Piedmont Neighborhood News

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Archive for November, 2007

Math Support Organization

Posted by drewbendon on November 23, 2007

Bernard Pech writes:

At the last math curriculum meeting, it was suggested that a support organization should be created for Math, analogous to what exists for music (CHIME group: http://www.piedmont.k12.ca.us/aboutpusd/support.html). This is an excellent idea. I would be very interested helping in setting it up. What about an organization meeting to discuss its charter and its organization? Is there enough interest in the community? I will be happy to offer my house for a first meeting.

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Mulberry’s to Open 12/8/07 now

Posted by drewbendon on November 21, 2007

Update: This week, Mulberry’s site indicates a 12/8/07 opening.

Here’s the latest from the Mulberry’s Website:

We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! Our tin ceiling is gleaming, the acid-washed concrete floor is shining, and the carrera marble countertops are glistening. Now we’re just putting on the finishing touches, holding our breath while deliveries of great food and drink arrive. We’re planning to be OPEN on Saturday, December 1st, so come by for a latte, a sandwich or a milkshake and take a look around. See you at Mulberry’s!

Posted in City News | 2 Comments »

Will We Have Contested Elections?

Posted by drewbendon on November 21, 2007

UPDATE (12/6/07):  3 have pulled papers for 2 seats on the City Council and 5 for 3 seats on the School Board.  Lets hope they all run.

Perhaps one of the most disappointing aspects of Piedmont politics is how frequently we have uncontested elections. This March two seats on the City Council and three seats on the Board of Education are up for election. In both cases one incumbent is termed out, which means that each body will at least have one new member. However, at this point, to the best of my knowledge there are not more than two people running for City Council or three people running for a position on the Board of Education. We need more candidates! We need choice! If you have ever considered running for office, please do it. The deadline to file is December 7, 2007, but there are papers to fill out and signatures to obtain, so now’s the time! Of course the details and forms are not available online at the City’s website, but you can get them by calling the City Clerk (Ann Swift) at 510-420-3040 or by visiting City Hall. I’ll say it one more time for emphasis: Please!

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Beach Field Use Restrictions to be Considered at the 12/3/07 City Council Meeting

Posted by drewbendon on November 21, 2007

On December 3, 2007 the City Council will consider the proposed revised use restrictions for Beach Field.  You can see them here:  Current and Proposed Use Restrictions.  Highlights of the changes are:  (1) the field will be closed to the public during school hours or when the recreation department is running a program there, (2) the field will otherwise be open from 8:00 to 8:00 (or dusk, whichever is later) during the week and until 9:00 for 16 days (Mondays through Thursdays) in the fall when it is lit for soccer use until 9:00, (3) the field will be open from 9:00 to 8:00 on Saturdays (or dusk, whichever is later), (4) baseball games may not start before 10:00 or after 4:00 and soccer games may not start before 9:00 or after 4:00, (5) on Sundays the field is open from 9:00 to 7:00, (6) groups, defined as 12 or more adults (over 21) participating in the same activity or game without a permit are prohibited, (7) the field may be locked.

Some problems I see with these restrictions.  What does it mean when they say that the recreation department is running a program on the field?  If Schoolmates takes the kids down there to play a game does everyone else have to leave the field?  And what if the recreation department use takes only a portion of the field, does that mean that others can’t go throw a football or kick a soccer ball or shoot stomp rockets?  Why can soccer start at 9:00 and baseball has to wait until 10:00?  The severe restrictions on adult use and morning use prevent, for example, a group wishing to practice Tai Chi, or individuals with bad knees who want a soft surface to run on in the morning.  The phrase “activity” is ridiculously broad.  Anytime more than 11 adults are participating in an activity (even if it is with their children) they are in violation of the ordinance.   Does it mean that if two groups are informally practicing baseball at the 2 different diamonds that the aggregate parental involvement may not exceed 11 (because practicing baseball is one activity)?  Does it mean that we need to get a permit to have our post-season soccer party on the field or at the picnic tables if more than 11 adults will be present?  This list could go on …  How are they going to lock the field?  Where will the additional fencing (necessary to lock the field) be placed and how much will that cost? 

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A Garbage War Is Brewing: Recycling vs. Aesthetics/Convenience

Posted by drewbendon on November 16, 2007

UPDATE:  I have received a few questions/comments by e-mail.  One e-mailer was concerned that curbside service would lead to increased rodent/racoon problems.  I perused the materials on the city’s website and could not get an answer.  The e-mailer has asked for information from Kate Black.  I’ll update when she gets a response.  The second e-mailer wants me to clarify my letter because there are additional issues regarding the types of materials that can be collected.  Adding yogurt containers and waxed milk/juice containers, for example, to the types of things that can be recycled would have a big impact (think of all those school lunches).  I definitely support maximizing they types of things that can be recycled – but that is not the primary focus of this letter.  The focus of this letter is simple:  If we have “backyard” service the size of the recycling container is limited to 32 gal.  If we have curbside service as the default service we can have larger recycling containers.  If we want to increase the types of thing we can recycle, limiting ourselves to the smaller container makes no sense.

Here is some relevant information from the report to the City Council:

“RSS and WMI have proposed that backyard collection will not offer containers over  32 gallons.  The size limit is to prevent worker injury.  However, the size limitation essentially  defeats the intent of offering the larger recycling carts which would allow and encourage the  recycling of larger volumes.  It may also require residents to have multiple recycling carts for  customers with a lot of recycling, and may reduce the amount of material recycled and diverted.”

The report also points out that:  “during the  evaluation phase of the process proposers were asked what a rate might be if curbside collection  was the default service. RSS replied that the rate would be approximately $27/month for a 32  gallon cart, which is $21/month less than the lowest proposed backyard collection service rate.”

It also seems from the report, though it is not entirely clear, that if the default service is curbside, then people will still be able to pay for backyard service.

So the issue remains: recycling (larger containers) vs aesthetics (and convenience only if you don’t want to pay).  I have made some modifications to my letter.  Please let me know if you’d like to sign on.


Decisions on the new garbage contract are boiling down to a battle between recycling and aesthetics/convenience. In the contract proposals being considered we will need to give up “backyard” garbage service if we want to maximize our recycling potential. The City and City Council have begun to receive a form letter from a group that would like to preserve “backyard” service on the basis of aesthetics and convenience.

I have proposed the following form letter in opposition to that letter. Please let me know if I can add your name to my letter, below.

Kate Black and members of the City Council:

Right now our community is faced with the choice of maintaining “backyard” garbage service or improving our recycling capability by increasing the volume of materials recycled.  Obviously, we would all like to have both, but if that is not possible, we, the undersigned, believe that it is Piedmont ’s obligation to choose the environment over convenience and aesthetics.

Given the effects of Global Warming and the existence of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a heap of debris floating in the Pacific that’s twice the size of Texas ,” we all need to take steps to reduce our impact on the planet. Piedmont is a pleasant town whose suburban/sylvan beauty will not be marred by the once weekly appearance of garbage and recycling receptacles on our streets; certainly not enough that we should ignore our obligation to our children to preserve the environment.

Given the concern of some members of the community regarding convenience and aesthetics, we hope the City would re-engage the service providers to see if we can have both backyard service and more recycling at a reasonable rate.  If that is not possible, we would prefer a contract that would allow Piedmonters to “opt in” for a fee to backyard garbage service and to deliver that “opt-in backyard service” free of charge to the elderly and/or disabled.  If that is not possible, we would like the City to investigate possible means of mitigating the inconvenience of curbside service on the elderly and/or disabled.

Please do not place the values of aesthetics and convenience over the health of the planet and our children’s future. Please choose curbside service over backyard service, if necessary, to maximize our recycling capability.

Thank you,

Drew Bendon

Posted in City News | 3 Comments »