Dec 13 2018

 Council meeting Monday, December 17, 2018, 7:30  p.m. City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and on the City website under videos. 

Agenda 

READ the full staff report and recommendations for approval by clicking below.

http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2018-12-17/crowncastlesettlement.pdf

Dec 4 2018

Piedmont Community Hall, 711 Highland Avenue

10:00 AM  Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018

Please join the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and the Piedmont Police Department for an interactive program focused on seniors staying safe during the holidays. We will discuss shopping securely, avoiding phone and email scamps, and being aware of other types of fraud common during this time of year. Attendees will also learn about general financial exploitation, and how to safeguard oneself and seek assistance.

The program will be held on Wednesday, December 5th from 10:00 – 11:30 AM in the Piedmont Community Hall, 711 Highland Avenue.

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

Dec 4 2018

12-4-18

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 (there is no fixed day or time).  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 four 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.  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.

This is how 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.

Sincerely,

Bruce Joffe, Piedmont Resident

Nov 28 2018

Get involved!  Public participation is needed.
HELP PIEDMONT BE HAZARD-READY!
A Local Hazard Mitigation Plan is currently being developed by the City of Piedmont.

Fires, drought, earthquakes, and severe weather are just a few of the hazards to be addressed in the plan.

While hazards such as these cannot be prevented, a Hazard Mitigation Plan forms the foundation for a community’s long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses by breaking the repeated cycle of disaster damage and reconstruction. Additionally, only communities with a FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan are eligible to apply for both pre- and post-disaster mitigation grant funding.

Nationwide, taxpayers pay billions of dollars annually helping communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals recover from disaster. Some disasters are predictable and, in many cases, much of the damage can be reduced or even eliminated through hazard mitigation planning.

The people most aware of potential hazards are the people that live and work in the affected community. In addition to plan participation by local, state and federal agencies, the community is seeking all interested community members to hear more about our Local Hazard Mitigation Planning project.  The City encourages attendance and participation from the general public at an upcoming public meeting:

Thursday, December 6, 2018
Public Meeting: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Piedmont Community Hall
711 Highland Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611

For additional information, please contact Chris Yeager at (510) 420-3067 or email at CYeager@piedmont.ca.gov.

Nov 27 2018

Public Safety Committee  Meeting – This meeting is not recorded or broadcast.  The public is welcome to attend. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

5:30 p.m.

City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA

Agenda

Public Forum      This is an opportunity for members of the audience to speak on an item not on the agenda.  The 10 minute period will be divided evenly between those wishing to address the Committee.

Regular Agenda – 

  1. Introduction of New Committee Member
  2. Update on Get Ready, Piedmont Guides and Checklist
  3. Update on School Liaison Activities and Campus Safety Preparedness  – This may include discussion of hiring a Police Officer for the School District.
  4. Update on Crime Prevention/Community Outreach – This is likely a discussion of the expenditure of over $500,000 in COPS funding to be used by the City of Piedmont. 
  5. Update on Neighborhood Meetings
  6. Update on Public Safety Camera Subcommittee

Materials related to an item on this agenda submitted to the Public Safety Committee are available for public inspection in the Police Department during normal business hours.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the City Clerk at (510) 420-3040.  Notification at least two business days preceding the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to this meeting. [28 CFR 35.102-35.104 ADA Title II].  In accordance with G.C. Sec. 54954.2(a) this notice and agenda were posted on the City Hall bulletin board and also in the Piedmont Police Department on November 26, 2018.

Nov 27 2018

Piedmont Board of Education Meeting on November 14th, 2018

I attended the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education Meeting on Wednesday, November 14th. These meetings take place twice a month, usually at 7:00 P.M. at the Council Chambers in the City Hall. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss various topics and issues affecting the school district and community, and if relevant, vote upon various items noticed for that meeting. The public is allowed to attend the hearing, and are permitted to speak out for a limited period of time during the meeting on any relevant issue they see fit to raise. The School Board members are then required to listen to the public’s comments and can take them into consideration.

There was a pre-arranged agenda that was followed for the meeting which outlined the main topics and announcements of interest that were to be covered. There was also a regular agenda item concerning the Consent Calendar, set for the very end of the meeting. The Consent Calendar covered various non-disputed administrative items that required approval from the School Board, such as approving donations benefiting the school district from various organizations throughout Piedmont and ratification of various contracts. The Board unanimously approved the Consent Calendar.

The main issue on the agenda that was discussed at the meeting was the possibility of a School Resources Officer (SRO) being implemented for Piedmont schools. PUSD Superintendent Randall Booker talked about how he and the Chief of the Piedmont Police, Jeremy Bowers, have been considering a position for a SRO since last year after observing “recent events around the world”, especially regarding the safety of schools. It was mentioned that many other school districts around the Bay Area already have a SRO and that this position will help implement the “Safe School Plan.”

Chief Bowers was also in attendance and went up to the podium to further elaborate on what this position entails. He explained that a SRO is a police officer who becomes a part of the community/schools for a positive impact and would play the four main roles of a counselor, teacher, social worker, and law enforcement professional. As a counselor, this position would serve as a resource to support students/staff. As a teacher, this person would do things such as give classroom presentations or educate students on the duties of the police. As a social worker, they would be involved in helping resolve conflicts/issues involving the school community. Furthermore, Bowers said the ultimate goal of this position would be to strengthen the relations between police and students/families, along with improving the overall safety of our schools. However, Bowers added that implementing this position will all depend on funding from a grant that has been requested since the school does not currently have sufficient funds to make this happen.

Discussion regarding the issue of a SRO then followed when Board member Cory Smegal expressed concern over running out of funds from the grant that would be needed since the School District is on a very tight budget. She also added that although she felt this was a good idea, maybe just having the district increase counseling services would be a more cost-effective solution. Smegal also said she is nervous about the idea of the officer carrying a gun on campus and then proceeded to raise questions about whether teachers have the time in their agenda to have an officer educate in the classroom.

Another Board member, Amal Smith, raised concerns over this only being a short-term program and raised questions about what will happen afterwards since this program will only last for about three years.

A Piedmont resident named Richard Turner spoke up by suggesting that we should not have preconceived notions about this officer and that “hard, tangible metrics” must be put into place to evaluate if the goals of the SRO are being achieved. He also proposed the question of whether or not the funds from the grants needed are restricted solely for this program or if they could also be put to use elsewhere.

On the issue of what the extent of the SRO’s duty of a law enforcement official should be, Board member Doug Ireland stated that he felt it was appropriate that arrests may have to be made if students are caught with possession of drugs/alcohol on campus. He added that “you should always be careful what you wish for” and that extra precautions should be taken before introducing a SRO.

On the same debate of law enforcement duties, another member of the public stated that they wanted to see more consequences for students if they are caught performing illegal activities, and that the school has a history of taking a “blind-eye” on problems such as these in the past and are not doing everything in their power to stop this. Additionally, they said that a figure of authority serves as a powerful position and public schools are at a disadvantage to private schools because private schools have more funding for safety measures such as this.

In response to the guest speaker’s prior comment about how the School District is not doing enough to address concerns of illegal activities, staff member Cheryl Wozniak described how the school is in fact aware of these issues and spoke out about the anonymous reporting system for students that was put into place a few years ago. She explained that this system works by forwarding complaints to the administration and confirmed that it is being put to use by students/teachers in the District.

Then, Piedmont High School student Betty Hosler spoke out in front of the Board by expressing concerns that students may be overwhelmed by having an officer present on the campus and that many will view this as a negative development in that the school is out to get them in trouble instead of help them. She continued by saying that in order for this program to work well, the school must make their intentions very clear to their students since their ultimate motive can easily be misinterpreted.

In my opinion, the implementation of a SRO will be a benefit to us students and help create a safer environment on campus, especially when taking into consideration the real threat of physical violence, drug use, and vaping — all of which are major challenges that today’s schools face.

Although it is clear some students/families will be strongly opposed to this idea, especially given that the officer may be armed, I strongly feel that the advantages outweigh any real disadvantages. Threats of violence and substance abuse are difficult challenges for our schools, which also happen to be important law enforcement issues. Therefore, our police officers should be part of the solution because they are trained to respond appropriately under these situations.

The second main topic that was discussed concerned the Review Process of the Reorganization of the Board. The Board members brought up that Reorganization of the Board takes place every December Board meeting (December 12th this year) and that each elected official serves from when they are elected until the following December.

It was also noted that they fill officer positions on the Board through mutual agreement, but they cannot do so until Alameda County finishes counting all of the votes regarding the election of School Board members.

After the meeting concluded at 8:45 p.m., the first person I decided to interview was Megan Pillsbury. After I asked what brought her to the meeting, she told me that she came to observe the general process of how these meetings work due to recently being elected to the Board and will serve on it for the next term and wants to continue to attend every meeting she can. I then asked her if there was any issue in particular that was of great interest/concern to her and she told me it would be the proposed SRO position. She explained she still has many unanswered questions about having an officer with a gun around students.

The second person I interviewed was Sarah Pearson, who was there because she is the President of the Board. Likewise, she told me she is interested in learning more about the SRO, but is slightly hesitant about the budget issue and is always extra cautious when trying new things. Moreover, she found PHS student Betty Hosler’s comments about how students may perceive the officer insightful and has been reading up on as many studies as possible that deal with what types of interventions from schools have been most valuable to students. She also looks forward to reaching out to other schools and their students to hear about their opinions on their own officer in the future.

By Wilson Van Gundy, Piedmont High School Senior

Nov 27 2018

School Board Consideration of Safety Measures Wednesday, November 28, 2018, City Hall Council Chambers 7:15 p.m. 

The Alan Harvey will be closed beginning in March of 2019. Closing Alan Harvey Theater during the Spring of 2019, rather than waiting until the end of the school year, will help keep the STEAM project on schedule for completion before the 2020-21 school year. There may be questions about how starting work during the school year may affect students, staff, and campus flow.

While the District plans to demolish the theater over Spring break when there are no students or staff on campus, if the demolition cannot be completed during that week, the District will develop a schedule for the remaining demolition, to minimize the campus impact to the greatest extent possible.

Read agenda by clicking below:

https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=68232&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

7:15 PM
VI.A. H1 Update – Safety Measures During Alan Harvey Theater Demolition

Speaker:
Pete Palmer, H1 Construction Manager
Attachments:
Background H1 Update   < Click to read

 

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.