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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%.

Five San Marino residents who want to create what a spokesperson for the group called a “presentation film” but were denied filming permits will appeal the decision at the city council meeting on Wednesday, March 11. Alice Shyu, Rosemary Lay, Julie Chan Lin, Carol Huang and Weni Wilson, along with two other women — Winnie Wang and Elizabeth Yang, who do not live in San Marino — were refused filming permits by the city on Feb. 11.

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

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.”

Often removed from the nuts-and-bolts operations of a school district during the COVID-19 pandemic are the basic needs of its students, and the San Marino school board heard a presentation from two experts in the field of socio-emotional wellness at its meeting on Jan. 26.Tonya El-Hendi, a counselor at San Marino High School, and Larry Wong, a licensed marriage and family therapist, provided insight into the condition of students who are approaching one year of isolation because of the coronavirus pandemic from their peers, teachers and many of those whom they interact with regularly during extracurricular activities.

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…

While health officials search for new language to quantify the troubling increase in cases of COVID-19, San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda insisted there is no magic bullet with which to combat the pandemic. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Monday reported that a person dies from the disease every eight minutes in the county, while noting an 898% increase in cases since Dec. 1. San Marino ended 2020 with 244 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic’s beginning, but as of press time Tuesday that number had grown to 289 — an increase of almost 20% in less than two weeks. Deaths from COVID in San Marino also increased, from 8 to 11 in just one week’s time. On a wider basis, the county approached the 1 million mark in COVID cases, with 932,697 reported as of Tuesday. Countywide, the death toll rose to 12,387. Rueda said data has shown that in the county, outbreaks are occurring at airports, workplaces, stores, schools and fitness classes.

The Huntington Library has recently appointed Misty Bennett as chief human resources officer. Bennett, corporate director of talent and culture at Rosewood Hotel Group, begins her new role at the Huntington on Wednesday, Jan. 27. She will join the Huntington’s senior leadership team and report to the vice president and chief financial officer. “Misty’s impressive experience with HR strategy and talent management, her innate curiosity, and her ready ability to solve problems and present fresh ideas made her an absolute standout during the recruitment process,” said Janet Alberti, Anne and Jim Rothenberg vice president and chief financial officer at the Huntington. “The search committee and I were particularly struck by the parallels between Misty’s background in hospitality and the Huntington’s own culture of exceptional visitor service. We are so very pleased to have her joining the Huntington at this pivotal moment, as we are stepping into our next hundred years.”

For the first time since 2004, residents of San Marino are without the services of two cell towers that were the source of controversy because of their placement on school district property. One of the monopine towers, so named because they were designed to resemble pine trees, is located in a maintenance yard adjoining Valentine Elementary and Huntington Middle schools, and the other was at San Marino High School. The towers were deactivated in November, according to Aldo Cervantes, San Marino’s director of community development. The 70-foot tower at SMHS has been removed altogether; it was owned by American Tower. The 60-foot Verizon tower at Valentine and Huntington is still standing, but all of its hardware has been removed and power has been disconnected, rendering it useless. Coverage from the tower formerly at SMHS will be handled by a new mast located in Los Angeles County, and the other tower was replaced with a new rooftop antenna at 2290 Huntington Drive. The San Marino Unified School District was paid $1,000 per month for each tower, The towers elicited opposition from dozens of residents. The station at the high school was located directly atop the Raymond Fault and never received proper permits. It was also within the fall radius of the gymnasium at SMHS. In 2018, a large sinkhole developed just a few yards away from the cell tower, causing the temporary closure of an access road that runs directly behind the gym.

Ken Ude is hoping to figure out what’s going on with the Stoneman School building the same way the city figured out how to approach the San Marino Center last year. The new mayor outlined this among other goals and highlights at his State of the City address this week, an event held virtually on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Ude reiterated that his vote of confidence on the renovation of the San Marino Center came by way of the task force that solicited the community’s input before crafting its recommended model. Answering the question of the Stoneman building was part of the platform that got Ude elected in 2017.