Nov 5 2018

Community Hall, 711 Highland Avenue,

Thursday, November 8  – 7 pm

On November 8, 2018 at 7:00PM, the City of Piedmont will host a community workshop on how residents can achieve climate action goals at home. The workshop will help residents determine how they can do their part to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions through electrification of home appliances combined with electricity from 100% renewable sources.

The workshop will include presentations from East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), StopWaste, and Community Energy Services Corporation (CESC). These presentations will provide information on EBCE, Piedmont’s new local clean power provider, benefits and ways to electrify your homes, and on electric heat pump water heaters.

An EBCE representative will talk about the 100% renewable energy plan residents are automatically enrolled in. Following EBCE, a representative from StopWaste and CESC will present information on ways to make your homes more energy efficient. It is essential for residents to learn more about EBCE as they are the new community choice aggregation (CCA) for Piedmont that will provide 100% renewable energy to your homes. The 100% renewable energy plan will go into effect this November.

For more information about this workshop or to be added to the climate action email list, please contact Assistant Planner Mira Hahn at mhahn@piedmont.ca.gov or (510) 420-3054.

Nov 4 2018

The following Letter to the Editor of The Piedmont Post was sent to the Post, but was not published in the Post.  It is published here for PCA readers.

VOTE NO on CC – Unacceptable City Charter changes.

CC  – the “hire, but can’t fire” proposal –  would unacceptably change Piedmont’s successful government by prohibiting the City Council from acting to retain or terminate their chosen Department Heads – Fire Chief, Police Chief, Finance Director, Recreation Director, etc. 

Piedmonters should not enact this law. It promises problems found in other cities where councils have lost their authority and ability to act.  A new government layer will separate Piedmonters from Council authority. 

Only one person, the unelected City Administrator, would be allowed by Charter to evaluate, direct, retain and terminate Council-hired  key employees -Police, Fire, Finance, Recreation, etc.  

Piedmont’s current Charter works and is coveted by others. 

With 22 years in elected office – Mayor, Council Member, Planning Commissioner, AC Transit President and Director, I have reviewed the Charter proposals and found proposals not in the best interest of keeping Piedmont a great place to live. 

The Charter merits updating, but NOT as proposed by Measure CC.  

Keep Piedmont’s Council strong. Await appropriate Charter change proposals.

VOTE NO on CC at the end of your ballot. 

Alice Creason,

Former: Piedmont Mayor, Council Member, Planning Commissioner, AC Transit President, Director, Piedmont Beautification Foundation Trustee

Nov 2 2018

City of Piedmont
Joint Park Commission and
Recreation Commission 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

7:00 p.m.

City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA

 Receipt of a Report on the Revised Conceptual Plan for the Linda Beach Master Plan and
Consideration of a Recommendation to the City Council on Next Steps

A summary of the distinguishing attributes of the revised plan are as follows:

  •  A California Playscape designed with landscape buffers near the Oakland Avenue Bridge and along Howard Avenue fills the now dormant south end of the park with natural adventure play for all ages
  •  Creation of a new enclosed tot lot (~4000 sq. ft.) for children age 3 and younger at the north end of the park within the existing tot lot footprint with a new restroom building to serve the tot lot, flex space and tennis courts
  •  A Sport Court Flex Space that can serve as multipurpose outdoor recreation program space for all ages (e.g. weekday adult/senior programs such as tai chi, outdoor fitness and painting; afterschool enrichment activities such as jump rope, martial arts, arts and crafts; outdoor and overflow space for Schoolmates)
  •  An artificial turf bocce ball court that makes efficient use of space required for ADA access grading
  •  Multiple picnic areas suitable for small family gatherings
  •  New modern restrooms and storage for community youth sports organizations at the south end
  •  Significant landscape buffers at the south end of the park
  •  Two ADA entrances from Linda Avenue and stair access from the north end of the pedestrian path near Beach School to the tot lot and stair access from the tennis courts to the sports field
  •  Retention of the notable trees on site including the Melaleucas along Linda Avenue and the mature redwoods below the play field
  •  Two tennis courts with north-south orientation and slightly larger offsets than existing courts
  •  The use of permeable surfaces for hardscape areas and paths to create options for green infrastructure allowing for appropriate storm water treatment options to be integrated into the landscape
  •  Phasing approach that allows for the long neglected south end of the park to be constructed first
  •  Allows for a third phase of the project which would add a multi-purpose recreation building to the northwest corner of the park expanding indoor recreation programming opportunities for Piedmonters of all ages (bridge, mahjong, book club, yoga, art, lego, knitting, carpentry, ballet etc.)
  •  Phase three building also creates an indoor/outdoor interface that will accommodate robust and complete full day summer camp offerings as well as after school enrichment activities and small evening and weekend gatherings
  •  Fencing plan allows for controlling park use after hours

READ the prior meeting draft minutes, full staff report, and schematic plan Joint Park and Recreation Commission Meeting 11.7.18 Packet

Oct 26 2018
Who do Piedmonters want to control retention and dismissal of the Piedmont Police Chief, Fire Chief, Finance Director, Recreation Director – elected City Council or the appointed City Administrator?

The City Charter currently states the elected 5 member City Council has the hiring, retention, and dismissal control over the top employee positions – Fire Chief, Police Chief, Finance Director, Recreation Director, etc.

Measure CC  takes authority and control from the elected Council regarding Department Heads and gives authority and control to the unelected City Administrator.

Measure CC forbids the City Council by Charter from continuing to determine if their Fire Chief, Police Chief, Finance Director, Recreation Director, etc. should remain in their positions.  The City Administrator will be the only person in Piedmont able to retain or dismiss the key-employees the City Council recruited and hired.

MEASURE  CC asks, “Shall the measure amending the Charter of the City of Piedmont to clarify the duties and reporting structure for officers and employees of the City be adopted?”

Voters will decide whether to keep the City Charter as written or change it by voting Yes or No on Measure CC. The choice is as follows:

  • Keep the City Charter, as is, with City Council controlling  = Vote NO

  • Change the City Charter placing City Administrator in control = Vote YES

 

Oct 16 2018

Press Release:

City of Piedmont Joins Coalition to Appeal FCC Orders

On Monday, October 15, 2018, the City Council decided to join dozens of cities across the U.S. that are appealing new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules governing wireless communication antennas on city-owned structures, roads, sidewalks, planting strips, and other parts of the public right- of-way. Previously, on September 17, 2018, before FCC approval, Mayor McBain signed a letter, along with hundreds of cities across the U.S., strongly opposing the rules. The City Council decided to join a coalition of cities across the nation to appeal orders approved by the FCC on September 26, 2018.

The new FCC rules drastically change the City of Piedmont’s ability to manage and regulate wireless communication facilities on structures in pubic roadways within Piedmont. Unless a court-ordered injunction delays the new rules, they would become effective on January 14, 2019. These orders are intended to limit local control over the placement of small wireless facilities (small cells).

For the first time, these orders set a definition for what is considered a small cell. The order defines small cells wireless facilities where each antenna is no larger than 3 cubic feet per antenna (no limit is specified as to the number of antennas); where other equipment occupies not more than 28 cubic feet total; and where the facility is mounted on a new, existing or replacement structure as high as 50 feet (and in some cases, even higher). The size limit for equipment of 28 cubic feet is approximately the size of a large kitchen refrigerator.

In addition, the order shortens the timeline in which a city must make a decision regarding wireless applications to sixty days for installations on an existing structure and ninety days for installations on a new structure. This shortened timeframe significantly reduces the time cities have to review applications as well as changing the rules about which types of applications fall under which timeline. The FCC also adopted new remedies to make it more likely that courts will immediately require issuance of permits and other authorizations if a deadline is missed.

The orders also changed the standards by which cities can reject applications, only requiring the wireless carrier to declare that the application provides or improves an existing personal wireless service or offers a new wireless service to justify approval. Previously, many cities in California required carriers to show that there was a significant gap in service and that a proposed facility was the least intrusive means of closing that gap in order for a project to be approved.

Communities around the country are joining in the appeal, including Anne Arbor, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milpitas, Marin, New Orleans, Palos Verdes Estates, Philadelphia, Pleasant Hill, and Santa Ana.

For more information, please visit the Wireless Communication Facilities page on the City of Piedmont’s web site at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/publicworks/wireless.shtml

Contact: Pierce Macdonald-Powell       October 16, 2018 (510) 420-3050    pmacdonald@piedmont.ca.gov

Oct 14 2018

Where is the Disaster Preparedness Information Citizens Need?

October 18, 2018 is the 10th Anniversary of ShakeOut, officially occurring at 10:18 am.  By understanding your risk, you can minimize or avoid injuries, damage, and long-term financial consequences.

California Office of Emergency Services alerts Californians:

“Preparedness is everyone’s job. ” ​

The State suggests that refer to this website to learn the hazards in your area.

San Francisco offers its citizens the latest information, detailed preparation information, and training through a series of neighborhood emergency response team classes:

San Francisco Disaster Preparedness & Response Curriculum:
The goal of this program is to help the residents of San Francisco be self sufficient in a major disaster situation by developing multi-functional teams, cross-trained in basic emergency skills.  Through this program, individuals will learn hands-on disaster skills that will help them as members of an emergency response team and/or as a leader directing untrained volunteers during an emergency, allowing them to act independently or as an adjunct to City emergency services.  There is no cost  for the neighborhood training, and the class sessions are approximately 3 hours.

Class Session #1 Earthquake Awareness, Preparedness, and Hazard Mitigation
Earthquake type, magnitude, history and probability
How to prepare before it happens
What to do when the earth starts to shake
Class Session #2 Basic Disaster Skills
Natural gas, water and electrical controls, why, when and how to shut them off
Types of fire, and using extinguishers to put it out
Hazardous Materials awareness in the home, on the road, and all around you
Terrorism Awareness
Class Session #3 Disaster Medicine
Health considerations for the rescuer
Opening airways
Stopping bleeding and shock position
S.T.A.R.T. triage
Minor injuries and burns
Class Session #4 Light Search and Rescue
Different types of construction and where to look for damage
How to classify damaged buildings
Building marking system
Interior search patterns
Lifting heavy objects and mechanical advantage
Victim carries
Class Session #5 Team Organization and Management
City Disaster Plan and where the NERTs fit
NERT Incident Command System, managing the disaster
Disaster Psychology
Class Session #6 Skills Development and Application
Final Exam Review
Hands-On-Training
Extinguishing fires
Triaging and treating moulaged victims
Extricating a victim trapped by heavy timbers
Interior search for reported missing persons
Exterior building damage assessment
Award of Achievement and course evaluation
Oct 6 2018

Piedmonters have been scrutinizing their PG&E bills since early summer, expecting to be automatically switched to East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) the new local electricity supplier in Alameda County.

On October 1, 2018, Piedmont’s City Clerk reminded Piedmonters the switch is coming:

East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) is the new local electricity supplier in Alameda County that gives municipal, commercial, and residential accounts the opportunity to use cleaner, greener energy. EBCE is a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program, which is a community-governed program authorized by California law in 2002, that pools the electric load of participating accounts for the purpose of purchasing and developing cleaner power at lower rates.

All residences and businesses in Piedmont will be automatically enrolled in EBCE, but’s it’s easy to change your service plan or remain with PG&E. Please see http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/piedmonts-p…

EBCE holds monthly Board of Directors meetings and Community Advisory Committee meetings as well as occasional discussions and guest lectures regarding renewable energy. All meetings are open to the public.

Next EBCE meetings:

  • Community Advisory Committee Meeting – 10/15/18

    Date: October 15, 2018
    Time:  7:00 pm
    Location:  City of Union City Council Chambers, 34009 Alvarado-Niles Road
    Union City, CA 94587

  • Board of Directors Meeting – 10/17/18

    Date: October 18, 2018
    Time:  6:00 pm
    Location:  City of Hayward Council Chambers, 777 B St., Hayward CA 94544

  • *Special* Executive Committee Meeting – 10/12/18

    Date: October 12, 2018
    Time:  12:00 pm
    Location:  TBD- Oakland

    EBCE is hiring! Current positions include:

  • Customer Care Manager  Application deadline October 19, 2018
  • Director of Local Development, Electrification, and Innovation  Open until filled
  • Energy Analyst  Open until filled
  • Legal Analyst/Paralegal  Open until filled

For more information, contact Piedmont City Clerk John Tulloch at 510/420-3040. 

Sep 29 2018

Monday, October 1 Council meeting will begin with a Closed Session for conferences with Legal Counsel regarding litigation.  The existing litigation is Jordan Thobe vs City of Piedmont et al.  In addition, there are two anticipated litigation cases – Initiation of litigation pursuant to Government Code §54956.9(d)(4): (Two Cases)

The regular agenda includes the Consent Calendar starting at 7:30 p.m :

10/01/18 – Approval of the Biennial Update of the City’s Conflict of Interest Code (City Council Policy #24)  

This item includes statements required by the Piedmont Planning Commissioners, Police and Fire Pension Board members , but without explanation does not include the Piedmont Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee members.

10/01/18 -Authorization for the City Administrator to Sign Three Documents Related to the East Bay Sewer Collection Systems Agencies 

Regular Agenda:

10/01/18 – Consideration of a Resolution in Support of East Bay Regional Parks District Measure FF 

10/01/18 -Consideration of a Report on Traffic and Safety Conditions on Oakland Avenue 

Consideration of directing Staff and Coastland Engineers to prepare a proposal for professional engineering services to develop the required designs and construction documents for the crosswalk enhancements at Oakland Ave. & El Cerrito Ave, and Oakland Ave & Jerome Ave.

10/01/18 – Consideration of the Award of the 2018 Street Traffic Striping Project to Chrisp & Company in the Amount of $276,414.95, Determining the Project to be Exempt from CEQA, and Setting an Overall Project Budget of $336,386.40

READ FULL AGENDA  here
The Council meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, City Hall. The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27, and from the City website under videos.  For additional information contact the City at 510/420-3040.
Sep 21 2018

Renovations are projected to cost millions. 

On September 17th of 2018, the Piedmont City Council met in the Council Chamber of City Hall. The meeting opened with a designated ten-minute period of open comments, where community members can speak on items not listed on the general agenda.

Mr. Maganas, a longtime resident of Piedmont, highlighted a lack of knowledge among parents and students concerning the Peralta Community College system offering college-level classes such as Calculus I and II through Berkeley City College, Laney College, and three others. The Peralta Colleges offer a valuable resource to students hoping to challenge themselves academically with advanced courses. Maganas hoped to increase awareness of this resource among high school students and parents.

Mayor Robert McBain declared September a month of Suicide Prevention Awareness, as a part of the national effort to reduce suicide and self-harm, especially among teens. Council members, such as Teddy King, voiced unwavering support for McBain in raising this issue, as she has lost family members in the past to suicide.

Next, an East Bay Regional Park District Board Member, Dee Rosario gave the Council a report on Measure FF. Measure CC, which passed in 2004, stipulates that twelve dollars a year are received from properties and used for park infrastructure, ecological projects, electrical maintenance, fuel reduction, sewage cleanup, and restroom repair; for example, the Crab Cove Visitor Center is now open year-round thanks to funding from Measure CC, as opposed to only a few months or a season at a time. Measure CC has been rebranded as Measure FF and falls under the same stipulations for funding. Measure FF has been renewed for the next twenty years.

The Council then discussed the consideration of appointing a new Piedmont Fire Chief.  After a lengthy vetting process by two separate panels composed of respected Piedmont residents and others working in law or government, City Administrator Paul Benoit had presented to the City Council the narrowed field of two applicants.

The Council then interviewed the two finalists, selecting Bret Black, currently serving in Clovis, California. This comprehensive search arose following the retirement of beloved community-member Bud McLaren, who faithfully served as Fire Chief in Piedmont for five years. Following a unanimous vote among the City Council members, Bret Black was hired to fill the Fire Chief position beginning October 1st with a starting annual salary of $193,164.

Closing out the agenda, two architects from the Bay Area firm Siegel & Strain – Larry Strain and Roland Lazzarotto -presented a report on potential renovations of Piedmont’s Recreation Center and the Piedmont Veterans’ Hall. Both buildings, are seventy-years old or older and are in dire need of renovation and remodeling.

Though not dilapidated, the floor plan of the Recreation Center is considered archaic, and the plans presented outline a better use of square footage and increased operational efficiency for educational use and programs.

For example, Lazzarotto drafted plans to reorganize the building layout, moving the preschool away from the entrance. In the event of an intruder, the rooms should be ordered in a fashion keeping the youngest children farthest from the main door.

Similarly, Lazzarotto proposed ripping out the driveway and replacing the space with a fenced off play area with shade and soft ground. Lastly, he proposed renovating the defunct attic into an office space and conference room, while installing an elevator to access all three main floors. On each floor, bathrooms would either be renovated or torn out, and modified to meet ADA accessibility standards.

In the case of the Veterans Hall, Lazzarotto sought to maximize efficiency in a similar manner: rip out the stage to create a larger ballroom, while establishing smaller classrooms and multi-purpose rooms on the side. The kitchen would be renovated and brought up to modern standards, in hopes of accommodating future weddings in the new space.

Before he left, I had the opportunity to briefly interview Mr. Lazzarotto about his role at the meeting tonight. He noted that his group, Siegel and Strain, focused on providing sustainable and affordable projects.

During the presentation, Councilwoman Jen Cavenaugh questioned the environmental sustainability of the building, and Mr. Larry Siegel- Lazzarotto’s companion – highlighted their plan to reuse the wood and install new windows, both reducing carbon emissions and waste.

The Recreational Center was in immediate need of increased accessibility; for example, the reception desk lies on the second floor, and is not wheelchair accessible.

Both buildings have outlived their functional use and require restructuring and renovation to meet the accessibility and safety standards of today. Now that the City Council has reached a general consensus and approval of the layouts, Lazzarotto will in the future provide drafts and layouts to City Administrator Paul Benoit.

As the discussion and presentation came to a close among the Council, student Mia Horvath asked City Administrator Paul Benoit- who had been working in conjunction with Siegel and Strain – how renovations and construction would affect public access to the space; for example, the Recreational Center sits at a major thoroughfare that parents drive by to drop off their kids at the Middle and High School. Though the Council did not have an immediate solution, Mayor McBain affirmed that a well-planned schedule would be released in the future to ease traffic and pedestrian flow.

Tim Rood mentioned that these renovations would mean losing access to the services of the Recreational Center for months on end, but Paul Benoit noted that it would be possible to relocate these offices and services for the duration of construction. The plans are currently in development and in their drafting phase, so all propositions and suggestions are subject to change.

The City Council meets on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month to discuss, consider, and announce citywide events, issues, notices, and more.

by Aaron Moy, Piedmont High School Senior

Sep 21 2018

The League of Women Voters Piedmont devised voter issues and questions for School Board and City Council November 6, 2018 candidates.

Press Release:

Earlier this summer, LWVP newsletter readers provided 33 responses to our poll regarding issues and questions for City Council and School Board candidates. Four LWVP board member volunteers then ranked 20 questions from the poll and submitted the top 8 to:

Voters Edge website  (https://votersedge.org/ca).

We highlight the 3 most important issues selected and list the top 4 questions for each race. We also attach more detailed summaries of the poll and of the ranking process as well as the questionnaires used.

The list of issues in the poll were taken from a July 19th, 2018 Piedmont Civic Association website article entitled “TIME to RUN: Contested or Uncontested Piedmont City Council and School Board Elections” This list of issues is licensed under a Creative Commons License and was sorted alphabetically.

For the 33 respondents, chosen from many choices, the top 3 issues for City Council candidates were:

  1. Citizen involvement – open participatory processes
  2. Environmental matters
  3. Taxation increases

The top 4 questions submitted on the Council topics were:

  1. What plans do you have to support the many different populations of Piedmont with city programs and city facilities? And, how do you plan to promote and actively support inclusive practices within city government?
  2. How will you be responsive to citizens and to support and improve citizen involvement in city government?
  3. How can and will you mediate between different interest groups in Piedmont, including evaluating how representative the concerns of vocal minorities might be?
  4. How should the city decide whether and how to plan and pay for a new swimming pool or pools? How important is this to you?

For the 33 respondents, the top 3 issues for School Board candidates were:

  1. Personnel selections
  2. School construction within constraints of bond funding limits
  3. Revenues sufficient to support operations and programs

The top 4 questions for School Board candidates were:

  1. The District has a history of hiring staff and teachers with personal connections to Piedmont and current district staff. How will you reassure city residents that new hires are the best choice for students and the school and that hiring is not unduly influenced by personal connections?
  2. How could and would you increase transparency in district decision making?
  3. How could and would you continue or improve the recruitment and retention of excellent teachers?
  4. If elected, what would be your budgeting priorities? How can the school district prepare for increased pension liabilities? Can you identify areas in the budget when savings are possible?

Read the PCA article  “TIME to RUN: Contested or Uncontested Piedmont City Council and School Board Elections