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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.

Grace Navarro San Marino’s Grace Navarro has advanced to the semifinal round of the Los Angeles Music Center’s annual Spotlight program, thus remaining in contention for more than $100,000 in scholarships.Navarro, a junior at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), is majoring in classical voice in the school’s opera company and vocal department. She attended Valentine Elementary and Huntington Middle schools before spending a year at Maranatha, then it was on to LACHSA.“This is an incredibly unique school and it has given me so many opportunities,” said Navarro. “I love all of my peers, friends and teachers at LACHSA because we are like-minded people and inspire one another to strive for citizen artistry. I really couldn’t ask for a better high school experience. By far, my favorite part about LACHSA is the confidence it instills in me. My teachers always encourage me to believe in what I am doing.”Navarro also studies piano, music theory and acting. After LACHSA, she plans on taking a gap year before applying to conservatory.

Photos courtesy San Marino National Little LeagueThe Red Angels and Team All Black pose for a joint team photo among the signage welcoming San Marino’s Little Leaguers back to action. Pictured above are (front row, from left) Keegan Vuong, Max Carpiac, Henry Kang, Jake Flores, Jamie Chung, Grant Walker, Emilio Carr, Herman Webb, Grant O’Mara and Jack Rome. Back: Will Martin, Fuming Yang, Dylan Harris, Dylan Lau, Chace Lee, Mason Hsieh, Vincent Hou, Luke Delgado and Nick Grossi. There is perhaps no more accurate indicator of the societal heath of San Marino than the condition of its Little League. That institution received a spotless check-up at last Saturday morning’s annual Opening Day festivities.Though teams had been returning to practice sessions for several weeks, players donned uniforms and — in many cases — matching facemasks to celebrate the official return to the season.“It was great to have our kids back on the fields,” said Daisy Wilson, president of San Marino National Little League, noting that more than 300 kids played their first games on Saturday. “It is so nice to finally be surrounded by some normalcy as we hopefully get back to reality.”Until further notice, spectators must be from a player’s immediate family, remain socially distanced, and are not allowed to sit in the grandstands.

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.

Less than two weeks after the defeat of Measure E, the San Marino school board unanimously approved a resolution calling for the elimination of 41 teaching and advisory positions in order to balance the budget for the 2021-22 school year, it was announced at Tuesday night’s board meeting. Though the results of the election have not yet been certified, Measure E had been approved by 2,192 voters (63.04%) to 1,285 (36.96%) who voted in opposition. Measure E required a two-thirds majority for passage. Measure E raised $4 million annually at $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 will now expire in June 2021, erasing approximately 10% of the district’s budget.

The Rev. Jenifer Chatfield was filled with anticipation. After going through a six-month interview process that began in the early fall of 2019, Chatfield was officially called to serve as the eighth rector of San Marino’s St. Edmunds Episcopal Church. Chatfield, who was introduced to the parish in January 2020, presided over her first service on March 1, 2020, which coincided with the first Sunday of Lent. “I had a great time,” said Chatfield, laughing, and with full understanding of what was coming next. “The following Sunday, there was no communion wine, no hugs. No shaking of hands. Then of course, we know what happened.” Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to run its course, Chatfield didn’t quite finish that sentence. She has, however, gone about the business of forging relationships with her parishioners in what is among the most difficult ministerial environment, especially for a newcomer.

Diane Falconer’s journey has taken her, literally, around the world. Falconer, who was raised in San Marino when she was known by her maiden name Diane Harwich, attended and later graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. While there, she received a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship and traveled to the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, Australia, from 1983-84, where she studied worked on her master’s degree as the Rotary Club of San Marino’s second international scholar. Now a resident of Connecticut, Falconer virtually addressed the club last Thursday afternoon, saying her ambassadorial experience changed her life, so much so that she used it as the title of her presentation. She even had a chance to rekindle her relationship with Rotarian Barbara Bice, who as Falconer’s college counselor suggested she apply for the scholarship. Falconer began by showing a slide of the famous “Earthrise,” a photograph that was taken by astronauts aboard Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve 1968.

Though supporters of Measure E — the parcel tax which partially funds the San Marino Unified School District — received an increase in votes this past week, the final numbers weren’t enough to approve the parcel tax, which went down to defeat. Measure E was a funding source which provides more than $4 million to the district’s coffers.

The San Marino educational community is mobilizing its response to the defeat of Measure E, the parcel tax which raised more than $4 million annually for the district’s schools. At its meeting on Tuesday evening, the San Marino school board was expected to approve a resolution calling for the elimination of 41 teaching and advisory positions in order to balance the budget for the 2021-22 school year. By law, the district must provide layoff notices for the upcoming school year to employees by Monday, March 15. The call has also gone out to the San Marino Schools Foundation [SMSF], an organization which is typically enlisted for duty during times of financial duress.