Oct 31 2022

If you have not already voted in the November 8th School Board Election, below are listed, in random, not priority order, some of the pressing issues the new School Board members will face;

  • Hiring a new superintendent
  • Teacher contracts – compensation and conditions
  • Open enrollment – out of Piedmont admissions
  • Student and teacher retention
  • Budgetary controls
  • Communication with parents and the community
  • Diversity, inclusion and opportunity
  • Safety on campuses 
  • Excellence in education for all students
  • Healthy learning environment
  • Counseling for all students
  • Completion of new facilities
  • Working collaboratively with the City
  • Open transparent governing

Three candidates are seeking election to two seats on the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Directors. Voters can vote for up to two of the candidates. The election is on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

The candidates are listed below in alphabetical order along with their photographs and ballot statements.

Shirley Hooi

Shirley Hooi

Entrepreneur/Businesswoman/Mother

My education and qualifications are: COVID-related online learning has forced PUSD students to endure an unprecedented period of educational losses and mental stress. Now is a crucial period to help our students get back on track. I believe that parent, student and community member involvement in school board decisions is critical. Their opinions should be considered in the selection of the superintendent, along with issues regarding school curriculum and teacher retention/recruitment. As a product of the Oakland Unified School District, PUSD was regarded as the epitome of an exceptional public school education. Families strived to move to Piedmont to raise their children in a community in which a public school education was comparable to the local private schools. Unfortunately this has changed and PUSD continues to lose students to local private schools every year. My immigrant parents instilled in their children the belief of education and hard work as a path out of poverty. Now as a PUSD parent, it is my role to instill the same beliefs upon my children. If you support this philosophy, now is the time for me to be your voice on the school board. Get Involved: www.shirleyhooi.com

Ruchi Medhekar

Ruchi Medhekar

Healthcare Executive/Parent

My education and qualifications are: I’m running for school board for four primary reasons: i) to strengthen district academics at all grade levels, ii) to foster curiosity and creative thinking in our students; iii) to strengthen positive relationships between teachers, administrators, and parents; and iv) to provide equitable opportunities that promote students’ emotional well-being. I have benefited tremendously from a strong STEAM education – graduating from MIT with undergraduate degrees in biology and chemical engineering, and a PhD in microbiology from UCLA. Currently, I work for a healthcare IT company, responsible for product and strategy. I grew up in the Bay Area and have lived in Piedmont since 2016. My husband is a local physician, and our daughters are in kindergarten and 4th grade at Beach. I’ve volunteered in many capacities at Beach, for PUSD, and our city: as classroom parent, VP and president of the Beach Parents Organization, on the Tri-School Site Council, Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Committee, and the district’s Budget Advisory Committee. I am on the board of the Piedmont Education Foundation and on the Piedmont Recreation Commission. These opportunities have helped me understand the needs of different stakeholders in the district, which will be invaluable in achieving my goals.

Lindsay Thomasson

Lindsay Thomasson

Parent

My education and qualifications are: As the parent of students currently at PMS, Havens, and in preschool, I have held numerous volunteer roles over the past five years, giving me a robust understanding of how our district works, its strengths and weaknesses. I served as Havens’ Parent Club President, on the LCAP Committee, Superintendent Community Advisory Committee, and Wellness Center Committee, to name a few. As a member of PUSD’s Board of Education, my priorities would be to ensure PUSD has the leadership and resources to provide students an excellent, well-rounded academic experience, including the hiring of a superintendent aligned in our goals, and attracting and retaining well-qualified, diverse, engaged educators. This will allow PUSD to truly equip students with the essential critical-thinking, STEAM, and language arts skills needed to succeed at the universities and in the careers of their choosing. I have attended California public schools my entire life, culminating in degrees from Cal Berkeley and UCSD. Piedmont schools are the foundation of our community, yet the past three years have been divisive. To move forward we must engage in meaningful community dialogue, be pragmatic and creative, ensure all stakeholders are engaged in our decision-making processes, and always put students first.

Oct 20 2022

Piedmont Police PRESS RELEASE

At 4:21 am this morning October 20, 2022, Police officers observed multiple wooden pallets on fire in the ACE Hardware parking lot on Grand Avenue. Officers worked to put the fire out with fire extinguishers and were assisted by the Piedmont Fire Department.

Later in the morning, Halloween decorations were lit on fire in the 300 block of Wildwood Avenue and the 100 block of Sierra Avenue.

No one was injured and there was minimal property damage in all the events.

An unknown subject was captured on video at the involved locations.

If you have any information related to this subject or additional video of unusual activity related to these events, please contact detectives at (510) 420-3000.

 

 

Sep 27 2022

The City Council is urged to listen to the expertise of residents and take on the challenge – to investigate, question and push back against the ABAG / HCD 587-unit requirement and demand a fair process.

Dear Mayor King and City Council Members,

At the August 1st City Council meeting, in my rush to cover several topics, I was remiss in not thanking all Council Members and Staff for all their efforts to date on the General Plan. I apologize for that omission. In my career, I have served on a few Boards and fully appreciate the time and effort required by that service. Thank you.

Given the limited presentation time available to speakers at the meeting, however, I do feel that it is important to restate my position regarding the Draft Housing Element.

When Piedmont’s Housing Element requirement was initially announced, the Piedmont Planning Staff informed the residents that, even though the requirement of 587 units was nearly 10 times the previous requirement, ‘Piedmont should take on accommodating 587 units AS A CHALLENGE’. There was no mention of Piedmont challenging the 587-unit number despite the extraordinary increase over the previous General Plan requirement (60 units). If that discussion did occur between the Staff and the Council, then those minutes should be made available to clarify the record.

It appears to me that we are at a juncture where the solutions proposed in the Housing Element and the acceptance of some of those solutions by a significant number of residents are at odds. That is why I propose challenging the premise that 587 new units can be accommodated in Piedmont.

Why challenge the State HCD (Housing and Community Development Dept.) requirement?

One reason is that the State Auditor was directed to evaluate the needs assessment process that the HCD uses to provide key housing guidance to local governments. The Auditor’s report, dated March 17,2022, concluded that the HCD does not ensure that it’s needs assessments are accurate and adequately supported.

The Auditor found errors such as; not considering all the factors that State Law requires; no formal review process for the data it uses; the HCD could not support its use of various vacancy rates.

What was the HCD’s response to these very serious findings about their processes and due diligence?

The HCD said they would review their processes over the next year, but they did not commit to reviewing or modifying any of the current cycle of projections. The HCD 6th Cycle projected a need of 2,300,00 housing units for California. However, prior to that, in August 2020, the HCD projected a need of only 1,170,000 units for the same time period – about half the current requirement.

On the Federal side, Freddie Mac’s projected need for 6th cycle housing was 1,320,00 units in February 2020. These wide variations in projected housing need coupled with the State Auditor’s findings about the HCD’s procedures converge to magnify the need to examine the HCD 6th cycle requirement with a very healthy skepticism and to institute a very serious investigation or as some other like-minded cities have done – that is to band together and legally challenge the HCD on their process and projections.

We must remember that the General Plan is on an 8-year cycle and Piedmont will need to submit a Plan again in 2031. The State will likely impose another housing requirement on Piedmont then.

How many units will be required and where will those units go in 2031? What legacy will be left for the City Council of 2031?

All that adds to the urgency in challenging the 587-unit requirement now. To work toward an acceptable compromise of this issue with the HCD, it would also be very important for the City to establish an acceptable and attainable number of units that the planners believe can reasonably be accommodated in the current 6th cycle.

In any negotiation, if Piedmont can emphasize it’s prior compliance with the HCD requirements and exhibit a good faith effort to accommodate a significant new housing increase over prior General Plans ( say a 2-fold or 3-fold increase ) it would go a long way toward establishing the seriousness of Piedmont’s position and commitment.

Nevertheless, based on the uncertainty of the HCD population projection process, it is very important that we and other cities push back and demand more transparency and accuracy from the HCD now.

Another reason – numbers matter. Many of the objections to the Housing Element come down the extraordinary means needed to try to accommodate 587 units while trying to maintain a sense of identity for Piedmont. If, for example, Piedmont’s Housing Element were only a 3-fold increase over the existing requirement and Piedmont need only accommodate 180 new units, I believe that the Housing Element would now be approved and in our rear-view mirror. This is just an example, but it makes the point that numbers do matter – and accuracy and fairness of process also matter.

Another reason – our Fair Share. In the Aug. 1 Council meeting, many residents stated their beliefs that Piedmont should provide its fair share of housing units. I wholeheartedly agree, but how is the fair share derived? I believe that it is vital that our fair share should be derived from a fair and open process given the magnitude of its impact on our City.

There should also be some recognition of Piedmont’s constraints – that it is predominantly built-out and that the City faces reconstruction or new construction of its Essential Services Buildings ( ESB’s ) which could significantly affect some of the few available parcels in the City.

Recent meetings and discussions all expose the fact that the Housing Element, the structural integrity of the ESB’s (which, in my opinion, should be Piedmont’s HIGHEST PRIORITY) and a Master Plan for the Downtown parcels are all intertwined, yet none of these issues has a solid implementable plan. That fact strengthens the position that Piedmont should not proceed with submission of a Housing Element containing 587 units. That is why I strongly urge the City Council to listen to the residents and take on the challenge – to investigate, question and push back against the HCD 587-unit requirement and demand a fair process.

Respectfully submitted,

Donald Chandler AIA Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Sep 27 2022

September 26, 2022

Climate Action Newsletter – Special Edition

Climate action is a demonstrated priority for Piedmont’s City Council. The City of Piedmont recently received a Platinum Level Award for Sustainability Best Practices from the Institute of Local Government’s Beacon Program. The Spotlight Award recognizes sustainability actions that go above and beyond state mandates, highlighting creative and local solutions for addressing climate sustainability in ten areas, including energy efficiency and conservation, green building, and waste reduction. This is the second consecutive year Piedmont has been recognized by the Beacon Program. Read more about the City’s achievement HERE.

Subscribe to Climate Action News and Updates
Energy Efficiency and Electrification
 

Reach Codes 2.0

Last Monday, the City Council held a public hearing on local amendments to the Building Standards Code, specifically the statewide Building Energy Efficiency Standards. The City of Piedmont first adopted local amendments to the Building Energy Efficiency standards (known as Reach Codes) in February 2021, amending Chapter 8 of the Piedmont City Code. Reach Codes help to facilitate the transition away from natural gas appliances, to make homes more comfortable and energy efficient, and to reduce a community’s GHG emissions.

Read the staff report HERE.

What are the requirements of the proposed Reach Codes 2.0?

New Construction: Newly constructed single family buildings, including new detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs), must use all electric building appliances.

Existing Buildings: Renovations on single family buildings that cost $30,000 or more must include one item from a list of energy efficient insulation or electrification measures; renovations that cost $115,000 or more must include two items. Kitchen or laundry area renovations must include electrical outlets for future appliance installation.

Panel Upgrades: Electrical panel upgrades must include capacity in the panel to accommodate future electrification of all appliances.

Roof Expansions: Projects that include an entirely new level or expand the total roof area 30% or more must install solar panels on roof.

 

Pilot Electrification Rebate Survey

The City Council approved the allocation of $50,000 in this year’s budget for the Sustainability Division to develop a pilot electrification rebate program that incentivizes the replacement of appliances fueled with natural gas with electric appliances. The intent of the pilot program is two-fold: educate Piedmonters on the options for electric appliances and help Piedmonters make the transition in a cost-effective manner. Rebates will be offered for the proper removal and replacement of natural gas appliances with high efficiency electric units. Eligible low-income residential applicants may qualify for additional funding. The program is anticipated to launch January 1, 2023.

To inform the development of the pilot electrification rebate program, the City’s Sustainability Division wants to hear your thoughts and preferences. Complete this 10-minute survey HERE.

Inflation Reduction Act –

Find out what it means to you

There are still a lot of details to be worked out with the landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), but some things are starting to become clearer. Rewiring America published this IRA Calculator, to help you understand the available incentives for home efficiency upgrades and electrification.

Discover the Benefits of Induction Cooking

Induction cooking times are quicker, and cooking food won’t send wasted heat or pollutants into the air — for a safer, healthier home. Even more, induction cooking is climate-friendly and will help Piedmont meet its climate action goals. Induction cooktops heat cookware by alternating magnetic energy. Many pots and pans work with induction, including stainless steel, cast iron and enamel or ceramic coated iron. To see if your cookware is induction compatible, hold a magnet to the bottom of your pots and pans. If the magnet sticks, it will work.

Want to try induction cooking yourself? The City of Piedmont is collaborating with East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), Piedmont’s local power provider, to offer an induction cooktop lending program for Piedmont residents. The program started in April 2021. Any resident can try out induction cooktops for free. Sign up for the program HERE.

The Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) recently announced they are now offering a $750 rebate to replace your natural gas stove with an induction range or cooktop. Learn more about the rebate opportunity HERE.

Solar Power

The City of Piedmont is proud to partner with SunShares to support your transition to cleaner energy. Bay Area SunShares is a limited-time program that provides a discount on solar and home battery storage installations.

How? SunShares pools the buying power of all 9 Bay Area counties to negotiate discounts from pre-vetted quality solar installers.

Why? With solar panels and home battery storage, you can generate your own power and keep the lights on during power outages.

Why now? Stack the limited time SunShares discount and the Federal Solar Tax Credit which is to be extended to 30%!

Learn more at upcoming webinars:

  • October 11 (12-1pm)
  • November 9 (6-7pm)

Secure your SunShares discount at www.bayareasunshares.org, only available until November 15th!

Extension of Free Compost Pilot Program

The City of Piedmont has been piloting a self-haul compost program that offers free compost for Piedmont residents to pick up every Friday during the summer months. Given the wide interest and participation in the self-haul program, we will be extending the program for the next 2-3 months, dependent on weather conditions. Staff will re-evaluate continuation of the program in 2023. Compost is available in a dumpster box located outside the entrance to the City’s Corporation Yard located at 898 Red Rock Road, Piedmont, CA every Friday starting at 8am. The compost is first-come, first-served, and City staff cannot guarantee or confirm availability of compost. To pick up compost, you should bring your own shovel, container, and gloves to load the materials yourself. Pick-up trucks must tarp their loads.

Water Conservation

In April, East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) declared a Stage 2 Drought. To ensure the water utility meets the needs of its customers, EBMUD implemented the following drought water restrictions which apply to Piedmonters: limiting outdoor watering to three times per week; only irrigating before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m.; ensuring no irrigation causes runoff or irrigating within 48 hours of measurable rainfall; prohibiting washing of sidewalks and driveways; prohibiting decorative fountains that don’t recirculate; and requiring use of hose shut-off nozzle when washing vehicles. EBMUD also implemented a drought surcharge on July 1 and reinstated the Excessive Use Penalty Ordinance. More information can be found HERE.

Prepare for Wildfire Season and Power Shutoffs

A historic drought and the continued impacts of climate change on regional temperatures have set the stage for a difficult wildfire season this fall. Coupled with this, there may be power shutoffs in response to severe weather or rolling blackouts when the power grid is stressed. Earlier this month, California’s Independent System Operator (ISO) activated emergency power generators in an effort to stabilize the statewide grid during record energy demand. The City of Piedmont urges you to take proactive steps to protect your health before blackouts and major wildfires impact the region. Here are a couple of resources that can help you be more prepared:

STAY CONNECTED & INFORMED

The City of Piedmont wants to keep you up to date on planning-related issues regarding transportation, sustainability, housing and changes to development regulations that affect you. Community participation is key to the success of new City policies. Contact adykman@piedmont.ca.gov to learn more.

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Sep 18 2022

Dear City Administrator  City Council, and Public Works Director,

While street sweeping is conducted by a Public Works Department professional driving a very expensive street sweeping machine, our city’s street sweeping program is run like an amateur volunteer activity.  Effective street sweeping requires that the machine sweeps up fallen leaves in the gutters, otherwise those leaves wash down into our storm drains and clog them.  Yet, cars routinely park on streets scheduled for sweeping, so the machine just sweeps around them, missing most of the gutter leaves.

Why do cars remain on streets during sweeping days?

The answer is because clearing the streets depends upon an intensive and frustrating volunteer effort.  Local residents have to find out and remember when their street is scheduled for sweeping.  Then, volunteer residents have to tie or tape floppy cardboard “no parking” signs to trees or poles in front of their houses.  Then, they have to call the Public Works department to report and register that they have mounted the temporary signs.  Oh, and the report must be made three full days before the scheduled street sweeping day.  Then, on street sweeping day, the volunteer has to check to see if any cars are parked where the signs were posted, and if so, call the Piedmont Police to report a violation.  Then, this is the frustrating part, they have to wait to see if a cop will come out to ticket the violating parker.  Sometimes a parker has moved his car before a cop comes out.  Often, someone will park in the empty space after the cop has left, causing the volunteer to call the police department again to request street sweeping enforcement.

Whew!  It has taken a lot of time just to describe the process.  Most of our neighbors don’t have time to actually go through this process.  Last year, my wife, Karen, followed the city protocol – to the letter – because a lot of leaves have been accumulating.  She even raked the leaves away from the gutter into the street to help the machine collect them.  In spite of her efforts, four cars parked on the street, ignoring the signs she posted.  This is not the way to run a professional city service, and, the lack of adequate sweeping costs our city extra expense to clean out clogged storm drains.

The solution is not rocket science; it just requires looking at what most other cities do.

(1)    Establish a regular schedule for sweeping each street.

(2)   Post permanent signs saying “No Parking” on those specific dates and times.

(3)   Deploy police to enforce the regularly scheduled “no parking” rules.

(4)  Empower the street sweeping machine operator to report parkers to the police, for ticketing.

This is similar to the way Oakland conducts its street sweeping parking restrictions on Linda, Kingston, and other nearby streets in that city.

My wife and I are not going to continue performing this tedious volunteer work to aid the city’s street sweeping.  Many of our neighbors don’t do so either, because they are not home during sweeping times or because it is too much of a burden.  It is long past time for Piedmont to run its street sweeping operation professionally.

Taxpayers paid a lot of money for the street sweeping machine, and that money is wasted if the machine can’t clean the gutters because cars are parked on sweeping days.  This year, as street sweeping begins, please implement these suggestions and run our City maintenance program professionally.

Bruce Joffe, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Sep 18 2022

The Piedmont City Council starting at 6:30 pm will consider the following at their Monday, September 19, 2022 meeting. Full staff reports are linked below the various noted items.

“In 2021, six small accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Piedmont that received final building permit inspection would likely have rents affordable to residents earning low-income wages. Three ADUs finaled in Piedmont would likely have rents affordable to moderate income residents. Three new ADUs are so small (336 s.f. or less) that they would likely rent at rates affordable to households earning very low incomes, and another two ADUs (337 s.f. and 901 s.f.) were approved under prior City ordinances and have restrictions limiting occupants’ incomes and rents to very low rates for a period of 10 years. Finally, two new ADUs would likely rent at rates above moderate income due to their size and number of bedrooms. There were no single-family residences completed in Piedmont in 2021. For addresses, sizes, and numbers of bedrooms, see the list of completed ADUs for 2021 below.  See full staff report linked above.

“During the calendar year 2021 the City of Piedmont gave final inspection approval to building permits for 16 new accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in 2021. In addition to the 16 that received final inspection approval, the City of Piedmont issued building permits for 23 new ADUs. Zero (0) building permits were issued for new single-family homes, bringing the total number of building permits issued during the 2015-2023 term up to 96 permits. The City’s issuance of building permits for new housing units exceeds the overall goal set by the State of California in the RHNA for the 5th Cycle Housing Element by 36 housing units. However, production of very low-income units has lagged, resulting in a total since 2015 of 18 building permits for very low income units, where the RHNA goal is 24. The following staff report provides background and analysis on the annual progress report.” Staff report.

Agenda and participation details:

https://cdn5-hosted.civiclive.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/City%20Council/Agenda/council-current-agenda.pdf?v=T0ocGxUAQ

Sep 15 2022

There are 6 candidates seeking election to 3 seats on the Piedmont City Council. Voters can vote for up to 3 of the candidates. The election is on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. The candidates are shown below in alphabetical order with their ballot statements copied beside their photographs.

Betsy Andersen

Betsy Smegal Andersen

City Council Member

My education and qualifications are: My priorities on the Piedmont City Council have been community health and safety, financial stability, and strong city-school relations. During my time on Council, we have renovated Hampton Park and the Corey Reich Tennis Center, invested $3.75M for future pension needs, facilitated in-town COVID-19 testing, allocated funds to modernize police and fire dispatch, and maintained a balanced budget. Currently, we are rebuilding the city-owned Piedmont Community Pool, thanks to voter-approved Measure UU. As a lifelong resident, I appreciate the challenges and opportunities as we develop strategies to meet our climate action goals, address the state housing crisis, and replace aging infrastructure. Prior to serving on Council, I volunteered on the Public Safety Committee to promote emergency preparedness and chaired the Recreation Commission with a focus on improving recreational facilities and opportunities for all ages. I attended Piedmont public schools, majored in Public Policy at Duke, earned my law degree from UCLA, and practiced law for nearly two decades. My husband, Robert, and I raised our daughters here, Jane (PHS ’18) and Ellie (PHS ’21). If re-elected, I will continue to listen thoughtfully to all voices as we work together to strengthen the community we call home

Sonny Bostrom-Flemming

 

Nancy “Sunny” Bostrom-Fleming

My education and qualifications are: Once upon a time there was a chubby little rich boy who lived in a mansion. He was driven in a limousine to school where he faced name calling, shoving, pinching. His mother sang, taught him piano & knitted him sweaters. He earned two doctorates. One music, one in theology, trained as a Presbyterian minister, married, had two children, four grandchildren, & millions of stepchildren. You might be one of them. His name was Fred Rogers and he lives in your heart. He never forgot the pain he experienced when he was helpless as we all have been or will be. His sweater is at the Smithsonian. My name is Sunny. I ran before. I promoted cameras at Piedmont’s entrances that keep your family & pets safer. My father taught me to swim when I was six months old. When I went to Katrina to help I realized that African-Americans are at a great & deadly disadvantage as far as swimming education is concerned. We can start a program to promote water safety for all children in America, saving thousands of lives. The issues before us are among the most important in our histor

Jennifer Long

Jennifer Long

Appointed City Council Member

My education and qualifications are: I am running for City Council to serve our beautiful community and maintain its greatness as it grows and evolves. With an impending pool build, critical infrastructure repair (and or replacement) and housing development, Piedmont is poised to be a city with the future in mind. In these unprecedented times, our city needs leaders who understand the interests of our citizens to maintain its excellent schools and outstanding public services such as the police and fire department. My perspective as a current member of the council and my direct engagement with the Piedmont community allow me to get to the essence of what is needed to create and maintain a safe, inclusive, and fiscally-sound community. My experience as a current city council member, attorney and life coach provide me with a solid foundation to tackle the matters that lie ahead for Piedmont. Through my work in various community organizations and with my connections to a variety of community members from sports teams to schools, I have a deep understanding of what makes Piedmont the outstanding community we all love and how to make it evolve into a city we will continue to be proud of in the future.

Bridget Harris

Bridget McInerney Harris

Estate Planning Attorney

My  education and qualifications are: I seek election to the City Council to serve the community with a strong commitment to public safety, fiscal discipline, realistic growth and common sense. I believe we can improve our community’s engagement regarding the increased housing requirement imposed by California by introducing more public forums and clear accessible diagrams of what is being discussed and debated. Importantly, I would advocate that all residents should vote before any park or city land is used for multi-family units within the city of Piedmont. Another top priority is public safety with additional support for the police and fire departments; improving both facilities and funding. I would be honored to put my knowledge, work ethic, and love for Piedmont to work as your City Council member. I earned my B.S. from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, my JD from Gonzaga University, and my Taxation LLM from Georgetown University. I have practiced tax law locally for more than 40 years. We have resided in Piedmont since 1986, raising our four children here. I serve on the Executive Boards of the Piedmont Boy Scouts and Order of Malta Clinic in Oakland, a provider of free medical care to uninsured patients in our community.

Tom Ramsey

Tom Ramsey

Architect

My education and qualifications are: Piedmont’s a great town. 25 years ago, my family moved here for the public schools, and now that our daughters graduated PHS, we stayed for the friendships, location, and services delivered by the city. I value safe neighborhoods, and I expect fiscal responsibility. Our town does have work to do. We have a pool to build as construction costs increase. We have public facilities with deferred maintenance issues. We have the difficult task of navigating the state mandates for housing density in a small town already built out and full of beautiful historic homes and civic buildings. I’m an architect, a problem solver and for over 30 years I’ve been building and leading diverse teams around the Bay Area. I’ll leverage my professional experience and my seven years on the planning commission to continue to accommodate growth while preserving Piedmont’s physical character. I’ve served on committees: Seismic Advisory, Design Guidelines, Measure A1 and I’ve worked with Piedmont’s youth through Scouting’s Community Service Crew for over a decade. I’m confident that when our town is fully engaged and works together, we can successfully resolve the issues in front of us; that’s what makes Piedmont a great town. vote4tomramsey.com

Jeanne Solnordal

Jeanne Solnordal

Broker

My education and qualifications are: I am running for the City Council to bring a much-needed perspective and balance to our beautiful city. Many voices are underrepresented, especially those residents who oppose the plan to add 587 units of affordable housing to Piedmont at a cost of around $850,000 per unit. I am well-educated, having earned a Juris Doctorate degree in 1994 after working for the IRS for 18 years. In 1994 I obtained a Broker’s license and established a property management company which I still run. My legal (landlord/tenant) and tax accounting experience will be very helpful to Piedmont going forward. I will work to prioritize the city’s needs and will be fiscally responsible with your hard earned taxpayer dollars. My family has lived in Piedmont since 2002 and our children attended Piedmont schools. I served as a Girl Scout leader, President of Millennium Parents Club, a school volunteer, and assisted in organizing the Spring Flings and Harvest Festival. Currently, I am serving on the Public Safety Committee. Piedmont is a unique and desirable place to live. Let’s keep it that way.

The League of Women Voters Piedmont is holding a virtual City Council Candidates’ Forum:

When: Thursday, September 22, 2022 @ 7:30 pm
Where: online via Zoom and YouTube

Register to receive a link to join the live Zoom webinar. This event will also be live-streamed on YouTube and the recording will be available there for future viewing.

Register

Editors’ Note: The League of Women Voters and the Piedmont Civic Association (PCA) are separate community organizations. PCA does not support or oppose candidates for public office.  All candidates and the community are invited to submit information about candidates, including endorser lists to the link on left side of this page.

Sep 7 2022

Piedmonters have called for clearer explanations on what is proposed in the Housing Element.  Helpful explanations would include:

  • Specific diagrams of any new and safer roads near schools and in the Morago Canyon Area where housing is proposed, including cost projections for road improvements.
  • The state is looking for zoning changes to increase housing density. How is Piedmont proposing to comply with the City Charter and Piedmont voters rights on zoning changes increasing density?
  • High density housing in Piedmont is being proposed to a height of 6 stories.  This height is greater than existing buildings in Piedmont.  How does this not change the character of the city and stay in  compliance with Piedmont ordinances and design review standards?
  • Currently, a small number of dwelling units are in the Moraga Canyon area. How will services be provided including: transit, pedestrian access, monitoring of low-income and affordable rents, public safety access, etc. –  for the hundreds of new dwelling units proposed? How will the additional workload and costs be covered ?
  • The Housing Element once adopted by the City and the Department of Housing and Community Development becomes a “property use right. “ On city and private property, what are city and voter controls over development and costs after the Housing Element has been adopted by the City Council?
  • The City is not required to build the housing.  However, the use of City land is essential to meeting the large numbers of dwelling units required of the HE.  What right does the City have to participate in leasing, selling, or assisting in the use of public lands per the State Constitution Article 34 and the City Charter without voter approval of the zoning use changes?
  • Commercial developers paired with government money await the opportunity to build in Piedmont as supported locally by influencers in and outside of Piedmont.   What is the schedule to provide  Piedmont voters with their right to vote on the HE zoning changes prior to final adoption?
  • Outreach efforts by Piedmont have been clouded and confused by partial information and changes to the proposed HE.  Why isn’t or wasn’t a mailed survey sent to every residence in Piedmont to learn of voters concerns and interests?
  • What are the requirements for building high density dwelling units in Piedmont, including: height limits, density, street configurations, utilities, public safety, trees, transit, parks, sewers, water, landslides, fire protection, parking, lighting, open space, etc. ?
Sep 5 2022

Piedmont’s Emergency Operation Center to be replaced by a new Dispatch Center.

On September 6, 2022, the City Council will consider a contract in the amount of $296,556 for consulting services for design and construction oversight to relocate and renovate the Dispatch Center.  The work is being paid for by funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.  The final cost of the project is estimated at approximately $2,300,000. 

Recently, much discussion has been held in public meetings about the possibility of building dwelling units in conjunction with Police and Fire Department and a City Hall master plan construction.

The Highland-Vista-Magnolia Avenue locations have been noted as potential sites for dwelling units in the proposed Housing Element.  Public comments questioned compounding congestion in the already heavily used Central Piedmont civic area containing 5 schools, the Community Church, Police and Fire emergency facilities, City Hall uses, refurbished tennis courts, Recreation Center, and the soon to be built large new municipal pool complex.

“On October 4, 2021, City Council prioritized the relocation and renovation of the Police Dispatch Center as the highest and best use for American Rescue Plan Act funding. Since that time, staff drafted and issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to engage firms to provide Architecture and Engineering Design Services. COAR Design Group (COAR) was selected from the five proposals received by the May 9, 2022 response deadline. The fee for COAR’s Design Services, which will cover all services extending from conceptual design through construction administration support, is $296,555. For reference, the fees proposed by the five responding firms ranged from $243,000 to $438,000.”

READ THE FULL STAFF REPORT BELOW:

https://piedmont.hosted.civiclive.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=18859599

The RFP, photographs, floor plans, and requirements are included in the link above.

Sept. 6 AGENDA  >HERE.

Aug 17 2022

The City of Piedmont is presenting another informational event for Piedmonters on matters related to the Housing Element.  A social time in the City Hall Courtyard will follow the presentation to give attendees “a chance to meet with City staff and gain additional clarity on the Draft Housing Element.”

Presentation information has not been provided by the City.

On Thursday, August 18th at 5:00 p.m., the City of Piedmont will host a “Housing Element 102” Information Session.

Community members are invited to attend in person, virtually on Zoom (https://piedmont-ca-gov.zoom.us/j/82234103859), or on KCOM-TV, the City’s Government Access television station (Comcast Channel 27 or AT&T Channel 99). The information session, which will be held in the City Council Chambers, will be followed by an open house in the City Hall Courtyard.

This session, which follows up on the Housing Element 101 session, hosted by the City on September 29, 2021, which can be viewed at https://piedmont.granicus.com/player/clip/2413, is intended as an informational opportunity to provide clarity on salient pieces of a complex process and will focus on four main topics:

  • Housing Element and the Regional Housing Needs Allocation Basics
  • Overview of the Draft Housing Element Sites Inventory
  • Recap of the Direction the City Council Provided to Staff at its August 1, 2022 Meeting
  • Update on the Status of Piedmont’s Housing Element Process, Next Steps and Timeline to Certification

The open house will be a chance to meet with City staff and gain additional clarity on the Draft Housing Element.

Community members are encouraged to view the City’s Housing Element Basics YouTube playlist, which consists of a series of short videos about the Housing Element process.

Comprehensive and detailed information about the Housing Element process is available on https://piedmontishome.org and https://piedmont.ca.gov. Please contact Senior Planner Pierce Macdonald at piedmontishome@piedmont.ca.gov with questions or comments.