April 9, 2011 Meeting Summary


E-mail and phone reminders


Susan brought pumpkin and pecan?&cranberry breads


8 members


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:26 am

  • City Council Election Runoff April 19
    • The run-off election for our City Council District between Gene Masuda and Jill Fosselman is on April 19.
    • Everyone is urged to research the candidates and vote.
    • The City Council really has a major impact on our local environment and our everyday lives.
    • Because of the relatively small area represented, and the sparseness of the ballot compared to other elections, your vote has its largest impact in this election.
    • This election is likely to be close.  Every vote could be the difference.
    • Just learned you have to take a trip and won’t be able to get to the polls on the 19th, but it’s too late to apply, receive, and return an absentee ballot?
      You can vote early in person at the City Clerk’s office in City Hall.  8 am to 5 pm weekdays.  10 am to 2 pm on Saturday April 16.
    • Questions about the where/when of voting?  Call the City Clerk’s office at 626 744-4124.
  • Public Safety Community Meeting Summary
    • On March 24 at 7 pm there was a community meeting titled “Public Safety in our Neighborhoods” held at First Church of the Nazerene on Sierra Madre Blvd.
    • Hosted by Councilmember Haderlein, it featured presentations by, and question and answers with, the Pasadena Police Department’s Chief Phillip Sanchez and the east service area Lt. Thomas Delgado.
    • The east service area is everything in the city east of Altadena Drive.
    • Some points they made:
      • East Pasadena has the lowest crime rate in the city for “Part 1” crimes.
      • property crime is an acute problem now, but violent crime is the lowest it has been for 5 years
      • Pasadena has a higher rate then the national average of solving all types of crime except burglary and larceny.
      • analysis suggests that “young people” are committing lots of crimes of opportunity they would not have done a few years ago
        • those convicted of property crime serve only a small portion of their sentence and they often are not locked up while awaiting trial.  Same people are being arrested repeatedly.
      • Pasadena PD has several programs to try to keep youth out of trouble, including the Explorers, Cadets, and PAL the Police Athletics League.
      • In Dec 2010 a burglary task force was formed.  Using search warrants and probation checks they have made 51 arrests so far.
      • Auto burglaries are way up.  24 hr Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Best Buy, along Foothill where car repair shops are.
      • Said could reduce car burglaries 75-70% if people would just put stuff away instead of leaving them visible in their cars.  Favorites are GPS, iPods, computers, purses. And if you are going to put stuff in your trunk, don’t do it where you are going to leave your car, such as at the gym. Would be thieves are watching for that. Put the stuff in your trunk before you drive to the gym. (If you stick purchases in your car at the mall before going to another store, consider moving your car.)
      • “Knock knock” burglaries are a trend.
      • Burglars as young as 12 years old.  Females are also increasingly involved in residential burglaries.
      • Most burglaries are happening during the daytime.
      • Also have gang members going in specifically to look for firearms, and some high end burglars going for art, jewelry, etc.
      • Because of current trends, if kids are wandering around during school hours call 626 744-4241.  (Because there are many different schools and home schooling, it is hard to know when kids are supposed to be in school.)
      • The “one officer, one beat, one year” program is supposed to let the officers get to know an area better and citizens to work on issues with the same officer
      • Citizens report being turned off on calling police by their perception of dispatcher “rudeness”.  They think it is just because the 911 operators are taught to extract critical information first.  Dispatchers are typing information to officers as they talk to the caller.
      • License plates and descriptions are critical, but don’t put yourself at risk to get them.
      • Response protocal gives number one priority to crime of violence in progress.  They say their response time is pretty good.
      • If in the city and call 911 on a cell phone but get a busy signal, call directly to 626 744-4241 instead.  Many cell phone calls to 911 still go to CHP dispatchers to be redirected to the appropriate local agency.
      • Pasadena PD is a client of CopLink, a county system that allows officers to exchange information with other jurisdictions.
      • the community relations unit is the subject matter expert on how to secure a home.
      • Door hangers and flyers are protected speech under the first amendment.  If you will be away, arrange with neighbors to pick the stuff up for you.
      • Recyling bin scavenging is a violation.  The contents are city property once the bins are at the curb.
      • Guys standing on corners or medians soliciting.  They have their “turf”.  They wouldn’t be there if enough people weren’t giving them money.  They make good money doing that.  They just go spend it on drugs/alcohol.  If you want to help them, give to charities.  It’s their 1st amendment right to stand with a sign on public property as long as they don’t obstruct traffic.
      • East Colorado prostitution problem is somewhat less obvious partly because of proactive police action but also because using the internet means theydon’t have to walk the streets as much.
    • Many of the officers and cadets who work in the east service area were introduced, along with some firefighters who seemed to be from elsewhere in the city.  There were about 27 total.  They said they were aware criminals might try to take advantage and that there were more then the usual number of officers, cadets, and volunteers patroling our area during the meeting.
    • Sung praises of Citizens Police Academy (CPAC) volunteers program. Provide great eyes and ears.   Deployed them to Bungalow Heaven area and have since gotten 7 arrests in 7 incidents.
    • Said if there is a specific traffic problem, should call Lt Randall Taylor who is in charge of traffic.  He can arrange to post traffic officers where they need to be and/or to use volunteers to do radar.
    • Repeatedly encouraged setting up Neighborhood Watch.  Call Laura Morris, 626 744-7657 or e-mail: [email protected]
    • Also promoted Home Security Surveys by the Community Services Section of the Pasadena Police Dept.  A Crime Prevention Representative will walk through your home and suggest ways to reduce the chances of burglary. To schedule a survey, call Laura Morris, 626 744-7657 or e-mail: [email protected]
    • Promoting use of http://www.crimemapping.com/map/ca/pasadena,  although admitted as much as three weeks behind due to a lack of Pasadena PD resources for entering the information. Some problems with systems and correlating information. Said had added resources and were catching up.
    • Promoted signing up with http://www.nixle.com to get messages from law enforcement about things happening.  (For the most part, they are just press releases of no time importance.  Very occasionally there is notice of a breaking event.)
    • Frequently called numbers:
      • Report crime or suspicious activity:  626 744-4241
      • Traffic Section: 626 744-4590
      • Parking Enforcement: 626 744-6440
      • Graffiti Hotline: 626 744-7622
      • Community Services Section: 626 744-7657
  • Neighborhood Crime
    • This week just across the wash in Daisy Villa an incident of suspicious activity occured.
      • At 1 p.m. a doorbell of an older couple was rung twice, followed by loud knocking, two more rings and three more loud knocks.
      • The lady of the house called out “who’s there?”
      • A male voice answered something like “Does Taylor live here?”
      • The lady answered “no” and the man left.
      • The man of the house immediately called the police.
      • He reports that within two minurtes four or five police cars were going up and down the streets.
      • One of the cars stopped at their house and the officer told them that is the modus operendi of a team of a man and a women who have been committing burglaries, usually between 1 and 3 pm.
    • Reports from website crimemapping.com
      • Residential Burglary, March 18, 8:15 am, 3200 block of E Orange Grove Blvd.
      • Disturbing the peace, March 7, 2 pm, 3100 block of E Orange Grove Blvd.
      • Assault, March 25, 7:15 pm, 3200 block Estado
      • Fraud, April 6, midnight, Santa Paula and Estado
      • Burglary, Feb 1, 10:15 am, 3200 block Las Lunas
      • At least 5 residential burglaries, several vehicle break-ins and thefts, in Lower Hastings in past two months
  • Emergency Communications Tower
    • The project to build an Emergency communications tower just north of the water well on the other side of the Edison wires has resurfaced.
    • On June 30 of last year at a community meeting at the PCC center on Foothill, they told us the plan was to build it last fall and have it operational in December.  The Conditional Use Permit was granted in early August, but then no further activity was evident.
    • At the City Council meeting this Monday April 11, the Council is being asked to approve the construction contract for it to CHAP, Inc. of Glendale, CA for an amount not to exceed $182,600.
    • An aside – the plan check map of the project site shows a “Central Avenue” east of Avocado Ave and running straight all the way from south of Alameda to Las Lunas.  I heard last year that Santa Paula was originally named “Central Avenue”.  But that was sometime over 50 years ago, and I doubt it ever ran in one line all the way from south of Alameda to Las Lunas.  You would think the city would have updated all their maps by now, and would hope that somebodyin the city would notice such errors.
    • Here is a recap of the information we were provided about it at the meeting last June 30:
      • A 75 to 78 foot tall radio communications tower and 15 by 20 foot one story equipment room.
      • Located immediately north of the water well which is north of the Goodrich power substation. On city owned land between Eaton Wash and the Edison high tension electric lines.
      • Site can be seen if you look directly west from the vehicle gates on Avocado Ave immediately north of Alameda St.
      • Purpose is to provide better emergency radio communication throughout the east side of Pasadena.  Primarily police and fire.  Currently there are areas in East Pasadena that are dead zones or intermittent for portable radios.  Inside buildings are even worse.  Further, FCC is requiring switching from analog to digital signals and with digital you get complete loss of communication rather then just poor quality when signal is very weak.
      • This would be third repeater tower in Pasadena.  There is already one on far west side on Mirador Mtn and one at Police Dept.
      • The site was determined to be ideal for best coverage with added benefit that from a view scape perspective it will blend in with Edison and Goodrich electrical infrastructure.
      • It was determined that the high tension electric lines will not cause interference with the radio signals.
      • Pasadena is a member of ICIS, a group of 7 agencies and cities in LA County that are coordinating for joint interoperability of communications.  This is very important for major emergencies such as wild fires and earthquakes where multiple agencies are providing mutual aid.
      • Tower would be a steel lattice structure, 5 feet wide at the base and tapering to the top.  Because it is considerably shorter then the Edison towers (which are up to 180′ tall) it will not need any lighting.
      • Radio tower will operate at 480 Mhz with 100 watts of non-ionizing radiation.  Described as Not like cell phones.
      • Equipment is unmanned and the site will be monitored remotely.  There will probably be a weekly maintenance visit.
      • Construction was expected to take about 2 weeks and be done via the road from Foothill that runs adjacent to the power substation.
      • Questions can be directed to:
        • Christina Kuo, Project Manager, Department of Information Technology, City of Pasadena
          Phone (626)744-7376 | Fax (626)396-7273 | [email protected]
  • Pasadena’s new Online Citizen Service Center
    • The City announced this past week the debut of its new Online Citizens Service Center.
    • You can use it to get answers to frequently asked questions and make service requests.
    • Access it by going to the city’s main page at http://www.cityofpasadena.net and clicking on Citizen Service Center.
    • Claims it is usable from smart phones as well as from regular computers.
    • Says there are currently 300 answers to frequently asked questions, all specific to Pasadena.
    • It allows users of the frequently asked questions search to indicate when a document answered the question.  That is then used to sort results for relevance in response to future searches.
    • “Service requests are routed directly to the specific departments responsible for responding to and tracking issues. Any customers who include an e-mail address receive a confirmation and tracking number that enables them to monitor the progress of the request via the website.”
    • As you need information or service from the city, please try using it and see if it actually does provide better service then phone calls have.
    • Included on the list of possible requests is feedback on the service center itself.  So if you find it doesn’t do something you want it to do, try using that to tell them about it.
    • A little testing shows it can be very picky.  For example, for a street tree request they want you to specify the location via a search function.  If you enter “Street” instead of the abbreviation “St”, it won’t find anything.
    • For the street tree maintenance request, after selecting an address or intersection it brings up a map with a yellow marker at that address.  You are supposed to move the marker if needed to make the location more accurate.  But it isn’t a satellite image, just a street diagram with no other landmarks, not even property lines.  So it would be pretty hard to refine the specification more closely then an entered street address.  Might get you closer if you initially specified an intersection.  After moving on from the map, it asks for contact name and number, textual description of the tree location, whether it needs pruning or removal, and then there is a space for further explanation.
    • The Request a Service section for Properties & Residences has a feature where you can click on a plus sign to show a much longer list of possible complaints under the category of General property-related complaints.
    • Currently this system is just being used by citizens to initiate requests.  Starting in May city departments are supposed to use it to enter requests received by phone and for internally generated service needs.  Eventually the expect to have resources to also have a 311 phone line staffed.  Those staffers would use the system to enter requests and as a first line for looking up answers.
    • The system is also to be used by city managers to determine how well service goals are being met.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Parking on Alameda adjacent to church
      • On the north side of Alameda near Sierra Madre Villa there are no signs limiting parking.
      • All of a sudden in the past couple months a resident has noticed an increasing number of cars parking there all day.
      • Based on observing some people returning to them, they are likely employees of the Kaiser facility at Sierra Madre Villa and Foothill.
      • Several of us had previously noticed Kaiser employees parking on the east side of Sierra Madre Villa near Foothill, adjacent to the bus stop. Perhaps they’ve been dissuaded from parking there now. We discussed why they would be walking to park as far away as Alameda instead of using the shuttle Kaiser has that takes employees to leased off-site parking.  Maybe they are charged for parking; or maybe they are taking some incentives for supposedly not using their cars to get to work.
      • Back when Kaiser was getting their conditional use permit for that facility (July 2007), including a variance to have fewer then the required number of parking spaces, some of us went to the hearing. We were told by their Land Use Project Coordinator that if we did observe Kaiser employees parking in our neighborhood we could contact Kaiser and they would have security check it out and stop it.
    • 2011 Conference on Aging
      • Friday April 29, 8 am – 1:30 pm, First Church of the Nazerene, 3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd
      • “Successful Aging – Your Health, Your Finances, Your Life.  An Educational Faire for the 50+”
      • “The goal of the conference is to provide seniors, caregivers and family members with practical information and resources to improve the quality of their lives.”
      • Flyer provides no contact / registration information, so presumably you can just show up.

Next meeting is May 14, 2011, 11:15 am, at Hastings Branch Library

Adjourned about 12:40 pm