Piedmont Neighborhood News

What's happening in Piedmont, CA

Archive for February, 2008

Green Schools: What are they and how can we get there?

Posted by Len Gilbert on February 27, 2008

Have you ever wondered how you could help our Piedmont schools become more “green”?

The Beach Parents’ Organization’s
Green Committee

Invites parents, teachers, community and school leaders from all the Piedmont schools to a presentation and community discussion of:

Green Schools:

What are they? How can we get there?

Thursday, May 8th 7:15-8:45 pm at the Beach School Auditorium

Presentation and Slideshow by Deborah Moore, Executive Director of the Green Schools Initiative on

  • 7 Steps to a Green School : How have other schools “gone green” and what are some of the best practices for organizing this process?
  • The 4 Pillars of a green school:
    • Strive for a toxics-free environment
    • Use resources sustainably
    • Create a green and healthy space
    • Teach students to be stewards of their communities, the earth, and its resources

    Presentations by parents from each Piedmont school (Beach, Havens, Wildwood, Middle School, High School and Millennium) on

    • Current green efforts at the schools (successes and challenges)

    Discussion

    • How can we coordinate our efforts and move forward together?
  • This is a great opportunity to make connections with each other and to start putting the Piedmont schools on the map within the national trend towards greener schools!

    For more information or to let us know that you want to participate, contact Margaret Ovenden at movenden@sbcglobal.net

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On The Other Hand, I’m Not In Favor Of Measure C

Posted by drewbendon on February 15, 2008

I do favor changing the date of Piedmont elections – but we should have them in November, so I’m voting no on Measure C.

Piedmont voted a while go to change its independent election date to the current March date. The reason was to coincide with the date then used for primaries. Then, of course, they changed the primary date again to be in February, on Super Tuesday. Measure C proposes to follow the primaries to February, but who knows when they’ll change that again. What we do know is that when there is a Presidential contest, voter turnout in November can be nearly double that of the preceding primary, now in February. I don’t know what the final tally was, but they were predicting a record for voter turnout for this February’s primary. But even if 9 million voters cast votes (a new record by a long shot), that figure will only be 3/4 of a typical November election in a Presidential contest year.

One of the reasons I’ve heard advanced as to why Measure C proposes to move the election date to February, rather than June or November is that if we have a parcel tax measure on the February/March ballot and it fails, we have enough time to revise the measure in time for the November ballot (on which it presumably then passes) and the City has no concern that it won’t be able to operate. Other arguments offer that there are so many items on the November ballot that Piedmont issues will not be the priority of voters or that an excess of state bond measures or voter initiatives will dissuade voters from voting in favor of Piedmont bond measures or tax proposals. I can appreciate the pragmatism of these arguments, but I don’t find that they sufficiently justify fixing Piedmont’s elections to the primaries. And, frankly, I find them a bit insulting.

The goal of every election should be the highest possible voter participation. But we in California vote so often that Californians have “voter fatigue.” If we want to maximize the number of voters who vote on Piedmont issues, we should have our elections when voter turnout is highest, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

I know some of you out there – Barry – are in the election biz and I’d like to hear what you have to say.

Drew

Posted in City News | 1 Comment »

We’ll Need The Parcel Tax This Time – My Vote Is In Favor Of Measure D

Posted by drewbendon on February 15, 2008

Every four years we are asked to vote on approving a parcel tax measure.  The parcel tax provides the City with revenue that might be used to fund essential services.  Last time we were told of the dire consequences that would result if we didn’t approve the tax and as I recall we didn’t vote the original proposal in in March, but voted a modified one in in November.  This time, though, I believe that we won’t be able to sustain services at a level we all want without a parcel tax.

In recent years, home sales have provided a significant source of revenue to City coffers in the form of real estate transfer taxes.  Last year the City Council was able not to levy the parcel tax primarily on the strength of past transfer tax revenues.  This year, however, Piedmont received, for the first time, no transfer tax revenue for sales in January (a point made by Ryan Gilbert at the Candidates Forum and apparently questioned in the Post).  And, so far, only 3 houses have closed escrow in February.  This is an inauspicious beginning and is not likely to change quickly as the Chronicle reported today that Bay Area Home sales have fallen to a 20 year low.

Voting to approve a parcel tax does not automatically mean that the tax will be levied and we can always question the City’s expenditures in the budget process.  But if we don’t vote in favor of authorizing a parcel tax we won’t have the flexibility we need.  The current level of taxation is the same as the parcel tax we approved last time adjusted for inflation (City Attorney’s Analysis of Measure D).

Drew

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Mayor McEnroe Has Resigned

Posted by drewbendon on February 13, 2008

Nancy McEnroe has resigned her position on the City Council effective today. Piedmont Neighborhood News would like to thank Mayor McEnroe for her many years of service to the community. Mayor McEnroe has always courteously listened to, and carefully considered, all sides of any issue before exercising her judgment. She has been an advocate for finding ways to quantify how our City government is performing, so that we might find ways to improve services to the community. And she has been one of the strongest voices for “greening” Piedmont on the Council and in the community. Her unique perspective on the City Council will be missed, even in the short time between now and the March 4 election. We wish her and her family well and look forward to running into her around town.

Posted in City News | 2 Comments »

Environmental Contaminants and Your Child’s Health: What Does the Science Say? What Can You Do?

Posted by drewbendon on February 13, 2008

 

Wednesday April 2, 7-8:45 p.m.

A Parent Education Evening at Beach School Auditorium
Presented by the Tri-School Parents’ Clubs

Do you feel confused or alarmed by conflicting news stories about which products, foods and environments are safe for your child and which are hazardous? You aren’t alone! It’s hard to sort through all the information that is available and to know which is reliable. Over the past 60 years, the volume of chemicals that we use or are exposed to in our daily lives has increased dramatically. Much of the health impact of this trend is still unknown, but some of it is known (even if this information is not always disseminated well to the public). We are very fortunate to have a panel of experts in children’s environmental health joining us to discuss the latest findings, answer your questions, and offer some practical steps you can take to protect your children’s health in three areas:

Indoor Air Quality: What effects can our indoor environment have on our children’s health? What can you do to minimize your child’s exposures to pollutants such as VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) indoors? What are “green” products? What is a “green” school? What strategies, tools and information can you use to make informed decisions on purchases to prevent adverse exposures? Speaker: Toni Stein, Ph.D. California Dept. of Public Health – Indoor Air Quality Section

Pesticides: Are pesticides commonly used in the home and garden hazardous for children? What are some non-toxic or safer alternatives? Are pesticides and mercury really a concern in food? Is it important to buy organic? Speaker: Mark Miller, MD, MPH. Director of UCSF‘s Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) and Public Health Medical Officer for the California EPA Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

Plastics: Which types of plastics are safe for use by children and which pose a threat (and why)? What is the latest research on the endocrine disrupting (hormone mimicking or altering) effects of phthalates (chemicals used in plastics manufacture)? What are the risks of exposure to bisphenol A (found in many plastics)? Speaker: Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., MPH. Associate Professor and Director, Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, Department of Ob/Gyn and Reproductive Sciences, UCSF (And Beach mom!)


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