Monthly Archives: July, 2019

SMFD Equips Schools, City With Bleeding Control Kits

In the event of a situation where one or multiple people require care for sustained wounds, city-owned facilities and local schools are now prepared with bleeding control kits installed by the San Marino Fire Department (SMFD). According to Fire Chief Mario Rueda, it’s better for the city to have them and never use them than something happening and not having them on hand. One bleeding control kit contains eight individual kits which can be quickly distributed to people assisting those needing care. Each kit contains a tourniquet, 6” trauma dressing gauze, two gauze rolls, two pairs of large nitrile gloves and a pair of trauma shears. Each kit has easy-to-understand pictures and directions for the usage of each. SMFD Firefighter/Paramedic Jeff Tsai said the kits can be used in a variety of situations, from a shooting to any event where bleeding must be slowed to preserve life until first responders are on scene. “Say there was an incident where there was an active shooter,” said Tsai. “This allows eight separate kits to be thrown to bystanders to help with someone who’s bleeding out instead of having one person have to run around.” Tsai said the prevalence of publicly accessible bleeding control kits in the region came about after the 2013 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport...

Monsalve Loves City’s Hometown Ambiance

Cesar Monsalve swears he will be spending but a few months in San Marino, but his engaging, enthusiastic demeanor makes it difficult to tell that the city’s interim community services director is merely a short timer. Monsalve was plucked out of retirement in June by City Manager Marcella Marlow until the post can be filled permanently. Monsalve retired in December 2018 after 28 years with the city of Duarte (where Marlow was previously employed, hence the connection) and was literally on the golf course when his former associate called. “I was enjoying retirement quite a bit,” said Monsalve. Having served most recently as Duarte’s director of parks and recreation, Monsalve was a perfect fit for the interim gig. San Marino’s 4th of July celebration marked his first major event in the city, and he walked away duly impressed. “What a great hometown event,” he said. “It was very unique to this community. And what a tribute to San Marino that so many out-of-towners came out for it.” Typically, the end of summer programming signifies a stepping-off point, but that is precisely when Monsalve will be approaching his most significant task. “The department has gone through some turnover and they created a community services director position to oversee both the library and recreation department,” he said. “In the meantime, they wanted to get someone who who can deal with the issues, which is why I am here. At the same time, the city is looking to ‘revision’ the recreation department’s programming.” With that in mind, the city council also retained the services of GreenPlay LLC, a consulting firm with experience in that field. “They have already conducted a series of meetings with stakeholder groups and met individually with each city council member,” Monsalve said. “They have also put together some community surveys that will be statistically valid and science-based. Based on the survey and the needs assessment results, they will put together a report and present it to the city council to see what they want to do going forward. It is then up to the city council to decide what they want to do with the recreation program.” Monsalve will oversee the process while addressing the day-to-day needs of the Crowell Public Library and the Recreation Dept. He also serves on the city’s executive team alongside its police and fire chiefs. “I want to hear what people want to do, how we should change, how we should approach Stoneman and the San Marino Center,” Monsalve told The Tribune. “And I want to hear any suggestions community members might have regarding the staff and our program offerings. These are all things we need to consider as we develop the needs assessment.” To that end, Monsalve even volunteered his email address and invited citizens to contact him with any suggestions at “I want the residents of San Marino to help us determine the best future for the Recreation division of the Community Services Department and they can continue to do that by actively participating in the upcoming survey process that will be facilitated by GreenPlay,” he said. “Marketing and awareness campaigning for the surveying will begin soon and we’re really looking forward to their responses.” Monsalve, 56, and his wife Marie have one son, Sean, who is a college student. The family lives in Etiwanda. While his tenure is temporary, Monsalve is approaching his duty as if he has a long-term stake in the outcome. “We see all of this as being very positive,” he said. “I am discovering that we have a lot of support in the community for our staff and programming, but there is always room to improve. We want to find out what the community wants for those improvements.”

City Council Seeks Clarity for Proposed Metro 710 Funding

On Friday morning, the San Marino City Council was expected to discuss at the Crowell Public Library whether the city should continue to hold Metro funds and further refine the proposals for $8 million in intersection work at Atlantic Boulevard/Huntington Drive/Los Robles Avenue/Garfield Avenue. The council was also expected to discuss the direction and seek clarity on additional proposals within the 710 North project, funded by the $32 million in Measure R sales tax funding meant for traffic issues. The funds are meant to address traffic impact due to Metro’s decision to not construct the 710 tunnel project. The tunnel project aimed to link the 710 and 210 Freeways. At its Wednesday, July 10 meeting, the council discussed seven motions with three motions passing in a 3-1 vote. Four motions failed to pass as a result of a tie vote with Council Member Susan Jakubowski out on an excused absence. The motions that passed included: directing the city manager to correspond with Metro in order to withdraw the funding request for traffic signal synchronization on Huntington Drive, to direct Metro that they city was unwilling to accept any funds that did not benefit projects around schools and to reject all funds on every intersection save for Atlantic Boulevard. The city staff report noted that the motion language was “somewhat competing and contradictory.” Staff believed the spirit of the council’s intention for the five projects was as follows: For Project 1 (intersection improvements, $12 million), to reject the project and funding for three of the four intersections ($4 million) and to reconsider the fourth intersection, Atlantic Boulevard/Huntington Drive/Los Robles Avenue/Garfield Avenue, ($8 million). For Project 2 (Huntington Drive improvements, $6 million), to continue holding the funds and have city staff return to the council with refined and clarified proposals in September. For Project 3 (Sierra Madre Boulevard improvements, $4 million), Project 4 (Huntington Drive signal synchronization, $7 million) and Project 5 (San Gabriel Boulevard signal synchronization, $3 million), to reject all of the projects and funding outright. If the City Council agrees with these points at the July 26 meeting, the last remaining discussion item is expected to be whether the city should continue to hold funds and further refine the $8 million Project 1 portion of the intersection of Atlantic Boulevard/Huntington Drive/Los Robles Avenue/Garfield Avenue.


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Hawk Gets A Helping Hand In Fire Department Rescue

After two days of being stuck inside the chimney of a home on the 1200 block of Garfield Avenue in San Marino, a dirty and disheveled Cooper’s hawk was rescued by the San Marino Fire Department (SMFD) on Wednesday, July 10 after the resident reported noises and soot falling into their fireplace. “The residents were very surprised that it was actually that type of bird,” SMFD Captain Jason Sutliff told The Tribune. “They were pleased that we got it out and in awe at the same time.” SMFD Engine 91’s crew of Sutliff, Engineer Dan Wagenbrenner, Firefighter/Paramedic Dwayne Carlton and Firefighter/Paramedic Kirk Batterson responded at approximately 7 p.m. and made an assessment from the top of the chimney to the bottom of the fireplace, determining that the hawk could be rescued from the bottom. The crew discovered that it had managed to get itself stuck by entering an uncovered opening at the top of the chimney, which was only partially covered by mesh, and then found itself in a tight bind. “For the most part, we knew it probably didn’t have enough room because of its size to really be able to spread its wings and get the lift, so I think that’s kind of the reason it couldn’t get out to our best judgment,” said Sutliff. After the assessment, Carlton was able to reach up through the flue and pulled it to rescue. Once the bird was free, he held it carefully outside the home while the Pasadena Humane Society (Animal Control) was contacted for an assessment of its health. The bird, however, had other ideas. After around 15 minutes of being held, it maneuvered its way out of his hands and flew free right at the moment Animal Control arrived. The resident reported that the hawk had been spotted previously near a nest close to the home. “It felt like it had good strength,” said Sutliff. “As was saying, it wasn’t overly aggressive, but it definitely was like, ‘I’m done, I’m done being in a chimney, I’m done being held, I’m ready to go, thank you very much.’” Sutliff encouraged residents to be sure they have a spark arrestor atop their chimney, which consists of a wire mesh covering with a cap. The device costs around $40. “What it does is twofold: it prevents the sparks from coming out and catching things on fire, and on the other side of the coin, it prevents things from getting in your chimney,” said Sutliff. Sutliff said it was a “good call” and his crew was glad the situation had a happy ending. He recommended residents reach out if they suspect an animal may be trapped around their home. “We’ve gone on Animal Control calls before where sometimes it’s nothing or sometimes it is something, but of course our want is that even if something goes wrong: see something, say something,” said Sutliff. “If you hear something in your house and you can’t really figure it out, call us, call somebody or call Animal Control if you need to.” When it comes to animal whispering, Carlton seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time. On Monday, the firefighter/paramedic saved two cats and a dog from a fire in San Gabriel, according to Sutliff. To contact the San Marino Fire Department, call (626) 300-0735. For Animal Control, call (626) 792-7151.

City Council Rejects Partial Funding From Metro 710 Project

After a lengthy impassioned deliberation, the San Marino City Council voted on Wednesday, July 10 to reject three proposals that were included in a five-project overture on the table for the 710 North project with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). The projects, totaling $32 million from Measure R sales tax funding, were meant for alternative traffic solutions after the 710 tunnel connecting the 210 and 10 Freeways was abandoned. It was a full council chamber at City Hall with many of the residents being familiar faces from prior community meetings, where they appeared time and time again to voice their concerns and alternative ideas. Many residents expressed a sense of unease that Metro did not have the city’s well-being at heart with the proposals. The currently presented projects considered in San Marino are Huntington Drive intersection work ($12 million), Huntington Drive signal synchronization ($7 million), work in front of school sites on Huntington Drive ($6 million), work along Sierra Madre Boulevard ($4 million) and San Gabriel Boulevard signal synchronization ($3 million). Out of the five presented projects considered in San Marino, the council narrowly voted to reject Huntington Drive signal synchronization and San Gabriel Boulevard signal synchronization. In prior meetings, residents expressed concerns that synchronization would mean a higher amount of cars would flow through the roadways and safety would be compromised, particularly around schools. Before the final vote, Vice Mayor Gretchen Shepherd Romey said she viewed Metro as having a goal to move more cars through the city and expressed a sense of pushback that Metro 710 was a “north-south issue” and Huntington Drive should not be involved. “Our goals of San Marino or a City Council or a community are never going to be in line with the goals of Metro 710,” said Shepherd Romey. “They are different. Fundamentally they want to move traffic because they didn’t build the tunnel. Period. Full stop.” Council member Steve Talt was also in strong favor of declining the synchronization as he felt there was “no benefit to that in the long run when balanced against the risk.” “I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” said Talt. “I don’t want to say no to everything. I want to say heck no to synchronization and let’s just see how bad the bathwater gets on the rest of them and then make a decision at that time.” For the remaining projects, the City Council was undecided and requested additional clarity from city staff. In that spirit, a special study session will be held at the Barth Community Room of the Crowell Public Library on Friday, July 26, at 8:30 a.m. to further discuss them and decide on a direction to take. In addition, the council declined accepting any funding for intersection work along Huntington Drive at San Gabriel Boulevard, Oak Knoll Drive and San Marino Avenue. According to Michael Throne, director of Parks and Public Works, $4 million was set aside for these improvements from Metro. In a 2-2 deadlock vote with Council Member Susan Jakubowski absent, the council left the decision on the Huntington Drive intersection at Atlantic Boulevard and Garfield Avenue up for future deliberation.

Calm Before the Storm

Memorial Day? Not even close. Graduation? We’re getting there. July 4th? Start making plans. End of summer school? Seeya. A friend of mine refers to it as “the gradual, yet constant evisceration of summer.” Whereas San Marino families once had at least a...

One of Us Serves All of Us

Unbeknownst to his neighbors and friends, one of our very own San Marinans for the past year has risen each weekday morning, donned a business suit (with requisite power tie) grabbed a cup of coffee and ridden the local roller coaster known as the 110 Freeway, destination Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Building, located next to Los Angeles City Hall. Then it’s hand-to-hand combat with a flood of lawyers, law enforcement officers, plaintiffs and defendants, all vying for the first available elevator that will deliver them to one of the building’s 19 floors. Escaping the 11th floor “sardine can,” our neighbor hustles over to the sanctum, better known as the Grand Jury Conference Room, where along with 22 colleagues around a large oval mahogany table, he settles down to represent Los Angeles County’s 10 million residents, $32.5 billion budget and $750 billion economy; its 88 cities, 140 unincorporated areas, a land area of 4,086 square miles of oceans, deserts, forests, and mountains and its 2.7 million properties, netting an assessment roll of $1.2 trillion. County governance is charged with providing regional infrastructure and numerous services, which affect the lives of all residents, including law enforcement, property tax collection, public health protection, public social services, elections, flood control, and maintenance of recreation, culture, and arts facilities. Welcome to the often wacky world of San Marino’s Ray Lee, who for the past year has served as one of the 23 members of the Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury, which embodies the intentional participation by the electorate in the democratic process. “It is a singular opportunity to take an intimate look at how government works,” said Lee. “How civilians have the ultimate responsibility to ‘watch-dog’ the county, city, and joint-power civil agencies by examining and investigating—carefully and completely—their procedures, processes, personnel, and methods of operation.” Then, the Civil Grand Jury report to the public and department heads, its findings on the workings of those 88 cities, 493 special districts, 80 school districts, 13 community college districts, and 144 detention facilities (by statute, the Civil Grand Jury is mandated to inspect the conditions and management of all public jails within its jurisdiction) as well as suggesting recommendations to assure best practices, accountability and efficiency to best serve its constituents. The Civil Grand Jury is also tasked with responding to individual citizens’ complaints. “I couldn’t believe County government could be so huge, so costly, and so organized along hierarchical lines such that the system renders check-and-balance to vested interests competing for scarce resources,” exclaimed Lee, a 23-year resident of San Marino. “I had to follow a tight ‘learning curve’ to learn so much about so many things concerning so many people in just a short time. For example, after we have visited Men’s Central Jail, the Twin Towers, Pitchess Detention Facility, the North Valley Correctional Facility, Camp Kilpatrick, and the Coroner’s Office, I began to see the criminal justice landscape in L.A. County much differently. I now believe the law enforcement community is asked to do the impossible!” During its 2018-session, the Grand Jury focused on—or in Lee’s words “went full bore on”—drug smuggling in the jails, human trafficking of youth, the homeless infringing upon others’ accessibility to public libraries, Brady protection for “dirty cops,” Department of Children and Family Services’ failed policies of providing oversight, the accountability for weapons or drugs destroyed by the Sheriff’s Department, and planning for youth detention camp Parolee’s post-release life. The final report is available online. Lee, a secondary educator who retired in 2008 after working for 37 years in the Los Angeles County Unified School District, walked away from his year-long commitment to the Civil Grand Jury with what he identified as “four profitable gains of insightful appreciations.” “I am humbled by the year of service, as I quickly grasp how enormously complex and exceeding intricate L.A. County is to govern,” he told The Tribune. “The bureaucratic infrastructure and operational machinery are esoteric. I arrived as an illiterate philistine and left as a purveyor of much acquired learning and discovery. It was simply one fascinating life experience to see government forces at work. I’m thankful that I contributed to the group effort and gave back to the community.” Lee was also impressed by the herculean efforts put forth by the average worker. “My lasting impression will always be the many men and women we met along the way, who professionally serve the county and who despite scarce resources and the ever-increasing demand for services—which far exceed available financing sources—continue to do their best with what meager assets they have to effect change for public safety priorities.” Lee also praised the many leaders who ventured to the Grand Jury room to share what Lee called “their burdens and their real-time pursuits,” including LA Metro CEO Philip Washington, LA Fire Chief Daryl Osby and LAPD Chief Michael Moore, then-Sheriff Jim McDonnell, Inspector General Max Huntsman, Esther Lim of the ACLU, County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Public Defender Ricardo Garcia, County Assessor Jeffrey Prang and County CEO Sachi Hamai. “She was amazing with her command of statistical facts and discernment of trending in supplying visionary leadership and extraordinary passion,” Lee said of Hamai. After spending a year venturing downtown, Lee deduced that for what he considered the highlight of his term he could have walked around the corner. “It was a meeting with District 5 Supervisor Kathryn Barger, a fellow San Marinan, when she came to testify” Lee said. “She represented a voice of calm reason and practical caring, which resonated with the majority of the group and brought ‘balance’ to the lack of equilibrium and disproportional propensities.” But another experience also resonated deeply with Lee. “On the morning of September 11, 2018, when the Grand Jury was offsite visiting the County Emergency Operations Center in its war room command center,” he explained. “The speaker was expounding about the Emergency Center’s expansive network of disaster preparations. She then stopped at exactly 9:10 am to suggest that we take a minute to remember the fallen and to honor our first-responders from the tragedy 911 tragedy. It was ‘a teachable moment’ of why we expend so much energy, time and resources in gearing up for the inevitable terrorist attack. It tugged at the heart-string.” Lee reminded us that the Superior Court of California is consistently looking for willing volunteers to serve on its Civil Grand Jury panel, with interested parties encouraged to contact Waymond Yee for further detail at (213) 628-7916 or

San Marino Expands Opioid Overdose Treatment Response

When first responders respond to opioid overdoses, time is critical in helping a patient to regain consciousness and stabilize. With synthetic opioid use on the rise, their strong potency stands as a threat to both responders and users alike. Although the San Marino Fire Department has long been equipped to use the drug Naloxone—which reverses opioid overdoses—the agency recently took steps to equip the San Marino Police Department as well. Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan among others, is a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdose. More than 70,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2017 with opioids involved in 67 percent of the cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioids, used as painkillers, are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Some are made from the plant directly while synthetic versions are created by scientists in labs using the same chemical structure. San Marino Firefighter/Paramedic Jeff Tsai noted that use of synthetic opioids fentanyl and carfentanyl are increasingly being seen by first responders across the Los...

Taylor, Giddings Receive Courtney Miller Spirit Award

San Marino National Little League softball players Sophie Kennedy Taylor and Kayla Giddings received the Courtney A. Miller Spirit Award at the 4th of July celebration in Lacy Park. The award is presented in memory of Courtney, a former SMNLL softball player herself, who passed away in 2006 at age 19 following a...
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