Michael A. Cacciotti
601 Milan Avenue
How long lived there? If less than a year, where did you live previously and for how long?
State Deputy Attorney General; City Councilmember- South Pasadena
2001 – Present – Deputy Attorney General V, State of California
1991 – 2001 Deputy State Attorney III- Caltrans
1987 – 1991. – Senior Assistant to the Speaker Pro Tem of the California State Assembly
1984 -1987- Law Clerk at two small Law Firms
1980 – 1983: High School Teacher in Miami, Youngest H.S. and College Soccer Coach in America
1980: B.A., in Secondary Education, and Religious Studies
1982: M.A. In Sports Administration/Management
1985: Juris Doctorate – Whittier School of Law
Have you ever been arrested/charged with a crime?
Plaintiff/defendant in a civil action/bankruptcy/foreclosure?
South Pasadena AYSO Region 214 Boys/Girls volunteer youth soccer coach 1995 – Present (23 years).
Long time member, Sierra Club – Pasadena section
Lector, Holy Family Church
South Pasadena Senior Center Volunteer
Member, South Pasadena Preservation Foundation
Member, Women in S. Pasadena Political Action (WISPPA)
Member, South Pasadena Vecinos
Former member, Friends of the South Pasadena Library
Why are you running?
I am running for the same reasons as I did in 2001 – that is, to protect and preserve our small town character. It is important to support reasonable development in our community, while, at the same time opposing large, inconsistent and irresponsible development projects that are not appropriate for our commercial or residential neighborhoods.
South Pasadena still has a Mayberry feel to it, and has become one of the most desirable places to live, not only in LA County, but, according to Sunset magazine, one of the most desirable places to live in the Western United States.
But to maintain our small town character and continue to provide excellent city services to our residents, we need to maintain a strong financial position in order to fund those vital services.
During my 17 years on the City Council, 4 times as Mayor, we have systematically and dramatically improved the city’s fiscal position. We have tripled our budget reserves, engaged in an unprecedented capital improvement program with respect to our water system, sewer system and local roads/sidewalks.
We provide outstanding Library, youth adult and Senior services and programs throughout the year. Our Police and Fire Department’s provide quick response times and make South Pasadena a safe place to live and raise a family.
Because of our superior fiscal condition, and my efforts and efforts of staff and other council members, we have been able to secure Millions of dollars in grant funds to repair streets/sidewalks, water infrastructure, construct a much needed dog park, build bike/pedestrian paths, and purchase cleaner more fuel/energy efficient vehicles for our city fleet and electric lawn maintenance equipment to maintain our parks and sports fields.
It is my goal to continue to improve our fiscal condition to address anticipated and unanticipated challenges that will impact all cities and local governments in California.
In my position on regional agencies such as the AQMD, Gold Line Construction Authority, and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy I will continue to seek hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding to support our city services and programs which will not only save our budget money, but improve air quality and reduce harmful pollution.
What are the three biggest issues facing the city? Briefly and discuss solutions.
The number one issue facing all local governments over the next several years are rising employee pension costs. Over the past decade our city Council has been fiscally prudent and responsible in negotiating salary and pension benefits with our city’s employee bargaining units. As a matter of fact we have some of the lower pension benefit liabilities when compared with most other cities in LA county and the State.
Several years ago, and anticipating this impending challenge, I Proposed, and the City Council approved my proposal, to set aside one million dollars in a special “designated” budget reserve fund for when this situation would arrive.
As we do every year, when our city council meets for our annual “Strategic Planning” meeting, I will propose that employee pension liabilities be our top priority. I will recommend that we include municipal financial experts and experts from our member organization – The League of California Cities to coordinate our efforts to address this universal pension challenge facing all local governments in California.
The second biggest issue facing our city and every city in the world is “Climate Change” and the extreme weather events, droughts, rising sea levels, etc., If the current drought we are experiencing continues, the cost of water will continue to increase, temperatures will increase, pollution and more unhealthy air quality days will increase, more of our tree canopy will die and restrictions on water use will become routine.
I have been a leader in the region and nation in proposing and supporting initiatives and policies to reduce Green House gas emissions from mobile and stationary sources. I proposed and the City City Council adopted one of the first low emission vehicle purchase policies in the state/nation back in 2005. I have advocated for and obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars for clean vehicles and charging/fueling infrastructure. I was instrumental in introducing and implementing the electric lawn maintenance equipment for our parks, buildings and sports fields and golf course which reduces harmful air pollution in our parks and substantially reduces the loud and irritating noise from the polluting gas lawn equipment.
I initiated and led the effort to plan, organize and successfully host the largest “open Streets” bicycle/walking/running event in North America from our Gold Line station to the Azusa Gold Line station – approximately 20 miles.
I purchased and still drive (occasionally) the original hybrid – 2002 Toyota Prius and primarily use my bike and public transportation to commute to work which significantly reduces pollution in our community and shows others that it is possible to change our conduct to reduce our carbon footprint.
Finally, although in the last 17 years, we have made great progress in rebuilding our infrastructure – roads, sidewalks, water, sewer, our buildings, vehicle fleet, we still have significant needs to repair and replace. Over the years the City Council has approved my proposals to set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars in designated budget reserve funds for our long term infrastructure needs. My fellow Council members and I over the past decade have prioritized setting limited budgetary resources to systematically address our infrastructure needs and challenges, issues that had not been addressed for decades.
What is your position on Measure N, which proposes to repeal the existing Utility Users Tax, eliminating $3.4 million from the Cfity Budget. Proponents say elimination of the tax will help offset budget strain due to rising pension debt and costs related to pay and benefits for city employees. Opponents contend passage would lead to severe cuts in city staffing and programs, including the potential loss of the School Resource Officer and school crossing guards, and would threaten funding for the Public Library, low-cost meals for senior citizens, the Dial-a-Ride program for seniors, the Senior Center and city support for the 4th of July Parade, Party Gras, the Summer Concert Series and The Eclectic Music Festival. Do you support Measure N? Please explain why or why not?
I am strongly opposed to measure N. Repeal of the UUT would have noticeably affects to our fiscally responsible and efficient City budget and the impacts would be felt by everyone. To lose $3.4 million from our budget would immediately require the city Council to impose drastic measures to account for the loss of revenue. At two recent City Council meetings the council, with significant residents input examined various budget scenarios on how and where to cut, already lean City services to meet the $3.4 million reduction. Every department will need to cut back services, but Community Services which provides services to our youth and seniors would virtually be eliminated, library hours and services reduced, less money spent on repairing and replacing our streets and sidewalks; parks and sports fields would not be properly maintained, services at city hall would be substantially reduced; police and fire services would be maintained, but not at levels we are accustomed to; and services/programs such as school crossing guards, a School Resource Officer on campus, concerts in the park, our Dial-a-ride programs, the 4th of July parade may all be eliminated because of the huge loss of funding.
In short, what happened to South Pasadena after Prop. 13 passed in 1978 would happen again. Drastic reductions in City services and years of deferred maintenance to our streets, sidewalks, buildings, city vehicle fleet, our city trees, etc., South Pasadena would soon not be one of the most desirable places to live and in the West.
Caltrans has begun to sell homes once slated to be demolished as part of the now defunct 710 Freeway Extension project. Residents recently urged the City Council to make sure Caltrans follows both the letter and spirit of the “Roberti Law,” which requires Caltrans to offer homes to tenants – at a reduced sales price – and then to others in specific succession as spelled out by the law. What are your thoughts about the City Council’s role and leadership on this issue? What is your position on the homes that have been sold recently? Do you believe the process is working as it should? Do you have other thoughts you would like to share?
As I suggested and directed staff at a recent city council meeting, the city should provide our resources, and coordinate our efforts with our State Senator Anthony Portantino and Assemblymember Chris Holden to hold Caltrans accountable to follow the spirit of the law (Roberti) and offer our residents the opportunity to purchase single and multi family homes through existing programs. My suggestion is already making progress as Senator Portantino has sent a strong letter to Caltrans staff directing them to follow the law and provide greater assistance to the tenants (our residents) on how to purchase the single and multi family homes.
What would you like the Public to know about your opponent?
What else would you like voters to know about you or your plans should you be elected?
If I am re-elected, I will continue to passionately fight to protect and preserve our small town character – excellent police and fire protection; outstanding year-round library, Senior an youth services and programs; systematic rebuilding/repair of our roads and sidewalks and buildings; completion of the rebuilding and repair of our water and sewer systems; full service at city hall for Neighborhood concerns; the implementation of our renewable energy/Solar plan and transition of our vehicle fleet to clean alternative fuel/electric vehicles which will not only reduce harmful pollution, but save the city Millions of dollars in fuel/energy costs over the next decade: continue to increase the revenue to the city from our municipal leases – Arroyo Seco Golf course, racquet ball and Tennis facility and the San Pascual Stables.
With the relationships I have developed in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, and the regional positions I have been appointed to by my City Council and regional elected officials, I will be able to continue to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding for much needed City projects and programs.
South Pasadena will continue to be a recognized environmental leader in our State and a community where neighbors know each other, families raise their kids, residents walk their dogs and play with their kids in parks where there is no polluting and noisy gas lawn maintenance equipment, kids (and Councilmember Cacciotti) still walk or ride their bikes to school, city Hall is open 5 days a week, we have great youth soccer and baseball/softball programs, our city and school district support each other and, despite challenges that will always exist, we are still one of the most Desirable places to live, work and play in the West!