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Zane Hill

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The city expects to hire an engineering consultant to assist in developing plans for Metro-backed traffic improvement projects this year, with the bill to be covered by the transportation agency.
Although the City Council has not formally committed to the endeavor, it signaled tacit approval at last week’s council meeting, where the body informally went over potential capital construction projects for the forthcoming fiscal year. In a straw vote, the council asked to have a more detailed report on the proposal included in the formal budget process. It was estimated that the consulting service would cost around $95,000.

The City Council began its dive into the budgeting session at a special meeting last week, where administrators went over several capital equipment purchases proposed by city departments for the next fiscal year.
No commitments were made last week. Rather, the council signaled a simple agreement that the purchases be included in the departments’ broader budget proposals, potentially with more informative reports on them. Capital projects will be considered in this straw poll format next month.

The City Council delayed judgment of an appeal to a future date, in part to push the applicants to actually get input from a number of neighbors regarding a reality television series the applicants hope to film at a home.
In its meeting last week, the council also punted on an appeal for a mixed-use building proposed to be built along Mission Street, instead opting to schedule a de novo hearing at a later date. The city is expected to argue that the project should be denied because it could not pass a plan check in the event it was approved, at least as currently designed.
The four applicants for the denied filming permit — Rosemary Lay, Julie Chan Lin, Alice Shyu and Weni Wilson — are in the meantime tasked with revisiting a number of homes within a 500-foot radius of their own houses they deemed to be unoccupied in their initial surveys. Additionally, the city staff report indicated that they overlooked some required homes entirely in their initial surveying.

City officials are currently projecting a $2.1 million revenue surplus for the fiscal year, thanks to a downturn in revenues being similarly offset by reduced expenditures from the same cause — the pandemic.
The city was on track after the first six months of the year to finish with $1.1 million fewer than initially anticipated in income, according to Finance Director Paul Chung. At the same time, the trend indicates that the city’s proposed expenditures will be down $1.4 million by the end of the year. In fact, expenses for the year’s halfway point were listed as being just 44.3%.

Photo courtesy Compost Culture
Sophomores Gianna Karkafi, Elizabeth Bercaw and Maddy Gregg are helping to bring a compost collection program to San Marino.

A group of San Marino students hope to propagate a successful startup service project from neighboring South Pasadena and offer composting service to San Marino residents.
The volunteers have joined onto Compost Culture, a projected started last year by two South Pasadena High School students to offer compost collection service to their city’s residents and businesses. Fresh off the success of winning the competition sponsored by the organization that funded them, the two SPHS students plan to branch out into their neighboring communities.
San Marino was first on the list.
“I was reading about it on their website and I thought it was really cool what they were doing,” explained Gianna Karkafi, a sophomore and cabinet member of the Green Club at San

Numbers continue to reflect the expectations of what a pandemic means for San Marino’s budgeting, according to an update last week from the city’s finance director.
General fund revenues fell by around 2.7% in the second quarter year-over-year, according to Finance Director Paul Chung. This represents a drop by $322,000, hardly an insurmountable amount for a city flush in reserve funding. The primary culprit, Chung explained, is the interruption of services that simply don’t work during a pandemic.
“Obviously with the COVID impacts, we have the facility closures due to the library and recreation programs being shut down. Those revenues are not as high as last year,” he said. “[Investment] yields are also lower as treasury yields continue to be low due to the COVID impacts.”

The San Marino Police Department added its latest entry to Southern California’s storied history of police chases this past weekend, when one of the city’s new license plate reader cameras picked up a vehicle allegedly used in prior crimes.
The automated license plate reader picked up the vehicle at 7:33 p.m. Saturday, after which a patrol officer was sent to pull over the driver. According to the San Marino Police Department, officers had pursued the same vehicle — a blue 2014 Jeep Patriot SUV — in a chase in recent weeks but eventually called it off because of poor road conditions.
“We’re picking up a lot of stolen cars” with the cameras, Police Chief John Incontro said. “We had seen the car in an earlier incident.”

Photo courtesy SMPD
In addition to a radar trailer, the San Marino Police Department now counts two of these radar signs among its speed enforcement arsenal.

The San Marino Police Department looks forward to keeping track of traffic issues more precisely with the help of two new portable radar signs, the use of which will begin this week in conjunction with a separate radar trailer.
While the larger trailer is used on bigger and more traveled streets, the department plans to use the signs — which can be attached to light poles — on smaller side streets in town.
“You can’t put them on some of the small side streets without them interfering with traffic,” Sgt. Tim Tebbetts said, referring to trailers. The portable signs “will connect to the city light poles or wherever the city dictates they go. They’ll be easy to move from street to street; we can move them to, say, Lorain Road for two weeks and then maybe Mill Road for another two weeks.”
The devices are part of the City Council’s broader priority initiative to ramp up enforcement against speeding and address other traffic issues in San Marino. Much like the radar trailer that was purchased last year, the two signs are primarily powered by solar panels and also use chargeable batteries with reserve power as a backup. The devices will showcase the speed of a vehicle as it approaches, flashing when the vehicle exceeds the posted limit and adding bright red and blue lights to the mix if the speed is extreme.

Photo courtesy Rob Shaumann
Rob Schaumann lives near the Mission Street bridge extending to San Marino and said he was moved to use it as the backdrop for a coronavirus memorial.

The gesture was simple enough.
A few dozen paper bags, small battery-powered candles to illuminate each bag from the inside, a small stone to weigh them to the concrete, and an idea.
After he saw photos of the Jan. 19 memorial at Washington’s Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool — at which 400 lights were lined up along the banks to represent the 400,000 Americans killed by COVID-19 at that point — local man Rob Schaumann said he was inspired.
Having lived on Mission Street in South Pasadena since the mid-1990s, Schaumann said he immediately considered the bridge just outside that connects his city with San Marino.
“I go out to the bridge all the time at night and just look at the moon,” Schaumann explained. “It just reminded me of the reflecting pool in Washington, where they have the images set up. I just thought, ah, maybe I could do that, something simple. It’s just a way to remember all the people who have been taken because of this. And maybe remind people to wear a mask.”
So he went to pick up supplies — “I got it all from the Dollar Tree,” he said — and on Friday last week lined the sidewalk of the bridge with the lighted-up bags. He considered leaving them there through the weekend, but rain brought him back outside to collect the bags.