Oct 13 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura Katter

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 11 2020
I have had the pleasure of knowing Cory since our children attended Wildwood Elementary. We worked together on many parent club boards (Wildwood, PMS, and PHS) and also co-chaired The Giving Campaign for two years.
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Cory is dedicated to public education and always has the best interests of our students at heart. With her extensive volunteer background, she understands our school system on every level, has a strong financial background and is familiar with district budgets, and she listens respectfully to all stakeholders points of view before making decisions. During this unprecedented time, we need someone with her experience to guide us through a safe return to the classroom.
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No one is more qualified to advocate for the continued excellence of our schools. Please join me in voting for Cory Smegal on November 3rd!
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Terri Burge
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 9 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please vote ‘YES’ on UU.

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

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 8 2020

Every voter in Piedmont should have received their ballot and Alameda County Voter Information Guide in the mail.

Although many voters are marking their ballots, the Alameda County Voter Information Guide has not been delivered.  The Guide contains Piedmont candidate statements and Piedmont ballot measure arguments.  

A  Piedmont press release stated: Sample Ballot / Voter Information Pamphlet

“The Alameda County Registrar of Voters began mailing Sample Ballot / Voter Information Pamphlets to registered voters on Thursday, September 24th. You can also view your personalized Voter Information Guide on the  Registrar of Voters My Voter Profilepage. If you have not received your sample ballot by October 16th, please contact the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Office at (510) 272-6933.”

Voted ballots may be returned in a U.S. Postal Box or deposited in the Alameda County BALLOT BOX located in central Piedmont at the corner of HIGHLAND WAY and HIGHLAND AVENUES next to the Wells Fargo Bank.  POSTAGE IS NOT REQUIRED ON BALLOT ENVELOPES.

Because of issues related to mailed ballots, voters are encouraged to vote their ballots early to assure timely delivery to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

For your ballot to be counted, you must sign your ballot envelope. Every voters signature is carefully checked by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

++++++ VOTER GUIDE INFORMATION ++++++

Piedmont’s Ballot Measures TT (Transfer Tax Increase)  and UU (Pool Bonds) are found on the very last page of the ballot. Links to official information on Measures UU and TT are below.

Measure TT – Transfer Tax Increase on Real Property Sales

Measure UU – Pool Construction Bonds 

Official information on candidates for City Council and School Board are linked below.  Click on the candidate name to read their statement.

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https://piedmont.ca.gov/services___departments/city_clerk/elections/november_3_2020_general_municipal_election/2020_candidate_list

If you have questions or concerns regarding voting, contact Piedmont City Clerk John Tulloch at 510/420-3040. 

Oct 7 2020
I have known Veronica Thigpen for several years. We first met through the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee.  I was impressed that she stepped up to lead the MLK Day celebration and gathering as a new member of the organization and of our community. The two MLK Day events she organized and led were extremely successful.  They were standing-room only and the program not only celebrated the work and vision of Martin Luther King Jr., it grounded the ideas of racial justice and equity within our community.
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Personally, I appreciated her dedication to opening the MLK  events with a recognition that we were on land which once belonged to the indigenous people of the East Bay, the Ohlone.  To me this showed her commitment to the inclusion of the diverse people that live and work in our community.
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I am voting for Veronica for the school board because I believe that she will take the initiative, leadership and dedication that she demonstrated through those events together with her focus on equity and inclusion and use those to lead education in Piedmont in the direction it needs to go.
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Please join me in voting for Veronica Thigpen.
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Shanti Brien, Piedmont Resident
Editors Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 7 2020

No Consumer Ever Got a “Prop. 13 Discount”

Since Prop. 13 was passed in 1978, the taxable value of California business property has increased no more than 2% per year regardless of its market value, unless there is a change in ownership.  Owners of such properties have used various legal mechanisms to avoid a change in ownership.  These owners, whether operating a business or renting property to others, pay far less property tax than competing businesses that acquired property more recently.

Prices and rents, however, are set by markets.  Consumers and renters don’t get a “Prop. 13 discount” that reflects the property owner’s low property tax; the property owner just pockets those savings while the rest of us pay not only the market price, but also more in all kinds of taxes to make up for the lost business property tax revenue.

Prop. 15, on the November ballot, will fix this situation by allowing the taxable value of business properties worth more than $3 million to gradually rise to market value.  Opponents claim that Prop. 15 will cause prices and rents to rise as property owners try to pass along the increased property tax.  That’s extremely unlikely—if those property owners could charge more, they already would be.

Please vote in favor of Prop. 15 to require all businesses to pay their fair share and fund our schools.

Richard W. Raushenbush, Former School Board Member

Sep 29 2020

I enthusiastically support Cory Smegal for another term on the school board.

I was on the board when she was elected and we’ve served together these last four years. Cory came onto the board with relevant experience and strong skills and, in the last four years, she has only deepened and expanded her expertise.

Cory is impressively smart, quick, creative, and compassionate. To the core, Cory is a servant leader, always, always putting our students and their well-being first and thoughtfully balancing the needs of our myriad stakeholders against what will best serve our students and their families. Cory asks questions…a lot of them (a very good thing!), does her homework and does it well, and is an out-of-the-box thinker who pushes and prods to find the best solution within the confines of the rules and regulations that govern public education. What I especially appreciate, too, is that Cory wants everyone to understand the “why” of an action or decision, taking the time to provide background during board discussions so that everyone understands the context in which decisions/actions are made.

It’s been a difficult year in light of shifting our learning environment because of COVID, and it is a testament to Cory that she has chosen to continue to serve for another four years and to continue to use her talents for our educational community. It will be my honor to continue to work with her.

Please join me in voting for Cory for school board. I know absolutely that Piedmont will be very well served.

Respectfully,

Amal Smith, Member of the School Board

Sep 28 2020

I am writing in support of Veronica Anderson Thigpen for election to the Piedmont School Board.

Veronica will bring a dynamic new perspective to the board. Her professional, volunteer and life experiences make her an excellent candidate. Veronica moved to Piedmont from Chicago where she earned degrees in Economics and Journalism from Northwestern University. Veronica has authored award winning writings on educational policy, and currently advises school systems and educational nonprofits on building equitable and effective organizations.

Upon arrival in Piedmont, Veronica eagerly joined our enthusiastic volunteer community and has made several important contributions. We are fortunate to have a candidate with such broad understanding of educational policy, and a willingness to share her talents and knowledge. Veronica is also a trained facilitator whose calm, thoughtful demeanor and sense of humor make her an effective collaborator. Veronica is articulate and is a skilled listener. Her positive attitude and willingness to address difficult issues are critical strengths in these challenging time.

My association with the school district began in 1980 when I was hired to teach art at Piedmont Middle School. For many years both the school district and the city have expressed a desire to increase diversity within their staffs. In Veronica we have a competent, eminently qualified leader who is also a woman of color. Veronica will make a wonderful addition to our dedicated Board of Education.

Please join me in voting for Veronica Anderson Thigpen for School Board.

Cathy Michelotti Glazier, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Sep 28 2020

Read detailed information and watch a short video for School Board Candidate Hari Titan by clicking below.

> Hari Titan for School Board 2020 | Community Digital Town Hall

Hari Titan Piedmont School Board Candidate

Sep 17 2020

The first time I met Veronica she was working at Piedmont’s annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration, calmly ensuring that Congresswoman Barbara Lee had a designated space to park and a committed escort to show her into the Veterans’ Hall for her speech. Veronica and her family had just moved to Piedmont from Chicago less than three months before, and here she was, diving headlong into a leadership role directing the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee’s (PADC) signature event. Moving boxes still waited to be unpacked in the Thigpen’s new home yet she was mediating, problem-solving and coordinating this huge organizational undertaking, functioning as if she’d been living in Piedmont for decades.

Pragmatic leadership and decision-making, I would come to understand, are Veronica’s strengths, along with a grand sense of humor and warm, genuine nature.

Over the next two years I got to learn who Veronica Thigpen is as she immersed herself in the work of PADC becoming its co-president the following year and overseeing the organization’s diversity grants, City Council consultations, engagements with the police and recreation departments and continuing PADC’s founding focus, insuring diversity and inclusion in Piedmont schools.

I have worked closely with Veronica as a member of PADC. Veronica’s expertise in organizing, her background in education, journalism and consulting, make her well suited for any leadership role.

Over those three years, I have also come to value Veronica as a real friend. We speak often, especially now at the confluence of a pandemic, a sudden social upheaval and the real tangible impact of climate change. Veronica and I also share the challenges and joys of raising young Black girls, helping them sprint toward and take it upon themselves to become fully engaged as social activist in our evolving Piedmont community. And, I can always rely on Veronica’s sense of humor to provide levity no matter the weight of the moment.

All of these things about Veronica make her the right choice, at this time, for the Piedmont School Board. She will bring a unique perspective that has long been missing from the school board, pushing toward a new Local Control and Accountability Plan crafted to carry out the board’s newly declared commitment to equity and social justice. I stand behind Veronica Thigpen for School Board.

Richard Turner, Piedmont Resident