Why Local Funding Matters | A Letter from Saida Staudenmaier

Girl Scout Leader, Measure S Co-chair (SPUSD), SPHS Booster Club Member, Past PTA President at Marengo Elementary, Past Board Member at SPEF and South Pasadena resident Saida Staudenmaier's letter regarding UUT and Voting No on N.

SouthPasadenan.com | To keep the Utility Users Tax (UUT) or repeal will before South Pasadena voters in November. South Pasadena City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe made a presentation Wednesday night showing what could be cut from the budget if the UUT is repealed.

When I first moved to South Pasadena 18 ago, I fell in love with the tree-lined streets and the ability to walk to do all my errands. For a brief time, my husband and I moved away. When we started our family, we moved back to South Pasadena because we wanted to raise our children in a safe, close-knit community with some of the best schools available. We have never regretted that choice made more than 14 years ago. We have said that we came for the schools but we stay for the city.

As a resident, parent, volunteer, neighbor, Girl Scout Leader and small business owner, I understand the need for local funding to retain the city services my family relies on. It is up to us, the informed citizenry, to support the city we call home when the need arises.

The Utility Users’ Tax (UUT) is not new. It began in 1983. It accounts for 12 percent of the city’s annual budget.

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What’s at stake: The UUT funds are used to support police, fire and paramedic services,  school crossing guards and campus resources officers. They support Dial-A-ride and low-cost meals for our local seniors through the Senior Center.

Funds help maintain our public library hours and staff by keeping the doors open seven days a week, not to mention the Summer Reading Program as well as Evening Author and Movie nights. They are vital for such city maintenance as sidewalk and street repair. They help the city support local community-building events.

This repeal was placed on the ballot by a political action group belonging to the Tea Party. Most are not South Pasadena residents, regardless of who signed the petition to have this placed on your November ballot. It does not support our town or the resources we invest in.

Their goal is to eliminate necessary local funding under the false narrative of runaway government and mismanaged funds. They will tell you there’s no transparency and this will provide a much-needed check on our local government. That’s simply not true. I urge you to look at the facts. Find out what the UUT funds and decide whether or not those services are important to you.

The UUT is used for something that directly impacts every person in South Pasadena. They have tried this same tactic in neighboring cities and lost. Join me in sending a clear message that we support our Police and Fire Departments, school safety, our public library, caring for our seniors, maintaining streets and sidewalks and local events by voting NO on N.

I will be voting NO on N in November because I want to maintain and support our small town of South Pasadena. I urge you to join me to keep local funding for our fair city. Let’s continue to support those services that support us.

Saida Staudenmaier
Girl Scout Leader
Measure S Co-Chair (SPUSD)
SPHS Booster Club Member

Past PTA President, Marengo Elementary School

Past Board Member, South Pasadena Educational Foundation


  1. I too support our local funding that goes for schools, public libraries and key services that define the quality of life in our area. Three of the qualities I most like about South Pasadena:

    * Pedestrian accessibility to small business, especially where people can gather.
    * The trees that immeasurably improve the climate and quality of the area.
    * The close-knit schools whose students are the life blood of our community.

    For those of you who might be tempted to think this small tax increment for local schools is unfair, remember that your local property values and quality of life are intrinsically connected to the cultural, environmental and educational values we sustain here in South Pasadena. To eliminate this relatively small but very important source of local funding would be short-sited and harmful to the citizens of South Pasadena.

    I urge everyone to vote NO on Measure N.