Oct 13 2020

I met Cory Smegal back in 2009 when we had young children and were co-presidents of our respective elementary school parent clubs. Since those early days of working together, I’ve watched as Cory has consistently taken on new and increasingly significant roles to support our students and the school district.In addition, now I’m privileged to call her my friend.

Most recently, I had the opportunity to work closely with Cory last year when I was president of PHS Parents’ Club. Cory was always a supportive and active School Board member, even before the world was turned upside down by the pandemic.

One of the things I respect most about Cory is that she always anchors her positions and efforts on what’s best for our students. And over the past four years she has also led the charge for our district to advocate for children across the state. In this way, she works for ways that Piedmont can take a leadership role in ensuring quality education for all.

The attributes that make Cory a great friend also make her a great community leader. She listens, is responsive, and works hard. She’s thoughtful, balanced and diligently researches her positions before she reaches conclusions or acts upon them.

And Cory is pragmatic, with a strong sense of fiduciary responsibility. More than anything, Cory cares deeply for our town and its children.

Please join me in re-electing Cory Smegal for School Board.

Laura Katter

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 12 2020

While support signs for UU are seen throughout Piedmont – letters mailed, opinions voiced, editorials, questions and comments opposing and supporting Measure UU continue.  For approval of the $19.5 million in 30 year bonds, 2/3rds of those voting on the pool bonds must vote yes. 

YES -Pool proponents have stated Piedmont needs a working, non-leaking municipal pool, and it is timely and cost-effective to issue the bonds to allow the designing and building of two enlarged pools and Aquatic Facilities.  Pools were costing the City $1,000 per day prior to the closure by Alameda County COVID-19 mandate.  Proponents note the new pool facility will be used by the schools, swim teams, Recreation Department, and the general public. The added operating costs of the Facility are projected to be covered by an increase in community-at-large usage. 

NO – City records show tens of millions of dollars in outstanding City financial obligations, and opponents state the City should first fund current obligations and needed Police and Fire facilities before a yet-to-be-designed expensive multi-pool Aquatic Facility.  A lack of prioritization of City needs, increased congestion next to schools, higher taxes, poor economic timing,  environmental impacts, financial money-pit, mis-management, oversized costs, and Covid -19  are noted as negatives.

Voters are encouraged to read and consider available official information linked below.

Official Measure UU – Pool Construction Bonds information

*The “City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis of Measure UU” is provided by Piedmont’s contract City Attorney.

Measure UU is found near the end of Piedmont voters ballots.

Oct 12 2020

 Endorser Forum:  Pool Bonds, Measure UU:  Wednesday, October 14, 6:00 – 6:30 p.m.

This forum will be on YouTube. The City of Piedmont is legally not allowed to use public resources for political purposes. Prior to the forum, the Piedmont League of Women Voters endorsed  Measure UU.

>Submit Questions Now

Join the League of Women Voters of Piedmont for a virtual Election Forum featuring proponents and opponents of City of Piedmont Ballot Measure UU. Measure UU authorizes the city to issue bonds to reconstruct the Piedmont Community Pool. Each side will be given two minutes to present an opening statement, followed by a question and answer session where each side will have one minute to answer each question. Submit your questions concerning Measure UU now or during the event.

  • When: Wednesday, October 14, 2020 from 6pm to 6:30pm
  • Where: Livestream on the LWVP YouTube channel
  • Who: Official Representatives in favor of and opposed to Ballot Measure UU

You may submit questions during the livestream by using the YouTube comments or anytime prior to or during the event by completing the anonymous form below or sending an email to lwvpiedmont@gmail.com.

For more information about Measure UU, review LWVP Pros & Cons.

Oct 11 2020

Piedmont Measure TT increases the “flat rate” property tax  on  sales of all Piedmont homes and properties. Measure TT officially states, “this measure is not a commitment to any particular action or purpose.” 

The 35% tax increase will be levied as a percentage of the property sales price adding thousands of dollars to the cost of selling a property in Piedmont.  With a low bar for passage (one vote plus 50%), if approved by a simple majority of Piedmont voters, TT will become effective on all property sales in Piedmont on July 1, 2021.  Read official details below.

Proponents and Opponents use different terms to argue that TT would or would not establish the highest transfer taxes in California. 

TT Proponents rely on the handful of California cities such as Oakland and Berkeley that have created “stepped” graduated transfer taxes based on the sales price range in their cities, and then compare the highest tax rates for the highest priced properties with Piedmont’s flat rate.  Berkeley’s median house value is 1/2 of Piedmont’s and Oakland’s median house value is 1/3 of Piedmont’s, so their steps do not fit the Piedmont range. (See Alameda County median values here). 

TT Opponents claim TT is the highest California “flat” transfer tax because more than 90% of California cities have flat rates under $2 per $1000 compared to Measure TT’s proposed flat rate of $17.50 per $1000 .  (See California city Transfer Tax rates here .)  Note: Alameda County adds an additional amount to the transfer tax.

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Proponents state the money will be used by the City of Piedmont for essential services, and the tax is comparable to some other cities. “The proposed tax increase will provide necessary funds for maintaining and improving city facilities, streets, sidewalks, and parks.”  Proponents claim that opponents are wrong to state that Piedmont would have the highest Transfer Tax.

Opponents state Piedmont will have the highest “flat” Transfer Tax rate in California and will take away homeowner profits.  “Voters must demand accountability measures before passing such a high homeowner tax.” Also, Piedmonters just approved a City parcel tax for  municipal purposes, and Measure TT does not identify specific uses. 

Click each item below to read official information on the measure, liens, bankruptcies, etc.:

*The “City Attorney’s Impartial Analysis of Measure TT” is provided by Piedmont’s contract City Attorney.

Oct 11 2020

I have watched Conna in action in many volunteer situations.  She listens, she is curious, she asks questions, she seeks many opinions.  She understands there is a process and is not afraid to speak up and advocate for what she feels is right.  She really knows how to build bridges and seeks the higher ground.  She is a problem solver.  She is the right woman for the job and future of Piedmont.

Vote for Conna McCarthy for City Council.

Sincerely, Valerie Corvin

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 11 2020
I have had the pleasure of knowing Cory since our children attended Wildwood Elementary. We worked together on many parent club boards (Wildwood, PMS, and PHS) and also co-chaired The Giving Campaign for two years.
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Cory is dedicated to public education and always has the best interests of our students at heart. With her extensive volunteer background, she understands our school system on every level, has a strong financial background and is familiar with district budgets, and she listens respectfully to all stakeholders points of view before making decisions. During this unprecedented time, we need someone with her experience to guide us through a safe return to the classroom.
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No one is more qualified to advocate for the continued excellence of our schools. Please join me in voting for Cory Smegal on November 3rd!
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Terri Burge
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 11 2020

Conna’s commitment to our community is obvious – through her participation on school parent boards, chairing of fundraising activities, service as Recreation Commissioner and spearheading of city campaigns.

Conna thrives on creative problem solving and seeks out diverse opinions in order to find solutions. Her community interests range from school sports and civic programs to city beatification and the arts. And, I must add, her love for the Piedmont community is clearly evident in her vast purple and white wardrobe!

Most inspiring, however, is the way Conna has prioritized service to others and instilled this value in her family. Whether serving our country, our community or vulnerable segments of the population, Conna, Peter and their children have all made career and volunteer choices that contribute to the greater good.

Conna has integrity, a collaborative spirit and loves our community. I have seen this commitment and witnessed her tireless efforts serving Piedmont over the past 25 years.

Please join me and the entire Meyersieck family and vote for Conna McCarthy for City Council!

Lindsey Meyersieck

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 10 2020

Conna has the vision, experience, prodigious energy and intelligence to guide Piedmont through these challenging times. She has a deep understanding of the issues facing our town and a remarkable gift of listening to all points of view with respect. Her almost thirty years of outstanding service to our schools and city make Conna a most qualified candidate.

Please join me in supporting Conna McCarthy for City Council.

Valerie Matzger, Former Piedmont Mayor

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author. 
Oct 9 2020

When I think about Piedmont, the iconic image that comes to mind is the center of town – the 4 schools, the tennis courts, Piedmont Park and City Hall.  And, in the middle – the pool. We live in a really beautiful place and the pool is a vital part.

This picture fades when you foresee the pool drained and the site pad-locked. Further, it is difficult to imagine it replaced by anything else. I can’t see, and don’t want, it “developed” for alternative (commercial) purposes. That’s not Piedmont. What belongs there is a pool. This is where our kids learn to swim. This is where my parents took me to learn to swim. Why would we take that away from our community and future residents? A cost/benefit analysis falls woefully short of responding to that question. Nobody applies that logic to the other amenities.

We rightfully take pride in our city. We should be a community that does not require a “fiscal” conclusion to support inherently valuable projects. We have parks, fields and courts for our citizens and students to pursue their athletic interests. Swimmers and water polo players deserve the same. Make no mistake, the pool augments the quintessential Piedmont “selling point” – the Schools.

Should UU fail, Piedmont High School and it’s swimming and water polo teams will be without a pool. Would some families opt for private schools that have pools? Seems likely. Replacing the pool is a great opportunity. The proposed plan ties the pool and the tennis courts together and creates a modern and attractive recreational facility. This is more than a replacement – it’s an improvement.

Think about recent projects. Does anyone regret remodeling Hampton Field? Do we wish we hadn’t spent the money to replace Havens? Of course not. All things have a lifespan whether we are talking about civic amenities or personal property. Well, the pool’s life has ended and it is our responsibility to get it replaced.

Those that oppose Measure UU because they ‘don’t use the pool’ or ‘don’t like how it will be funded’ should consider the risks of shuttering the pool. How does creating a blight improve our city? Whatever the objection, in the long-run this project enhances Piedmont, which benefits us all. Because Piedmont’s a community and not just an address, we owe it to the past and future to get this done.

Please vote ‘YES’ on UU.

Chris Hart, Current President Piedmont High School Boosters, Prior President Piedmont Baseball Softball Foundation

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 9 2020

We all know that public services will be under tremendous pressure during this pandemic and its aftermath, and we need professionals with judgment, deep understanding of the hard trade-offs local governments face, and compassion to meet this moment.  We’ve closely watched the work of the Piedmont City Council during our over two decades as residents, and this is a time when we need our very best.

Jen Cavanaugh has earned our trust and deserves re-election, and there’s no public servant better-qualified to join her on the Council than Conna McCarthy.  Conna understands how government works, and especially how Piedmont works, and has proved her commitment through her service on everything from the Municipal Tax Review Committee, the Recreation Commission, parcel tax campaigns, and her deep roots in this community.  She will be an extraordinary Council member at a critical time.

We are voting for Conna McCarthy and Jen Cavanaugh, and we urge others to join us. 

Jeff and Becky Bleich, Piedmont Residents
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.