Jan 16 2021

The Piedmont City Council will be asked to approve $106,000 to hire Paul Benoit, former Piedmont City Administrator, to Serve as Special Assistant to current City Administrator Sara Lillevand on Pools Construction.

Measure UU was the first successful capital bond measure in the City’s history. The $19.5 million bond was approved by 68.5% of Piedmont voters on November 3, 2020.  Measure UU bond funds will be used to Pay Benoit the $106,000 maximum annual cost of the proposed employment agreement.

Benoit  served as Piedmont’s City Administrator from 2014-2019 leading the process to develop the Aquatics Master Plan Conceptual Design, which was accepted by the City Council in 2016.  As a California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) beneficiary retiree, he will be subject to certain restrictions in order to avoid putting his retirement pension in jeopardy.  The City must enroll and report the hours worked to CalPERS through the system currently used to report payroll.  His initial tasks will include leading the efforts to hire project management services as well as the architectural design team.

Staff report:  Consideration of the Appointment of Paul Benoit as a Retired Annuitant to Provide Special Assistance to the City Administrator with Measure UU Projects and Approval an Employment Agreement

READ THE AGENDA HERE.

Dec 15 2020

 City Council Selects Daniel Gonzales as Director of Public Works

Following a rigorous recruitment process, the City Council has selected Daniel Gonzales as Piedmont’s next Director of Public Works. Mr. Gonzales was chosen unanimously by the Council from a field of over thirty candidates. His formal appointment will be considered at the City Council meeting of Monday, December 21, 2020.

This selection follows interviews of highly qualified finalists by a panel of staff and residents and separately by the City Administrator. Following that process, two candidates were then interviewed by the full City Council.

The selection of Mr. Gonzales by the City Council was unanimous and all agreed that he will be a great asset to the community and the Department of Public Works.

Mr. Gonzales holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from San Jose State University. He is a registered Civil Engineer in the State of California. For the past three years, he has served as the Deputy Director of Public Works for the Town of Hillsborough. Prior to this, he worked as a Senior Engineer with CSG Consultants, working with both public and private sector clients. His experience includes project and construction management as well as the preparation of long term plans for capital improvements.

“We are very excited to have Mr. Gonzales join the Piedmont Public Works team,” said Mayor Teddy Gray King. “His great experience and proven track record of leadership will help our Public Works Department continue to provide excellent service to Piedmonters as well as manage our storm and sanitary sewer systems, street, sidewalk, and park maintenance, as well as managing upcoming projects like the construction of the Piedmont Community Pool.”

“Daniel will be a tremendous addition to the City team and will no doubt be a strong leader for the Public Works Department,” said City Administrator Sara Lillevand. “His experience and success in the Town of Hillsborough as well as his work in the private sector will translate well to Piedmont.”

“I am honored and excited to have been selected as Piedmont’s Public Works Director,” Mr. Gonzales said. “I am looking forward to serving the Piedmont community and continuing to provide the high standard of service in the Department, as well as diving in to upcoming projects and planning processes.”

Gonzales will replace Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara who is retiring after 20+ years of working for the City.

Daniel Gonzales

Contact: John O. Tulloch, City Clerk, for additional information at  (510) 420-3040   jtulloch@piedmont.ca.gov
Dec 4 2020

– The Results of the City Election will be Certified by the City Council on Monday, Dec. 7, at 5:00 p.m. –

Elected to the Piedmont City Council:

Jennifer Cavenaugh to begin a second 4 year term.

Conna McCarthy to begin a first 4 year term.

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Elected to the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Trustees:

Cory Smegal to begin a second 4 year term..

Veronica Anderson-Thigpen to begin a first 4 year term,

Hilary Cooper to begin a first 4 year term.

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Measure UU – Pool Bonds were voter approved by 68 %. 

Measure TT – Real Property Transfer Tax was defeated by voters – 52% No to 48% Yes.

Click below for detailed official results and stats –

Certification of Election Results for the General Municipal Election of November 3, 2020_

The Piedmont City Charter states:

“(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)”  Piedmont City Charter

Gratitude for outgoing Mayor Bob McBain will be acknowledged.   McBain has served on the City Council for 8 plus years.

Next Mayor and Vice-Mayor of Piedmont:

“SECTION 2.08 MAYOR 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.”

Council members are listed below in order of seniority on the council and votes garnered in their elections:

Teddy Gray King   –  6 years on the Council – term ends 2022

Tim Rood –  6 years on the Council – term ends 2022

Jennifer Cavenaugh – 4 years on the Council – term ends 2024

Betsy Smegal Andersen – approximately 3 years on the Council – term ends 2022

Conna McCarthy – newly elected to the Council – term ends 2024

Piedmont Mayors and Vice-Mayors are chosen by 3 or more Council members.  The Mayor and Vice-Mayor serve at the pleasure of the City Council.

SCHOOL BOARD 

School Board: The December meeting of the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education has been changed to Tuesday, December 15th in order to swear-in newly elected school board members in compliance with Assembly Bill (AB) 2449. AB 2449 (2018) changed the seating date for newly elected school district and county board of education members to the second Friday in December following their election.  Regular Open Session will begin at 7:00 PM.

Retiring School Board members Sarah Pearson and Andrea Swenson will have each completed 8 plus years of service on the Board.

To watch and participate in the meeting see instructions at the top of the 12/7/2020 agenda or click on the Zoom link – https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83694657877:

1272020council-current-agenda

Nov 12 2020

– Measure UU Passed, Pool Design Is Next –

Measure UU: A call for engineering experts among our community –

We are faced with a very interesting and challenging engineering problem: designing a pool that will meet the neighborhood’s aquatic needs for the next 50 years within the constraints of the Piedmont Climate Action Plan and the State of California 2035/2050 goals.
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Very few pool design companies have the skills to analyze and optimize the complex trade-offs between the various available energy technologies and the pool size in area and water volume. Piedmont has an opportunity to innovate and show the way for other communities.
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We would like to call on the engineering skills within the members of the community to join us with the goal of making back-of-the envelope calculations on various options, based on data gathering and scientific calculations. This  would help the City Council to make decisions on how to proceed.
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You can connect to us by email: piedmont.green.pool@gmail.com or through this PCA forum.
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Indira Balkissoon, Piedmont Resident

Garrett Keating, Former member of the City Council

Bernard Pech, Piedmont Resident

Tom Webster, Piedmont Resident

Nov 9 2020

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters continues to compile election  results.  More Piedmont votes have been added to totals, however the Piedmont relative percentages have not varied enough to change the outcome and are not expected to change.  The most recent and detailed results can be found at –https://www.acgov.org/rovresults/241/indexA.htm

Presumed Elected:

City Council – Jennifer Cavenaugh and Conna McCarthy

School Board – Cory Smegal, Veronica Anderson-Thigpen and Hilary Cooper

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Measure UU, pool bonds, continues to be approved by over 68% of the voters.

Measure TT, increase in the real property transfer tax, continues to fail by a wider margins. See below.

2 of 2 Precincts Reported (100.00% )
Needs 50% + 1 Yes vote to pass
 
Contest Votes Percentage
No 3,755 51.83 %
Yes 3,490 48.17 %
Nov 6 2020

Piedmont Resident Urges Transparency, Hearings and Public Input before Lease of City Building at 801 Magnolia –

Nancy Lehrkind’s letter raises several questions/issues.

  • If the current lease does not expire until June, 2021, why is there such a rush to decide on the use and control of the site?
  • And why does the process at least seem to be less than transparent, with few or no public hearings?
  • And, if the West Wing building was unused 70% of the time, how can this be when such space is in short supply in the City?
  • And, who currently manages the choices of users and who will decide in the future?
  • And, who would receive the mentioned $260,000 per year which might be realized and how much financial support and space would then be available by adopting the commercial rental option?
  • And, given the passage of UU, would it make sense to defer usage decisions until the UU pool development can be coordinated with the 801 Magnolia Avenue site?

So many questions…so many reasons to have significantly increased public input. Transparency is a virtue in this case. Public hearings would be a welcomed start.

Aaron Salloway, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Nov 3 2020

The following are Piedmont election results as of 9:25 p.m. November 3.  Election results are not final until all votes have been recorded and certified.  The elected candidates are listed in the order of votes gained.  Election results are unlikely to change. 

Elected to the City Council:

Jen Cavenaugh

Conna McCarthy

Elected to the School Board:

Cory Smegal

Veronica Anderson-Thigpen

Hilary Cooper

Piedmont Ballot Measures:

Measure TT – Increase in real property transfer tax – Failed – by 31 votes

Measure UU – Pool Bonds – Approved – by over 2/3rds of voters

Updates can be found on https://www.acgov.org/rovresults/241/indexA.htm

Nov 1 2020

– Environmental Voting Guide written by Piedmonter Emily Ballati –

Things-are-Heating-Up-Guide-to-Environmental-Voting

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author. 
Oct 29 2020

The Mercury News Editorial –

Editorial: Reject Piedmont property tax hike for pool repairs

The Mercury News editorial is copied below:

“Piedmont residents tax themselves to ensure that they have the best schools and premier city government. The average homeowner pays $4,400 in extra taxes for schools and another $635 for city services.

But those taxes also drive up the cost of housing in the exclusive city surrounded by Oakland and further ensure that those with average means will not be able to crack the city’s residential market.

Voters in Tuesday’s election will face two tax hikes. Measure TT, which we have previously recommended voters reject, would increase the city’s tax on property sales to state record-high levels. Now we look at Measure UU, a $19.5 million bond proposal to pay for replacing three old community pools with two new ones. Voters should reject that, too.

Based on the city estimates provided to voters, Measure UU would add an average $263 annually to the tax bill for a home assessed at the city average of slightly over $1 million.

It a bit of a tricky calculation for voters because city officials in the ballot wording obfuscated the projected average tax rate as 2.6 cents per $100 of assessed value rather than an easier-to-understand $26 per $100,000.

It turns out that the city overstated that rate, especially for the latter part of the 30-year tax. The firmer number is that city taxpayers would collectively pay about $1.3 million annually to retire the bonds needed to finance the construction.

To put that number in perspective, the city spends more than that – nearly $1.7 million to be precise – just to cover the interest payments on public employee pension debt. Put another way, most of the pool bond payments could be covered by Measure TT, which is expected to add about $948,462 annually to the city’s transfer tax revenues.

Individually and collectively, the two measures raise a question of, how much is too much? Rather than throwing multiple tax measures at voters, city leaders need to prioritize and look for savings elsewhere.”

Oct 28 2020

I would like to extend thanks to the nearly one thousand volunteers, endorsers, and donors who have come together to support the future of the Piedmont Community Pool.

Passing any measure requires a tremendous amount of effort and money to educate voters about the timeliness, thoughtfulness, and importance of the ballot initiative. Over the last few months, citizens of all ages and areas in Piedmont have volunteered to talk with their neighbors about the critical timing and benefits of Measure UU.

Over 100 donors have contributed to the campaign to provide funds to print flyers and mailers. Student and adult volunteers have spent thousands of hours making phone calls, sending emails, and distributing informational materials door-to-door. Despite the challenges of connecting in person, a comprehensive coalition of city and school leaders, community organizations, and volunteers emerged to support Measure UU. Their message?  A world-class city like Piedmont should have a local pool and all the concomitant programs (lessons, sports, programs) that serve to strengthen our community.

I especially applaud the countless volunteers who have been extra careful about reaching out to their neighbors in safe ways. To minimize direct, in-person exposure, volunteers only conducted phone calls or dropped off flyers with personally written letters detailing why it’s critical to pass Measure UU in November.

One of the most moving letters that I read was from a family that actually doesn’t use the pool at all, but understands the value of building an asset that is appreciated by their fellow citizens: old and young, big and small. Norman Rockwell could not paint a warmer picture of a shared journey.

While our broad political climate has never been more divisive, I am proud to see and say that Piedmonters continue to think and act beyond themselves, always in the best interests of our wonderful community.

Dion Lim, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.