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City Council Votes to Prohibit Retail Sale of Marijuana in City

In a unanimous vote, the South Pasadena City Council amended the city’s municipal code to prohibit the retail sale of marijuana in the city.

Council members approved the ordinance as presented on a first reading June 7. It was expected to get final approval through a second reading by the council during Wednesday’s City Council meeting (after press time). Once the second reading is approved, the ordinance goes into effect 30 days later.

In November, voters approved Proposition 64, making it legal for individuals to use and grow marijuana for personal use. A “yes” vote supported legalizing recreational marijuana for individuals 21 years or older under state law and established certain sales and cultivation taxes.

The law as approved by the voters authorizes local governments to establish regulations. It also gives jurisdictions the ability to prohibit the establishment of marijuana businesses.

“That is the step the council ultimately took, to prohibit the establishment of commercial marijuana businesses in the city,” said Interim City Manager Elaine Aguilar.

Board Votes 3-1 in Support of Late Start Measure

The South Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education voted 3 to 1 last week in favor of passing a resolution to support California Senate Bill 328, which would require classes at the middle and high school levels in all but rural districts to start half an hour later. This would mean an 8:30 a.m. start time for South Pasadena middle and high school. The bill was introduced to the state senate in February by 25th District State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada).

As of June 8, SB 328 has passed through the State Senate and is currently in the Education Committee of the State Assembly. If it is approved by the Education Committee, it still has to pass through the Appropriations Committee before finally making it to the assembly floor.

The “no” vote came from School Board Clerk Jon Primuth. “I think there is a pretty big loophole in the bill, which is that zero period is not regulated,” explained Primuth, referring to part b of the legislation. His biggest concern, he says, is preventing zero period from becoming the start time for high-achieving, driven students. In response to this concern, Senator Portantino said, “Zero period is optional not mandatory. Although SB 328 is agnostic on zero period most schools that start zero before first period will adjust later as first period moves. The net effect will be students getting more sleep. Again, research shows that morning, deep sleep, is the most important sleep for teen public health. These students will receive this additional time, too and thereby gain health value.”

Primuth also said that he didn’t “feel comfortable making a decision for every district in the state.” Board Member Dr. Suzie Abajian shared Primuth’s hesitancy to support a statewide mandate. However, she said, this was a special circumstance. “I am not usually one to support state wide, one size fits all types, but in this case I do find the research compelling. And I think there are other issues, such as after school programs. If it is not implemented state wide, in the case of CIF, [CIF] will not change its scheduling if there wasn’t a statewide mandate, and for that reason I think that [SB 328] will simplify the issue and force, essentially, afterschool sports programs to align with the new schedule,” said Dr. Abajian.

Portantino says that in addition to afterschool scheduling program issues, there is another crucial reason for why the bill must pass on a statewide level to be effective. “This is a public health issue where we know from research the sleep needs of teenagers vs. the current level of sleep and the biology of teens,” he said. “We have negative health consequences attributed in that research. So no different than the state regulating the use of asbestos or lead paint we know what harms our children and it’s appropriate for the state to act accordingly.”

As of the May 25 Senate Floor Analysis, SB 328 is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the California State PTA, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the California Federation of Teachers, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and Stanford University School of Medicine, among many other groups and individuals. It is opposed by the California School Boards Association and the California Teachers Association.

According to the Senate Floor Analysis, the fiscal impact of SB 328 includes “Very significant local costs for school districts to provide home-to-school transportation services and for local collective bargaining activities.” The other major concern regarding SB 328 is the potential impact on single and working parents who may not be able to provide their kids with transportation to school.

Notably, a group of South Pasadena High School students, represented by 2016-17 Student School Board Representative Anthony Chen, organized to support the resolution. This is in part what prompted Superintendent Geoff Yantz to put this resolution before the School Board.

Despite voting against approval of the resolution, Primuth remained interested in Portantino’s findings and hoped to support a local initiative that addresses his concerns. “I did attend Anthony Portantino’s presentation and I compliment him for working hard on this, he has certainly identified many compelling issues… I know that the La Canada board declined to support the bill, but they are moving forward with a customized local late start initiative, which is what I could support if we had administrators and all of our administration in line with that,” said Primuth.

Investigation of 5-Year-old Missing Boy Goes to Lake

A search for a missing 5-year-old South Pasadena boy continued last Saturday morning at Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County.

Using a drone, investigators began looking for evidence in connection to the disappearance of Aramazd Andressian Jr., reported missing by his mother on April 22 after the father failed to show up with the boy in a planned custody exchange.

Authorities say approximately 30 miles of roads, covering a distance between Nojoqui Falls, Solvang to Lake Cachuma, were explored during the search. Investigators came up empty in finding the boy.

Aramazd Andressian Sr., 35, the father of the boy, told investigators he and his son were at the Lake Cachuma Recreation Area the day before he went missing. Police dogs, dive teams and a helicopter helped in the search of the lake in the days following the boy’s disappearance. Investigators found no evidence indicating Andressian Jr. was there. A witness told Sheriff’s officials she saw the boy with his father when she was camping at Lake Cachuma.

Authorities are not saying what prompted them to return to Lake Cachuma for the lates search of the area, but did indicate they believe Andressian Sr. traveled around Lake Cachuma with his son and in the areas of Solvang and Nojoqui Falls.

On April 21, at about 1 a.m., Aramazd “Piqui” Andressian Jr. was last seen on video footage as he left Disneyland with his father. The next day, Andressian Sr. was found passed out in South Pasadena’s Arroyo Park, the day his son was reported missing. Detectives said the father did not remember any details about what happened to his son. South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller said the man has not been “very cooperative” with authorities.

On April 22, Andressian Sr. was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment and child abduction, but was later released for lack of evidence.

A $20,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the discovery of the boy. During last week’s South Pasadena City Council meeting, the mother of the boy, Ana Estevez, made a passionate plea for councilmembers to increase the reward money.

 

Tribute to Class of 2017

One of the largest classes in history is about to enter the gates at South Pasadena High, “and while there are more freshmen coming than departing seniors, they will have a hard time filling the void left by this year’s Class of 2017,” praised SPHS Principal Janet Anderson of the latest graduating class. “This year’s graduates have shown a lot of heart and perseverance in everything they do, from athletics and academics. It has been done at a very high level.”

Approximately 400 freshmen will get their taste of high school starting in August while Anderson wished 329 South Pasadena High graduates well last week as they embarked to college and the business world.

On the final day of school a week ago, some SPHS graduates were asked about their best memories as Tigers and what advice they would give to an incoming freshman. Here is what they had to say:

Adianna Paul, 17

Cal State Chico

At a young age, Adrianna Paul will always remember “people don’t always have the same opinions, values or beliefs, but you have to respect them either way,” she said.

Her advice to an incoming freshman is to take Economics, one of the more demanding academic requirements, in summer school. She noted the course study is only six weeks, compared to eight months. Paul said it’s the best way to get past the rigor of the difficult class.

 

Nadira Jamerson, 18

Howard University

For Nadira Jamerson, South Pasadena High has instilled a good work ethic, noting that it has readied her for the challenges of college.

Her advice to an incoming freshman is to make sure “grades come first ahead of friends because you’re going to want to go to college more than to hang out,” she said.

 

Dzelila Maslesa, 17

Pasadena City College

Dzelila Masesa will take away the memory of some “amazing events,” reflecting on Color Day and the recent prom. She’ll miss hanging out with friends and extracurricular activities outside of school. “The teachers were all very good this year, some of the best I’ve ever had,” said Maslesa, noting that her recommendation to an incoming freshman would be not to procrastinate. “Do everything in a timely manner,” she said. “Focus on your grades, but also take time to do some extracurricular (projects) for your college applications.”

 

Kendrick Chen, 18

Stanford

Kendrick Chen is going to miss walking out of class for brunch or lunch and greeting his friends. “That’s something that is limited to high school, because in college you don’t have experiences like that,” said Chen. “I like congregating at one place at one time in high school, and I’ll never have that again. It’s really special, and I’m sad I won’t have that.”

For an incoming freshman, Chen recommends working on projects in a group as opposed to independently. “A lot of people think, ‘I can just do this myself, I don’t need help.’ But asking for help is always the best option.

 

Kate Kutzer, 18

Duke University

A top student athlete, Kate Kutzer plans on competing on the Duke University track team next year. “I’m going to remember all the traditions here, Color Day, singing the alma mater, just all the fun, crazy things we do here,” she said, followed by a laugh.

Her advice to an incoming freshman: “Don’t be afraid to try something you have no idea about,” she said. “I wish I had tried other things and taken advantage of other opportunities that are offered here. Join clubs, meet new friends and don’t be afraid to walk up to a random person and say ‘hi’ to them. Talk to your teachers, get to know the faculty and just enjoy yourself.”

 

Faye Witherall, 18

USC

Some of Faye Witherall’s favorite memories at South Pasadena High School include serving as editor on the Tiger newspaper, a member of the virtual business team and a multitude of other organization on and off the campus.

During club rush in the fall, Witherall encourages incoming freshmen to “sign up for a bunch of them, go to all the meetings, find one or two that you like and stick with them.”

 

Molly Feldmeth, 17

Florida International University

Molly Feldmeth will be attending Florida International University, recognized as one of the top volleyball players to come out of South Pasadena High. Feldmeth has made lasting friendships she’ll keep for a lifetime. “I’ve made some really good friends over the years,” she said. “They’ve always been there for me through thick and thin. I don’t think I’d get that at any other school.”

Her recommendation for those entering SPHS in the fall: “Find friends who have the best interest for you,” she said. “If you find good friends in your freshman year, you have a good experience at SPHS.”

 

Charlotte Emerson, 17

Yale University

Charlotte Emerson credited the teachers who influenced her as one of her best memories of SPHS. “I think I’ve grown as a person, looking up at these amazing mentors who have so much knowledge to share.”

Emerson likes the idea of growing up in a tight-knit community where kids grow up together, going through the school system and graduating from high school together. Receiving her diploma with fellow grads she attended first grade with “is pretty special,” she said.

Like others, Emerson encouraged incoming freshmen to take advantage of everything South Pasadena High has to offer.

 

Adam Arellano, 18

CSU Channel Islands

Adam Arellano says he will never forget those who went to battle with him over the years on the football field. The Tigers’ quarterback during the 2016 season says he will “always have a place in his heart for football. I got nothing but great memories and made some wonderful friendships. They’re my brothers.”

For those just coming into the school, Arellano says, “Don’t take anything for granted. Live high school to the fullest. It’s a fast four years. Sign up for everything you possibly can because it will make your time here great.”

 

Cole Page, 18

University of Tennessee

Cole Page, a student trainer in his senior year, says he will miss South Pasadena High’s athletics program. “I have a lot of great memories working with the sports programs,” said page.

His advice to an incoming freshman would be to “enjoy high school while it lasts because it definitely goes faster than you think,” he said.

 

Juliana Tom, 17

U.C. Riverside

Juliana Tom played on the SPHS girls’ basketball team throughout her four years on campus. “I’m definitely going to miss the people I met through basketball.” Tom said it will be difficult to say good by to Sophia Lopez, the school’s commissioner general, whom she’s known since the 5th grade. “I have really enjoyed spending time with her,” noted Tom.

Her recommendation for an incoming freshman is “to unapologetically be yourself,” she said. “It’s really important to be true to who you are.”

 

Ryan Nakamura, 18

University of San Francisco

“Just the overall connection I felt with my fellow friends and faculty,” said Nakamura, when asked what he will miss about South Pasadena High School. “It has really been a close-knit network here. We’re not a big school system, so when you’re in a small town like South Pasadena, you kind of know each other, so everyone is like family in a sense.”

For freshmen just coming onto the South Pas High campus, Nakamura suggests “being open-minded, take advantage of all that the school has to offer,” he explained. “There are a lot of different programs, a variety of clubs that will let you interact with the community. It will help to give you a sense of direction for what you want to do in high school.”

 

Kelsey Sedgwick, 17

Cal State Northridge

Kelsey Sedgwick moved to South Pasadena from Iowa in the middle of her sophomore year and remembers meeting friends in her first week. “The overall acceptance of everyone was great,” she recalls, urging incoming freshmen to “enjoy your time here.”

 

Janica Crisostomo, 17

San Diego State University

Janica Crisostomo will miss those she competed with on the high school swimming and volleyball teams “and hanging out with my friends at lunch,” she said.

She encourages incoming freshmen to be “social, make friends from all grades and don’t be scared of seniors. Work hard in your classes because you’ll regret it as a senior if you don’t.”

Congressman Adam Schiff Pays Visit to South Pasadena

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, came to South Pasadena last Saturday as a guest of Joe and Ellen Daigle. Well attended, more than 100 people listened to the congressman at the couple’s home as he addressed a multiple of topics. Much of his talk concentrated on President Donald Trump, whom he has been an outspoken critic.

Left to right, are Pasadena Vice Mayor John J. Kennedy, South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti, host Elen Daigle, Fmr. U.S. Rep. Diane Watson, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff and State Senator Anthony Portantino

State Senator Anthony Portantino was also in attendance at Saturday’s event and praised Schiff for his strong leadership in the City of South Pasadena over the years, especially when Schiff’s 28th District Congressional District represented the city. Portantino stressed that, like him, Schiff has been an opponent of the 710 Freeway tunnel and helped create the original Metro Gold Line Construction Authority, which brought light rail to South Pasadena in 2003.

In addition, Schiff and Portantino, South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti and former Congresswoman Diane Watson made remarks on Saturday. Above, from left, are Pasadena City Councilman and Vice Mayor John J. Kennedy, South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti, host Ellen Daigle, former Congresswoman Diane Watson, Congressman Adam Schiff and State Senator Anthony Portantino. Below, Schiff addresses the large crowd. Photos by Henk Friezer

Everything You Need to Know About 4th of July in South Pas

The Festival of Balloons committee is busy preparing for a full day of festivities in South Pasadena. Here is what you need to know about Independence Day as you pull out the red, white and blue for the big day in town.

2017 Fourth of July Festival of Balloons

“Freedom on the Road. Celebrating Route 66.”

The City of South Pasadena is celebrating its 36th annual Festival of Balloons.

Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast

Location: South Pasadena Fire Station, 817 Mound Avenue (enter on Hope Street, between Fremont Avenue and Mound Avenue)

Time: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Pancake Breakfast Tickets, Day of: $8 per per June 20): $8 per person, kids under 6 years old eat for free. Presale locations:

– Re-Imagine Your Home, 1518 Mission Street

– The Moo on Mission, 1006 Mission Street

– South Pasadena Fire Station, 817 Mound Avenue

– South Pasadena Senior Center, 1102 Oxley Street

– Bristol Farms, 606 Fair Oaks Avenue

– Dinosaur Farm, 1510 Mission Street

– Mission Framing, 1501 Mission Street

– UPS Store, 1107 Fair Oaks Avenue

– South Pasadena-San Marino YMCA, 1605 Garfield Avenue

Opening Ceremony

Location: South Pasadena Library Community Room – lawn, 1115 El Centro Street

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Parade

Location: Mission Street, from Diamond Avenue to Garfield Park

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Parade Entry: Download the Parade Registration packet (please follow registration submission instructions in the packet).

Celebration at Garfield Park

Location: Garfield Park, 1750 Mission Street

Time: Noon to 4 p.m.

Details: Games, food, and activities

Fireworks Show

Location: South Pasadena High School, 1401 Fremont Avenue.

Time: 9 p.m. (Gates open at 5:30 p.m.)

Details: Food vendors will be on site at the show. Pets are not allowed

– Stadium – Alcohol and glass bottles are not allowed in the stadium.

– Field – Only water is permitted on the field, no food. Rounded bottom chairs only on the field (narrow legs/feet of camping chairs will damage the turf).

Fireworks Tickets: Day of – $12 per person at the gate orr $10 per person, at the pancake breakfast and Garfield Park in the afternoon. Kids under 3 years old are free.

Fireworks Tickets, Presale: $10 per person. Kids under 3 years old are free. Presale locations:

– South Pasadena Fire Station, 817 Mound Avenue

– South Pasadena Senior Center, 1102 Oxley Street

– Bristol Farms, 606 Fair Oaks Avenue

– Dinosaur Farm, 1510 Mission Street

– Mission Framing, 1501 Mission Street

– Re-Imagine Your Home, 1518 Mission Street

– The Moo on Mission, 1006 Mission Street

– UPS Store, 1107 Fair Oaks Avenue

– South Pasadena-San Marino YMCA, 1605 Garfield Avenue

– Charlie’s Coffee House, 266 Monterey Roa

New Board Members Installed at PTA Council Meeting

The South Pasadena Parent Teacher Association Council met to install new executive board members on Wednesday, May 31. Grace Kung, who served as Monterey Hills Elementary School PTA President during the 2016-17 term, took over as PTA Council president from Ruby Kalra.

Other elected officers for the 2017-18 term include Executive Vice President Leslie Lehman, First Vice President of Programs and Directory Laura Morales, Second Vice President of Membership Jane Washburn, Third Vice President of Leadership Chris Holmes, Treasurer Nidhi Shah, Recording Secretary Charlotte Bourke, Historian Marta Hernandez, Corresponding Secretary Lisa Rosenberg, and Auditor Lauren Schwab.

At the meeting, SPUSD Superintendent Geoff Yantz shared with the council the results of a recent city survey regarding the parcel tax that is expiring in June of 2018. The results showed community support for the tax’s renewal. The parcel tax renewal will be discussed at the next school board meeting on June 13. Superintendent Yantz also updated the council on various school improvement projects that are scheduled to get underway in the upcoming months.

One of these projects is to build a new roof and install new air conditioning units at Marengo Elementary. Set to begin on June 12, construction will be finished by the end of summer.

The next project Yantz discussed was the creation of six classrooms and four science labs at the high school in an area that currently contains tennis courts and mathematics classrooms. This project will not be completed until the end of 2018, and will begin this summer with the installation of six portable classrooms on the recreation field adjacent to the tennis courts.

The large and expensive project will be funded by the 98 million dollar Measure SP bond that was passed in 2016.

Discussions concerning how to redesign the old middle school gym have also begun. After meeting recently with the District Arts Committee to discuss plans for the new design, Superintendent Yantz announced to the PTA Council that the primary goal is to create a “functional space.”

The fourth and final project discussed was the renovation of the middle school field and hard courts.

As to why this project was chosen, the superintendent said, “We wanted to do something that the community can see and use now.” This project will begin construction this coming fall.

Before the PTA Council meeting was adjourned, six board members in addition to the elected executive board members were appointed by Ms. Kung to serve on the 2017-18 PTA Council. Karen Kano will serve as parliamentarian, Kathleen Lih as hospitality chair, Lullette Kaufman as Honorary Service Award chair, Sara Austin as SNC Chair, Adrian Gonzalez as ACTM chair, and Nina Rathbun as Legislative Chair. Ms. Kung has not yet appointed the Reflections Program chair.

Updating City’s General Plan and Specific Plan Moves into Summer

South Pasadena Interim City Manager Elaine Aguilar says the process for updating the City’s General Plan and Mission Street Specific Plan, nearing its sixth month of an approximately two-year process, is moving forward on schedule.

The City’s General Plan and Mission Street Specific Plan are the citizens’ “blueprint” for development, the vision for what they would like South Pasadena to become over the next five, 10, 15, 20 years.

Up to now, the public has submitted surveys with data studied by a consulting team as well as attended a series of focus group meetings, held evening workshops and Charrettes, which have focused on developing a physical vision for the future of the city.

Aguilar said the next stage of public engagement following the conclusion of the Charrette process in late April is set to begin.

Various focus groups will meet over the next two months to review draft documents relating to their areas of interest. City officials say vital public input during future meetings will become the building blocks for drafting the updated General Plan and the Specific Plan.

Drafts of both plans will be presented at a joint meeting of the Planning Commission and the City Council in November. Both governmental bodies will then be asked to endorse the documents as a basis for the required Environmental Impact Report.

“Our consulting team are now in the process of developing individual policy and objectives for the different components of the general plan,” said Aguilar. “They have divided up the general plan into a number of sections that will come back for the public to review. I really like the title ‘Our Prosperous Community,’ which is our next focus group meeting. I really encourage the public to be in attendance for all the upcoming meetings.”

Aguilar calls the General Plan and Specific Plan update “an exciting process. It’s a great time for our community to reassess with the community what the vision for South Pasadena is in the future.”

South Pasadena Focus group meeting schedule:

  • Our Prosperous Community, June 29, 7 p.m., Senior Center,
1102 Oxley Street.
  • Our Natural Community & Our Healthy/Safe Community, July 13, 
7 p.m., Community Room, 1115 El Centro Street.
  • Our Active Community &
Our Creative Community, August 29, 7 p.m., Senior Center, 1102 Oxley Street.
  • CORE Group, October 10, 
7 p.m., Community Room, 1115 El Centro Street.

The date and time of the Planning Commission and City Council joint meeting will be announced at a later date.

SPHS Seniors Say Goodbye

There was a sense of sadness throughout the South Pasadena High School campus last Friday as students learned about the passing of the school’s longtime English teacher James Asher. The announcement fell on the same day as the annual Farewell Assembly, when seniors gather with the student body one last time. The event inside the school’s gymnasium featured performances from the pep squad, recognition of retiring teachers, and singing of the alma mater. The assembly was dedicated in memory of Jim Asher. The South Pasadena High School graduation ceremony is scheduled to begin Friday, June 9 at 5 p.m. Above, at the conclusion of the assembly, black and orange balloons fell on the seniors. Photo by Bill Glazier

For more Farewell Assembly photos, see page 12 of the June 9 edition of the South Pasadena Review!