Sep 16 2018

Dear Editor:

I am grateful when quality school board members decide to run for re-election. As the only incumbent, Board Vice President Amal Smith will continue to bring a K-12 perspective to board deliberations and decision-making, keeping the needs of all students first.

In addition to the fiduciary experience she has gained in her first term, Amal brings a wealth of knowledge to the Board with 28 years of higher education budget, finance, and management experience.

Most importantly, Amal brings an unwavering commitment to working collaboratively with others to solve problems with thoughtfulness, common sense, and an open mind.

Please join me in voting for Amal Smith on November 6th. Thank you.

All the best,
June Monach
Former School Board President and Trustee

Sep 5 2018

Dear Editor:

I am proud to support the candidacy of Megan Pillsbury for Piedmont’s most important School Board. When someone so intelligent, even-tempered, and deeply experienced with the most intricate workings of our town’s schools, steps up to serve on the School Board, we all should be grateful. As a beloved and dedicated Elementary School teacher at both Wildwood and Havens, her ever-present concern of the best interests of her students led her to devise new systems of communications between parents and teachers, more academic support and interchange between teachers, and serious curriculum review.

Megan was elected, more than once, by her peers to be Vice President of the teachers’ union because they trusted she could steer a genuine path for teachers, parents and administrators; she worked hard at doing just that. Her experience and training would be invaluable in governing the school decisions Piedmont will soon be facing, such as teacher shortages, STEAM programs and building challenges. Most recently, Megan worked to develop a curriculum for “Amplify Science” at the Lawrence Hall of Science, a digital program for K-3 students. She then volunteered as an outreach educator for the Lawrence Hall programs.

It is time we had the input of a dedicated and experienced academic on Piedmont’s School Board; Megan Pillsbury truly “fits the bill” with her hands-on work right here in our Piedmont schools. She is the perfect candidate at the perfect time to work on ensuring a program of academic excellence for our children delivered by a committed, satisfied faculty.

Nancy Lehrkind
Campaign Co-Chair
Megan Pillsbury for School Board

Aug 28 2018

Bidding procedures, Council authority regarding Council-hired key employees, candidates for City Council, meeting requirements, etc.

On their November 2018 ballot, Piedmont voters will have two ballot measures, BB and CC, proposing changes to Piedmont’s City Charter.  To become law, changes to the City Charter require a majority of Piedmont voters voting on the measures to approve the measures.  The proposed changes are extensive, ranging from how Piedmont government operates to bidding requirements.

 Arguments for and against the City Charter changes have been filed by proponents and opponents. 

Click below to read the pro and con arguments to be printed in voter information pamphlets. 

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Measure BB – Reduction in bidding requirements,  procedural changes, candidacy for City Council, meeting requirements, etc. 

CHARTER AMENDMENT MEASURE BB “Shall the measure amending the Charter of the City of Piedmont to modify procedures for filling of vacancies in elected offices for City Council and Board of Education for the Piedmont Unified School District, modify term limits for the City Council, and making other clarifying amendments regarding City recordkeeping, format of City ordinances, public posting, City contract approval, operation of City Council meetings, and other minor technical amendments, be adopted?”

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Measure CC – Eliminates Council authority over  Council-hired key employees  –

CHARTER AMENDMENT MEASURE  CC “Shall the measure amending the Charter of the City of Piedmont to clarify the duties and reporting structure for officers and employees of the City be adopted?”

City Charter Measures BB and CC will be on Piedmont November 6, 2018 Ballots.

Updated 8/29/18
Aug 21 2018

The Editorial Board wants our many readers to know the Piedmont Civic Association (PCA) does not endorse, support, or oppose candidates for public office or ballot measures. Opinions expressed are those of the authors.

PCA’s goal is to inform and encourage participation in Piedmont civic matters.

Candidate and ballot measure information is welcomed free on this site.

Information, photos, endorsements, and opinions can be submitted.

PCA Editorial Guidelines do not allow attacks on persons.

Aug 21 2018

“Piedmont’s School Board must make policy that provides for all of our children because that’s what all of them are: our children.”   Julie Caskey spoke to, and listened to over 40 supporters on Sunday (Aug 19), where she outlined her emphasis for seeking election to the School Board. “We have to give all of our kids a chance to shine, not just our athletes and mathletes.  We want to instill in each of them a love of learning and provide a place for each to find the inspiration that speaks to them.”  Piedmont’s Vice Mayor, Teddy King, spoke in support of Julie’s election to the School Board, saying that Julie would be collaborative with our city’s government, reinforcing King’s own efforts to build more coordination between the City and the School District.

Having worked on innumerable volunteer activities, including the PMS and Beach Parent Clubs, the Appreciating Diversity Committee, the PHS Site Council, and currently, the H1 Bond Citizens’ Oversight Committee, Julie is well prepared to take up the formal responsibilities of a School Board member.  If elected, Julie would add to the only two School Board members with children in Piedmont’s schools, and be the only one with children in elementary and middle school.  Bringing a parent’s perspective to the Board, she wants to create more transparency and outreach for new Board initiatives, getting feedback from concerned parents before new policies are put in place.  As she described to her supporters, “Current parents in our schools know their kids, their kid’s teachers, other kids’ teachers, and the staff, those very important people at each school who make it run like it does.”  The School Board needs more of that on-the-ground connection.

Coming from a family of four diverse siblings, and having four distinctive children of her own, Julie wants to ensure that every Piedmont child, whether high ability, or having unusual ways of learning, or is just a regular kid, all of our children should feel welcomed, included, and inspired within our schools.  She wants to make sure that appreciating and accepting diversity of all kinds is unmistakably the guiding charter of our schools.  To Julie, “Students First” means all students.  As a public interest lawyer, Julie Caskey’s professional life has been that of standing up for and defending women, children, and families that have been marginalized, excluded, left behind.

Julie also emphasized her intention to ensure greater oversight, transparency and accountability in the operations of Piedmont’s school system.  Her legal skills of asking questions and investigating, as well as her skills in negotiating and finding mutually acceptable resolution to problems, will provide our School Board with the talent it needs to assure that the Superintendent and administrative staff are responsive to the values of Piedmont’s citizens.  That is the School Board’s job and is the responsibility that Julie is campaigning to carry forward.  As Teddy King mentioned, “Julie is not afraid to stand up for what’s right.”

Abe Boskovitz and Sharon Sagiv, who has served the School District as a former President of PRAISE, the special education support group, hosted the supporters’ gathering because they know Julie and believe in her willingness to take on School Board responsibility.  But before becoming elected, Julie has had to take on a different job, that of a candidate running for the office.  She spends hours, days, and weeks knocking on doors, offering to discuss School Board issues with neighbors, and gathering acquaintances to help her with house parties, writing letters, canvassing and contributing money.  It’s not fun, nor is it the work she really wants to do.  But it is the work that is necessary in order to serve our schools in the way that her skills and talents can really make a difference.

Bruce Joffe, Piedmont Resident

Aug 13 2018

Piedmont Election – November 6, 2018

Candidates seeking election to the three open City Council seats are:

  • Betsy Smegal Andersen – Appointed Council member
  • Nancy “Sunny” Bostrom-Fleming
  • Teddy Gray King -Vice Mayor – Incumbent
  • Tim Rood – Council member – Incumbent  

The nomination period for City Council candidacy ended on August 10th because the two incumbents filed re-election nomination papers. 

The Board of Education Nomination Period has been extended to Wednesday, August 15th because Incumbent Doug Ireland is not seeking re-election. 

Candidates seeking election to the two School Board seats are:

  • Julie A. Caskey
  • Megan Pillsbury
  • Amal Smith – Incumbent
  • Hari Titan

Louis Wu has had nomination papers issued, but has yet to submit all qualifying nomination papers which are due on 8/15/18.

For more information on the candidates, click the link below:

> Candidate List 2018

(current as of 8/13/18)

Aug 12 2018

Will any group or resident submit an opposing argument in the Piedmont Voter Information Pamphlet for all Piedmonters to read regarding the November 6, 2018 Election to change Piedmont’s City Charter

A controversial Charter change example would be requiring the Council to hire key employees, but prohibit the Council from firing  these same key employees. 

The City Council set a deadline of Friday, August 17, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. for the submission of direct arguments for and against the measures to be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office. Direct arguments are limited to 300 words and are confidential until the deadline.

The Council also set a deadline of Friday, August 24, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. for the submission of rebuttal arguments to the City Clerk’s Office. Rebuttal arguments are limited to 250 words and are confidential until the deadline.

Residents or groups interested in submitting arguments are encouraged to contact the City Clerk’s Office at (510) 420-3040 for more information.

“The City Council authorized Mayor McBain and Councilmember Rood to prepare and sign a direct argument in favor (and, if necessary, a rebuttal argument) of the proposed charter amendment measures on the November 6, 2018 General Municipal Election ballot.”

There is no charge to place a pro or con argument in the Voter Information Pamphlet. 

Deadline to file Arguments with the City Clerk In Favor/Against Measures on the November 6, 2018 General Election is:

Friday, August 17, 2018  by 4:00 p.m. with the City Clerk of Piedmont, 120 Vista Avenue. 

CONTACT CITY CLERK JOHN TULLOCH AT  

420-3040

The City Council has proposed numerous changes to Piedmont’s City Charter to be voted upon at the November 6, 2018 Election.  The City Charter is the primary legal document for Piedmont governance. 

Controversy has surrounded the Council’s City Charter revisions approach, by making themselves the exclusive body to consider the changes. Groups and individual residents asked the Council to broaden the input and to thoroughly consider the language and proposed revisions. This did not happen.  None of Piedmont’s commissions or committees were asked to provide their input.  Some individuals spoke to the Council regarding proposals at their meetings while leaving subjects unresolved and questions unanswered.

One example of controversy has been the Charter revision to require the Council to hire key employees, such as the Police Chief, Fire Chief, Finance Director, but the Council would be henceforth forbidden from firing these same employees who they have hired.  Only the City Administrator would be able to fire those same employees.  This revision represents a definite change in how for decades Piedmont has been governed.  The change is presented as a “clarification.”

Ballot language approved by Council states:

CHARTER AMENDMENT MEASURE ___ “Shall the measure amending the Charter of the City of Piedmont to clarify the duties and reporting structure for officers and employees of the City be adopted?

If approved by Piedmont voters on November 6, 2018, the proposed changes become law.

Second proposed Charter Amendment states:

CHARTER AMENDMENT MEASURE ___ “Shall the measure amending the Charter of the City of Piedmont to modify procedures for filling of vacancies in elected offices for City Council and Board of Education for the Piedmont Unified School District, modify term limits for the City Council, and making other clarifying amendments regarding City record keeping, format of City ordinances, public posting, City contract approval, operation of City Council meetings, and other minor technical amendments, be adopted?”

If an argument Against one or both of the two City Charter Ballot measures is filed, there will be an opportunity for rebuttals by opponents and supporters in the Voter Information Pamphlet.

Deadline to file Rebuttal Arguments In Favor/Against a Measure on the November 6, 2018 General Election August 24, 2018.

Filing information based on City Council action:

“SECTION 4. The last day for filing direct arguments for or against the measure shall be August 17, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. and all such arguments shall be filed with the Piedmont City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, California and shall not exceed 300 words in length. The City Clerk, upon receipt of arguments and after the filing deadline, shall immediately transmit copies to any known opposing parties who may then submit rebuttals within the time period described in Section 5 below. Arguments received prior to the deadline shall be confidential until the deadline.

SECTION 5. The last day for filing rebuttal arguments for or against the measure shall be August 24, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. and all such arguments shall be filed with the Piedmont City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, California and shall not exceed 250 words in length. Arguments received prior to the deadline are confidential until the deadline.

SECTION 6. Pursuant to Elections Code Section 9295, the ten (10) day public review period for direct arguments submitted shall open at 4:00 p.m. on August 17, 2018 and shall close at 4:00 p.m. on August 27, 2018. If a rebuttal argument is submitted, the ten (10) day public review period shall open at 4:00 p.m. on August 24, 2018 and shall close at 4:00 p.m. on September 3, 2018. 

Read the staff reports on Charter changes HERE.

For additional information on the schedule and requirements for arguments, contact:

John Tulloch, City Clerk at 420-3040

Aug 11 2018

Nomination Period Extended for Board of Education Candidates to New Deadline: Wednesday, August 15, 2018 5:00 p.m. 

School Board Member Doug Ireland is not seeking re-election.

The City Council Nomination Period has ended, as all City Council incumbents have filed for re-election.

The Nomination Period for the two seats on the Board of Education which are up for election at the November 6, 2018 General Municipal Election has been extended to Wednesday, August 15th, due to incumbent Doug Ireland not seeking re-election. The nomination period for seats on the City Council has closed.

Currently, five candidates have taken out nomination papers for seats on the Board of Education and four have qualified for the ballot.

Residents interested in taking out nomination papers for the Board of Education should contact the City Clerk’s Office at (510) 420-3040 as soon as possible to set up an appointment to be issued papers. The California Elections Code requires that nomination papers be issued in person to the prospective candidate at City Hall. The process of issuing nomination papers takes approximately one hour.

The extended deadline for submitting completed nomination papers is 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15th. Details on the nomination process are available in the Guide to Nomination and Candidacy, which is available on the City’s web site.

Residents with questions about the process or wishing to make an appointment can call the City Clerk’s office at (510) 420-3040.

Contact: John O. Tulloch, City Clerk

The names of candidates filing and qualifying for the School Board and City Council November 6, 2018 Election have not been announced by the City Clerk, as of 8/10/18.

Aug 11 2018

November 2018 Ballot Measure Proposes to Alter How Piedmont is Governed through a City Charter Revision  – 

The Piedmont City Charter revision on the November 2018 Ballot requires the City Council to hire key Piedmont employees, such as the Police Chief, Fire Chief, Finance Director, City Clerk, Planning Director, and Public Works Director.  However, the Council would be prohibited from terminating the employees they hired under the proposed Charter revision, which would allow only the City Administrator to terminate those Council hired employees. 

A number of Piedmonters have stated this revision to the City Charter changes Piedmont governance creating an inherently flawed system and should not be approved by Piedmont voters at the November 2018 election.   

Council hired employees would serve at “the pleasure of the the City Administrator,” not the Council that recruited, chose and hired them. 

George Childs, long time observer and spokesman regarding Piedmont governance, wrote:

Our government is supposed to be based on a system of checks and balances. To put the entire responsibility for firing on one individual [City Administrator] flies in the face of this concept. We have seen the dangers in letting one administrator guide major decisions.

Melanie Robertson, former Piedmont Planning Commissioner and active community volunteer writes:

I agree with George Childs’ comment re the dangers of having one individual have sole responsibility for firing city officials. This definitely is not a good idea. Our city officials are hard working, talented and dedicated individuals, and a setup such as this needlessly puts their careers in jeopardy if they don’t happen to see eye-to-eye with the administrator.  It also makes the city more vulnerable to wrongful termination lawsuits. A system of checks and balances is a better alternative for both city staff and residents of Piedmont.

Piedmont voters will have one opportunity to vote on the proposed City Charter changes at the November 6, 2018 Election. 

Aug 9 2018

At the November 6, 2018 General Election, Amal Smith seeks re-election to the Piedmont School Board  –

Amal Smith

Piedmont school board member Amal Smith filed candidate nomination papers for one of the open seats on the Board of Education in the November 2018 election. Amal was elected to the board in 2014 after serving as an active volunteer in the school community for almost 14 years, ranging from classroom volunteer to leadership roles on parent club boards and the Piedmont Educational Foundation.

Ms. Smith and her husband, Rick, moved their family to Piedmont in 1998. They have two sons: Connor who works in San Francisco after graduating from Vanderbilt University, and Luke, a senior at University of Texas in Austin. “The idea of community and community work is very important to me. I have a deep interest in building and supporting community, especially this one where we were able to establish roots and raise our sons. It has been a real privilege and honor to work with the smart and thoughtful people who support our community and its schools,” she explained.

“I have almost 20 years of volunteer service and with every year of service, I learn more and more about how things work in our district: the rules, the finances, the partnerships, the people, the context in which decisions are made,” she said. In addition to her current tenure on the school board, Ms. Smith has extensive volunteer experience. She was active in the Beach Elementary School community, serving as president, vice president, and treasurer, as well as a volunteer for the Parent Educator and Meet the Masters programs. She served for six years on the Piedmont Educational Foundation board, serving on the grants committee, as treasurer for three years, and president for two years. She was treasurer for two years on the PHS Parents Club, a member of the PHS Wellness Center Advisory Board, and a facilitator for the Piedmont Parent Network. She was a member of the District’s Budget Advisory Committee for 10 years, and a volunteer on school parcel tax and bond measure campaigns.

“My primary priorities are to continue to hold a strategic, long-term perspective to build and sustain an educational program—from the sciences to the liberal arts—that gives all our students a strong academic base, intellectual curiosity, and skills to meet career goals and life challenges; attracting, developing, and retaining excellent teachers and district leaders; and on-going strong fiscal stewardship, including thoughtful and judicious oversight and implementation of the H1 school facilities bond program.”

Ms. Smith is currently the Associate Dean for Finance at the UCSF School of Medicine. She has almost 30 years of experience in higher education consulting and administration, including budget and resource allocation; financial analysis, management, and reporting; strategic planning and change management; and compliance, controls, and accountability. She has a BA in Psychology from UCLA, and a MBA from USC.

“During her service on the school board, Amal has shown her commitment to our children’s education. She combines a drive for high achievement with concern for student well-being, and applies her financial expertise to manage the district’s budget constraints,” says former school board president Rick Raushenbush, a member of Ms. Smith’s campaign committee. Her campaign committee also includes Hilary Cooper, Charlotte Ero, Cathie Geddeis, Anne-Marie Lamarche, Conna McCarthy, June Monach, and Rick Smith. Doug Ireland, Valerie Matzger, and Sue Smegal are the campaign committee honorary co-chairs.

Editors’ Note:  The Piedmont Civic Association welcomes information and comments  on candidates for public office.  PCA does not support or oppose any candidates.