Thursday, February 26, 2009

We Love Open Space!

Pasadena residents and visitors have enjoyed the great outdoors for well over a century, and the conservation of our natural resources has been equally high on the priority list.

On Saturday, Feb. 28, come to Pasadena City Hall for a very special event in the courtyard (or in the grand entrance if it's drizzling) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

This is the kick-off the update of the Open Space and Conservation Element of the General Plan, which will set goals and priorities for the future of our natural resources.

You’ll examine maps and exhibits, meet one-on-one with city leaders and visit with like-minded residents.

Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land, will be the guest speaker, and there will be exhibits and children’s activities.

Visit to find the Open Space and Conservation Committee's agendas, minutes and backup materials as well as draft maps, a work plan and other important documents. You’ll also find links to other cities and organizations that are doing inspiring work in this field.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Our Popular After-school Programs

Got kids? The experts say: Let them play!

Our after-school program, provided by the Human Services and Recreation Department in partnership with Pasadena Unified School District, lets children choose from scads of activities.

The goal is to provide safe and healthy settings that are fun for children ages 5 to 14, including a weekly schedule of art and crafts, organized as well as spontaneous games and sports, a health and wellness program, homework assistance, free snacks at most sites, special events, walking field trips and more.

After-school programs are at PUSD playgrounds throughout Pasadena and operate from the time the school dismissal bell rings until 6 p.m. daily. Programs are closed on school holidays and pupil-free days.

Enrollment fees per school semester are just $25 per child and $22.50 for each additional sibling, and cover program materials and supplies, wristband, photo identification card, secondary insurance in case of emergency and some special events and activities.

Enrollment is limited, but there's still room at many sites. You can register online here.

For more information contact Stephanie Carter at (626) 744-7532 or; or Elizabeth Luna at (626) 744-7302 or They work in the HS&R Department.

By the way, summer's coming! We'll need seasonal staff for our summer recreation programs. Apply here no later than Thursday, Feb. 26.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Parade is On, Festival is Rescheduled

The Black History Parade will proceed as planned Saturday, Feb. 21. It will go down Fair Oaks Avenue, beginning at Charles White Park in Altadena (Ventura at Fair Oaks) and ending on Fair Oaks Avenue between Hammond and Mountain in Pasadena.

The post-parade festival has been rescheduled to coincide with a community celebration in memory of Jackie Robinson this coming May. Plans are in the works for that event, which will be very nice. Jackie Robinson's widow and other family members will be in attendance, which we're all looking forward to.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Cleanup of the Mighty Oak

Our hearts remain sad over the unfortunate demise of one of our 80-year-old oak trees in the City Hall courtyard.

Today it was cut up into pieces so it can be hauled away. It will be turned into mulch to help our parklands thrive.

The Pasadena Star-News ran an article this morning.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Mighty Oak Has Fallen

The mightiest of our mighty oaks in the City Hall courtyard met with a tragic end overnight on Sunday/Monday.

One of the original oaks planted at City Hall in the 1920s, it was already in a precarious condition when independent arborists determined the trees' health during the retrofit and restoration project more than two years ago. It was decided at the time that the root system was not in good shape. We hoped it would be OK with a lot of TLC, but the saturating rains the other night made it very heavy and the high winds blew it over.

Thank goodness nobody was sitting on this bench at the time.

A crew from the Parks and Natural Resources Division of the Public Works Department will cut the tree up in the next day or two, and it will eventually be replaced with a young oak that will have plenty of spunk for the long haul.

Life goes on.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mark Your Calendars! (Updated 2/17)

Here's a sampling of some upcoming events sponsored by the City of Pasadena:

Tuesday, Feb. 17, 6:30 to 8 p.m. – An update of Pasadena’s Bicycle Master Plan will begin with a community meeting in the Council Chamber (S249) at Pasadena City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave. (626) 744-7254.

Wednesday, Feb. 18 -- 1 p.m. – This week’s movie in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St. is “Pride” starring Terrence Howard as the real-life Jim Ellis, a determined coach who starts a swim team for troubled teens in Philadelphia. (626) 744-4066.

Thursday, Feb. 19 -- 7 p.m. – The 2009 L.A. Opera Talks series begins with a fun and lively talk on the new opera “The Birds” in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library, 285 E. Walnut St. (626) 744-4066.

Friday, Feb. 20 -- 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Today is the deadline if you’re interested in submitting an application for one of two at-large community seats on the General Plan Update Advisory Committee. (626) 744-4311.

Friday, Feb. 20, 1:30 p.m. – Destination Employment offers assistance to job-seekers at La Pintoresca Branch Library, 1355 N. Raymond Ave. (626) 744-7268.

Saturday, Feb. 21 -- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – The Black History Parade will begin at 10 a.m. at Charles White Park in Altadena and end at Robinson Park in Pasadena. It will be followed by a family festival from noon to 4 p.m. at Robinson Park. (626) 744-7300.

The update of the Open Space and Conservation Element of the General Plan will begin officially with a free open house event Saturday, Feb. 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the courtyard at Pasadena City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave., including an 11:30 a.m. discussion with Will Rogers, president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land, children's activities and much more. (626) 744-6767.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Flags in the Civic Center

If you drive by and see the flags on historic poles throughout the Civic Center area, they've been put up in honor of President Abraham Lincoln's birthday on Thursday, Feb. 12, and Presidents Day on Monday, Feb. 16.

City offices will be closed for these holidays, although I've got a lot of projects in the pipeline so I'll be in my office working in relative peace and quiet. No phones ringing off the hook and no people walking in and out. Sheer bliss!

Monday, February 9, 2009

There's No Time Like the Present

Most people these days remember to turn off sprinkler systems during the rainy season, an important way to conserve water.

But do you know that even during the rainy season, you still may be wasting more water than you think?

This is the perfect time of year for doing simple maintenance checks to make sure you're saving every drop possible (and saving on your water bill).

Here are some things to check for in your home.

Aerators -- Most faucets are equipped with aerators that mix air and water for a smoother flow. Cleaning your aerators once a year removes mineral and debris buildup. To check it out, (1) unscrew the aerator, (2) lay the parts on the counter in the order in which you removed them or make a sketch of their order so you can put them back correctly, (3) rinse each part with water and clean all screen holes with a toothbrush or toothpick. To remove hard water scale, soak the parts in vinegar or lime dissolver, then rinse with water before putting them back together. If a part is worn, replace it or install a new aerator.

Toilets -- So you think your toilet doesn’t leak? You may have to think again. Try this simple test to help detect the most common cause of toilet leaks: Put some food coloring in the tank and then leave for 15 minutes. When you return, look in the toilet bowl. If the water in the bowl is the same color as the dye, it’s time for a new flapper! After installing the flapper or calling a plumber to do it for you, run the dye test again to ensure that your toilet is not still leaking. If the leak persists, you may have to replace the entire flush valve.

Refrigerators -- Water lines for cold water dispensers and ice makers are usually connected from under the sink to the back of the refrigerator. These lines often run behind or under kitchen cabinets or walls. Since water lines are not in full view, leaks can often go undetected until they become big and expensive, potentially damaging other appliances, cabinets, walls and floors. So check for leaks or call a plumbing or refrigeration expert to do this important job for you.

For more information go here or call the PWP AnswerLine at 744-6970.

Friday, February 6, 2009

They Forced Me Into It!

Ben and Petrea have been doing some friendly one-upsmanship with photos taken from high perches around town.

OK, you two: I double dog dare you to shoot a photo from a vantage point higher than these!

But seriously, the shots you're taking are wonderful and I love the variety of locations. Keep it up!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What a Day for a Fire Alarm!

The hundreds of employees at Pasadena City Hall were just minding our business late this afternoon when the fire alarm went off. A fire alarm in the rain seems somewhat ironic, but there it was!

So out of the building we went and to our appointed locations across the street until Pasadena fire officials announced that it was safe to go back indoors.

It was nice to catch up with a few people I hadn't seen in awhile.

My camera battery was dead so I snapped this shot with my Treo.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Future of Bikes in Pasadena

If you're thinking about taking a bike to work or to do a little shopping, or if you're already pedaling around town, or even if you're a die-hard aficionado who bikes miles at a time, you'll want to help shape an update to Pasadena's Bicycle Master Plan.

The update will kick off with a community meeting Tuesday, Feb. 17, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Council Chamber, room S249 at Pasadena City Hall, 100 N. Garfield Ave.

The meeting, hosted by our Transportation Department and the newly formed Bicycle Master Plan Advisory Committee, will be open to the public, and comments and suggestions will be welcome.

See the existing master plan here or call (626) 744-7254 or email for more information.

Rich Dilluvio is a senior planner in our Transportation Department, oversees all the bike-related programs and is a pleasure to work with.

You'll find more info about bike programs here, including a video that tells the story pretty well.