Dec 2 2019

Council relents and removes the language change in the  proposed Special Municipal Parcel Tax Ordinance to be voted on at the March 3, 2020, Primary Election.

On December 2, 2019, Piedmont’s contract City Attorney, Michelle Marchetta Kenyon, continued to maintain her opinion that the proposed language change was not substantive.  Her opinion was disagreed with by many in Piedmont.

Vice Mayor Teddy King noted her concern over changing the language if the result was the same, for it added voter confusion. She stated many residents had stated the change from INCLUDING  to MAY INCLUDE was substantive.

Speakers Hedi Gerken, Kathleen Quenneville, and Liane Campodonico agreed with King, that the language should not be changed, while voicing it would be a substantive change allowing services to be dropped by the Council.  The Council had also received opposition to the language change by  emails, letters, and comments.

Council member Betsy Andersen, an attorney, stated she had proposed the change to clarify language, but withdrew her proposal upon believing flexible options would be available, and there would be no guarantee of funding for the named services.  

Questions were raised as to whether or not the 9 listed service items would be funded, if funds were available.  The answer appeared unclear. Some had  assumed that the parcel tax funds were delineated as a funding source for specific services; however, it has been Council practice during their May budget sessions to pool funds rather than specifically assigning the parcel taxes to specific services. During the budget sessions, the Council makes a determination on whether or not the parcel tax needs to be levied to support city services.

Services named in the ordinance are:

  • police and fire protection,
  • street maintenance,
  • building regulations,
  • library services,
  • recreation,
  • parks maintenance,
  • planning and public works
  • and similar services.

The Special Election for the parcel tax will held on March 3, 2020. Mayor Bob McBain and Council member Jennifer Cavenaugh will write the supporting arguments in the “Voter Information Guide.”  

Opposition arguments for the “Voter Information Guide” are due to the City Clerk on December 13, 2019, with rebuttals due on December 20, 2019.  For specific information contact the City Clerk, John Tulloch at 510/420-3040. 

Click > Notice of Election – 2020 Special Municipal – Measure for official ballot language and election protocols.

Dec 2 2019

Dec. 2, 2019

Piedmont City Council
c/o John Tulloch
re: Dec 2 Parcel Tax Agenda Item
Dear Mayor McBain and Council,
         The Parcel Tax is commonly understood and accepted by Piedmont taxpayers to be for essential City services as follows: police, fire, street maintenance, building regulations, library, recreation, parks maintenance, planning, and public works. Your proposed language change allows the parcel tax to be used for any purpose and not limited to the traditional nine essential City services.  I object to this and ask that the original tax language passed by voters in 2016 be continued.
         The reality is that virtually all Piedmont residents will not read the full text of the tax and then compare it to the 75 word ballot question for discrepancies.  Residents mostly rely on the ballot question and Proponent material.  If the Council elects to retain the altered wording that allows the parcel tax to be not limited to essential City Services, the ballot question must clearly state that the parcel tax is no longer limited to essential City services as is commonly understood.
Sincerely,
 Rick Schiller
 Piedmont Resident and Property Owner
Dec 1 2019

“Agenda Insight” to be presented before December 2, 2019 City Council meeting:

Item 3, the first item on tonight’s regular agenda, is the second reading of Ordinance 746 N.S. to renew the Municipal Services special Tax for 4 years effective July 1, 2021, and to place this before voters in a special election on March 3,2020, consolidated with the California Presidential Primary on that date….

Although most aspects of this renewal reflect no change, there is a word change that appears to have an impact. The wording of the present parcel tax says, “If in any fiscal year the City Council shall determine that municipal services INCLUDING but not limited to…” and then it names 9 services which must be included in general fund expenditures, with support from the parcel tax if other city income isn’t sufficient to cover them.

At the first reading of this ordinance, last meeting, that language was changed to, “municipal services which MAY INCLUDE but are not limited to..” and then lists the same 9 services. The staff report calls this a non-substantive change, but many people read it as a very substantive change because it gives Council the flexibility to remove any service from this list. The 9 services are police, fire, street maintenance, building regulations, library, recreation, parks maintenance, planning, and public works.

If the Council wants to put this on the March ballot, they must pass the second reading tonight because they are up against a deadline for submitting the final ballot language to the Registrar of Voters…..

Item 4 is consideration of a resolution approving procedural details for the Special Election of March 3… Of particular interest to voters, this item also sets the 75 word ballot question to read, “Shall Ordinance 746 N.S. which maintains essential police, fire, and paramedic services, prevents the reduction in maintenance of City parks, greenspaces and other public areas, and prevents the loss of recreational and other public services, by renewing the City of Piedmont’s expiring parcel tax for four years… be adopted?”

….Interestingly enough, this ballot language is almost the same language we voted on in 2016, so all 9 services were not mentioned last time around either. However, in both 2016 and 2020, it is the language of the resolution we are voting on, not the 75-word summary, and the language of the resolution has changed.

Ann Chandler, Piedmont Resident

Nov 29 2019

Proposed Municipal Services Special Parcel Tax has key language changes allowing elimination of services previously funded by the Piedmont parcel tax. Some have called the parcel tax proposal a “blank check.”

The Piedmont City Council in haste is expected at their, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, 7:30 p.m. meeting  to approve the second and final reading of Ord. 746N.S. which will place a renewal of the Municipal Services Special Parcel Tax, effective July 1, 2021, before the voters at a Special Municipal Election consolidated with the upcoming Presidential Primary Election on March 3, 2020. 

On November 18, 2019, the City Council approved a first reading of Ord. 746N.S.  At that meeting, the Council, according to the staff report, made what is called a “non-substantive” amendment to the language of Section 20B.2.on the first page of the ordinance.  Vice Mayor Teddy King objected to changing the existing language of the parcel tax proposal which states how the funds are to be spent. However, the rest of the Council and the City Attorney indicated the new language is not significantly different.

Apparently, the councilmembers and the City Attorney did not realize the language change no longer stipulates required uses of the parcel tax funds. For, the language changes from “including, but not limited to” to  “which MAY include, but are not limited to” were viewed by councilmembers as “essentially the same.”  

Voter concern has consequently arisen regarding the proposed new parcel tax language pointing to the change as considerable and  substantive in stating: “which may includeing,” rather than the current word “including.”

The newly proposed change to the parcel tax language would no longer require the Council to use the parcel tax money for the longstanding list of services and permits the Council to eliminate parcel tax funding for:

  • police and fire protection,
  • street maintenance,
  • building regulations,
  • library services,
  • recreation,
  • parks maintenance,
  • planning and public works
  • and similar services.

Some have stated the language change gives the Council a “blank check” by allowing the deletion of previously supported parcel tax funding for the named services.

The amended parcel tax language is indicated below in context. Deleted text is in strike through and new text is in italics.

“If in any fiscal year commencing on or after July 1, 2021, the City Council shall determine that municipal services, which may includeing, but are not limited to, police and fire protection, street maintenance, building regulations, library services, recreation, parks maintenance, planning and public works and similar services, are necessary for the public good, welfare and safety, and that the cost of making available such services will exceed the amount of funds generated through other revenue and income of the City for such services, then it may levy a special tax for such fiscal year on each parcel of real property within the City in a manner provided herein.”

READ the agenda HERE.

READ the three staff reports* on the tax proposal below:

https://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=16243381

https://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=16243385

https://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=16243387

*Editors Note: The newly revised  City of Piedmont website has become more difficult for Piedmonters to access information on specific agenda issues. Example, the subjects of the staff report no longer appear in the links. Only a file number is provided.

Oct 6 2019

Oct 4, 2019

Piedmont Recreation Pickleball Subcommittee

c/o Erin Rivera, City of Piedmont

Re: Oct. 7, 2019 Hearing

Dear Chairman Roland and Commissioners McCarthy and Dorman,

  1. We have 166 members on the Piedmont Pickleball Group. Many days now see three and four courts going full blast with more on the weekends. The model of experienced players stopping play to teach beginners is no longer viable as most of us simply want to play. We have initiated a volunteer introductory class every Saturday morning; Les Ellis has generously offered his time and expertise. We are starting to attract experienced out of town players. We have started family courts on the weekends. We are in the process of designating recreational and competitive courts; this insures an enjoyable game for all levels. Staff is in the process of arranging professional clinics; kindly encourage this.
  2. I urge that the Linda and Hampton hours be made permanent; complaints from neighbors and tennis players are nonexistent. I request the hours at Linda be extended a modest half hour to 1pm. This will not negatively affect tennis as there are no tennis players waiting to play at Linda at this time. Hampton at 3pm has tennis players waiting and we have informally accommodated them earlier if we are not using both courts.
  3. The overly light brown Hampton pickleball lines on the tan surface are difficult and the two courts next to the baseball field become effectively unusable as shadows obscure the baselines (see two photos). Darker lines should be installed. Additionally permanent net placement marks are needed at Linda and Hampton. While usable, the Linda pickleball lines could be a bit darker.
  4. The City and private donations funded most of the re-asphalting of the PMS courts with the intent to transform the deteriorated PUSD courts into a multi-use community sports asset with pickleball being the primary addition. A reasonable person assumes the District would have a conversation with the City and an integrated stripping plan would be enacted; this was not done. The District arbitrarily striped for badminton without integrating pickleball lines. The District striping is appropriate for parking lots and not sports activities. The Badminton World Federation Handbook II 2014/15 Section 1A states badminton court striping is 40mm / 1.6” (see Badminton World Federation Sec 4.1 p1 attached). PUSD striped their PMS badminton lines twice as wide at 83mm or 3.25” (see att.). The paint used by the District has an unneeded three dimensionality to it and the lines are not sharp.I am disappointed in the District’s unilateral action. If a redo is possible, the four pickleball courts on the first two badminton venues can be restriped about two feet closer to each other so the existing basketball poles are less of an obstruction; they are in issue now if balls are hit near them.
  5. While the Linda redo is likely years off, four dedicated pickleball courts accommodating 16 players can be placed there rather than the two tennis courts accommodating 2 to 4 players. Another advantage of dedicated pickleball over tennis is that about 35% of space earmarked for tennis can be used for other uses such as a larger tot lot or other sports facilities.

Sincerely,

Rick Schiller

Piedmont, CA

cc: Jennifer Cavenaugh

Read the full letter and see  photos by clicking below:

PCA 2019-10-07 RSschiller Rec subcomm

Sep 29 2019

City of Piedmont
Park Commission Agenda
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

5:30 p.m.

City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA

Public Forum This is an opportunity for members of the audience to speak on an item not on the agenda. The 10 minute period will be divided evenly between those wishing to address the Commission.

Regular Agenda:

Reports and Draft Minutes>Park Commission Agenda-Oct. 2, 2019-FINAL

1. Approval of Park Commission Minutes for September 4, 2019
2. Consideration of a Recommendation to the City Council Regarding the Proposed Green Infrastructure Plan
3. Update on Recycling and Composting Efforts at the Harvest Festival
4. Update on Preliminary Design for the Heritage Tree Signage
5. Update on Lower Grand Median Landscaping Improvements
6. Monthly Maintenance Report: Park, Open Space, and Street Tree Update for the Month of September 2019

The meeting will be broadcast live from the City of Piedmont website under videos of the Park Commission and also on Cable Channel 27.  A recording of the meeting will be archived and available for future public viewing.

Sep 17 2019

Join the fun!   Tasting, art work, scarecrows, free goodies, food for purchase, music…….

Piedmont Harvest Festival – in its 21th year!

The event takes place at the Community Hall and Piedmont Park  from 11 am – 3 pm.

Carnival Games • Jazz Festival

Scarecrow Art Show & Auction • Fine Arts & Crafts Show

Farmer’s Market • Locally Grown Edibles Awards

Gourmet Food Trucks

Food • Fresh Local Lemonade

Alcohol-free Event • Free Admission

Sunday, September 22, 2019

11:00AM – 3:00PM

Piedmont Park & Community Hall

Enter your produce and tasty items:

Harvest Festival Flyer 2019

 

Sep 1 2019

Piedmont Park Commission Agenda

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

5:30 p.m. City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA

Staff reports are linked below the agenda list.

1. Approval of Park Commission Minutes for August 7, 2019 

2. Consideration of a Request to Remove a Street Tree at 331 Magnolia Ave. by Eric Schen and Laurie Lau

3. Update on Annual Playground Inspections

4. Update on Lower Grand Avenue Median Landscape Improvements

>Staff reports and Park Commission Agenda_Sept.4, 2019

Aug 5 2019

The Piedmont Park Commission will meet on Wednesday, August 7 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, located in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will be broadcast live on cable Channel 27 and on the City’s website.

Regular Agenda

  1. Approval of Park Commission Minutes for June 5, 2019
  1. Update on Piedmont Evergreen and Recycling and Compost Efforts at the July 4th Event
  1. Consideration of the Temporary Placement of Signs in Piedmont Park Near the Tea House Designating a Philosopher’s Walk
  1. Consideration of the Designation of Street Trees for Magnolia Avenue
  1. Update on Street Tree Planting and Sidewalk Improvements on Oakmont Avenue
  1. Update on Lower Grand Avenue Median Landscape Improvements
  2. Monthly Maintenance Report: Park, Open Space, and Street Tree Update for the Months of June and July 2019

Read the full agenda, minutes and staff reports > 8 19 FINAL_Park Commission Agenda Packet_8-7-19

Jul 7 2019

City Commissions Will Not Meet in July

There will be a lull in City Commission meetings throughout the month of July with no meetings of the Park, Planning or Recreation Commissions.  In addition, the standard July 15, 2019, City Council meeting will not be held.

Scheduled July meetings of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee and the Police and Fire Pension Board have not been cancelled.

The City Charter revision (Charter Amendment Measure BB) approved by Piedmont voters at the November 2018 election eliminated the requirement that the City Council meet twice a month.