Dec 20 2016

City Council: Pig’s Head, Denies Fee Waiver, Ended Parking Restriction on 700 block of Highland, Approved Aggregation Program, Approved Compensation for Computer Courage and Client First Technology Consulting

   I went to the City Council meeting on Monday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Piedmont’s City Hall.  The City Council meets every first and third Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m.  The members of the Council and various citizens meet to discuss and solve prominent issues within the community.

    Throughout the course of this meeting six major issues were discussed, the first of which was a report by the Chief of Police regarding recent crimes in the neighborhood.  The Chief of Police highlight a recent series of break-ins, robberies, a pig’s head being left at the doorstep of a resident, and remarks about deportations written in chalk on Linda Avenue. In response to the series of break-ins and robberies the Chief of Police assured the citizens that they review their patrolling patterns and devise a cohesive plan.  After a short investigation, the police discovered that the pig’s head was meant for another former resident as a joke.  The police have no further leads on the remarks written on Linda Avenue, though this leaves troubling thoughts in my mind as a resident of Piedmont living on Linda Avenue.  It deeply troubles me that someone living in what I viewed as an inclusive environment could justify in any way using language regarding deportation.  Even more troubling is its proximity to Beach Elementary School where the language used could show younger children that what was said was socially acceptable.

    The second issue discussed was the consideration of a fee waiver request for the residence of 42 Craig Avenue.  The residents received a design review which lasted for twelve months, after which it would become void.  After twelve months and the review becoming void the claim was submitted by the residents in addition to a request for the payment required for the submission to be waived.  The City Council ruled that the second fee would not be waived as the work done to clear the waiver needed to be paid for even though the work had already been done in the past.

    The next issue discussed was the elimination of the parking restriction of the 700 block of Highland Avenue from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.  This restriction was initially put into place in 1971 due to complaints of young people convening there and creating noise.  Removal of this restriction would in turn create sixteen parking spots.  The daughter of a current resident spoke out against the removal of this restriction stating that in the short term its removal could increase noise and crime, while in the long term home value could drop.  The City Council ruled to accept the motion, removing the parking restriction from the 700 block of Highland Avenue.

    The fourth topic discussed during the meeting was whether to refute or remain impartial on the subject of Alameda County Waste Management’s new 2016 ordinance that would ban the use of plastic bags in Piedmont stores and restaurants.  Choosing no action would only impact McMullins and Ace Hardware, forcing them to remove plastic bags and charge ten cents for paper bags in an attempt to push for reusable bags.  Piedmont High student Keith Sibal spoke in favor of choosing no action, drawing on his knowledge of the dangers of plastic bags pooling into the environment stating that the small cost of their removal will be outweighed by the protection afforded the environment.  The City Council ruled in favor of no action.

    The subsequent topic was authorizing the implementation of a community choice aggregation program.  The City Council approved the aggregation program, stating that it would give the people of Piedmont more choices and freedom to choose.

   The final topic covered during the City Council meeting was considering the agreements with Computer Courage for IT support services and Client First Technology Consulting for IT management services.  This was primarily to discuss the proper compensation for the work the two companies have done and will do in the future.  The City Council approved a budgeted compensation for the two companies.

   With the scheduled topics coming to a close and the City Council meeting being adjourned I had the opportunity to interview Jen Cavanaugh.  Ms. Cavanaugh stated that her presence was due to a letter she helped write from the School Board revolving around inclusion in schools that the City Council read.  She then explained that her next step is to meet with the School Board in an attempt to get real change going, stating, “There’s talk and then there’s action”.

Jacob Watson, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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