First published in the Sept. 23 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
What began almost as an aside has now escalated to a point where the city of San Marino is at loggerheads with many of its employees. “The city of San Marino takes seriously its primary function — protecting the health and safety of the San Marino community, while also meeting its obligation to provide a safe and healthy workforce,” said a Sept. 9 post on the city’s website. “Because of this, the city will be requiring that all city employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In consultation with City Council, the city has made the determination that regular testing will not be a viable alternative for those who are not vaccinated, and therefore, in the absence of a reasonable medical or religious accommodation, employees who do not get vaccinated will not be able to continue their tenure with the city.”
First published in the Sept. 9 print issue of the San Marino Tribune.
Valentine Elementary School 3rd and 4th graders recently attended the annual Bike Safety Rodeo, where students spent a portion of the school day brushing up on their bike safety knowledge and skills. Students also practiced riding and signaling with Valentine’s physical education teacher Wes Gonzales and listened to an informative safety talk provided by San Marino police officers. Brent Bilvado, a parent, organized the event and Principal Alana Faure and PTA President Erin Clougherty were present to cheer for the students.
Community members have been shaken by the presence of a man who is experiencing homelessness and has been living near Huntington Middle School and the Crowell Public Library, city officials said this week. The San Marino Police Department and San Marino Unified School District both told the Tribune that the departments have received a substantial amount of outreach from the general public expressing concerns over the matter. John Incontro, San Marino’s Chief of Police, said that he has been aware of the situation for “three or four weeks” and that he is looking into finding a solution.
Abby Geng, an 8th grader at Huntington Middle School, recently earned some extra money teaching a virtual cooking class. Abby and her parents consulted on the matter and agreed the funds would best be used “for something special.” The result — a $200 donation to the San Marino Police Department, to the pleasant surprise of San Marino Police Chief John Incontro.
Now is the time for San Marino to come together as a community and bring back the goodwill and unity to the city we love so much. The Chinese Club of San Marino was founded more than 40 years ago as a support system for new immigrants to San Marino. Four decades later, sadly we are still dealing with many of the same issues we had in the past. As an active member of the San Marino community, CCSM has donated millions of dollars to various organizations within the city through the years. We will continue to play an active role within the community to promote understanding, love and unity in San Marino. Even with clean streets, manicured lawns and civic traditions, San Marino has not been immune to the global pandemic and the ensuing rise in hate, violence and aggression directed at the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Recent events and world issues have been divisive in nature, and as humans our first instinct is to look for answers often times by placing blame. The community is what makes San Marino special. The Chinese Club of San Marino asks everyone to rededicate themselves to the family values and community spirit to support each other through these times. This past year has been extremely difficult on our Chinese American communities, and we have felt the weight of the pandemic across every area of our country. As we live through traumatic acts of hate, xenophobic rhetoric and violence, there is an even greater need for our diverse communities to come together to collectively address the challenges that we are facing. COVID-19 has posed issues for all of us.
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.”
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.
San Marino City Hall was fumigated during the Thanksgiving holiday period, while upgrades to local Police Department offices that were begun at the same time will continue for about a month, municipal officials said.
The tarps that are a familiar part of the fight against termites — and, in San Marino’s case, other pests as well — were assembled on Wednesday of last week and came down Saturday morning.
The City Council this week will consider maintenance and upgrades to the San Marino Police Department that, like much of the deferred care for municipal buildings, is likely long overdue. The council is being asked to use up to $66,700 to fumigate the building to address termite infestation and to spend as much as $108,500 for an electrical infrastructure upgrade that will, among other benefits, allow the department to implement state-mandated updates to its 911 system. Both items include a 10% contingency fee to cover any unforeseen additions to the bill.
The San Marino Police Department has a new officer, of sorts, whose job is telling you when you’re driving too fast on the city’s picturesque roadways. That “officer” is called a speed awareness monitor, and you’ll start seeing it towering over passing vehicles along, say, Sierra Madre Boulevard or Huntington Drive, where it will let motorists know if they should ease off the accelerator a bit while it also works on compiling traffic data for the city. Attached to a trailer, it can easily be towed around town as needed. “We can’t be everywhere at once,” explained SMPD Sgt. Tim Tebbetts, “and hopefully this will alert a driver who is innocently not paying attention.” This new piece of equipment replaces a similar trailer that was around 25 years old, Tebbetts said. That older device was shorter, meaning traffic often blocked it from being viewed by drivers farther away from it, and its older battery system meant that it needed to be charged every day. By contrast, the newer device, manufactured by Stalker Radar, boasts batteries that can power the system for up to three weeks on a single charge and also solar panels to charge those batteries.