Elementary Students Weigh in on Parking Meters in South Pasadena

Monterey Hills Elementary School Students write letters to the editor expressing their thoughts on the possibility of parking meters in South Pasadena. While City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe says the installation of the machines likely won’t happen, it’s important to listen to the youth of South Pasadena

PHOTO: Dawn Tull | SouthPasadenan.com News | Students in Dawn Tull’s combined 4th and 5th grade glass at Monterey Hills Elementary School expressed their opinion about parking meters in South Pasadena through Letters to the Editor at the South Pasadenan

Some like the idea, others not so much.

As it turns out, even kids are weighing in, taking a swipe at the idea of parking meters lining the streets of South Pasadena’s downtown business district as city officials and council members grapple with 5-year financial projections.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Stephanie DeWolfe, the City Manager, gives her presentation on solving the budget gap

The City Council recently heard a long-range budget forecast that is expected to show increased deficits in the near future, and is seeking answers to increase revenue without making cuts to city staff, programs and services.

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Parking meters are a concept the South Pasadena councilmembers have addressed to improve the city’s financial situation as it analyzes revenue and expenditure trends.

In past years, South Pasadena has been successful in developing and approving balanced budget while continuing to provide quality services to its residents. Among the financial challenges are pension contributions the city required as part the California Public Employees Retirement System. Infrastructure improvements to reservoirs, sewers, streets, and sidewalks are long overdue but costly to the city’s budget.

“Our goal is not just to balance the next budget or two, but to consider the long-term financial sustainability of the city,” DeWolfe explained. “We want to create a sustainable system for decades to come.”

When students in Dawn Tull’s combined 4th and 5th grade class at Monterey Hills Elementary School heard about the possibility of parking meters, they were asked to express their opinion on the topic. A pile of thoughts soon landed in the mailbox at the South Pasadenan in the form of letters to the editor.

DeWolfe is all ears, liking the idea that youth of America cares enough to help solve the issue.

PHOTO: Dawn Tull | SouthPasadenan.com News | Students in Dawn Tull’s combined 4th and 5th grade glass at Monterey Hills Elementary School expressed their opinion about parking meters in South Pasadena through Letters to the Editor at the South Pasadenan

“That’s what we need,” said DeWolfe. “We need people to engage with the community, at a younger and younger age. It’s just fantastic that the fourth and fifth graders are thinking about these issues. It’s their city too. The city we’re planning today is the one they are going to live in tomorrow. Absolutely they should be weighing in on these topics.”

She called the letter writing effort by the students “a great idea,” while commending the teachers and administrators at Monterey Hills School for backing it.

DeWolfe says the concept of parking meters is “the hottest of topics among budget gap items” when she goes around speaking to different groups about the issue. “It’s the hottest topic on the list.”

She has been busy talking to a variety of organizations around town seeking ideas from community members on how to bolster the city’s general fund. Increasing the sales tax and a boutique hotel are in the mix while parking meters raise the most eyebrows.

“This is a big topic here in South Pasadena,” stressed DeWolfe. “It’s a big, big issue.”

The following are opinions of some 4th and 5th grade students at Monterey Hills Elementary School.

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of having parking meters in South Pasadena. They may have extreme time limits and may rush you to finish your task. The meters have time limits and may cost people much more money than needed.

This has been a wonderful invention but it may cause people to rush and not have fun. In South Pasadena, we have many donations and programs running to help our town. Plus, some people aren’t very nice and like to vandalize the town! Even if the meters are made of metal or a strong material, people might even be able to break through that too. People who are mean and dumb might even think it’s funny to break them or ruin them.

They might even steal the money from the meters.  If the parking enforcement officer collects money one day then it could be vandalized in the night. Some people in the council may think, “ If the meters are broken we can use the money to pay for new ones!” That is wasting money from other people, and the meters could just be broken again and again. The policeman had to go around town and mark people’s tires with chalk. South Pasadena has many rough or intense drivers. They might even be so aggressive, they could knock down the actual parking meters.  That is why South Pasadena does not need parking meters.

Natalie Larsen

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters, but only on the busier streets in South Pasadena. The extra money should go towards any projects South Pasadena wishes to carry out. Parking meters help make parking enforcement officers’ jobs easier.

Plus, parking meters have environmental benefits. It is nearly impossible to park on the busier streets like Fremont, Mission, and Fair Oaks. Some of the busy streets have installed signs informing the public of the time you are allowed to park there. Then a parking enforcement officer has to mark the tires of the cars parked there and come back within the time period on the sign to check for the chalk mark. This can get hard and confusing because sometimes cars leave and new cars come, and the officer might get confused over which cars just arrived and which ones have reached the time limit. Using a parking meter is efficient and easy, especially for the parking officers. If a parking meter screen turns red, an officer can just give the car a ticket.

They don’t have to mark the tires or check the time. Using parking meters are efficient and keep traffic flowing smoothly. To use a parking meter, you need money. For example, you could pay $1 every hour you park somewhere. If you exceed the time limit, you get a ticket, which also costs money. The money earned from the parking meter and the tickets can go towards events, repairs, or other important causes that may need extra money.

With the extra money, you could upgrade schools, libraries, or any other public place that only receives money from government funding, donations, fundraising, etc. There are many environmental benefits to using parking meters. One of the main causes of air pollution is carbon dioxide released from people waiting in their cars with the engine on.

If people have to pay to park in certain areas, they will less likely be sitting in their cars. After all, who wants to pay to wait in their car? Plus, timed parking spots will reduce the traffic caused by cars waiting to park or looking for a parking spot. This will make South Pasadena a less polluted, traffic-filled city. People who are against having parking meters might say that many families can’t afford to pay every time they park. This may be true, but you don’t have to have parking meters everywhere, on every street. By putting them in reasonable spots with cheap prices, people who can’t afford to pay for every hour can still park.

They can also park on less busy streets that do not need parking meters. For these reasons, I believe South Pasadena should have parking meters on certain streets.

Isabelle Huang

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not favor of South Pasadena having parking meters. It would be very inconvenient to have to pay to park in places that used to be free. For example, if we do choose to install parking meters, someone might not have attended town meetings.

When they go to park in their usual spot they might be frustrated that they now have to pay! Also, if someone breaks into a meter they can steal all the money before it’s collected. I feel like everyone, even the people in favor of parking meters, would be at least a little bit frustrated! On the other hand it would get the city more money so they could buy more important things.

It would also be a huge help to the parking attendants. It would make their jobs much easier, but they might get less income, which is not helpful. These are the reasons why I am not in favor of parking meters.

Sasha Levie

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters. Let me tell you why I think this.

I think that parking meters are a bad idea because they can be vandalized and broken into by vandals. Also, parking enforcement officers do not need to do as much so they may slack off or may not get paid properly. Another reason that I think that parking meters are a bad idea is that the money from the meters will probably be used to build the wall since money will go to the government and Trump needs more money.

On the other hand, parking meters would make sure that people do not stay over the time limit at the parking spot. Also, the government may not use the money for the wall and may use it for other projects in the government that need to be done.

The final reason I think that South Pasadena should not have parking meters is that some people can destroy them and steal all of the money from them.

That is why I think that South Pasadena should not have parking meters.

Amelia R-M

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters. I think we should not have parking meters because they cost a lot of money.

Also, they would have to be everywhere to be consistent. I do not see any benefit of having meters because only the city is benefiting. If anything we are at a disadvantage because they have to use tax money to pay for them. That means less money for other things.

We will also have to pay to park. The meters only take quarters and that means that you will have to have a lot of quarters. Parking meters would just make life more complicated. Some might say that it will make parking enforcement officers job easier.

That’s true but then they would get paid less, and if that were your only job you would want more money and more work than less money and less work.

Kyle Kirchen

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of having parking meters in South Pasadena. If there were parking meters people would have to pay so much money, which is annoying. It can also prevent people illegally parking in specific spaces with no parking meters.

Some places are legal to park in, and have no parking meters. There are other places that are illegal to park in, and have no parking meter. Some people live in their cars, and don’t have any money. What can they do, get arrested? It’s just not fair! People who are against free parking might think that it’s a good idea to have parking meters, but I don’t. It’s easier for a parking enforcement officer, because if the meter is red just easily put a parking ticket on that specific car. On busy streets like Fair Oaks, or Mission it would be good, because people wouldn’t hog a parking space if other people also need to park. It’s annoying to have to constantly pay for something; this happens to everybody.

Peter Rosemann      

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am in favor of having parking meters in South Pasadena. Many people have gotten away with parking longer than they should without getting a parking ticket. If you want more money, get parking meters.

Instead of looking at all the marks on wheels, the parking officer could just look at the parking meters to see if they were parking past the time. They might even put no money in, so you could instantly give them a ticket. You could also maybe put cameras on parking meters if people try to break into them so you could track them down and arrest them.

Even if people come back and see their time ran out, they could still put more coins in to extend their time. If you don’t have parking meters, you may not see that someone ran out of time to park, or you don’t get there in time and don’t know when someone started parking. Even if the city has to pay for the parking meters and lose money, they could regain the money by getting the extra change in the parking meters and parking tickets. In general, parking meters help by making things easier and faster.

Some people might say parking meters are expensive and you could gain the money back, but it would take forever. Also, cameras are expensive too, so it would be hard to put cameras on all the parking meters or to put cameras places so you could see the burglars so they can’t see the cameras you put. If they see the cameras, they could destroy them, run away, and you may not know where they went and you lose money.

However, I think if you get parking meters, it would be a great help to get more money, for people to follow the parking rules better, and to save more time.

Gabriel Chiu

  • • •

Letter the Editor:

I am in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters because it will be easier for the parking attendants. It can help make the city a little bit more money, and they don’t have to mark the tires with white chalk.

When their time is up, the meter turns red. People may think it’s a bad idea because someone might steal money like how robbers steal money from banks.

Anyway, your negative thoughts about this subject are in your mind so you can have positivity and sunshine or negatively and thunderstorms.

Sara Kung

  • • •

Letter to Editor:

In my opinion, South Pasadena should not have parking meters. If South Pasadena had parking meters they would make more money to use on other projects, but I don’t think it will make South Pasadena more money because it only costs a few cents. Another benefit is that you can set how long you want to park there, but most parking meters have a limit. If you park next to a parking sign it doesn’t cost money.

But when you park next to a parking meter you have to pay. People will be getting more tickets because there is someone who just walks around and looks at your parking meter. Also, the tickets are expensive. When there were signs someone walked around and made a mark on your tire.

They came back later and if your car had a mark you got a ticket. If someone vandalized the meters it would be much more expensive to replace a parking meter than a sign. If they found a way to steal money from it, they could keep coming back and taking money. That is why I think there shouldn’t be parking meters in South Pasadena.

From Ethan Burger

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of having parking meters in South Pasadena. I believe this because we are fine the way we are, with the parking signs. With the signs, signs d don’t take as much space and money the way that the meters would.

First of all, it will be using up money. You will probably have only a few pennies, dimes and quarters to spend in one day. Which isn’t a lot. Plus, we are using our town’s money to buy parking meters. We are using a couple of hundred dollars for each actual meter, but the money each meter gets is about $20 each day! That is not helpful to the economy. We could use that Money to help out the schools and non-working jobs (something like tiny shops. Small bakeries etc.).

Also, they would be taking up some space for other things. For example, imagine you are walking on a road and you want to sit down. But there is no place to put a bench because the parking meter is there. You need room for only benches and bike racks, Mailboxes etc. things that are more important to the town and the community.

I understand why the community would want parking meters. For example, people take advantage of the signs. They leave before the parking guy comes back, even if it is after the time the sign says. People take advantage of a lot of things just to save money. So I understand why we, the people of South Pas wouldn’t want any cheaters with the system.

I hope that you take notice of my opinion. If there have to be some meters I Hope that maybe every other day there would be a free day, or maybe someday where people don’t have to pay for parking.

Helena Gispert

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters. I think that it would be much easier for the parking attendant who always has to keep going back and forth just to check on a car.

Maybe it would give more money to the South Pasadena district and it can be used for more important things and it will teach people a lesson for when they take too long, because a lot of people purposely take their time and act like they are not gonna get a ticket but they do so it is their fault. Without the parking meter we wouldn’t have as much money in South Pasadena, Just a few cents can still help a lot if you add it up all together.

People against meters might say, “It would make people go mad.”  It would be that person’s fault for taking their time. Another one would be “There would be too much money to pay for” Parking actually costs a few cents and if you are on time you would be able to prevent yourself from getting a ticket, and even though the parking is a few cents it can lead to more great things that help our city.

Someone else might say, “But that is wasting our money.” Actually, the money goes to South Pasadena where the money is used for building places and making improvements.

Madelyn Tran

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters. I feel that there’s no need to have the parking attendant patrol around town to see if people have paid. I also feel like we should not have parking meters because it causes people not to park in that area.

If that is to happen, then we will have wasted money on the meters when no one is using them.  People also could get frustrated trying to find coins in their purses and if they don’t have enough money they can’t park there.

However, if there were meters it could make jobs for parking attendants, but I still don’t think we should have meters.

Julia Hoffman

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters.  Every time someone wants to park they should not have to pay.  If we get parking meters the good publicity for South Pasadena would go down, because no one wants to pay everytime you park.

Parking meters work in a way that makes the parking enforcement officer’s job easier, so I understand why people would want parking meters, but I still disagree with having them.  If you are only parking for five minutes you should not have to pay. Also the money inside gets stolen often because they are easy to break into. That is way I do not want parking meters.

Kaitlyn Lowstuter

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters. I am not in favor because if you don’t have any money you can’t park. Also people can vandalize the meters and steal all the money. Some people might say that if you wanted to park longer than the restricted limit you could have parked as long as you want and you’ll just have to pay a couple dollars. However, I don’t feel like people should have to pay money to park.

Christopher A.

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I’m am not in favor of South Pasadena having meters.

The cost is incredibly expensive, many people would disagree about having them and not everyone knows how to operate a meter.

Meters usually cost a handful of money to install. 100 amp meter sockets cost between $50- $150, in this case, the installation costs about $400- $500.

Two hundred amp meter sockets cost between $200- $400, and the installation costs about $500-$600. You also need to pay people for checking the meters. Even though their job got easier, you cannot lower their income because they already earn little income. This means the city would have to spend even more money on buying the meter, installing the meter, and paying the people checking the meters. Another thing is that the city also would have to pay for maintenance because if they don’t the meters would get extremely dirty, be stolen from and eventually not work at all. Also, many people may not like the idea of paying. They would send complaints to the city, including me. Not everyone knows how to operate a parking meter. My grandma is Chinese and she doesn’t know much English, yet she has to take me to my schools, manage to make and buy my food and help with chores while I’m doing homework and my mom and dad are at work. She shouldn’t have to use a parking meter, it’s already hard enough for her to get gas for her car.

What would the city do with all the money anyway?

Though the government would get more money, people shouldn’t have to pay for parking, especially if it makes it more likely that we get more tickets. Tickets only make the people of South Pasadena have less money, this should not be the case. Many people already spend money on other things and it only makes it harder for people to manage things if we keep on getting parking tickets. South Pasadenans already pay taxes to the city; the city shouldn’t need anymore. We should focus on using the money we gained for more important projects than parking meters. In conclusion, my opinion is that South Pasadena should not have Parking meters; we have enough money!


  • • •

Letter to the Editor:
I am not in favor of South Pasadena having Parking Meters. The citizens of South Pasadena will have to pay for the parking meters and if we go anywhere in South Pasadena, Besides in other people’s driveway, we will have to pay for parking. I think that almost everyone would prefer free parking over paid parking. Some people think that South Pasadena should have parking meters because the money will go to things like schools and libraries.

They also think that it would make it easier for parking meter people. With that being said, I think that we should not have parking meters in South Pasadena.

Claire Geddis

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am in favor of having parking meters because the city would make money. If someday people want to buy something for the for the city they could use the money they get from the parking meters. It would also be easier for the parking attendant to check the tires. He will just have to look at the parking meter to see if it’s red. People would get more tickets.

Maybe some people don’t like parking meters. What if you can’t pay for the parking meter? You would have to park far away from the place you want to go to. What if you get a ticket and you can’t pay? What would you do? From Wyatt Morimoto-Woo

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I do not support South Pasadena having parking meters. I don’t support the idea of parking meters in SP because it’s going to force people to pay just to park. Another reason is the government would get more and spend more money and these people paying to park might not want to pay every single time to park. It might be helpful for other reasons, but the fact that it would make people pay every single time, it could cause the people looking to live in that area, to choose not to and the government wouldn’t really make money. So meters wouldn’t get that much money in them, compared to meters being in a bigger city.

Some people might say it would be good to have meters in South Pasadena because, the government would get more money and some of that money could go to better houses, cleaner streets, good restaurants, fun celebration parties, and other great improvements. In that way it would be a good idea to have the parking meters.

However, it’s probably best not to have parking meters because it’s not necessary and will cause problems. It will also be another thing people will have to stress over. It will also make you remember to have change.

Think from this perspective: you’re a parent who is in a rush and needing to get to your son’s baseball game.

You arrive and there is all but one spot not taken but you pull up and you see a parking meter. You look in your wallet and glove compartment, and there’s no change. You can’t park and you’re already late. What do you blame it on and get mad at? The parking meter! That’s why my opinion on having parking meters in South Pasadena is not in favor.


  • • •

Letter to the Editor:
Respectfully, I do not agree with the thought of adding parking meters to South Pasadena. I see the logic in the thought, but I also think that there are some reasons why they might be slightly frivolous.

Please consider my following statements. One reason I think parking meters are not needed in South Pasadena is that they cost money. I am quite sure that most people are not a fan of them either. They would probably rather park for free. Parking meters make would also make things easy for vandals. I’m not sure there are vandals in South Pas (and I’d like to think there aren’t), but it is true. With expensive parking meters, people can break into the parking meters, and steal all they wanted. Parking meters do make more money, but if a vandal steals the money then there is no profit. In fact, if too many people steal money, South Pasadena can actually lose money.

The amount spent on the parking meters might be more than the money that could be stolen. With parking meters, you can decide how long you want, but is that really a benefit? You could pay say about 75¢ for one hour, or get parking free for two hours. Then you can stay longer if you need to. If you get distracted talking to someone, then you don’t run out of time. I think signs will suit us just fine, and getting parking meters for South Pasadena is unnecessary. What if someone can’t pay?

If they forgot their wallet, or for some reason don’t have money on them (they couldn’t pay) Then, they would have to go all the way back home, to get money. By the time they get back, someone could have taken their spot. No one would want the burden and worry of that. People will get more tickets with parking meters. Tickets also cost money. More people would get tickets.

They might get less time than they need, because they have to pay for it. Then if they get a ticket, they will want to park where there are no parking meters. Yes, you can choose how long you stay, but is that really a benefit? Most parking spaces have at least a two-hour parking limit. Two hours is quite a bit of time, and usually enough.

Some people might think “But parking with parking meters you can choose more than two hours. Then you don’t have to park somewhere else if two hours is not enough.” I strongly disagree. I’ve seen most parking signs and they are usually four hours not two. Just some signs are two hours. Also, if people usually need more than two hours for the place they are going, that place will probably make the parking limit longer. Plus, the longer you stay at a parking meter, the more money you have to pay. Yes, that’s more money for South Pas, but going back to what I said earlier if a vandal steals the money… I can almost assure that most people don’t like the thought of paying, to park. Must people would probably rather park for free.

Thank you for reading my letter and please consider my statements. I would be delighted if we do not get parking meters in South Pasadena, but the decision is respectfully all yours.

Satya Coleman

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I don’t think there should be parking meters in South Pasadena because you would have to pay twice. You would pay before you park and if you got a ticket then you would pay more so then you would have less money. In my opinion it would be annoying. People wouldn’t want to park and then there might be people protesting.

However, some people might say that it would give more money to the police and firemen and the library. It could be good for them. I think having parking meters is a bad idea.

Anthony Ortiz

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I don’t think there should be parking meters because the parking meters can break and they can get vandalized.

People can steal the money. People can break them. They can go off at the wrong time.

People can do graffiti on them. The other way would be easier for the police because they don’t have to mark the tires with chalk.

Matthew Valdez

  • • •

Letter to the editor:

I am not in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters.

It should be free for us to park.  What if people don’t have coins? If we didn’t have parking meters it would be fine. People don’t have to rush to their cars.  That is why I think that we shouldn’t have parking meters. It would be easier for the police if we had parking meters so they don’t have to go around.

Julian Valdez

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters because most people don’t have a lot of quarters on hand and if they don’t they will not be able to park.

It is also very expensive. One parking meter is six hundred dollars to put on a street. It will take a lot of money to put all the parking meters on a street and it only cost fifty cents an hour and will take a long time to get all the money back. That is why I think that we should not have parking meter in South Pasadena.

It is also ok if you don’t agree with me because it will also help the police to make sure that people follow the rules. The way that they do it without parking meters is to mark the tire and see if in two hours it that car with the marking is still there.

This is why I think that we should not have parking meter in South Pasadena. Sincerely,

Paige Hom              

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I don’t agree with South Pasadena having parking meters. Every time someone’s too late to return to their car they get tickets and I don’t find that fair. It’ll be less money spent on the tickets that people have to pay. Also, you never know if someone’s having a bad day and the last thing they need to have is a parking ticket.

I know that parking meters are supposed to help the community but it can upset people and make them feel rushed. Just to add in addition, people can vandalize the meters and nobody wants that. Some people would say that the parking meters clear up free space and that it keeps our community parking under control, and that it would make the ticket patrol’s job easier.

Thank you for listening to my opinion and my class’s opinions.

Evelyn Jung

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of parking meters in South Pasadena. To get parking meters would cost money. It’s a good investment because the city will make money from people paying the meters except who wants to pay the city more money?

Some people will get mad because they are paying for both the meters and then they will have to pay the money.

It is not fair to do that because not everybody has enough money to pay the meter every day. If somebody has a low paying job they cannot pay the meter. It would be bad for stores because most people will not want to pay for the meters so they will shop online so the city will lose money.

Reuben Martin-Weinstein

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters. There will be vandalism to most parking meters in South Pasadena and the city will not make that much money.

Some people will steal all the money in the parking meters or they will break the parking meters. Then the city will have to spend more money to make another parking meter. If there were no parking meters you should not have to pay. It will cost lots of money to make a parking meter. Some might say it is good because it is easy for the police to tell if they lose all their time.

Shayan Ameri

  • • •

Letter to the Editor:

I am not in favor of South Pasadena having parking meters because it is dangerous for people to just leave their money in a breakable machine and steal your money.

If you get a ticket, that means extra money to pay. There will be graffiti on the parking meters, and graffiti will not go well with the city. But on the other side, all the money can go to the schools and the poor and that helps the people with raising money. I still think meters are a bad idea.