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Art Takes to the Street, Decorating K-Rails

Photo courtesy Ed Donnelly
The South Pasadena Arts Commission is currently adding vinyl wraps of Los Angeles-centric artwork to the concrete K-rail barriers being used in the city’s al fresco program.

Mission Street is getting a little bit easier on the eyes, thanks to the South Pasadena Arts Council.

The organization, with financial help from the city and guidance from the municipal Public Art Commission, has begun installing vinyl wraps of curated artwork around the drab concrete K-rail barriers that facilitate the city’s outdoor dining and retail program. The effort serves to make an ugly exterior more palatable as the world soldiers through the realities of the coronavirus pandemic.

City Council Takes Up Issue of Police Response to Protest Confrontation

City officials last week addressed the seeming delay of law enforcement action against some members of a pro-Donald Trump rally that occurred before Election Day who allegedly spit on and violently confronted members of an ongoing protest.

Police Chief Joe Ortiz reiterated what the South Pasadena Police Department had reported after the incidents, which was that any potential arrests were pending a decision from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

“In complex cases that require additional investigation or those when conflicting evidence — such as witness statements — is presented, these cases are usually presented to the district attorney’s office at a later time,” Ortiz reported to the City Council last week.

Athletes Make ‘Smooth’ Return to Workouts at SPHS

Photo courtesy SPUSD
Tiger football players work out at Ray Solari Stadium. If all goes as planned, South Pasadena’s grid season will kick off on Friday, Jan. 8, when the Tigers are scheduled to play Viewpoint at 7 p.m.

For the first time since Friday, March 13 — an ominous date if there ever was one — South Pasadena High School welcomed student-athletes back to campus this month to begin training and conditioning, using some of the facilities that had been closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Participants in sports belonging to Season 1 — including cross-country, football, volleyball and water polo — in the California Interscholastic Federation’s revised schedule for the 2020-21 academic year have begun workouts. Season 2 athletes — those participating in badminton, basketball, baseball, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and wrestling — will commence training in December.

Workouts follow strict guidelines, as all training and conditioning will take place outdoors, require that masks be worn and call for participants to assemble in “pods” of no more than 12 student-athletes. Participants must also complete a physical before attending in-person training. Students will be required to complete a health screening every day before training begins, and the use of balls is greatly limited.

Tiger Run 2020 Is a Different Breed of Cat

Photo courtesy SPHS Booster Club
The South Pasadena High School Booster Club is asking people to participate in a virtual version of the annual Tiger Run to raise funds for student programs.

This year, the Tiger Run is going national, sort of.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic — which has shut down any hope of the normal run as well as other avenues for typical fundraising — the South Pasadena High School Booster Club is presenting a virtual Tiger Run that kicks off next week. Participants will have from Friday, Nov. 20, through Saturday, Dec. 5, to log their 1 kilometer, 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers — or really, any distance, anywhere they might happen to be — to raise funds for the boosters and all of the organizations they support.

“It’s a 23-year tradition and we can’t not do something, but in this pandemic era, how do you do it?” said Bill Buckley, who has planned the Tiger Run for the boosters for three years. “We’re trying to give them the ability to show their Tiger spirit, but in a safe way.”

Call to Duty: PCC Helps Veterans on Campus

Photo courtesy Carol Calandra
Carol Calandra is interim director of the Pasadena City College Veterans
Resource Center.

Pasadena City College’s Veterans Resource Center last month celebrated its 10th anniversary.

On this Veterans Day week, when we salute those who served us in the military, such an anniversary is particularly poignant.

Interim center director Carol Calandra of South Pasadena and Harold “Doc” Martin, whose class influenced her and so many veterans who attended PCC, have been there since the facility’s inception.

The center offers coaching, tutoring, academic and vocational counseling, certification of GI Bill benefits, and help with practical problems faced by today’s veterans.

City Council Up in Air, School Board Settled

Primuth Moves Ahead in District 3 Council Contest

One of three races for City Council appeared by late Wednesday afternoon to have been possibly decided, but the margins of votes in the other two contests remained razor thin and their outcomes unclear because of the potential element of write-in votes.
Jon Primuth, a departing member of the local school board, had received 42.08% of the vote in District 3 as of the Review’s press deadline on Wednesday, or 903 votes. He was followed by Michelle Hammond with 749 votes (34.9%) and Alan Ehrlich with 360 (16.78%). A fourth challenger, Jaz Sawyer, netted 134 votes despite having suspended his campaign.
“Everyone had a strong, positive campaign with lots of energy,” Primuth said.
Meanwhile Evelyn Zneimer, currently serving as city clerk, held an 11-vote lead over incumbent Councilman Bob Joe in District 1, making it a race that could easily be decided by mail-in ballots. In District 2, Jack Donovan was the only candidate listed and had received 1,253 votes; however, a strong write-in campaign by Stephen Rossi, who was appointed to the council to finish the term of a member who resigned, won’t be reflected immediately because of the manner in which Los Angeles County tabulates those write-in votes.

Renewal of Utility Users Tax Easily Gains Approval

Photo Courtesy Sally Kilby
Measure U supporter Neil Rosser picks up a lawn sign from committee member Kim Hughes at a lawn sign pick-up event in September.

The utility users tax is here to stay — unless voters take extra steps to get rid of it someday — after a seemingly enthusiastic renewal by South Pasadena voters in Tuesday’s election.
As of the Review’s press deadline on Wednesday, Measure U — the ballot measure to extend the 7.5% tax on utility and technology bills indefinitely — carried an impressive 76.46% of the vote, with 9,544 ballots in favor of the measure. There were 2,939 votes against the extension.
“It’s what we’ve seen over and over again in the last few years,” said Ed Donnelly, chair of the Measure U renewal campaign committee, on Wednesday. “South Pasadena voters are really voting for the city. They’re voting to affirm their small-town way of life, their city services and their public safety. To see it once again is just a great feeling.”

‘Shop-Eat-Support Local’ to Help Businesses Stay Afloat

By Andrew Berk
Special to the Review

Andrew Berk

My wife, Gabriela, and I moved to South Pasadena more than 18 years ago, and like so many others, we were drawn here by the incredible uniqueness and loads of special, magical things this town had to offer.
We are blessed with our exceptional public schools, the incredible and unique fabric of our historic downtown South Pasadena, the loads of beautiful homes with a rich green landscape, close access to the great outdoors, the socio-economic diversity of the community, and the walkability one could find in most of the city. Born and raised in Los Angeles, I recognized that here in South Pasadena, we had found an oasis within the heart of the megalopolis of world-class Los Angeles and all it had to offer.

Passions on Display at Trump Rally

Photo by Mitch Lehman / The Review
A South Pasadena resident organized a rally in support of President Donald Trump that attracted at least 400 supporters into town Sunday, ahead of the election on Tuesday.

About 400 supporters of Donald Trump, augmented by scores of horn-blaring automobiles that paraded continuously through the heart of South Pasadena, participated in a rally for the president and the city Police Department on Sunday afternoon, ahead of Tuesday’s election.
While the action took place mostly on the corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Mission Street, enthusiasts heading to and from the gathering made it a much larger and noisier affair, drawing in shoppers and diners to the area. The throng presented a sharp contrast with other recent gatherings in South Pasadena, which since June has become accustomed to continuing demonstrations in support of Black Lives Matter and related causes at the same intersection.

Resourceful Restaurateur Learns How to Deal With Pandemic

Photo by Mitch Lehman / The Review
Justin Prietto had to think on his feet when the coronavirus pandemic imposed large restrictions on his restaurant, Lost Parrot Cafe. The South Pasadena native expanded his business model in order to survive.

Laurie Wheeler, as president of the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, has her finger on the pulse of the local business community.
When I asked her to name a business that has evolved in order to survive during the coronavirus pandemic, she pointed to the Lost Parrot, at 1929 Huntington Drive, as a prime example.
It turns out that this is also a story about a local boy making good.
Justin Prietto went to Arroyo Vista Elementary School and South Pasadena Middle School and was a class of 2000 graduate of South Pasadena High School. From 2002-07, he worked in what once was the Cook Shack — the space he now owns — starting by washing dishes and loading trucks. By 2007, he had his own business — Huntington Catering, located in Pasadena.
When he went looking for a place to expand his catering business, he found it at the location where he used to work. In addition to moving his catering business there in 2017, he also started a cafe named after the parrots that flock every day to South Pasadena.