Sep 24 2013

OPINION: Former Mayor Calls for Resolutions Not Divisions

– Blair Park proposal divided the City and resulted in misuse of City and private funds. – 

At the September 16th Piedmont City Council meeting, the Council decided in closed session that the City would “absorb” any amounts still owed it by Piedmont Recreation Facilities Organization (PRFO).  Lost in the forgiveness of PRFO’s debt to the City is the full financial cost of the failed attempt to put a football size soccer field in Blair Park. Mark Bichsel, former City Finance Director, prepared several schedules summarizing expenditures made by the City of Piedmont from the inception of project costs on October 2, 2008 through December 31, 2012. In this period the City expended $838,689. Much of this was reimbursed by PRFO, by my calculations over $500,000.

Friends of Moraga Canyon (FOMC) spent over $70,000 in its opposition to the project and in addition received a $15,000 settlement to pay outstanding legal fees. I am not privy to what costs PRFO paid on its own behalf, but it is safe to say that collectively the City of Piedmont, PRFO and FOMC spent close to $1,000,000 in pursuit of the Blair Park project. This does not even count the financial costs of untold hours spent by City staff on this ill-advised project.

I believe the Blair Park proposal resulted in an appalling misuse of City and private funds. My plea is for the Council to take seriously the need to: 1) establish and follow risk management policies, as recommended by the Piedmont League of Women Voters; 2) listen to and acknowledge competing interests; 3) perhaps most importantly, work out resolutions to controversial issues that bring the community together rather than divide. Only then will the City Council represent the best interests of the entire town.

Al Peters, Former Piedmont Mayor

September 23, 2013

Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association. 

5 Responses to “OPINION: Former Mayor Calls for Resolutions Not Divisions”

  1. Since the City Council is unable to follow the recommendations made by the League, to listen and acknowledge conflicting interests, or resolve controversial issues bringing the city together, perhaps it is time the members of the council be replaced.

  2. I agree. We need Council members who are willing to listen to competing interests and resolve differences before huge amounts of public and private funds are expended on civic projects. They must follow prudent risk management techniques.

  3. The upcoming election for council seats should grab the attention of even the most complacent Piedmonter.

  4. With great respect, Al, can you run again?

  5. Jim is right, the next Council election will be fascinating as will future tax measures. Taxpayer funds are being gifted away.

Leave a Comment