Oct 23 2016

Council: Stop Signs, Grand Avenue Shell Station, Mosquitoes, Cavenaugh Praises Public Input

 What is it like to attend a Piedmont City Council meeting?

Student Report of City Council Meeting on September 19, 2016. 

    On the night of September 19th a couple of my classmates and myself met up to attend a City Council meeting for a civics assignment. We arrived a bit early, but there were already people there waiting to enter the building. After about 10 or 15 minutes, John Tullock who is the City Clerk opened the doors inviting the people in and everyone calmly walked in and took a seat. There was a lot of chatter among the people before the meeting started.

    There was a variety of people there ranging from students, adults, and people invited to talk about certain matters on the agenda. The City Council meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of each month at 7:30 p.m. and are held to discuss the issues happening in the Piedmont community, which range from approving city building plans, what the money should be spent on, and how to improve things in the community. These City Council meetings welcome anyone from the community to come and openly express their opinions on the issues in the community.

      After a couple of minutes, the City Council members came in through a door in the back wall and took their seats. Everyone rose out of their seats for the pledge of allegiance and afterward took their seats again and the meeting was underway. The Council first began to discuss issues which were on the Consent Calendar which included the approval of a contract to resurface the Dracena Park Tot Lot and the approval of a new license plate reader.

      After the Consent Calendar came the Public Forum, which is a 10 minute period split between the speakers that allowed anyone to speak about any issues they felt necessary to discuss in the community. The first person to come up and speak was Jon Elvekrog who spoke on the topic of the 16 new stop signs that were placed at intersections across piedmont. He was strongly against the stop signs saying that there wasn’t much discussion of the stop signs being placed and when he returned from vacation they were all of a sudden everywhere. The speaker that came after him was Mary Prisco who opposed his argument and said that the stop signs were helpful and the City Council made a good decision to put them in. After her was Reid Settlemier who supported Mr.Elvekrog by also saying that he feels that there wasn’t enough data or research that went into this project. He also brought up that the vehicle emissions are much higher having to completely stop a car and then accelerate back to the speed limit at all of these new stop signs.

    Sitting in the meeting listening to these speakers I was leaning more towards the side of Mr.Elvekrog and Mr.Settlemier that the placement of all these stop signs was a little unnecessary. Having to stop at stop sign after stop sign is a bit of a hassle and takes a toll on your cars brakes. Although I do not disagree that it makes the community safer, especially from speeding cars at intersections that your vision can sometimes be obstructed by parked cars or other objects along the road. After they made their statements, they didn’t stay for very long and about 5 or 6 people made their way out of the meeting room.

    After the people concerned about the stop signs made their way out of the Council Chamber, next on the agenda was the presentation of proclamation to Matthew Anderson presented by Mayor Jeff Weiler. Matthew was being congratulated on his hard work and the Mayor gave a speech all about it. People then came up to the podium to speak and congratulated Mr. Anderson for all his hard work and his dedication to the City of Piedmont. The mayor then announced that September 19th was officially Matthew Anderson Day and everyone applauded. More people then began to exit the Chambers and the next matter of business on the agenda began.

    Next on the agenda, representatives from the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District (ACMAD) gave a presentation on the matter of mosquitos in the community. The presentation began with a general overview of what they do and then got into the problems such as diseases that mosquitoes carry like the zika virus and West Nile virus and solutions to get rid of them like mosquito fish which eat the larvae to mineral oil that kills the mosquitoes and the larvae. They made it clear that the mosquitoes in our community don’t pose a huge threat since none are reported to carry any harmful diseases. Council member Teddy King voiced her opinion on the matter asking questions and thanking them for their hard work.

    After this discussion was over the next thing discussed was a progress report on the construction going on throughout piedmont. They said that the guidelines and environmental impact of the construction would be discussed later on in the year.

     The second to last matter of business was the matter of zone-D. This zone includes the Grand Avenue and Wildwood Avenue area. What was most talked about were the changes that would occur to the Shell station. Jen Cavenaugh, who is a resident who lives in this area and is also running for City Council in the next election, said that she was very open minded about the matter but wanted to keep the residential feeling of the area there. She gave some suggestions on what should be in place of the Shell station which included a small restaurant or cafe.

     Last on the agenda was the discussion of the renovation of the Piedmont Recreation Department and Veterans Hall. These renovations included renovations to the roof and also better budget and planning. They then took a vote and these plans were approved.

    At the end of the meeting, a couple of classmates and I interviewed Jen Cavenaugh. She said she was there because she wanted to discuss some of the topics on the agenda because they related to her, such as the matter of the Shell station which she spoke on during the meeting. She is running for City Council in the next election and is going to continue coming to meetings and working with the neighbors in the community to make the community a safer and a better place. One thing she said that I thought was interesting was “not everyone is going to be happy with the decisions made but everyone would love to get involved and have their input and voice heard.” – Jen Cavenaugh

Chris Floyd, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions are those of the author.

One Response to “Council: Stop Signs, Grand Avenue Shell Station, Mosquitoes, Cavenaugh Praises Public Input”

  1. I appreciate the fresh and honest review of the City Council meeting. Please keep them coming!

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