Q&A with City Council Candidate Jeanne Solnordal

Solnordal is one of six candidates vying for three seats on the City Council. This is her first time running for public office in Piedmont. In 2020, she was a candidate for California State Assembly for District 15.*

What is your age and how long have you lived in Piedmont?

I am a wise and well versed 64 year old. I have lived in Piedmont for 20 years.

What you do for work, either in or out of your home?

I am a licensed Broker specializing in Property Management. I have owed my own property management company for 24 years.

Have you worked or volunteered in the Piedmont community (or elsewhere) previously? If so, in what capacity(ies)?

I am a former President of Millennium High School Parents club. I currently serve on the Public Safety Committee.

What inspires you to run for office?

There are many important issues going on in the city at this time. I believe I can add value to those discussions and decisions.

What are your qualifications to be on the City Council? Any special skills or experience the voters should know about?

I am a leader in the community. I am the president of the East Bay Republican Women for two years and have been nominated for a third term. I have been the Treasurer and Event Chair for the Alameda County GOP for 4 years.  I have been a CAGOP State delegate for 6 years. I worked for 18 years as a tax educator prior to attending law school. I have 24 years of experience as a self employed broker/property manager.

What do you see as the most challenging issues currently facing the city?

1. Housing Element – Cycle 6
2. Funding the pool
3. Crosswalk safety – Children first
4. Climate action plan

What do you see as strengths of the Piedmont community?

Our schools are our pride and glory.

What will be your top priority if elected?

I will work to find an alternative to high density housing in Piedmont.

Do you see yourself being especially involved in any particular city issue or program, whether or not it’s your top priority?

Public Safety is on the top of my list. Parents need to feel and know that it is safe for their children to walk or bike to and from school each day. We need to enhance our crosswalks to ensure they are brightly identified around our schools and parks. Non-residents often travel in Piedmont. Our crossings must be easily seen. Children should also have an incentive to cross only in the crosswalks. This could be done with the assistance of our local fire and police departments.

Talk about any leadership roles you’ve held and what you learned from them.

I have managed a property management company for 24 years.

Share an example of your decision-making style.

Team work is critical is a business is to thrive. When decisions are needed in my office we discuss them as a team to find the best solution. A team voice is always better that the voice of one.

What project have you worked on that you are especially proud of?

Covid was quite challenging for our business. My office made tenants aware of the covid relief program and guided them through the process. As a result, many tenants retained their housing uninterrupted. We are proud to have assisted many during this pandemic.

City Council members must navigate a wide range of community opinions and demands. How will you handle those pressures?

All opinions matter. We should not just offer the community speaking time but we should also hear them. No idea is too far off base to consider. All resident voices matter. Many voices are how you maintain a healthy balance in the decision making process.

What should the city’s priorities be when it comes to upgrading city infrastructure?

Our city services/civic buildings are most important. The Veterans Hall is in need of much repair. The police dispatch center is currently under review. The dispatch center is our current priority. The recreation center is also in need of a roof. That project is underway.

Piedmont is required by the state to meet new affordable housing goals. What is your view on the approach the city has taken so far to comply with the law?

Honestly, there are many unhappy residents that oppose the current plan. While it is a state mandate, the residents would feel better and be less oppressed had the Council appealed the RHNA allocation. Yes, almost all appeals were denied but did we know that would happened before appealing? We should have tried. Forcing 587 units into a city that is already built out deserves opposition. With a city full of lawyers I am sure we can find a work around.

What would you do to promote diversity in Piedmont, including among City staff?

There are some under represented groups in Piedmont. Diversity is always a good thing as we gain knowledge from others. We should always be welcoming of all people. Space permitting, we could allot a certain amount of out of district students to enroll in our public school. This would demonstrate our concern and desire for diversity, create a more diverse student body for our children and assist in educating those less privileged. I have many thoughts on how we could achieve diversity goals. I would put forth that the volunteer hours required to graduate be spent tutoring elementary student at under performing schools in our district. Most schools in our district are only performing at a 3 level. This would serve a much higher achievement for both students. Walking dogs at the animal shelter is usually not a high demand need.

Piedmont has recently received an award for its sustainability accomplishments and goals. What would you do to further Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan?

If we are to attain and accomplish our goals going forward we are going to have to make the process of electrifying our home more friendly. Community outreach and a waiver of permit fees could help to accomplish these goals.

Offering assistance with broken irrigation systems would greatly lessen our water consumption. Often residents are not even aware that their irrigation system is broken as they water while the owner is away.

What do you think about current recreational opportunities in Piedmont, and do you have other ideas for adding, subtracting or changing programs?

I believe our recreational department is doing a great job. However, there is an opportunity for us to add more sports. I personally favor contactless sports as traumatic brain injuries are permanent. I would love to see archery become a favored sport. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with voters about your candidacy? 

Ballots will be mailed on or before October 10. Please vote early. Be sure to assist your family and friends complete and return their ballots. The primary voter turn out was very poor. Let’s show that Piedmont cares about their leaders by voting.

Do you have a website and email to share with voters? If so, please add below.

http://www.votesolnordal.com | votesolnordal@gmail.com

*The original post stated that this was Solnordol’s first run for public office, and has been corrected to reflect her earlier run for state assembly in 2020.

Editor’s note: several answers were updated with additional information from the candidate.

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