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 28 2021

On March 22, 2021, the City Council appointed Doug Strout to the Planning Commission and an alternate Planning Commissioner Justin Zucker.  Also, the Council appointed 5 members to the new Housing Advisory Committee, Rani Batra, from the Planning Commission, June Catalano, Jane Lin, Justin Osler, and Claire Parisa.

Interview Schedule 2021-03-22   Unannounced

Planning 2021_ Applications [Redacted by City Clerk]

Housing Advisory 2021_ Applications [Redacted by City Clerk]

WATCH THE MEETING  >https://piedmont.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=2318  Video of 3/22/2021 Special Council meeeting

Readers are advised to watch the interviews and meeting now.  A public meeting notice was not provided to media sites, including this one, an error noted by the City. Interested individuals could not know the March 22, 2021 meeting was taking place unless they checked the Police Department Bulletin Board * 24 hours prior to the meeting. 

*Correction from the City Clerk: The agenda was posted in three locations, the city’s web site, City Hall (we’re posting on the front door, as the bulletin boards are not accessible to the public because of COVID), and the Police Department. Residents who went to any of these locations would have seen the agenda, not just individuals going to the Police Department.  City Clerk John Tulloch 3/29/2021

PCA Editors Comment:  PCA’s goal is for transparency, public information and public involvement.  The California Brown Act, requires agendas to be timely distributed to requesting media outlets.  PCA, a media outlet, received no notice.  The City Clerk has apologized for the noticing error. 3/30/021

More to follow in the future on the process. 

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

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.
Dec 8 2020

Piedmont Council Chooses Mayor Teddy Gray King, Divides Term of Vice Mayor

Discussion on the City Council Resulted in a Split Decision 

The election of the Mayor by the City Council had proceeded routinely on Monday, December 7, with a 4 – 0 (Rood briefly absent) vote for Teddy Gray King, but then the meeting strayed into unfamiliar territory. 

Mayor King suggested deferring the selection of a Vice Mayor to the next meeting to allow the presence of Council member Tim Rood, who had informed King he wanted to be present for the discussion and regretted his temporary absence for business matters. 

Discussion led to moving ahead with the selection of the Vice Mayor and Council member Jennifer Cavenaugh was nominated to be Vice Mayor by Council member Betsy Smegal Andersen and seconded by Cavenaugh herself.  Then Mayor King nominated Council member Tim Rood to be Vice Mayor, seconded by Council member Conna McCarthy. 

Cavenaugh believed in a “tradition” of allowing the candidate with the highest number of votes and most tenure to be selected to become the Vice Mayor with the Vice Mayor rotating upward to become the Mayor two years later.  Andersen argued that a long held tradition should be adhered to until the Council considered a different tradition.

King and McCarthy supported Rood as Vice Mayor, with McCarthy pointing out Rood would be the first openly LGBTQ Vice Mayor.  King emphasized that she and Rood had essentially been tied for top votes and thought Rood should become the next Vice Mayor, and he had told her he wanted the position.  McCarthy noted that Piedmont voters were never informed that their votes would indicate the next Mayor or Vice Mayor.

Assistant City Administrator John Tulloch stated the more recent selection “tradition” had been started in the mid-eighties.  Previously, Mayors and Vice Mayors were selected on a different basis.

With two Council members nominated for Vice Mayor,  City Attorney Michelle Kenyon informed the Council that the first nominee, Cavenaugh, had to be voted upon first.  If her nomination failed the next nominee would be voted upon. After additional Council discussion, the Cavenaugh nomination failed, being supported by only two Council members, Cavenaugh, herself and Andersen.

More discussion was held and a vote was taken on the Rood nomination, which also failed to achieve 3 votes, with only King and McCarthy supporting the nomination. Rood remained absent.

Council member Andersen offered a compromise motion to make Rood Vice Mayor for one year and Cavenaugh Vice Mayor for the second year.  This motion was approved by Andersen, King and McCarthy with Cavenaugh voting no and Rood absent.

The tradition of who is mayor and vice mayor has changed over the decades.  An older “tradition” held that the Mayor dropped back to become the Vice Mayor.

The City Charter does not prescribe how the Council shall select the Mayor and Vice Mayor.   The Council may attempt to solidify an actual policy in the future.  Some considerations are: tenure, number of election votes, length of Mayor and Vice Mayor terms, rotating the Mayor to become Vice Mayor, qualifications, dedication, involvement, etc.

The Mayor and Vice Mayor serve at the pleasure of the Council and after setting the matter on an agenda, the Council can change their selections.

Editors Note: PCA welcomes newly elected Mayor Teddy King and  alternating Tim Rood and Jen Cavenaugh as Vice Mayors.  The positions are voluntary with no compensation.  Piedmont is fortunate to have well educated and caring individuals to serve our city.

Aug 2 2020

Consideration of a Resolution Stating the City of Piedmont’s Unequivocal Rejection of Racism and Directing that the Black Lives Matter Flag be Flown During the Month of August 2020

Piedmont takes a stand for Black Lives Matter –

In addition to making clear statements of anti-racist intent, the attached resolution directs staff to fly the Black Lives Matter flag during the month of August. 

…..WHEREAS, systemic and institutional racism, spread and perpetuated through overt actions and unconscious bias, has taken a large toll on Black people in our community and across the nation; and

WHEREAS, many in Piedmont have recently come to understand that in order to do our part to unravel systemic racism we must take a proactive anti-racism stance; and

WHEREAS, we must listen to those who have endured centuries of discrimination and exclusion as they share the truth of their lived experiences; and we must seek solutions to remedy racial harm; and

WHEREAS, we are committed to fostering a safe, inclusive and civil community through our policies, our programming, and our leadership; we stand firm in our collective belief that a safe and civil environment for all across Piedmont is paramount; and

WHEREAS, we stand in support of all in our community, honoring and protecting every person regardless of race, creed, color, gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, ability, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity;……

READ the full staff report and Resolution by clicking below:

PCA Consideration of a Resolution Stating the City of Piedmont’s Unequivocal Rejection of Racism and Directing that the Black Lives Matter Flag be Flown during the Month of August 2020

 

Jul 30 2020

A significant percentage of Piedmonters are out of town and are unaware of the impacts.

 Dear Piedmonters,

I appeal to you to join me in lobbying our elected city leaders for an extension of time (beyond August 3rd) for the  second reading of the recently proposed Ordinances 750 and 751 (aka the “Reach Codes) for a variety of reasons including:

1)      Because the impact of these proposed ordinance affects all of Piedmont’s property owners, I believe it would be very welcomed and appropriate for the city to make a special effort to communicate these proposed ordinances to all Piedmont citizens.

2)      It’s my sense that a combination factors (e.g. COVID-19 and the summer season) results in a significant percentage of Piedmonters out of town and unaware of the Piedmont Posts’s  July 22nd reporting on the Reach Codes    In addition, those that have read the codes may find (as I do) that more time is needed to responsibly reflect upon the proposed ordinance and render productive feedback to our elected city leaders.

The benefits of achieving a broad awareness of the proposed Reach Codes, and the benefits of receiving constructive feedback from citizens and homeowners supports allowing more time before the second reading.

The text of the proposed ordinance can be found here:  https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=16846499

Thank you for your consideration

Dai Meagher, Piedmont Resident

Jun 17 2020

“Piedmont is the highest taxed city in the area.”

Letter to the Piedmont City Council regarding increase in Piedmont taxes.

Table 4 of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee (BAFPC) report provides scenarios of increased property transfer tax (RPTT) revenue based on alternative increases to the tax.  The analysis looks backward and provides you with increased revenue the city would have received over the past 10 years had these rates been in place.  That’s an understatement and I recommend you give direction to staff to conduct a fourth scenario that forecasts RPTT growth under the current tax rate that will occur based on the growth rate of the past 10 years.  This is very easy to do and will provide you with information to select the appropriate tax increase, if indeed one is needed at all. 
Three reasons: First, as the BAFPC analysis shows, Piedmont is the highest taxed city in the area and adding more taxes to that burden should be factually considered. Second, the Facilities Maintenance Fund is fully funded.  Third, as the Public Works Director said at your last meeting, facilities maintenance is on pace and substantial deferred maintenance has been achieved under current RPTT revenue.  As you know, the past 5 years have seen record RPTT receipts even in a period of declining sales so there is good reason to analyze whether the a tax increase is needed.

I have some questions for staff:

City Administrator:  the BAFPC recommended city staff dialogue with PUSD officials about how increases in city taxes might impact the District’s need for additional funds.  Can you elaborate on these discussions?

Finance Director:  even in the midst of the pandemic, you recently stated the real estate market is “robust”. Can you elaborate on your projection that revenue will drop by 29% in 20-21,  yielding a RPTT of $2.2M.  Is that due to a drop in the number of sales or home prices?

Assistant City Clerk; You stated that under the City Charter, a bond initiative might require two votes.  Can you elaborate on that and any conclusions?  If that were the case, some have suggested a facilities district as a way to avoid 2 votes. I recommend Council abide by the Piedmont City Charter.

Garrett Keating
Former Member Piedmont City Council 
Link to Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee report > Receipt of a Report from the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee on Financing Options for Improvement of City Facilities
Apr 29 2020

Two Council seats are on the November 2020 Piedmont ballot.

Piedmont will hold a City Council election on November 3, 2020 at the California General Election (Presidential Election).

Candidacy Preparation

Mayor Robert “Bob” McBain having served two terms on the City Council will be “termed out” according to the Piedmont City Charter, and he cannot remain on the City Council or seek re-election.  His retirement  leaves an entirely open seat for a new council member. 

An additional seat is also up at the 2020 election.  Council member Jennifer Cavenaugh will have served one four year term and is eligible to seek a second four year Council term on November 3.

Citizens of Piedmont interested in serving on the Piedmont City Council can consider their qualifications, support, and willingness to serve for a four year term on the Piedmont City Council.

Serving as a member of the City Council is a volunteer position without compensation.  Only authorized expenses and travel are provided for the council members. Time spent on city matters varies tremendously by council members.  The time expended may average between 5 to 40 hours per week depending on current issues and council member efforts.

Usually, there are 2 to 3 scheduled public meetings per month with outside meetings adding considerably to council member schedules.  Council members also field resident inquiries and comments. 

Campaign election committees generally form prior to or during the summer of an election year.  Public facilities, including City owned addresses and property, may not be used for campaign purposes.

Candidate filings will begin in Piedmont City Hall July 2020 and end in August.  For detailed and specific information on candidacy requirements and dates, contact:

City Clerk John Tulloch at 510/420-3040.

Piedmont City Charter:

ARTICLE VIII. Elections SECTION 8.01 GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS General Municipal elections for the election of officers and for such other purposes as the City Council may proscribe, shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November in even numbered years. (Charter Amendment 11/04/2014)

Editors’ Note:  PCA does not support or oppose candidates for public office or ballot measures. 

Jan 30 2020

State laws ending single-family zoning have a great impact on Piedmont’s parcel tax system and method of supporting city services.

Piedmont, one of California’s most heavily taxed cities, proposes and taxes three housing units on single-family parcels as though there was just one household  – with no commensurate parcel tax to cover the public service needs (parks, recreation, library services, police, fire) of the additional families.

On March 3, 2020, Piedmonters have a renewal of the City parcel tax on their ballot, Measure T,  found at the end of Piedmont ballots.  As written, Measure T does not distinguish between a one family dwelling unit on a single-family parcel and a parcel that has two or three dwelling units on a single-family parcel. 

New State laws impacting “Single-family” residential parcels are intended by the State of California to result in many new dwelling units in former single-family zoned housing by adding one or two units – up to three residential units – on a single parcel.  The March 3rd parcel tax, Measure T, does not reflect this new reality as parcels will be taxed on the basis of one residence on a parcel in the “Single-family” category.

Piedmont is financially impacted by the new housing requirements made at the state level increasing densification. Piedmont’s system of supporting itself has for decades been based on taxing single-family properties in Piedmont containing one single-family residence/household on a parcel.  

Many California cities have increased their sales taxes to gain needed revenue.  Piedmont, zoned primarily for “single-family” residences, has relatively little commercial property and thus very little opportunity for increased sales tax revenue. Voter approved parcel taxes in Piedmont, property transfer taxes, and increased property valuations have allowed Piedmont to prosper.  

Those parcels with the newly allowable 3 housing units on their property will pay no more for the densification of their properties despite windfall income without additional  taxes for the service needs of additional families.

READ the Measure T Tax Tables for Piedmont Basic Municipal Service>HERE.

Increasing the number of households in Piedmont will require additional services – street safety, parking, fire protection, public schools, city administration, public open spaces, police services, etc. – without commensurate increases in revenue. 

Push for more affordable housing in California.

In 2019, the population outflow from the State of California was more than 200,000 citizens relocating to other states.  The figure reported by the US Census Bureau is 203,414.  While California is expected to lose a Congressional Representative after 2020, Texas may gain three Congress persons due to dramatic population increase.

“In the 1970’s citizen activists [in CA] created urban growth boundaries and land trusts to preserve open space and delicate coastal habitats.” Following Prop 13, “Cash hungry cities opted to zone for commercial uses, which would generate sales taxes, instead of affordable housing.” (New York Times 12/1/19)

With the press of political demands for more housing, the State of California has taken a dramatic step to remove restrictions on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).  When ADUs are added to single-family zoned parcels, many requirements have been eliminated: setbacks, floor area ratios, view protections, parking, owner occupancy, public participation, notification, and other factors.

School taxes.

In November 2019, Piedmonters voted overwhelmingly by over 82% to tax individual parcels.  Every parcel has the same tax basis of approximately $2,700. An additional tax based on square footage of living space is also added to individual parcel taxes.  The taxation needs for the school parcel tax were based on expected student populations.

READ the approved 2019 Piedmont School Parcel Tax Measure HERE.

Unlike San Mateo, the Piedmont City Council accepted the new State laws and has shown no effort to enforce the City Charter which gives Piedmont voters the right to have a say in what happens to Piedmont’s zoning.  Further, the Piedmont City Council took no action or policy position on the various housing initiatives put forth in Sacramento that take away local laws even though the legislation was contrary to Piedmont’s City Charter.

Piedmont’s Charter was written to guarantee Piedmont voters the right to control many aspects of the City including elections, finances, budgets, police and fire departments, public schools, public borrowing, zoning, etc.  

 Charter cities in California have lost significant local authority over land use and public participation in decisions. 

The recent court decision in a San Mateo County Court to uphold and acknowledge San Mateo’s City Charter regarding a housing project could eventually impact Piedmont.  The San Mateo Court decision does indicate a judicial act protecting Charter City rights.  

The Piedmont City Council per the City Charter has the responsibility of enforcing the City Charter and putting before Piedmont voters recommended changes to zoning – single-family, multi-family, commercial, and public zones, yet nothing has been placed before the voters.  Other City Charter changes and amendments were on a recent ballot and approved by Piedmont voters.

Piedmonters for over a century held control over land use decisions, police and fire services,  public schools, parks, etc. through the City Charter.

Affordable housing in Piedmont

In Piedmont, the abandoned PG&E property on Linda Avenue next to the Oakland Avenue Bridge, was noted in Piedmont’s General Plan, as an optimal location for affordable housing – close to schools, transportation, stores and parks.  Disregarding Piedmont’s General Plan and Piedmont’s City Charter, the City Council permitted a number of market-rate townhouses to be built on the former PG&E site without including any affordable housing and illegally rezoning the property from public usage to the multi-family zone without a citizen vote on the rezoning, as required by Piedmont’s City Charter.