A Letter to City Council | Many Groups and Individuals Have Stepped Up

Open session non-agenda item public comment submission April 15, 2010

FILE PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Anne Bagasao

Dear Mayor Bob Joe and Honorable Council People,

As a resident and local advocate for the less fortunate and most vulnerable among us, I’m using my time to acknowledge and thank the hundreds of South Pasadenans who are serving our community during this international crisis.

We are a small but mighty city of culturally, economically and ethnically diverse people. We are people of many faiths, languages, ages and abilities.  When we saw a need, we responded.

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Without hesitation or urging, South Pasadena civilians organized volunteers and fundraising efforts almost overnight. With the use of social media and good old-fashioned word of mouth, individuals and groups wasted no time in reaching hundreds of residents with offers of assistance, goodwill and compassion.

Out of this pandemic, has emerged the Senior Volunteer Shoppers. They are over 100 bodies strong putting themselves into the world so that our seniors do not have to.

The South Pasadena Woman’s Club members,  who have been selflessly donating, organizing and sewing masks as part of the larger effort led by Kristina Wong and the Aunties Sewing Squad. This tireless group of South Pasadena elders has created over 600 homemade masks that have been distributed to nurses, caregivers, LA County Juvenile Probation, Kaiser Sunset food service and housekeeping staff, in-home physical therapists,  and essential workers as far away as New York, Massachusetts and Florida in addition to many right here in South Pasadena. This has been 100% volunteer effort and with no requirement to pay for anyone who has requested a mask.

The Chinese American Parents Association, donated thousands of dollars-worth of protective equipment to our first responders when they had nothing. Ironically, the group was pictured with their generous donation standing upon the courtyard which is slated to undergo a $100,000 makeover.

A shout out also to John Srebalus and the South Pasadena Tenants Union for not wasting anytime in drafting and presenting to the Council an emergency eviction ban for residential renters.

Holy Family Parish, Oneonta, and St. James have been providing food to those who may otherwise go without. Our school district meal distribution staff who are keeping our children fed and providing a semblance of normalcy and routine, have been amazing. And to the SouthPasadenan staff that has kept us up to date and informed on regional and state news as well as the efforts of those mentioned above, your work is so appreciated.

To say thank you to our grocery store workers, janitors, elder caregivers and restaurant workers, can never be enough. They deserve much more. They deserve better pay and access to quality healthcare. Without them, where would any of us be right now?

I hear people saying that they can’t wait to go back to the way things were.  The way things were meant that many workers, who are now essential, were invisible to most South Pasadenans. In April 2019, an opportunity was presented to you that would have supported and acknowledged the plight of our lowest wage earners. This body along with the Chamber of Commerce, rejected it. Ironically, we are now dependent upon many of those same low wage earners.

In our little corner of the world, when for the past month international and national news has changed quickly and furiously, it has consistently been non-governmental efforts that have kept South Pasadenans connected, fed and protected.

When the City applies for the emergency Federal grants, it’s unfortunate that you won’t be able to use our numbers to make a case for your needs.  We have contributed countless hours, donated thousands of dollars and we continue to serve without fanfare or funding.  The City can’t put a dollar amount on the value of that which has been provided by private individuals, the media and community organizations during this unprecedented time.

We know who we are, what we have done and what we will continue to do for our neighbors. You should be humbled by what your constituents are willing and capable of achieving during this extraordinary moment in history. This is our legacy. Not yours.


Elizabeth A. Bagasao





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