Piedmont Neighborhood News

What's happening in Piedmont, CA

City Council Candidate Questions

Posted by Len Gilbert on January 15, 2010

Yesterday I sent the following list of questions to the candidates for city council. Look for their answers in an upcoming post on the PNN.

City Council Candidate Questions

1. Undergrounding

a. Explain your position on city-supported undergrounding districts.

b. Given the recent problems with the Piedmont Hills and the Sea View undergrounding districts, should the city require a yes-vote that is a higher percentage than a simple majority? Why or why not? If yes, what is a high enough threshold to ensure fairness for all the residents in a proposed district?

c. If you believe the city should support future undergrounding districts, what measures will you take to ensure the homeowners in the district pay the entire project cost and that the city is not liable for overruns?

2. City Council Oversight of Staff

a. How closely should the council oversee the city staff?

b. Recently city staff has made costly errors in the Havens Schoolmate placement and the PHUD cost overruns. Should there be dollar limits on the amounts that the public works director or city administrator can approve with higher amounts requiring council approval?

c. Do you support posting Agendas and staff reports dealing with extraordinary items ahead of the legally mandated time frames in order to ensure that all residents and interested parties have the opportunity to participate in hearings? The legal requirement is 72 hours advance notice. How much time should the community have to review, investigate and digest the material before it is asked to comment on it?

d. Do you favor posting project plans, schedules, and drawings of all city projects on the city website at least 10 days prior to work beginning? If not, why not?

e. What criteria and methodology does the City Council use to assess the performance of the City Administrator? Do you think that the criteria and methodology are adequate? If not, what changes to the process would you recommend?

f. The stability of Piedmont’s government has both beneficial and detrimental aspects, please describe these and identify if, or when, a change in personnel in some area of city administration might be beneficial?

3. Parks.

a. What is your position on the proposed development of Blair Park? Would your position change if the Blair project were scaled back slightly and moved across the Moraga Avenue to the corporation yard? Have you considered moving the corporation yard, possibly even to Oakland, so that that large piece of relatively flat land could be used to expand the existing field at Coaches Field?

b. Tennis club. Should Piedmont approach Oakland about buying this land?

c. Do you believe that the City has investigated all possible options for new sports facilities in or near Piedmont?

d. Do you think that the current economic climate might present Piedmont with an opportunity to investigate or review options for sports facilities located nearby in Oakland, Emeryville or Alameda?

e. In general, do you favor artificial or natural turf for play field surfaces? Why?

4. Traffic and Transportation

a. Traffic calming is important to Piedmont’s residential and school-oriented lifestyle. Linda Avenue, Oakland Avenue, Grand Avenue, and Moraga Avenue all have large volumes of traffic, frequently driving faster than posted limits. Efforts at traffic calming have been proposed, but only the Linda Avenue cross walk has been implemented. What is your position on reducing the speed of traffic and improving pedestrian safety?

b. Despite having received a report that Oakland Avenue is dangerous, the city has undertaken no action to implement traffic calming or otherwise improve pedestrian safety on that street. Would you make pedestrian safety on city streets a priority during the next term and how would you do that?

c. What is your position on bicycle lanes connecting our current bike lane (on Grand between Cambridge and Rose) to the Grand Avenue bike lanes being developed around Lake Merrit?

d. What can Piedmont do to further encourage public transit, car pooling, walking, and biking for local activities?

5. Safety and Security

a. Piedmont is generally safe. What do you see as the major public safety issue facing residents? How do you propose city council address those issues (if any)?

b. Should the Piedmont Police be regularly present in high traffic areas during morning and afternoon commute hours to enforce speed and cell phone driving laws? Many of our major streets are used by Oakland residents as commute through-ways and those drivers may not be aware of our lower speed limits or that there are school children crossing Oakland, Grand, and Linda Avenues.

City Council Candidate Questions

1. Undergrounding

a. Explain your position on city-supported undergrounding districts.

b. Given the recent problems with the Piedmont Hills and the Sea View undergrounding districts, should the city require a yes-vote that is a higher percentage than a simple majority? Why or why not?  If yes, what is a high enough threshold to ensure fairness for all the residents in a proposed district?

c. If you believe the city should support future undergrounding districts, what measures will you take to ensure the homeowners in the district pay the entire project cost and that the city is not liable for overruns?

2. City Council Oversight of Staff

a. How closely should the council oversee the city staff?

b. Recently city staff has made costly errors in the Havens Schoolmate placement and the PHUD cost overruns. Should there be dollar limits on the amounts that the public works director or city administrator can approve with higher amounts requiring council approval?

c. Do you support posting Agendas and staff reports dealing with extraordinary items ahead of the legally mandated time frames in order to ensure that all residents and interested parties have the opportunity to participate in hearings? The legal requirement is 72 hours advance notice. How much time should the community have to review, investigate and digest the material before it is asked to comment on it?

d. Do you favor posting project plans, schedules, and drawings of all city projects on the city website at least 10 days prior to work beginning? If not, why not?

e. What criteria and methodology does the City Council use to assess the performance of the City Administrator?  Do you think that the criteria and methodology are adequate?  If not, what changes to the process would you recommend?

f. The stability of Piedmont’s government has both beneficial and detrimental aspects, please describe these and identify if, or when, a change in personnel in some area of city administration might be beneficial?

3. Parks.

a. What is your position on the proposed development of Blair Park? Would your position change if the Blair project were scaled back slightly and moved across the Moraga Avenue to the corporation yard? Have you considered moving the corporation yard, possibly even to Oakland, so that that large piece of relatively flat land could be used to expand the existing field at Coaches Field?

b. Tennis club. Should Piedmont approach Oakland about buying this land?

c. Do you believe that the City has investigated all possible options for new sports facilities in or near Piedmont?

d. Do you think that the current economic climate might present Piedmont with an opportunity to investigate or review options for sports facilities located nearby in Oakland, Emeryville or Alameda?

e. In general, do you favor artificial or natural turf for play field surfaces? Why?

4. Traffic and Transportation

a. Traffic calming is important to Piedmont’s residential and school-oriented lifestyle. Linda Avenue, Oakland Avenue, Grand Avenue, and Moraga Avenue all have large volumes of traffic, frequently driving faster than posted limits. Efforts at traffic calming have been proposed, but only the Linda Avenue cross walk has been implemented. What is your position on reducing the speed of traffic and improving pedestrian safety?

b. Despite having received a report that Oakland Avenue is dangerous, the city has undertaken no action to implement traffic calming or otherwise improve pedestrian safety on that street. Would you make pedestrian safety on city streets a priority during the next term and how would you do that?

c. What is your position on bicycle lanes connecting our current bike lane (on Grand between Cambridge and Rose) to the Grand Avenue bike lanes being developed around Lake Merrit?

d. What can Piedmont do to further encourage public transit, car pooling, walking, and biking for local activities?

5. Safety and Security

a. Piedmont is generally safe. What do you see as the major public safety issue facing residents? How do you propose city council address those issues (if any)?

b. Should the Piedmont Police be regularly present in high traffic areas during morning and afternoon commute hours to enforce speed and cell phone driving laws? Many of our major streets are used by Oakland residents as commute through-ways and those drivers may not be aware of our lower speed limits or that there are school children crossing Oakland, Grand, and Linda Avenues.

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