Calling it another “productive and memorable year,” outgoing South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti expressed his thanks to the council, and recognized those in the community who have continued to serve on a variety of commissions and committees as he delivered the city’s year-end annual State of the City address.
Cacciotti, the longest running councilmember in South Pasadena’s history – his service beginning back in 2001 – also acknowledged a wide range of organizations and groups before showing a video of some the city’s main accomplishments, along with a variety of activities over the course of the past year.
“As my 21st year on the City Council and fifth term as mayor comes to a close, I am excited and relieved to hand over the mayor’s baton to our mayor pro tem,” said Cacciotti, referring to Jon Primuth, the person holding that position. The council will be reorganizing as part of its regularly scheduled December 21 meeting at South Pasadena City Hall.
Along with a new mayor and mayor pro tem, Janet Braun will take over the council seat vacated by Diana Mahmud, who decided not to seek re-election.
Reflecting on the past year, Cacciotti said it took a team effort to accomplish a myriad of tasks during his time in the mayoral seat. “First,” he said. “I want to thank my colleagues on the current city council – Mayor Pro Tem Jon Primuth, Councilmembers Diana Mahmud, Jack Donovan and Evelyn Zneimer – who have worked tirelessly over the past two years, reviewing staff reports and attending commission, City Council and regional agency meetings late into the night or early in the morning, meetings with residents, attending city and chamber events.”
The City of South Pasadena, pointed out Cacciotti, has approximately 20 local city commissions, committees and ad hoc committee meetings that all five council members must attend in addition to regular City Council open and closed sessions each month.
“In addition to those, there are more than 20 regional agencies and groups, including various committees, that some of the council members must participate in each month to give South Pasadena a seat at the table and the opportunity to secure much needed grant funds for our city,” he continued.
In addition, Cacciotti thanked dozens of citizen volunteers “that sacrifice their time each month to represent our community on over a dozen city advisory commissions, boards, and ad hoc committees to consider issues involving youth, seniors, preservation, parks, the library, development standards, transportation, finance, public art and public safety. With their professional experience, these commissioners provide recommendations to the City Council on many important issues.”
Cacciotti stressed that city policy is set by the City Council, “but our incredibly dedicated and competent city staff of approximately 150 full time and dozens of seasonal part-time staff implement the city’s vision, strategic plan and priorities through their day-to-day work serving our residents and merchants,” he added.
Cacciotti further thanked the “active and supportive” Chamber of Commerce, including the organization’s CEO Laurie Wheeler and her committed board of directors and members.
A video shown following his opening remarks highlighted efforts made by South Pasadena City Manager Arminé Chaparyan, and all the departments she oversees while implementing the City Council policy and vision.
In the video, Cacciotti praised “the many community organizations that always donate their time and talents to improve our community” including Rotary, Kiwanis, WISPPA, DUDES, Oneonta, the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation, the Woman’s Club of South Pasadena, South Pasadena Chinese-American Club, Vecinos, volunteer leaders in the Boy and Girl Scouts, Youth Sports coaches, referees, team parents, the board for region 214, South Pas AYSO, and volunteers in the South Pasadena Little League program.
“Also an integral and active part of our city is our faith based communities who serve our residents and those in need of food and clothing and spiritual and emotional healing,” insisted the mayor.
Cacciotti also said he’d be remiss if he didn’t mention “our outstanding regional, state and federal elected officials who represent us,” before singling out LA County Board of Supervisor Kathryn Barger, State Assembly member Chris Holden, current Assembly member Mike Fong, and State Senator Anthony Portantino, noting that “all are in powerful leaderships positions in Sacramento, and Congresswoman Judy Chu in Washington D.C.”
The mayor stressed that all the state and national representatives have supported South Pasadena financially at various times through legislation and advocacy in the county board room, State Capitol and in Washington DC.
Further, Cacciotti recognized the Spectrum team for providing live feeds of council meetings and special meetings for residents, before showing appreciation to city employee Mary Jerejian, “who worked tirelessly” producing the video of some of what transpired in South Pasadena in 2022. He went on to thank “our essential workers at our grocery stores, restaurants, health care workers and others who directly assisted our community during this nearly three year pandemic.”
Cacciotti opened his comments talking about the city’s long, rich, and multicultural history, talking about its earliest inhabitants – Tongva / Gabrielino tribes, later the influx of Spanish explorers, the importance of the city’s historic El Adobe Flores, constructed in 1839, which served as the headquarters for General Juan Maria Flores during the Mexican-American War, and further the impact of the War Memorial Building on Fair Oaks Avenue built in 1921.
He also talked about South Pasadena becoming an incorporated city in 1888, breaking away from Pasadena at a time when its population was a mere 500 residents, growing to roughly 26,000 today. He noted that South Pasadena is part of the San Gabriel Valley’s 30-plus cities, one of 88 in LA County and one of the more than 500 in California.
“Overall, our city is in good fiscal condition,” said the mayor, operating with a balanced general fund budget, revenues versus expenses, of approximately $92 million with about $20 million in reserves.”
Like many cities, Cacciotti knows South Pasadena is facing similar short and long-term challenges, whether it’s improving streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, city facilities, buildings, parks and the water and sewer systems. Capturing storm water during a drought, monitoring the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), and disposal of State Route 710 properties or Caltrans houses with the absence of a freeway are other important issues facing the city.
At the close of his State of the City address, Cacciotti told audience members inside the council chambers and those watching from home, “So, sit back with us and enjoy as we take a general look at South Pasadena in 2022.”
The December 7, 2022 City Council Meeting Video may be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s2xxowO8NQ and http://www.spectrumstream.com/streaming/south_pasadena/2022_12_07.cfm