Nov 13 2018

Police  Will Present Tips to Prevent Financial Exploitation of Seniors

With the holiday season upon us the Piedmont Police Department will partner with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for an interactive program focused on seniors staying safe during the holidays whether shopping, being approached for donations or from other type of fraud common during this time of year.  Attendees will also learn about general financial exploitation, how to safeguard oneself and seek assistance. 

All are welcome to attend as this information will be useful to share with elder family and friends.

Jeremy Bowers, Piedmont Police Chief

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Piedmont Community Hall, 711 Highland Avenue

RSVP to April Scott 510/420-3010 or ascott@piedmont.ca.gov

 

Nov 13 2018

Call for more community input – 

     Superintendent Randy Booker will present the idea of a School Resource Officer to the School Board at their meeting this Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 7:00 p.m., City Hall.  I would like to hear more community engagement on this topic. I think it would be good to make sure that the members of our community are aware of the various security measures being proposed — including perimeter fencing around the middle school and high school, and new surveillance cameras around town.
    The current focus on security measures is troubling to me, reminding me of a culture of fear that has developed at a national level. I sent this letter to the School Board prior to their last meeting. Please feel free to reprint.
    Thank you,
     Elizabeth Shook
~~~~~~~~~
To Superintendent Randy Booker and the PUSD School Board: 
     My husband and I are strongly against perimeter fencing and a school safety officer at Piedmont Middle School or Piedmont High School.
     With the recent threat incident at PMS, we understand that emotions are running high. However, perimeter fencing and a school safety officer would have made NO DIFFERENCE in this recent threat.
     We agree that the safety of our students is our primary concern. We believe this is a mental health issue, not a criminal issue.
     Adding a school safety officer at either PMS or PHS is a major over-reaction. The presence of police on campus has not been shown to limit or protect from past school shootings. At our secondary schools, we already have the Piedmont police department located within two blocks. Our school is located in a quiet, safe suburban neighborhood. An officer on campus would actually heighten student anxiety and tension.
     If we have the budget, we should spend the funds on additional counseling staff who can work with students with unfortunate family, social, or mental health situations. This will do more to deter future tragedy than a school safety officer.
     We call on the Superintendent and the School Board to let emotions settle, and then survey the community on this issue. Where could the money be better spent? What do the students want? What about teachers?
     We believe that our families need: 1) Clear and transparent communication from the administration about school threats – and school policies. 2) Students and families need to be taught the best response to dangerous scenarios. 3) Zero tolerance for students who make threats or bring weapons to school.
      Here are some articles about School Safety Officers that make good points:
      Putting more cops in schools won’t make schools safer, and it will …
       New York Set to Revise Role of School Safety Agents
      I am also against perimeter fencing. I feel it can actually trap students in a dangerous situation and impede evacuations.  In reality, fencing will not deter actual bad guys.
        PHS Students considered the fencing when it was first proposed in this 2016 editorial:
“Fencing the campus entirely would cost an estimated $300,000 — far more than any college education — even before implementing monitoring systems that could actually keep dangerous individuals off the property.
       “Frankly, a fence alone will not be effective in deterring an active shooter, the fear of which has been a key motivation behind the push for revamping the district’s safety measures. In the wake of tragedies like Sandy Hook, this desire to proactively increase safety is understandable, but the decision to build a fence would be reactive and incomplete. Instead of actually improving our safety, we would be cultivating the mere illusion of security, a incremental measure not worth the significant cost.”
      Thank you for your consideration.
       Regards,
       Elizabeth Shook and Denis Fung, Piedmont Residents and Piedmont School District Parents
Nov 12 2018

During the winter holiday period in recent years, packages delivered to front porches have disappeared.

Over the summer, packages were stolen from porches in the 800 block of Blair Avenue, the 1500 block of Grand Avenue and the 100 block of Sunnyside Avenue, where packages were taken from the front porch of several homes. Vehicles associated with these thefts were a newer blue/grey 4 door hybrid SUV and a white moped/scooter with a black seat.  If you have any information regarding these thefts, contact Piedmont Police Department Detective R. Coffey at 510-420-3015.

Police tips for safe package delivery:

 1-Don’t leave packages out for extended periods of time. Reach out to your neighbors and ask them to bring packages inside.

2-Use an alternate shipping address like work or a friend/relative that you know will be home to receive packages.

3-Choose shipping options that provide for advanced package tracking, allow you to redirect a package, receive detailed updates on estimated delivery time, and send an email or text once your package has been delivered.

4-Install a security camera. Security cameras can deter burglars, keep your packages safer, and help you keep an eye on your home while you’re away. Products like Nest Cam Outdoor and the Ring doorbell are inexpensive ways to increase security.

Strange Car in Your Driveway? ——–

Caution:  If this happens to you, do not engage.  You are advised to call the police.

On Wednesday, November 7 a Piedmonter returned home to find an older model sedan parked at the top of his driveway, blocking access to his garage.  There were two occupants in the car.  After several minutes of waiting to see if the car would back out of his driveway, the homeowner gave a light toot on the horn. There was no reaction to his horn. The strange car did not move.

A few minutes later a female passenger got out of the intruding car and informed the homeowner they had car trouble and were trying to figure it out.   She then explained that they had just delivered a bin in the neighborhood.

Five minutes later the car backed out of the homeowners’ driveway and drove off with no evidence of car trouble.

When encountering suspicious situations such as described above, residents are advised to promptly call:

Piedmont Police Department at 911

or 510/420-3000. 

Nov 12 2018

Potential agreement between the City Council and the School Board –

An introductory discussion of adding a police resource officer into the Piedmont Unified School District will be considered on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 during the 7:oo p.m. Board of Education meeting held in City Hall.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and via the City website.

To view the report go to item VII and click on the Superintendent’s report > https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=67947&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

Nov 5 2018

Funding in the amount of $548,333 is coming from the State of California in a program termed “Citizens’ Option” to Piedmont’s Police Department.

There have been no noticed meetings regarding a “Citizens’ Option” public hearing to learn from Piedmonters how they want the $548,333 to be used. It was on the November 5th City Council agenda.

The staff report states in part:

In FY 2018/19, the Piedmont Police Department expects to receive $140,000 from the COPS grant into the SLESA. In addition, funds in the amount of $408,333 are being carried forward from prior years resulting in total funds available of $548,333. Such funds will need to be spent or encumbered by June 20, 2019. 

FISCAL IMPACT:  The funds must be spent or encumbered by June 30, 2019. There are no matching requirements for this grant, and no direct impact on City resources for the fiscal years associated with the action in this staff report. This plan may be adjusted in the future and by no means represents Council approval for non-routine, large-scale procurements such as the license plate readers. Future purchases will be made in accordance with the City’s adopted procurement policies and, prior to any such purchase, staff will provide Council with a full report and detailed request of any proposed procurements that exist within the spending plan.

City Administrator Benoit’s Recommendation at the November 5 Council meeting:

Adopt a resolution accepting the 2018/19 California Citizens Option for Public Safety (COPS) grant in the amount of $140,000 as allocated in the Supplemental Law Enforcement Services Account (SLESA) for the Piedmont Police Department and approve the spending plan to purchase items supporting frontline law enforcement services. 

Read the full staff report including the spending plan by clicking below.

http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2018-11-05/FY18-19COPS.pdf

For more information on COPS grants go to > https://www.sco.ca.gov/ard_payrments_cops.html

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

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 25 2018

On October 15, 2018, I attended the Piedmont City Council’s bi monthly meeting. The meeting started with concerned citizens voicing their opinions on recent crime occurring on Trestle Glen Road and then focused on the Piedmont Recreation Department’s (PRD) plan for renovations on the Piedmont Community Pool.

A number of Piedmont residents who live on or near Trestle Glen spoke about a large increase in crime in the area. They cited a number of stolen license plates, armed robberies, and speeding cars that have led to the residents feeling unsafe. One resident, Reed Jiang, spoke about his experience a few months ago. He said he was outside his house playing with his three year old son when a car pulled up to them. A man exited the car and pulled a gun on Mr. Jiang, demanding everything he had or else he would hurt Mr. Jiang’s son. Mr. Jiang gave the man his wallet, with the gun still pointed at him and his son.

This was just one story of a number that were brought in front of the councilmembers calling for increased police involvement in the neighborhood. They mentioned a lack of police accountability in the area, and stated that they did not feel like they were treated as Piedmont citizens.

The next topic was a plan to increase and replace existing license plate scanners on the borders of Piedmont. Police Chief Jeremy Bowers explained plans to install better sensors and clarified to the councilmembers the criteria that the Piedmont Police Department uses when looking at the data recorded by the License Plate Readers. I voiced my opinion on this issue, asking about how these license plate readers could be used to help prevent other types of crimes to protect citizens like the ones on Trestle Glen. I also mentioned that License Plate Readers had helped police officers find and return my family’s car that was stolen a few years ago.

After this, the conversation shifted to the main topic of the meeting: the pool renovation plans. Recreation Department Director Sara Lillevand introduced the plan and proposed a bond measure to fund the project, citing the push from the community and the long overdue fixes the pool needs.

Next, Rich Young, who was commissioned by Piedmont Recreation Department  (PRD) to inspect the pool in order to give them a detailed report on all the necessary renovations,  highlighted that many of the features of the pool and surrounding areas did not meet city, state, or federal codes and that the pool would likely not last more than a few more years in its current condition. He stated that the total cost for all the renovations and steps to bring the pool up to code would be around $244,000.

Following his presentation, more citizens spoke out on the issue, all of whom were in support of the renovations. Each person had their own story of how the pool positively impacted their lives, but at the center of each of their arguments, was that the pool had great community value. They said the pool is a place that brings people together, and that the city government should do everything possible to maintain it.

Following the meeting, I interviewed Piedmont resident Vince Saunders, who attended to support the proposed pool improvements. He has two sons who play on both the water polo and swimming teams for Piedmont High School (PHS), and hopes the community can realize the positive impact the pool has on the City of Piedmont. He said the next step is to continue to raise awareness that the pool is an important issue and gain support for the proposed bond measure.

There was only one citizen who disagreed with the proposed plan.  Gary Fanger, a former contractor who designed over 100 swimming pools, said he believed that Mr. Young’s proposed plan was excessive and many of his estimates and suggestions were not needed. He also made a suggestion that along with some renovations to the current medium and large pools, the wading pool and parking lot to the south of the main area could be replaced with a full eight lane pool. He said this would be less disruptive and destructive to the community and surrounding area.

by Owen Levinson, Piedmont High School Senior

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 27 2018

Streets Briefly Closed and Several homes Evacuated Thursday Morning

A fake pipe bomb in the backpack of Pablo Jesus Guardado, 36, Oakland, was “rendered safe” by the Alameda County Bomb Squad.  Also found in the backpack was an unloaded gun and two switchblade knives according to Piedmont Capt. Chris Monahan.

 

“Police investigating a report of a suspicious person in the area of Wildwood and Winsor avenues about 8:30 a.m. detained Guardado in the 1100 block of Warfield Avenue. …  Streets in the area were shut down and some homes evacuated while the bomb squad did its work.

< Owner of the backpack

Authorities said that “out of an abundance of caution,” Wildwood Elementary School, 301 Wildwood Ave., a few blocks away, was placed on a shelter-in-place status.”  East Bay Times

Piedmont Police Press Release:

On September 27, 2018, at approximately 8:30 a.m., Piedmont Police responded to a report of a suspicious person in the area of Wildwood Avenue at Winsor Avenue in Piedmont. Officers located the individual, detained him and located an unloaded firearm, two switchblade knives and what appeared to be an explosive device. The individual was taken into custody without further incident.

Officers cordoned off the area and immediately began evacuating nearby residences. Wildwood Elementary School was directed to shelter-in-place.

The Piedmont Police Department requested the assistance of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad. Bomb Squad technicians responded to the scene, examined the device and were able to render it safe. Although the device was made to appear to look as an explosive device it was found to not contain any explosive material. Residents and Wildwood School staff were notified of the resolution of the event and that it was safe to return to their homes and routine school activity.

Participating Piedmonters were notified about the issue.  To sign-up for future notifications follow the instructions below:

AC Alert Emergency Notifications

Your safety is our top concern – that’s why Piedmont wants to make sure you know about emergencies and incidents as they happen.

The City of Piedmont will use “AC Alert” powered by Everbridge to make sure you know about issues that may affect your safety. This system allows the City to contact thousands of residents in seconds so you can find out about an emergency right away.

Receive important messages from city officials via email, phone, and much more!

How Does It Work?
The process begins when the City of Piedmont issues a message about a potential safety hazard or concern. Next, “AC Alert” sends a message through your primary contact path. If you don’t confirm receipt of the message, the system will try to reach your second contact path and continues trying to reach you until you confirm receipt.

The success of this service relies on YOUHaving your latest contact information is the only way to ensure that we can contact you in an emergency. Please sign up – it only takes about a minute to enroll!

Thank you in advance for you cooperation and participation in this important program!

The City of Piedmont Respects Your Privacy!!

The City of Piedmont will never share or distribute your personal information, unless required to do so by law. Additionally, we will never use your information for any purpose other than to send emergency notifications or information pertaining to Piedmont.