Congresswoman Judy Chu


First published in the Sept. 2 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.

The Chinese School of San Marino hosted an unveiling of the Taiwan Center for Mandarin Learning on Tuesday morning at the school.
The ceremony was held to acknowledge the cooperation between the school and the Overseas Community Affairs Council from the Republic of China (Taiwan) in establishing the center to promote traditional Mandarin learning with Taiwanese characteristics. The Chinese School teaches Mandarin and offers other classes that are conducted in that language.

Photo courtesy Chinese Club of San Marino
Nancy Lee, Mayor Gretchen Shepherd Romey, Maggie Lee, Police Chief John Incontro, Judy Tsai, Luyi Khasi and Cindy Kuo took part in Saturday’s virtual Mid-Autumn Festival, hosted by the Chinese Club of San Marino.

The Chinese Club of San Marino’s annual Mid-Autumn Festival took place this past Saturday evening via Facebook and YouTube. Although the guests were not able to attend the event in traditional banquet style, it was a success as the online format brought an innovative and alternative way to engage the community and raise funds for San Marino schools and the district.

Photo courtesy Richard Cao
Kathleen Chen (front), Fonda Whitehead, Kalyn Litwin and their families speak out against institutional racism.

Kathleen Chen had seen — and heard — enough. When an 89-year-old Cantonese grandmother was slapped and set on fire in New York in July, the senior at Pasadena’s Westridge School decided to take action.
“That specific incident and other racially motivated attacks against Asians and Asian Americans due to the spread of COVID-19 set into motion what I considered the need to organize,” Chen said.
So in August, she launched Vocal Asians for Change, a youth-led movement that exists to raise awareness about anti-Asian racism and start a discussion about how to address that and other social issues, such as racial and gender equality, gun control and voting rights. “We strive to unite with the rest of the BIPOC [Black, indigenous, people of color] community to combat racism and uplift all minorities,” Chen said.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been more than 2,500 cases of racially motivated anti-Asian attacks, according to Chen.

RICHLY DESERVED: San Marino’s consummate volunteer Marilyn Peck, left, was named San Marino’s “Woman of the Year” by Congresswoman Judy Chu, right, at a ceremony that was held last Saturday afternoon in the San Marino Center.

Her dossier reads like a “what’s what” of community volunteerism, and last Saturday afternoon, longtime San Marino resident Marilyn Peck was named “Woman of the Year” by Congresswoman Judy Chu for her many contributions to the community.

Peck has served two-year terms as president of both the San Marino Historical Society and the San Marino Garden Club, served three two-year terms as president of the board of trustees for the Crowell Public Library, and is the incoming president of the San Marino Women’s Club.

She has also served on the board of trustees for San Marino’s Old Mill, the Lacy Park Beautification Committee, and was a member of San Marino’s Bicentennial Committee.

Among her most ambitious projects, Peck originated an essay contest in all five schools in San Marino before the Crowell Public Library opened. Members of the board of trustees read 1,600 essays—three times each—before selecting grade level winners. Winning essays were on display on the walls of the new library on opening day.

She also served on the committee establishing the Crain Memorial Art Gallery at the library in memory of the former our city librarian, who lost her battle with cancer.  

Peck has also been a fervent guardian of two historic murals that were created on the walls of Stoneman Elementary School by famed artist Lucille Lloyd, who also pained two murals at the state capitol building.

The ceremony was held in the San Marino Center.

“The annual Women of the Year awards ceremony is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Chu, who also noted that she received “a flood” of nominations. “Today’s winners stood out not only because of their work, but because of the admiration from their neighbors and fellow citizens. I’m so proud of these role models and am honored to be recognizing them.” 

The award, now in its 10th year, is given to women nominated by members of their own communities.

Sofia Miera, a senior at San Marino High School, has earned the Congressional Gold Medal from United States Congresswoman Judy Chu and will receive her honor at a ceremony in Washington, DC on June 21, the day after her 18th birthday. Miera will be one of almost 400 young people to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
Sofia was awarded the Bronze and Silver Medals in February by Chu at the Congresswoman’s regional office in Pasadena.
The Congressional Award, the United States Congress’s award for young Americans, was established in 1979 to recognize initiative, service, and achievement among the nation’s youth. There are six levels of advancement and participants can earn bronze, silver, and gold certificates and bronze, silver, and gold medals. Each level involves setting goals in the four program areas of voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness and expedition and exploration.
“Earning the award is a fun way to get more involved in something you already enjoy or something you’d like to try for the first time, and in the end you are honored for achieving your own challenging goals,” Miera told The Tribune.
“I registered for the award as a freshman after learning about it through National Charity League,” Miera said. “NCL offered so many volunteer opportunities that I wanted to try, that the goal of earning this award’s 400 service hours seemed possible. I loved working at all my volunteer positions because each one was like a mini job for me, and I grew confident at a young age with how to handle myself professionally at places like Kidspace Museum, The Armory, the Pasadena Senior Center, and assisting in the San Marino Unified School District’s summer school classrooms.”
Miera also served as a junior counselor at Tom Saywer Camps while working on her Girl Scout Gold Award, all of which counted towards her 400 service hours.
Miera is also a member of a competitive dance team, which helped her accrue the 200 hours necessary to fulfill the physical education requirement.

SOLEMN OCCASION: Sofia Miera listens during a memorial service that was held at San Marino High School for the 17 victims of a campus shooting in Florida. Miera was one of the student organizers of the event. Mitch Lehman Photo

“Though I have had a love for traveling since I was little, for me, the expedition portion was the most challenging aspect of the award,” Miera said. “With so much freedom, I did not know where I wanted to go, but during my freshman year I ended up planning a trip to visit my friend, who lives on an organic farm in South Carolina for a week. The 200 hours for Personal Development was the most fun out of the four sections, as the award presses you to think about what new club or activity could make you grow the most. Although I was already the kind of student that loved joining new things, such as Comedy Sportz at SMHS or going to Barnard’s Young Women’s Leadership Institute, the award asks that you spread out your time over the years so you develop a long-term commitment to things you are passionate about. For me, I discovered it was the theater and feminism.”

The “theater” part of that combination has taken up a substantial amount of Miera’s time and energy. The daughter of Laura and Paul Miera has earned a part in all four all-school musicals throughout her career at SMHS.
“Though, this past year, my senior year, has been the most fun and memorable,” Miera added. “Earlier this year the Advanced Drama class put on the hilarious 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee musical and I got the chance to play the super fun role of Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, who is a nerdy, liberal girl with two gay dads. Sadly, my character did not end up winning the Bee, but that didn’t hinder my fondness for the show; it definitely was the most fun I’ve ever had on stage.”
Miera also played Tzeitel in this year’s Fiddler On The Roof.
“Fiddler was surely a very heartwarming show and one that the community seemed to really love, which made the experience all the better,” Miera said. “It’s definitely a show I will truly never forget and was the perfect show to end high school with.”
Miera is a member of the International Thespian Society at San Marino High School and served in the group’s cabinet her junior and senior years.
“Thespians is a society of performing artists on campus who come together to support the San Marino theater community,” Miera said. “We go see local shows, participate in the performing arts at the high school, and engage with the arts community.”
Outside of school, Miera is a member of the National Charity League and Girl Scouts.
“I started Girl Scouts as a little first grader with the intention to just sell more than 15 boxes of Girls Scout cookies,” Miera joked. “But those goals began to grow as the years passed. This past June I was awarded the Gold Award, the highest achievement in the organization, for my time with assisting an adaptive dance company for dancers with Down syndrome, Free 2 Be Me Dance.

Miera was also one of three students at San Marino High School who organized a poignant memorial service for the 17 victims of a tragic shooting in February at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
Miera is headed to Loyola Marymount University in the fall, where she will major in English and minor in either Women’s and Gender Studies or Journalism.
“No matter what I end up doing after college, I want it to be something creative,” Miera added.
She said that working towards the Congressional Gold Medal “taught me to challenge and push myself.”
“At each new stage of the award it made me reevaluate what my priorities were, which made me also think about what things in the world at that point I wanted to change,” Miera said. “This award has been a good platform to express the things that matter to me and that I passionately care about.”

Ivy Sun was named Congressional Woman of the Year representing the City of San Marino, at Congresswoman Judy Chu’s 8th annual Congressional Women of the Year Award Ceremony at the San Marino Center on Saturday, Apr. 8.

“I want to acknowledge the incredible mayor of San Marino once again for hosting us, Mayor Richard Sun!” Chu began. “And, by the way, he has another reason for being here today. His wife, Ivy Sun, is being honored,” Chu said enthusiastically.

Sun was one of 17 women honorees from California’s 27th Congressional District, which Chu represents.

“These are women who stood out in our community because of their drive and commitment to give back to the San Gabriel Valley,” Chu said of the 17 honorees.

She added, “So let me say to each of the honored woman that are here today, being chosen from amongst so many, you are truly deserving of this honor because of your commitment, dedication and hard work. It’s a testament to the admiration of your neighbors and your fellow citizens. You are a true role model for what you do.”

Woman of the Year Honoree Ivy Sun, Congresswoman Judy Chu and Mayor Richard Sun

Chu introduced Sun as “a lifetime educator with over 30 years of experience,” who “has dedicated her life to providing quality education to the youth in our communities.”

She highlighted Sun’s experience as the CEO of South Hills Academy in West Covina, noting that Sun “made sure its students would be critical thinkers and effective communicators in the global world.”

Chu also recognized Sun’s leadership within the Chinese of Club of San Marino, which Chu said has “one of the most prominent Chinese language schools in the San Gabriel Valley.”

Also noted was Sun’s leadership as a commissioner on the LA County Landmark and Record Commission and as a found member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Leadership Foundation.

Sun’s role in the creation of San Marino’s Centennial Book and as a co-author of the recent book, “Practice Happiness: 7 Habits of Joyful Living,” was also acknowledged.

After accepting her certificate from the Congresswoman before a packed hall inside the San Marino Center, Sun thanked Chu for the honor.

“Thank you so much, Congresswoman Judy Chu. It’s truly an honor for me to receive this award and it really means a lot to me,” Sun said.

“I’m especially blessed and honored to learn about all the fellow recipients today. You are all outstanding leaders in your communities and you will be a model for me as well,” she noted.

“I’m also happy to learn that once in a while I get to be nasty, right?” she said, the crowd bursting into laughter at the term that has been embraced by women since President Donald Trump’s derogatory use of the word. “That’s good to know.”

Sun praised Congresswoman Chu for her impact on the 27th Congressional District.

“Judy, as you all know, is a very strong leader. She believes in everything she does. And she’s dedicated and passionate about what she choose to do,” she said.

“Thank you all for coming today. And especially my friends and family thank you for your support. And of course, my husband, Dr. Richard Sun, who happens to be the mayor of this wonderful City of San Marino,” Sun concluding, thanking Chu for choosing San Marino to host this year’s ceremony.

Jack Orswell’s address to the Rotary Club of San Marino was not his first. In fact, it was his third time speaking to the group in the last 5 years, one for each time he’s run for Congress.

“Third time’s the charm,” said Orswell, who will once again face off against incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Judy Chu.

When he decided to run the first time, he thought, “I figured it’s time to get rid of some politicians and start getting people with business experience.”

After running two campaigns to represent California’s 27th Congressional District, and now in the middle of a third, he’s learned that running for political office is “a separate world all unto itself.”

“Nobody has any clue as to how this election is going to turn out when you have two [presidential] candidates with the unfavorable rates that [Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump] do,” Orswell said in response to a Rotarian’s question about the differences between this election year and the last two election cycles.

Throughout all three campaigns, Orswell’s motivation has stayed the same.

“Congress Doesn’t Know Jack.”

It’s been his campaign’s slogan through all three campaign, too, which he’s spread via bumper sticker.

“Obviously I’m the Republican candidate running against the Democrat, but when we’re handing out these stickers, Democrats and Republicans all love them because the brief statement speaks a lot for what’s going on [in Washington D.C.],” Orswell said.

“Let’s stop playing politics and let’s start solving some problems,” he said, noting that Congress is the “weak link in our government today.”

The former police officer and FBI agent said that his qualifications are no different than those of other Americans.

“Just like everybody else, you’ve got to be 25-years old and a United States citizen,” he said.

“You’ve got to be interested in government and maybe have a little bit of common sense, but that doesn’t seem to be a requirement with the way things are going on right now,” he added, garnering laughter from the crowd of 50 Rotarians.

The longtime Boy Scout and Venturing leader noted that congressional inaction will be particularly detrimental to future generations.

“I’ve been involved with kids for a long, long time and I feel that there’s a lot of things that are not getting done that should be done [to] start looking towards the future,” said Orswell, identifying the need for congressional action on the national debt and deficit and social security.

In addition, he said his top three platforms are fighting crime and terrorism, creating jobs and fixing infrastructure.

In a 15-minute question and answer session following his prepared remarks, Orswell also discussed the Zika Virus, 710 Freeway extension, education, homelessness and domestic terrorism.


“The Zika virus represents a significant health risk, a significant economic risk, and congress is playing politics when to me it’s pretty simple: let’s fund the necessary research to come up with a vaccine and solve the issues that Zika is posing to the United States and to the rest of the world,” he said.

710 Freeway

“A tunnel is not going to solve the problem. All it’s going to do is facilitate two lanes of traffic into the 210,” said Orswell.

As an alternative, he suggested, “[F]ederal dollars would be much better spent on service transportation, expanding the Gold Line out to the San Bernardino airport.”


“I’m a firm believer that education can alleviate poverty.”


Orswell promoted Michael Antonovich, candidate for the 25th State Senate District, and Kathryn Barger, candidate for the Los Angeles County 5th Supervisorial District, for their strategies to help the homeless.

Domestic Terrorism

He said, “I want to be the advocate back in Congress supporting federal funds for police agencies.”

His concluding message to the audience was, “Don’t fall asleep on government because government will take advantage of you. We need people involved in politics.”

Jack Orswell was born and raised in Pasadena. He attended Pasadena City College and the University of Southern California. In the 1970s, he was a police officer with the Pasadena PD. He then joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 15 years. In 1984, he moved to Arcadia with his wife, Janet, and three children, Jeff, Jane and Julie. He was an Arcadia Reserve police officer from 1993 to 2014. Orswell owns an environmental consulting and investigation company.

Linda Sun
Linda Sun

San Marino’s Linda Sun received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from United States Congresswoman Judy Chu at a ceremony held in San Gabriel on April 16. It is the seventh year Chu has presented the award in California’s 27th Congressional District.

Last year, Sun was a key part of two of the most important local election issues: Measure E, the proposed renewal of a parcel tax last March that is vital to the economic health of the San Marino Unified School District, and the Safety Tax that appeared on the ballot in November and helps fund San Marino’s police, fire and paramedic services. Both were approved by voters.

“It is a combination of many things,” Sun said when asked to explain her spirit of volunteerism. She then explained her Catholic upbringing and a Buddhist epiphany that cemented her desire to get involved in the community. Sun practices Tzu Chi, which– literally translated–means “compassion relief.”

“I always admired Mother Teresa,” said Sun. “She helped build a hospital in Taiwan and I was so impressed. Through my work in a charitable organization back in the late 80s, I realized that all humans are pursuing the same goal of peace and happiness. We may have a different skin color, but we are pursuing the same life goal.”

Sun said that when she started volunteering in the San Marino PTA, she would “preach” to new families, telling new residents “they weren’t in San Marino just to enjoy a good life.”

“I would tell my fellow parents, especially those who were new immigrants to the city, that they needed to volunteer and donate to follow up on the long history of giving in San Marino,” she explained. “I told them they had to volunteer, to help each other. This is an outstanding city.”

Sun said she met initial resistance from community members.

“Many of the newer immigrants didn’t understand that even though we have a public school district, we still needed to provide extra support to our schools through avenues such as the Schools Foundation,” she said. “I am trying to preach the message to tell the new immigrants what is going on in our city. They should work together in order to play a very important role. I hope this kind of spirit continues throughout this city. I have read the about the history of San Marino and, from the beginning, the founders wanted to create a different and special place.”

Linda and her husband, Hai-Sou Chen, have a daughter, Emmy, who will be a freshman at San Marino High School in the fall. Hai-Sou is the current president of the Chinese Club of San Marino.

Linda Sun has been active in the San Marino PTA, PTA Council and also served on the board of the San Marino Schools Foundation for six years. She is a past President of Partnership for Awareness.

Congresswoman Judy Chu awarded the City of San Marino’s Recreation Department a certificate of Congressional recognition for its Senior Outreach programming at an April 7 ceremony, which was held at the South Pasadena Public Library. Recreation Manager Rosa Pinuelas accepted the award on behalf of the City.

The recognition was specifically targeted for the Recreation Department’s excellent usage of Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds in delivering its Senior Quality of Life class, Senior Computer and iPad instructional class, Gentle Yoga class, and its outstanding field trips program.

The City is able to provide these services free of charge to the San Marino’s senior citizens thanks to the $5,773 CDBG and HOME grants, according to Recreation Supervisor Eddie Covarrubias.

The Senior Quality of Life class—held at the Crowell Public Library—provides an opportunity for seniors to get together and talk about a range of issues. Their conversation is facilitated by a professional of social work and geriatrics with the goal of providing a support network for seniors. Classes for iPad and desktop computer use are also held at the Public Library.

Gentle Yoga classes, which draw an average of 50 to 60 residents per class, meet at the San Marino Center.

“We’re really proud of our instructors, what they accomplish and what the Recreation Department can accomplish with such low funding,” said Covarrubias.

Congresswoman Judy Chu said of the ceremony, “it’s an opportunity to highlight the success of some of the most important federal programs that are used to help the cities and people right here in our district.”

by Winston Chua

San Marino Rotarians gathered for their weekly meeting this past Thursday, one that featured a presentation from Congresswoman Judy Chu, this city’s representative in the 27th Congressional District.

After an introduction by Councilman Richard Sun, Congresswoman Chu lauded the San Marino club as “the only club that thought to honor” recently nominated service academy candidates, thanking Jack Hamilton and the club for recognizing them.

She also touched on a number of topics including new small business development centers (SBDC), the veteran’s medial clinic located at Pasadena City College, wanting to make the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument, clean water and transportation.

Chu recently attended the kickoff for a children’s retail store called Happily Wear After whose founding was greatly assisted by the Pasadena SBDC that she advocated for. The University of La Verne has also recently opened a SBDC which Chu believes will help pave the way for job growth.

The Congresswoman then reaffirmed her commitment to extending the Gold Line from Azusa to Claremont and Montclair, all the way to the Ontario Airport.  She, along with Congresspersons Adam Schiff and Grace Napolitano, have advocated to allot funding for such an extension. The line to Azusa should be ready for completion by 2015.

Chu also talked about cleaning up the contaminants that have polluted the SGV’s drinking water and providing Californians with a storage of water than can sustain  its needs in the future. She hopes that a bill she introduced will pass and allow for expiring water monies to be extended for another five years.

Also on Chu’s list was discussion about the efforts to make the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument, a designation that would grant the area federal funding which would be used for upkeep, restoration, maintenance, signage and safety.

“What many people don’t realize is just how much strain this region is under to keep up with the growing demand for outdoor space and recreational opportunities,” Chu said, explaining that safety hazards and adverse conditions threaten fire safety, water quality and unique ecology.

San Marino Rotarians Linda Wah and Denise Wadsworth are part of the final issue Chu discussed, that of providing adequate care for veterans.

“I was shocked when I heard that there was no veterans health clinic in the San Gabriel Valley,” Chu said, talking about the importance of having one nearby for medical treatment (Pasadena City College has agreed to host one on campus.).

“Our military personnel have served us well,” said Wadsworth after the meeting. Wadsworth was lauded by Chu during her speech. “It’s essential that we do the same for them.”

Chu said that about $250,000 is needed to make infrastructure improvements.

PCC has the second largest population of veterans in the community colleges with at least 900. Wadsworth, Wah and Chu are working to complete fundraising efforts to have the Veterans’ Health Center of the Foothills completed by the fall of 2015.

Chu has been a vocal advocate for protection against military hazing after her 21-year-old nephew Harry Lew committed suicide while serving in Afghanistan.