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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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Oct 28 2020
I am supporting Veronica Anderson Thigpen for Piedmont School Board. I first met Veronica at Piedmont’s MLK Day Celebration in 2019, which she helped organize. Since then, I’ve gotten to know her even better through her work as Co-Chair of the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee.
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In all my interactions with Veronica, I’ve been impressed both by her passion for social justice and equity and by her thoughtfulness, practical instincts and willingness to listen.
With her deep understanding of education policy, honed through her work as a journalist and an educational adviser, she has the expertise needed to help the School Board make the best decisions for our kids.
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As an African American woman who has been committed throughout her career to fighting for social justice and inclusion, she would also bring a fresh perspective to the PUSD board on a wide range of critical issues. And as a collaborative, can-do leader, she would help PUSD translate good principles into productive, concrete actions.
We’re living in a time of unprecedented challenges but also unprecedented opportunity – opportunity to build a society that is more just, equitable and sustainable. Veronica is someone who can help us meet that challenge by taking the amazing foundation we’ve built in Piedmont and expanding its reach to make our city a more welcoming and inclusive place.
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If you share that aspiration for Piedmont’s future, I hope you’ll join me in supporting Veronica for School Board!  
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Sachin Adarkar, Piedmont Resident
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 25 2020

The City Council Is Not Being Open And Transparent About Measure UU. If They Were, Residents Would Have Received This Measure UU Letter.

Dear Piedmonters,

Before you vote on Measure UU, we thought there were a few things we needed to tell you. We did tell you that the City has no outstanding General Obligation Bonds, but we didn’t mention that we have LOTS of debts – $7 million in sewer loans, $13 million in Post Employment Benefits Payable, and $26 million in Pension Benefits Payable.

Oh, and if our pension portfolio returns only 6.15% instead of the estimated 7.15% (you can get 7.15% on your investments in today’s crazy market with bonds yielding close to zero, can’t you?), our Pension Benefit Liability alone increases to over $43 million.

Speaking of deficits, did we mention that our General Fund – that is, unrestricted money that the City can spend on anything – has a deficit of about $9 million?

We also glossed over the fact that the ordinance we passed estimates that the total cost of the “improvements” is $23 million, but that it allows us to issue $19.5 million in bonds. Guess who is paying for the difference?

We also haven’t mentioned it, but by reading the City Council minutes for the last six months, you can see that we know about the major deficiencies in our ability to deliver essential public services – the Police Chief, Fire Chief, and City Administrator are all on the record as saying that we do not comply with the Essential Services Act, that the fire station may sustain major damage in an earthquake, and that it may cost up to $51 million to fix these problems. That’s why we are looking at creating a Community Facilities District (aka Mello-Roos) to make it easier to issue bonds backed by another special tax on Piedmont homeowners in the near future. And because we generally ask for the maximum amount, it will probably be for the full $51 million.

Finally, we haven’t mentioned that 100% of Piedmont citizens rely on our Police and Fire Departments, while an estimated 25% of citizens use the pool.

So, if we had placed two bond measures on the November ballot – $50 million for Police and Fire, and $20 million for a new pool, we knew what would happen. Citizens would vote to maintain essential services, but they would turn down the pool.

After spending $56 million in 2006 and another $66 million in 2016 on School District Bonds (all that money is gone, and they still haven’t finished their projects), $10 million per year on Measure G, $2.6 million per year on Measure H, and $2.4 million per year on Measure T, citizens are getting a little tax weary. After all, aren’t our property tax rates some of the highest in California?

So, think carefully before you vote on measure UU. We’ll see you soon with our new $51 million bond request. You will HAVE to vote yes to maintain city services, but you can vote NO on Measure UU.

Andy Wasserman, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 25 2020
I’m writing to encourage Piedmonters to elect Hari Titan to the Piedmont School Board.

Hari is a BIG supporter of Piedmont schools.  He has extensive experience in finances and a desire for the Piedmont schools to be the best they can be. Hari found many ways for our tax dollars to go further by paying for school bonds as we go, just like a fixed-rate mortgage.  By not deferring property taxes, Piedmont taxpayers saved $26 million.

Hari also fought for the cost-effectiveness of new construction for the high school theater and STEAM building, allowing for more seats, better acoustics, handicap access, net-zero energy use, and earthquake safety.

Hari has also fought for listening to our local epidemiologists and transparent school closure and reopening criteria. Hari will make sure we get back to educational excellence safely and as soon as possible.

Please join me in voting for Dr. Titan for the school board this year.

Patty White, Former Piedmont Mayor

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 – Titan:  7 years of valuable aid to schools –  

Our home values are linked to Piedmont’s  historical reputation for excellent schools.   That reputation is starting to falter as evidenced by the unexpected loss of 81 students from our school district this year.  Once lost, it will take years to recover our reputation.

Titan is the School Board candidate who will add thoughtful management and responsible oversight to the School Board.  Since 2013 he’s contributed over 500 hours of time which produced well-conceived recommendations that saved our schools and taxpayers MILLIONS of dollars.

Our current school board is disproportionately influenced by the unions and our country-club society.  Board decisions are too often unanimous with little public deliberation and are often dismissive of thoughtful public input.  Titan will return  transparent governance to the school board.

My decision to vote for Titan is based on the content of his character and intellect.  His experience as a businessman, mathematician, scientist, and STEM college professor brings valuable diversity and professional acumen to the board.

Membership on the school board should not be a popularity contest.  Titan is the responsible candidate we need.

Dai Meagher, retired CPA, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 23 2020

– PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs Possible for Portions of Piedmont –  Street Names – Emergency Instructions – 

As Early As 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 25th Pacific Gas and Electric Company has announced their intent to conduct a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) which will include portions of Piedmont as early as Sunday, October 25th at 8:00 p.m. They estimate that power will be restored no later than Tuesday, October 27th at Noon. Other power outages may occur as a result of this wind event.

All Piedmonters are advised to be prepared for power outages during this wind event, which may or may not be proactive Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

Click below to read the full announcement, including street names and emergency instructions:

 Public Safety Power Shutoff 2020-10-25

Oct 23 2020

I’m writing to you today in strong support of Conna McCarthy’s candidacy to serve on the Piedmont City Council.

To me, Conna McCarthy brings the best of public service to Piedmont’s civic life. She is smart, has a long history of volunteerism for the Piedmont schools and as a Recreation Commissioner.

In addition to her extraordinary work here in town, Conna’s commitment to progressive values stretches beyond Piedmont and has left an impact throughout the state of California. She’s led
voter registration efforts with Martin Luther King III, she’s advocated for women and people of color, she knows how to build coalitions and she gets the job done.

Conna is a consummate professional who knows how to listen to the needs of our beautiful community.

Please join me in supporting Conna McCarthy for Piedmont City Council.

Teddy Gray King
Vice Mayor, City of Piedmont

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I am writing in full support of Jen Cavenaugh’s campaign for  re-election to the Piedmont City Council.  We met in 2011 when I was new to the city and our children attended Beach Elementary together.  

Over the past three years, I have gotten to know Jen better, both professionally and personally, through PADC (Piedmont Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee).  She is a strong advocate for inclusivity and truly listens to the perspectives of all stakeholders.  Her ability to build rapport, make strong connections, skillfully collaborate, and take action make her an ideal thought partner between the city and community members.

Her experience and background in management and business has proven to be an asset to the city and her deep understanding of fiduciary and fiscal responsibilities benefit both the city and the residents of Piedmont.   Her track record as an active volunteer and as a current City Council member speaks to her level of dedication and commitment to public service.  She will continue to serve the city well as a leader with integrity. 

I urge you to vote for Jen for re-election to the Piedmont City Council.

Jodi Biskup, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 19 2020

2020 has been a year of complete chaos.

I was looking forward to summer but then, COVID-19 struck. So, instead of going to summer camps, I stayed home and found a great book, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. This got me interested in the early days of American history, the Revolutionary War and the creation of the U.S. Constitution.

As I began reading more about our history, I also became interested in the current elections. I became curious as to why so many people were talking about how this would be the most important election in American history. So, I did some research on the key races and the propositions just to educate myself and other kids like me. I even emailed a few candidates in the local elections to ask for interviews, so I could understand their positions and views.

To my surprise, many of them responded and shared their thoughts with me. Thank you so much to those candidates, Elena Condes and Mark Fickes for Alameda County Superior Court, and Jen Cavenaugh and Connie Herrick for Piedmont City Council. I hope you find this informative and I hope it gets other kids like me interested in our elections.

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Information and insights on national, statewide, and local races and propositions for the city of Piedmont by Piedmonter Keshav Rangan

Click below to download the comprehensive Election Guide for Nov. 3rd

The 2020 Election Through the Eyes of an 8th Grader, Piedmont CA 

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 19 2020

I am writing to enthusiastically support Jen Cavenaugh’s re-election to City Council. I have had the privilege of getting to know Jen through my work as co-chair of the Piedmont Racial Equity Campaign (PREC) Housing/Zoning committee and other community causes.

Jen is exactly the kind of intelligent, committed, progressive leader our city needs. In the time I’ve known Jen, I have consistently been impressed by her combination of knowledge, diplomatic skill, perseverance, attention to detail, and responsiveness to constituents.

When taking on complex issues such as state and local housing policy, policing, and physical and financial planning for our city’s future, Jen consistently does her research, asks smart and well-informed questions, communicates effectively, and follows through with concrete actions. Jen has been a powerful supporter of racial justice and equity, sustainability, good governance, and other progressive causes in Piedmont. We are very lucky to have a leader of her talent and capacity on the City Council. I urge my fellow Piedmonters to support her re-election.

Irene Cheng, Piedmont Resident, Associate Professor, California College of the Arts

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 19 2020

The Impact of Racial Segregation on Piedmont Schools and Where We Take It From Here –

Announcement:

Join Piedmont Racial Equity Campaign (PREC) for a Zoom discussion on how race and segregation have impacted Piedmont schools and explore the ways we can rebalance educational equity in our community and beyond.

Date: Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 7-8:15 pm 

RSVP: Register here (Free)

Presented by Piedmont Racial Equity Campaign (PREC)
Co-sponsored by Piedmont Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee (PADC) and Piedmont Education Foundation (PEF) Education Speaker Series

Panelists:

  • Stefan Lallinger: Director of the Bridges Collaborative, a group of experts in education, policy, and housing focused on integrated schools and neighborhoods. Previously, he was Special Assistant to the Chancellor of the NY Department of Education, a principal, teacher, and doctoral graduate from Harvard University.

  • Dorothy Lazard manages the Oakland History Room of the Oakland Public Library. She has hosted popular history programs, curated exhibits, and written articles with a focus on making Oakland’s history accessible to a broader audience.

  • Rebecca Sibilia: Former Executive Director of EdBuild, a national organization focused on rethinking state funding for public schools. EdBuild has generated national headlines and was cited in numerous presidential candidates’ platforms.

Moderated by Carolyn Jones, senior reporter at EdSource. Former San Francisco Chronicle and Oakland Tribune reporter and has written on education and the history of Piedmont and Oakland.

For more information: piedmontracialequity@gmail.com

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of PREC.  PCA and PREC are separate organizations.
Oct 19 2020
The Becker Family wholeheartedly supports Conna McCarthy as a candidate for Piedmont’s City Council.
The fact that Conna is willing to donate her inexhaustible talents to this city is sheer luck for the rest of us. Her credentials as a leader, an unsurpassed community organizer, a devoted wife and mother and her deep roots in political activism are of tremendous value to our city.
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A vote for Conna is a vote for us all. 
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Tami and Mark Becker and Family.
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Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 19 2020

Jen Cavenaugh will be getting my vote for Piedmont City Council this November 3. 

Jen is a dynamic leader who cares deeply about the issues facing our City. She listens closely to residents and takes action to develop solutions.

She is not afraid to address challenging and complicated issues facing our community such as racial bias and sexual harassment.

Jen was responsible for partnering with the Piedmont Recreation Department to bring much-needed classes on healthy relationships to kids in Piedmont.  She works hard to address racial equity, inclusiveness, and cares about the social-emotional development of our kids.

She brings community partners together to have hard conversations, develop a deeper understanding of the issues, and implement plans and policies to engage and improve our community.

I urge you to join me in supporting Jen Cavenaugh for Piedmont City Council.

Sarah Puckett, Piedmont resident 

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.