July 12, 2008 Meeting Summary


E-mail reminder.   Non e-mail phone list was phoned.


Susan brought cookies.


11 members


Agenda Items:

  • Viña Vieja Park update
  • Water rate hike
  • Community workshop
  • Former Allstate property
  • Parking enforcement
  • Marathon route
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Kaiser move to local building & parking situation
    • SE corner Foothill & SMV status
    • North SMV to west Foothill left turn lane signal fixed

The meeting began at 11:20 am

  • Viña Vieja Park update
    • Nothing has changed regarding dogs off leash while outside the off leash area.  There are still many of them, sometimes intimidating other visitors, and there is also still a lot of poop being left all over.
    • New poop post along the pedestrian path is accumulating waste and trash, so it is doing some good.  But it doesn’t seem to be emptied very often and bag roll is usually empty.
    • Overwatering has continued also.
    • temporary pedestrian path has deteriorated badly.
    • city? has again been piling dirt in the area east of the path (where the ice rink building is supposed to go)
  • Water rate hike
    • Pasadena Water & Power rates for water increased on July 1.  Two separate rate components are increasing.  One has to do with the cost of water and will be seen in the tiered rates.  The other is a substantial increase in the fixed rate paid on the basis of the size of your meter, whether or not you use any water.
    • The water usage rate increase was to take effect automatically unless a majority of water customers protested before or at a public hearing by the City Council.  Notifications were sent to parcel owners in April.  The public hearing was held during the City Council meeting on June 16.
    • The fixed costs increase had to be approved by ordinance by the City Council.
    • Only 13 protest letters were received and counted.  3 additional letters were not counted because they didn’t include the sender’s parcel number.  There are over 13 thousand customers.  Three additional people spoke at the hearing.
    • Our member Linda Siggins attended and spoke at the hearing.
    • There was virtually no discussion by the Council of what was actually being increased and why.  As is often the case, they don’t bother because it was already discussed by the Finance Committee.
    • It was brought up that the fixed cost charge for operational services such as billing, meter reading, etc is not based on what it actually costs PWP.  Apparently there is a study underway currently to discover what the costs actually are.  The head of PWP said that will be the subject of a future long discussion before the City Council.  So the requested increase is just because they know costs of many things have gone up since the last increase in 1995.  The staff report didn’t indicate how they chose the amount of the increase.
    • There was a little discussion by Council members about how residents could have been notified better and about how the rates can be better explained to customers.
    • There was a reference to conservation measures to be imposed on customers coming soon.
    • Linda felt her questions on what the city is doing to conserve on its own water use, especially the overwatering at parks, were not seriously addressed.  It was noted that Victory Park has water sensors that are supposed to control how much water is applied, that the off leash dog area needs extra watering to dilute the urine, and that some underground watering systems have been put into street medians.  At the end, it was suggested that city staff should look into better communicating what the city is doing to conserve water.
  • Community workshop
    • Sent e-mail to identified city staff member asking why only considering large parcels. Got no response.  Did not attend.
  • Former Allstate property
    • Have been signs of increased security on the property.
    • There is now a security trailer in the parking lot.  Residents have observed a guard sitting in a car.
    • The Nanostream sign in front of the green stucco building on Sierra Madre Villa has been replaced with a Cogent sign.  Cogent was the buyer of the property 1 1/2 years ago.  Moving van activity has been noticed.
  • Parking enforcement
    • At 5:45 am and continuing closer to 6 am on Wednesday July 9 a Pasadena Police Officer was observed going through our entire neighborhood putting tickets on cars parked in the street.  Including a car just moved into the street so a spouse could get their car out of their driveway to go to work.
    • No parking time is from 2 am to 6 am.   That is no parking at all, not even for a few minutes.
    • This is unusual behavior in that the police don’t usually do parking tickets, leaving that to the city contracted parking enforcement firm.
    • Could be related, however, to a change in the firm the city contracts with to do parking enforcement.  The previous company’s contract was to expire July 1, but was extended for a month while the city signs up the low bidder for the next contract period.  But it appears there is some dispute about whether the bidding was evaluated fairly. The new company is based in Europe, the old company is local.
    • It may be that Pasadena PD is stepping up its parking enforcement activity to fill in, prove a point, make money, ?.
  • Marathon route
    • Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K, Bike Tour, and a 3.1-Mile Fun Run/Walk
    • Pasadena Marathon reported on June 19 that the full and half marathon and bike routes have been approved.  Bike and full marathon routes are the same.
    • All routes start and end next to PCC on Colorado Blvd.
    • The full marathon and bike tour come to East Pasadena on Orange Grove, go north on Sierra Madre Blvd almost to Sierra Madre Villa, the circle back and go south on Sierra Madre Blvd to Villa, then circle back to Orange Grove Blvd and head back west on it.
    • Sunday Nov 16 starting as early as 7 am.
    • Cap of 8000 registrations for all the events combined.
    • Fees range from $20 for Fun Run/Walk to $80 for the full marathon, but go up to $30 to $90 on September 1.
  • Police activity
    • A couple weeks ago there was a swarm of police activity on and off through the afternoon in the neighborhood, including a helicopter and many cars.  It seemed to be centered near the north end of the northern segment of Santa Paula.   Do not have any further information.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Kaiser move to local building & parking situation
      • Kaiser is readying the building on the southwest corner of Foothill and Sierra Madre Villa.  Have seen construction work on the south side of the building.
      • One of our members has received flyers through their employer indicating that Kaiser should be moved in and operational in early September.
      • Quoting from a flyer “From light-filled rooms to eco-friendly design and construction, your new 55,000 square foot Pasadena Medical Office Building at 3280 East Foothill Boulevard will embody Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to wellness, healing, and the environment.”
      • Too little parking is a known issue with this building.  Particularly in “flu season”.
      • We have heard via rumor that Kaiser has contracted with a church to use their parking lot for the extra required parking the site needs.  Probably by having employees park there and take a shuttle.
      • If our residents notice people parking on their street to go to the Kaiser building, they should note the license plates, date and time.  Last year Kaiser real property managers promised to regulate their parking so it would not affect the neighborhood and that they would use their security to fix any problems that arise.  Of course they can probably only realistically regulate their employees, but if there is a pattern of customers not using the approved parking arrangements then Kaiser can be required to make changes to address that.
    • SE corner Foothill & SMV status
      • The empty lot on the southeast corner of Foothill and Sierra Madre Villa is still slated to be developed with 212 condos.  The Stuart pharmaceutical building is to be reused and added onto to become a live theater.
      • The developer has the necessary approvals except for going through the Design Commission with the architectural plans.
      • Last timeline heard would have building begin early 2009.
    • North SMV to west Foothill left turn lane signal fixed
      • One of our attendees has noticed that the left turn signal from northbound Sierra Madre Villa to westbound Foothill now stays on long enough to clear the vehicles waiting for it where previously it was only was only on long enough for one car to get through.

Next meeting is August 9, 2008.

Adjourned about 12:10 pm