May 22 2018

The following is a letter provided by Piedmont Superintendent, Randall Booker, written and signed by all of the Superintendents in Alameda County. 

An Open Letter to California’s Next Governor

The children of California deserve better. They deserve better than underfunded schools, stretched resources, eliminated programs, and a lack of essential services. They deserve better than shuttered buildings, achievement gaps, and inequity.

They deserve great schools to match the fast-changing, dynamic world in which they will attempt to find their place. They deserve well-paid teachers, state-of-the-art facilities and technology, relevant and rigorous programs, small classes, and pathways to college and career.

They deserve more than merely “adequate.” They deserve more of the good news that Governor Brown delivered last month, when he announced an infusion of much-needed funding for public education.

Kofi Annan, the former General Secretary of the United Nations once said, “Education is the premise of progress in every society.” We could not agree more, and we seek a new leader in our state who agrees as well.

California public schools, which educate more than six million children in this great state, still face a serious fiscal crisis despite the recent increase in state funding, and we do not believe it needs to be this way. As the superintendents and educators who proudly represent the diverse, vibrant communities of Alameda County, we come directly to you as a candidate for the highest office in our state, demanding change to the troubling narrative of funding inadequacy and to make public education in our state the top priority.

We sincerely appreciate the current efforts to put more funding into the system. They are welcome and necessary. Yet we are still profoundly disappointed to be ranked dead last or at the bottom of every important measure of investment in our public schools. This is unacceptable.

Billions of dollars borrowed from our children’s schools over the past decade have yet to be restored to 2007-08 purchasing power levels after adjustments for inflation. Staggering burdens in new costs and unfunded mandates continue to saddle local school districts. It may be true that money is not the only solution to raising academic achievement, but when California ranks near the bottom of educational investment nationally, it has an unmistakably negative impact, especially in a thriving and globally competitive economy. Our state cannot afford to continue to shortchange our public education system, to handicap generations of young people. Because California is the 6th largest economy in the world, there is no excuse for the poor funding of our schools.

The consequences of insufficient funding for California schools are not difficult to spot:

  •  California ranks 48th nationally in student-to-teacher ratio
  •  48th in students-per-staff-member
  •  49th in the number of counselors we provide our students
  •  45th in percent of taxable income spent on education and
  •  46th in the nation in per-pupil spending

Does being No. 46 truly exemplify the Golden State’s value we place in one of our most treasured assets, our children? We don’t believe it does.

Forty years ago, California was in the top 10 in every meaningful category related to public education. We’ve lost our place, stuck among the bottom five states for the past decade, and, as a result, we’ve lost ground nationally on critical achievement measures.

As the state has attempted to restore education funding to the pre-budget-cut levels of the last decade, billions in new, mandated costs have amounted to giving with one hand and taking with the other. Last June, state leaders passed a budget providing $1.36 billion in new ongoing local funding to K-12 schools, yet legislators also demanded we pay an extra $1 billion in brand new costs in order to fix issues beyond our control. The new unfunded mandates passed on to school districts, including but not limited to increasing pension costs, do not move the needle on student achievement. These costs are frequently counted and referenced by legislators as if we have those dollars to spend on teaching and learning… when, in reality, we do not.

The impacts of these mandated costs are disastrous to school districts. We simply cannot continue to do more with less, and the days of making it work are over as pressures mount across the system. Districts are already significantly shortchanged for services required to educate students with disabilities. Schools will close. Programs will be cut. Our valued teachers will not be able to keep up with the cost of living in our expensive state and they will leave. Community confidence will be undermined by the difficult decisions that boards and leaders across the state need to make.

As you travel across California, you can see the grim reality that is now defining the future of our state. The economy, jobs, housing, healthcare, and crime are all issues that can be addressed only if California steps up to meet the daunting challenges of dramatic underinvestment in our schools. A real fiscal solvency crisis looms over our public schools, and you only need to examine reports by California School Boards Association (CSBA) and others to know the stark circumstances we face now.

It is not enough to provide one-time monies as a replacement for on-going, consistent funding. It is not nearly enough to raise school funding back to the purchasing power we had in 2007-2008, especially given that California ranked in the bottom of school funding nationally that year as well. We must aspire to greater outcomes for California students. We hope you will commit to robust, consistent education funding as a public investment that will provide the best possible return the state has ever realized. We seek your commitment to springboard California into the top 10 funded states in the nation in order to maintain our state’s place as a leading contributor to the world economy.

We want you to take responsibility with us for educating the children of California, and we will not wait quietly for that to happen. We will band together, and we will rally our communities to join us to speak up and speak out. We will support a new governor who shows leadership; one who seeks partnership. And we will loudly oppose anyone who is not willing to make the children of this state their highest priority.

We thank you for committing to the citizens of California at such a critical time. Our families and students need your help.

READ the entire letter HERE.

May 20 2018
 Piedmont High School Student views of May 9 School Board Meeting –
Sex, Science, and Systematic Slaughter

Have you ever wondered why Piedmont High School doesn’t distribute condoms? Are you curious as to the state of our upcoming chemistry curriculum? Do you wish PHS would up its Holocaust education game? If yes, you really should have attended May 9, 2018 School Board meeting.

Have no fear – the Piedmont School Board meets every 2nd and 4th Wednesday to develop curriculum, hear from community members about past and present issues, and keep tabs on Piedmont’s lovely and lively student body. But just in case School Board meetings are to you as “Game of Thrones” is to me (where you can’t miss a single episode lest you miss a plot point larger than Clifford, the Big Red Dog), here’s a recap:

Not sure how recently you’ve looked at a textbook, but apparently for our PHS AP Spanish students, it’s been a while. In their classroom, there are textbooks enough for only half the class! Estudiantes Sarah Machle and Kate Broening came to the podium to make their request: more textbooks! They also brought to attention a desire for online access to textbooks. With increase in technology use, online textbooks could make education more efficient and easier for students (not to mention physically lighten the load).

“The AP Spanish class has 13 more text books than students. There are not enough textbooks for each student to have one book for home and one book for the class.”

But alas! Conflict in the courtroom! John Savage, PHS chemistry teacher, takes a moment to speak his mind. Chromebooks, he argues, with all their access to games and platforms, have made it increasingly difficult for teachers to keep students on task. He has found printed materials to be more effective overall, and really wishes that the School Board would consult with teachers more before making decisions that so heavily affect the learning atmosphere.

Now, I won’t lie – I have spent many-a-class-period playing snake, sudoku, and 2048, so I can’t say that Mr. Savage’s argument is invalid. And I too have found that most often, I absorb material more thoroughly when not presented on a screen… so, sorry Sarah and Kate, I’m with Savage on this one.

Next came Maya Guzdar, PHS senior who was quick to ask the real question: how can PHS students get condoms? According to the California Healthy Youth Act, students have the right to obtain healthcare items at school, and with the Wellness Center already distributing physical and mental health necessities such as breath mints and tea, how big of a difference is condoms, really? I joke, but in reality, Maya has brought forth an excellent point – if sexually active teens can’t purchase condoms and don’t have parents who are down with diddling, is the school hurting or helping by providing protection?

The brilliant Mr. Savage has something to say to this one too – yes, the school should provide sexual protection because yes, condoms in a fishbowl really are beneficial to students lives. According to two statistics (of which I did not catch their origin), 25% of STDs exist in teens, and contrary to what some may think, schools providing condoms have had no history of increasing sexual activity of students!

When I asked Mr. Savage if he planned on pursuing the issue Maya had raised, he said that he “will probably not actively participate in any action to bring condoms to the school other than to continue to speak in favor of it… the School Board can choose to let it slide, and hope that students forget about it, and the students might. If the students press, then the School Board will have to act,” so I guess it’s up to us if we want the school to provide us raincoats before this next year’s rainy season.

After Maya came Clara Stevens, at the podium to discuss possibly the farthest thing from sex: kindergarteners and pumpkins. A teacher at Beach Elementary School, Ms Stevens has been working on integrating kindergarteners into the school experience by having them eat lunch with the “big kids.” With the School-Board-approved extended school day, the students have been able to resurrect their gardens and plant food and other plants such as (you guessed it) pumpkins! Nothing is quite as cute as the image of tiny kindergarteners with massive pumpkins, so thanks to the School Board for that one.

Unfortunately, I had an issue of my own to address, one whos accompanying images are not quite as pleasant: holocaust education. This year, I could not help but note that Holocaust Memorial Day came and went without even a mention on the loudspeaker (we announce birthdays for Pete’s sake, how hard could it be). Now, I understand that school assemblies and Holocaust speakers can be logistically hard to manage, but it seems to me that in the current climate, Holocaust education should maybe be considered a priority. And I have to hand it to the school, I really do – not even two full days later, I was called in with a few peers to discuss with administration and select faculty current PHS Holocaust education and their plans for future improvement. I learned that the school has already been working with my youth-group director, Rabbi Akiva Naiman (who comes to the high school to help run the Jewish Student Union), on ideas for next year, including bringing in Holocaust survivors. I am glad to say I truly felt heard, as if my feedback genuinely mattered, and I cannot express enough appreciation to the administration for making sure that my concern was not left unaddressed.

But sorry administration, there *is* someone out there cooler than you… Mazel Tov to Holly Hanke, winner of the Arthur Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award!! My family doesn’t have much of a presence in Piedmont, but if yours does even a tad, I’m sure you’ve heard of Holly.  I mean, after 12 years of service to Piedmont programs like the Piedmont Portal, email bulletins, CHIME, PAINTS, PEF, the giving campaign, the Harvest Festival, and more, I imagine it would be hard not to known Holly. Half the crowd at the School Board meeting came for Holly, and when she walked out, she left with not only her family and friends, but also with an original art piece made and presented to her by Saatvik Dube, AP Art student at Piedmont High.

After Holly and her fan club departed, the Board held a Public Hearing on the proposed levy of School Support Tax Measure, which allows a levy of a maximum of 2% increase a year. Mr. Schneider spoke in favor of the parcel tax, suggesting that maybe 10% of school funding shouldn’t be raised from fundraisers, rather it should be more solid and stable.

The later chunk of the meeting was spent discussing the updated curriculum for both Chemistry and Honors Chemistry at PHS. In case you missed the news, California adopted new science standards as of September 4, 2013, with three main components: core ideas (what students know), cross cutting concepts (how students can think across concepts), and engineering practices (how students can think like an engineer).

Chemistry teachers Tom Huffaker and the previously introduced John Savage presented the updated curriculum for approval, and touched on how they fulfilled the three main goals of the new standards in each unit. The Board and students in the audience asked a few questions: how does honors differ from regular? Will there be an AP Chemistry? Will students still read The Martian? The teachers answered them all (it’s faster, not yet, and of course!). Now, all Mr. Savage has to do is go back and see if the Board has come up with any more – “If/when they adopt the new curriculum, Mr. Huffaker and I will start developing detailed lessons and units,” he says. It’s looking good Mr. Savage, Mr. Huffaker. Keep up the good work!

After the science-geeks came the math-nerds, and the well-loved Mr. Hayden stepped up to go over the new math tracks for PMS and PHS students. Unfortunately, us kiddos were kicked out right about then, but not before we got to hear about the new Honors Math Analysis class, and various integrated math courses. I’m a proud Woman in STEM, so I gotta say, they looked pretty cool.

That was all I was able to witness, but if you’re still curious about the state of the curricula, or the absence of condoms in the Wellness Center, or anything else discussed in this past week’s meeting, I encourage you to go to the next one yourself, and truly experience the magic of community that is in full swing at every Piedmont School Board meeting.

By Zoe Levin, Piedmont High School Senior


 Condoms, Chemistry, and Social Justice at City Hall

On Wednesday, May 9th, the Piedmont school board held its bi-monthly meeting at City Hall, providing the opportunity for various teachers, community members, and students to share their views regarding important community issues. At the recent meeting, attendees discussed everything from new honors chemistry curriculum to condoms in schools to social justice and equity in the classroom.

When asked how she handles such extensive meetings covering such wide ranges of topics, Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) Board of Education President Sarah Pearson responded, “It’s often more helpful to listen than to speak.”

Yet it appeared that not many attendees took Pearson’s advice – the meeting ran over two hours, and almost every attendee spoke on an issue.

Mr. Kessler introduced the first major issue, discussing the importance of equity and social justice at Piedmont’s schools. He referenced gun violence awareness, gender equity, sexual harassment training, and other issues topical to this year. While Mr. Kessler only spoke for a few minutes, his topics of social justice and teachable equity were continually discussed throughout the meeting.

Following Mr. Kessler, Heather Frank took the stand, thanking the Parent Clubs for all of their work helping in fundraising to create safer, more equitable schools. In quick succession, Josh Miller, the Millennium High School student representative, contributed a short recap on both Piedmont and Millennium’s upcoming activities: AP tests, ASB elections, sporting events, and service learning projects.

At this point, the Board opened the floor for any public concerns. Attendees who wished to share concerns filled out a speaker card that allowed them time to share their thoughts. Students Kate Broening and Sarah Machle spoke first, promoting the use of online textbooks over physical ones. I spoke next challenging Piedmont and Millennium high schools for not providing condoms for students. I referenced the California Healthy Youth Act passed in 2016 that prohibits schools from teaching abstinence only or religious sexual education. Science teacher John Savage spoke to support my condom proposal, backing me up with more statistics.

Later, Pearson commented “I was very impressed that you had prepared comments and that you did research. You made a strong argument for providing condoms. I was impressed that Mr. Savage reinforced your argument with more statistics. Well done!”

Student Zoe Levin addressed Piedmont School’s ignorance of National Holocaust Remembrance Day and pushed for the schools to host a holocaust speaker to increase recognition. Student Will Reicher pushed for a more holistic understanding of Piedmont’s slogan “Achieve the Honorable.”

Following this “open mic” period, the Board commenced one of the main events of the night, the awarding of community member Holly Hanke with the Art Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award. Ms. Hanke first enjoyed a long introduction from a Board Member in which her vast volunteer experience was described. For her award, she was given her choice of high school AP art students’ portfolios. She chose student Saatvik Dube’s portrait depicting the negative effects of social media. Holly delivered a speech thanking everyone for their kindness and appreciation for receiving the award.

When asked her thoughts on the evening, Pearson immediately spoke on Hanke’s speech, reflecting that she thought the Art Hecht recipient “spoke eloquently about the importance of volunteering.”

Finally, the Board turned to the final issue of the night. Teachers John Savage, John Hayden, and Tom Huffaker presented a powerpoint on the new and updated science curriculum. They each presented an in depth presentation detailing each new unit, the changes that will be made, and how this will advance their students’ learning. Mr. Savage explained how the book The Martian will integrate more deeply into the curriculum. Mr. Hayden detailed the new structure of the honors math analysis class, and Mr. Huffaker talked about the new honors physics and possible AP physics class.

Following the meeting, Board President Sarah Pearson shared that the meeting was much more eventful than usual, as it had lasted over two hours and had attracted many teachers and students. Yet while the numerous speakers’ work is over, the Board Members’ duties stretch far beyond the confines of City Hall.

When asked next steps, Pearson replied, “The main issue that needs follow up from me and other Board Members is to reread, edit and approve the Board policies,” revealing that while it takes courage and preparation to speak out at these meetings, the true grit lies in the leading members of the Board who make these meetings possible.

by Maya Guzdar, Piedmont High School Senior


Updates, Awards, and New Curriculum for Science and Math Classes 

On Wednesday evening of May 9th, seats were quickly filled as students, teachers, and community members filed into City Hall before the Piedmont Board of Board of Education to honor award winning community leaders, hear updates and opinions about relevant matters, and listen to the first proposals for new curriculum to be added in Science and Math classes for the 2018-19 school year. The School Board meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month in order to make decisions regarding educational policy.

The meeting began with an open microphone opportunity to speak on any topic that was not on the agenda.

Mr. Kessler, President of the Association of Piedmont Teachers spoke first on the benefit of a teacher training program regarding sexual harassment. Mr. Kessler wants to continue programs like these to ensure a welcoming and safe school climate for both students and teachers.

Next, Josh Miller, the Millenium ASB representative gave updates about ASB election week, AP testing, teacher appreciation week, service learning, and Day on the Green.

Various students who attended spoke about their personal comments and concerns that they wanted the Board to take note of. Kate Broening and Sarah Machle spoke about the subject of textbooks, advocating for greater accessibility to online textbooks as well as a greater number of textbooks in the classroom to ensure academic success for students. Maya Guzdar followed encouraging the idea of Piedmont High School providing condoms for student use to promote safe sexual activity. Zoe Levin, President of the Jewish Student Union, talked about the lack of Holocaust education at Piedmont High and proposed the idea of having a moment of silence on the loud speaker for Holocaust Memorial Day. Will Reicher closed the open microphone comments with updates about Site Council. At the previous Site Council meeting, attendees discussed the five skills they wish Piedmont High graduates leave with: communication, character, citizenship, collaboration, and content mastery.

The first subject on the agenda was honoring Holly Hanke, the Art Hecht award winner for volunteer of the year. Holly Hanke was recognized for her great service to the community which includes working on the Giving Campaign, Measures B, E,, and H1, Spring Fling, and helping to establish the Piedmont Portal.

Following the award ceremony, there was a hearing on the proposal for the School Support Tax which is a levy of a maximum of 2% increase for the 2018-19 school year.

Next, Chemistry teachers Mr. Savage and Mr. Huffaker presented on the proposed new curriculum to be added to both regular Chemistry and Honors Chemistry starting in the 2018-19 school year. In response to the changing California science standards, Chemistry will have a greater focus on Earth Science. The new curriculum will include more ways for students to apply their work tangibly through various projects and presentations including designing a coral reef fish tank and designing and testing batteries.

Some concern arose about the elimination of existing curriculum, but in my opinion making more room for Earth Science will be very beneficial. Many of the units and topics to be discussed are more relevant and applicable to our everyday world and tie in very smoothly to other science classes taught at Piedmont High. The new curriculum will allow for students to have a chance to do more hands on work and learn by doing, which to me is the best way to learn any material.

The next topic of discussion was the recent changing of math pathways with the addition of Honors Math Analysis this year. The current Honors Math Analysis class covers a few units of calculus with 13 units in total. Mr. Hayden’s presentation was on a proposed change to the Honors Math Analysis course that covers only 10 units to allow students to go into a deeper level of thought, with focus on derivations and proofs. This new course plan would also allow students to take more smaller assessments instead of few large ones.

After the meeting I had the chance to talk with President of the Board of Education, Sarah Pearson, who thought the meeting overall ran very smoothly due to the lack of controversial issues. Ms. Pearson especially enjoyed learning about the new curriculum and hearing insight from both students and teachers. Her next step is to read through all of the policies and proposals from the meeting before any official approval.

 by Sarah Machle, Piedmont High School Senior


Ambitious Plans for Curriculum Changes at Piedmont High 

    The School Board meeting which took place on May 9th hosted the first public hearings for new classes and amendments to existing courses at Piedmont High School in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) subjects. These presentations occurred alongside regular Board proceedings, such as hearing issues from students and residents of Piedmont.

    Beginning with the aforementioned issues raised by citizens of Piedmont, Mr. Kesler, a fourth-grade teacher at Wildwood Elementary, praised recent initiatives by the School Board to support an inclusive environment through sexual harassment workshops that emphasized being sensitive with sexual and gender identities.

    In related news, Ms. Stevens, a first-grade teacher at Beach Elementary, chose to highlight initiatives by school administrators to reinforce teacher-student and teacher-parent relationships, in order to create a more conducive learning environment.

From Piedmont High, students Sarah Machle and Kate Broening spoke about the lack of availability of online textbooks for students. They stated that students struggle with the burden of bringing heavy texts to class or completely forgetting them in lieu of the increasing amount of online school resources that students can access anywhere with their devices, and that school administrators should pursue efforts to further digitize class materials.

    Another student from Piedmont High School, Maya Guzdar, gave an informative speech on the lack of access to contraceptives at the school, which was backed by chemistry teacher Mr. Savage. They both emphasized the importance of safe sex and that the school should be responsible for supporting safe sex by providing students with proper protection, since acquiring contraceptives otherwise may prove to be difficult as an unsubstantiated burden on students.

    Final highlights of Piedmont High students include Zoe Levin, who raised the issue of a lack of education pertaining to the Holocaust.

    Holly Hanke, the Arthur Hecht Volunteer of the Year, was present an art work by Saatvik Dube selected from the high school showcase.

    The crux of the meeting was considering the new course changes beginning with the introduction of “Chemistry in the Earth System” and “Honors Chemistry in the Earth System,” presented by both Mr. Savage and Mr. Huffaker who are current science educators at Piedmont High School. The intent of these courses was to enhance students’ education by having a greater focus on applicability for each of the lessons in the curricula.

    The next presentation regarded the implementation of a new math course called “Math Analysis Honors” at Piedmont High, due to the restructuring of math courses mandated by the Common Core initiative. This class would effectively address the needs of students who would proceed at a more accelerated rate than others in the regular “Math Analysis” course.

    I was able to interview Mr. Hayden, who presented the new course. He stated that the Board “achieved our goal” in getting the facts out to the attendees of the meeting, and that the next course of action is a second public hearing at the next School Board meeting. With confidence, Mr. Hayden believes “that the course will be accepted.”

by Ethan Tung, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
May 18 2018

Dear Piedmont Community,

Today, we received news about another horrific shooting in our public schools, this time at Santa Fe High School, just outside of Houston, Texas. Our hearts and our thoughts go out to the victims and their families. 

Now, more than ever, our students, staff, and community need special legislation and immediate action from our state and nation’s elected leaders to help keep our schools safe. On March 14th, the PUSD Board of Education unanimously passed Resolution 12-2017-18 School Safety and Gun Violence.

This resolution calls upon the United States Congress and all state legislators to prioritize the protection of students and school system employees by passing legislation that:

  • More effectively regulates access to firearms in the interest of public safety by establishing universal background checks to purchase a firearm, reenacting the federal ban on the sale and possession of military-style assault weapons, banning large capacity ammunition magazines, and enacting gun violence restraining order laws and

  • Advances and funds mental health supports.

  • Invest in wraparound services to prevent bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence in our schools and

  • Provide funding for programs and staff such as counselors, nurses and psychologists,that support students’ mental, physical and emotional health.

  • Reduces the risk and severity of gun violence on school campuses; and

  • Declares gun violence a public health crisis and removes all barriers to funding public-health research on firearms-related issues, including repealing the prohibition against data collection and research on gun violence by the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

In the spirit of collective action, I urge you to join me in contacting our elected representatives to implement a legislative solution that supports the safety of all.

United States Senate

Senator Dianne Feinstein – Email
Senator Kamala Harris – Email

United States Congress, California
District 9

Congresswoman Barbara Lee – Email

 California State Senate, District 9

Senator Nancy Skinner – Email

 California State Assembly, District 15

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond – Email

Media coverage of today’s tragedy will prompt questions and concerns from your students, and we want to provide resources that may help during these difficult conversations. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, high-profile acts of violence in schools can confuse and frighten students who may feel they, their friends or their loved ones are in danger. They will look to adults for guidance about how to react, and adults can help by talking with them about their fears.

For help with these conversations, please visit this online resource: “Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers.” This printable handout is available in 10 languages. We also encourage you to talk with your school’s teachers, counselors, support staff, or administrators if you need support or see any signs of distress or concerning behavior.

The safety and well-being of our students and staff here in Piedmont is our top priority. While school shootings are rare, we do have to prepare for the possibility.  We will continue to partner with the Piedmont Police Department and provide training in our schools to educate staff and students in responding to an active shooter or other internal threat.

Finally, it’s important to remind your students that if they “see something, say something.” Research shows warning signs occur in more than 80% of violent incidents. Our high school Speak Up! and middle school See Something, Say Something Scots online reporting tool allows students, parents, educators and community members to report concerns anonymously. Keeping our students, staff and schools safe is the responsibility of everyone in our community. 

Please keep the families affected by today’s school shooting in your thoughts and prayers.


Randall Booker, Superintendent Piedmont Unified School District

May 17 2018

On a warm evening in the beginning of May, many students, teachers, and other community members shuffled into Piedmont City Hall. Many community members had to sit on the floor of the Chamber as the seats were filled in a matter of seconds. Everyone there had a different reason for coming, but shared one common goal, to improve the Piedmont Unified School District.

At the May 9th School Board meeting in City Hall, the School Board discussed topics and legislation that should be passed or changed regarding Piedmont schools.

According to the Piedmont Unified School District’s website, the School Board meets about twice a month. The meeting began when the members of the School Board asked everyone to join them in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Many important topics were discussed, but the topics that seemed to rule the evening regarded the Volunteer of the Year Award, and the new proposed structuring of the Honors Chemistry, Regular Chemistry, and Math classes.

The volunteer of the year award was presented to Holly Hanke. Superintendent Randall Booker and the School Board presented her with this award for her outstanding work in the school system volunteering at the various schools throughout this year.

Saatvik Dube, a senior at Piedmont High School, was also celebrated as he presented his art piece to Ms Hanke. The piece depicted how technology has affected our lives.

Later, Cheryl Wozniak, introduced a slide show presented by Mr. Savage, Mr. Huffaker, and herself explaining the proposed new structure of the chemistry classes. The presentation ultimately proposed a more hands on approach in both Chemistry and Honors Chemistry, allowing the students to think for themselves with more labs and problem solving situations. Regular Chemistry stays somewhat the same, while Honors Chemistry has a couple of new units added to the class such as ocean acidification.

The Board Members seemed to like their presentations, as Sarah Pearson, the President of the Board, voiced her approval of their presentation.

Mr. Hayden then presented the new proposed structures for the integrated Math classes. One topic of discussion that Senior Kate Broening brought up was how the Math Department could tell if students take AP Math classes just for the grade bump. Mr Hayden responded by saying there is really no way they can stop that, but he hopes that students who take harder classes enjoy the material more.

I have come across this dilemma many times. Usually, a student that takes an AP or honors class tends to enjoy the information a bit more, but also is mainly taking the class for the GPA boost.

I later spoke with Mr. Savage about his experience at the meeting presenting a new proposed curriculum for the Honors Chemistry class with the help of his associate Mr. Huffaker. Mr. Savage told me that he loved how the meeting began with an Open Forum. He was also happy that students got up and spoke about various issues at the beginning of the meeting and he is curious to see whether or not the Board will act upon the questions that were raised by the students.

Mr. Savage brought up how incredibly impressed he is with the School Board itself. He noted that they do many things behind the scenes such as budgeting, ensuring safety, and overall education goals. Mr. Savage plans to go back to another meeting to field questions about his new proposed curriculum and see whether or not the School Board will in fact adopt the new outline for the class. The next scheduled School Board meeting will take place on May 23rd.

by Patrick Aebi, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
May 15 2018

On May 2, 2018 in the Piedmont City Council Chambers, the Park Commission met to discuss current and future issues with our public parks and properties. As the crowd slowly filed in, the Commission Chair announced that the meeting had officially started and the small crowd in attendance went silent.

This meeting covered topics in the parks and recreation sector of the government. The main purpose of this meetings was to inform the Commission and public of problems in their parks, take public input, hold discussion, and make recommendations to the City Council and hopefully solve problems. This meeting  happens once a month.

Topics that arise in these meeting are citizen complaints, new park ideas, solutions, and information on the prior month from the Public Works Supervisor, Dave Frankel.  Mr. Frankel talked about what his team has accomplished and provided details on their current projects.

The Commission started the meeting discussing a problem that has occurred on Pala Avenue of residents illegally pruning the trees outside their house. A  couple of residents and their gardeners were caught illegally pruning trees.  They were fined, but they did not accept the fine without a fight. Pruning a tree can kill the tree if not done correctly and can also kill the vibe of the block as the tree is not nearly as beautiful.

Apparently the residents complained that the trees were growing too high and  obstructed their view which they felt could decrease their property value. So the commissioners discussed the possibility of planting new trees on Pala Avenue that would not obstruct the residents view. Dave Frankel suggested  purple plume trees should be planted, because they do not grow above a certain height and would stay out of the way of residents views. All of the commissioners agreed to look into the possibility of new plantings on Pala Avenue in order to satisfy the residents. No one from the crowd spoke for or against this topic.

The other main topic discussed was the trash in Piedmont Park that is left by high school students. This topic was brought up by Lena Flescher, a student speaker, and the topic ended up being one of the main points of the meeting. She told the commissioners that punishment must be enforced in order for students to finally pick up the trash. Nancy Kent, lead staff to the commission, agreed with Lena.  Ms. Kent spoke about this issue as she has already been involved with teachers to try and fix the trash problem. Kent also encouraged the students in attendance to contact her with ideas on ways students can become more involved in the process.

In speaking to Mr. Frankel, I learned he was there because he is required to do a report at the end of each meeting on how his sector of the government is doing and to discuss any problems that he may encounter. They may also call on him in the middle of a meeting to give his professional opinion on something such as which tree would work best in a location. Mr. Frankel did not have any crazy reaction to the meeting as he has sat through many of them and knows exactly what to expect. As for addressing his concerns, Mr. Frankel said he and his crew are going into the park the next day to remove all of the trash.

 by Carson Gerhardy, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author. 

May 12 2018

Do you want to join a fun and enthusiastic team of volunteers at Piedmont’s own thrift shop?

Dress Best for Less (DBFL) is  looking for volunteers to help at both the retail store at 3411 Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland and the Marking Room/Donation Center at 799 Magnolia Avenue in Piedmont next to the Piedmont Pool and across from Piedmont High School.

The Donation Center in Piedmont, 799 Magnolia Avenue across from the High School has volunteer openings:

Mondays from 10-12 and Saturdays from 10-12.


The retail store at 3411 Lakeshore Avenue has volunteer openings:

Thursdays (mornings), Friday (afternoons) and Saturday (afternoons).

Contact President Gayle Sells for more information: 510-654-6193.

With your donations and purchases, DBFL continues to be the largest single donor to the Piedmont Education Foundation. Please think of us when donating your gently used clothing and household decor, books, etc.

Thank you for your support!

May 5 2018

2018-19 School Support Tax Hearing May 9, 7:25 PM

On Wednesday, May 9 following a 6 p.m. Closed Session, the School Board’s Regular Session will begin at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, City Hall 120 Vista Avenue. The public is invited to attend.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Channel 27 and from the City website under videos.   AGENDA

At approximately 7:25 pm the School Board will conduct a Public Hearing on the proposed levy of the School Support Tax, Measure A for 2018-19.

The Board will discuss and receive public input regarding the proposed levy of the school support tax for 2018-19. This is the first of two public hearings. The Board will take action on any levy after the second public hearing. The public is invited to provide comment at the Board meeting or prior to the meeting by email to the Board of Education at

A. Support Tax Subcommittee Report
B. MYP General Fund

 – The Board is requested to approve the following revised Board Policies and Administrative Regulations: 


A.BP-AR 1312.3 – Uniform Complaint Procedure

B.BP 1313 – Civility and Protections from Inappropriate Behavior

C.BP-AR 3515 School Safety – Campus Security

D.BP-AR 4030 – Non Discrimination in Employment

E.BP-AR 4119.11 – Sexual Harassment – Employee Version

F.BP -E 4119.21 Professional Standards

G.BP 4158 – Employee Security

H.BP 5131 – Conduct

I.BP 5131.2 – Bullying

J.BP-AR 5141.4 – Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Procedures

K.BP-AR 5144.l – Suspension and Expulsion Due Process

L.AR 5144.2 Suspension and Expulsion Due Process – Students with Disabilities

M.BP-AR 5145.3 – Non-Discrimination -Harassment

N.BP-AR 5145.7 – Sexual Harassment

O.BP 5145.9 – Hate Motivated Behavior

P.BP-AR 6142.12 Healthy Relationships/Sexual Violence Prevention

  VIII.A. District Reorganization

Background – District Reorganization


Superintendent Booker:
With the 2017-18 school year coming to a close, PUSD is losing three incredible administrators who have served students, teachers and staff, and families for many years. The contributions of these fine administrators are far-reaching.

 Mr. Michael Brady will enjoy a well-deserved retirement. He has served the District for the past 15 years in a variety of roles: MHS Principal, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Director of Facilities, Adult Education Director, Director of Alternative Education (including oversight of the Wellness Center), H1 Bond Program Manager, and most recently supporting Special Education. He will be dearly missed. His focus on students and the overall operations of the district is unparalleled.

 Ms. Julie Valdez will take a yearlong leave of absence. She has served the District for the past 11 years as both the Beach Elementary School Principal and the Director of Special Education. She has been an integral member of the administrative team, providing extensive insight into the needs of elementary students and leading a complex and demanding SPED program. Her compassion and empathy for students will be hard to replace for 2018-2019.

 Ms. Song Chin-Bendib will begin the 2018-19 school year as the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services in the Pacific Grove Unified School District. She has served the District for the past 4 years as both the Chief Business Official and the Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. She has been incredible in keeping our finances in order during a tumultuous time in state funding. I’m appreciative of the systems she introduced and the keen oversight of our budget and operations.

Following any staff change there is a period of transition and, given the depth of experience and range of responsibilities of these three individuals, this transition will be especially challenging. Nonetheless, the District is working to ensure that these changes are facilitated as smoothly as possible.

See entire agenda  HERE.

Editors Note: The Piedmont Unified School District’s  online agenda format requires readers to download staff reports prior to reading them, which is different from PCA’s usual method of providing staff reports to readers. 

Any concerns or questions about the agenda can be sent to the Piedmont Board of Education at

May 3 2018

    Last Wednesday, April 25, 2018, the Piedmont School Board held its bi-weekly meeting to discuss a host of local affairs, from expulsion requirements and retirement benefits to early education services and AP tests. Though characterized as a run-of-the-mill meeting by various board members, it was notable that several Piedmont High seniors spoke up about issues weighing heavily on their minds as the end of the school year draws near.

    After no action was taken during the Board’s closed session, Heather Frank, Executive Director of the Piedmont Education Foundation, opened the meeting by reporting to the Board. She noted that the recent Piedmont Spring Fling netted $350,000 on top of the $2.5 million already raised, which will provide for a grant to Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) that will be larger than last year’s.

Board President Sarah Pearson expressed her gratitude for the money, which allows for luxuries such as the Maker Faire and animation classes, which are special and easy to lose sight of.

    “It sets Piedmont apart,” said Pearson.

    Piedmont Associated Student Body Vice President Anna Goldberg reported to the Board next, reminding them that at PHS, AP exams are coming up, CAASP testing just finished, Spring sports are ending, and dance and a capella will hold events over the weekend.

    Following Goldberg’s report, Pearson opened up the meeting to the public to aire any concerns. A group of PHS seniors, making up the entire audience in attendance besides Frank, took the stand one by one. Sarah Beasley requested greater recognition for Jewish holidays; Katherine Wiesbrock voiced a complaint regarding spiders in the science building; Vincent Titterton made note of “senioritis”-stricken seniors neglecting to attend study halls; and Elka Sorensen advocated for moving such study halls to the middle of the school day to avoid this issue.

    My own comment was in regard to the senior service trip to the Oakland Zoo, which I felt has not been adequately advertised to students. An important part of service-learning projects is the education that takes place before the project or trip itself. By better understanding the issues that the trip hopes to address ahead of time, I feel that the service conducted will be more meaningful.

    Sarah Beasley returned to the podium a second time to call into question the purpose of CAASP testing and raise an additional concern regarding bloodstains in the girls’ bathroom. Senior Toni Ali-Daggo was present in the audience but did not address any comments to the Board.

    Moving into its main agenda items, the Board first discussed last Monday’s adjustments to the District expulsion requirements. Piedmont Superintendent Randy Booker called the matter “perfunctory” because Piedmont has never had to expel a student. Over the past year and a half, various changes in the law have made it such that students cannot be suspended for first offenses except in grave circumstances. A new piece of legislation is expected to be passed at the state level, which will prohibit suspension for Category K “willful defiance” offenses in grades 3-12. A triennial plan for alternative education and expulsion was moved by Board member Amal Smith, seconded by Cory Smegal, and approved unanimously.

    The Board also examined an actuarial study which examined how the District retirement plan is affecting PUSD. The study was conducted by outside consultants and reviewed health, not pension, benefits. Booker explained that many District employees choose to work until age 60 because PUSD only pays for 5 years of coverage, so someone retiring at age 55 after working for ten years would not make it to Medicare age. With the new proposal, $395,00 will be paid out of the General Fund to health benefits for currently retired employees, whether they retired last year or ten years ago. Moved by Board member Doug Ireland and seconded by Andrea Swenson, the Board approved the actuarial study unanimously.

    The next agenda item that the Board discussed was measure 13-17-18 to provide additional services for childcare and early education services, which will be on the ballot in June. Almost all counties are supporting this measure, and I agree with Booker that high quality childcare for low and middle income students is important because research shows that the brain develops the most during the first five years of life, so it is critical to take advantage of this period.

    Pearson concluded the meeting by graciously expressing thanks to various individuals and groups, including the Piedmont Youth Educators, Principal Littlefield, and the Piedmont High English Department, which put on I-Search Night on Tuesday.

    Following the meeting, Heather Frank expressed her view that Wednesday was  a relatively uneventful night for the Board. “There wasn’t much of substance discussed tonight,” said Frank, adding that the heated debates over the District math pathways from a few weeks ago were much more interesting. As Executive Director of PEF, Frank is expected to attend every School Board meeting to report on all three educational levels: elementary, middle, and high school. Regarding the outspoken high school advocates, Frank cautioned that the School Board meeting isn’t really the right place to aire concerns because there is a process to put an item on the agenda. Along those same lines, Board member Smegal wished to discuss a proposal to raise Witter field in order to support a new parking garage, but Booker shot down the conversation in order to adhere to what he called the “super strict” rules [The Brown Act] regarding the agenda.

by Rohan Srivastava, Piedmont High School Senior


 School Board Meeting: Community Voices and GASB

On Wednesday, April 25, 2018, the Piedmont School Board held their weekly meeting starting at 7:05 pm and ending around 8:20 pm at the City Hall. The meeting began with Heather Frank of the Piedmont Education Foundation (PEF) going to the speaker stand and speaking about the annual Spring Fling on how the auctioning and bidding went better than expected and the adults were having fun with casual cocktail drinking. The PEF was able to raise $350,000 in funds for the school (which they’ll need as we continue through this article). As a final statement Frank discussed the success of the Maker Faire at the middle school and how the fair was filled with creativity from the students and workshops helping teachers to learn better methods of teaching their students.

    The meeting moved on to ASB Vice-President Anna Goldberg giving a report on the activities happening at both PHS and MHS. AP exams are on the rise while the school just finished state testing for the CAASPP and the CAST that was spanned in two weeks( two days each week). The school is also getting ready for Day On the Green that’s held for both schools just a few days before finals as a way to give students a chance to relax and have fun for a day.

    The meeting moved forward with statements from PHS seniors. Sarah Beasley spoke on how the school should consider Jewish holidays as a legitimate holiday that students have the day off from school. This would make it easier for her and other students to complete homework on time so they can enjoy their time celebrating the holiday.

      I took the stand and spoke about how the school should consider funding the track team with new uniforms because the current ones have been used for both cross country and track for years and are in need of an update. Others spoke about the bug problem in the 20’s building, teachers cramming in homework during AP testing season, moving state testing to the middle of the day, parking issue for seniors, and the need for janitors to be quicker to cleaning up messes in the bathrooms.

    After allowing everyone to make their claims, the Board moved on to the main topic at hand. Mr. Randall Booker, the School Superintendent, and his assistant started a presentation on the annual report of health coverage for retired employees called the GASB [Governmental Accounting Standards Board].  His assistant led majority of the presentation by first explaining that she and Mr. Booker must go over this report with the Board and get approval and they went over it with them. The reason for this is because it is a new law required by auditors so instead of going over the report every two years, it’s now every year they must go over the report. The report consisted of who would eligible for retirement coverage; so depending on your age and the years you worked as a teacher, you would get a certain amount of years in coverage. For example, the minimum retirement age is 55 years old, and let’s say this person worked for the school for ten years, they would then get 5 years of health coverage from the school. The issue with this is because OPEB (other post employment benefits) is the liability they have to report. The District has a debt that’s constantly rising and reporting the OPEB only attracts auditors. Each year they pay a certain amount to their employees; in the 2016-17 year, the school paid $373,945 in retirement funding.

     This portion of the meeting was concluded by a motion being carried throughout all members of the Board and all agreed to approval of having looked over the report with Mr. Booker and his assistant.

    Another motion was passed for supporting a ballot measure providing aid for children in Alameda coverage in schooling; mostly for middle/low income families.

     They moved on to each Board member saying all the events they attended since their last meeting.

     As a final piece to the meeting, Randall Booker discussed the Consent Calendar and specifically the coaches of all sports. He talked about how all coaches get paid differently depending on their position; for example, all varsity coaches get paid the same, all junior varsity coaches get paid the same, and all freshman coaches are paid the same. However, if a season goes beyond 10 weeks, they get paid more for each week outside of the regulated season. After passing the consent calendar, the meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

    After the meeting, I introduced myself to Randall Booker for a quick interview. We talked about his part in the Board meeting. He explained to me how he’s the assistant to the Board President. He gives suggestions to her to plan out the agenda for the meeting. He also explained how something that affects the District as a whole must be discussed even if the president doesn’t want to. He’s also responsible for organizing the meetings and facilitating it  by answering any questions asked. He then went on to explain his position as the Superintendent of the School District. He explained how the Board is at the top and Mr. Booker is the single employee reporting to the Board. Underneath Mr. Booker is all the employees of the District: teachers, janitors, librarians, coaches, gym teachers, etc. His assistant reports to him and she has people that  report to her and follow her orders.

by Toni Ali-Daggao, Piedmont High School Senior


Where do you go when you have a suggestion to make about the Piedmont School District? You can go to a School Board Meeting.

    One of the first items on the agenda at the School Board Meeting on April 25, 2018, was letting the audience members speak their recommendations and comments about anything in the community. The School Board meets the second and fourth Wednesday of each month to review updates in the District and issues they need to resolve. Depending on the subjects that are on the agenda for each specific meeting, the meetings can run past 9 p.m. or end earlier.

    During the meeting on April 25, the major issues covered were policies regarding high risk or expelled students, low or middle income students, and retirement benefits of District employees. According to a law that’s still processing, schools would not be able to suspend students on most 1st offenses, and in grades 3-12, schools wouldn’t suspend for willful defiance. The action taken was a change of wording of the policies, which need to be updated every couple of years.

    The second largest topic covered in the meeting was concerning the retiree benefits from PUSD. Currently, the healthcare plan for retirees covers them for 5 years after the age of 55. Because Medicare starts at age 65, most employees will work until they are 60 so they can benefit from continued healthcare after retirement. All in all, this program costs the District about $395,000 a year. Having benefits for the faculty of the District is necessary, and as long as these funds do not interfere with the well being of everyone else in the District, retirees should continue to get coverage.

    There were no other members of the community at the meeting beside a student, but I did talk to Heather Frank, the executive director at Piedmont Education Foundation. She attends all the School Board meetings to stay updated on what is happening in the district and to inform the School Board of what is happening with the PEF. According to Ms. Frank, this meeting was much less dense and shorter than most meetings, which can get much more tense or information packed. Early on in the meeting, she reviewed the recent events that the PEF has been working on to raise funds for the schools. The auctions at the Spring Fling raised a net $350,000, and the organization has already raised 2.5 million this year on top of that. Ms. Frank pointed out that many schools are having to cut funds, but what makes Piedmont unique is our variety of athletics, extra-curriculars, updated technology, and up to date teaching styles.

    Following Ms. Frank’s report, PHS ASB Vice President, Anna Goldberg, summarized the activities and events that were going on at the high school. Along with the CAASPP testing that took place the weeks of April 16 and 23, Anna also mentioned Day on the Green, which was an upcoming event for the high school.

    Next was the non-agenda topics comments. Several high school seniors went up to the podium to talk, including Vincent Titterton, who talked about reasons for senior absence during testing and ways that the school could possibly solve it. Another student, Rohan Srivastava, discussed the lack of awareness and knowledge of the senior Service Learning trip. Directly after, Superintendent Randall Booker went over the policies for % Bonuses for teachers.

    The major action at this meeting was passing Resolution 13, 2017-18- Measure A, approval of change of wording in Suspension/Expulsion policies, and approving of the Actuarial Study of Retiree Health Liabilities under GASB 74 and 75.

by Edwyna Zhu, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors
Apr 27 2018

What Charter revisions might the Council decide should be considered for the November ballot ?


The Piedmont City Charter, essentially Piedmont’s Constitution, determines Council and School Board terms, qualifications for office, budgets, authority of the Council, selection of City officers, bonding requirements, and more.  The City Charter is a large and comprehensive law governing Piedmont. 

One proposed revision to be considered would reduce Council authority and transform Piedmont’s long held City Administrator form of government into an approximation of a City Manager form of government.

A change for taxpayers could be the elimination of any limit on the excess funds the City holds in its coffers while continuing to gather taxes.

Consideration of City Charter changes appears to limit public discussion and comment at the Monday, April 30, 6:30 p.m. Special Council meeting.  The Agenda item states:

Consideration of Possible Direction to Staff Regarding Amendments to the City Charter – Provide direction to staff on which, if any, of the proposed Charter amendments merit placement on a ballot for consideration by Piedmont voters. 

There will be some opportunity for speakers at the April 30 meeting.  Written comments can also be submitted to the City Council.   The manner in which the City Council plans to deliberate and engage Piedmont citizens in the process for potential changes has not been announced. The Council may plan future study sessions with the public and School Board prior to making a decision on what Charter changes, if any, should be on the November 2018 General Election ballot.


CITY  ADMINISTRATOR FORM OF GOVERNMENT: In largely changing Piedmont’s long held City Administrator form of government to be similar to a City Manager form of government forfeits the Council’s right to select and terminate executive level officers: the Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Engineer, Finance Director, Recreation Director, Public Works Director,  City Clerk, etc. 

The Council’s selection and termination authority would be limited the City Administrator and City Attorney. Other cities, might have a “strong” directly elected mayor, as in Oakland, who has broad authority to select the Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Manager, etc. The Piedmont City Council has always chosen and appointed Piedmont’s Police Chief, Fire Chief and other City other officers as prescribed in the City Charter. 

Some have suggested relinquishing key hiring decisions solely to one person, the City Administrator, removes too much authority from the Council and could present new issues.

In recent years, City observers have noticed an erosion of Council control, participation, and authority.  Examples include: no Councilmembers on interview committees for their appointments, expenditures of funds unauthorized by the Council, endorsement letters produced without Council action, support or co-sponsoring of events without Council action, leasing of public property without due diligence and information provided to the Council, and selection of meetings to be broadcast to the public.

At the April 30th special meeting, the Council will review the possible amendments listed in the February 5, 2018 staff report  available on the city’s website.  The staff report is linked below.

The Council at the April 30 meeting will discuss whether any Charter changes should move forward and determine the process for further consideration.

Pursuant to section 9.07 of the Charter, any proposed amendments must be presented to the qualified voters of the City for approval.

Citizens are invited to attend this meeting and express their opinions. The meeting will be televised live on KCOM-TV, Channel 27, the City’s government TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site

Public comment is invited and encouraged at this meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office at or by US Mail to City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA  94611. All comments submitted will become part of the public record.

For further information, contact City Clerk John O. Tulloch via email at or via phone at (510) 420-3040.

City produced BACKGROUND statement below;

At its meeting of June 19, 2017 the Council discussed the City Charter provision limiting the General Fund Reserve to no more than 25% of the budget and directed staff to return to Council with a report reviewing the rationale and possible options for amending the Charter to modify the 25% limit. As part of that discussion, the Council agreed that each individual member would examine all Charter provisions for clarity and relevance and that each would submit any suggestions for Charter amendments to the City Administrator.

In addition to review by Councilmembers, the City Clerk, City Attorney and City Administrator also conducted their own independent review. All of the suggestions were compiled and used to create the attached “Track Changes” document for consideration by the City Council.

Note that per section 9.07 of the Charter, all proposed amendments must be presented to the qualified voters of the City at a general or special election. State law (Elections Code § 1415) further clarifies that if the proposed changes to a Charter “alter any procedural or substantive protection, right, benefit or employment status of any local government employee,” then the amendment must be presented at a statewide general election. This means that the amendments proposed to Article III would require consideration at a statewide general election. The following is a briefing of the suggested Charter revisions, grouped by article and section. Section numbers listed are as they currently exist in the Charter.

Some of the Charter sections proposed for consideration have yet to be fully described or are in a format not easily displayed for readers.

Staff information:

Article II – City Council

A question was raised as to whether Piedmont should amend the existing term limits provided for in the Charter. Currently, the Charter limits Councilmembers (and by extension Board of Education Members) to serving two consecutive terms. The current provision, however, does not prohibit a Councilmember who has served two consecutive terms from running again after a full term (four years) has elapsed. The question for Council consideration is whether you want to impose stricter term limits than currently exist.

An option for Council consideration would be to limit Councilmembers to serving two full terms in office. Should Council wish to consider this option, Section 2.03 would need to be revised as follows:

No person who has served two (2) full consecutive terms as a Councilmember shall thereafter be eligible to hold such office again. until one full intervening term of four (4) years has elapsed. For the purposes hereof, any person who serves as a Councilmember for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term.

Should the Council wish to pursue this option, it is recommended that a revision to the term limits of the Board of Education be changed as well, for reasons expressed in the discussion of proposed revisions to Article VII, below.

    This subsection dictates how vacancies on the City Council are to be filled. Currently, this subsection provides that the Council shall fill a vacancy by appointment within thirty days of a vacancy occurring. If the Council doesn’t act within those thirty days the vacancy shall be filled by the Mayor. As the Council has experienced in each of the previous two years, the thirty day window is very tight and the possibility of a Mayor being forced to make a unilateral appointment without Council input is a strong possibility. In addition, as currently written, this subsection precludes the possibility of a special election to fill an empty Council seat which may be a possibility that the Council does not want to preclude.To address the above noted issues, it has been suggested that the timeframe for Council appointment be extended to sixty days and, should the Council not fill a vacancy within the allotted period, the vacancy shall be filled by special election. This would more closely mirror existing State law Election Code regulations
    This subsection requires that the Council meet twice in every month. The suggested revision would delete the requirement that two meetings per month occur, while retaining a requirement that it meet regularly. As currently provided in this subsection, it would be the Council’s prerogative to set its regular meeting schedule by resolution or ordinance.
  •  SECTION 2.07(C) – VOTING
    A provision of this subsection as written allows fewer than a quorum of Councilmembers to “compel the attendance of absent members in the manner prescribed by the rules of the Council”. This portion of the subsection is viewed as archaic, unnecessary, and difficult to implement. Accordingly, it is proposed to be deleted.
    This section currently does several things, including requiring that a Mayor and Vice- Mayor be elected by the Council after each general municipal election as well as noting that the Mayor and Vice-Mayor serve at the pleasure of the Council.Questions were raised as to whether it would be beneficial to clarify the process. The provision, as currently worded, provides significant flexibility to the Council. The City Attorney pointed out that this section does not prohibit the Council from electing officers annually or, for that matter, removing officers at will. The requirement that the Council appoint members following each general municipal election simply requires that election of officers happen at a minimum after each general election. This would not preclude the Council from electing officers annually but if Council would like to impose this requirement, this provision should be clarified. The Council should give direction to staff as to whether it feels that amendments to this section are warranted.
    A technical revision is proposed to subsection A to conform the enacting clause of ordinances to modern practice.

    A revision is proposed to subsection (D) to change the location of posting of ordinances from the official city bulletin board to the City’s web site. This proposed revision reflects modern practice and would provide for broader and more convenient access to the public.

  •  This subsection requires that all ordinances and resolutions be recorded in an indexed book kept for this purpose. Modern technology has removed the need for this archaic requirement, as all ordinances and resolutions are indexed in the City’s records management system.
  • Article III – Administration Many comments and question were raised regarding various provisions and inconsistencies inherent in Article III. The general nature of most comments focused on the responsibility for appointment of “Officers (Department Heads, City Attorney and City Administrator) and Employees” of the City, and on responsibilities for directing their day-to-day activities. It should be noted that as these proposed revisions would impact employment status of several employees, these Charter amendments would need to be approved at a statewide general election. (Elections Code Section 1415.) These proposed revisions as well as the others listed below are consistent with current best practices in government and with the Council-Administrator form of government followed by the City of Piedmont.
    Currently, this section provides that officers of the City shall be appointed and directed by the Council. This is inconsistent with both practice and other provisions of Article III.The proposed amendments to this section provide that the City Council appoint the City Administrator and the City Attorney, and that all other officers of the City be appointed and directed by the City Administrator. An additional edit is made to this section to revise the title of Director of Parks and Recreation to Director of Recreation.
    This section was identified as archaic and is proposed for deletion in its entirety. The removal of this section requires the renumbering of each subsequent section in this article.
    Item 1 on the list of the City Administrator’s powers and duties is revised to clarify that the City Administrator has responsibility to appoint, discipline, suspend or remove “officers appointed by the City Administrator” as well as employees….”.
    This section is revised to make the City Administrator responsible for appointment of the City Clerk as well as to indicate that the City Clerk can be assigned other duties, by state law and the City Administrator.
    There is one non-substantive, editorial revision proposed to this section.  NOT DEFINED
    This section is revised to reflect actual practice and the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01. In keeping with the Council-Administrator form of government, should Council wish to assign other duties to the Finance Director or other department heads, work assignments are made to and through the City Administrator.
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained under Section 3.07.

In addition, language is added to expressly indicate that the Fire Department is responsible for the provision of emergency medical services.

    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.In addition, language is added to give the department responsibility for maintenance of parks and public facilities, which conforms the Charter to long standing practice.
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.This section is also revised to remove the reference to Park in the Department name as well as to remove the responsibility for maintenance of the City’s park lands and recreation facilities from the list of responsibilities. These were added to the Public Works Department section above. Note that the responsibility for carrying out Council policies related to the use of park lands and recreation facilities remains with the Recreation Department, as is long standing practice.Article IV – Fiscal Matters

Currently, the last two paragraphs of this section require that the City maintain a reserve of no more than 25% of the budget for the purpose of maintaining municipal services during periods of reduced revenues as well as meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies.

As detailed in a June 19, 2017 Council Agenda Report, the City Charter, from its original adoption in 1923 through 1980, placed no requirement for, or limit on, reserves of the General Fund. In 1980, the Charter was amended to require that a reserve be established for the purpose of meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies and specified that the reserve not exceed 10%. In a 1999, the Municipal Tax Review Committee, stated that “….caps on the General Fund Reserve were originally designed to prevent a spendthrift Council from taxing residents for the sake of piling up unnecessary reserves. We believe that history – and quadrennial parcel tax votes – show this fear to be unfounded”. Based on the Committee’s report, the Council proposed and the voters approved an amendment in 2000 that increased the maximum General Fund reserve to 25% and expanded the purpose to include “maintenance of municipal services during periods of reduced revenues to the City.

The provision for placing a percentage limitation on the size of the General Fund reserve seems to have been born out of a concern that the City would tax its residents beyond what is needed to support prudent operations and thus accumulate unnecessary reserves. In practice, this has never happened. Additionally, the City has no authority to impose taxes on residents. In the case of the parcel tax, continuation of the tax, and any increase which may be proposed, is subject to a vote of Piedmont residents every four years. This requirement for voter approval, in addition to annual public hearings on the budget, provides valuable opportunities for resident oversight of City budget practices, operations, and performance.

If the Charter were to include any provisions relating to the reserves of the General Fund, best practice and prudence would dictate speaking to the need to build and maintain reserves as opposed to placing artificial limits on the size of the reserve. For these reasons it is proposed that the section be amended to state that the City shall maintain a General Fund Reserve and that the Council shall strive to maintain the reserve in an amount not less than 15% of the General Fund operating budget. Note that the addition of “operating budget”, rather than simply referring to “the budget”, provides needed clarity as to exactly how to apply referenced percentages.

This section currently requires that the City conform to state law regarding awarding of contracts to the lowest responsible bidder for any contract above the dollar threshold set by state law, currently $5,000. Among other requirements, it also allows the Council to contract for work on the open market, without using the bidding process, if it deems it more economical or beneficial to do so. Other provisions include the requirement that the City establish a competitive bidding system by ordinance.

The proposed revisions to this section eliminate the requirement that the City conform to the state dollar threshold regarding lowest responsible bidder. Removing this requirement maintains the necessity of bidding public projects to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent in a wise manner, however it lets the City set its own rules as to the dollar amount threshold for formal, informal, and open market purchases and projects. In 2017, the Council passed a revision to the City’s purchasing provisions, which set the limit for open market purchases at $5,000, the limit for informal bidding at $75,000, and required formal bidding above that amount.

Article V – Personnel

    This section specifies the personnel classification of the elective officers, officers, employees, and volunteers of the City, identifying whether they fall into the unclassified or classified services of the City for the purposes of Civil Service regulations.Subsection (A)(2) is revised to remove listings of specific positions in the unclassified service, rather referring to the “Officers of the City” as defined in Section 3.01 of the Charter. This amendment is largely editorial in nature and is proposed to better correspond to terminology and provisions of other sections of the Charter.
    This section currently requires that appointments and promotions be made based upon the selection of the best qualified individual for a job. It also prohibits discrimination against employees based upon sex, race, creed, color, or national or ethnic origin.The proposed amendment to this section modernizes the prohibition against employment discrimination to include all classes protected under U.S. and state law.

Though the Piedmont Unified School District is a separate entity from the City of Piedmont, its creation dates back to the passage of the original Piedmont City Charter in 1923. Since that time, though the PUSD operates separately from the City, provisions regarding the District’s elected governing board have, by necessity of its creation, resided in the City Charter. The provisions of the Charter related to the PUSD solely govern the election, membership requirements, compensation, and organization of the Board of Education. As the City Council and the Board of Education are the only elected bodies in Piedmont, these requirements closely mirror each other, though there are differences reflecting the body of law governing each organization.Should the Council decide to pursue suggested Charter amendments, any proposals relating to PUSD would be discussed with the Board and staff would seek their support prior to advancing revisions to this Article.

    Currently the term limit provisions for the Board of Education match those for the City Council. Should the Council wish to make the term limits for the Council stricter, it should consider doing the same for the Board of Education.
    Currently, the requirements for filling a vacancy on the Board of Education match those of the City Council in Section 2.05, above. The proposed amendment to this section mirror the changes proposed for the City Council in Section 2.05.
    Currently, this section contains the same archaic provision regarding compelling attendance at meetings as are contained in Section 2.07(C) for the City Council.

The proposed amendment parallels the proposed amendment to Section 2.07(C) and deletes the provision allowing for a minority of members to compel attendance of absent members.


Following are some of the changes proposed.  Refer to the City staff report for additional details by clicking HERE.


Section 1.01 Section 1.02 Section 1.03 Section 1.04


Section 2.01 Section 2.02 Section 2.03 Section 2.04 Section 2.05 Section 2.06 Section 2.07 Section 2.08 Section 2.09 Section 2.10 Section 2.11 Section 2.12 Section 2.13 Section 2.14 Section 2.15


Section 3.01 Section 3.02 Section 3.03 Section 3.04 Section 3.05 Section 3.06 Section 3.07 Section 3.08 Section 3.09 Section 3.10 Section 3.11 Section 3.12 Section 3.13

Table of Contents
POWERS OF THE CITY Page Name 1 Boundaries 1 Powers of the City 1 Intergovernmental Relations 1


Composition, Eligibility and Election 1 Compensation 2 Term of Office 2 General Powers and Duties 2 Vacancies Forfeiture of Offices Filling of Vacancies 2 Judge of Qualifications 3 Council Meetings 3 Mayor 4 Investigations 4 Administrative Relations 4 Action Requiring an Ordinance 4 Ordinances in General 5 Emergency Ordinances 6 Codes of Technical Regulations 6 Authentication and Recording Codification Printing 7


Officers and Employees 7 Official Bonds 8 City Administrator 8 Acting City Administrator 9 City Clerk 9 City Attorney 10 Department of Finance 10 Police Department 11 Fire Department 11 Department of Public Works 11 City Engineer 11 Planning Director 11 Department of Parks and Recreation 12


Fiscal ear 12 Submission of Budget 12 The Budget 12 Action on Budget 13 Amendments After Adoption 14 Lapse of Appropriations 14 Tax System 14 Tax Rate Limitation 14 Independent Audit 14 Franchises 15 Contract Work 16 Purchasing 16 Temporary Loans 16 Bonded Debt Limit 16


Personnel Classification 17 Appointments and Promotions 17 Personnel Rules and Regulations 17 Suspension, Demotion and Dismissal 18 Retirement System 18 Authority to Join Other Systems 18


Creation of Boards and Commissions 19 Membership, Term of Office 19 Compensation 19 Organization 19 Public Record 20


Governing Board 20 Membership, Term of Office 20

Compensation Vacancies Organization Meetings


Section 8.01 Section 8.02 Section 8.03 Section 8.04


Section 9.01 Section 9.02 Section 9.03 Section 9.04 Section 9.05 Section 9.06 Section 9.07 Section 9.08


General Municipal Elections 21 Special Municipal Elections 21 Procedure for Holding Elections 21 Initiative, Referendum, and Recall 22


General Plan 22 zoning System 22 Conflict of Interest 23 General Laws Applicable 23 Separability 23 Charter Enforcement 23 Charter Amendment 23


ARTICLE I. Powers of the City

The municipal corporation now existing and known as the City of Piedmont shall remain and continue to be an entity as at present.


The boundaries of the City shall be the same as now established, with power and authority to change the same as provided by law.


The City shall have all powers possible for a city to have under the Constitution and laws of the State of California as fully and completely as though they were specifically enumerated in this Charter.

The powers of the City under this Charter shall be construed liberally in favor of the City, and the specific mention of particular powers in the Charter shall not be construed as limiting in any way the general power stated in this Article.


The City may exercise any of its powers or perform any of its functions and may participate in the financing thereof, jointly or in cooperation, by contract or otherwise, with any other public or private agency.

ARTICLE II City Council


  1. (A)  COMPOSITION. There shall be a City Council of five (5) members elected at large by the qualified voters of the City.
  2. (B)  ELIGIBILITY . Only qualified voters of the City shall be eligible to hold the office of Councilmember.

(C) HOLDING OTHER OFFICES. Except where authorized by law, no Councilmember shall hold any other office or employment with the City.

(D) ELECTION. The regular election of Councilmembers shall be held at the General Municipal Election as provided for in Section 8.01 of this Charter. The terms of elected Councilmembers shall begin upon certification of the election results by the City Council. They shall hold office for four (4) years. Elections shall be alternately for two (2) and three (3) Councilmembers, excluding elections to fill an unexpired term of office. (Charter Amendment 11 4 2014)


The members of the City Council shall not receive any compensation for their service to the City. Councilmembers may receive actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties of office as determined by the Council.


No person who has served two (2) full consecutive terms as a Councilmember shall thereafter be eligible to hold such office until one full intervening term of four (4) years has elapsed. For the purposes hereof, any person who serves as a Councilmember for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term.


All powers of the City shall be vested in the City Council as the legislative body, except as otherwise provided by law or this Charter. The Council shall provide for the exercise of these powers and for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the City by law.


  1. (A)  VACANCIES. The office of a Councilmember shall become vacant upon his her death, resignation, removal from office in any manner authorized by law, or forfeiture of office.
  2. (B)  FORFEITURE OF OFFICE. A Councilmember shall forfeit office if the member:

(1) lacks at any time during the term of office any qualification for the office prescribed by this Charter or by State law(2)  violates any prohibition of this Charter or (3)  is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.

(C) FILLING OF VACANCIES. A vacancy on the City Council shall be filled by appointment by the Council, with said appointee to hold office until the next general municipal election, when a successor shall be chosen by the electors for the unexpired term. If the Council does not fill such vacancy within sixty (60) days after the same occurs, then such vacancy shall be filled by special election.

Notwithstanding the requirement of this Charter that a quorum of the Council consists of three members, if at any time the membership of the Council is reduced to two, the remaining members shall appoint one additional member to raise the membership to three (3), and then call a special municipal election to fill all vacancies, including the vacancy to which an appointment has just been made. If at any time there are four (4) or more vacancies, the City Clerk shall call a special election at once to fill the vacancies for the unexpired terms, with said election being conducted in accordance with the rules for a general municipal election.


The City Council shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its members and of the grounds for forfeiture of office, and for that purpose shall have power to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and require the production of evidence. A member charged with conduct constituting grounds for forfeiture of office shall be entitled to a public hearing on demand, and notice of such hearing shall be published in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City at least one week in advance of the hearing. Decisions made by the Council under this section shall be subject to review by the courts.


  1. (A)  MEETINGS. The City Council shall meet regularly at such times and places as the Council may prescribe by ordinance or resolution. Special meetings may be held on the call of the Mayor or of three (3) or more members and, whenever practicable, upon no less than twenty-four (24) hours notice to each member. All meetings shall be public except as otherwise provided by law.
  2. (B)  RULES AND MINUTES. The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business and shall provide for keeping minutes of its proceedings. These minutes shall be a permanent public record.
  3. (C)  VOTING. Voting, except on procedural motions, shall be by roll call and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the minutes. Three (3) members of the Council shall constitute a quorum. No action of the Council, except as otherwise provided.

Deletions have been omitted here, as unclear.

 Deleted: but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and may compel the attendance of absent members in the manner prescribed by the rules of the Council for in this Charter, shall be valid or binding unless adopted by the affirmative vote of three (3) or more members of the Council.


Following each general municipal election, the City Council shall elect from among its member officers of the City who shall have the titles of Mayor and Vice-Mayor, each of whom shall serve at the pleasure of the Council. The Mayor shall preside at meetings of the Council, shall be recognized as head of the City government for all ceremonial purposes and by the Governor for the purposes of military law, but shall have no administrative duties. The Vice-Mayor shall act as mayor during the absence or disability of the Mayor. In case of the temporary absence or disability of both the Mayor and Vice-Mayor, the Council shall select one of its members to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore.


The City Council may make investigations into the affairs of the City and the conduct of any City department, office or agency, and for this purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence.


Except for the purpose of inquiries and investigations, Councilmembers shall deal with the City officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the City Administrator through the City Administrator.


In addition to other acts required by law or by specific provisions of this Charter to be done by ordinance, those acts of the City Council shall be by ordinance which:

  1. (1)  Adopt or amend an administrative code, or combine or abolish any City department, office, record or commission
  2. (2)  Provide for a fine or other penalty, or establish a rule or regulation for violation of which a fine or other penalty is imposed
  3. (3)  Levy taxes, except as otherwise provided in this Charter with respect to the property tax levied by adoption of the budget
  4. (4)  Grant, renew or extend a franchise
  5. (5) Authorize the borrowing of money
  6. (6) Convey or lease or authorize the conveyance or lease of any lands of the City
  7. (7) Adopt, with or without amendment, ordinances proposed under the initiative power and(8) Amend or repeal any ordinance previously adopted, except as otherwise provided in this Charter, with respect to repeal of ordinances reconsidered under the referendum power.

Acts other than those referred to in this section may be done either by ordinance or by resolution of the City Council. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, if an ordinance authorizes the council to establish rules and regulations on matters set forth in such ordinance, those rules and regulations adopted by resolution shall be valid and shall be subject to fine or penalty if the establishing ordinance so provides.


  1. (A)  FORM. Every proposed ordinance shall be introduced in writing, and the subject of the ordinance shall be clearly expressed in its title. The enacting clause shall be, “The City Council of the City of Piedmont hereby ordains…” Any proposed ordinance which repeals or amends an existing ordinance or part of the City Code shall distinctly set out the City Code sections or subsections to be repealed or amended, and those existing provisions shall be posted with said ordinance.
  2. (B)  PROCEDURE. An ordinance may be introduced by any Councilmember at any regular or special meeting of the City Council. Upon the first reading of any ordinance, the City Clerk shall distribute a copy to each Councilmember and to the City Administrator, shall make available a reasonable number of copies in the office of the City Clerk, and shall post the ordinance together with a notice setting out the time and place for a final reading by the Council. The adoption shall follow the first reading by at least five (5) days. A proposed ordinance may be amended or modified between the time of its first reading and the time of its final adoption, providing its general scope and original purpose are retained. As soon as practicable after adoption of any ordinance, the City Clerk shall post the final ordinance before its effective date. All ordinances shall be attested by the City Clerk or his her designee.
  3. (C)  EFFECTIVE DATE. Except as otherwise provided in this Charter or by State law, every adopted ordinance shall become effective at the expiration of thirty (30) days after adoption or at any later date specified therein.
  4. (D)  POSTING DEFINED. As used in this section, the term “posting” means to post the ordinance on the official city web site.5

Deleted: bulletin board


To meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property or the public peace, the City Council may adopt one or more emergency ordinances, but such ordinances may not levy taxes grant, renew or extend a franchise or authorize the borrowing of money in excess of twenty five percent (25%) of the tax receipts from the previous fiscal year. An emergency ordinance shall be introduced in the form and manner prescribed for ordinances generally, except that it shall be plainly designated as an emergency ordinance and shall contain, after the enacting clause, a declaration stating that an emergency exists and describing it in clear and specific terms. An emergency ordinance may be adopted with or without amendment or rejected at the meeting which it is introduced, but the affirmative vote of at least four (4) Councilmembers shall be required for adoption. After its adoption, the ordinance shall be posted as prescribed for other adopted ordinances. It shall become effective upon adoption or at such later time as it may specify. Every emergency ordinance, except an emergency appropriation, shall automatically stand repealed as of the 61st day following the date on which it was adopted, but this shall not prevent re-enactment of the ordinance in the manner specified in this section if the emergency still exists. An emergency ordinance may also be repealed by adoption of a repealing ordinance in the same manner specified in this section for adoption of emergency ordinances.


The City Council may adopt any standard code of technical regulations by reference thereto in an adoption ordinance. The procedure and requirements governing such an adopting ordinance shall be as prescribed for ordinances generally, except that:

  1. (1)  One copy of each adopted code of technical regulations as well as of the adopting ordinances shall be authenticated and recorded by the City Clerk pursuant to this Charter.
  2. (2)  Copies of any adopted code of technical regulations shall be made available at the office of the City Clerk for free public reference, and made available for purchase by the public at a reasonable price fixed by the Council.


  1. (A)  AUTHENTICATION AND RECORDING. The City Clerk shall, when necessary, authenticate by signature all ordinances and resolutions adopted by the City Council.
  2. (B)  CODIFICATION. Within a time to be determined by the Council, a general codification of all City ordinances and resolutions having the force and effect of law shall be prepared and periodically revised. The general codification shall be printed, together with this Charter and any amendments thereto, and such codes or technical regulations and other rules and regulations as the Council may specify. This compilation shall be known and cited officially as the Piedmont City Code. Copies of the code shall be furnished to City officers, placed in the City Clerk’s office for free public reference, and made available for purchase by the public at a reasonable price fixed by the Council.
  3. (C)  PRINTING OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS. The Council shall cause each ordinance and resolution having the force and effect of law and each amendment to this Charter to be printed following its adoption, and the printed ordinances, resolutions and charter amendments shall be distributed or sold to the public at reasonable prices to be fixed by the Council. All ordinances, resolutions and charter amendments shall be printed in substantially the same style as the Code currently in effect and shall be suitable in form for integration therein


.ARTICLE III. Administration


The officers of the City of Piedmont shall consist of a City Administrator, a City Clerk, a City Attorney, a Director of Finance, a Chief of Police, a Fire Chief, a Director of Public Works, a City Engineer, a Planning Director, a Director of Recreation and such other subordinate officers, assistants, deputies and employees as the City Council may deem necessary to provide by ordinance or resolution. The City Administrator and City Attorney shall be appointed and directed by the Council, and shall hold office at the pleasure of the Council. All other officers shall be appointed and directed by the City Administrator.

The Council may by resolution reorganize, or by ordinance combine or consolidate or abolish any two or more offices or functions and require the duties of the same to be performed by one officer or department. The Council shall have the right of providing for such officers, departments and their functions in whole or in part through contract agreements.

Some deletions here.

Deleted: and shall record them in full in an indexed book kept for this purpose.

Deleted: administrative Deleted: Parks and Deleted: All officers

The Council may transfer or consolidate functions of the City government to or with appropriate functions of the State or County government, or any other public or private agency, or make use of such functions of said entities. In such case, the provisions of this Charter providing for the function of the City government so transferred or consolidated shall be deemed suspended during the continuance of such transfer or consolidation, to the extent that such suspension is made necessary or convenient and is set forth in the ordinance establishing such transfer or consolidation. Any such transfer or consolidation may be repealed in like manner.


The City Council shall appoint a City Administrator for an indefinite term and fix his her compensation. The administrator shall be appointed on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications.

The City Administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the city and shall be responsible to the City Council for the administration of all City affairs placed in his her charge by or under this charter.

The administrator shall have the following powers and duties:

  1. (1)  Shall appoint, discipline, and, when deemed necessary for the good of the City, suspend or remove City officers appointed by the City Administrator and employees except as otherwise provided by law, this Charter or personnel rules adopted pursuant to this Charter.
  2. (2)  Shall supervise the administration of all departments, offices and agencies of the City, except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by law and except further that the internal administration of each department shall remain with each department head.
  3. (3)  Shall attend Council meetings and shall have the right to take part in discussion, but may not vote.
  4. (4)  Shall see that all laws, provisions of this Charter and acts of the Council, subject to enforcement by him her or by officers subject to his her supervision, are faithfully executed.
  5. (5)  Shall prepare and submit the annual budget to the Council and shall supervise its administration after its adoption.
  6. (6)  Shall submit to the Council and make available to the public a report on the finances of the City each fiscal year.
  7. (7)  Shall make such other reports as the Council may require concerning the operations of City departments, offices and agencies


The City Council shall determine which officers shall give bonds for the faithful performance of their official duties and fix the amount of said bonds. Such officers, before entering upon their official duties, shall execute a bond to the City in the sum legally required, which bond shall include any other offices they hold. The bonds shall be approved by the Council, paid for by the City and filed with the City Clerk except that the bonds of the City Administrator and the City Clerk shall be filed with the City Attorney.

  1. (8)  Shall keep the Council fully advised as to the financial condition and future needs of the City and make recommendations to the Council concerning the affairs of the City.
  2. (9)  Shall administer the personnel system of the City and, in particular, those matters involving the City’s personnel classification system and employee benefit and retirement plans.
  3. (10)  Shall maintain a system of City records.
  4. (11)  Shall perform such other duties as are specified in this charter or may be required by the Council.


By letter filed with the City Clerk, the administrator shall designate a qualified City administrative officer to exercise the powers and perform the duties of administrator during temporary absence or disability. The City Council may by majority vote revoke such designation at any time and appoint another officer of the City to serve until the administrator shall return or the disability shall cease.


The City Administrator shall appoint an officer of the City who shall have the title of City Clerk. The City Clerk shall give notice of Council meetings to its members and the public, keep the minutes of its proceedings and perform such other duties as are assigned by this Charter, State Law, the City Council, or the City Administrator.


The City Council shall appoint a City Attorney. That person shall be an attorney-at-law licensed as such under the laws of the State of California, and continue to be so licensed during the time of holding office, and shall have been engaged in the practice of law for at least five (5) years prior to appointment. The City Attorney shall, directly or through deputies, have power and be required to:

  1. (1)  Represent and advise the Council and all officers of the City in all matters of law pertaining to their offices
  2. (2)  Represent and appear for the City in any or all actions or proceedings in which the City is concerned or is a party, including the prosecution of violations of this Charter and ordinances enacted by the Council, and represent and appear for any

Deletions here are omitted, as unclear.

City officer or employee, or former City officer or employee, in any or all actions and proceedings in which any such officer or employee is concerned or is a party for any act arising out of his her employment or by reason of official capacity, provided the interest of the City in such action or proceeding is not adversely affected

  1. (3)  Attend all regular meetings of the Council and give advice or opinion in writing whenever requested to do so by the Council, by the City Administrator or by any of the boards or commissions of the City, subject to the approval of the Council or the City Administrator
  2. (4)  Approve the form of all contracts made by and all bonds given to the City, endorsing approval thereon in writing
  3. (5)  Prepare ordinances or resolutions for the City and amendments thereto
  4. (6)  Transfer forthwith to the appointed successor all books, papers, files and documents pertaining to the City, which he she has in their control.

The Council shall have control of all legal business and proceedings and may employ other attorneys to take charge of any litigation or matter or to assist the City Attorney therein.


There shall be a Department of Finance headed by a Director of Finance who will have charge of the administration of the financial affairs of the City, and may be empowered to act as assessor, tax collector and or treasurer for the City, and perform such other duties as may be assigned.
The department shall be responsible for the collection of all taxes, assessments, license fees and other revenues of the City for whose collection the City is responsible and shall receive all taxes or other money receivable by the City from the County, State or Federal governments or from any office or department of the City.


There shall be a Police Department headed by a Chief of Police. This department shall have charge of the law enforcement function of the City, and such other public safety activities as may be assigned, with the duty of preserving the public peace and upholding the laws of the City and of the State of California. For the enforcement of said laws, the chief shall have all the powers that are now or may hereafter be conferred upon sheriffs and other peace officers by the laws of the State. Every citizen shall lend aid to the police when requested for the arrest of offenders, the maintenance of public order, or the protection of life and property.

Many deletions here were unclear.

There shall be a Fire Department headed by a Fire Chief. This department shall have charge of the prevention and extinguishing of fires, the provision of emergency medical services, and such other public safety activities as may be assigned. The chief shall also direct the department in protecting life and property in other natural and or man-made disasters. Every citizen shall lend aid to the fire department when requested for the protection of life and property.


There shall be a Department of Public Works headed by a Director of Public Works. This department shall have charge of the maintenance and repair of all City streets, sewers and storm sewers, parks, public facilities, and any other related activities as may be assigned.


There shall be a City Engineer who shall have supervision over all matters of an engineering character as required by State law, or as may be assigned. At the time of appointment, this officer shall have been a practicing civil engineer for a period of at least five (5) years, and licensed in the State of California.


There shall be a Planning Director who shall be responsible for administering the City’s continuing planning activities as may be assigned, including, but not limited to, maintenance of the general plan, overseeing the zoning system and building regulations and codes.


There shall be a Department of Recreation headed by a Director of Recreation. This department shall have charge of the organization and administration of the City’s public recreation programs and such other related activities as may be assigned. The director shall administer the operations and programs of the department and shall carry out policies established by the Council for the use of the City’s park lands and recreation facilities.

Many deletions here omitted for lack of clarity.

ARTICLE IV. Fiscal Management


The fiscal year of the City shall begin on the first day of July and end on the thirtieth day of June of the following year.


On or before the fifteenth day of May of each year, the City Administrator shall submit to the City Council a budget for the ensuing fiscal year.


The City Administrator shall submit the budget both in fiscal terms and in terms of the City’s programs. The administrator shall outline the proposed financial policies of the City for the fiscal year describe the important features of the budget indicate any major changes from the current year in financial policies, expenditures and revenues, together with reasons for such changes summarize the City’s debt position and include such other material as the administrator deems desirable or as the City Council designates.

The budget shall provide a complete financial plan of all City funds and activities for the ensuing fiscal year. In organizing the budget, the City Administrator shall utilize the most feasible combination of expenditure classification by fund, organization unit, program, purpose or activity, and object. It shall begin with a clear general summary of its contents shall show in detail all estimated income, indicating the proposed property tax levy, and all proposed expenditures, including debt service, for the fiscal year and shall be so arranged as to show comparative figures for income and expenditures of the current fiscal year and the preceding fiscal year. It shall indicate in separate sections:

  1. (1)  The proposed expenditures for current operations during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by department in terms of their respective programs, and the method of financing such expenditures and
  2. (2)  The proposed capital expenditures during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by department, and the proposed method of financing each such capital expenditure.

The Council shall maintain a General Fund Reserve for the purpose of maintaining municipal services during periods of reduced revenues to the City, as well as meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies of the City. The City Council shall strive to maintain the reserve in an amount not less than fifteen (15%) of the General Fund operating budget.


  1. (A)  NOTICE AND HEARING. The City Council shall publish in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City a notice stating:
    1. (1)  the times and places where copies of the budget are available for inspection by the public and
    2. (2)  the time and place, not less than ten (10) days nor more than thirty (30) days after such publications, for a public hearing on the budget.
  2. (B)  AMENDMENT BEFORE ADOPTION. After the public hearing, the Council may adopt the budget with or without amendment. In amending the budget, it may add or increase programs or amounts and may delete or decrease programs or amounts, except expenditures required by law or for debt service or for estimated cash deficit, provided that no amendment to the budget shall increase the authorized expenditures to an amount greater than the total estimated income.
  3. (C)  ADOPTION. The Council shall adopt the budget on or before the thirtieth day of June of the fiscal year currently ending. If the Council fails to adopt the budget by this date, the amounts appropriated for current operation for the current fiscal year shall be deemed adopted for the ensuing fiscal year on a month-by-month basis, with all items in it prorated accordingly, until such time as the Council adopts a budget for the ensuing fiscal year. Adoption of the budget shall constitute appropriation of the amounts specified therein for expenditure from the funds indicated.
  4. (D)  PUBLIC RECORD. The budget shall be printed and made available for public review.


The Council may during the course of the fiscal year amend the budget by reducing or increasing appropriations, transferring appropriations, and authorizing supplemental appropriations, and may authorize expenditures from the unappropriated reserve fund for the purpose of meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies of the City from funds so approved, transferred, or added thereto by the Council.


Every appropriation, except an appropriation for a capital expenditure, shall lapse at the close of Deleted: in an amount not to exceed twenty-five (25%) of the budget for the purpose of maintaining municipal services during periods of reduced revenues to the City, as well as meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies of the City.

For each fiscal year, the proposed General Fund expenditures shall be no greater than the sum of estimated General Fund revenue plus the General Fund Reserve. (Amended 3 7 2000)

Deleted: the fiscal year to the extent that it has not been expended or encumbered. An appropriation for a capital expenditure shall continue in force until the purpose for which it was made has been accomplished or abandoned the purpose of any such appropriation shall be deemed abandoned if three (3) years pass without any disbursement from or encumbrance of the appropriation.


Unless otherwise provided by ordinance, the City shall use, for the purpose of municipal property taxation, the County system of assessment and tax collection, as such system is now in effect or may hereafter be amended and insofar as such provisions are not in conflict with this Charter.


The City shall not levy a rate of taxation beyond that sufficient to raise the amounts required for the annual budget and as otherwise provided in this Charter or by State law, less the amounts estimated to be received from fines, licenses and other sources of revenues.


The City Council shall provide for an independent annual audit of all City accounts and may provide for such more frequent audits as it deems necessary. Such audits shall be made by a certified public accountant or firm of such accountants with no personal interest, direct or indirect, in the fiscal affairs of the City government or any of its officers. The Council may, without requiring competitive bids, designate such accountant or firm, annually or for a period not exceeding three (3) years. The designation for any particular fiscal year shall be made no later than thirty (30) days after the beginning of the fiscal year.


No person or corporation shall exercise any franchise right or privilege in the City except insofar as they may be entitled to do so by direct authority of the State Constitution, unless they shall have obtained grant therefor in accordance with the provisions of this Charter and in accordance with the procedure prescribed by ordinance.

(A) TERMS, CONDITIONS AND PROCEDURES. The City Council shall, by ordinance, prescribe the terms, conditions and procedures under which franchises will be granted, subject to the provisions of this Charter provided, however, that such procedural ordinance or ordinances shall make provisions for the giving of public notice for franchise applications, for protects against the granting of such franchises and for public hearings on such applications.


The Council, in granting franchises, shall prescribe the terms and conditions of such franchises in accordance with the applicable provisions of this Charter and any ordinance adopted thereto, and may in such franchise impose such other and additional terms and conditions not in conflict with said Charter or ordinances, whether governmental or contractual in character, as in the judgment of said Council are in the public interest or as the people, by initiative, indicate they desire to have imposed.

  1. (B)  METHOD OR GRANTING FRANCHISE. The Council may grant a franchise without calling for bids or may, in its discretion, advertise for bids for the sale of a franchise upon a basis not in conflict with the provisions of this Charter.
  2. (C)  TERM OF FRANCHISE. Every franchise shall be either a fixed term or for an indeterminate period. If for a fixed term, the franchise shall state the term for which it is granted if indeterminate, it shall set forth the terms and conditions under which it may be terminated.
  3. (D)  EMINENT DOMAIN. No franchise grant shall in any way, or to any extent, impair or affect the right of the City to acquire the property of the grantee thereof either by purchase or through the exercise of the right of eminent domain, and nothing therein contained shall be construed to contract away or to modify or to abridge, either for a term or in perpetuity, the City’s right of eminent domain with respect to any public utility.
  4. (E)  ADEQUATE COMPENSATION. No new franchise or renewal of an existing franchise shall be granted without reserving to the City just and adequate compensation.


All contracts shall be drawn under the supervision of the City Attorney. All contracts must be in writing and executed in the name of the City by an officer or officers authorized to sign the same.

The City Council shall establish, by ordinance, the rules and regulations for the City’s competitive bidding system. The Council may reject any and all bids, and may call for new bids. The Council, without advertising for bids, may provide for such work to be procured in the open market if it deems it more beneficial or economical to do so.


A purchasing system shall be established for all City departments and offices. The City Council shall consider and adopt rules and regulations governing the contracting for purchasing, inspection, storing, distribution or disposal of all supplies, materials and equipment require by


Deleted: All expenditures for public projects above the limit from time to time set by State law shall be contracted for and let to the lowest responsible bidder after notice.any department or office of the City.


Money may be borrowed in anticipation of the receipts from taxes during any fiscal year, by the issue of notes, certificates of indebtedness or revenue bonds but the aggregate amount of such loans at any time outstanding shall not exceed twenty-five (25) percent of the receipts from all taxes during the preceding fiscal year and all such loans shall be paid out of the receipts from taxes for the fiscal year in which they are issued.


The City shall not incur an indebtedness evidenced by obligation bonds which shall in the aggregate exceed the sum of twenty (20) percent of total assessed valuation for purposes of City taxation, of all the real and personal property within the City, exclusive of any indebtedness that has been or may hereafter be incurred for the purposes of acquiring, constructing, extending or maintaining municipal utilities, for which purpose a further indebtedness may be incurred by the issuance of bonds, subject only to the provisions of the State Constitution and of this Charter.

No bonded indebtedness which shall constitute a general obligation of the City may be created unless authorized by the affirmative votes of a majority of the electors voting on such proposition at any election at which the question is submitted to the electors and unless in full compliance with the provisions of the State Constitution, other State laws and this Charter.

ARTICLE V. Personnel


The administrative service of the City shall be divided into unclassified and classified service: (A) The unclassified service shall comprise the following officers and positions:

  1. (1)  All elective officers
  2. (2)  The officers of the City, as defined in this charter
  3. (3)  All members of boards and commissions
  4. (4)  Positions in any class or grade created for a special or temporary purpose for a period of not longer than six months16

Deleted: CityAdministrator,CityAttorney,CityClerk, personnel officer, and the head of each department of the City

  1. (5)  Persons employed to render professional, scientific, technical or expert services of any occasional or exceptional character
  2. (6)  Part-time employees paid on an hourly or per diem basis.

(B) The classified service shall comprise all positions not specifically included by this section in the unclassified service.


All appointments to and promotions within the classified service shall be based upon selection of the best qualified individual as determined by means of recognized personnel selection techniques. The City shall not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of sex, race, creed, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, AIDS HIV status, medical condition, political activities or affiliations, military or veteran status, or status as a victim of domestic violence.


The City Council shall implement the personnel system provided by this Charter by adopting rules and regulations governing the administration thereof. Such personnel rules and regulations shall provide, among other things, for:

  1. (1)  The preparation, installation, revision, and maintenance of a position classification plan covering all positions in the classified service, including minimum standards and qualifications for each class and
  2. (2)  The preparation, revision and administration of a plan of compensation directly correlated with the position classification plan, providing a range or maximum rate of pay for each class.


An employee holding a position in the classified service may be suspended without pay, demoted, or removed from a position for malfeasance, misconduct, incompetency, inefficiency or for failure to perform the duties of the position or to observe the established rules and regulations in relation thereto, or to cooperate reasonably with superiors or fellow employees, but subject to the right to a hearing in the manner set forth by the City Council.

Any employee so suspended, demoted, or removed shall be given in writing the reasons for the suspension, demotion, or removal. Said employee shall be allowed a reasonable time for


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Deleted: or

Deleted: orethnicorigin.

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answering the same and may demand a public hearing upon the charges, with such hearing to be held in accordance with procedures established therefor. Hearings may be conducted informally, and the technical rules of evidence need not apply, but the employee whose suspension, demotion or removal is sought shall be heard in person, if he she requests, be permitted to be represented by counsel and to produce testimony in his her own behalf.


The City Council shall have the power to provide for the creation, establishment and maintenance of a retirement or pension plan or plans for any or all officers and employees of the City. The pension system for members of the police and fire departments as set forth in Section 47 of the Charter in effect on January 1, 1979, shall be incorporated in the City Code, and any amendment thereto shall not be effective unless approved by a majority of the voters voting thereon at a general or special election.


The City of Piedmont, by and through its City Council, is hereby empowered to join in or continue as a contracting agency in any retirement or pension system or systems existing or hereafter created under the laws of the State of California, or the United States of America, to which municipalities and municipal officers and employees are eligible.

ARTICLE VI. Boards and Commissions


The City Council may create by ordinance such operational, advisory, appellate or rule-making boards and commissions as may be required for the proper operation of any function or department of the City. In doing so, the Council shall prescribe their function, duties, powers, jurisdiction and the number of board and commission members.


Members of boards and commissions shall be appointed by majority vote of the City Council to serve three (3) year terms, and until their respective successors are appointed, with no person serving more than two consecutive terms of office. Members may be removed after a hearing by the affirmative vote of four (4) members of the Council. If a member of a board or commission is absent from three (3) consecutive regular meetings of such board or commission, unless by permission of such body expressed in its official meeting record or by permission of the Council,


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that office shall become vacant and shall be so declared by the Council. Appointments to fill any vacant, unexpired term shall be made by majority vote of the Council in the same manner as regular appointments are made. The Council shall by Council Resolution adopt and maintain in effect written policies and procedures for City Commission appointments. Any person who serves as a member of a board or commission for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term of office. (Charter Amendment 1984)


The members of boards and commissions shall serve without compensation for their services to the City, but may receive reimbursement for necessary traveling and other expenses incurred on official duty when such expenditures have received authorization by the City Council.


Each year on a date set by their respective rules, each board and commission shall meet to organize by electing one of its members to serve as presiding officer at the pleasure of such body. Each board and commission established by the City Council shall hold meetings at such regular intervals as the proper transaction of business shall require or as established by ordinance. All meetings shall be public except as otherwise provided by law.


Minutes for each of such boards and commissions shall be kept as a record of its proceedings and transactions. Each board or commission shall prescribe its own rules and regulations which shall be consistent with this Charter and with City Council ordinances and resolutions, and copies of which shall be kept on file with the City Clerk.

ARTICLE VII. Public Schools


The Board of Education shall have control and management of the public schools in the Piedmont Unified School District in accordance with the Constitution and general laws of the State, and is hereby vested with al powers and charged with all the duties provide by this Charter and all the general laws of the State for city boards of education.



The Board of Education shall consist of five (5) members elected from the City at large for a term of four (4) years. Board members shall be elected at the times and in the same manner provided for members of the City Council and shall be required to meet the same eligibility qualifications. No person who has served two (2) full consecutive terms as a member of the Board of Education shall be eligible to hold office until one (1) full intervening term of four (4) years has elapsed. Any person who serves as a member of the Board for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term.


The members of the Board of Education shall not receive any compensation for their service to the School District. Board members may receive actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties of office as determined by the Board.


The same rules governing the creation of vacancies or causing forfeiture of office from the City Council shall also apply to the members of the Board of Education. A vacancy on the Board shall be filled by appointment of a majority vote of said Board, with the appointee holding office for the remainder of the unexpired term or until the next general municipal election. If a vacancy on the Board of Education continues for sixty (60) days, the vacancy shall be filled by special election.


The Board of Education shall annually, pursuant to the requirements of the California Education Code, elect one of its own members to be President of the Board and another to serve as Vice- President. Either of these officers may be removed by the affirmative vote of four (4) members. (Charter Amendment 11 4 2014)


The Board of Education shall meet at such times and places as may be designated by resolution of said Board. Three (3) members of the Board shall constitute a quorum, except as otherwise provided by law. All meetings of the Board of Education shall be public, except as otherwise provided in the California Government and Education Codes. The Board shall determine the rules of its proceedings.


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Deleted: thirty
Deleted: 3
Deleted: the President of the Board of Education.

Deleted: , but a less number than three (3) at a scheduled meeting may adjourn and compel the attendance of absent members in such manner as the Board may prescribe



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 4 2014)


All other municipal elections that may be held by authority of this Charter, or of general law, or by ordinance, shall be known as special municipal elections.


Unless otherwise provided by ordinances hereafter enacted, all elections shall be held in accordance with the provisions of the Elections Code of the State of California, as the same now exists or may hereafter be amended, for the holding of elections in general law cities so far as the same are not in conflict with the Charter.


There are hereby reserved to the electors of the City the powers of the initiative and referendum and recall of municipal elective officers. The provisions of the Elections Code of the State of California, as the same now exists or hereafter may be amended, governing the initiative and referendum and the recall of municipal officers, shall apply to the use thereof in the City so far as such provisions of the Elections Code are not in conflict with the provisions of this Charter.

ARTICLE IX. General Provisions


The City Council shall adopt, and may from time to time, modify a general plan setting forth policies to govern the development of the City. Such plan may cover the entire City and all of its functions and services or may consist of a combination of plans governing specific functions and services or specific geographic areas which together cover the entire City and all of its functions and services. The plan shall also serve as a guide to Council action concerning such City


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planning matters as land use, development regulations and capital improvements.


The City of Piedmont is primarily a residential city, and the City Council shall have power to establish a zoning system within the City as may in its judgement be most beneficial. The Council may classify and reclassify the zones established, but no existing zones shall be reduced or enlarged with respect to size or area, and no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election. No zone shall be reduced or enlarged and no zones reclassified unless a majority of the voters voting upon the same shall vote in favor thereof provided that any property which is zoned for uses other than or in addition to a single- family dwelling may be voluntarily rezoned by the owners thereof filing a written document executed by all of the owners thereof under penalty of perjury stating that the only use on such property shall be a single-family dwelling, and such rezoning shall not require a vote of the electors as set forth above.


Subject to the provisions of State law, the City Council may adopt from time to time such ordinances, resolutions and regulations as the Council shall consider necessary and proper to prevent conflict of interest between the City and its officers, employees or members of boards, commissions or committees.


All general laws of the State applicable to municipal corporations, now or hereafter enacted, and which are not in conflict with the provisions of this Charter or with ordinances hereafter enacted, shall be applicable to the City. The City Council may adopt and enforce ordinances which, in relation to municipal affairs, shall control as against the general laws of the State.


If any provision of this Charter is held invalid, the other provisions of the Charter shall not be affected thereby. If the application of the Charter or any of its provisions to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the application of the Charter and its provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.


The provisions of the Charter shall be enforced, with violations punishable in the manner provided by State law and by City ordinance.



Amendments to this Charter may be proposed by the City Council or by the initiative process, as prescribed by this Charter and by State law.

All proposed Charter amendments shall be presented to the qualified voters of the City at a general or special election. If a majority of said voters voting upon a proposed amendment vote in favor of it, the amendment shall become effective at the time fixed in the amendment or, if no time is therein fixed, thirty (30) days after its adoption by the voters.


This Charter shall take effect on March 31, 1980, and upon its filing with the California Secretary of State.

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Item #7 – Discussion of Possible Amendments to the City Charter Correspondence received before 4:00 p.m. on Monday, February 5th Councilmembers:

Several of the proposed changes to the City Charter seem to be a step back from the volunteer leadership that has served Piedmont well and reduce the ability for residents to observe and participate in their local governance. Other than a logistical need to extend the period to allow for appointments, I don’t see how most of these recommended changes improve our local governance. Specifically:

Section 2:03 Terms of Office: No rationale for this change is provided in the staff report so if the council member of members proposing this could elaborate, it would help Council and community understand why this change is being considered. Term limits offset entrenched politicians and for better or worse do facilitate change. But they dilute experience. These limits are directed at political and entrenched interests, problems we do not face in Piedmont. Our council has always operated as non-partisan governance, based on volunteerism, which allows anyone to participate. The current code acknowledges this with the 2-term limit and enhances that spirit by allowing experienced volunteers to run again. John Chiang, Michael Bruck, June Monarch, Chuck Chakratavula – why would the city prevent these volunteers from serving again if they choose to? There is no need to make this change and doing so sends the wrong message to the community.

Section 2.07 (A) Meetings: from my experience the current schedule is essential to giving direction to and providing oversight of city staff. Workshops could be conducted as regular meetings if the total workload is an issue. And a full August recess would be appropriate. Recent events this past year – the conduct of elected officials and school staff – have demonstrated a real value in holding regularly scheduled meetings – the ability for the public to attend and express opinion on rapid developments. This has been valuable to giving direction to Council and the implementation of swift action.

Section 2.12 – Ordinances in General: this is obviously needed. I would advocate for more explicit notification of code changes that potentially have a material effect on someone’s property. For example, the set-back changes and right-of-way permissions adopted in the recent Chapter 17 revisions. These meetings were noticed however the specific changes to set-back rules were not explicitly presented. City notification should make these kinds of changes more apparent to residents.

Section 4.03 The Budget: Examine the suggestion made in the staff report that the 25% CAP was historically intended to prevent wasteful spending. To the contrary, I’ve always heard it was intended to do just what is does now – be a reserve during downturns in revenue, which did happen in the past in Piedmont. As transfer tax projections show, those downturns are becoming less and less likely and the current reserve level has more than adequately met such events. With the downturn in 2008 the transfer tax was $1.7M and the city hardly skipped a beat. No layoffs, no service reductions and within in 2 years the tax exceeded $3M. Leave the reserve CAP as is and consider instead mechanisms to forgo the municipal services tax in years of high transfer tax receipts – I recall we did this in 2012 when the transfer tax was $3.4M. Consider the results of your recent community polling – 50% of respondents found housing costs to be problematic – should the city be stock-piling tax revenue when half of Piedmont households find housing costs too high?

If you proceed with eliminating the CAP, consider a charter change that would direct excess transfer tax revenue to the school district after a fixed level needed by the city has been achieved. Unlike the city with it large reserves, the school district has little and is facing new mandates to set aside reserves that will drastically impact the service provided by the school district. Ironically it is the influx of new residents coming to Piedmont for the schools that are driving the windfall in municipal tax reserves. Garrett Keating


Dear Mayor McBain and Council,

Changing the City Charter is a critical issue. In 1976 a Charter Committee of residents was formed, chaired by Steve Eigenberg. That committee worked almost four years before an amended Charter was brought before voters in 1980. Given the breadth of the report before you, I do not believe a burden of this importance and magnitude should be left for you to decipher. You need thoughtful resident input and I suggest a Charter Committee be formed and be comprised of a cross-section of the community.

An Open Government Ordinance is needed; such an ordinance sunshines the Brown Act and extends the minimum three day notice requirement. I think a seven day notice requirement is appropriate though some Cities use eleven days. This allows the community to weigh in on important issues and allow residents who are otherwise occupied, such as Christmas when the Piedmont Post CUP was heard or this item over Super Bowl weekend, to have ample time to comment.

Sincerely, Rick Schiller

Considerations proposed by staff and Council can be read HERE.



At a special meeting on Monday, April 30th at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, the City Council will discuss which, if any, possible amendments to the City Charter should be moved forward.

On June 17, 2017, the Council agreed that each individual member would examine all Charter provisions for clarity and relevance and that each would submit any suggestions for Charter amendments to the City Administrator. In addition to review by Councilmembers, the City Clerk, City Attorney, and City Administrator also conducted their own independent review. The results of these reviews were presented to the Council at its regular meeting of February 5, 2018.

At its regular meeting of March 5, 2018, the Council decided not to place any amendments before the voters at the June 2018 primary election, and directed that a special meeting be held to examine all of the possible amendments to the Charter and determine which, if any, should be placed before the voters at the City’s General Municipal Election scheduled for November 2018.

At this April 30th special meeting, Council will review the possible amendments listed in the February 5, 2018 staff report (which is available on the city’s web site at and discuss whether any should move forward.

Pursuant to section 9.07 of the Charter, any proposed amendments must be presented to the qualified voters of the City for approval.

You are invited to attend this meeting and express your opinion. The meeting will be televised live on KCOM-TV, Channel 27, the City’s government TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site

Public comment is invited and encouraged at this meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office at or by US Mail to City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611. All comments submitted will become part of the public record.

For further information, contact City Clerk John O. Tulloch via email at or via phone at (510) 420-3040.


Editors Note: The changes to be considered by the Council as potential Charter revisions have been difficult to view in the City staff report. There are places in this article that omit deletions as unclear.  Readers are referred to the staff report for a complete list of deletions.  It is hoped that future staff reports will mark with a strikethrough all deletions and note all additions in a comprehensive form. 

Apr 20 2018

On Wednesday, April 11th, 2018, the Piedmont School Board held their bi-weekly meeting. The meeting started at 7:06 p.m. at City Hall and concluded around 7:40 p.m., making it one of the shortest meetings in a while. The main reason for this was because there was nothing on the agenda to discuss. The real purpose of the meeting was to take questions from a few students, the Parents Club, and questions pertaining to changing the location of the fire alarm in preparation for the new building that will be built at Piedmont High School.

The first question was from a member of the Piedmont Education Foundation (PEF) and the Parents Club about the cost of Chromebooks for the Middle School and High School because of the lack of donations from 6th grade parents this year. She urged people to keep Chromebooks up to date by donating money. She also urged people to contribute to the Piedmont Spring Fling at .

Next, a representative from MHS updated the board on what is happening on campus such as Senior Prom, athletic events, and a dance show field trip to Alvin Ailey at UC Berkeley.

The first student to comment in the meeting was Maggie Lucas, a PHS Senior. She asked the School Board to consider investing in an “extracurricular PE class,” because PHS requires one year of freshman PE as well as another year of PE or sport. This causes many students to sacrifice academic periods. Additionally, all of the extracurricular sports are very competitive and do not guarantee spots because many athletes get cut from the teams.

Next, Drew Lali, another senior argued that the School Board should reconsider taking away the two days that are part of Winter Break for next year’s schedule changes.

I was the last PHS Senior to comment. I asked the School Board to consider investing in online textbooks for PHS or alternative online material content for classes. I asked this because for students who travel between two homes on a regular basis (like myself), it can often be a burden to have to carry heavy textbooks back and forth. Additionally, the online content is more up to date than much of the content that are in the textbooks, and is continuously being updated. Although most classes now have online textbooks, I always have two or three classes each year that still use hardcover textbooks.

Michael Braidy explained how the fire control on the 10s building at Piedmont High needs to be moved to the 30s building in preparation for the construction of the new building that is expected to start early March of next year. However, Braidy did clarify that the schedule for construction is still very flexible.

When the meeting concluded, I spoke to Doug Ireland about the meeting. He is a member of the School Board and is there for the bi-weekly meetings. He explained that he learned that the School Board should reevaluate the costs of Chromebooks based on the comments made by the Parents Club earlier in the meeting. He also noted that the Board will be going forward with looking at the costs and installation of fire alarms at Piedmont High. Last, Ireland was happy about how short the meeting ended up being.

bySaatvik Dube, Piedmont High School Senior


Relocation of Fire Alarm and School Spending

    On April 11th, 2018, at the Piedmont City Council Chambers, there was a biweekly school board meeting. The members of the school board attended, with the addition of one student from ASB for Millennium High School. Also, Students, both in High and Middle school, attended the meeting for school related assignments.

    The School Board meeting addressed the topics of school spending and relocation of the Fire Alarm system to the 30’s building at Piedmont High School. Also, a student at Piedmont High School addressed the graduation requirement for Physical Education.

First, the spending amount schools get is allocated from the Government of California, and in addition the Parents from Piedmont can donate money to foundations created by Piedmont Parents to help the Schools.  A low percentage, 35 %, of 6th Grade Piedmont Parents donated money for Piedmont Middle School.  Almost half, 45%, of 9th Grade Piedmont Parents donated money for Piedmont High School. The money parents donated can help the subjects in School.  For example, I know families that donate to Paints, an organization that helps promote Art classes in the Piedmont Unified School District.  I think all parents that are apart of any school district should donate to provide as much help as they can from these organizations.

The Second issue addressed was the relocation of the Fire Alarm system to the 30’s building. The 10’s building is going to be taken down as well as the Theater to update the buildings and make them earthquake safe and much nicer than their current status.  The school is moving the fire alarm system to the permanent spot in the 30’s building before the 10’s building is being torn down.  Sarah Pearson,  School Board President, asked the question, “Will the theater be able to put on plays and shows for the students and Parents?”  The person said that people will be able to see plays before March because the Theater will be shut down early March of next year.

After the meeting, I interviewed Sarah Pearson about the meeting. She told me, “It was the shortest meeting [she] could remember in [her] five and a half years on the school board.” When I asked why this was the shortest meeting, she replied, “that there is going to be a special meeting on Monday to go over in depth the policy.” The School Board meeting was short but packed with information about the following topics above. What will be the resulting outcome of the new theater and 10’s building over the years?

by Drew Lalli, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.