Nov 9 2020

Thank you Piedmont for your wonderful support and votes!

My heartfelt gratitude to everyone who took the time to talk with me, read my website, watch me on the various Zoom forums, and consider me for the Council seat. All of you made this such an incredible experience for this first time candidate.

Although I am disappointed the election did not turn out the way I had hoped, I am committed to public service and look forward to offering my services in a way that will benefit our City. There is never a shortage of work to be done, so I am sure I will find a place to volunteer and contribute.

We are extremely fortunate to have Jen Cavanaugh’s expertise and energy for a second term. A special thanks goes out to her for her kindness and camaraderie during the campaign.

As our newest Council member, Conna McCarthy will continue her dedication and hard work for our City. I would like to extend my deepest, most heartfelt thanks to all of my diehard supporters. So many of you gave me good advice, good ideas, and kept my spirits high. I can’t thank you enough for getting me through my first campaign.

A big, loving thank you to my wonderful husband Mark for his help, support and encouragement. He was my campaign committee of one and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And last, a thank you to Kapo, our loyal 4 legged family member. She logged a lot of miles carrying my “Vote Herrick” sign and brought a smile to many people’s faces. She’ll miss the campaign trail. I wish you all good health, a lot less stress and lots of hope as we go forward into 2021.

In community and with joyful gratitude,

Connie Herrick, Former Candidate for City Council

Nov 4 2020

Hats off and praise is deserved for the thousands of Piedmonters who were involved in the Piedmont City Council and PUSD School Board elections, plus Piedmont Measures TT, increase in property transfer tax, and UU pool bonds.

Despite COVID – 19 encumbrances, residents endorsed, posted signs, mailed letters, donated to campaigns, and talked to friends and neighbors and then voted. Piedmonters once more showed a keen interest in Piedmont by participating.

Out of the 9 individuals who sought public office, five were elected – Council: Jen Cavenaugh and Conna McCarthy – School Board: Cory Smegal, Veronica Anderson Thigpen, and Hilary Cooper. 

The two City Council tax measures,  TT, increase in property transfer tax, lost by approximately 50 votes, and UU, pool bonds, was handily approved by over 2/3rds of the voters. 

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Piedmont election.

Updated election returns > https://www.acgov.org/rovresults/241/indexA.htm

Nov 3 2020

The following are Piedmont election results as of 9:25 p.m. November 3.  Election results are not final until all votes have been recorded and certified.  The elected candidates are listed in the order of votes gained.  Election results are unlikely to change. 

Elected to the City Council:

Jen Cavenaugh

Conna McCarthy

Elected to the School Board:

Cory Smegal

Veronica Anderson-Thigpen

Hilary Cooper

Piedmont Ballot Measures:

Measure TT – Increase in real property transfer tax – Failed – by 31 votes

Measure UU – Pool Bonds – Approved – by over 2/3rds of voters

Updates can be found on https://www.acgov.org/rovresults/241/indexA.htm

Nov 1 2020

In these crazy times, we can’t host a coffee or ring doorbells, so I’m writing to let you know that I’ve endorsed Veronica Anderson Thigpen for the PUSD School Board, and I heartily recommend voting for her.

I have known Veronica since she moved here in 2018, and joined the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee. Right away, Veronica added a clear, articulate voice on important issues, like the proposal to have an armed police officer stationed at PHS/MHS.

Soon after, Veronica took responsibility for managing MLK Day, which showcased her great skills as an organizer and leader. The day went perfectly, a real achievement with so many moving pieces. She impressed other Committee members so much that in only her second year Veronica became PADC’s co-President. She has demonstrated excellent people skills, good judgment and a willingness to dig into complex issues in search of practical solutions.

Veronica’s background as an education and business journalist for 18 years has given her a broad perspective on education. She works now as an advisor to school systems and educational non-profits looking to build equitable, inclusive and effective organizations. She is knowledgeable, smart, energetic, and community-minded.

Veronica also has a daughter who is a junior at PHS, where she has helped to launch a revitalized Black Student Union. Her husband, David Thigpen, heads the undergraduate Journalism Department at UC Berkeley.

I hope that you’ll join me in supporting Veronica, and talking her up with your friends. When door-to-door campaigning is out, we need to find other ways to connect!

Maude Pervere, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Nov 1 2020

– Environmental Voting Guide written by Piedmonter Emily Ballati –

Things-are-Heating-Up-Guide-to-Environmental-Voting

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author. 
Oct 29 2020

The Mercury News Editorial –

Editorial: Reject Piedmont property tax hike for pool repairs

The Mercury News editorial is copied below:

“Piedmont residents tax themselves to ensure that they have the best schools and premier city government. The average homeowner pays $4,400 in extra taxes for schools and another $635 for city services.

But those taxes also drive up the cost of housing in the exclusive city surrounded by Oakland and further ensure that those with average means will not be able to crack the city’s residential market.

Voters in Tuesday’s election will face two tax hikes. Measure TT, which we have previously recommended voters reject, would increase the city’s tax on property sales to state record-high levels. Now we look at Measure UU, a $19.5 million bond proposal to pay for replacing three old community pools with two new ones. Voters should reject that, too.

Based on the city estimates provided to voters, Measure UU would add an average $263 annually to the tax bill for a home assessed at the city average of slightly over $1 million.

It a bit of a tricky calculation for voters because city officials in the ballot wording obfuscated the projected average tax rate as 2.6 cents per $100 of assessed value rather than an easier-to-understand $26 per $100,000.

It turns out that the city overstated that rate, especially for the latter part of the 30-year tax. The firmer number is that city taxpayers would collectively pay about $1.3 million annually to retire the bonds needed to finance the construction.

To put that number in perspective, the city spends more than that – nearly $1.7 million to be precise – just to cover the interest payments on public employee pension debt. Put another way, most of the pool bond payments could be covered by Measure TT, which is expected to add about $948,462 annually to the city’s transfer tax revenues.

Individually and collectively, the two measures raise a question of, how much is too much? Rather than throwing multiple tax measures at voters, city leaders need to prioritize and look for savings elsewhere.”

Oct 28 2020

I would like to extend thanks to the nearly one thousand volunteers, endorsers, and donors who have come together to support the future of the Piedmont Community Pool.

Passing any measure requires a tremendous amount of effort and money to educate voters about the timeliness, thoughtfulness, and importance of the ballot initiative. Over the last few months, citizens of all ages and areas in Piedmont have volunteered to talk with their neighbors about the critical timing and benefits of Measure UU.

Over 100 donors have contributed to the campaign to provide funds to print flyers and mailers. Student and adult volunteers have spent thousands of hours making phone calls, sending emails, and distributing informational materials door-to-door. Despite the challenges of connecting in person, a comprehensive coalition of city and school leaders, community organizations, and volunteers emerged to support Measure UU. Their message?  A world-class city like Piedmont should have a local pool and all the concomitant programs (lessons, sports, programs) that serve to strengthen our community.

I especially applaud the countless volunteers who have been extra careful about reaching out to their neighbors in safe ways. To minimize direct, in-person exposure, volunteers only conducted phone calls or dropped off flyers with personally written letters detailing why it’s critical to pass Measure UU in November.

One of the most moving letters that I read was from a family that actually doesn’t use the pool at all, but understands the value of building an asset that is appreciated by their fellow citizens: old and young, big and small. Norman Rockwell could not paint a warmer picture of a shared journey.

While our broad political climate has never been more divisive, I am proud to see and say that Piedmonters continue to think and act beyond themselves, always in the best interests of our wonderful community.

Dion Lim, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 25 2020

The City Council Is Not Being Open And Transparent About Measure UU. If They Were, Residents Would Have Received This Measure UU Letter.

Dear Piedmonters,

Before you vote on Measure UU, we thought there were a few things we needed to tell you. We did tell you that the City has no outstanding General Obligation Bonds, but we didn’t mention that we have LOTS of debts – $7 million in sewer loans, $13 million in Post Employment Benefits Payable, and $26 million in Pension Benefits Payable.

Oh, and if our pension portfolio returns only 6.15% instead of the estimated 7.15% (you can get 7.15% on your investments in today’s crazy market with bonds yielding close to zero, can’t you?), our Pension Benefit Liability alone increases to over $43 million.

Speaking of deficits, did we mention that our General Fund – that is, unrestricted money that the City can spend on anything – has a deficit of about $9 million?

We also glossed over the fact that the ordinance we passed estimates that the total cost of the “improvements” is $23 million, but that it allows us to issue $19.5 million in bonds. Guess who is paying for the difference?

We also haven’t mentioned it, but by reading the City Council minutes for the last six months, you can see that we know about the major deficiencies in our ability to deliver essential public services – the Police Chief, Fire Chief, and City Administrator are all on the record as saying that we do not comply with the Essential Services Act, that the fire station may sustain major damage in an earthquake, and that it may cost up to $51 million to fix these problems. That’s why we are looking at creating a Community Facilities District (aka Mello-Roos) to make it easier to issue bonds backed by another special tax on Piedmont homeowners in the near future. And because we generally ask for the maximum amount, it will probably be for the full $51 million.

Finally, we haven’t mentioned that 100% of Piedmont citizens rely on our Police and Fire Departments, while an estimated 25% of citizens use the pool.

So, if we had placed two bond measures on the November ballot – $50 million for Police and Fire, and $20 million for a new pool, we knew what would happen. Citizens would vote to maintain essential services, but they would turn down the pool.

After spending $56 million in 2006 and another $66 million in 2016 on School District Bonds (all that money is gone, and they still haven’t finished their projects), $10 million per year on Measure G, $2.6 million per year on Measure H, and $2.4 million per year on Measure T, citizens are getting a little tax weary. After all, aren’t our property tax rates some of the highest in California?

So, think carefully before you vote on measure UU. We’ll see you soon with our new $51 million bond request. You will HAVE to vote yes to maintain city services, but you can vote NO on Measure UU.

Andy Wasserman, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 25 2020
I’m writing to encourage Piedmonters to elect Hari Titan to the Piedmont School Board.

Hari is a BIG supporter of Piedmont schools.  He has extensive experience in finances and a desire for the Piedmont schools to be the best they can be. Hari found many ways for our tax dollars to go further by paying for school bonds as we go, just like a fixed-rate mortgage.  By not deferring property taxes, Piedmont taxpayers saved $26 million.

Hari also fought for the cost-effectiveness of new construction for the high school theater and STEAM building, allowing for more seats, better acoustics, handicap access, net-zero energy use, and earthquake safety.

Hari has also fought for listening to our local epidemiologists and transparent school closure and reopening criteria. Hari will make sure we get back to educational excellence safely and as soon as possible.

Please join me in voting for Dr. Titan for the school board this year.

Patty White, Former Piedmont Mayor

~~~~~~~~~~~

 – Titan:  7 years of valuable aid to schools –  

Our home values are linked to Piedmont’s  historical reputation for excellent schools.   That reputation is starting to falter as evidenced by the unexpected loss of 81 students from our school district this year.  Once lost, it will take years to recover our reputation.

Titan is the School Board candidate who will add thoughtful management and responsible oversight to the School Board.  Since 2013 he’s contributed over 500 hours of time which produced well-conceived recommendations that saved our schools and taxpayers MILLIONS of dollars.

Our current school board is disproportionately influenced by the unions and our country-club society.  Board decisions are too often unanimous with little public deliberation and are often dismissive of thoughtful public input.  Titan will return  transparent governance to the school board.

My decision to vote for Titan is based on the content of his character and intellect.  His experience as a businessman, mathematician, scientist, and STEM college professor brings valuable diversity and professional acumen to the board.

Membership on the school board should not be a popularity contest.  Titan is the responsible candidate we need.

Dai Meagher, retired CPA, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 23 2020

I’m writing to you today in strong support of Conna McCarthy’s candidacy to serve on the Piedmont City Council.

To me, Conna McCarthy brings the best of public service to Piedmont’s civic life. She is smart, has a long history of volunteerism for the Piedmont schools and as a Recreation Commissioner.

In addition to her extraordinary work here in town, Conna’s commitment to progressive values stretches beyond Piedmont and has left an impact throughout the state of California. She’s led
voter registration efforts with Martin Luther King III, she’s advocated for women and people of color, she knows how to build coalitions and she gets the job done.

Conna is a consummate professional who knows how to listen to the needs of our beautiful community.

Please join me in supporting Conna McCarthy for Piedmont City Council.

Teddy Gray King
Vice Mayor, City of Piedmont

_____________

I am writing in full support of Jen Cavenaugh’s campaign for  re-election to the Piedmont City Council.  We met in 2011 when I was new to the city and our children attended Beach Elementary together.  

Over the past three years, I have gotten to know Jen better, both professionally and personally, through PADC (Piedmont Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee).  She is a strong advocate for inclusivity and truly listens to the perspectives of all stakeholders.  Her ability to build rapport, make strong connections, skillfully collaborate, and take action make her an ideal thought partner between the city and community members.

Her experience and background in management and business has proven to be an asset to the city and her deep understanding of fiduciary and fiscal responsibilities benefit both the city and the residents of Piedmont.   Her track record as an active volunteer and as a current City Council member speaks to her level of dedication and commitment to public service.  She will continue to serve the city well as a leader with integrity. 

I urge you to vote for Jen for re-election to the Piedmont City Council.

Jodi Biskup, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.