Dec 1 2021

Reports Circulated for COP 26 * Suggest  Drastic Life Style Changes to limit:  Airline travel, Video Gaming, Family size, Construction, Clothes Dryers

In preparing to host COP 26, the United Kingdom’s Climate researchers produced  reports to inform the world leaders meeting in Glasgow.  Quantifying the Potential for Climate Change Mitigation of Consumption Options by Ivanova et al provides sobering data on everyday carbon generation.

What Climate Actions by Individuals Make a Difference?

Smaller families and fewer airline flights would have the most significant impact on climate change that individuals could accomplish.  A family with one fewer child could reduce carbon emissions by up to 117.7 tons a year for a middle or upper middle income family living standard.  This is “by far the most significant action people could take at an individual (or rather, couple) level”.  Eliminating flights is the second most effective life style change for individuals concerned with Climate Change.  Flying SFO to Hong Kong represents 1.6 tons of carbon.  Converting from a meaty diet to a vegan diet saves .92 tons a year.  The California Energy Commission reported that video computer gaming in California consumed 4.1 terawatt-hours/year in 2016.  Presumably, in 2020-1 it  increased due to COVID 19 restrictions.

A middle or upper middle income family living standard child = 117.7 tons a year

Flying SFO to Hong Kong = 1.6 tons of carbon.

A meat diet compared with a vegan diet – .92 tons a year.

 

What Climate Actions Make Little Difference?

Are local and state governments fighting Climate Change  or introducing feel good Greenwashing* policies while doubling down on construction and automobile accommodations?

Reducing plastic items saves .02 tons a year and replacing light bulbs with energy efficient ones saves .04 tons a year.  Such measures feel good, but don’t produce much benefit.  The New York Times June 29, 2021 reports, “…chucking a gas range that works won’t make much of a positive impact on the environment or most people’s health. … gas cooking doesn’t deserve as much climate-related ire as it has been getting lately, because it represents a tiny part of household energy use and carbon emissions. As of 2015, the most recent year with detailed data (PDF) from the US Energy Information Administration, gas stoves accounted for less than 3% of household natural gas use in the US. ”  Although Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan encourages replacing gas with electric stoves, houses that came on the market for the past few years have felt obligated to install new commercial type six burner gas stoves as an attractive sales feature.

Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan does not ask residents, the public or staff to make any of the most significant lifestyle changes. 

Shifting from a fossil fuel engine car (including hybrids) to an all-electric car saves .47 tons a year, only about twice as much as foregoing use of a clothes dryer.  (Hanging clothes to dry rather than using a dryer saves .22 tons a year.)  Replacing gas stoves with electric may not yield the desired benefit.

According to the UN Environment Program, although building energy consumption from heating, cooling, powering equipment, heating water, has remained steady year-on-year, energy-related CO2 emissions increased by 9.95 gigatonnes in 2019,  largely due to a shift away from the direct use of coal and oil  towards electricity, which has a higher carbon content due to the high proportion of fossil fuels used in generation.

Greenwashing* has been a sales tool of some brands and investment funds, but also a feature of local climate policies.  The modest climate prescriptions in such plans can be more than offset by conflicting policies that allow or even promote demolition and construction.  Manufacture of steel (for cars, building construction, appliances) emits 7% of the world’s carbon according to the New York Times.  Nigel Topping, United Kingdom High-Level Climate Champion noted: ‘We urgently need to address carbon emissions from buildings and construction, which constitute almost 40% of global carbon emissions.”

*Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound. Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly.

The October 31 New York Times pointed out the extent of ineffective global action in reaching the agreed goals.  “The global use of fossil fuels which has been on a steady march upward for 150 years, is projected to peak by the middle of this decade, assuming countries hew to the promises they’ve made under the Paris accords.”  In particular, coal generated electric energy has increased 21% in 2021 compared with 2020, when it  increased similarly over 2019 according to the US energy Information administration.  In Rome the G 20 gathering was unable to agree to reduce coal generated electricity.

Mandates on Individuals Are Preferable to Government Restraint

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference gathering in Glasgow got off to an unfortunate symbolic start with more than 400 private jets flying in the delegations. Five jets for the US Presidential delegation produced 2.5 million tons of Co2 and on the ground the Presidential motorcade numbered more than 85 vehicles.

Although 40 nations signed on to phase out coal, several leading economies (US, China, India and Australia) were conspicuous in their reluctance to sign on Reuters (“COP26 coal pledge falls short on support as emissions surge”) reports here.  The increasing demand for coal quadrupled the price this year.  Finally, after Greta Thunberg and other Climate activists belittled the  holdouts, two weeks of negotiation produced the compromise “phase down” coal and other fossil fuels.  This new term without a clear meaning, seemed even more ambiguous as the US and EU simultaneously urged OPEC Plus to increase production of fossil fuels.

Professing Climate Concern State and Local Government Actions Undermine Climate Action

California State laws prevent cities and towns from protecting their environments to support healthy climate lifestyles by enacting limits on the most egregious CO2 emitting activities.  The State even mandates increased accommodation of a proliferation of cars to the detriment of public transit as well as bicycle and pedestrian safety.

The State and Piedmont are reducing setbacks and backyards, eliminating natural options to air cooling and clothes dryers to the detriment of Climate Action.

 *United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty agreed in 1994. The 2021 meeting is the 26th meeting, which is why it’s called COP26.

Editors Note: Additional information on Green House Gases can be read at this link > https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions.

 

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Dec 1 2021

View where the new Electrical Vehicle (EV) charging station will be on Magnolia Avenue near the Exedra at Main Park.

Scroll down on the link below to view EV maps and information for the December 1 Park Commission Meeting Agenda. 

Park Commission Agenda 12-1-2021 FINAL

 

Nov 29 2021

City of Piedmont Press Release:

The City of Piedmont is dedicated to ensuring that our town is anti-racist, inclusive and embracing of the East Bay’s diversity.

In light of a recent real estate advertisement that contained implicitly racist language, the City of Piedmont wants to reiterate our shared values in support of equity and justice.

Righting past wrongs includes acknowledging historical racism in Piedmont and continually re-evaluating existing systems and practices. To ensure that Piedmont better reflects this diversity, the city is planning to convene a community dialogue in early 2022. Invitees will include the Piedmont Racial Equity Campaign (PREC), the Piedmont Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee (PADC), local realtors, housing activists, and leaders from diverse groups in Alameda County. Promoting a discussion among these groups is an important step toward building a more welcoming and inclusive city.

“The community needs to come together and talk about housing in Piedmont. For too long, families of color were made to feel unwelcome in town. I want to believe those days are long gone,” said Mayor Teddy King. “One of the best parts of living in the Bay Area is all of the richly diverse communities in our region. Let’s make sure we embrace this diversity — not shut anyone out.”

In August 2020, the Piedmont City Council passed Resolution 60-2020 which states the City’s unequivocal rejection of racism and commits the city to “… review and revise its policies, procedures, ordinances, values, goals, and missions through an anti-racism lens to foster an unbiased and inclusive environment that is free of discrimination, harassment, and negative stereotyping toward any person or group.” Piedmont is putting this resolution into action to make our community a more fair and equitable place to live, learn, recreate and thrive. The proposed dialogue will be a step in that direction.

2021-11-19 Housing and Equity Release

Nov 29 2021

Pedestrian issues missing in the proposed Piedmont Safer Streets Plan. 

  • Where is the plan for better sidewalk maintenance?
  • Where is the plan for enforcement of Piedmont laws prohibiting vehicle parking on sidewalks? 
  • Where is the plan to restrict parking on dangerously narrow streets?

The plan appears to focus on money oriented capital projects and bicycles rather than general pedestrian safety.  Studies produced do not mention accidents caused by improperly maintained sidewalks.  The City inventoried all public paths in Piedmont (in other words, walkways other than sidewalks) to assess conditions and identify any needed repairs.  Sidewalk conditions throughout the City were not inventoried. 

“A secondary walking-related concern is gaps in sidewalk coverage and existing sidewalks in poor condition.” Plan

“Remove onstreet parking and fill in missing sidewalks in order to address concerns about pedestrians having to walk in the roadway.” Resident

The elaborate, costly, and studied final proposal for Safer Streets in Piedmont is to be considered by the City Council on Monday, December 6, 2021.  Agenda  here. 

COVID 19 brought out pedestrians and exercisers in numbers never seen before on Piedmont streets and sidewalks. A repeated complaint from readers was dangerous sidewalk conditions caused by years of damage from trees, water, vehicles, and old age.

Those attempting to walk on sidewalks around corners on narrow streets, frequently found cars and trucks parked on the sidewalk blocking their ability to stay on the sidewalk, particularly those pushing a baby carriage.  Police enforcement prohibiting parking vehicles on the sidewalk is generally absent in Piedmont.

The plan emphasizes vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians crossing or interfacing with Piedmont streets, while not mentioning the number of pedestrians falling or injured by sidewalk problems.

The City of Piedmont, which prides itself on otherwise excellent customer service, does not have an online form for the public to request repair and maintenance of streets and other public infrastructure.  The plan suggests the City should have an online repair request form. 

READ the full proposed FINAL DRAFT PLAN below:

https://p1cdn4static.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Planning%20Division/General%20Plan/PSS_final%20draft%20plan_Oct.%2028,%202021.pdf

Transportation Planning

December 6 City Council Hearing

for the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan

At the October 7, 2021 meeting, the Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee recommended City Council adoption of the Draft Piedmont Safer Streets Plan with four additional recommendations.
Pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines Section 15072, staff prepared an Initial Study for public review for the Safer Streets Plan. Having received no comments, staff is recommending that City Council adopt a Negative Declaration, based on the findings in the Initial Study.
On December 6, 2021, the City Council will consider adoption of a resolution to:
a) adopt the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan, and
b) adopt the Initial Study and Negative Declaration for the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan.
Following adoption of the Plan, implementation of the Plan’s recommendations, programs and policies will begin. City staff will continue to monitor existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure and traffic conditions in the City. The Final Draft Plan is available for public review. Agenda for the December 6, 2021 Council meeting will be posted here no later than Friday, December 3, 2021. Staff report for the Plan, detailing all steps taken by staff and role played by the PBAC, will be available for review here, no later than Friday, December 3, 2021.
Please send any comments or questions on the Plan to Associate Planner Gopika Nair at gnair@piedmont.ca.gov. For more information about the PSS Plan and staff reports, please visit:

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

Email comments may be addressed to the City Council and sent to the City Clerk at jtulloch@piedmont.ca.gov

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Nov 20 2021

FREE COVID-19 PCR TESTS FOR ALL

Travelers, students home for the holidays, general public and potentially exposed individuals can be tested now at no charge in Piedmont at a mobil unit provided by Curative.

The mobile testing vehicle will be in front of Piedmont City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, on Sundays and Mondays between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. until the end of December. The free test is a nasal swab test.  Results will be available one to two days after the tests.

The City of Piedmont’s Fire Department is working with Curative, the provider of the free tests. Bring your identification card and vaccination record with you.  Appointments are not necessary.  Those desiring an appointment or more information may contact curative.com.   

Nov 20 2021

Who is fighting to stop the State takeover of local land use planning?

California residents, including Piedmonters, are becoming more and more aware of the loss of control over local land use planning in their cities and neighborhoods. Public interest groups are forming to fight State takeover of local planning processes.

Developers are projected to be the monetary gainers of State control over housing and planning.

The continuing loss of local citizens’ ability to control development and feel confident of their community’s future is felt and shown in the number of homeowners deciding this is the time to leave California. 

To date, the Piedmont City Council has fully supported the Piedmont Regional Housing Need Assessments (RHNA) calling for an additional 587 housing units added in Piedmont.  Proposals call for the Piedmont Planning Department to ministerially take action on approvals without neighborhood input on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) that meet certain criteria. Areas in Piedmont, including a park, are  being considered to be designated for multiple housing units. 

State legislation impacts Piedmont’s two “single family” residential zones differently.   Zone A where smaller parcels are typically found in “lower Piedmont,” there is a requirement of a 5 foot setback from side and rear property lines for habitable buildings.  Zone E (Estate), an elite zone where parcels are generally located in upper Piedmont,  require more space  around their homes for the greater 20 foot side and rear yard setbacks.   Roof overhangs are allowed into the setbacks further narrowing the distance between buildings.  Zone E has been questioned as illegally established as never having been established by voter action per the City Charter . 

The required number of RHNA housing units was assigned to Piedmont without consideration of the numerous substandard, narrow, and winding road ways impacting safety and emergency vehicles.   Deficient municipal open space, lack of local employment, and other local problems were also not factored into Piedmont’s 587 new housing unit assessment.

Various groups opposing State imposition of housing requirements are linked below for information.

 www.stopsacramento.org
https://www.livablecalifornia.org/livable-california-endorses-the-our-neighborhood-voices-initiative/
Nov 20 2021

Community Advisory Committee is composed of individuals associated with the School District to “strengthen community and positive relationships amongst our various stakeholders.”

Randall Booker, Superintendent, November 10, 2021,  SUPERINTENDENT’S COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE – UPDATED

I. SUPPORT INFORMATION

At the April 28, 2021 Board of Education Meeting, Naomi Hunter, Communications Consultant presented the results of the District’s Pandemic Response Survey. The presentation can be viewed here. Ms. Hunter provided several recommendations to improve communications across the district and community.

  • – Hire Communications Director (1.0FTE)
  • – Establish Communications goals (21-22) related to surveying, social media engagement, Piedmont Ahead publications, quarterly departmental communication updates (Tech, SPED, Curriculum & Instruction, Facilities), etc.
  • – Member of the Superintendent’s Cabinet to provide ongoing assistance and guidance in communicating both strategic and tactical initiatives.
  • – Contract to redevelop the PUSD Website.
  • – Schedule standing APT Liaison Committee Meetings between the Board, Administrative Team, and the Association of Piedmont Teachers to strengthen communication, shared understanding, and collaborative efforts to support students and educators.
  • – Develop and schedule Supt. Advisory Committee Meetings for 21-22 that include students, educators, and parents.

The District has moved forward with each of these initiatives for the 21-22 school year and will launch the Superintendent’s Community Advisory Committee in December, with monthly meetings to follow.

Background on the Superintendent’s Community Advisory Committee

The Superintendent’s Community Advisory Committee was introduced initially at the October 27, 2021 Board of Education Meeting. The Board and community provided input around the membership of the community which led to changes in the roster (see below). Superintendent will collaborate with the Parent Club presidents and the PEF Director to solicit parent involvement that is wide-reaching. Building off of the success of a variety of Superintendent committees (Facilities Steering, Budget Advisory, Health and Safety Steering, etc.), the purpose of the Superintendent’s Community Advisory Committee is to:

● strengthen community and positive relationships amongst our various stakeholders;

● listen, learn, and better understand one another on the various successes and areas to improve across the District;

● generate ideas to improve communications, district-wide operations, and the student and staff learning/working environment.

Membership

The Superintendent’s Community Advisory Committee will consist of the following membership (25 people in total):

  • 1. Superintendent
  • 2. Director of Communication and Community Relations
  • 3. (2) APSA Members: 1 Certificated / 1 Classified
  • 4. (2) Certificated Staff Members (APT): 1 Elementary / 1 Secondary
  • 5. (2) Classified Staff Members (CSEA): 1 Elementary / 1 Secondary
  • 6. (2) Board of Education Members
  • 7. (8) Parents of current PUSD students – 1 per school site, 2 at-large
  • 8. (6) Students (2 PMS, 2 MHS, 2 PHS)
  • 9. PEF Executive Director APSA, APT, and CSEA will choose their own members to participate. PMS, PHS, and MHS ASB will choose their own members. Each school site Parent Club will appoint a respective community member for participation. Notes will be drafted and published for the Piedmont Community.

Meeting Dates/Times* 3:45pm – 5:15pm Dec. 6th Jan. 10th Feb. 28th Mar. 14th Apr. 4th * All meetings will be held virtually via Google Meet until further notice.

II. RECOMMENDATION: INFORMATION AND DISCUSSION Review the proposed Superintendent’s Community Advisory Committee.

 

PCA Board Background on Updated Superintendent’s Community Advisory Committee 11-10-2021_184416sckde3ggtq0by5dhsh2fdlkk

Board Meeting Summary – 11-10-21.docx

Nov 20 2021
The League of Women Voters of Piedmont presents:

Dr. Ingrid Banks, Chair of the Black Studies Department at University of California Santa Barbara will speak on the topic of “Critical Race Theory:Origins and Scholarship” on Friday December 3.  Her talk will start at 4 pm. and will be followed by Q & A.   It is free and open to the public.  To register go to:  https://www.lwvpiedmont.org/content.aspx?page_id=4008&club_id=601389&item_id=1573566 or www.lwvpiedmont.org/events 

This event is co-sponsored by the Piedmont Anti-Racism and Diversity committee (PDAC)

 

Nov 20 2021

City staff will host a virtual Town Hall on Monday, November 22nd at 6:00 p.m. to provide an opportunity for Piedmont residents to learn more about Public Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations.

The Town Hall will provide an opportunity for questions about an
upcoming funding opportunity and public EV charging in Piedmont to be answered.

Following a short presentation about EV charging and the Alameda County Incentive
Project, a panel will provide responses to questions submitted by attendees. Participants will ask their questions using the Q&A feature of Zoom. The moderator will group questions together and pose them to the panel for a response.

Members of the public can participate in the meeting in the following ways:
• Computer or smart phone: Click on https://piedmont-ca-gov.zoom.us/j/83233567482
• Telephone: Dial (669) 900-9128 and enter webinar/meeting number 840-0138-1498

On October 18th the City Council approved the installation of four DC fast EV charging stations on Magnolia Avenue near the Exedra. These chargers will be the first public chargers located in Piedmont and are anticipated to be operational by July 1, 2022. In addition to these approved chargers, the City is exploring other locations for installing public EV charging stations. Various locations are being considered in advance of a new funding opportunity, the Alameda County Incentive Project. The City is seeking input from Piedmont residents about their EV usage and preferences for EV charging. Residents are encouraged to complete an online EV community survey by November 26th.

“Public electric vehicle charging stations are intended to further support the adoption of electric vehicles in Piedmont.” said Alyssa Dykman, the City’s Sustainability Program
Manager. “Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2.0 calls for the community to reduce its annual in-territory emissions from the transportation, building, solid waste, and water sectors by 40% below its 2005 baseline by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Emissions from CO2e from gas- and diesel-fueled vehicles are among the biggest obstacles to meeting these emissions reduction goals. In 2019, vehicles in Piedmont accounted for 49% of the community’s total emissions. The City has the chance to capitalize on the interest of EVs in Piedmont and further promote EV adoption through the development of EV infrastructure.”

If you have questions about public EV charging stations, please contact Sustainability Program Manager, Alyssa Dykman, by email at adykman@piedmont.ca.gov. Any correspondence sent to the City will be considered a public record.

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Nov 20 2021
The Piedmont Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee (PADC) is now accepting grant applications for our 2021-2022 grant cycle.

Grounded in principles of racial equity, PADC works to dismantle systems of oppression, and replace them with policies and practices to nurture a connected and inclusive community.

PADC invites individuals and groups planning projects that promote these ideals to apply for monetary awards through our Grants Program. Grant applicants should be affiliated with Piedmont or one of Piedmont’s neighboring communities.

Go to our website, www.PADC.info, and click on the GRANTS tab. The drop down menu will allow you to read more about the Grants Program or to submit an application directly online. Grants will be awarded until funds have been exhausted.

Examples of projects which have previously received grant awards include :

– Diversity,  equity and inclusion training for the Piedmont Schools Wellness Center staff.

– Piedmont/Millennium High School Black Student Union operating expenses

– Piedmont Middle School 4th grade class field trip to the Museum of the African Diaspora

Questions regarding grants may be submitted to: contactpadc@gmail.com

Thank you,

Richard Turner