January 20 Neighborhood Meeting Summary


E-mail reminders


6 members


Susan brought home-baked scones.


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:26 am

  • Our Annual Newsletter? Election?
    • Should we make the effort of producing our, to this point annual in February, paper newsletter?  Or should we wait and only make the effort when there is something new to communicate?
    • What about our annual March election, having had no competition or new candidates in many years?
    • With the City’s elimination of Neighborhood Connections, we no longer have to meet their requirements, nor do we have any support from them.
    • We never did get beyond draft by-laws.
    • Last year’s newsletter was a grand effort and much nicer then anything we’d done previously, but it did not attract anyone new to meetings or even additions to the e-mail list. At this time, there really isn’t anything new and momentous to communicate.
    • The primary reason for the timing of the newsletter is the need to communicate the annual election in March to all potential voters, ie. every adult resident.
    • The primary purpose of the newsletter beyond communicating the election is both to inform and get folks involved. It isn’t clear that very many notice, much less bother, to read it. Based on random discussions, very few do. More and more people just toss anything left on their doorstep without looking at it.
    • Another reason for the newsletter is to welcome new residents to the neighborhood and try to interest them in participating.
    • Our election has felt like a sham. We could just suspend it pending someone interested in taking a position.
    • Of course, giving up on the distributing the paper newsletter and suspending elections does feel like giving up hope that new folks will get interested.
    • The consensus of our discussion was to suspend production of the paper newsletter and holding the election. But that we should make up a welcome letter/brochure that could be handed to new neighbors.
    • There now seems to be a lot of confusion between our association vs. the NextDoor website.
  • Space Bank draft Environmental doc available for review Jan 26
    • A notice has been posted on the City website which includes this statement: “A Draft Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment (SCEA) has been prepared and is available for review beginning January 26, 2018”.
    • The web address is: cityofpasadena.net/planning/3200-east-foothill-avenue-project/
    • (If that link does not work in the future, it may be because they correct the street name. Locate it on this page:  cityofpasadena.net/planning/category/environmental-notices/
    • It also says: “No public meetings or hearings have been scheduled at this time. When a public hearing has been scheduled, it will be posted here. You may also request to be placed on the mailing list and receive notifications about future meetings and hearings.”
    • “For further information, or if you have any questions, you may contact the project planner:
      David Sanchez, Senior Planner
      E-mail: [email protected]
      Telephone: (626) 744-6707”
  • Development Activity Map for Pasadena now online
    • The City of Pasadena now has a “Development Activity Map” online that is supposed to be automatically kept up to date and show the location of
      • active building permits for residential new construction and additions
      • active building permits for commercial projects
      • active planning projects, including Master Plans, Conditional Use Permits, Certificates of Appropriateness, …
    • It also shows the exact city boundary lines.
    • There are colored dots on the map.
      • When you click on a permit dot, it gives a case number, address, and brief description.
      • If you click on a planning dot, it shows a case type (where in planning it is), the address, brief description, and the name and contact info for a planning staff member.
      • There are no dates included to know how recent or out of date the information is, and no apparent way to get any additional information.
    • We are supposed to be able to use this to quickly spot whether construction activity we see is being done under permit
    • Our neighborhood currently only shows one active permit.
    • Even though the Space Bank development should certainly qualify as an “Active Planning Case”, it is not shown on the map. So clearly, the information is not complete.
  • Vons at Allen & Washington –> Stater Bros
    • The Vons market on the northeast corner of Washington and Allen will close by mid-April.
    • The owner of the property chose not to renew Vons’ lease, which expired last summer, presumably because Stater Bros made a more lucrative offer.
    • Stater Bros is taking over the market. It will take over the property in May.
    • Stater Bros plans to do a major remodel and open in the fall. (Some of the planned “upgrades” touted in their press release were already done a couple of years ago by Vons).
    • The in-store Wells Fargo is reported to be closing April 10.
    • The adjacent recycling center may have been shut down already.
  • Collaborate PASadena
    • Collaborate PASadena collaboratepasadena.org is inviting “neighborhood leaders” to a “Community Forum on Neighborhoods”.
    • If you are interested, you qualify to attend.
    • The invitation:
      • “Collaborate PASadena is a local initiative organized to support and strengthen the Pasadena Unified School District and to support all children in the Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre area. Neighborhoods are among the building blocks for strong education, for if children grow up in safe and nurturing environments they are more likely to succeed academically.
      • With this objective in mind, we have a work group that is helping neighbors and neighborhood groups to continue to build neighborhoods where families are cared for and able to thrive. The Supportive Communities Work Group invites you to its upcoming Community Forum on Neighborhoods, being held on the evening of February 5, 2018. Our guest speaker will be Elliot Gold, Block Captain of the Upside Down T Neighborhood Association, Co-Founder of the Altadena Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (ACONA) and the Altadena Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.
      • Please come to hear Elliot describe strategies to ensure neighbor inclusion, increase participation in neighborhood activities, improve neighborhood cohesion and how to effectively link/connect to other neighborhood associations/groups around the community.
      • This free event is co-sponsored by Collaborate PASadena and ACONA and is designed to provide a forum for thought and dialogue about how we develop caring and inclusive neighborhoods around our community. A very light meal and beverages will be provided.”
      • “We hope you will join us!
        Brian Biery
        Collaborate PASadena
        With Elliot Gold, ACONA”
    • Monday February 5, 5 – 7:30 pm, Flintridge Center, 236 W. Mountain Street, Suite 117
    • RSVP to [email protected]
  • 2018 Community Police Academy taking signups
    • The Pasadena Police Department is accepting applications to attend the 2018 Community Police Academy.
    • Neighbors who have attended in the past learned a lot and were glad they did it.
    • Classes will meet on Thursday evenings from February 22nd – April 12th at the Pasadena Police Department. Dinner is served at 5:30 pm and class runs from 6:00-9:30 pm.
    • To obtain an application, call CSO Sarah Presley of the Community Services Section at (626) 744-4650, or email [email protected]
    • “The Community Police Academy (CPA) is an informative, eight-week classroom series that gives an inside look at Pasadena Police operations while discussing the principles of community policing. The purpose of the class is to promote a greater awareness and better understanding of local law enforcement’s continuously changing role in the community. “
    • “Presented in a friendly, casual environment, the class covers a wide variety of subject areas including police communications, criminal law and procedures (laws of arrest), street crime enforcement/investigations, field identification, weaponless defense training, youth programs and more. The course concludes with a graduation dinner, where students receive a certificate of completion.”
    • “Requirements:
      • Minimum 18 years of age
      • Live, work or, own property in Pasadena
      • No felony convictions
      • No misdemeanor convictions within one year of application “
    • “*Citizen Police Academy is not intended to make the participant a police officer nor does the acceptance of an application guarantee a placement in the class.”
  • City’s “Climate Action Plan” draft
    • City Staff has drafted a “Climate Action Plan” for the City Council to approve.
    • The plan analyzes current emissions of Green House Gases (GHGs) and outlines a strategy for reducing emissions from community-wide activities and municipal operations in the coming years in order to meet California state mandated reductions. It is intended to serve as “qualified GHG emissions reduction plan” under state law.
    • GHGs consist mostly of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. They trap heat in the atmosphere. Burning coal, oil, and natural gas are among the major causes of emissions.
    • The City’s Environmental Advisory Commission has discussed it already. It is to be presented to the City Council’s Municipal Services Committee on Tuesday Jan 23. The full City Council hearing has not been scheduled yet.
    • To learn more and/or read the draft plan, visit:
  • Illegal marijuana vendors power play on City
    • In conformance with the new state law, all commercial marijuana operations are banned in Pasadena, except for deliveries of medical product by vendors properly licensed in other jurisdictions. Personal outdoor growing is banned, but indoor cultivation of up to 6 plants per residence is allowed, as required by the new state law. Where smoking is allowed is under the same restrictions as tobacco. The City’s no-smoking rules are stricter then most localities, including disallowing any use in parks and library grounds.
    • Pasadena’s current regulations also disqualify any operators of illegal businesses in Pasadena from being licensed and/or issued permits to operate in the future if the City changes its rules to permit such businesses.
    • The Council has expected to revisit the regulations and possibly allow some commercial activities after a bit of time to learn from what happens in other jurisdictions. They chose to take a cautious approach with the realization that once something has been allowed, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to disallow it. Especially land use decisions.
    • In November / December, the marijuana lobby circulated a referendum petition to invalidate the most recent clarifying City Ordinance, but unlike last spring when many circulators completely misrepresented a successful petition that killed an ordinance the City hoped to use to force closure of illegal operations, this petition failed to get enough signatures.
    • In December, the marijuana lobby submitted a Notice of Intention to circulate an initiative measure, potentially qualifying for the November ballot, that would:
      • Legalize all dispensaries currently operating illegally in the City, no matter how inappropriate the location is
      • Designate those currently illegal locations as legal non-conforming land uses. This means the City could not impose conditions on their operation and the location could continue to be used as a marijuana dispensary in perpetuity. If the current operator could not get a state license to operate, or lost their license, they could just transfer operations to someone else. (This is how many nuisance liquor stores have been able to stay in operation for decade after decade).
      • Would allow new dispensaries in any General Commercial zone, subject only to state minimum distance limitations, with no limit on the number of them.
      • Includes a framework for taxation that the proponents like.
    • City Staff is so afraid that this proposed initiative or something similar will qualify for the ballot, pass, and thus remove from the City any ability to regulate commercial marijuana activity, that it is now recommending to the Council that it rush to create its own ballot initiative allowing commercial sales of marijuana with much stricter regulations then the marijuana lobby’s initiative. Staff is recommending it be put on the June ballot. Alternatively, they recommend if the marijuana lobby’s initiative qualifies for a future election, the Council should put an alternative measure on the same ballot. In that case, if both passed, whichever gets the greater number of yes votes would take effect.
    • The Staff Report does not say why they think the marijuana lobby would not still proceed with trying to get looser regulations or how the City can hope to communicate its position when it cannot spend taxpayer money to campaign for or against any initiative, including its own.
    • This topic is to be discussed by the City Council at their Monday January 22 meeting.
      For details, read the Staff Report to the Council:  cityofpasadena.net/councilagendas/2018%20Agendas/Jan_22_18/AR%2013.pdf
    • If you care about where and how commercial marijuana activities should take place, read the Staff Report and contact the City Council with your thoughtful opinion.
    • You can send to all the Council via the City Clerk, or you can send individually to the Mayor and/or Council members. Make sure to indicate you are speaking to the item on the Council Agenda. Name and e-mail address listing provided below: City Council
  • City Council election timing on June ballot
    • As noted last month, the City Council has been agonizing over how to respond to a new state law requiring municipalities to move their elections to the same dates as the statewide elections in order to increase the number of voters participating.
    • The Council has now voted to put one measure on this June’s ballot which will change the City Charter to move the City election dates to those of the state primary and general election of even number years.
    • In order to accomplish that, the current Council terms would be extended from early May of their current uneven year until December of the following even year, so 19 months.
    • The March or June primary election would continue as the current primary in that if one candidate gets more then 50% of the votes cast, that candidate would be elected and there would be no run-off in November. But, there would be a long lame-duck period as the winner would not take office until December.
    • The 5 to 8 months between the State primary and general elections is a very long time to sustain a campaign compared to the current three months to the primary and 6 weeks to the general. So it will be a lot more expensive for campaigns that result in a run-off.
    • If there isn’t a majority vote for this measure, then it doesn’t pass, the City Charter does not change, and the Council has to start over figuring out what to do with less time to make it happen.
  • Local Crime Summary
    • For the last month in our neighborhood, from crimemapping.com: (note that time is typically when reported, not when it happened)
      • nothing shows up as being reported in our neighborhood during the past month
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • E-mail addresses for City Council
      • Unfortunately, the City website no longer provides e-mail addresses, only submittal forms for each individual. (This is probably partly an attempt to reduce spam from web page scrapers). In some cases, like the City Clerk, the form is messed up. In each case, the form undoubtedly sends to a representative of the designee.
      • In almost all cases, city e-mail addresses are the first initial, last name, @cityofpasadena.net. Occasionally there is a name conflict and that isn’t true.
      • Here are the probable e-mail addresses  (uncertain for newest Council members):

Next meeting is February 17, 2018 at 11:15 am, in Hastings Branch Library meeting room

Adjourned about 12:30 pm