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

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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.
Oct 19 2020

2020 has been a year of complete chaos.

I was looking forward to summer but then, COVID-19 struck. So, instead of going to summer camps, I stayed home and found a great book, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. This got me interested in the early days of American history, the Revolutionary War and the creation of the U.S. Constitution.

As I began reading more about our history, I also became interested in the current elections. I became curious as to why so many people were talking about how this would be the most important election in American history. So, I did some research on the key races and the propositions just to educate myself and other kids like me. I even emailed a few candidates in the local elections to ask for interviews, so I could understand their positions and views.

To my surprise, many of them responded and shared their thoughts with me. Thank you so much to those candidates, Elena Condes and Mark Fickes for Alameda County Superior Court, and Jen Cavenaugh and Connie Herrick for Piedmont City Council. I hope you find this informative and I hope it gets other kids like me interested in our elections.

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Information and insights on national, statewide, and local races and propositions for the city of Piedmont by Piedmonter Keshav Rangan

Click below to download the comprehensive Election Guide for Nov. 3rd

The 2020 Election Through the Eyes of an 8th Grader, Piedmont CA 

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 19 2020

I am writing to enthusiastically support Jen Cavenaugh’s re-election to City Council. I have had the privilege of getting to know Jen through my work as co-chair of the Piedmont Racial Equity Campaign (PREC) Housing/Zoning committee and other community causes.

Jen is exactly the kind of intelligent, committed, progressive leader our city needs. In the time I’ve known Jen, I have consistently been impressed by her combination of knowledge, diplomatic skill, perseverance, attention to detail, and responsiveness to constituents.

When taking on complex issues such as state and local housing policy, policing, and physical and financial planning for our city’s future, Jen consistently does her research, asks smart and well-informed questions, communicates effectively, and follows through with concrete actions. Jen has been a powerful supporter of racial justice and equity, sustainability, good governance, and other progressive causes in Piedmont. We are very lucky to have a leader of her talent and capacity on the City Council. I urge my fellow Piedmonters to support her re-election.

Irene Cheng, Piedmont Resident, Associate Professor, California College of the Arts

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 19 2020
The Becker Family wholeheartedly supports Conna McCarthy as a candidate for Piedmont’s City Council.
The fact that Conna is willing to donate her inexhaustible talents to this city is sheer luck for the rest of us. Her credentials as a leader, an unsurpassed community organizer, a devoted wife and mother and her deep roots in political activism are of tremendous value to our city.
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A vote for Conna is a vote for us all. 
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Tami and Mark Becker and Family.
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Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 19 2020

Jen Cavenaugh will be getting my vote for Piedmont City Council this November 3. 

Jen is a dynamic leader who cares deeply about the issues facing our City. She listens closely to residents and takes action to develop solutions.

She is not afraid to address challenging and complicated issues facing our community such as racial bias and sexual harassment.

Jen was responsible for partnering with the Piedmont Recreation Department to bring much-needed classes on healthy relationships to kids in Piedmont.  She works hard to address racial equity, inclusiveness, and cares about the social-emotional development of our kids.

She brings community partners together to have hard conversations, develop a deeper understanding of the issues, and implement plans and policies to engage and improve our community.

I urge you to join me in supporting Jen Cavenaugh for Piedmont City Council.

Sarah Puckett, Piedmont resident 

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 17 2020

In this country and in this city, in particular, there is a significant discrepancy between the amount of money spent on private vs. public improvements. The current situation—crumbling public infrastructure—is the result of years of the community’s inability to fully commit to supporting our public facilities. I personally see Measure UU to rebuild the Piedmont Community Pool first and foremost as a simple question: whether we as a community value a pool or not?

City public improvements such as pools, parks, courts, tracks, and trails are the last remaining vestiges of what can be considered the commons—outdoor places that play a central role in both creating community and providing for the simple, nearby enjoyment of the outdoors. In an urban context, we would do well to not let our lives be limited to the experience of individual spaces, such as our cars or our homes. If we let our lives be connected only virtually by digital technologies we lose out in the richness of experience that our world has to offer. During this time of COVID, we have seen first-hand the division and mistrust, indeed the disintegration of the commons that virtual communities have fostered. A public pool in Piedmont will greatly enhance our City’s commons.

Public financing for a public improvement is appropriate. Does that mean that the City needs to have bids before agreeing on the Measure UU? Of course not. Do you go out and get bids for a bathroom remodel before you decide as a household that you need a new bathroom? No. You assess the problem, agree on the need for the improvement, limit the budget, and then hire the appropriate designers, contractors and other experts to bring your ideas to reality.

Cost, the desire to control costs, the existence of cost overruns, can always be brought up on any capital improvement project. It can always be used to shoot down an initiative, but this approach will not get us closer to a community pool. If the community can first agree on the need for a new pool to replace the now defunct facility, then Measure UU authorizes up to $19.5 million which will be overseen by a committee and issued based on the final design. Setting a bond limit now and having each household pay for the bond issue is appropriate. To be fair, I’m biased, and it is up to each of us to decide what to do with our money, particularly when it comes to benefiting the greater community. Yet, I would submit that to construct a beautiful, new, public pool facility in Piedmont in return for a bond issue that costs less than the price of a Starbucks Venti coffee per day, per household is an affordable and not unreasonable price for Piedmont residents to bear.

The cost of public work is fundamentally different and higher than the cost of private work. The restrictions (for example pay rates), qualifications (for example must have done similar public scale projects for at least 5 years), requirements (for example must be bonded to a certain level) placed on the contractors have made this type of project buildable by only a small handful of well-qualified, large, and yes expensive construction firms. They can and will deliver – but there is and, indeed there should be, a cost to that. The City’s stringent requirements (ensure the project is close to zero net energy, make no dust, no noise during school hours, protect our kids when they walk by the project) result in costs that are nearly all avoidable on a private project.

However, the project will have a cost estimator who will work in conjunction with the City, the pool committee, the design team and the contractor to carefully review priorities, and expenses. Every attempt should be made to value engineer the project given the ‘fixed’ budget as defined by the bond measure. One can haggle the details of cost, and certainly the City should hire (an additional expense!) a project manager who is vigilant about controlling costs, but now is not the time to haggle these details when the pool design has not even been finalized.

We are all concerned about global warming, acting locally to reach goals of carbon neutrality for Piedmont. Pools have negative environmental impacts, as do many activities we enjoy. However, to begin to mitigate these impacts, we have to begin to collaborate more as a community and less as individuals competing for limited resources. If we can get to a place where we can agree on the benefits of a pool, then let’s work together to drive down the costs both environmental and fiscal to a point where they balance the benefits to us all as a community.

A single public pool has less of environmental impact than hundreds of private pools when compared to the relative community benefit. A new pool also can be designed with appropriate sustainable technology to heat, filter and re-cycle the water to adequately meet the needs of users. Solar thermal panels could be used to heat or pre-heat the pool water. Perhaps hybrid photovoltaic/thermal systems installed on the bottom of the pool could be employed that capture solar radiation for pool heat or facility power. Another consideration is the use a shallow water storage tank that can retain solar heat and be used to warm the main pool in the early mornings. The ancillary facilities can be net-zero buildings with photovoltaic solar panels, as well as passive heating and cooling. Again, if we can come together as a community around common goals for a sustainable pool, solutions can be developed.

To the extent that the pool will benefit both Piedmont residents and our neighbors in Oakland and surrounding communities, I think that we are fortunate to be able to share our resources for the benefit of the greater good. Without a doubt, Piedmont residents benefit from such community resources as Lake Merritt, the Oakland Museum, the Rose Garden, and currently the public pools in Lafayette, Alameda and Berkeley albeit a long drive from home. We will not improve our community or the world by walling ourselves off from others.

Our current decrepit and undersized pool does not properly meet the needs of the Piedmont community and our schools. Furthermore, the pool does not meet health and safety standards, in particular current ADA or Universal Design requirements. The outdated facility simply can’t accommodate the community demand from individuals, families and teams. A new pool will provide for this currently unmet demand with a proper Piedmont aquatics facility.

Please join me in support of Measure UU. We can come together as a community and replace this deteriorated aquatics facility with a new pool for future generations to enjoy.

John Ware, Piedmont Resident, Architect, Engineer

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 17 2020

We’ve known Jen Cavenaugh over 18 years. We met through mutual friends, only to discover our common professional history working in Brand Management at The Clorox Company. Clorox is a consistent recruiter of strong talent from top tier MBA programs, as is Jen, from the esteemed University of Chicago. Clorox demands strong accountability, rigorous financial acumen, strategic thinking, and collaborative leadership, all of which Jen successfully demonstrated at Clorox and now serving in Piedmont.

Jen has been an amazing leader in the Piedmont community. Her tireless energy and selflessness have shown through countless committees, from Parent Club Board Member to Piedmont Language School President, and most recently to her position on the City Council.

As business people, we value how Jen has brought strong financial oversight to the council with an eye to both our current needs and to the future by ensuring we can rebuild our aging critical infrastructure. Her ability to understand complex issues, apply sound judgment and persuasively argue for the right directions for Piedmont has benefited residents in ways most will never know. As a former marketer, she understands how to identify, connect with, and serve the needs of her consumer – our community. With the challenging financial, social and logistical issues ahead, we need Jen’s thoughtfulness on the council.

In addition to seeing Jen’s leadership in action we can attest to Jen’s authentic warmth, kind heart and sincere generosity. Jen’s unique combination of leadership and interpersonal skills will continue to make her an effective, valuable member of the city council. We wholeheartedly endorse Jen Cavenaugh for re-election to the City Council.

Julia Kaplan & Louis Roitblat

Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 15 2020

Like many Piedmonters, we know there are so many good reasons to re-elect Jennifer Cavenaugh to City Council. We’ve been lucky enough to see Jen in action as a leader, a mentor and a friend.

Jen has the experience, intelligence and heart to lead our city in making smart choices that bring us all closer together. She takes an inclusive and data-driven approach to ensure Piedmont serves the needs of the entire community.

In addition to her 4 years on the Piedmont City Council, Jen led the Rec Department Community Outreach Program, served as President of the Piedmont Language School and on the Parent Club Boards for Beach, PMS and PHS.  In all of these roles, she has reached out to a wide range of stakeholders to develop programs and solutions that meet the needs of the entire community.

Jen’s leadership has resulted in the launch of new Rec Department programs for adults and teens, including the innovative Healthy Relationships program. She has helped the community tackle complex issues like upgrading our pool facilities through Measure UU and engage in important conversations about race by organizing the Let’s Talk program.

She’s also encouraged countless other Piedmonters to join a committee, advocate for an idea or run for office. In each of these instances, Jen has taken the time to inform and educate herself, reach out to a wide range of people for input and lead in a way that encourages others to rally around a common goal.

We trust Jen to serve our community with integrity, smarts, passion and good judgment.

I hope all Piedmonters VOTE and join us in supporting Jen Cavenaugh for another term.

Sincerely,

Rani and Nick Batra

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 14 2020

Click below to view the League of Women Voters Piedmont Forum on Pool Bonds: Measure UU.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2Sb1tqucBs

Proponent speaker: Betsy Andersen

Opponent speaker: Andy Wasserman

Oct 14 2020

Rick Schiller is right to raise the tax burden of Measure UU, not because of its structure but because of its substantive increase in taxes on recent and new families coming to Piedmont who already pay an inordinately higher share thanks to Prop 13.

Simply put, the longer you’ve lived in Piedmont, the less you’ll contribute to the pool. Second (my kids) and third generation Piedmonters moving back home will pay bond assessments based on assessed property values well less than $1M, while recent and new families are assessed at $2.5M and above. This is no way to fund a community pool.

The pool will triple GHG emissions and that’s with energy efficient elements.  Instead of the proposed design that uses natural gas, the pool should be all electric, using the latest technology to generate on-site power needs. Mountainview is building an all electric pool and aquatic complex at the cost of approximately $20M. Downsizing the current Piedmont design could achieve this and maybe make room for a Pickleball court in the comprehensive Civic Center.

The operational analysis for the pool is predicated on a 5% fee increase so the day use fee will likely increase.

The city considered including the pool and public safety buildings in an essential services bond measure that could be funded with a parcel tax.  Pools may not be essential services but a parcel tax would be a much more equitable way to pay for the pool. If an ad valorem assessment is the only way, then I’d support an exclusion for first generation owners with the proviso that once the property transferred within a family it would be assessed at the average Piedmont home value.

Piedmont can build a new pool without passing the tax and GHG burdens on to future generations.

Reject UU and have the city come back with a sustainable design and equitable tax structure. 

Garrett Keating, Former City Council Member

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.