Oct 25 2018

Increased Crime on Trestle Glen Road, Pool Plans, Excessive Proposal, Bond Funding

On October 15, 2018, I attended the Piedmont City Council’s bi monthly meeting. The meeting started with concerned citizens voicing their opinions on recent crime occurring on Trestle Glen Road and then focused on the Piedmont Recreation Department’s (PRD) plan for renovations on the Piedmont Community Pool.

A number of Piedmont residents who live on or near Trestle Glen spoke about a large increase in crime in the area. They cited a number of stolen license plates, armed robberies, and speeding cars that have led to the residents feeling unsafe. One resident, Reed Jiang, spoke about his experience a few months ago. He said he was outside his house playing with his three year old son when a car pulled up to them. A man exited the car and pulled a gun on Mr. Jiang, demanding everything he had or else he would hurt Mr. Jiang’s son. Mr. Jiang gave the man his wallet, with the gun still pointed at him and his son.

This was just one story of a number that were brought in front of the councilmembers calling for increased police involvement in the neighborhood. They mentioned a lack of police accountability in the area, and stated that they did not feel like they were treated as Piedmont citizens.

The next topic was a plan to increase and replace existing license plate scanners on the borders of Piedmont. Police Chief Jeremy Bowers explained plans to install better sensors and clarified to the councilmembers the criteria that the Piedmont Police Department uses when looking at the data recorded by the License Plate Readers. I voiced my opinion on this issue, asking about how these license plate readers could be used to help prevent other types of crimes to protect citizens like the ones on Trestle Glen. I also mentioned that License Plate Readers had helped police officers find and return my family’s car that was stolen a few years ago.

After this, the conversation shifted to the main topic of the meeting: the pool renovation plans. Recreation Department Director Sara Lillevand introduced the plan and proposed a bond measure to fund the project, citing the push from the community and the long overdue fixes the pool needs.

Next, Rich Young, who was commissioned by Piedmont Recreation Department  (PRD) to inspect the pool in order to give them a detailed report on all the necessary renovations,  highlighted that many of the features of the pool and surrounding areas did not meet city, state, or federal codes and that the pool would likely not last more than a few more years in its current condition. He stated that the total cost for all the renovations and steps to bring the pool up to code would be around $244,000.

Following his presentation, more citizens spoke out on the issue, all of whom were in support of the renovations. Each person had their own story of how the pool positively impacted their lives, but at the center of each of their arguments, was that the pool had great community value. They said the pool is a place that brings people together, and that the city government should do everything possible to maintain it.

Following the meeting, I interviewed Piedmont resident Vince Saunders, who attended to support the proposed pool improvements. He has two sons who play on both the water polo and swimming teams for Piedmont High School (PHS), and hopes the community can realize the positive impact the pool has on the City of Piedmont. He said the next step is to continue to raise awareness that the pool is an important issue and gain support for the proposed bond measure.

There was only one citizen who disagreed with the proposed plan.  Gary Fanger, a former contractor who designed over 100 swimming pools, said he believed that Mr. Young’s proposed plan was excessive and many of his estimates and suggestions were not needed. He also made a suggestion that along with some renovations to the current medium and large pools, the wading pool and parking lot to the south of the main area could be replaced with a full eight lane pool. He said this would be less disruptive and destructive to the community and surrounding area.

by Owen Levinson, Piedmont High School Senior

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