On The Issues
A way forward for South Pasadena
Over the past year, it has become abundantly clear that changes need to be made in the way the city handles its finances.
Finance department operations
The annual audit of the city’s finances must be completed on time and align with the city’s ongoing budget process. The city must also publish a work plan and timetable for implementing these long-delayed best practices. More importantly, a culture that prioritizes transparency and proactive problem-solving, and which resists the urge to keep quiet about lingering problems in financial operations, must be developed.
With budget reductions a certainty, we must make every effort to protect essential services for seniors, keep our library open and maintain youth programs. The city also needs to address the housing-affordability crisis that makes year-to-year residence in South Pasadena financially precarious for many families. A way of lessening this uncertainty would be for the city to use some of its discretionary funds to develop new ideas and initiatives to assist renters. But even as revenues shrink, we should not abandon the city’s environmental initiatives. The green action plan (Sustainable SP) and the climate action plan are long-term investments in building a sustainable future.
I am open to rethinking our traditional approach to policing and will consider rebalancing our resources to provide services that better serve the community’s needs. I lived many years in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles that was aggressively policed in a way that often antagonized the community. I am sensitive to the feelings of those who, because of race or immigration status, have been discriminated against by the police. It’s long past time that we listen and engage in fresh thinking to find better ways to secure our communities. Therefore, I strongly support the city’s ad hoc committee to explore new approaches to policing.
In light of the pandemic that has devastated many city businesses, we need to strengthen our partnership with and support of local merchants. The Chamber of Commerce is a thoughtful and effective advocate for our business community, and I will seek their input and ideas for better promoting the city’s small businesses.
Our city’s general and specific planning documents are woefully out of date and need to be refreshed and revised. Four years ago the city started the process of developing new plans but they remain far from complete. It’s critical that we provide sensible, understandable planning documents for investors to use as they plan new developments within city limits.
Streets and traffic
I strongly support the city’s sustained financial commitment to improving our streets, sewers and sidewalks. Residents have waited patiently for many years to see the fruits of this investment.
With county-wide transportation taxes starting to flow, money is now available for traffic mitigation projects. To get any of these future projects up and running, however, we will require better collaboration between the city council, city staff and residents to identify and prioritize these projects so we can quickly get them into the funding pipeline.
Easing the dangerous traffic conditions on Fremont Ave and Meridian Ave is a priority. There is no excuse for not implementing basic safety-related improvements on these major thoroughfares. These include better signage and striping, speed adjustments and stronger enforcement, as well as more extensive traffic calming measures.
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