May 2 2021

See opinions on this proposal.

Agenda –

Comments may be sent to the City Council at

Apr 27 2021

Police & Fire Pension Board & City Investment Subcommittee 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021 4:00 p.m.

Click links below to participate, read reports and view the meeting –

Pension Board Agenda 2021-04-28

PARS PRSP Review 42021

Apr 20 2021

On Monday 19, 2021, for over two hours the City Council heard from the City staff, legal counsel, and the public, including Art Center Board members. 

Inclusion, diversity, continued use as an arts venue, city scheduling and management of the building were repeatedly emphasized.  Additionally, community involvement, prioritization of usage, end to subletting, risk assessments, city costs, staffing, and  utilization of the space were among the many topics discussed.

More information was also requested  by the Council to support their decision making.  Established hours of usage by the Art Center were requested.  Information available indicated only 20% of the programmable space was being utilized.

Art shows, chess, various music formats, book reviews, discussion groups, meeting spaces and classes were some of the many potential uses mentioned.

In the end, the Council did not reach a clear consensus on direction for the use of 801 Magnolia.  The matter was  returned to the City Administrator and City Attorney  to synthesize the ideas discussed and return to the City Council with alternative plans for the public facility.  City Administrator, Sara Lillevand stated she wanted the matter to expeditiously return to the City Council, for many potential facility users wanted to be scheduled.

Input can be provided to the City Council and the City Administrator at:

Apr 18 2021

 Council Agenda for virtual meeting on April 19, 2021 – 6 pm



4192021 council-agenda

Apr 17 2021

How does the City Council plan to oversee the use of the City owned property at 801 Magnolia Avenue?

While seniors decry the lack of senior programing and voice a need for a Senior Center in Piedmont, private business use has taken priority over public use limiting public use.

Approval of a new lease with the Art Center Board indicates various Council policies are needed:

  • Policy decision authority retained by the Council, the ultimate landlord
  • Guaranteed inclusion rather than exclusion of legitimate non-profit uses of the facility 
  • Council oversight of compliance by all users with local, state, and federal laws including: municipal, state, federal taxes, 501c3 non-profit status, workers compensation, ADA compliance, anti-discrimination, incorporation documentation, valid business licenses and  prohibition of political activities on the premises
  • Accounting of space utilization and ongoing consideration of lost City revenue
  • Evaluation and accountability of liability, risks, and costs to the City by each user and provision of appropriate insurance coverages
  • Semi-annual reports to Council on diversity of users, uses, financial statements, compliance with City policies, and City obligations
  • Staff Annual reports to Council on building structural integrity, safety measures, maintenance, ADA compliance, and interior and exterior upkeep expenditures
  • Required Council approval for all commercial subleases extending over two weeks
  • Council adoption of written conditions required for all sublets 
  • Prohibition of Art Center Board members and advisors to sublet the property for more than two weeks per year
  • Prompt staff reports to Council concerning issues arising from the lease or sublets 
  • Public access to financial records, board meetings, and minutes of Art Center Board
  • Adoption of comprehensive Council policies governing the use and rental of all Piedmont public properties

Piedmonters, owners of 801 Magnolia Avenue, have been awaiting invitations to observe Board meetings and receive regular financial reports from their tenant.  The Piedmont Center for the Arts Board is composed of well-meaning, generous, local residents of Piedmont and Oakland who may have overlooked their obligation to keep Piedmont citizens informed in a transparent manner of the use of this important public asset.

Apr 15 2021

Should the facilities at 801 Magnolia continue to be for the arts commingled with a commercial business?

“City staff has negotiated the lease renewal behind closed doors and there seems to be a majority on Council that couldn’t be bothered with public input on matters other than the lease.  That’s too bad because over the years residents have proposed creative ideas for 801 and were Council to engage in an open conversation with its constituents it would lead to better use of the building.”   Garrett Keating, Former City Council Member submitted to this website.

At its regular meeting on Monday April 19th, the City Council will consider the proposed revised lease renewal for the Piedmont Center for the Arts.  Should this City building be dedicated to community use? The proposal continues to avoid the issue of whether the building should be subleased by the Art Center Board to a private business.    

The City did not seek open public participation on the use and lease of 801 Magnolia.  As noted by concerned citizens, the proposal was fashioned behind closed doors, continuing the practice of exclusion and special favors.

It is unknown if any Council members were involved in voicing their opinions privately to the staff in a “hub and spoke” process forbidden under California’s open meeting laws, the Brown Act.

No written policy on non-arts uses of the public building.

Did the City Council willingly relinquish its responsibility in order to permit undefined Non-Arts Related Rentals?

“Non-Arts Related Rentals (15.1) The amended Lease requires PCA [Piedmont Center for the Arts] to seek the City’s prior written consent in the event it wishes to allow activities to occur at the Leased Premises other than Approved Uses (e.g., non-arts related activities), where PCA would charge user fees for the activities. The previous version of the Lease deemed any preexisting arrangement for user fees as approved, but PCA has now agreed to let go of its long-standing weekly Wednesday rental to a non-arts related user and has designated that time as part of the upfront City allotment.”

Piedmont has been seeking greater equity and inclusion in public decisions and public property use.  The public has a right to participate in decisions about the use of public property.  This proposal excluded open public input.

The proposal does not resolve the public use issue – public over commercial use and Council involvement in subleases.

There appears to be a community desire for musical, dramatic, and artist programs to continue under the leadership of the Piedmont Center for the Arts.  Yet, turning the building into partial commercial use under a stub-lease to the exclusion of public use has been highly criticized.

No publicly agendized meetings, hearings, community outreach or known research has occurred since the preemptive move in November 2020 to approve the now discarded problematic lease renewal with the Piedmont Center for the Arts group.

Many in the community have waited months for City input solicitation, but none came.   Meanwhile, the “City” devised and negotiated terms of a new lease without open public input.

History appears to be repeating a faulty, exclusionary process:

The City Council, if it accepts the process, will be repeating the prior practice of excluding the public and allowing pre-authorization of commercial use of the public building without public hearings or a Council adopted specific policy on non-art commercial use of the building and grounds.

On November 16, 2020, a rushed, surprise lease renewal proposal was promptly approved at a first reading in a  3-2 split vote by the then members of the City Council.  Council members Rood and Cavenaugh voted “No” wanting more information, inclusion, and input prior to approving the free rental proposal and unclear policies.  The new Council will  determine the equity and  appropriateness of the lease and sublease requirements .

Uses other than music, drama, and art programs have not been publicly discussed or considered.  For example, Piedmont seniors who bear the burden of taxes for Piedmont, have sought a facility for seniors programs.  801 Magnolia has sufficient unused space to allow the Art Center group to coexist with seniors programs.  Yet, the proposed lease does not provide for this expanded use.

The current non-art commercial business sublease of the property was privately granted outside of Council view and unknown to all Councilmembers.  The then City Administrator collaborated privately with the commercial business and the Art Center Board to sublet space under the free Art Center lease at 801 Magnolia.

Public uses and priorities have been excluded from use considerations as the City allows continuation of prior commercial practices.

Members of the  City Council when previously asked to consider and approve a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) under the free Art Center lease for a commercial use were never informed by the City Administrator (“the City”), acting as the landlord, had already approved and signed off on the commercial sublease without public consideration or Council approval.

Outreach to the community was minimal and some neighbors were not aware of the closed door arrangement for a commercial business sublet.  Public use was preempted.  A newspaper notification was absent.

Some City Council members not realizing the commercial use and sublease had already been granted by the City Administrator were told the City Council could only consider matters such as parking and hours of operation, not the sublets commercial use or sublease.  The Council was never provided a copy of the sublease and had no opportunity by policy to examine the terms and appropriateness.

The Art Center management drew concerns from the community by providing the commercial business owner, an Art Center Committee Advisor, a below market rate commercial sublease, while excluding various public users and consuming space for business purposes. The Piedmont Recreation Department regularly referred potential public/community users of the facility to the commercial business owner, who  determined if they could use the facility.

The City staff proposed agreement once more bestows upon the staff (“the City”) rather than the Council, unilateral decision authority on a policy matter – what is good or bad for Piedmont  – with no policy direction from the Council or public input.

Read the staff report and lease language by clicking below:

Final Proposed Art-Center-2021-2nd-Reading-of-Ordinance-758-N.S-–-Approving-an-Amended-and-Restated-Agreement-with-the-Piedmont-Center-for-the-Arts-at-801-Magnolia-Avenue

Certain individuals were excluded, while others were allowed to provide input to the staff on the proposal.  There was no investigation of community-wide priorities or a use policy draft.  The rushed attempt in November 2020 to renew the faulty lease was publicly abandoned for 6 months without explanation.

The Piedmont City Council will – Consider Renewal of the Piedmont Center for the Arts Lease on Monday, April 19th.   Major changes to the lease are noted by the staff as:  • Addition of Rent Payment • Additional Time Designated for City Programming • Improved Early Termination Clause • Addition of an Emergency or Unforeseen Circumstance Clause • Prior Written Consent [by “the City”] for Non-Arts Related Rentals.

Provide input to the City Council at

AGENDA >  Meeting  Participation and Schedule for Monday, April 19, 2021  

Consideration of the lease has been placed last on the agenda.

Art Center 2021-04-09 Council to Consider Piedmont Center for the Arts Lease Renewal on April 19th

Mar 31 2021

The 801 Magnolia Avenue building would be the perfect place for a Senior Center.

I am amazed that there is no Senior Center in Piedmont and the 801 Magnolia building would be the perfect place to have such a center.  We who live here and have helped build this community have nowhere to go in Piedmont. 

There is a Senior meeting held once a month (during non-Covid times) that does not engage the community very well. 

Seniors need to be able to get together in their own communities for arts, crafts, exercise, classes, excursions and social engaging. Those of us who still live here need to go outside the community for such endeavors, now and as Covid is still strongly present, I have realized the lack of such in our community.

Carol Warren, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Mar 30 2021

The City Council talked to candidates for hours on March 29, 2021, before diligently considering who to appoint to each available position.  The public meeting allowed viewers via Zoom to see the Council struggle amongst the talented group of applicants.  Residents should be pleased by the conscientious selection process. The meeting lasted for four hours, and in the end with one motion a slate was approved unanimously by the Council.  Service on the bodies is for 3 year terms as volunteers.

Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee: Robert McBain and Vanessa L. Washington

Civil Service Commission: Laura Isaacs and Michael Reese*

Park Commission:  Amber Brumfiel* and Patty Dunlap*

Public Safety Committee:  Stella Ngai and Jeffrey Horner*

Recreation Commission:  Rebecca Posamentier and Lisa Gardner

CIP Review Committee: Sharon Shoshani

Police & Fire Pension Board & City Investment Subcommittee: Robert Dickinson

* Incumbent

Mar 28 2021

Open Meeting: Monday, 6 pm March 29, 2021 

Interview Schedule 2021-03-29  <

  AGENDA >  City Council Agenda 2021-03-29 (Special)                * Incumbent

Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee (2 Vacancies)

6:15 p.m. Vanessa L. Washington

6:20 p.m. Jill Tanner (Also applied for Public Safety)

6:25 p.m. Robert Dickinson (Also applied for Housing Advisory, Planning)

Robert McBain (Also applied for Police & Fire Pension Board)

Michael Reese* (Also applied for Civil Service, Public Safety)

BAFP 2021_Redacted    Applications

Civil Service Commission (2 Vacancies)

6:30 p.m. Amy Kelly

6:35 p.m. Laura Isaacs

Michael Reese* (Also applied for Budget Advisory, Public Safety)

Civil Service 2021_Redacted   Applications

Park Commission (2 Vacancies)

6:40 p.m. Sharon Shoshani

6:45 p.m. Jenny Feinberg (Also applied for Recreation)

Amber Brumfiel*

Patty Dunlap*

Park 2021_Redacted Applications

6:50 p.m. BREAK

Public Safety Committee (2 Vacancies)

7:00 p.m. Jamie Totsubo

7:05 p.m. Michael Reese (Also applied for Budget Advisory, Civil Service)

7:10 p.m. Stella Ngai

7:15 p.m. Sara Kaplan

Jeffrey Horner*

Jill Tanner (Also applied for Budget Advisory)

Public Safety 2021_Redacted Applications

Recreation Commission (2 Vacancies)

7:20 p.m. Brooke Wall

7:25 p.m. Rebecca Posamentier

7:30 p.m. Mike McConathy

7:35 p.m. Lisa Gardner

7:40 p.m. Caroline Davis

7:45 p.m. Derek Cheung

Jenny Feinberg (Also applied for Park)

Recreation 2021_Redacted  Applications

CIP Review Committee (1 Vacancy) No Applicants

Police & Fire Pension Board & City Investment Subcommittee (1 Vacancy)

Robert McBain (Also applied for Budget Advisory)

Police & Fire Pension 2021_Redacted   Application

Interview Schedule 2021-03-29  <



Mar 21 2021

Piedmonters will get a rare at home view of the all important Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee considerations.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 3:00 p.m.  by Teleconference and Zoom

Taxes, tax measures, the budget and large expenditures are funneled through the Committee.  Historically minutes and video recording have NOT been made of the Committee’s meetings.  Typically, a report has been drafted by the Chair and reviewed by the Committee after a number of meetings.  

The March 23rd agenda includes the Municipal Pool, PERS pension project costs, and the annual budget actuals.

Stay up to date:

  • Call to Order Public Forum This is an opportunity for members of the audience to speak on an item not on the agenda. The 10 minute period will be divided evenly between those wishing to address the Committee.

Regular Agenda

  • 1. Update on FY 20-21 General Fund Revenue and Expenditures: Projected Actual vs Budget

  • 2. Presentation of Ten Year Projections of CalPERS Pension Costs

  • 3. Update on Piedmont Community Pool Project and Bond Oversight Committee

Read Agenda and Participation >2021-03-23 Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee

 To maximize public safety while still maintaining transparency and public access, members of the public can participate in the meeting in several ways:  Computer or smart phone: Click  Telephone: Dial (669) 900-9128 and enter webinar/meeting number 892-5123-1925 To participate in the meeting by providing public comment, members of the public may use the ZOOM platform to make live, verbal public comments. To speak to the Committee click the “Raise Your Hand” button when the item on which you would like to comment is called. If you are connected to the meeting by phone, please dial *9. When it is your turn to speak, the City Clerk will call your name and unmute your line, at which point you will have three minutes to address the Committee. After the allotted time, you will then be re-muted.

Instructions of how to “Raise Your Hand” is available at