Oct 26 2020

– Fire Chief Bret Black Announced His Departure from Piedmont Fire Department –

Chief Bret Black intends to leave his position with the City of Piedmont in late November after just over two years as Piedmont’s Fire Chief. He will become Chief of East Jefferson Fire and Rescue in Port Townsend, Washington.

“I have valued my time in Piedmont as part of this team,” said Black. “My fondest memories will be from the relationships and friendships among fellow employees and the community. I feel privileged to have served the residents of Piedmont.”

“The Piedmont community has benefitted from Chief Black’s time in Piedmont,” said City Administrator Sara Lillevand. “His knowledge of the fire service, particularly in the area of wildland fire has helped focus the Fire Department and organization as a whole on this important topic. We will miss his team spirit, sense of humor, and dedication to his profession.”

Chief Black’s professional firefighting career began with Skywalker Ranch Fire Department in 1997. A few years later he relocated to the Clovis Fire Department in the Central Valley. Mr. Black rose through the ranks from firefighter, engineer, captain, training officer, to battalion chief. He began work as Piedmont’s Fire Chief on October 1, 2018.

Chief Black will remain with the City until November 30th and a nationwide recruitment process for a new Fire Chief will commence immediately.

Press Release – Oct. 26, 2020
Oct 25 2020

The City Council Is Not Being Open And Transparent About Measure UU. If They Were, Residents Would Have Received This Measure UU Letter.

Dear Piedmonters,

Before you vote on Measure UU, we thought there were a few things we needed to tell you. We did tell you that the City has no outstanding General Obligation Bonds, but we didn’t mention that we have LOTS of debts – $7 million in sewer loans, $13 million in Post Employment Benefits Payable, and $26 million in Pension Benefits Payable.

Oh, and if our pension portfolio returns only 6.15% instead of the estimated 7.15% (you can get 7.15% on your investments in today’s crazy market with bonds yielding close to zero, can’t you?), our Pension Benefit Liability alone increases to over $43 million.

Speaking of deficits, did we mention that our General Fund – that is, unrestricted money that the City can spend on anything – has a deficit of about $9 million?

We also glossed over the fact that the ordinance we passed estimates that the total cost of the “improvements” is $23 million, but that it allows us to issue $19.5 million in bonds. Guess who is paying for the difference?

We also haven’t mentioned it, but by reading the City Council minutes for the last six months, you can see that we know about the major deficiencies in our ability to deliver essential public services – the Police Chief, Fire Chief, and City Administrator are all on the record as saying that we do not comply with the Essential Services Act, that the fire station may sustain major damage in an earthquake, and that it may cost up to $51 million to fix these problems. That’s why we are looking at creating a Community Facilities District (aka Mello-Roos) to make it easier to issue bonds backed by another special tax on Piedmont homeowners in the near future. And because we generally ask for the maximum amount, it will probably be for the full $51 million.

Finally, we haven’t mentioned that 100% of Piedmont citizens rely on our Police and Fire Departments, while an estimated 25% of citizens use the pool.

So, if we had placed two bond measures on the November ballot – $50 million for Police and Fire, and $20 million for a new pool, we knew what would happen. Citizens would vote to maintain essential services, but they would turn down the pool.

After spending $56 million in 2006 and another $66 million in 2016 on School District Bonds (all that money is gone, and they still haven’t finished their projects), $10 million per year on Measure G, $2.6 million per year on Measure H, and $2.4 million per year on Measure T, citizens are getting a little tax weary. After all, aren’t our property tax rates some of the highest in California?

So, think carefully before you vote on measure UU. We’ll see you soon with our new $51 million bond request. You will HAVE to vote yes to maintain city services, but you can vote NO on Measure UU.

Andy Wasserman, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 25 2020

High Fire Danger Remains

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has reduced the number of homes in Piedmont which are slated to be affected by the Public Safety Power Shutoff scheduled to begin on Sunday evening, October 25th.

The PSPS will be focused on the eastern portion of Piedmont. Residents can look their address up on PG&E’s web site to see whether they are slated to be affected by the planned outage. Extreme fire danger remains for the entire City.

The National Weather Service has predicted sustained winds of 25-40 MPH and gusts to 60MPH for the hills. These high winds, combined with predicted low humidity are causing the extreme fire danger.

All Piedmonters are advised to be prepared for wildfire and power outages during this wind event.

The East Bay hills will be under a Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service from 11:00 a.m. Sunday, October 25th through 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday October 27th.

During this time of high fire danger:

• Do not use power tools such as mowers and weed trimmers in a way that can easily ignite dried vegetation. Have a fire extinguisher nearby if you must use these tools.

• Ensure clear access for Fire Engine on your street and driveway. Fire engines need at least 12 feet of clearance and more on tight turns.

• Do not use outdoor flames of any kind, including barbeques. Piedmonters are urged to be Ready for Wildfire and prepare themselves for wildfire.

Community members can:

• Get Ready by creating defensible space around their home, hardening their homes against fire, and by installing fire resistant landscaping.

• Get Set by creating a wildfire action plan and preparing family emergency kits

• Be Ready to GO! if an evacuation is ordered.

The Piedmont Fire Department is adding additional staffing due to this predicted wind event.

Additional information on how to be prepared for emergencies can be found in the Public Safety Committee’s Get Ready, Piedmont brochure.

During a Public Safety Power Shutoff, please call 911 to report any emergencies which occur. Please hold non-emergency calls until after the PSPS event has concluded. Residents can call Alameda County 211 for resource referrals.


PSPS 10252020

Oct 25 2020

Power Shutoff Expected to Affect EBMUD Critical Facilities

Sunday – Tuesday, October 25 – 27

Regardless of whether your house loses power, your use of water affects available water in case of East Bay Hills fire during this PSPS. Residents are advised to store two gallons of water for each member of their household. 

EBMUD has topped off reservoirs and has backup generators in place to provide power to critical facilities in the event of a PG&E power shutoff. EBMUD asks that customers in areas served by affected reservoirs reduce water use indoors and turn off outdoor irrigation to conserve water in our local reservoir tanks to leave as much water in the reservoirs as possible for firefighting.

  • Minimize water use during a PG&E Power event to leave as much water in the reservoirs as possible for firefighting.
  • Shut off irrigation.
  • Reduce indoor water use.

EBMUD will make information available as the situation develops.

For updates follow EBMUD @ebmud on Twitter, Nextdoor, and Facebook

For PG&E PSPS check pge.com/psps

PG&E shutoffs begin Sunday 10am with the majority between 3 and 9pm as conditions are monitored.

Power should be restored Monday night through Tuesday night.


East Bay Regional Parks closed all Sunday and Monday: Anthony Chabot Regional Park, Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve, Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve, Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area, Lake Chabot Regional Park, Leona Canyon Open Space Regional Preserve, Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, Roberts Regional Recreation Area, Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Tilden Regional Park and Wildcat Canyon Regional Park.

Oct 23 2020

– PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs Possible for Portions of Piedmont –  Street Names – Emergency Instructions – 

As Early As 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 25th Pacific Gas and Electric Company has announced their intent to conduct a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) which will include portions of Piedmont as early as Sunday, October 25th at 8:00 p.m. They estimate that power will be restored no later than Tuesday, October 27th at Noon. Other power outages may occur as a result of this wind event.

All Piedmonters are advised to be prepared for power outages during this wind event, which may or may not be proactive Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

Click below to read the full announcement, including street names and emergency instructions:

 Public Safety Power Shutoff 2020-10-25

Oct 10 2020

First PBAC meeting Agenda and Participation > PBAC Agenda 2020-10-13

During the COVID – 19 requirements, Piedmonters have flocked to sidewalks and streets on foot and bicycles to get exercise. The need for improvements for walkers, joggers, and bikers has been noted by all.

On September 30, 2020, the Piedmont City Council appointed nine residents of the City to serve on the new Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC). 

Chosen from among 36 applicants, the appointees are: Sofia Barandiaran, Siddharth Bhatia,  Eugene Brown, Jr., Katie DeWitt, Audrey Edel, Brett Hondorp, Hugh Louch, Thomas Reicher and Kristin Robrock. 

The PBAC will help guide the development and implementation of the Piedmont Safer Streets project. That project will update the City’s original Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (completed in 2014), with an additional focus on broader traffic safety.

The initial meeting of the PBAC will take place Tuesday, October 13, starting at 5:30 pm. For more information about the PBAC and about the meeting, click here and here.

For questions about the Piedmont Safer Streets project, contact Gopika Nair (City of Piedmont), at SaferStreets@Piedmont.ca.gov or at (510) 420-3054.

>PBAC Agenda 2020-10-13

You can view the documents to be discussed on the agenda in the drop box link below:


Oct 5 2020
Supporting Measure UU seems like a “mom and apple pie” decision, but according to the most recent Budget Advisory Committee report the City has an additional $52 Million in capital needs for which there is no plan. Importantly, the list includes seismic retrofitting of our police, fire and Veterans buildings.
When people are asked why they choose to live in Piedmont, public safety services are high on the list.  It appears that the pool bonds are being proposed without reference to the larger context of all needed capital projects. Why has the pool been given the highest priority?  Why has there apparently not been a systematic prioritization among all capital needs?
If the pool bonds are issued, will that minimize the City’s ability to obtain additional financing for these other important needs? Might the pool bonds make residents less likely to approve another bond?
With Piedmont being among the most highly taxed of comparable cities, we cannot assume that Piedmont’s residents could afford still another bond or that the City could take on additional debt while retaining its credit rating.  The City’s Q and A’s on Measure UU makes no mention of this context.
Kathleen Quenneville, Piedmont Resident
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Sep 9 2020

City Council Seeks Volunteers for New Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee

Deadline: Friday, September 25, 2020

Have ideas for pedestrian or bicycle safety, sidewalks, access, streets, parked vehicles, stop signs, etc.?

The City Council of Piedmont is looking for a few talented volunteers to serve on the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee which will assist in the preparation of the City’s updated Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan (PBMP). This process is expected to begin in October 2020 and go through May 2021.

The efforts of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee will focus on assisting staff and City consultants with the development of the PBMP Update, specifically in reviewing and providing feedback on the following materials:

1. Community needs assessment.

2. Draft action plan of recommendations.

3. Opportunities for public participation and input regarding the draft action plan of recommendations.

4. Public draft of the PBMP Update document.

5. Opportunities for public participation and input regarding the public draft of the PBMP Update document.

In establishing this committee, the City Council called out two specific groups it is looking to see represented on the Committee, in addition to residents:

• Piedmont High School and Millennium High School Students Residing in Piedmont

• Current or Former Members of the Planning Commission, Public Safety Committee, and/or CIP Review Committee

Interested residents may view the City Council resolution establishing the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, download the Application for Appointive Vacancy, and/or apply online on the City’s web site at https://piedmont.ca.gov Applications are due to City Hall on or before the deadline of Friday, September 25th at 5:00 p.m.  See links below.

Interviews with the City Council for these positions will be scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, September 30, 2020. No appointments will be made without a Council interview.

Residents with questions are invited to contact the City Clerk’s office at (510) 420-3040.

Notice of Appointive Vacancies 2020 – PBAC

Commission Application 2020 PBAC

2020-09-04 PBAC Recruitment

Aug 29 2020

The Piedmont Police Department will begin accepting Text to 911 calls throughout Piedmont on August 31, 2020. 

Calling 911 is faster and more reliable in an emergency.  Text messages can take longer to send and receive.  Location accuracy varies by carrier and should not be relied upon.  You should include your location, street address including city in your text.

Text to911 should only be used in an emergency when placing a call is not possible.

 Only use text 911 as a last resort.

Call if you can; Text if you can’t.

 No language interpretation currently exists.

Text messages can take longer to send/receive. 

READ INSTRUCTIONS HERE >PCA Text to 911 Flyer 8.27.20

Aug 24 2020

Piedmont Fire Department to Screen Award-Winning Documentary “Wilder than Wild: Fire, Forests, and the Future” on KCOM and Zoom on Monday, August 31st at 6:00 p.m.

The Piedmont Fire Department will host a screening of the award-winning documentary “Wilder than Wild: Fire, Forests, and the Future on KCOM and Zoom on Monday, August 31st at 6:00 p.m. followed by a panel discussion on wildfire preparation and disaster preparedness.

Wilder than Wild is a one-hour documentary that reveals how fire suppression and climate change have exposed western landscapes to large, high intensity wildfires. The film goes on to explore strategies that are being developed to help mitigate the impact of these fires

The City of Piedmont wants to build community awareness about mitigation strategies in this new age of wildfire. The screening is part of a larger effort by the City to engage the community in conversations about the future of wildfire, specifically in an urban setting. A panel featuring Kevin White, the film’s director/producer, and Fire Chief Bret Black will follow the screening.

Residents can view the screening by tuning to KCOM TV, Comcast channel 27 or AT&T channel 99. Residents can watch on the Zoom platform by clicking the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84429317342 

 READ the announcement > 2020-08-24 PFD to Screen Wilder than Wild Documentary on August 31st