Mar 18 2018

Will public participants get to have more than 3 minutes to provide input and exchange ideas?

Will the meetings be broadcast?

Will minutes be kept of the meetings?

How will the public be involved?

After the City Council changed their minds on pushing rushed City Charter amendments on the June ballot, the prevailing direction to staff was to attempt a Measure for the November ballot.  A number of residents and the Piedmont League of Women Voters asked the Council to defer any action on the important City Charter until discussion and input had involved Piedmonters.

Paul Benoit, City Administrator wants the Council at their March 19, 2018 meeting to Consider a Date for a Council Work Session to Discuss Possible Amendments to the City Charter.  John Tulloch, Piedmont City Clerk, wrote the staff report noted below.

Questions immediately arose regarding how the public would be given an opportunity to participate in the significant proposals.  The “Work Session” format proposed by Benoit and Tulloch, if following prior meetings noted as “Work Sessions,” will not be broadcast and will be held away from the Council Chambers where cameras are a fixture.

Recent “Work Sessions” have primarily involved financial matters where few, if any, public members are present.

The League of Women Voters had proposed an opportunity for broad community involvement, which a work sessions typically does not provide.  A record of the “work sessions” substance and origination of discussion is usually missing.

It has also been pointed out that when the City Charter last had a major review, there was a committee appointed that was open to the public with records kept of recommendations and discussion.

The City Council will consider the matter as the last item on their March 19, 2018 meeting agenda.

The Staff report recommending a Council Work Session on possible City Charter amendments is below:

03/19/18 – Consideration of a Date for a Council Work Session to Discuss Possible Amendments to the City Charter

Mar 18 2018

City Council Agenda Monday, March 19, 2018 –  7:30 p.m. City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA

Cell Towers City Price & Terms of Payment

Closed Session:  The City Council will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall Conference Room a. CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATORS (Govt. Code §54956.8) City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue; Negotiating Parties: City and Gulf South Towers Negotiators: City Admin. & Atty; Under Negotiation: Price & Terms of Payment

(Gulf South Towers is noted as in the business of cell towers.  Click links below for more information.)


Regular agenda:

03/19/18 – Receipt of the Annual Progress Report on the Implementation of the City’s Housing Element

03/19/18 – Consideration of the Climate Action Plan 2.0 as Recommended by the Climate Action Plan Task Force

03/19/18 – Approval of a Resolution Adopting East Bay Clean Energy’s Brilliant 100 Plan for City of Piedmont Municipal Electrical Accounts

03/19/18 – Receipt of a Report on Updates to the City’s Facilities Maintenance Program

03/19/18 – Consideration of Fixing the Employer Contribution at an Equal Amount for Employees and Annuitants Under the Public Employees’ Medical and Hospital Care Act; AND Electing to Rescind Health Benefit Vesting Under Section 22893 of the Public Employees’ Medical and Hospital Care Act

03/19/18 – Consideration of FY 16-17 Year-End Appropriations and Carryforwards

03/19/18 – Consideration of FY 16-17 Year End Fund Transfers

03/19/18 – Consideration of the FY 17-18 Mid-Year Financial Report

03/19/18 – Consideration of a Date for a Council Work Session to Discuss Possible Amendments to the City Charter

For copies of attachments, older reports or if you have questions about this material, call the City Clerk’s office at (510) 420-3040.

Mar 17 2018

The Piedmont Police Department will begin issuing citations [tickets] for parking violations in the > Linda-Kingston-Lake-Rose Parking District on March 19, 2018. 

On January 18, 2018, the parking restrictions in the Linda-Kingston-Lake-Rose Parking District came into effect. This district, which covers portions of these streets, provides for Resident Parking only between 10:00 p.m and 7:00 a.m., 7 days a week. Since its inception, the Piedmont Police Department has enforced the provisions of the District by issuing warning citations. Attached below is 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.

Beginning the evening of Monday, March 19th, the Piedmont Police Department will begin issuing regular citations when violations of the parking regulations are observed. If you have any questions or comments related specifically to the enforcement of the Linda-Kingston-Lake-Rose Parking District you may contact Support Services Commander Lisa Douglas at (510) 420-3014 or at

If you have questions about the formation of the district, please contact Public Works Director Chester Nakahara at or via phone at (510) 420-3050.


Mar 17 2018

Piedmont has a program to help neighborhoods become prepared for natural disasters and emergencies, and to be able to help each other at a time when first responders will likely be flooded with calls. 

The City is looking for volunteers to sign up to help organize their block for a meeting, joining the more than 30 other Piedmont neighborhoods that have already done so. The goal is to have every block in Piedmont participate. This is where residents come in.

Communities across America have successfully implemented the “Map Your Neighborhood” (MYN) program to organize and prepare for public safety disasters in their communities. It is focused on neighborhoods with 15-25 adjacent residences (although there is flexibility on either end.)

The Piedmont Public Safety Committee and the Piedmont Fire Department will help facilitate MYN meetings which usually last 90 minutes. MYN provides a ready reference for actions to be taken before and after an earthquake, including mapping neighborhood utility shut-offs, preparing a neighborhood roster, and developing a process to check on the safety of all neighbors, particularly persons who are alone, disabled, elderly or otherwise requiring assistance. The program also provides a process to identify vital skills and resources that may exist in a neighborhood.

If you would be willing to help organize your block, please contact Sheila March at or (510) 420-3010.

Mar 15 2018

The Race to be the Smartest Kid in the Room

In a town of overbearing parents and their genius children, there is a majority that is not being spoken for. The average student is being forgotten. With parents trying to propel their kids to excel in every subject, teachers want it to slow down. The name of the government body is the School Board. The purpose of their meetings is to discuss issues that affect the school. People may also bring problems to the School Board to deliberate. The School Board meeting meets every two weeks.

The major issue that was discussed at the February 28, 2018 meeting was how math classes should be compressed. There is a concern right now that the classes are being too compressed and are cramming too much information into a short amount of time. Teachers want to slow down the math classes and allow kids to digest the material. However, parents with high achieving kids think the math classes are too slow.

Allison Elvekrog spoke out saying that her child Jack was bored in Calculus AB.  She was concerned that her son was not being pushed enough in the class. However, student Hayden Stone who is in the same class felt like the class was too hard.  Hayden said that the class was challenging enough and she thought there were very few kids who were bored.

In my opinion the math classes are the hardest classes offered at Piedmont.  Math analysis was the hardest class I have ever taken at Piedmont.  I think that kids who excel at math are rare and are special circumstances.  Maybe there should be a special class for them that will allow them to excel.  I think the math classes should be less compressed and go into more detail.

In an interview with Diana Miller, she said she attended the meeting because she is invested in the Math Pathways program.  She wants to have an influence over the School Board’s decision and present her side of the story.  She said that one of the problems with the current math situation is that people are double compressing due to social pressure, which she does not think is right.  She said that she was surprised that the Board was split on the decision.  She thought they would all agree or disagree with the presentation.  She said that in two weeks the Board will come back with their decision.

by Riley Francis, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Mar 15 2018

Trees, Recreation Facilities, Water Fountain for Dogs in Dracena Park, Lights and Plantings at the Community Center, Art Center Landscaping, Street Sweeping, Arbor Day –

The Park Commission Meeting of March 7, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. was held in the Piedmont City Council Chambers, and covered several issues and updates with regards to the state of Piedmont’s community spaces, upcoming Arbor Day, monthly maintenance and park safety updates, and more.

The March meeting began with the regularly-scheduled 10-minute public forum. There was one speaker. Piedmont High School Senior Yasi Parsa thanked the hard work of the Park Commission and strongly encouraged a continuous implementation of drought-resistant plants in Piedmont, whenever possible, due to its resulting conservation of water and environmental benefits.

The first item on the regular meeting agenda was the Approval of Park Commission Minutes for February 7, 2018, and Park Commission Chairperson Jamie Totsubo confirmed that there were no corrections by the Park Commission members; all members accepted the minutes as presented.

The second item on the agenda was an update on Community Hall Lighting and Planting and Civic Projects Donation from the Piedmont Garden Club.  Nancy Kent, Parks and Facilities Manager, said that the existing light poles at Piedmont Community Hall were replaced by four Spring City Light poles with new LED fixtures. Kent said the lights are dimmable and that she is happy about their implementation.

In my opinion, the lights are important to improve because good lighting is so necessary in a communal and ceremonial space.

Kent also said that the Evergreen Hedge and declining cherry trees in the courtyard will be replaced by a new Laurel Hedge and White Flowering Dogwoods, in the week of March 19th. She said baskets will be hung at the community hall lights, and that the Piedmont Garden club will donate to the City to have the plants selected and the baskets hung.

Former Park Commission Chair and Park Commissioner and future Piedmont Beautification Foundation (PBF) president Patty Siskind donated money to the Park Commission for the Dracena Dog Park, in order to install what she said is a much-needed water fountain for dog owners and patrons. She also introduced a diagram with succulent plants that are drought-tolerant, and said the design of the baskets at the Community Center can embody “thrill, fill, and spill,” which, as Kent went on to clarify, means a possibility of minimal irrigation for the succulents.

Following this, an update was given by Kent on the city’s playgrounds. According to this report, the safety of the playgrounds at the Piedmont Park, Recreation Department, Hampton Field, Lower Dracena Park, and the climbing and swings at Beach Elementary school, were reviewed this year as part of the facilities maintenance program requirements. As a result, the Recreation Department’s equipment has been replaced, and four of the five play structures received the Gold-Edge Certificate of Compliance. There was also an adjustment that was carried out on the playground equipment at Hampton. Oak tree branches were pruned away from the Recreation Department and the Piedmont park climbing structure, and the gap between a slide structure was fixed as well. According to Kent, this year’s report was a good.

Subsequently, there was an update on the Linda Beach Master plan during the meeting. Kent said that currently, the Plan is in an interim stage, and an online survey of more than 240 responses was taken on the Park’s preliminary design options. Kent reported that there were a lot of different ideas, and no main consensus. She also said that there are three very similar design presentation meetings on the Park Masterplan; the first will be presented March 21st at the Recreation Commission, the second at the Park Commission on April 4th, and the third one at the City Council Meeting of May 7th. The staff will review the public input taken from the three meetings and make another presentation, Kent said.

Following this topic was an update on the Heritage Tree Policy. Totsubo said that at the last Park Commission meeting, a Heritage Tree Selection Sub-committee was chosen, which is permanent for as long as the Heritage Tree Policy exists. A motion was made during the March 7th meeting to approve this appointment of Commission volunteers Jim Horner, Patty Dunlap, and Robin Wu.

Park Commission member Jim Horner said that he encourages people to send in applications for the trees, and that the deadline is Friday, March 16. Kent confirmed that it was a fillable PDF available on the City website.

An update was also given on Arbor Day by Commissioner Brian Mahany, who discussed the Arbor Day poster. Arbor Day, he said, will be on April 19th at 5 p.m., inside the Piedmont Park Community Center, lasting most likely under an hour. The Piedmont Jazz Lab band and PHS jazz band combo will perform at the event. Keynote speakers will be Commissioner Jim Horner and Mayor Bob McBain. Mahany said that while a two-sided banner could cost more, some of the benefits include a relatively nicer view of the images on both sides, and an alleviation of the sun shining through. He said there are two bids of $950 dollars for the most likely one sided banner.

Lastly, a monthly maintenance report was given by Public Works Department Supervisor of Maintenance Dave Frankel. First, he said that weeding in Piedmont parks has been a focus in the past month, due to rainy weather. He said there was planting done at the Community Hall Circle, at the Bonita Avenue corner of 801 Magnolia Avenue, and at the Piedmont Center for the Arts, by Public Works Department staff.

Trees were removed from the Wildwood Avenue entry to Piedmont Main Park, and the staff has also cleared creeks, trash racks, and catch-basins, during rainstorms.

Frankel also said that California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is back in town, and that they are working on the removal of Acacia trees and weeds in the Park courtyard and at Blair Park.

Frankel reported that Davey Tree Company is in town, working on PG&E line clearing work, and that the Public Works Department staff has been planting street trees such as some Southern Magnolias on the corner of Monticello Avenue. They also removed a Magnolia tree on Moraga Avenue, which was hit by a car, as well as some decaying American Elm trees on Highland Avenue.

Frankel noted that if anyone wants to have their street swept, they can currently contact the Public Works Department, as they are not servicing sewer lines.

Commissioner Horner said that he thinks that having succulents at the Piedmont Community Hall is a good move, because they are durable, long-lasting, freeze-resistant, and look good.

I agree that they have aesthetic value and can last, and I think that since these plants will also conserve water, it is a really good idea.

Nearing the end of the meeting, Mayor McBain thanked Chairperson Totsubo for her fine work on the Commission as both a member and chairperson, and said that it was a pleasure to work with her for many years. He said that there will be a ceremony in May for honoring Totsubo and other civic volunteers.

“Having been here so many nights and evenings, what a great job you’ve done,” McBain said. “I want to say thank you for all your work and help, and you have made things better, so thank you.”

Totsubo thanked McBain and reminded those interested to send in applications for a vacant spot on the Park Commission, saying they are due Friday, March 9, at 5 p.m.. She also thanked all of the staff, expressed her confidence in their work, and said it was a fun, seven-year learning experience.

“I know I’m leaving an amazing group of smart and talented commissioners, who can navigate complex issues,” Totsubo said. “And I’m confident and happy that Arbor Day will be in good hands for many, many years to come, so good luck, Robin and Jim, Patty, Betsy, Eileen, and Brian. Good luck, and have fun with your time.”

The meeting ended with Commissioner Betsy Goodman handing an orchid to Totsubo on her retirement, thanking her generosity towards serving as the Chair during a time when the Commission was young.

After the meeting, I interviewed Dave Frankel, and asked him why he attended the meeting, including any difficulties and problems that may have caused him to attend. He said that he gives monthly maintenance reports on the park staff’s activities to the Park Commission at their meetings, and that regarding his takeaway from the meeting, he was disappointed that Jamie Totsubo was leaving. He said she is a wonderful and outstanding Park Commission chairperson.

According to the Piedmont City website, the Commission meets on the first Wednesday of each month, making recommendations to the City Council about improvements to the public parks, and managing the street tree improvement program of the city.

by Yasi Parsa, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Mar 15 2018

Let’s Talk (About Listening)

Adults and students milled into the Piedmont Veterans’ Hall on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 8:30 in the morning. Boxes of coffee and bagels were sitting in a room adjacent to the main room and the attendees of the “Let’s Talk!” program took their turn waiting in line and smearing flavored cream cheese on bread. Less than ten minutes later, everyone was seated around one of twelve circular tables as Cheryl Wozniak introduced speaker Sara Wicht.

Sara Wicht, an educational consultant with over 20 years of experience in social justice and anti-bias education, led the “Let’s Talk!” program session with the help of Cheryl Wozniak, Director of Curriculum & Instruction. As may be indicated from the title “Let’s Talk! Building a More Inclusive Piedmont Through Deliberative Dialogue”, “Let’s Talk!” was hosted to open up discussions about diversity and, by association, identity. “Let’s Talk!” was hosted Feb. 5, 10, and 11 and it is unclear whether these sessions will be continued next year.

The major issues discussed at this meeting included identity and how it compares to others, the benefits and downfalls of race, how to respond to strong emotions, implicit bias and stereotypes, and selective attention.

Everyone participated in a set of activities and afterwards we, as table groups, discussed the deeper meaning behind the activity and then discussed the topic, such as what we consider the most important part of our identity and why.

Personally, I consider my race to be the most important part of my identity, because it is the part of me that I’ve been aware of the longest.  I also spent a couple of years grappling with what it means to be Asian, a Japanese-American, in a predominantly White school.  Now, it feels less urgent to represent Asians and be aware that I am Asian in Piedmont, but it was definitely a concept that I focused a long time on and, because of that, it is what I would consider the most important part of my identity. During the debrief, we discussed how we are not one part of our identity and that we are multi-faceted individuals, which I could not be more grateful for.

“Let’s Talk!” was a workshop that you had to sign up for to attend, which may have had some shortcomings. I think David Lindenbaum put it best when he said that “a majority of the people that are here are probably not the people who need to be here.”

Lindenbaum said that he attended the “Let’s Talk!” workshop to have a greater awareness of challenges that people of color face and how their view of the community and the world are different than his.

“I don’t know if I learned how to approach difficult subjects, because I think right now people are questioning what is fact,” said Lindenbaum. “I think this group is in the middle, open-minded.”

 Lindenbaum said having an open mind and listening to other peoples’ opinions is the way to bring positive change.

by Susan Kuroda, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Mar 14 2018

March 11-17, 2018

Throughout the United States,  it is > Sunshine Week  – a national initiative spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) to educate the public about the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy. 

 > Sunshine Week –  It’s Your Right to Know. March 11-17, 2018. Join ASNE and the Reporters Committee in the annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community.

“The American Society of News Editors launched Sunshine Week in 2005 as a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. The week-long celebration is held every March to coincide with the March 16 birthday of James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution.  …”

> Sunshine Week – ASNE

As part of continuing examination of threats to First Amendment freedoms and an extension of Sunshine Week 2017, The Associated Press, the American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors have produced a package of stories focused on government attempts to promote secrecy or hinder access to information. …

> Sunshine Week – Society of Professional Journalists

The Piedmont Civic Association website provides free information online to those interested in Piedmont civic matters. There are no advertisements or subscription charges for updates. The PCA website is produced by Piedmont volunteers.

Join hundreds of Piedmonters and receive emailed updates from PCA by clicking > HERE.  


Mar 12 2018

The City is flush with money, so how can it be spent?  HURRY! Your good ideas are sought by March 14th deadline for a March 15 meeting.

2018 CIP Proposal Form

The Capital Improvement Projects Review Committee (CIP) will be meeting Thursday, March 15, 2018, at 7 pm and Tuesday, March 20 at 7 pm in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center to consider and recommend CIP projects.  CIP members are:  Michael Henn, Susan Herrick, Bobbe Stehr, Jeffrey St. Claire.  The Piedmont Beautification Foundation (PBF) Representative and Piedmont Park Commission Representatives are Nancy McHugh and Jim Horner.  The Recreation Commission Representative and Council Liaison are to be announced.  The staff liaisons are Chester Nakahara and Nancy Kent.  Read the meeting agenda here.   There will be no audio or written record kept of meeting discussion or presentations. Additionally, no broadcast via the internet or cable TV will be available.

The meetings are open to the public. 

Read the March 15 agenda > here

The announcement by the City is below: 

The CIP is soliciting proposals for new projects which would enhance our community. Ideas submitted by individuals, community organizations and City staff are all considered. If you have a great idea, the committee would like to hear from you.

Proposals are due no later than March 14th at 5:00 PM. Click to download the

2018 CIP Proposal Form.

All applicants/residents that have submitted proposals will be personally invited to attend the CIP Meeting to be scheduled in March/April.  At this meeting, applicants will be asked to briefly describe their projects to the CIP Committee. The CIP Committee will then determine which projects will require a site visit.

The CIP Site Visit Tour will be scheduled for a Saturday in early May. The tour will commence at City Hall at 9:00 am and then will proceed to CIP tour stops located throughout the City. At each of the tour stops the CIP Committee will see the locations for proposed projects first hand.

At noon a working lunch will be provided at City Hall for Committee members, city staff, and interested citizens. At this working lunch the CIP Review Committee will attempt to compose their list of 2018-2019.  CIP projects that they recommend as a part of this year’s budget process. The CIP chair in conjunction with CIP Review Committee members will be asked to prepare a list of recommended projects and narrative that will be forwarded to the City Council for consideration in the budget process.

Completed forms should be returned to the Department of Public Works, 120 Vista Avenue. If you have questions regarding the CIP process, please contact via email > Nancy Kent Parks & Project Manager, or by phone at (510) 420-3064.

1 Comment »
Mar 12 2018

The public will find the meeting an informative way to learn what the Piedmont City Council members are interested in pursuing.  

The Piedmont City Council will hold a Special Meeting on Thursday, March 15 at 5:30 p.m. to Interview Candidates for Commissions and Committees in the City Hall Conference Room at 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will not be broadcast or recorded.

The public is welcome to attend the entire meeting. 

Questions will be asked by Councilmembers of applicants who made timely application for appointment to a Commission or Committee.  The applicant pool names have not been released, but are available upon request. 

Inquiries may be made to the City Clerk at 510/420-3040. 

The Committee and Commission vacancies are noted below:

Commission/Committee No. of Vacancies No. of Incumbents Eligible for Reappointment
Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee 2 2
CIP Review Committee 1 1
Civil Service Commission 2 2
Park Commission 2 1
Parking Hearing Officer 1 0
Planning Commission 1 0
Police & Fire Pension Board 1 0
Public Safety Committee 2 2
Recreation Commission 1 1

No appointments will be made without a Council interview.