HomeCommunity NewsMayor Talks State of City At Town Hall

Mayor Talks State of City At Town Hall

Mayor Gretchen Shepherd Romey. Photo by Skye Hannah

In her first State of the City address as mayor, Gretchen Shepherd Romey shared her goals for 2020 and highlighted the city’s accomplishments of 2019 with an assembled group of about 30 residents and city staff members this past Monday at the Crowell Public Library.

Shepherd Romey’s goals for 2020 include increasing traffic safety and pedestrian protections with additional neighborhood traffic calming measures, improving public safety with better management of vacant residential and commercial properties, and strengthening tree preservation via increased educational and public awareness outreach with the tree preservation ordinance.
“My focus is to preserve and protect what’s best in San Marino and I think we could all agree that this is a very exceptional community,” said Shepherd Romey. “We have beautiful neighborhoods, we have a strong community relationship with each other, with our groups, as well as we have beautiful assets like our urban forest and our magnificent Lacy Park.”

For traffic safety and pedestrian protections, she said many factors point toward slowing down speed throughout the city. Results from a speed survey will soon be coming to City Council and she expected recommendations from that for dropping the speed limit on major streets, as well as possible speed bumps and raised pedestrian crossings.
The goal is “really to focus on just slowing things down and really think about who else is stepping off that sidewalk or riding their bike or driving because it’s really become an issue of people coming through town,” said Shepherd Romey. “We can’t stop that, but we can certainly try to slow things down when they’re here so maybe they’ll drive elsewhere.”

Within public safety, she commended the police department for doing “an incredible job this year with reducing residential burglaries as well as making our city safer for traffic.” Residential burglaries were reduced by 18 percent from last year and priority 1 response time to calls for service (which involve a critically ill or injured person requiring immediate attention) were reduced by 24 percent as well, bringing the average time to two minutes. Injury traffic collisions dropped 12.8 percent from last year.

Shepherd Romey said she will be seeking to reduce those collisions by an additional 10 percent as well as reduce both residential and commercial burglaries an additional 5 percent. This year, the city will be developing a BusinessWatch program to engage business owners and nearby residents. There will also be measures taken to strengthen the neighborhood watch program through block captain training and security system seminars for residents.
“That will help in an emergency and it helps in public safety,” said Shepherd Romey.

With the fire department, there are plans to develop a “Citizen Fire Academy” that will allow residents and elected officials a day to train with the department and learn about core functions. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program will be reviewed to find ways to increase resident participation and provide emergency disaster supplies to residents.

Developing a master plan for Lacy Park is also a goal this year as well as rebuilding the rose arbor. Shepherd Romey said it will involve taking in resident feedback on what to improve and how to maintain it in order to create a 5- and 10-year plan “for really protecting that great asset in our city and making sure our residents get the benefit of using it and enjoying it as much as they can.”

She also noted that an outside funding source has been located for the rose arbor and the goal is the rebuild it within the year.

Reflecting on the meeting, residents expressed confidence in the mayor’s address and shared a sense of eagerness to work with her on the city issues moving forward.

Jim Angelos, former President of the San Marino City Club and a 48-year resident of the city, said he felt the mayor’s address was “very efficient” and he was looking forward to seeing traffic safety measures, burglary reduction and bicycle safety for children highlighted by the council.
“I think she did a great job,” said Angelos. “She was very informative and she’s been a good City Council member, so I think she’ll go a great job as mayor.”

Hilary Dorsey, a resident for more than 40 years, felt Shepherd Romey’s goals were “very comprehensive” and she felt there was good rapport among the leaders and staff. She said she was looking toward become more involved as a community voice with the tree preservation ordinance.
“I think it’s impressive, the scope of what somebody on the council has to be informed about and I think Gretchen has done a very good job of working hard to become conversant and informed,” said Dorsey. “It was also a pleasure to be here whatnot with the traffic issues and the emotion of more of a positive nature.”

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