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

Jun 26 2020

There are few reasons to visit City Hall these days, as COVID – 19 keeps most employees working at home and doors closed, while residents adhere to STAY AT HOME orders. 

People outside of their homes are required to wear a face covering, even when exercising within 30 feet of another person.  Joggers are not exempt from Governor Gavin Newsom‘s order to all Californians to wear face coverings while in public outdoor areas.

Parks & Project Manager Ms. Nancy Kent noted that the City is monitoring park users for compliance with health protections and will close facilities if users do not comply. She indicated park ambassadors are in the parks daily and gently reminding park users of the new rules.

Stay healthy by exercising and keep your neighbors healthy by covering your nose and mouth. Use your face covering!  


Window of the Piedmont City Hall Council Chamber

Jun 21 2020

At the June 24, 2020 Piedmont Board of Education meeting, the Board will discuss the timeline and various scenarios for reopening the Piedmont schools in August.

Superintendent Randall Booker states in his report:

“During the June 24, 2020 Board of Education Meeting, I am asking the Board of Education to review and discuss my recommendation that Piedmont Unified students and educators return to campuses under a Blended Learning Model, rather than beginning the year under a Full Distance Learning Model. A Blended Learning Model is a weekly combination of In-Person and Online Synchronous, and Asynchronous Lessons (synchronous learning is online or distance education that happens in real time, whereas asynchronous learning occurs through online channels without real-time interaction). In other words, students would return to their respective campus for in-person instruction a few days per week and participate in online learning (a combination of synchronous and asynchronous) for the reminder of the week. “

Decision-making Timeline and Next Steps:

June 24, 2020 Board of Education Meeting -1st Reading of Recommended Blended Learning Model – No Action

June 29, 2020 Special Board of Education Meeting – 2nd Reading and Decision of the Recommended Blended Learning Model – Action Requested – 1st Reading of Calendar Committee Recommendation for Revised 20-21 Instructional Calendar – No Action

July 2, 2020 Special Board of Education Meeting – 2nd Reading and Decision of Calendar Committee Recommendation for Revised 20-21 Instructional Calendar – Action Requested – 1st Reading of Bell Schedule Committee Recommendation for Elementary and Secondary Daily Bell Schedules – No Action – 1st Reading of Board Policy 0470 – Covid-19 Mitigation Plan – No Action

July 7, 2020 Special Board of Education Meeting – 2nd Reading of Bell Schedule Committee Recommendation for Elementary and Secondary Daily Bell Schedules – Action Requested – 2nd Reading of Board Policy 0470 – Covid-19 Mitigation Plan – Action Requested 

READ THE FULL STAFF REPORT AND PROPOSED REOPENING DETAILS BELOW:

pca VII_B_BackgroundReopeningSchools_0

READ THE FULL AGENDA BELOW AND HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=78863&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

Jun 21 2020

New Models for Social Justice: Police Reform Q&A, Part I” with Piedmont Police Chief Jeremy Bowers and Supervising Deputy Attorney General Nancy Beninati.

 Speakers will discuss potential policy changes in law enforcement to ensure fairness, justice and more constructive outcomes for our society as a whole. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, a national conversation is underway about police department reform.  Many questions have been raised about:  use of force, racial profiling, police training, defunding or eliminating police in schools, the role of police in nonviolent situations, racial injustice and social inequity, and  the role of our own community in the national conversation.

The talk will be on Zoom from 4-5 pm on Tuesday June 30.  The event is sponsored by the League of Women Voters Piedmont.  Speakers will present from 4:00 – 4:35 followed by Q & A moderated by Lorrel Plimier, newly elected President of LWVP. Participants may submit questions through the Zoom chat feature, Facebook, or email to lwvpiedmont@gmail.org.

For more information, visit www.lwvpiedmont.org. Event participation is limited to 100 individuals.

This Community Conversation is free and open to the public.

The League of Women Voters Piedmont  Speaker Series  will include Part II on this topic with another pair of featured speakers this summer. Other topics which will be covered in Series this summer include “Food Insecurity in Alameda County During COVID-19” and  “How to Understand Polls and Polling Literacy”.

___________

Prior to his appointment as Chief of Police for the City of Piedmont in November of 2016, Chief Jeremy Bowers came to the Piedmont Police Department in September of 2014 as a Captain where he served as the Operations Commander.  Prior to joining the PPD, Chief Bowers was a member of the San Jose Police Department where he served for eighteen years and worked a wide-array of assignments during his time as an officer, sergeant and lieutenant. 

Chief Bowers was awarded the Mover of Mountains Award in Public Safety & Community Bridge Building by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley and was instrumental in the formation and operation of the Chief’s Community Advisory Board while in San Jose.  Chief Bowers received his undergraduate degree in the Administration of Justice from San Jose State University and Master’s degree in Criminology, Law & Society from the University of California, Irvine.  Chief Bowers is happily married to his wife Patricia Bowers, a sergeant with the Santa Clara Police Department, and both are the proud parents of three children. 

_____     

Nancy A. Beninati is a Supervising Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice where she has worked for the past 20 years.  She has represented numerous state agencies that engage in law enforcement, including the California Highway Patrol, Office of the Inspector General, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Ms. Beninati supervised the creation of the regulations implementing the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015, and has overseen the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board which, to date, has published three annual reports regarding racial and identity profiling in California. In addition, she is responsible for managing multiple police practices investigations and collaborative reform initiatives with local law enforcement on behalf of the Attorney General including the current matters involving the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, Bakersfield Police Department, San Francisco Police Department and Vallejo Police Department. She has lived in Piedmont for 14 years, and is the immediate past-president of the League of Women Voters Piedmont.

 

Jun 18 2020

Alameda County Revises Shelter in Place Order, Loosening Restriction on Business

Face Coverings Remain Required

The Alameda County Public Health Officer has issued a revised order today, opening up more types of business, places of worship, and outdoor spaces in the county.

Highlights of this revised order include loosening restrictions on religious and cultural ceremonies; outdoor dining; indoor and outdoor retail; and permission to open dog parks, each are subject to stringent health and safety requirements. The order also requires that people exercising their first amendment rights (during protests or demonstrations) to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing of 6 feet at all times.

Alameda County face covering order remains in effect.

The order mandates that 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. 30 feet is roughly the length of 2 cars. There is NO EXEMPTION for persons engaged in exercise. The face covering does not have to be worn the whole time exercising, but it must be carried and then put on when within 30 feet of other people.

Dog off-leash changes to be announced Friday, June 19.

The City of Piedmont will closely examine this revised order and will announce a timeline for opening our off- leash areas by the close of business on Friday, June 19.

Click to read the revised order and the order summary.  Links are within the press release.> 2020-06-12 County Issues Revised COVID-19 Shelter In Place Order

Jun 10 2020

Face Covering Required Outdoors while Walking, Running, Biking, etc within 30 Feet of People from Other Households

From the Piedmont Police Department:

Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Eric Pan has issued a new Face Covering Order. The new Face Covering Order went into effect on June 8, 2020 and supersedes the prior Order. Face coverings must now be worn at all times by all members of the public, including outdoors while engaged in physical activities (walking, running, biking, etc.) and within 30 feet of people outside of their household.

“A face covering helps prevent transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19.” said Dr. Pan. “Everyone should wear a face covering anytime they are outside the home and around other people. This helps decrease the exposure for all of us and is one of the few tools we have that will allow us to decrease risk as we gradually allow for more activities outside the home.”

By ensuring that people generally wear Face Coverings when in public, the County is better able to continue to open businesses and resume activities in a safer manner to the benefit of all.

One of the strongest protections we, as a society, can implement as we continue to interact more in person is to increase our use of Face Coverings. Substantial scientific evidence shows that when combined with physical distancing and other health and safety practices like handwashing and regular disinfection of surfaces, wearing Face Coverings permits additional activities to be resumed in the safest possible way.

Face Covering Exemptions:

Those people with a written exemption from a medical professional due to a medical condition, health concern or disability, or anyone who has trouble breathing are not required to wear a face covering.

Children aged 12 and younger are not required to wear a face covering, and any child two years old or younger should not wear a face covering.

The Order does not apply if a person is only with members of their own household and does not expect to come into contact with a member of the public. A person engaged in walking, hiking, bicycling, running, and other physical activities is not required to wear a face covering during the entire duration of their activity, but that person must carry a face covering that is easy to access so they can wear it once they are within 30 feet of other people.

For a copy of the new Face Covering Order please use the following link:
http://acphd.org/media/584316/alameda-co…

Jun 9 2020

Piedmont School Board Meeting Wednesday, June 10

The Black Student Union created a film where students share their experiences of being black at Piedmont and Millennium High Schools and the greater Piedmont community. Members from the BSU will introduce and share a clip of their film. 

  Recording of June 10, 2020 School Board Meeting  https://piedmont.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=2167

Click the link below for details on watching and participating via Zoom. 

https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=78651&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

Jun 9 2020

The Piedmont Unified School District has reopened Witter Field for community use. Individuals can access Witter Field from the Wildwood Avenue steps, Piedmont Middle School’s “PE Hill,” or the El Cerrito pedestrian gate. The Windsor Avenue gate, Wildwood Elementary School playground, baseball and softball fields, batting cages, and Witter Field House restrooms will remain closed until the District develops plans and schedules to sanitize facilities for safe use. Under the recent orders, individuals must wear face coverings when outdoors, including when engaging in physical activities such as walking and running, when within 30 feet of people outside of their household.

According to the County’s press release:

  • Everyone in all settings must wear a face covering where the public is present or likely to be, and at any time when others are nearby.
  • Children aged 12 and younger are not required to wear a face covering, and any child two years old or younger should not wear a face covering.
  • A person engaged in walking, hiking, bicycling, running, and other physical activities is not required to wear a face covering during the entire duration of their activity, but that person must carry a face covering that is easy to access so they can wear it once they are within 30 feet of other people.

Questions or comments? Please contact Director of Facilities Pete Palmer at ppalmer@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Click below for the full press release.

682020 – Reopening Witter