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The San Marino City Council has unanimously approved the creation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and will seek to contract with a specialist who can facilitate the panel.The group’s establishment was enthusiastically approved at last Friday’s meeting, along with its price tag of up to $45,000. The decision came on the heels of a proclamation for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and a similar decree lauding the Chinese Club of San Marino for its work, council actions that also dealt with the theme of diversity.Vice Mayor Susan Jakubowski had proposed exploring this issue at a prior meeting.“This is a ‘big heavy’ that we are taking on,” Jakubowski said Friday. “As we all know from our life experiences, many times we avoid and fear those we don’t know. We are hesitant to learn more, to ask questions, and I think the end product we’re looking for is a way to bring us all together.”San Marino’s commitment to a DEI reframing comes on the heels of a well-documented rise in hateful rhetoric and violence directed toward Asian and Pacific Islander Americans throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Much of this seems to be related to the virus’ apparent origins in China, and commentators often charged former President Donald Trump with fanning those flames by insisting on using phrases like “China virus” or “kung flu,” which often complemented his seeming political hostility to migrants.As noted in the city’s report preceding the vote on the task force, around 60% of San Marino’s…

By Congresswoman Judy Chu Special to the Tribune Matthew Leung was sitting at a Rosemead bus stop when a man grabbed his cane and beat his hand and head, causing Leung to lose the tip of one of his fingers. This horrific attack should be unthinkable. Instead, it is just one of a recent spike in anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents happening all across the nation. What worries so many is that many of the recent victims have been older and more vulnerable. In San Francisco, Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year-old Thai man, was killed in an unprovoked assault while on his morning walk. In New York, a 61-year-old Filipino man’s face was slashed from ear to ear with a box cutter in the subway. In Oakland’s Chinatown, a camera captured a 91-year-old man being thrown to the ground by an assailant, who then went to assault two more victims. This is becoming almost a daily tragedy. It was a year ago, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, long before stay-at-home orders were put in place, that Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) were already starting to feel the sting of prejudice due to misinformation and stigma that wrongly associated AAPIs with the coronavirus.

Photo courtesy Ken UdeSan Marino Mayor Ken Ude addressed the Chinese Club of San Marino last week from the comfort of his home office. Mayor Ken Ude wrapped up the most recent iteration of the virtual rubber-chicken circuit last week with an address to the Chinese Club of San Marino, where dozens of community members witnessed as he laid out his plan for the upcoming year.With City Council meetings being held remotely, it’s a method with which Ude has become comfortable as he spoke from an office in his San Marino home.With Jennifer Dai serving as an interpreter, Ude touched on most every topic of interest in the city and began with a proclamation of wonderment.“It’s amazing that this pandemic has been here a year,” said Ude, who was elected to the city council in November 2017. “Our goal through the pandemic has been to be as open as we can be, with Lacy Park, our businesses and our restaurants and city hall has not closed during the pandemic. We have always had staff on site.”

Voters within San Marino city limits and the boundaries of the San Marino Unified School District can expect to receive their ballots this week for Measure E, the parcel tax that raises $4 million annually.The special election will be held on Tuesday, March 2, by mail-in ballot. In order to be counted, ballots must be postmarked no later than that date.Measure E raises $968 per parcel, adjusted by the lesser of the Los Angeles Statistical Area Consumer Price Index or 3%, including commercial properties within the boundaries of the school district.First approved by voters in 2009 for a six-year term, the parcel tax was renewed in 2015 and is scheduled to expire in June. If Measure E receives the required two-thirds vote this year, taxpayers will be charged in perpetuity, as the six-year sunset clause has been removed from the ballot. The official ballot statement says that the tax will be assessed in each fiscal year “until ended by voters.” Voters 65 years of age and older can apply for an exemption.Measure E funds 35 full-time equivalent teaching positions, which will be eliminated if the parcel tax is not passed, according to the SMUSD.A second school parcel tax — Measure R — is scheduled to sunset in June 2025. First approved by voters in 1991, Measure R generates $1.6 million annually at $366 per parcel and also includes all parcels and commercial properties located within the city of San Marino as well as the boundaries of the SMUSD. Measure R currently…

Why They Support Chon This year’s school board election is about more than just choosing among five candidates; it’s about choosing the path forward for our community and holding it to the highest standards. All of the candidates have identified similar issues that need to be addressed. However, we support Jane Chon because she has the experience and knowledge to face those issues with realistic and practical solutions, as well as the proven track record and collaborative relationships to make them happen. We choose integrity — Jane has run her campaign with true transparency. The names on her endorsement list are real supporters of her candidacy, and gave permission to be published. All of her Zoom meetings have been recorded and have been posted on her website so the public can hold her accountable to her campaign promises. We choose tangible contributions — Jane has devoted thousands of hours serving San Marino schools and families. Even while campaigning, she has continued the work that directly benefits students, such as revising Carver’s PTA budget for COVID pivots, advocating to bring the SAT to SMHS, and writing a grant requesting funds for technology and PPE expenses. Those actions speak volumes.

The Chinese Club of San Marino held its annual tree planting event in Lacy Park earlier this month to encourage the public to protect the environment and to commemorate revered Chinese leader Sun Yat-Sen. Wen Shang Chu, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles, and many San Marino officials attended and supported the event. Club President Tony Chou explained that the group has planted a tree on Chinese Arbor Day for more than two decades. A Chinese pistachio was planted about 200 feet west of the playground. “We sincerely hope that when this plant blooms in the future, everyone can enjoy it at Lacy Park,” said Chou. “Just like a Chinese saying, ‘One generation plants the trees in whose shade another generation rests.’” Photos by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE

The USC Gould School of Law has announced a $2 million estate gift from educator, philanthropist and community leader Barbara Bice to support and further the work of the school’s Public Interest Law Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest student organizations in the area of public interest law. The endowment enhances USC Gould’s commitment to encouraging the pursuit of public interest legal careers and advances PILF’s more than 30-year legacy of helping underserved and vulnerable groups. In recognition of the gift, PILF is now renamed the Barbara F. Bice Public Interest Law Foundation. “Providing an endowment to support the PILF summer public interest internships provides a unique opportunity,” Bice said. “First, it recognizes the great contributions the student founders, subsequent student leadership and grant recipients have made to public interest work over many years. Second, the endowment supports Gould’s commitment to law in the public interest. Third, it furthers opportunities for students to experience firsthand the importance of public interest work. “Through these internships, students gain appreciation for the important assistance that they provide to underserved populations,” Bice continued. “Finally, the gift expands the important benefits the host organizations make to the public good. I am grateful for this unique opportunity.”

Lynn Reitnouer was mayor, the Los Angeles Olympics were still a few months away and the iconic “It’s Raining Men” was in the Top 10 of music charts and a standard in the club scene when Ron Serven showed up in San Marino to start a new job with the parks department. It was April 1984 when he arrived in the 91108 and, proving that time flies, Serven recently hung up his pruning shears and headed towards retirement. Beginning as a grounds worker, Serven advanced through the gardener classifications before becoming Parks manager in 2001. During his twelve years in that role, Serven developed and initiated the installation of a citywide irrigation system, oversaw the Lacy Park renovation in 2003, developed and implemented the tree management system which tracks all city-owned trees. He also developed and implemented the Ficus tree replacement project on Huntington Drive, which brought brightly colored Pistache chinensis, or “Keith Davey” trees to the parkway. He has since been promoted to Administrative Services Manager, Environmental Services Manager and Code Enforcement Manager, but never outgrew the popular rose pruning workshops he instituted in the late 80s and continued to offer up to the current day. Serven told The Tribune he is most proud of the 2003 Lacy Park renovation project. “The entire garden was replaced with new roses and companion plantings, the replacement of the irrigation system and revamping the wooden trellis structure,” said Serven, who also served as city armorist for the past 20 years. “The project…

San Marino resident Chun-Yen Chen was the recipient of the ‘Pioneer of Community Service’ award at the 14th annual Taiwanese-American Professionals of Los Angeles gala that was held on Saturday, November 23 at the Westin Pasadena. Chen is the executive director of the Asian Pacific Community Fund, and has compiled over 18 years of combined professional working experience in non-profit executive management and operations, financial institution community development management, state government budgetary analysis and academic faculty fields. She is also an active leader in the community, and has served on the San Marino Recreation Commission for more than 10 years. She also volunteers her time to various non-profit organization boards, including the Chinese Club of San Marino, the Taiwan Center Foundation of Southern California, San Marino’s chapter of Partnership for Awareness and the Taiwanese American Scholarship Fund. She also volunteers at schools to assist new families who have immigrated to the United States. Attendees of the gala included San Marino Mayor Dr. Steven Huang, U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, former California Treasurer John Chiang, former San Marino Mayor Dr. Richard Sun and a multitude of mayors and councilmembers from surrounding communities. According to Christopher Teng Balmaseda, the president of Taiwanese-American Professionals of Los Angeles, the November 23 event focused on fundraising more than $10,000 for the 2020 Census, calling all Taiwanese and Taiwanese-Americans to check “Other Asian” and write in “Taiwanese” on the 2020 Census. Chun-Yen is the wife of Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Frank Chen. The couple has two…

San Marino City Council Member Susan Jakubowski (from left), Council Member Steve Talt, Mayor Dr. Steve Huang, Vice Mayor Gretchen Shepherd Romey and Council Member Ken Ude listen to feedback from residents at the Crowell Public Library, July 26. Skye Hannah Photo The San Marino City Council unanimously voted to continue reserving $8 million in Metro 710 N project funds for improvements to the Atlantic Boulevard/Huntington Drive/Los Robles Avenue/Garfield intersection with public input and voted 3-2 to move forward with considering $6 million in funding for Huntington Drive improvements specifically as it relates to school areas. The meeting was held July 26 at the Crowell Public Library. The funds are part of $32 million reserved for San Marino of Measure R transportation sales tax funds, set for placeholder projects. Five projects were presented for consideration. For Project 1 (intersection improvements to Huntington Drive, $12 million), the council rejected the project and funding for three of the four intersections ($4 million) and moved ahead with the fourth intersection, Atlantic Boulevard/Huntington Drive/Los Robles Avenue/Garfield Avenue, ($8 million). Council Member Steve Talt added an amendment that public input be included into the refinement of the proposals, which are set to come back from city staff in September. For Project 2 (Huntington Drive improvements, $6 million), the council voted 3-2 to continue holding the funds specifically as they relate to school areas and have city staff return to the council with refined and clarified proposals in September. Project 4 (Huntington Drive signal synchronization, $7…