Jul 26 2020

Due to Lack of Compliance with County Health Orders

The City of Piedmont will close Linda Beach Playfield at 4:00PM on Friday, July 24th until
further notice, due to lack of compliance with the Alameda County Public Health Department’s
Shelter in Place orders. Despite repeated warnings from city staff, users of this facility have
continued to play group sports in violation of COVID-19 health orders. We regret having to take this action, but the actions of field users have necessitated it. The City will examine when the best time to reopen the field is and announce it at a later date. We understand the inconvenience this will cause to residents, but the continued lack of compliance poses a public health risk and must be addressed.

The City strongly advises residents to comply with the Health Officer’s Shelter in Place orders as well as the Health Officer’s face covering order. The City is considering additional enforcement measures regarding compliance with these vital orders.

Press Release July 24, 2020       Contact:  City Clerk John Tulloch at 510/547-5886
Jul 26 2020
The League of Women Voters of Piedmont will host an event on food insecurity in the East Bay featuring an enlightened discussion with Suzan Bateson, Executive Director of the Alameda County Community Food Bank (ACCFB) in conjunction with a League fundraiser for the Food Bank. This free event will be live-streamed on the LWVP YouTube channel from 4:00-5:00 pm on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.
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With the added health and economic strains of the Covid-19 pandemic, viewers will learn about Alameda County’s significant food insecurity issues and how to help achieve a hunger-free community.
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Ms. Bateson, who has served as Executive Director of the ACCFB since 2001, will discuss the Food Bank’s dynamic programs, which include fresh food distribution to the community as well as work toward eliminating the causes of hunger in the East Bay.

During Ms. Bateson’s tenure, the Food Bank has tripled its annual food distribution to 32.5 million pounds. The organization’s success has been recognized numerous times and was awarded Feeding America’s national food bank of the year award in 2016. Notably, under Ms. Bateson’s leadership and bold approach, the ACCFB has ended the distribution of carbonated beverages while increasing its farm fresh produce from 1 million to 20 million pounds annually.

Suzan Bateson was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017 and is currently chair of Feeding America’s Western Region. She attended the California College of the Arts and was a participant in the Executive Program for Non-profit Leaders at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

This LWVP event will be live-streamed on the LWVP YouTube channel from 4:00-5:00 pm on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. Viewers may submit questions through the YouTube livestream comments, or email to  lwvpiedmont@gmail.com. The program will conclude with an invitation and instructions on how to join Team LWVP by donating to the Food Bank. For more information, visit www.lwvpiedmont.org.

Jul 21 2020

What is a Safe Social Distance?  Where did the 6 foot Rule Originate?

A Journal of the American Medical Association article by a particle fluid dynamicist at the Massachusetts Institutes of Technology suggests unmasked people might do well to stay more than 27 feet apart (8.2 meters) to avoid infecting one another.  It finds “wearing of appropriate personal protection equipment is vitally important for health care workers caring for patients who may be infected, even if they are farther than 6 feet away from a patient.”  See American Medical Association article here.

The World Health Organization recommends three-feet is wide enough social distancing based on the 1930s practice in treating tuberculosis.  But in 2003 it was found that SARS infections were communicated between people six feet apart—not three.  See December 2003 New England Journal of Medicine article here.

All of these distance reports focused on droplets, which fall.  However, the much smaller aerosols linger and move through the air as they are evaporating.

The Alameda County Public Health Officer ordered face coverings be worn at all times in public, if you are or are likely to be within 30 feet of another person outside of your household:

A person does not need to wear a Face Covering when outdoors alone or with a member of their Social Bubble and they have a Face Covering visible and immediately ready to cover the nose and mouth (such as hanging around their neck) and nobody else (other member of their own Social Bubble) is outdoors within 30 feet (10 yards) of them. It is recommended that people from the same household or living unit wear a Face Covering when outside, even if others are not nearby, any time others may appear without much notice.

Read the Alameda County Public Health Officer order on face coverings here.

On June 18, 2020  California’s Governor Newsom declared Californians must wear face masks in public under State coronavirus order.  A few days later the Governor threatened to withhold $2.5 billion in the upcoming budget from local governments if they don’t enforce the state’s orders on wearing masks, testing and other measures in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Jul 21 2020

City of Piedmont Joins a Coalition to Oppose FCC Wireless Communications Facilities Rule

At its meeting on July 20, 2020, the Piedmont City Council joined a coalition to oppose new Federal Communications Commission rules regarding wireless communications facilities. The new rule, approved by the FCC on June 9, 2020 significantly reduces the already limited decision making power held by local governments to minimize the impact of wireless communication facilities on their communities.

“We believe there are ways for wireless communication devices to be deployed in an aesthetically appropriate manner. Unfortunately, the FCC seems intent on making that much more difficult, if not impossible,” said Kevin Jackson, Director of Planning and Building. “So unless there is a court-ordered injunction, the new FCC rules will further reduce Piedmont’s ability to control the installation of wireless communication facilities.”

Section 6409 of the Spectrum Act requires a city like Piedmont to approve an “eligible facilities request” for a modification of an existing wireless tower or base station that does not “substantially change” the physical dimensions of such tower or base station.

The FCC has changed the definition of “substantial change,” as well as other important changes. Changes in the new Eligible Facilities order include, but are not limited to:

  •  The 60-day shot clock is now triggered when the applicant takes the first procedural steps, giving the city less time to review for the compliance with the City’s codes.
  • The definition of concealment has been narrowed so that concealment is only “stealth” design, e.g. look like something other than a wireless tower or base station. Now under the new FCC order, concealment of a facility at a specific location would not include screening by a rooftop or placement behind a tree line or fence.
  • In addition, the FCC order specifies that aesthetic requirements originally imposed as conditions of approval, such as vegetation cover, fencing, screening, and similar requirements will not be grounds to deny an expressly allowed height or size increase.
  • The order allows the installation of additional antenna up to 20 feet, plus there is no cap to the height of new antenna, for towers outside the public right-of-way.
  • On an existing structure such as a utility pole, the FCC made modifications to the number of equipment cabinets that can be installed per an eligible facilities request.

For more information, please contact Director of Planning and Building Kevin Jackson at kjackson@piedmont.ca.gov.

Jul 15 2020

The Piedmont Unified School District, along with other California School Districts, has been unsure how to safely and effectively open Piedmont schools.

At a Special Meeting on July 16, 2020, 5 p.m., the Piedmont School Board will discuss and consider Distance Learning programs for Piedmont schools with instruction beginning August 17.  For full Agenda details, time, staff reports and participation instructions for the meeting, click below:

https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=79474&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

The School Calendar for 2020-21  –

Revised-2020-21-Instructional-Calendar-Board-Approved-071320.pdf

The following letter was sent from Superintendent Randall Booker to PUSD Educators and Families,

I’m writing to provide you all with updates related to our planning for a return to teaching and learning in the 20-21 school year.

During the July 13th Board of Education Meeting, the PUSD Board of Education directed me to bring forward a plan to begin the school year in a 100% Distance Learning Model.  I agree with this directive and appreciate the Board’s flexibility and willingness to recognize how COVID-19 is affecting the start of school for countless districts across Piedmont, Alameda County, the bay area, and the state.

I also agree with the Board of Education that we must continue to develop plans to bring students and staff back to our campuses, as we had previously discussed, as soon as it is possible and within acceptable parameters of safety.

The safety of our students and staff continue to be our top priority. 

Over the past several days, we have witnessed the infection rate spike across Alameda County, the bay area, and the state.  We simply do not live in a bubble and must consider how the virus is impacting not just Piedmont, but our surrounding communities as well.  In order to bring students and staff back onto our campuses, we were hoping to witness a decrease in the infection rate and hospitalizations.  We were also hoping to see an increase in the access and availability of testing.  Neither of these important criteria are materializing.  In fact, we are witnessing these trend lines headed in the opposite direction.

We are not alone in this thinking.  Many school districts, within and outside of Alameda County, are making the decision to move to a 100% Distance Learning Model to start the school year for similar reasons.  If we hope to transition to an on-site blended learning model, it is imperative to ensure that our students and staff remain safe during a period of increased transmission.

The Board of Education will consider a proposal to begin the 2020-21 school year in a 100% Distance Learning model at the July 16th Special Board of Education Meeting (5:00pm).  All stakeholders are welcome to provide public input prior to Board action.

If approved, administration, educators, and staff will direct our efforts entirely on developing a Distance Learning model that is focused, targeted, and productive for all of our students.  While the spring saw us shift into a crisis mode of distance learning, the fall will be met with much more structure that addresses the six following themes:

  1. An emphasis on a set and consistent daily bell schedule and number of synchronous (live) minutes for direct teaching and learning.

  2. Social/Emotional learning and support systems

  3. Consistent and required benchmark assessments and grading

  4. Structured professional development, training, and collaboration for all of our educators and staff throughout the school year.

  5. Uniform learning platforms and instructional technology

  6. Daily attendance tracking

This summer is challenging as we continue planning with our educators in an environment that constantly shifts.  We have spent a tremendous amount of human capital on the development and implementation of multiple plans based on multiple scenarios.  We have adjusted the 20-21 instructional calendar.  We have negotiated topics including instructional minutes, bell schedules, student cohorting practices, master scheduling, on-campus safety requirements, and employee leave of absence rights.  We have also planned for and reacted to drastic changes to our budget.  In short, all of these challenges have diluted our effectiveness and efficiency.

With a Board decision, the next five weeks, leading up to the start of school, will focus solely on the development and delivery of a Distance Learning Model to ensure a focused, targeted, and productive environment for all.  I recognize that any form of Distance Learning cannot adequately compare to in-person instruction, but I’m looking ahead, doing what is necessary to keep students and staff safe in the immediate, and hoping that under the right environment, we can return to in-person instruction with a full complement of learners and educators.  I fear that a rush to an immediate environment of in-person learning will only lead to an increased infection rate among our students and staff and return us right away to distance learning.

The Board will need to consider the appropriate parameters and benchmarks needed to return to in-person teaching and learning.  We are partnering with the Alameda County Office of Education, Alameda County Public Health Department, and surrounding districts to develop some semblance of uniformity around these benchmarks.  My goal is to provide the Board, our educators, and the community with recommended safety benchmarks prior to August 17th.

I deeply recognize how challenging these decisions are for our educators, staff, families, and students.  There is no single popular decision.  The Board of Education and I are making informed decisions based on the current landscape and what we feel is best for the safety and health of our students and staff.  As we have said since March, COVID-19 is largely in control and will require our planning to be unprecedented in its flexibility.  With that said, there is still so much we can all do to expedite an in-person learning environment:

  1. Masks are a must in all environments outside of the home.

  2. Social Distancing is real and desperately needed.

  3. Establish limited family cohorts and bubble groups.

  4. Delay any unnecessary travel.

  5. Wash your hands/use hand sanitizer fastidiously.

Please be on the look-out for active communications from school sites in the next week or two with updated instructions and developments.  Thank you for doing your part to keep our entire Piedmont community healthy.

Randall Booker

Superintendent

Jul 13 2020

Today, I pulled papers to file as a candidate for Piedmont City Council. I am running because I want to be part of the decision-making that makes Piedmont a truly special place to live.  We are a multi-generational community of neighbors.  We look out for each other. We feel responsible for each other. With every school parcel tax passed, we declare that the welfare of our children is the priority of our entire community.  And just as important, we respect and honor those who came before us, those who grounded us with community traditions and pride, those who planned and prepared and were stewards for next generations. 

I want to be part of the leadership that encourages large conversations where all stakeholders thoughtfully plan and manage limited resources for the benefit of Piedmont now and into the future. I want to support technology that makes city services more accessible. I want to support climate leadership that values technological innovation as well as encouraging individual responsibility. I want safe streets. I want to support a highly trained and visible police department. I want to support a highly trained and visible fire department. I will respect the economic investment and personal sacrifices people make to live in Piedmont when determining how funding is spent. I want Piedmont to be the place where our children want to raise their own families and where newcomers know they are welcomed and wanted.

Conna McCarthy

July 13, 2020

Jul 11 2020

Some Patients with Mild Respiratory Effects from Covid-19 had Neurological After Effects –

The July 8, 2020, issue of the UK journal Brain called attention to potentially fatal brain disorders in recovering Covid-19 patients. The patients aged as young as 16 had brain inflammation, delirium, nerve damage, and strokes.  Many patients in the UK study had no respiratory symptoms usually associated with Covid- -19, rather they suffered from neurological disorders and neuropsychiatric illness.

Piedmonters are reminded to wear a face covering !

Jul 9 2020

Piedmont added one confirmed Covid-19 case on July 8 to reach a total of 15 reported cases.  And on Thursday, July 9, another positive test result was reported bringing the total to 16.  Presumably, testing of Piedmonters is increasing, but we do not have the number of tests, so our positivity rate cannot be guessed.

For weeks the initial 12 positive test report remained unchanged until a week ago.

Follow daily positive test tracking here.

Jul 4 2020

From late May through July 2, 2020 Piedmont’s Confirmed Positive Covid 19 Test Results remained at a total of 13.  On July 3 an additional reported case brought the total to 14.  Some joggers, bikers, skateboarders, dog walkers, and others are still out and about in Piedmont without face coverings despite the Governor’s threat to withhold State funds from Cities that do not enforce masks/face coverings.

Our neighbor Oakland’s total has continued to grow, reaching  2,587 Confirmed Positive Covid 19 Test Results as of July 3.

The Coronavirus Tracker of the Bay Area reports daily the latest Positive tests.  Follow the numbers daily here.

Jul 4 2020

PCA will attempt to keep voters informed as election season gets underway for the November 3, 2020 Election. 

It is known that some candidates are beginning their campaigns via the internet.  With social distancing remaining in place, this election will prove to be unique with no knocking on doors, block coffees, or hand shaking. 

Piedmont has never lacked for resident voters to step forward and seek election to the volunteer positions.  There are many details to running for public office requiring strict adherence to requirements. Candidates are advised to promptly contact the Piedmont City Clerk for details.

Piedmont voters who are interested in seeking election or reelection are getting busy for the election filing period beginning in July 13 and ending August 7.  

 Nomination Filing Period = July 13 – August 7, 2020

Suggested Deadline for Direct Arguments on Measures August 14, 2020

Suggested Deadline for Rebuttal Arguments on Measures August 21, 2020

Dates should be confirmed with City Clerk Tulloch at 510/420-3040.

Two seats on the City Council are up at the November 3 election.  Council member Jen Cavenaugh can seek another 4 year term.  Mayor Bob McBain having served 2 four year terms cannot seek re-election. Two seats will be filled at the election.

Two School Board members, Andrea Swenson and Sarah Pearson, will  have served 2 four year terms and cannot seek re-election.  The third School Board member, Cory Smegal, is eligible to be re-elected to another 4 year term.  Three seats on the Piedmont School Board will be filled at the election.

The City Council on July 6 will approve the protocols for Piedmont’s City Council and School Board Elections on the November General Election ballot.

Staff report: Approval of a Resolution Setting Procedural Details for the General Municipal Election of November 3, 2020

SECTION 7. There shall be no filing fee for candidates for office in the General Municipal Election.

SECTION 8. The candidates’ statements shall be limited to a maximum of 200 words.

SECTION 10. The nominations for the General Municipal Election shall open on July 13, 2020 and close no later than 5:00 pm on August 7, 2020, unless extended pursuant to Elections Code Section 10225.

ANSWER to the question of who is running?  It is not known for candidates have not publicly announced their candidacy.

Contact  City Clerk John O. Tulloch at 510/420-3040. 

Window looking out from inside the Piedmont City Hall Council Chambe

 

 Resolution Setting Procedural Details for the General Municipal Election of November 3, 2020