August 19 Neighborhood Meeting Summary


E-mail reminders (except it appears to be landing in the spam folder of many recipients)


7 members


Susan brought “eclipse” cookies.


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:23 am

  • Sierra Madre Villa re-stripe
    • Sierra Madre Villa between Foothill Blvd and Orange Grove/Rosemead was repaved in early June.
    • Without any prior public notice or discussion, it was re-striped to reduce it from two to one vehicle traffic lane in each direction, eliminate parking on the east side, add a center turn lane, and add buffered bike lanes on each side.
    • City’s Transportation Department says this is in accordance with “Complete Streets” policies.
    • For more background, see last month’s write up.
    • Since last month’s meeting:
      • Council member Masuda sent a note on July 31 saying he was told by Alberto Felix in the Transportation Department that they would be correcting the northbound section just north of Foothill Blvd to merge traffic from two lanes to one via right pointing arrows in the left lane instead of the left pointing arrows in the right lane. This was supposedly going to happen in the “next week or so.” No evidence of changes yet, but it is still summer-slow time for many employees.
      • There have been several reports of bad/confused driving behavior, including people driving long distances in the center turn lane or the bike lanes.
      • There was serious collision in the late afternoon of August 13 in the merge area near the Bed Bath & Beyond driveway. Two vehicles appeared to be totaled.
      • One resident of Sierra Madre Villa near Del Vina reports frequently having to wait through two to three traffic light cycles at Orange Grove for a big enough traffic break to get out of her driveway in the morning. Never had this problem before the re-striping.
      • There has been no word of a meeting reportedly promised by Council member Masuda. But it is still summer-slow time. Perhaps it is best anyway to have it after the traffic flows increase and the problems become even more obvious.
      • There has been talk of drawing up and circulating a petition to change the street back to two lanes in each direction. Have not heard of anyone actually doing it yet.
    • More thoughts:
      • Average traffic flow is a stupid statistic to use in deciding whether a reduction of traffic lanes is appropriate. Peak hour(s) traffic flow would be more reasonable.
  • Water rate changes and Community Meetings
    • A “Public Hearing” notice on blue paper was recently mailed to all Pasadena Water & Power customers. It is about a required Public Hearing by the City Council on September 25 regarding proposed changes to how water rates are determined and also increased fixed charges.
    • The notice does not mention anything about other meetings, but it does contain a web page reference for more information.
    • As of August 18, the web page shows that there are also three Community Meetings scheduled, including the one for East Pasadena in just a few days. (Have not seen any other notice of these meetings).
      • Wednesday August 23, 6 pm
        Eaton Canyon Nature Center
      • Tuesday August 29, 6 pm
        Central Library, Studio on 4th level
      • Wednesday September 6, 6 pm
        Brookside Golf Course, Arroyo Room
    • The web page is
    • The web page has a link to a little promotional video about the rate restructuring that PWP has posted on YouTube.
    • The web page does include somewhat more explanatory text and charts about the changes.
    • Near the bottom of the web page is a link to the Public Hearing Notice that was mailed.
    • There is also a form to submit “feedback.” (Note that using that form is not sufficient to file a legal protest).
    • One part of what appears on your water bill is listed next to Block 1, Block 2, Block 3, Block 4.
      • There is a formula which determines the maximum number of units of water in each block and the price of each unit in the block.
      • The Commodity Allocation is the maximum number of units of water in each block.
        • Currently this number is based on the meter size of the customer. Meter size was used as a rough proxy for the type of user.
        • The most common size for our houses is 3/4″, but some houses may have 5/8″ or 1″. Currently for a 3/4″ meter, the block one allocation is 16 units of one hundred cubic feet.
        • The new allocation of hundred cubic foot units to blocks for single family residential is based on the size of the property.
Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4
“Small” is <= 8,000 sq ft 0-8 9-15 16-19 20+
“Medium” is 8,001 to 20,000 sq ft 0-8 9-20 20-34 35+
“Large” is > 20,000 sq ft 0-8 9-30 31-130 131+
        • The web site does not say, but looking at a chart presented to the Municipal services committee last March, it appears these numbers are units per month.Current vs Proposed Block Sizes
        • So it appears:
          • The proposed Block 1 allocation for most of us is the same as currently. But if you have a >= 1″ meter, it is less.
          • The proposed Block 2 allocation is drastically reduced in size for all property sizes.
          • The proposed Block 3 allocation is also dramatically smaller except for huge properties.
          • “Small” and “medium” sized properties are into block 4 much sooner then currently, but “large” properties get to it at about the same level of usage.
      • Commodity Pricing is the rate charged for each unit of water in each block.
        • For single family residential, the rate for each block/tier is actually going down slightly initially, but you will be pushed into a higher block much faster, so your actual cost is likely to be higher, particularly in warmer months with more outdoor watering.
        • Currently the rates are changed “seasonally”, with a slightly higher rate from April 1 to October 1 then in the fall/winter. The seasonal adjustment will be eliminated.
        • A major component of the Commodity Pricing formula is what is called the Purchased Water Adjustment Charge (PWAC). It is based on what PWP pays the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) for imported water, and on the costs of producing groundwater. The PWAC is already approved for two increases. The first increase will be included in the new rates effective November 1, 2017. The second increase will take effect on Oct 1, 2018.
    • The “Distribution and Customer Charge” is also listed on the bill. It covers administrative staff, billing, customer service.
      • This is a fixed charge based on meter size, and will continue to be.
      • This is proposed to be increased on November 1, 2017 and again on October 1, 2018.
      • For most of our single family homes, this will increase by $6.66 per two month bill this year, and an additional $3.66 next year.
      • The charge listed on your bill differs from the charge listed in the published table because the Fire Protection Surcharge of 38 cents / month is included in the charge on your bill to save space. It is not proposed to change.
    • Another charge that appears on your bill is listed as “CIC”. That stands for “Capital Improvement Charge”. It is used to pay for capital improvements such as new/replacement pipes and water treatment facilities.
      • The proposal is to slightly reduce the current volume based rate because existing debt has been refinanced to slightly reduce its cost and a slight increase in water sales is bringing in more revenue.
      • But, when new debt is issued, a new fixed rate CIC component will be added to bills to pay for it. The costs will be allocated to customer groups based on their percentage of sales.
    • A chart for total monthly bill impacts on various levels of Single Family Residential “small bill” users shows that, as usual, the smallest users will have the largest increases over the next two years, mostly because of the increase in the fixed Distribution and Customer Charge. The largest “small bill” users may see a decrease this year and a return to current costs next year.
    • If you want to protest any or all of the proposed changes, you either have to speak at the public hearing on September 25, or you have to submit your protest in writing to the City Clerk before that hearing. There is specific information you must include. See the last paragraph of the public hearing notice. By law, unless more then half of the customers object, the City Council can approve the changes. However, if they feel there is substantial objection, they may choose to modify, delay, or reject some or all of the proposed changes.
  • How to bid on City contracts workshop Sept 28
    • The City Council wants to encourage more local small businesses to participate in the bidding process for City contracts.
    • City staff will give a presentation about
      • How to compete for Pasadena City contracts
      • How electronic bidding works
      • Pasadena business licensing
      • State small business certification
      • The public bidding process
    • September 28, 9 am
      City Hall, 100 N. Garfield, Room S018
    • To register:
      (those are underscores between the words in the address)
  • Early Learning City family fun day Sept 23
    • Various Pasadena City departments, the Pasadena Unified School District, and a grant from First 5 LA are sponsoring a party to “Launch Pasadena as an Early Learning City”.
    • Saturday September 23, 9 am to 1 pm, Brookside Park
    • “A free community celebration and family fun day … will launch a new and exciting movement: Pasadena as an Early Learning City. Parents with children, expectant parents, grandparents and other caregivers are especially encouraged to attend this very special event.
      Activities will include a pancake breakfast prepared by Pasadena police officers, storytelling, bubble play, arts and crafts, hot dogs grilled by Pasadena firefighters, entertainment by local school bands, cooking demonstrations by Food Network celebrity chef Jet Tila, community resources related to parenting, early childhood and health, and much more.”
      “Arts & Crafts, Children’s Activities, Healthy Snacks, Parenting, Preschool & Child Care Resource Booths”
    • “While Pasadena has incredible community resources that serve our youngest children and their parents, from City of Pasadena departments to nonprofits to schools and more, not every parent is aware of or knows how to access these services. As an Early Learning City, these service providers will work collaboratively to ensure parents have the skills and knowledge to nurture their young, developing learners and begin to create a path to success in school and in life.”
    • Pasadena as an Early Learning City will help ensure all children will thrive in their physical, emotional, cognitive and social well-being and their ability to learn when they enter school.”
    • “For more information, contact Lila Guirguis in the Office of the Young Child at [email protected]
  • Local Crime Summary
    • For the last month in our neighborhood, from (note that time is typically when reported, not when it happened)
      • Thurs August 3, 3:24 pm, 400 block Sierra Madre Villa, Grand Theft Auto
      • Sat August 5, 1:53 am, 300 block Santa Paula Ave, Assault, Domestic Violence
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Those attending the meeting came even though they had not received the e-mailed meeting notice.
      • It was sent out on Friday at 12:09 pm.
      • Subsequent investigation shows it was delivered to most, but was thrown into their spam folder. This happened across multiple e-mail providers.
    • Someone is frequently leaving a bag of dog poop behind on the lawn of at least one resident on Las Lunas. Sometimes they put it in the resident’s trash can when it is accessible.
      • This is not appropriate conduct!
      • Take your dog’s poop home and put it in your own trash. Or, if you are on your way to the dog park, put it in the trash receptacle there.
    • Those of us who have gone to the City’s quarterly E-Waste and free paper shredding event have found it quick and easy to get in and get out.
      • For those who have piled up years of old statements, bills, checks, etc it is a lot easier to take boxes full to one of these events for shredding all at once than to feed it all through a home shredder.
      • The next event is scheduled for November 4.
    • We got onto the subject of all those annoying spam/scam phone calls.
      • One attendee had good experience with and recommends checking out
        • It notices and blocks robocalls for you. It is watching the phone numbers calling its subscribers to notice when a robot is doing it. Somehow it claims to let legit calls through, like from schools or pharmacies.
        • Here is its description for how it works:
          “Nomorobo uses a feature known as “Simultaneous Ring”. When simultaneous ring is enabled, your phone will ring on more than one number at the same time. The first device to pick it up gets the call and the other phones stop ringing.
          So, when the Nomorobo number is enabled as a simultaneous ring number it is the first number to screen the call. If it’s a legitimate call, the call goes through to your number. If the call is an illegal robocaller, Nomorobo intercepts the call and hangs up for you. Your phone will ring once letting you know that the robocall has been answered and stopped.”
        • Here is how it says it knows what to block:
          “Nomorobo utilizes a MASSIVE database of known, illegal robocallers, that we’ve compiled with the help of the FTC, user reports, and our own honey traps.
          If a call gets a match in our database, we grab the call. If there’s no match, we let the call go through.”
        • For landlines the service is free.
          • It requires VoIP (voice over internet protocol) and support for simultaneous ring.
          • AT&T U-Verse is listed as being supported.
          • It will not work with old fashioned 2-wire phone service, aka. POTS.
          • Neither Charter nor Spectrum are listed as being supported, so apparently their phone service does not support simultaneous ring. It does work with some independent systems you could use over their internet service, such as Ooma Premier.
        • It is now available for iPhones for $1.99 month after 30 day free trial.
        • They say it will be available for Android phones soon.

Next meeting is September 16, 2017 at 11:15 am, in Hastings Branch Library meeting room.

Adjourned about 12:30 pm