WELCOME TO THE OPINION PAGE

The following letters and other commentary express only the personal opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Piedmont Civic Association.

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Mar 16 2021

AAPI Youth Rising Rally – A peaceful gathering in support of the AAPI community on Sunday, March 28th from 2 to 4 pm

At this time participation has been limited due to overwhelming interest.

Mina (Piedmont resident) and Anna (Oakland resident) – 7th graders
Ivana Lee Fedor, Piedmont Resident
Mar 9 2021

The League of Women Voters of Piedmont is sponsoring its second annual essay contest open to all high school juniors and seniors who are residents of Piedmont or are currently enrolled in Piedmont High School or Millennium High School.

Prize: $500 for first place essay; prize may be split among the top two entries.

Contest Rules Content: Your essay should answer the question,

“Given the fragility of democracy as evidenced by the insurrection of January 6, 2021, how can your generation work to ensure that democracy in the United States is strengthened for future generations?”

You may, but are not required to, rely on outside sources that are properly cited within the text and in a bibliography. We do not require a specific format for your citations or bibliography, but please ensure you include enough information to allow us to readily verify your sources. Citations do not count toward your total number of words.

Please keep in mind that this essay is not solely a research paper, but should draw on your personal experiences and insights. Your essay will be judged on originality, clarity of expression, vocabulary and style, proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. Students are encouraged to have a teacher, parent or mentor review the essay prior to submission keeping in mind that all work must be the student’s own.

The essay must be 250-500 words excluding citations. Entries must be typed, double-spaced and in pdf format. Please include the following information at the top of your essay or on a separate cover page: : Your essay should answer the question, “Given the fragility of democracy as evidenced by the insurrection of January 6, 2021, how can your generation work to ensure that democracy in the United States is strengthened for future generations?”  See details below.

Format: The essay must be 250-500 words excluding citations. Entries must be typed, double-spaced and in pdf format. Please include the following information at the top of your essay or on a separate cover page:

• title of essay

• your first and last name

• your city of residence

• name of your school

• your current grade (junior or senior)

Submission: Please submit completed essays via email to lwvpiedmont@gmail.com.

Deadline: April 17, 2021 at 11:59pm, Pacific Standard Time.

Winner will be notified by May 1st, 2021.

Read flyer below:

ESSAY CONTEST

Mar 6 2021

Piedmont Anti-racism and Diversity Committee (PADC) condemns the latest incidents of anti-Asian hate in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the United States.

We call on the Piedmont Unified School District and the Piedmont community to acknowledge and support its Asian American and Pacific Islander students, teachers, staff and community members.

Language such as the “China virus” and “kung flu” is mean, harmful, inappropriate, and should not be tolerated at school or in our community. This kind of rhetoric has led to increased xenophobia, harassment and violence against Asian Americans. In addition to the recent attacks in Oakland and San Francisco, Stop AAPI Hate recorded more than 2,800 incidents of anti-Asian discrimination across the United States, including the bullying of children. 

PADC also applauds the recent show of solidarity among Asian, Black and Latinx communities. Please join us in a unified response to anti-Asian violence. PADC aims to work for an inclusive Piedmont community for all through activism and connection, grounded in the principles of anti-racism. Ways to get involved: Attend a meeting, join a working group, apply for a PADC grant.

Please see our website for links to recent relevant articles and resources, which were compiled by the Asian American Journalists Association’s San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. 

Piedmont Anti-racism and Diversity Committee

Feb 27 2021

Dear Members of the Piedmont City Council,,

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I was just alerted by my neighbor, Sylvia Fones, that Piedmont has evidently adopted something called Reach Codes.  I just now discovered that these are local building energy requirements that go beyond those of the state.    How has this happened?   I am reasonably well informed but have never even heard of this.  Moreover, there was apparently some survey done of the residents concerning adoption of these codes and no one I know had even heard of it, so were definitely not included in the survey.   Sounds to me like a deliberate concealing of this effort from the public.
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This is appalling to me.  This affects every resident.  How can a relatively tiny number of residents  (384 out of 11000) be allowed to provide a distorted consensus of opinion for an entire city?
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There are two issues that are very alarming.
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1) Given the small pool of participants in the survey, there apparently was an effort underway to get this concept adopted without proper input from the residents.  Where  is the democratic process?  How is a tiny cadre of “activists” able to railroad this through without even the knowledge of the whole town, much less its consent?
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2) The end result from a cursory examination of the Reach Codes issue seems to be a limiting of our energy sources, under the guise of some goal that is definitely controversial.  Of all things that require investigation and accumulated knowledge before coming to a decision, this is certainly a prime example.
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Energy is a huge and complicated issue.  Why would we ever want to limit our energy resources?  After witnessing the calamity that just befell Texas and its inhabitants, how can we possibly start down a path like this?
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Sincerely,
Joan Maxwell
Piedmont Resident
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Feb 22 2021

– Piedmont Priorities –

With life as good as it is in Piedmont, it’s hard to think how it could get better. But there’s always room for improvement so in 2007 the City conducted a community survey as a prelude to updating its General Plan.

The response to the 2007 survey exceeded all expectations. Approximately 3,800 surveys were mailed out, and almost 1,300 surveys were completed and returned. That’s a 34% response rate, the highest ever response rate of any community survey of Piedmont residents.  Question 7 in the survey asked “For which types of projects would you support increases in city taxes or fees?”.  The range of responses to that question are in the table below.  

Q7: FOR WHICH TYPES OF PROJECTS   WOULD YOU SUPPORT INCREASES IN   CITY TAXES OR FEES?
Total with Opinion Response Average Strongly Oppose Somewhat  Oppose Somewhat  Support Strongly Support
Additional recreational facilities 1116 2.69 20.2% 17.4% 35.7% 26.8%
Landscaping and tree planting 1155 2.87 13.3% 15.2% 42.9% 28.6
City-owned competitive swimming pool 1124 2.59 28.3% 15.1% 25.5% 31.0%
Undergrounding of overhead utility wires 1159 2.96 18.5% 11.8% 25.0% 44.7%
A parking garage in the City Hall area 1122 2.21 37.9% 21.7% 22.4% 18.1%
More child care centers 932 2.25 29.4% 27.8% 30.9% 11.9%
A teen center 1083 2.87 17.6% 12.3% 35.7% 34.3%
Bike paths and marked bike lanes 1095 2.85 14.8% 16.6% 36.9% 31.7%
A community gathering place or plaza 1080 2.78 17.9% 16.8% 35.1% 30.3%
City arts and cultural center 1067 2.57 22.2% 20.0% 36.7% 21.1%
Wheeled mixed materials recycling carts 1003 2.63 22.1% 20.8% 29.0% 28.0%
Backyard service for recycling/ green waste 998 2.60 23.3% 21.2% 27.3% 28.2%
Free citywide wireless (WiFi) internet  1030 2.80 22.5% 13.5% 25.7% 38.3%

Now 14 years later, what has come of this community survey?

Additional recreation facilities – check.

City-owned pool? – check.

Backyard service for recycling/green waste – check.

City arts and cultural center – half-check.  The city has a classical arts and cultural center. Chamber music only.

A teen center – negative.

Creating a community gathering place or plaza – negative.

Why this lookback matters is because the city is on the verge of missing a golden opportunity to address the two negatives on the list.  A teen/senior center and community drop-in space could easily be run out of the East Wing of the building with access to the restrooms in the West Wing and the placing of city staff in the West Wing office space.  And no additional taxes required – seniors and the community don’t need to be supervised by staff.  They do need a place to freely gather and schedule meetings and an accessible East Wing would facilitate that.  

Instead, city staff has negotiated a lease for the 801 Magnolia Building with the Piedmont Center for the Arts that reduces both city use of and access to the 801 building for the next 7 years. There are significant flaws in the lease (https://www.piedmontcivic.org/2020/11/29/opinion-four-major-flaws-in-proposed-art-center-lease/) and better ideas for true community use of the space (https://www.piedmontcivic.org/2021/02/03/opinion-arts-center-founder-wants-usage-opened-up/ ; https://www.piedmontcivic.org/2021/01/10/opinion-a-false-choice-has-been-presented-for-arts-center-lease/).

So the City has two choices – hold a public hearing on the use of the 801 Magnolia building or a second reading of the flawed lease.  By all indications, city staff is proceeding with a second reading of the lease with PCA.  Unless Council steps up and calls for a public hearing, this opportunity for Piedmonters to achieve long-standing aspirations of a community space will be lost for another 7 years.   To that end, newly elected Councilwoman Conna McCarthy could honor her campaign pledge and call for public meetings on the use of 801 before any lease is approved:

“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.” 

Elected Council Candidate Conna McCarthy  

https://www.piedmontcivic.org/category/new-elections/page/8/

If you want the City Council to hold public hearings on the use of 801 Magnolia Avenue, you can reach all Council members at citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us.

Garrett Keating, Former Member of the Piedmont City Council

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Feb 21 2021

– Piedmont REACH Code problems explained to the California Building Standards Commission –

February 12, 2021

Dear CA Building Standards Commission,

As a resident of Piedmont CA, I have some serious concerns regarding the passing of the “REACH” codes. Here is a copy of my letter to the council that states my concerns. They said there was a survey, but none of our friends were in the survey, so it seemed not to be representative of the residents.

First, Piedmonter’s were not all included in the survey – many friends are upset because they were not included. Many disagree with the Reach concept and do not feel represented thus my suggestion of A ballot vote for all.
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Second is the impact of cost to the residential home owner.  In Piedmont, a normal bathroom remodel will cost say $40,000. If one adds the Reach upgrades, it could add another $10,000. or more.  Or consider the cost of a new roof…then add the insulation etc.. As a designer, I am familiar with those costs. Does this mean homeowners will not proceed with the work?

Third is our local enforcement of the use of less gas. This should be handled by an overall state building code to reduce off gassing. The changes are now being studied for action by the State. (Our use is small in the overall scheme. Consider the air pollution of autos and air  travel.)

Fourth we also have our regional wildfire electric blackouts which could leave residents without ability to cook and heat our homes if we rely on electric power source.

Years ago, Title 24 was added to the California code requirements and we had a time limit to reduce electric usage by lowering the voltage of electric bulbs. This was handled by the state and the manufacturers were put into a position to create products for the market that fit the bill. We now have those products and enforcement in our building codes. This is a more reasonable course of action.

Sylvia Willard Fones, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Feb 21 2021

 The Piedmont Arts Fund (formerly PAINTS and CHIME) would like to invite all members of the community to creatively express the “Things that Matter” in a community art quilt.

We will eventually display the “Things that Matter” quilt, with our interwoven and diverse narratives to capture this unique time, in the new theatre building. 

Any funds raised will be used exclusively towards inclusive visual and performing arts programs at PUSD. We are launching our quilt project in February during Black History Month. As March is Art Month, we plan on weaving our creative community stories and unveiling the quilt in a public open space. Quilt Kits are available for a variable donation, and we also are offering free kits to community members who are not able to donate at this time. Our goal is to represent our entire community through this unique art project and we hope you will create this piece of history with us.

https://piedmontstore.org/products/things-that-matter-piedmont-art-community-quilt-project

 

Feb 11 2021

Students for Solar Launch Event

Students for Solar is a group of twelve PHS and MHS students working to raise the $400,000 needed to put solar panels on the roof of the STEAM building, a newly constructed building at our high school. To find out more see our website: https://greenclubphs.wixsite.com/studentsforsolar

Our event on February 22 will feature speakers Meredith Fowlie, Gabriel Kra, and Josh Posamentier to inform the public on solar energy and climate change. It will also feature a panel of district employees to field any questions about the project.

REGISTER AT: https://pef.schoolauction.net/students4solar/?_ga=2.114284935.1438797767.1612201578-300494272.1612201578

Editors Note:  Students for Solar is a separate organization unaffiliated with the Piedmont Civic Association. 
Feb 9 2021

 PADC + Wellness celebrate Black History Month in Piedmont

The Wellness Center (Piedmont High School) is thrilled to partner with the PADC (Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee) to celebrate and honor Black History Month. Last week we held our first of a three series event. Here is a summary of what’s to come.

2/4/21 from 7pm – 8pm: Listen to the following PODCAST ahead of time and come together to discuss reactions: Black History Buff podcast features The Little Rock Nine on Spotify, 27 min. Click HERE to join.

  • Wellness Facilitators: Laurie and Amy

2/11/21 from 7pm – 8pm: Self-Care (including self-care through action). Click HERE to join.

  • Wellness Facilitators: Emma, Lea, and possibly Jannat

2/25/21 from 7pm – 8pm: Somatic manifestations of generational trauma (including chronic and acute forms of trauma). Click HERE to join.

  • Wellness Facilitators: Nic and Jannat

Feb 3 2021

Read a proposed revised Arts Center lease sent to the  Piedmont City Council.

The proposal recommends the City of Piedmont Recreation Department manage 801 Magnolia Avenue with The Piedmont Center for the Arts guaranteed 1,600 hours of free annual usage.  The unallotted time of 2,050 hours would be scheduled by the Recreation Department to fully and inclusively utilize the property for various community and recreation uses. 

Click the Nancy Lehrkind proposed Arts Center lease and petition below.

Art Center Proposal Lehrkind 1282021

Petition – https://www.change.org/piedmontcenter