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 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 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

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

Jul 1 2020

Background Reopening Schools (2nd Reading)

Jun 30 2020

At a Special City Council meeting on June 29, the Council listened intently for hours to staff reports and numerous swimmers about the closed Pool operation and maintenance needs. Opinions varied: close the pool and let Piedmonters know how important an updated pool is, close the pool and put in commercial businesses to increase sales tax, repair the pool and let swimmers continue to use the pool, etc.

COVID-19 has made pool use complicated, but the Recreation Staff has devised ways to make limited use of the pool if allowed to reopened under County approvals.

An ongoing long term issue has been water leaking from the pool.  The solution was indicated as a new pool.

The Council by consensus directed the City Staff to return, as soon as possible, with further information on costs and options for reopening the pool, even if on an interim basis.

Jun 29 2020

Recreation projects should be separated from fire and police measures.

Because of COVID- 19, ballot measures in November will not allow for full community discussion of City projects and needs.

Letter sent to the Piedmont City Council:

Based on the survey results and the limitations to public participation brought on by the pandemic, November 2020 does not seem like an appropriate time to put these two initiatives on the ballot, especially the facilities matter.

Every indication suggests a second wave of the pandemic will occur in the fall and these questions should not be put before Piedmonters under constraint.   “Robust resident education will be needed” – that will be a very difficult undertaking during the pandemic and should not be rushed or forced.  The typical forums available for voter education like League of Women Voters, house parties, clubs – won’t be available or will see reduced participation.

And, if put on the ballot, can the public outreach activities staff had planned before the pandemic go forward – it gives the appearance of city staff campaigning for the ballot.  Council should do as it did with the public safety contracts – postpone these ballot questions until more normal conditions return. Two years from now has the added advantage that three council seats – a majority – will be up for election, allowing for the community to send a clear signal of whether it supports these initiatives.

The polling results indicate that well over 60% of Piedmonters consider facilities as excellent, good or average.  The City Administrator concluded that Piedmonters do not clearly understand their facility needs but is that true?  Piedmonters are familiar with the facilities they use and see – recreation and park facilities – and not with the ones they don’t – the police and fire buildings.  The polling results indicate that most Piedmonters like what they see and it’s really up to the city to explain why these facilities need replacement.  Piedmonters understand the maintenance issue with the pool – it has been studied and discussed for years.  The proposals for the pool, Linda Beach and Coaches are for replacement, not maintenance, and looked at this way, the results could indicate that residents do not want these replacements.  To determine if that is the case, it would be better to have the public safety facilities and recreation facilities presented as separate ballot initiatives.

Finally, at a Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee (BAFPC) meeting I attended, the Assistant City Manager/City Clerk indicated that General Obligation bonds might require two votes under the City Charter. The BAFPC suggested a way to avoid two votes would be to establish a Community Facilities District (CFD). I think the staff report is inaccurate when it states the BAFPC “favored” CFD bonds, though it did support a parcel-based tax assessment compared to an ad valorem one:

“The Committee recommends pursuing a parcel-based tax assessment. This is preferable to an ad valorem tax given that the facilities to be funded include primarily (or potentially exclusively) essential public services buildings benefiting all Piedmont residents.”

I think it is inaccurate to conclude that the facilities to be funded are primarily “essential public services”.  While I’ve enjoyed the recreation facilities in Piedmont, it is clear that not all residents utilize these facilities, especially so over the next 30 years as Piedmont “ages in place”.  Police and Fire are, of course, essential, so again, consider placing the public safety facilities and recreation facilities on separate ballot initiatives.

Garrett Keating, Former Member of Piedmont City Council

Jun 26 2020

At a Special Piedmont City Council meeting on Monday, June 29, 7:30 p.m., the Council will consider placing tax measures on the November 2020 ballot.  Also, the Council will give direction to staff on continued operation of the Community Pool.

Agenda and instructions on participation: council-current-agenda (1) 6292020

  Continued Operation of the Piedmont Community Pool

“Two years have passed since it was acknowledged that the city had “reached the point in the life of the pool where strong consideration should be given to constructing a new facility that would better serve the community needs and require little to no annual subsidy. Alternatively, consideration should be given to transitioning out of aquatics programming as a City service.” In the intervening time, the facility, as well as its ability to recover costs, have further deteriorated. Given the hard financial realities both of the City’s aged aquatics facility and for overall Recreation Department revenues, it falls on this Council to determine whether it has become cost-prohibitive to continue to operate this aquatics facility.”

Consideration of tax measures for November ballot:Provide Direction to Staff on the Preparation of Ballot Measures for the November 2020 Ballot Regarding Financing of Facilities Maintenance, and Renovation_Replacement Needs