his link >  pbenoit@piedmont.ca.gov

_____________________

Paul Benoit City Administrator pbenoit@piedmont.ca.gov (510) 420-3042

_________________

Comments may be sent directly to Councilmembers by clicking on their links below:

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

Read East Bay Times report HERE.

1 Comment »
Jan 17 2018

Board President Sarah Pearson made an announcement at the Piedmont Unified School District Board meeting of Wednesday, January 10, 2018, as follows: 

Some community members have asked the Board for more information about our process and plan to address issues of sexual harassment and intimidation. I wanted the community to know that this topic will be discussed in more detail at the next board meeting, which will take place on Tuesday January 23, 2018, and subsequent meetings. I am grateful to the Superintendent and his staff for their ongoing efforts to address issues and wanted to share a short update.

Regarding review of policies and procedures:

In the Fall of 2017, the District asked its legal counsel to undertake a comprehensive review of all District policies and administrative regulations concerning discrimination, harassment, complaints concerning schools, complaints concerning District employees, Uniform Complaints, and student discipline.  The purpose of the review, which is still underway, is to ensure that the policies are complete, aligned with one another and consistent with current law, and reflect best practices.

District staff will present the recommendations of its counsel at the next Board of Education meeting, on Tuesday, January 23.  This presentation will be the starting point for a broader community conversation about District policies and procedures, and we strongly encourage community members to attend and provide input.

Regarding training and support for teachers and staff:  

In November 2017, all District administrative staff received their annual training to prevent, identify, address, and remedy sexual harassment in both student-to-student and adult-to-student situations.  This spring, teachers and classified staff will receive the same training, which is an online program designed specifically for use in schools.  In the past, teachers and classified staff received the training every two years, but going forward this training will be required every year for teachers and staff as well as administrators.

In January 2018, administrative staff who are in supervisory roles, as well as counselors and Wellness Center staff, will receive more comprehensive sexual harassment training presented by District’s legal counsel.  This training will be tailored for the District and include small-group discussion and analysis.  In the past, this training was presented every other year.  Going forward, this training will be repeated every year.

In addition, the District is researching training programs for members of the Board of Education.

Regarding assessment of student needs and concerns:

The California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) is a statewide survey concerning student health and academic performance, and the District typically administers the survey in odd-number years to 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th graders.  In addition to using the State’s questions, the District can and usually does customize the survey with its own questions.  Last year, the District decided to administer the CHKS survey every year, so District staff are already preparing survey questions for this February.  The intent is to include questions about harassment, bullying, safety, security, and registering complaints.  The complete list of questions is scheduled be presented to the Board and the community at the Board meeting on Tuesday, February 13.  Community engagement is essential in developing, evaluating, and refining District policies and practices. The Board and District staff encourage students and community members to join in our discussion of these and related issues.  Community members are also most welcome to contact the Superintendent or members of the Board directly. We appreciate questions and suggestions, and we look forward to working together.

School Board President, Sarah Pearson

Jan 17 2018

At the City Council meeting of January 16, 2018, numbers of very upset Oakland residents spoke to the Piedmont City Council regarding the dangerous and damaging changes to their quality of life as parking spaces next to their apartment buildings had been preempted for use by Piedmont residents.

The speakers addressed the City Council under the Public Forum agenda item preventing the Council from commenting other than to refer the crowd to City Administrator Paul Benoit and Public Works Director Chester Nakahara for further information.

Press announcement is below:

Long Requested Linda-Kingston-Lake-Rose Parking District to Become Effective January 18, 2018 – 

On January 18, 2018, the parking restrictions in the Linda-Kingston-Lake-Rose Parking District will come into effect. This district, which covers portions of these streets, will provide for Resident Parking only between 10:00PM and 7:00AM, 7 days a week. The sections of each street where the new parking restriction will be enforced are designated by signage. Click to view a map of the Linda-Kingston-Lake-Rose Parking District. Please note that the portions of Greenbank Avenue colored green on the map are not part of the district.

This district was approved by the City Council on October 16, 2017, after extensive consultation with residents of the area. For a full history of how the district came to be, please read the October 16, 2017 City Council Agenda Report. Click to read the October 16, 2017 City Council Minutes, this item is on page 47. The video of the meeting is available on the On-Line Video Page of the City’s web site.

Both Piedmont and Oakland residents whose properties are included in the district will be provided parking passes for the district. These passes were mailed to the property owners or their designee on January 10th. Residents of the area who have questions are encouraged to contact Public Works Director Chester Nakahara at cnakahara@piedmont.ca.gov or via phone at (510) 420-3050.

 

Jan 17 2018

Sexual Harassment and Intimidation –

School Board President Sarah Pearson and PUSD Superintendent Randall Booker answered the parents’ > letter as follows:

Dear Jennifer and Shannon, [Authors of correspondence to School Board]

Thank you for your letter dated January 8.  The District welcomes your questions and comments and what follows is a response to at least some of your concerns.  Please share this with the other signers, and please encourage them to attend the upcoming meetings (outlined below) to discuss these and related issues.  Community engagement is essential in developing, evaluating, and refining District policies and practices. On behalf of the Board of Education and the District staff, we look forward to working with you and other stakeholders on these critical issues concerning student safety and security.

Review of policies and procedures.
In the Fall of 2017, the District asked its legal counsel to undertake a comprehensive review of all District policies and administrative regulations concerning discrimination, harassment, complaints concerning schools, complaints concerning District employees, Uniform Complaints, and student discipline.  The purpose of the review, which is still underway, is to ensure that the policies are complete, aligned with one another and consistent with current law, and reflect best practices.  The District initiated this review following incidents of hate speech among students during the Spring of 2017 and allegations of teacher misconduct in the Fall of 2017, as the process of investigating these incidents and allegations drew staff attention to apparent gaps, ambiguities, and outdated provisions in District policies.

District staff will present the recommendations of its counsel at the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, January 23.  This presentation will be the starting point for a broader community conversation about District policies and procedures, and we strongly encourage you to attend and provide input.

Training and support for teachers and staff.
In November 2017, all District administrative staff received their annual training to prevent, identify, address, and remedy sexual harassment in both student-to-student and adult-to-student situations.  This spring, teachers and classified staff will receive the same training, which is an on-line program designed specifically for use in schools.  In the past, teachers and classified staff received the training every two years, but going forward this training will be required every year for teachers and staff as well as administrators.

In January 2018, administrative staff who are in supervisory roles, as well as counselors and Wellness Center staff, will receive more comprehensive sexual harassment training presented by District’s legal counsel.  This training will be tailored for the District and include small-group discussion and analysis.  In the past, this training was presented every other year.  Going forward, this training will be repeated every year.

In addition, the District is researching training programs for members of the Board of Education.

Assessment of student needs and concerns.
The California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) is a statewide survey concerning student health and academic performance, and the District typically administers the survey in odd-number years to 5th, 7th, 9th, and 11th graders.  In addition to using the State’s questions, the District can and usually does customize the survey with its own questions.  Last year, the District decided to administer the CHKS every year, so District staff are already preparing survey questions for this February.  The intent is to include questions about harassment, bullying, safety, security, and registering complaints.  The complete list of questions is scheduled be presented to the Board and the community at the Board meeting on Tuesday, February 13.

Review of Board training and decision-making.
On Tuesday, January 30, the Board of Education will hold a workshop on effective governance that will include self-evaluation and reflection.  The workshop, facilitated by a representative of the California School Board Association, will be from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm in the Piedmont Police Department conference room.  All are welcome to attend.  

Please feel free to contact either of us directly if you have further questions. We hope this information is useful and provides some foundation for more in-depth community discussions. On behalf of the Board, we appreciate your thoughtful suggestions and look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Sarah & Randy
Sarah Pearson, Board President
Randall Booker, Superintendent 
          January 10, 2018
Read the previously published letter sent to the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Directors HERE.
Jan 15 2018

Planning for the Linda Beach Playground will be discussed with the community 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 18 in the Piedmont Community Center, in Piedmont Main Park , 711 Highland Avenue.

All interested community members are encouraged to attend and participate.

Read the announcement by clicking below.

LBMP Community Meeting 2 Announcement

Jan 15 2018

“Talk Back with Parents”

Something new from the Piedmont Recreation Department!

An informational opportunity for parents with  6 – 8 grade Piedmont kids to learn about a healthy relationships program. 

The meeting is called “Talk Back with Parents” on Thursday, January 18 at 7:15 p.m. at 801 Magnolia Avenue (East Wing) across from Piedmont High School at the corner of Magnolia and Bonita Avenues.

This Talk-Back with Piedmont parents will be an opportunity for parents to hear from Natasha Singh what 6th -9th grade Piedmont kids have been saying about gender, sexuality, race, and healthy relationships. Based on Piedmont student feedback, Natasha will be offering tips to parents for how to continue these conversations at home in addition to sharing information about new courses.

If you had a student enrolled in Healthy Relationships and/or R.E.A.C.H.–or are considering enrolling your child in the future–please attend to learn more about:

1) What students had to say about the topics we discussed
2) What students would like to learn more about
3) Tips and strategies for how to talk with your child about these topics

4) Feedback from your kids about their wants and needs
5) New courses!

Based on student feedback and evaluations, instructor Natasha Singh is designing 3 brand new Healthy Relationships workshops for students interested in continuing our conversation about the topics they said they wanted to talk about. If your child enjoyed our series–and you think other students would benefit from joining a growing cohort of critical thinkers–please invite your friends to attend!

For more information contact Recreation Director Sara Lillevand at 420-3070.