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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
Local

City of PiedmontCandidate for City Council

Photo of Betsy Smegal Andersen

Betsy Smegal Andersen

Appointed City Council Member
4,798 votes (34.39%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Community Building
  • Promoting Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
  • Improving Recreation Programs and Facilities for All Ages

Experience

Experience

Profession:Attorney
Member, Piedmont City Council — Appointed position (2017–current)

Education

UCLA School of Law Juris Doctor (J.D.) (2001)
Duke University Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Public Policy Studies (1992)

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of Piedmont (4)

What plans do you have to support the many different populations of Piedmont with city programs and city facilities? And, how do you plan to promote and actively support inclusive practices within city government?
Answer from Betsy Smegal Andersen:

Thank you for asking these questions. Given the limitations of this format, I will try to tackle the first part of this question.

 

Three years ago, when I was serving on the Recreation Commission, I worked with Sara Lillevand, Kim Hebert and Jen Cavenaugh to create a broad committee survey about recreation programming. Nearly 1,000 Piedmonters of all ages participated, and the comprehensive results have been used to guide programming ever since. The Rec Department would like to be able to offer even more diverse programming, but our city facilities - both indoor and outdoor -  are already booked to the max. In order to provide more programming options, we need more usable spaces. 

 

The City Council just reviewed conceptual plans to renovate the Recreation Dept Building and Veterans Hall. These renovations would not only provide better ADA access, but would dramatically increase the space available for use by all of our residents. But the hard reality is we have no public funds with which to renovate these City facilities. If the community wants more robust and programming, we need to explore options on how to fund these much-needed improvements, including the possibility of a bond measure.

How will you be responsive to citizens and to support and improve citizen involvement in city government?
Answer from Betsy Smegal Andersen:

The great thing about our residents is that we do hear from them.  The City Council gets lots of emails and phone calls from residents and we are grateful for the feedback. The city also has very robust committees and commissions made up of volunteers who work on specific aspects of our city – like public safety and parks – and I strongly encourage residents to participate in this important level of community engagement. 

 

The City has been working on implementing the Information Technology Strategic Plan, which includes a new website, and should make it easier for our residents to find information, locate forms and provide feedback and comments on important matters.  I always appreciate receiving emails and listening to resident comments at our public meetings, as it is really helpful to hear additional thoughts and perspectives.

How can and will you mediate between different interest groups in Piedmont, including evaluating how representative the concerns of vocal minorities might be?
Answer from Betsy Smegal Andersen:

This is a very relevant question and one that I think about a lot.  I grew up in Piedmont, and three generations of my family currently live in town.  I am constantly listening to residents’ opinions on a broad range of topics, and I am very aware of the different needs of our children, adults, and seniors.  I am also aware that when residents perceive things are going well, people can often be very quiet.  As an elected official, I try to take the long view and represent the best interests of as many Piedmonters as possible, and not just a vocal minority.  Looking ahead to some of the big financial decisions we will have to make in the near future, I am hopeful that improved technology will allow the City Council to do a better job obtaining broad community input from our residents.  

How should the city decide whether and how to plan and pay for a new swimming pool or pools? How important is this to you?
Answer from Betsy Smegal Andersen:

The future of the Piedmont pool is very important to me.  I grew up swimming, my first job was as a lifeguard at the Piedmont pool, and I feel strongly that all children should learn how to swim, especially given our proximity to local beaches and the Bay. I am thankful our Recreation Department offers a robust learn to swim program that is filled to capacity every summer.

 

Swimming is also one of the few forms of exercise you can do your entire life, and it brings people together from all walks of life. I can go to the Piedmont pool at any time of day and see toddlers and adults alike, enjoying the weightlessness and transformative power of water.  

 

At 54 years old, the current Piedmont pool and locker rooms are run down and antiquated.  The pool needs some serious financial investment to stay safe and usable.  Piedmonters will have to decide if it is worth investing even more money on an antiquated facility that only has a few years left, or if it is time to replace the pool with a new facility that will meet Piedmonter’s needs for the next 50+ years. 

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