Among those in the crowd were South Pasadena City Council member Bob Joe and Ruby Kalra, new on the city’s Board of Education.
As soon as State Senator Anthony Portantino spotted the pair at his annual holiday celebration Sunday afternoon he gave a loud shout out. “I love South Pasadena,” said the smiling senator, dressed in festive attire for the occasion. “They are here in the house!”
Joining Joe and Kalra, other city representatives at Portantino’s party outdoors in Glendale included attorney Doug Yokomizo and Diane Cullinane, the executive director of Professional Child Development Associates (PCDA), a non-profit organization that helps children with autism an other developmental challenges.
Portantino’s gift to South Pasadena this holiday season is “the 710 is dead,” he exclaimed.
The state Senator held a press conference at the end of November to present the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the 710 Freeway corridor, essentially ending the six-decade conflict.
The signed and adopted EIR formally adopts a local street improvement alternative to a 710 tunnel proposed 15 years ago that replaced an original concept calling for a surface freeway route.
“What a great Christmas present that the 710 is dead,” he said. “Generations of neighbors on both sides of this issue passionately pushed their perspectives and now we can all turn our attentions to collaboratively solving local transportation needs.”
The state senator has unveiled a plan to introduce legislation to formally remove the tunnel from the streets and highways code and to help facilitate the sale of Caltrans owned properties currently in the hands of non-profits. “My hope in the new year that Caltrans starts moving as quickly as possible and gets rid of all the houses. That’s what we all want, including Caltrans.”
Sixteen Caltrans Surplus properties have been made available to current tenants in Phase I of the Affordable Sales Program and 13 are in South Pasadena. Eight of the 13 properties have closed escrow with one other set to close in the near future. Four of the properties are in litigation over the sales price.
Portantino’s bash included music, face painting, a photo booth and light refreshments. The senator welcomed dignitaries from throughout his 25th District.
“Senator Portantino has been a huge help to us at PCDA,” said Cullinane. “He has been fabulous at moving legislation forward. He’s very effective in what he does. He works hard and has a great staff. I really appreciate what he does for our community.”
Joe agreed, adding: “Anthony has been very special to the City of South Pasadena. He has really been our true supporter, in opposition of the 710 tunnel. But more than that he has been spending a lot of time working with us in all the programs we have with the state.”