Dec 5 2019

On Wednesday, November 18th, I went to my first Recreation Commission meeting. I am a student at Piedmont High School and I had to do something that contributed to government in some way for my Civics Class. I honestly thought it was going be pretty boring, but I was happily surprised.

The Recreation Commission meets once a month. They deal with all matters pertaining to public recreation, including parks, playgrounds,etc.  More specifically, they deal with maintaining and creating areas in Piedmont. In the meeting I attended, they talked about Pickleball and maintenance of Coaches Field. 

Two of my Friends, my brother and I left for the meeting and arrived at 8:00 PM. We took the seats in the back and waited for the members of the commission to get started. There were 7 commissioners and 5 other people who attended the meeting. The commission was led by Steve Roland.  He directed the meeting.

It started off with Jackson Sterns talking about sports programs struggling to get kids involved. Dick Carter, a commissioner, mentioned the poor conditions of Witter Field, specifically the turf, which is poorly maintained.

The main meeting topic was a discussion of Pickleball. One of the people attending the meeting complained about there not being enough time to play because of the lights turning off too quickly. He also talked about how Pickleball and tennis players were getting along pretty well. Pickleball has exploded and become very popular.

During this time, we decided to go up and speak. My friend, Holden, spoke about water polo. My brother, Pierce St.Claire, Georgie Brayer, and I talked about the conditions of Witter Field. All of us have played sports and used Witter Field extensively during our time in the Piedmont School system. The field is clearly overdue for serious maintenance.

It was super fun talking and attending the meeting. I enjoyed the various subjects and learning about the growth of PickleBall.

While we were able to communicate our concerns about Witter Field, We didn’t realize that it was actually a School Board issue, not under the jurisdiction of the Recreation Commission. Even though we didn’t go about it conventionally, the commission was happy that we attended and they were really respectful to our blunder.

I found the experience to be very educational.  I learned a lot about public meetings and forums and I am very glad to have attended!

Robert St.Claire, Piedmont High School Senior

Dec 2 2019

Council relents and removes the language change in the  proposed Special Municipal Parcel Tax Ordinance to be voted on at the March 3, 2020, Primary Election.

On December 2, 2019, Piedmont’s contract City Attorney, Michelle Marchetta Kenyon, continued to maintain her opinion that the proposed language change was not substantive.  Her opinion was disagreed with by many in Piedmont.

Vice Mayor Teddy King noted her concern over changing the language if the result was the same, for it added voter confusion. She stated many residents had stated the change from INCLUDING  to MAY INCLUDE was substantive.

Speakers Hedi Gerken, Kathleen Quenneville, and Liane Campodonico agreed with King, that the language should not be changed, while voicing it would be a substantive change allowing services to be dropped by the Council.  The Council had also received opposition to the language change by  emails, letters, and comments.

Council member Betsy Andersen, an attorney, stated she had proposed the change to clarify language, but withdrew her proposal upon believing flexible options would be available, and there would be no guarantee of funding for the named services.  

Questions were raised as to whether or not the 9 listed service items would be funded, if funds were available.  The answer appeared unclear. Some had  assumed that the parcel tax funds were delineated as a funding source for specific services; however, it has been Council practice during their May budget sessions to pool funds rather than specifically assigning the parcel taxes to specific services. During the budget sessions, the Council makes a determination on whether or not the parcel tax needs to be levied to support city services.

Services named in the ordinance are:

  • police and fire protection,
  • street maintenance,
  • building regulations,
  • library services,
  • recreation,
  • parks maintenance,
  • planning and public works
  • and similar services.

The Special Election for the parcel tax will held on March 3, 2020. Mayor Bob McBain and Council member Jennifer Cavenaugh will write the supporting arguments in the “Voter Information Guide.”  

Opposition arguments for the “Voter Information Guide” are due to the City Clerk on December 13, 2019, with rebuttals due on December 20, 2019.  For specific information contact the City Clerk, John Tulloch at 510/420-3040. 

Click > Notice of Election – 2020 Special Municipal – Measure for official ballot language and election protocols.

Dec 2 2019

Dec. 2, 2019

Piedmont City Council
c/o John Tulloch
re: Dec 2 Parcel Tax Agenda Item
Dear Mayor McBain and Council,
         The Parcel Tax is commonly understood and accepted by Piedmont taxpayers to be for essential City services as follows: police, fire, street maintenance, building regulations, library, recreation, parks maintenance, planning, and public works. Your proposed language change allows the parcel tax to be used for any purpose and not limited to the traditional nine essential City services.  I object to this and ask that the original tax language passed by voters in 2016 be continued.
         The reality is that virtually all Piedmont residents will not read the full text of the tax and then compare it to the 75 word ballot question for discrepancies.  Residents mostly rely on the ballot question and Proponent material.  If the Council elects to retain the altered wording that allows the parcel tax to be not limited to essential City Services, the ballot question must clearly state that the parcel tax is no longer limited to essential City services as is commonly understood.
Sincerely,
 Rick Schiller
 Piedmont Resident and Property Owner
Dec 1 2019

“Agenda Insight” to be presented before December 2, 2019 City Council meeting:

Item 3, the first item on tonight’s regular agenda, is the second reading of Ordinance 746 N.S. to renew the Municipal Services special Tax for 4 years effective July 1, 2021, and to place this before voters in a special election on March 3,2020, consolidated with the California Presidential Primary on that date….

Although most aspects of this renewal reflect no change, there is a word change that appears to have an impact. The wording of the present parcel tax says, “If in any fiscal year the City Council shall determine that municipal services INCLUDING but not limited to…” and then it names 9 services which must be included in general fund expenditures, with support from the parcel tax if other city income isn’t sufficient to cover them.

At the first reading of this ordinance, last meeting, that language was changed to, “municipal services which MAY INCLUDE but are not limited to..” and then lists the same 9 services. The staff report calls this a non-substantive change, but many people read it as a very substantive change because it gives Council the flexibility to remove any service from this list. The 9 services are police, fire, street maintenance, building regulations, library, recreation, parks maintenance, planning, and public works.

If the Council wants to put this on the March ballot, they must pass the second reading tonight because they are up against a deadline for submitting the final ballot language to the Registrar of Voters…..

Item 4 is consideration of a resolution approving procedural details for the Special Election of March 3… Of particular interest to voters, this item also sets the 75 word ballot question to read, “Shall Ordinance 746 N.S. which maintains essential police, fire, and paramedic services, prevents the reduction in maintenance of City parks, greenspaces and other public areas, and prevents the loss of recreational and other public services, by renewing the City of Piedmont’s expiring parcel tax for four years… be adopted?”

….Interestingly enough, this ballot language is almost the same language we voted on in 2016, so all 9 services were not mentioned last time around either. However, in both 2016 and 2020, it is the language of the resolution we are voting on, not the 75-word summary, and the language of the resolution has changed.

Ann Chandler, Piedmont Resident

Nov 29 2019

Proposed Municipal Services Special Parcel Tax has key language changes allowing elimination of services previously funded by the Piedmont parcel tax. Some have called the parcel tax proposal a “blank check.”

The Piedmont City Council in haste is expected at their, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, 7:30 p.m. meeting  to approve the second and final reading of Ord. 746N.S. which will place a renewal of the Municipal Services Special Parcel Tax, effective July 1, 2021, before the voters at a Special Municipal Election consolidated with the upcoming Presidential Primary Election on March 3, 2020. 

On November 18, 2019, the City Council approved a first reading of Ord. 746N.S.  At that meeting, the Council, according to the staff report, made what is called a “non-substantive” amendment to the language of Section 20B.2.on the first page of the ordinance.  Vice Mayor Teddy King objected to changing the existing language of the parcel tax proposal which states how the funds are to be spent. However, the rest of the Council and the City Attorney indicated the new language is not significantly different.

Apparently, the councilmembers and the City Attorney did not realize the language change no longer stipulates required uses of the parcel tax funds. For, the language changes from “including, but not limited to” to  “which MAY include, but are not limited to” were viewed by councilmembers as “essentially the same.”  

Voter concern has consequently arisen regarding the proposed new parcel tax language pointing to the change as considerable and  substantive in stating: “which may includeing,” rather than the current word “including.”

The newly proposed change to the parcel tax language would no longer require the Council to use the parcel tax money for the longstanding list of services and permits the Council to eliminate parcel tax funding for:

  • police and fire protection,
  • street maintenance,
  • building regulations,
  • library services,
  • recreation,
  • parks maintenance,
  • planning and public works
  • and similar services.

Some have stated the language change gives the Council a “blank check” by allowing the deletion of previously supported parcel tax funding for the named services.

The amended parcel tax language is indicated below in context. Deleted text is in strike through and new text is in italics.

“If in any fiscal year commencing on or after July 1, 2021, the City Council shall determine that municipal services, which may includeing, but are not limited to, police and fire protection, street maintenance, building regulations, library services, recreation, parks maintenance, planning and public works and similar services, are necessary for the public good, welfare and safety, and that the cost of making available such services will exceed the amount of funds generated through other revenue and income of the City for such services, then it may levy a special tax for such fiscal year on each parcel of real property within the City in a manner provided herein.”

READ the agenda HERE.

READ the three staff reports* on the tax proposal below:

https://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=16243381

https://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=16243385

https://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=16243387

*Editors Note: The newly revised  City of Piedmont website has become more difficult for Piedmonters to access information on specific agenda issues. Example, the subjects of the staff report no longer appear in the links. Only a file number is provided.

Nov 17 2019

The agenda for the November Recreation Commission meeting is focused on the Tennis Court Use for Pickleball. Residents are invited to attend the meeting in the City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue at 7:30 p.m.

Recreation Commission Agenda Wednesday, November 20

  1. Approval of Minutes–October 16, 2019
  2. Chair’s Report
  3. Director’s Report
  4. Review of Maintenance Practices on City Sports Fields
  5. Receipt of a Report from the Subcommittee on Tennis Court Use and Pickleball and Consideration of a Recommendation to the City Council on Next Steps

READ PICKLEBALL REPORT, PRIOR MINUTES AND AGENDA : > November Recreation Commission Meeting

Oct 23 2019

 

Chelle Putzer new Recreation Director

 Following a rigorous recruitment process, the City Council has selected Chelle Putzer as Recreation Director of the City of Piedmont.

Ms. Putzer was chosen unanimously by the Council from a field of 48 candidates. Her formal appointment will be considered at the City Council meeting of November 4, 2019. This selection follows interviews of six highly qualified candidates by a panel of staff and residents and the City Administrator. Following that process, the candidate field was narrowed to two, who were then interviewed by the full City Council. Ms. Putzer’s selection by the City Council was unanimous and all agreed that she will be a great asset to the community and the Recreation Department.

Ms. Putzer holds a Bachelor of Science in Health & Sport Sciences from the University of Oklahoma. For nearly six years, she has served as Recreation and Community Services Director for the City of Albany. Prior to this, she spent an additional ten years in Albany as a Recreation & Community Services Manager and Supervisor. She has also served as head softball coach at St. Mary’s College, assistant softball coach at San Jose State University, and a volunteer assistant softball coach at Stanford University.

“We are very excited to have Ms. Putzer join the Piedmont Recreation team,” said Mayor Robert McBain. “Her great experience and proven track record of leadership will help our Recreation Department continue to provide excellent programming for all ages.”

“Chelle will be a tremendous addition to the City team and will no doubt be a strong leader for the Recreation Department,” said City Administrator Sara Lillevand. “Her experience and success as the director in Albany, another small city in Alameda County, will translate well to Piedmont. I also want to recognize the commitment and significant efforts of Interim Recreation Director Erin Rivera who will remain in that role until Chelle begins in December. Erin has been and will continue to be an integral part of PRD’s leadership throughout the transition and beyond.”

“I am honored and excited to have been selected as Piedmont’s Recreation Director,” Ms. Putzer said. “I am looking forward to serving in such a wonderful, engaged and supportive community and joining Piedmont’s outstanding Recreation Department.”

Oct 6 2019

Oct 4, 2019

Piedmont Recreation Pickleball Subcommittee

c/o Erin Rivera, City of Piedmont

Re: Oct. 7, 2019 Hearing

Dear Chairman Roland and Commissioners McCarthy and Dorman,

  1. We have 166 members on the Piedmont Pickleball Group. Many days now see three and four courts going full blast with more on the weekends. The model of experienced players stopping play to teach beginners is no longer viable as most of us simply want to play. We have initiated a volunteer introductory class every Saturday morning; Les Ellis has generously offered his time and expertise. We are starting to attract experienced out of town players. We have started family courts on the weekends. We are in the process of designating recreational and competitive courts; this insures an enjoyable game for all levels. Staff is in the process of arranging professional clinics; kindly encourage this.
  2. I urge that the Linda and Hampton hours be made permanent; complaints from neighbors and tennis players are nonexistent. I request the hours at Linda be extended a modest half hour to 1pm. This will not negatively affect tennis as there are no tennis players waiting to play at Linda at this time. Hampton at 3pm has tennis players waiting and we have informally accommodated them earlier if we are not using both courts.
  3. The overly light brown Hampton pickleball lines on the tan surface are difficult and the two courts next to the baseball field become effectively unusable as shadows obscure the baselines (see two photos). Darker lines should be installed. Additionally permanent net placement marks are needed at Linda and Hampton. While usable, the Linda pickleball lines could be a bit darker.
  4. The City and private donations funded most of the re-asphalting of the PMS courts with the intent to transform the deteriorated PUSD courts into a multi-use community sports asset with pickleball being the primary addition. A reasonable person assumes the District would have a conversation with the City and an integrated stripping plan would be enacted; this was not done. The District arbitrarily striped for badminton without integrating pickleball lines. The District striping is appropriate for parking lots and not sports activities. The Badminton World Federation Handbook II 2014/15 Section 1A states badminton court striping is 40mm / 1.6” (see Badminton World Federation Sec 4.1 p1 attached). PUSD striped their PMS badminton lines twice as wide at 83mm or 3.25” (see att.). The paint used by the District has an unneeded three dimensionality to it and the lines are not sharp.I am disappointed in the District’s unilateral action. If a redo is possible, the four pickleball courts on the first two badminton venues can be restriped about two feet closer to each other so the existing basketball poles are less of an obstruction; they are in issue now if balls are hit near them.
  5. While the Linda redo is likely years off, four dedicated pickleball courts accommodating 16 players can be placed there rather than the two tennis courts accommodating 2 to 4 players. Another advantage of dedicated pickleball over tennis is that about 35% of space earmarked for tennis can be used for other uses such as a larger tot lot or other sports facilities.

Sincerely,

Rick Schiller

Piedmont, CA

cc: Jennifer Cavenaugh

Read the full letter and see  photos by clicking below:

PCA 2019-10-07 RSschiller Rec subcomm

Sep 24 2019

 Feedback on Temporary Pickleball Trial

The Recreation Commission Subcommittee on Tennis and Pickleball is hosting a community meeting to seek feedback on the temporary eight month pickleball trial that began on April 8, 2019.

Piedmont Community Hall

711 Highland Avenue

October 7, 2019
7:30 pm

The Piedmont Recreation Commission will review the temporary trial for pickleball play at an upcoming regular meeting. Community feedback will help inform whatever recommendation the Commission ultimately makes to the City Council regarding ongoing pickleball play in Piedmont.

The eight month temporary trial which began on April 8, 2019 designated specific hours for exclusive pickleball use at the Linda Beach and Hampton tennis courts as follows, with all other times being for tennis play only:

Hampton – Wednesday and Friday 12:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Linda Beach- Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.   Sunday 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

On Saturday, August 24, 2019, the renovated Piedmont Middle School (PMS) PE courts opened for weekend pickleball play and since that time, Sunday play at Beach has been suspended and replaced by weekend hours at PMS.

Please attend the community meeting and/or share your feedback via email at:

>PRD@piedmont.ca.gov

Sep 24 2019

Special Council Meeting Thursday, September 26, 6:30 pm

City Hall Conference Room

The council will adjourn to a Closed Session for one agenda item:

  1. PUBLIC EMPLOYEE APPOINTMENT–Interview of Applicants (Govt. Code Sec. 54957) Title: Recreation Director