May 19 2022

Unlike other City meetings when broadcasted videos are produced, home/remote viewers will not be able to observe the City Council and Staff as important policy and program issues are considered at the Saturday Budget Session. Interested persons must be physically present to observe the meeting.

Taxes, fees, policies, programs, and priorities involving the City budget are to be presented by staff and considered by the Council during the important Council Budget Session Saturday, May 21.

On Saturday May 21, 2022, Council Budget Session

9:00 am Emergency Operations Center in the Police Department on Highland Avenue

With transparency, equity, and inclusion touted as goals of the Piedmont City Council, accessibility to certain public meetings, including this Budget Session, continue to be difficult or impossible for many individuals. If you can not physically attend the Budget meeting, you will not be able to observe the proceedings remotely via Zoom, computers, or cable television.

During the height of the COVID pandemic, residents had the “luxury”of being able to remotely watch the Council make decisions without being physically present at a meeting.  Some of the “Zoom” meetings, although broadcast during the time of the meeting, were not preserved as a cost cutting measure.   Presentations and considerations were not preserved reducing transparency, accessibility, and accountability.

The 2022-23 Annual Piedmont Budget Session will once more follow the long -held Piedmont Council tradition and not be broadcast for remote viewing. The Saturday Council Budget Session will be moved from City Hall where cameras are installed and videos are regularly made of the proceedings.  The Budget meeting will take place in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Highland Avenue where broadcasting is not done leaving home/remote viewers unable to observe the proceedings.

Ironically, during the month of May, in a prior list of  public meetings, there were 12 public City meetings.  See link below. These 12 different City meetings, Regular Council, Commission, and Committee meetings, are stated to be held either “Virtually or Hybrid”, consequently using City broadcast facilities.  Broadcasting meetings allows  interested persons to watch and observe the Council away from the meetings. The Council Budget Session is the only full Council meeting on the list to require observers physical presence.   

Under consideration and discussion at the Budget Session are:

  • How should the City Council spend City resources?

  • How much should residents be taxed or charged for sewers, municipal services, fees, use of City facilities, priorities,  programs and monetary considerations, such as broadcasting City meetings and preserving public records?

Concerns have been expressed in the past to the City Council regarding broadcasting meetings to encourage greater public access to governance, but the Council’s tradition of not broadcasting meetings remains, thus missing an opportunity to increase access, accountability, transparency, equity, and inclusion.

2022-05 Notice of Regular Meetings – Revised

> City of Piedmont 2022-2023 Budget

Agenda > City Council Agenda 2022-05-21 (Special)

  • 1. Overview of the Proposed FY 2022-23 Budget
  • 2. Review of Departmental Budgets for FY 2022-23
  • a. Police
  • b. Public Works
  • c. Planning & Building
  • d. Recreation
  • e. Fire
  • f. Administration & KCOM
  • g. Non-Departmental and Other Funds Budgets

City notice with links below:

BUDGET WORK SESSION THIS SATURDAY

The Piedmont City Council will consider the proposed annual budget for fiscal year 2022-23 at three separate meetings. A Saturday work session will be held on May 21, 2022 at 9:00 am in the EOC at 403 Highland Avenue. Members of the public are invited to participate in this meeting.

Public hearings regarding the proposed budget and the levy of the Municipal Services Tax and the Sewer Tax will be held during regularly scheduled City Council meetings on June 6 and June 20, 2022. The public is invited to attend these meetings and speak to the City Council about spending priorities for the city in the coming year. Click to visit the Annual Budgets page, where all sections of the proposed budget as well as approved budgets from previous years are available for download.

For questions on contents of the budget, please contact Finance Director Michael Szczech via email at mszczech@piedmont.ca.gov or by phone at (510) 420-3045. If you wish to write to the Council regarding the budget, please send an e-mail to the City Council at citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.

Mar 27 2022

Do you know who is going to be interviewed by the Council for Piedmont’s important Commissions and Committees?

Frequently, Piedmont residents have heard the City Council expound on the need for inclusion and transparency, yet the Council does not provide transparency or inclusion in some proceedings.  

On Monday, March 28, 2022, at a “Special Meeting,” the Piedmont City Council will once again perpetuate a long-held practice of interviewing candidates for appointments to volunteer positions on Piedmont public committees and commissions away from public broadcasts and records.  Although an “official” notice announces the public interview sessions, the meetings are either held in a small conference room, or, as in this case, the Police Department Emergency Operations Center (EOC) making public participation and observation of Council decision difficult. 

The March 28, 2022 meeting has:

  • No cameras for a record of the meeting (due to lack of funds)

  • No broadcasts for remote viewing (due to lack of funds)

  • No publicity of  the applicant’s names or positions they seek

  • No listing of the order of the interviews

  • No timely release to the public of the applications provided to the Council

  • No opportunity for meaningful public participation in the selections

  • No record of Council member priorities

  • No record of individual Council member preferences

The Agenda for the March 28, 2022;  (see Full Agenda > 3:28:2022 Appointees) states:

“Special City Council Agenda Monday, March 28, 2022 6:00 p.m. EOC, Police Dept., 403 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA

Special Session

1. Interview of Candidates for City Commissions and Committees to be Followed by Possible Appointment to Posted Vacancies 0085″ 

[No applicant names, no order of interviews, no positions are noted.  There is no staff report for public information. ]

California’s sunshine law, the Brown Act, requires interviews for appointed public positions to Committees and Commissions to be done in public. Not only should the law be followed by word, but by spirit, allowing the public to readily observe and participate in Piedmont government decisions. 

If the Council is true to a desire for inclusion, transparency, and public participation, the Agenda needs to list the volunteer positions to be filled in addition to the applicants’ names, and the “Special Meeting” would be broadcasted to the public and recorded.

Decades old hidden appointment processes are being perpetuated.  Under current procedures residents of Piedmont cannot know why individual appointments are made.  Applicant information provided to Council members is by law to be timely provided to the public.  Once appointments have been made appointee names have been withheld “until the appointee was notified. “

Past practices of placing the public at arms length from important Council appointments, processes and decisions have been allowed to continue unquestioned by the Council.  For Piedmont to become inclusive, the old ways need to end in favor of accessible, transparent meeting processes.

During the heart of the pandemic, appointee interviews were of necessity held on Zoom allowing the public to view the appointment procedures remotely. However,  Council members indicated during the Zoom selection process that the open broadcasted interview sessions made the process challenging for the public was able to view and hear the decisions being made.  A social club atmosphere prevailed in selecting  the appointees, as Council members privately sent  phone texts to the City Clerk to indicate their appointment preferences.  The Council never asked the City Clerk which Council members favored which applicants, consequently the public could not know the preferences.. 

For Piedmont to become a truly inclusive City, decision processes should be readily and easily available to all Piedmonters in a transparent manner.

Ironically, the City Council is currently paying a contractor thousands of dollars to advise the City on “transparency” in regard to adding 587 new housing units in Piedmont. Expensive banners have been erected by the City at strategic locations on Piedmont light poles to inform Piedmonters of the impending changes to Piedmont’s Housing Element involving zoning changes and 587 new housing units.

Piedmont Civic Association asked Piedmont City Clerk, John Tulloch, for an explanation on the lack of a recording and broadcast of Council appointment processes. A response is copied below:

“The interviews were conducted in a noticed, open, public meeting, consistent with the City’s past practice for Council vacancy interviews. The meeting was conducted in the EOC to allow for a space in which interviews could be conducted in an open, public, COVID safe way that allowed the Councilmembers to interact with applicants in person.”

Piedmont Civic Association Editors’ Comment:  The size of the Council Chamber (City Hall) 120 Vista Avenue, where Piedmont’s cameras are located and broadcast originate, has a high ceiling making it more airy than the Police Department Emergency Operation Center, EOC.   

During the Commission and  Committee interviews,  the Council has asked candidates  to not be present when other candidates are interviewed. The Brown Act allows all public members to be present for public decision making processes. Volunteers for appointed positions can learn from one another during the interview process, which is an advantage for Piedmont. 

Importantly, many candidates who seek appointed positions might be potential candidates for Piedmont elected office. Interview processes allow residents to observe both the Council and the candidates engendering greater participation, inclusion, and interest in Piedmont policy making.

Various staff members have participated in the appointment processes by advising the Council during their selection process on the pros and cons of some applicants.

Open broadcasted meetings encourage the greatest public participation and strengthen our democratic government.

March  25, 2022 – City notice states:

Special City Council Meeting Agenda – March 28, 2022

The Ralph M. Brown Act Requires that all agendas be written clearly and in sufficient detail to allow the public to understand the question to be decided by the City Council. Piedmont makes every attempt to comply with both the letter and spirit of this law. If, however, you have questions concerning an item on a City Council agenda, please call the City Clerk’s office at (510) 420-3040. Also available are the Staff Reports for each item of business on the agenda. 

[When going to the link for Staff Reports, there is no Staff Report for the March 28, 2022 Agenda. There are no names or positions.]

To send comments to the City Council as a whole, and/or regarding a City Council agenda item, please email citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov. To send via U.S. Mail, please use the following address:

City Council
City of Piedmont
120 Vista Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611

To send an individual Councilmember a message, please find their contact information on the Councilmember page. Any correspondence sent to the City may be considered a public record.

Editors’ Note:  The comments made here in no way express an objection to the specific choices made by the City Council to fill positions. 

Feb 8 2022

The Piedmont Civic Association congratulates Jennifer Long as Piedmont’s newest councilmember and thanks all 11 candidates who were willing to offer their skills to the City in this volunteer position.

At a special meeting on February 7, 2022, the Piedmont City Council selected Jennifer Long to fill the vacancy on the Council created by the resignation of Councilmember Tim Rood from among eleven applicants for the position. Ms. Long will be sworn in at the City Council meeting on February 22, 2022, and her term will run until the results of the General Municipal Election of November 8, 2022 are certified, which likely will take place at a Council meeting in December, 2022.  John O. Tulloch City Clerk

City Press Release: 2022-02-08 Long Appointed to City Council. 

Long, an attorney, resides on Crocker Avenue, where she lives and works. 

Long’s application:   Long, Jennifer – Application 2022

Nov 29 2021

Pedestrian issues missing in the proposed Piedmont Safer Streets Plan. 

  • Where is the plan for better sidewalk maintenance?
  • Where is the plan for enforcement of Piedmont laws prohibiting vehicle parking on sidewalks? 
  • Where is the plan to restrict parking on dangerously narrow streets?

The plan appears to focus on money oriented capital projects and bicycles rather than general pedestrian safety.  Studies produced do not mention accidents caused by improperly maintained sidewalks.  The City inventoried all public paths in Piedmont (in other words, walkways other than sidewalks) to assess conditions and identify any needed repairs.  Sidewalk conditions throughout the City were not inventoried. 

“A secondary walking-related concern is gaps in sidewalk coverage and existing sidewalks in poor condition.” Plan

“Remove onstreet parking and fill in missing sidewalks in order to address concerns about pedestrians having to walk in the roadway.” Resident

The elaborate, costly, and studied final proposal for Safer Streets in Piedmont is to be considered by the City Council on Monday, December 6, 2021.  Agenda  here. 

COVID 19 brought out pedestrians and exercisers in numbers never seen before on Piedmont streets and sidewalks. A repeated complaint from readers was dangerous sidewalk conditions caused by years of damage from trees, water, vehicles, and old age.

Those attempting to walk on sidewalks around corners on narrow streets, frequently found cars and trucks parked on the sidewalk blocking their ability to stay on the sidewalk, particularly those pushing a baby carriage.  Police enforcement prohibiting parking vehicles on the sidewalk is generally absent in Piedmont.

The plan emphasizes vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians crossing or interfacing with Piedmont streets, while not mentioning the number of pedestrians falling or injured by sidewalk problems.

The City of Piedmont, which prides itself on otherwise excellent customer service, does not have an online form for the public to request repair and maintenance of streets and other public infrastructure.  The plan suggests the City should have an online repair request form. 

READ the full proposed FINAL DRAFT PLAN below:

https://p1cdn4static.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Planning%20Division/General%20Plan/PSS_final%20draft%20plan_Oct.%2028,%202021.pdf

Transportation Planning

December 6 City Council Hearing

for the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan

At the October 7, 2021 meeting, the Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee recommended City Council adoption of the Draft Piedmont Safer Streets Plan with four additional recommendations.
Pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines Section 15072, staff prepared an Initial Study for public review for the Safer Streets Plan. Having received no comments, staff is recommending that City Council adopt a Negative Declaration, based on the findings in the Initial Study.
On December 6, 2021, the City Council will consider adoption of a resolution to:
a) adopt the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan, and
b) adopt the Initial Study and Negative Declaration for the Piedmont Safer Streets Plan.
Following adoption of the Plan, implementation of the Plan’s recommendations, programs and policies will begin. City staff will continue to monitor existing bike and pedestrian infrastructure and traffic conditions in the City. The Final Draft Plan is available for public review. Agenda for the December 6, 2021 Council meeting will be posted here no later than Friday, December 3, 2021. Staff report for the Plan, detailing all steps taken by staff and role played by the PBAC, will be available for review here, no later than Friday, December 3, 2021.
Please send any comments or questions on the Plan to Associate Planner Gopika Nair at gnair@piedmont.ca.gov. For more information about the PSS Plan and staff reports, please visit:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Email comments may be addressed to the City Council and sent to the City Clerk at jtulloch@piedmont.ca.gov

Aug 24 2021

FREE COVID VACCINE CLINIC FOR ALL AGES 12+

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 1st

2pm – 6pm

Piedmont Middle School Buzz Redford Gymnasium

WALK-INS ARE WELCOME!

1. Information about Consent for Minors: ACPHD Youth Vaccination Facts page https://covid-19.acgov.org/youthvaxfacts has information about minor consent, including the Alameda County Minor Consent Guidance and a downloadable Written Consent Form

2. Please see the California Department of Public Health Minor Consent Guidance for more information: https:// www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/ Pfizer-Vaccine-Minor-Consent-Guidance.aspx

3. Though severe allergic reactions are rare, we will have trained staff on site.

Pre-Register Now: Select:Piedmont High School/Middle School

READ THE DETAILED  VACCINE FLYER LINKED BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS

PIEDMONT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT Vaccine Clinic Flyer

Apr 17 2021

How does the City Council plan to oversee the use of the City owned property at 801 Magnolia Avenue?

While seniors decry the lack of senior programing and voice a need for a Senior Center in Piedmont, private business use has taken priority over public use limiting public use.

Approval of a new lease with the Art Center Board indicates various Council policies are needed:

  • Policy decision authority retained by the Council, the ultimate landlord
  • Guaranteed inclusion rather than exclusion of legitimate non-profit uses of the facility 
  • Council oversight of compliance by all users with local, state, and federal laws including: municipal, state, federal taxes, 501c3 non-profit status, workers compensation, ADA compliance, anti-discrimination, incorporation documentation, valid business licenses and  prohibition of political activities on the premises
  • Accounting of space utilization and ongoing consideration of lost City revenue
  • Evaluation and accountability of liability, risks, and costs to the City by each user and provision of appropriate insurance coverages
  • Semi-annual reports to Council on diversity of users, uses, financial statements, compliance with City policies, and City obligations
  • Staff Annual reports to Council on building structural integrity, safety measures, maintenance, ADA compliance, and interior and exterior upkeep expenditures
  • Required Council approval for all commercial subleases extending over two weeks
  • Council adoption of written conditions required for all sublets 
  • Prohibition of Art Center Board members and advisors to sublet the property for more than two weeks per year
  • Prompt staff reports to Council concerning issues arising from the lease or sublets 
  • Public access to financial records, board meetings, and minutes of Art Center Board
  • Adoption of comprehensive Council policies governing the use and rental of all Piedmont public properties

Piedmonters, owners of 801 Magnolia Avenue, have been awaiting invitations to observe Board meetings and receive regular financial reports from their tenant.  The Piedmont Center for the Arts Board is composed of well-meaning, generous, local residents of Piedmont and Oakland who may have overlooked their obligation to keep Piedmont citizens informed in a transparent manner of the use of this important public asset.

Nov 4 2020

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

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

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

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

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Piedmont election.

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

Sep 2 2020

Announcement:  The Piedmont Civic Association has specific policies regarding Piedmont elections:

  1.  PCA does not support or oppose candidates for public office.
  2.  PCA does not support or oppose ballot measures.
  3.  The PCA website is open for comments or opinions on election matters – ballot measures and candidates. These may be sent to editors@piedmontcivic.org.
  4. Personal attacks on individuals and attacks on organizations are not accepted.
  5. Opinions are published with the author’s name. 
  6. PCA has invited all candidates to submit information on their candidacy to our website.
  7. All Piedmont candidates have had questions posed to them by PCA, and their responses will be published on this website.

PCA will attempt to keep voters informed during this election period and welcomes community engagement in the process.

BE SURE TO VOTE ON PIEDMONT CANDIDATES AND MEASURES, TYPICALLY FOUND NEAR THE END OF EACH BALLOT. 

PIEDMONT WILL HAVE AN ALAMEDA COUNTY BALLOT BOX NEAR THE MAIL BOXES AT WELLS FARGO BANK IN CENTRAL PIEDMONT. POSTAGE IS NOT REQUIRED. 

Apr 7 2019

Charter Revisions Make City Administrator Selection Vital to Piedmont. 

Will there be an opportunity for public input on the qualifications sought in a new City Administrator?

The Piedmont City Council is moving ahead to find a replacement for City Administrator Paul Benoit, who is retiring in June 2019.

Minutes from February 25, 2019 Special Council action meeting can be read by clicking > 2019-02-25_special

Public input methods and characteristics sought in a new City Administrator by the City Council have not been publicized.  In the past, the community has been given opportunities to provide comments and ideas on desired characteristics of top Piedmont officials.

The recently voter approved Charter revisions place the decision of retention of key employees with the City Administrator rather than with the City Council.

In November 2018, the City Council and City Administrator Paul Benoit proposed and Piedmont voters approved City Charter changes transferring long-held Council responsibilities to the Piedmont City Administrator.  If the City Council and City Administrator disagree on the retention of key-officers – Police Chief, Fire Chief, Planning Director, Finance Director, Public Works Director, etc., only  the City Administrator has the right and authority to determine these key employees continued employment with the City.

The next City Administrator may require a different set of skills than previous candidates.

The Council selects the key-officers of the City, but the Council cannot terminate or retain their choices if the City Administrator does not agree.  Given a disagreement between the City Administrator and the City Council, the Council by law can terminate the City Administrator and then select another person to fill the City Administrator position who will then make decisions.  The City Administrator, by law, is singularly entitled to make firing and retention decisions regarding top officers and will bear the sole responsibility for those decisions.

This major change in Piedmont governance makes selection of an appropriate City Administrator all the more important to Piedmonters.

Some comments made in the community have suggested the following characteristics be sought in a new City Administrator:

  • Understanding of California law and application to Piedmont
  • Belief in open and transparent government
  • Familiar with Piedmont City Charter
  • Proven ability to propose and work within budgetary constraints 
  • Ability to encourage varying points of view
  • Speaking and writing skills commensurate with responsibilities
  • Foster community participation in Piedmont decisions
  • Support broadcasts of Piedmont public meetings
  • Experience with personnel decisions including terminations
  • A previous track record of administering a comparable public entity in California
  • Plans for service in Piedmont extending beyond 5 years
  • Understand the difference between Council and Administrative decisions
  • Willingness to work with the Piedmont School District
  • Ability to develop and encourage appropriate employee activities
Nov 21 2018

Thank you for being a PCA reader. Your input is invaluable.

Since the revitalization in 2011 of the 1986 Piedmont Civic Association and the transformation of the paper newsletter to a website, Piedmont civic news has been read by thousands of Piedmonters.  Yet even now, not all Piedmonters are aware of PCA News, so let your friends and neighbors know how they can easily, at no cost, keep up with Piedmont civic matters on www.piedmontcivic.org 

Opinions and articles offer Piedmonters an additional source of Piedmont civic news. 

Participation is encouraged through “OPINIONS, COMMENTS, ARTICLES, ANNOUNCEMENTS, LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, FORUMS FOR DISCUSSIONS, EXCHANGE OF IDEAS, and NEWS.”

Subscribing Piedmonters receive updates as news happens. 

The Piedmont Civic Association is not supported by advertisers and does not charge for subscription updates.  Subscriber information is considered completely private and never released.  

Happy Thanksgiving! 

PCA Editors