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City Manager's Update: April 30, 2019

Post Date:04/30/2019 12:00 PM

Hello everyone!

In an effort to provide an update of important news and notes from this last week, the following report has been prepared.  As always, please feel free to let me know if you have a question about any of the items contained in this update – I can be reached via email at ochi@ci.monrovia.ca.us!

And of course… all the best to you and yours as we continue through this week!

Best regards,
Oliver


Quote of the Week 

All my life, I've prayed for someone like you.

– K-Ci & JoJo


City Preparing To Take Over The Parking Lots Located On Lime Avenue Adjacent To Old Town… Which Means More Downtown Parking Is Coming Soon!

We wanted to let everyone know that additional parking is coming to Old Town!  During the past several years, the City has been engaged in discussions with representatives from Monrovia Lime, LLC, regarding the possibility of obtaining the right to utilize the ~150 parking spaces located on Lime Avenue, just east of Ivy Avenue, as illustrated in the map below in yellow.  The smaller of the two lots is located between First Indonesian Baptist Church and the George Anderson House Museum.  The larger of the two lots is just east of the Anderson House.

Lime and Ivy Parking Lots

We are happy to report that after more than a year of dialogue, the City has now acquired the right to utilize those two parking lots, which will be available for general public use by the end of May 2018.  During the next few weeks, City crews will be working to make minor upgrades to both parking lots (weed control, lights, new painting, etc.), and we anticipate that the lots will be available for public use soon thereafter.  We will be certain to keep everyone apprised of our progress moving ahead.


City Executes A Well Orchestrated Hazardous Materials Response At 212 North Myrtle Avenue

Last week, various teams from the City coordinated with aplomb in responding to a hazardous materials issues at 212 North Myrtle Avenue.  By way of background, last weekend, the City received a complaint about possible issues occurring on site.  When our public safety units responded initially, the garage at the property was closed, and there were no visible signs of hazardous materials.  To that end, our team didn’t just ignore the issue, but in fact, started working on the matter on multiple fronts.

First, our public safety personnel started the process of obtaining a warrant to access the property, in the event that the resident was non-cooperative.  In addition, this past Monday, our Community Development Department personnel worked in concert with our Fire Department and Police Department in an attempt to convince the resident to allow us to inspect the property for possible dangers.  After some work, City personnel did receive permission to investigate the situation, and a variety of hazardous chemicals and materials were discovered on scene in large quantities.  Eventually, as the response effort continued, it was determined that the resident was manufacturing illegal drugs, and the individual was eventually arrested.

All told, our team at the City collectively spent hundreds of hours last week responding to this incident, and we are so pleased with the way that everything turned out.  Many thanks to the vigilant neighbors in the area who alerted the City to the situation, and kudos to our Community Development, Police Department, and Fire Department teams for their excellent work in addressing this situation!


Annual Citywide Sewer Cleaning Program Set To Begin, With 200,000 Linear Feet Of Sewer Lines Set To Be Cleaned By July

We wanted to let everyone know that this week, the City started our annual sewer maintenance program, and our team has been deployed in concert with a private contractor (Houston Harris) to coordinate an initial cleaning of ~250,000 linear feet of sewer lines throughout the City.  And just in case you didn’t know… 250,000 linear feet is equivalent to nearly 47 miles!

Overall, the City’s sanitary sewer system contains approximately 92 miles of sewer line comprised of various sizes (ranging from 6” to 24” diameters) and materials (including iron, steel, and vitrified clay).  Given that quantity of sewer lines, our sewer maintenance program includes the cleaning of around 250,000 linear feet of sewer pipelines annually.  The crews in the field now are using a method known as hydro jetting to clear any possible sewer blockages, and additionally, our team will be coordinating the inspection of the sewer lines utilizing closed circuit video.  Other maintenance activities include root removal and pest control programs.

During the next few months, we will be coordinating this sewer maintenance work, and if you see large equipment located throughout town at sewer manholes… rest assured, our team is hard at work keeping the brown in the round!


Removal Of The Remaining K-Rail In The Madison Fire Area Set To Begin In Late May!

In the aftermath of the 2013 Madison Fire, which burned more than 80 acres of the hillside, the City partnered with Los Angeles County Department of Public Works to install more the 5,600 linear feet of K-rail in key locations to allow for the reestablishment of hillside vegetation lost during the fire.  In October of 2018, the City coordinated the initial removal of K-rail along portions of Avocado Place, Crescent Drive, Heather Heights Court, Lotone Street and the upper portion of Highland Place.  In addition, as an added safety precaution, the remaining K-rail along the lower portion of Highland Place, upper Mauna Loa Drive, and Hillcrest Boulevard was left in place so that staff could assess the area during the rainy season.

In an effort to accommodate the Monrovia Renewal work within this area, the final sections of K-Rail are scheduled to be removed beginning May 28, 2019.  This work is anticipated to take 3 days and will be completed during the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  Once the K-Rail is removed, Sully-Miller will coordinate the concrete and street improvements within this area.

It is the City’s goal to minimize impacts to residents in the area during the K-Rail removal process.  Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact a member of our project team (626) 932-5575 or at monroviarenewal@ci.monrovia.ca.us.


Congratulations To Our Older American Of The Year… Ms. Betty Fisher Thomas!

May is Older American’s Month and throughout the Nation cities recognize Older Americans for their service to their communities. Here in Monrovia, our City Council along with 75 guests, honored four tremendous Monrovian’s at a Luncheon on Thursday, April 25, 2019. This annual event provides an opportunity to recognize the hard work, dedication, and countless hours of service to our community by our amazing volunteers. This year’s nominees were Sandy Burud, Steve German, Betty Fisher Thomas, and Patricia (Pat) Dunlap. Each of these nominees has made a significant and lasting positive impact in our community in more ways than one!

Betty Thomas and Council

The difficult task of deciding who will be our Older American of the year was managed by our Selection Committee which included Penny Arroyo from the Volunteer Center of San Gabriel Valley, Steve Huntley from the Monrovia Providers Group, and Nidia Delgado from Brookdale Senior Living Facility.

We are pleased to announce that the 2019 Older American of the Year for Monrovia is Ms. Betty Fisher Thomas!!

Ms. Thomas is an active volunteer and engaged lifetime resident of Monrovia. She contributes to the betterment of the community in many ways and is selfless in her giving. She is a member of several outreach ministries at Second Baptist Church including a “Set for Life” board member for over 10 years; this is a health awareness program supporting Monrovian’s. She has been a MAP leader for over 10 years and actively participates and volunteers at almost all the programs. Ms. Thomas is a semi-retired Registered Nurse but still works and teaches nursing part-time. She is a Monrovia Duarte Black Alumni Association (MDBAA) board member and on behalf of MDBAA, she organizes readers at each Monrovia elementary school for Black History Month. Furthermore, Ms. Thomas volunteers at all MDBAA events. She is also a CERT graduate. She is always caring for her relatives and neighbors, both in her home and outside. And finally, Betty is a member of the Monrovia Coordinating Council and attends the monthly meetings to learn more about her community and what she can do to give back. It is for these reasons; Ms. Thomas has been nominated and honored.

Congratulations to Ms. Thomas on this terrific honor!

Betty Thomas, Older American of the Year


It's Almost Time For The 37th Historic Homes Tour On Sunday, May 5, From 10 A.M. - 4 P.M.!

The tour is almost here!  Have you made plans yet to attend the 37th Historic Homes Tour?  Let our docents share house histories and family anecdotes from the six Victorian homes being spotlighted on the May 5 tour.

The Monrovia Historic Preservation Group (MOHPG) will once again host a tour of vintage community homes, this year featuring six homes all built before the end of 1887.  The tour will be held on Sunday, May 5, 2019, from 10 am to 4 pm.  Docents will lead tour goers through each of the homes, sharing anecdotes and historical facts. This is one tour you surely will want to attend!

Tickets are on sale now at the MOHPG website (go to the Online Store), where you can purchase tickets using PayPal or a credit card or download an order form to pay by check.  Tickets may also be purchased in person at any one of these Monrovia locations: Monrovia Chamber of Commerce (620 S. Myrtle Avenue), Dollmakers’ Kattywompus (412 S. Myrtle Avenue) or Foothill Gym (202 S. Myrtle Avenue).

Advance ticket prices: 

  • Adult - $20
  • Senior (65+) - $15
  • Teens - $10
  • 12 & under are free

On the day of the tour (Sunday, May 5), tickets may only be purchased at the Monrovia Historical Museum, 742 E. Lemon Avenue, starting at 9:30 am.  Day-of tour ticket prices increase $5 in each category. 

MOHPG 2019 


Sales Tax Measure Update – Staff Coordinating A Study Session With The City Council On May 7 To Discuss The Issue In Further Detail, As We Also Finalize A Recommended Spending Plan In The Event That The Measure Is Approved

During the past few months, staff has coordinated more than a dozen outreach meetings to discuss the possibility of calling for a special election in November 2019 for our community to consider a sales tax increase.  Given the response that staff has received from the community to date, we are in the process of coordinating a Study Session with the City Council regarding our findings and recommendations related to the sales tax measure.  At this point, we are planning on agendizing the Study Session in advance of our meeting on May 7.

In addition, in preparing for that discussion, staff has started to work on developing a possible spending plan for the new funds, in the event that the sales tax measure effort is successful.  Of course, as this entire process unfolds, we will be certain to keep the team apprised of our efforts.


Last Chance To Apply To Serve On A City Board Or Commission By May 1!

Do you what the chance to provide input to help our City leaders govern even better? Then consider volunteering to serve in an advisory capacity on one of the City’s various Commissions, Committees or boards! The City is now accepting applications to fill positions on the positions listed below. You will find a brief description of each advisory body on the City’s website.

  • Community Services Commission (3 Vacancies)
    • Thomas Dittmar
    • Brian Ulm
    • Amy Cortina
  • Historic Preservation Commission (2 Vacancies)
    • Sergio Jimenez
    • Penny Zuk
  • Library Board (3 Vacancies)
    • Mark Harvis
    • Alrita Morgan
    • Kim Walters
  • Monrovia Old Town Advisory Board (2 Vacancies)
    • Diane Balsamo
    • Kristen Miller
  • Planning Commission (2 Vacancies)
    • Robert McClellan
    • Cheryl Rose

Members of the Boards, Committees, and Commissions are appointed by the Mayor, with the approval of the City Council, and serve at the pleasure of the City Council for the length of their term. Members are volunteers who serve a three-year term (or a two-year term for MOTAB), beginning July 1. Those appointed may reapply at the end pf each term, if they are interested in continuing to serve.

Be sure to apply by May 1, 2019 deadline, and contact the City Clerk's office at (626) 932-5599 should you have any questions!


LA County Measles Outbreak – Take Extra Precaution And Get Immunized

With widespread outbreaks of measles happening in the United States and internationally, and 5 confirmed cases in Los Angeles County, your chance of exposure to measles is increased at this time. Measles is a highly contagious viral infection spreads from person-to-person. A person with measles can spread the disease to others even before they have any symptoms. Most people who have not been immunized against measles will get it if they have contact with the virus.

The best way to keep from getting and spreading measles is to get the measles immunization. Measles immunization is available at your doctor’s office, local pharmacy or health clinic. Public Health clinics offer no or low-cost immunizations for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured.

If you think that you or someone in your family has measles or has been exposed to measles, contact your doctor's office by phone right away. Tell them that you might have measles before you go in, so they can take steps to prevent other patients and staff from being exposed. See the list and poster of measles symptoms below:

Symptoms - Measles can cause these signs of disease:

  • High Fever (over 101ºF)
  • Cough
  • Runny Nose
  • Red watery eyes
  • A rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

Measles is spread through a cough or sneeze by a person with measles and can still infect others 2 hours after the infected person has left a room. Persons with measles are contagious from 4 days before until 4 days after the rash appears. The incubation period for developing measles is up to 21 days after being exposed to someone else who has the disease.

Measles Outbreak, LA County


Giant Boulders Delay Completion Of Water Pipeline Repair On Canyon Boulevard As Part Of Monrovia Renewal North Section!

Work is scheduled to continue this week on the construction of a 16” water pipeline as part of the Monrovia Renewal North Section Infrastructure Improvement Project. Initially, the work was projected to be completed by April 26; however, construction crews have encountered some delays in the work.  As crews have been digging in the area of the pipeline, they have encountered rocks and boulders ranging in size from Volkswagens to Peterbilts!  This has resulted in slower progress than anticipated and, now, the project management team is forecasting another two to three weeks of work in this area, with revised estimated completion date by the week of May 20th!

The project is installing a 16” pipeline in the area that will improve water flows, pressure, and reliability in the area. As work is continuing, restricted traffic flow and on street parking will continue. Please use caution and watch for construction activity and foot traffic when driving in the area. The Map below highlights the areas of impact for this construction work.

Canyon Boulevard Pipeline

During construction, parking will be restricted during working hours along Canyon Boulevard, from Canyon Crest Drive to Oakglade Drive.  This will be necessary given that traffic will be reduced to one lane, with proper traffic control and flaggers in place to safely direct vehicle traffic.

The City will maintain vehicle access to Canyon Park, and furthermore, pedestrian access along the sidewalk will also be maintained.  Given the extent of these improvements, we are asking that all motorists and pedestrians traveling in the area be cautious and aware of the activity occurring, and to expect delays when traveling through the identified construction area.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Public Works Division at (626) 932-5575, or via email at Monroviarenewal@ci.monrovia.ca.us.  Additionally, updated construction schedules and notices will be available on the City’s website and on the City’s social media accounts.  And please know that all of us here at the City appreciate your patience during these periods of construction activity!


Monrovia Firefighters’ Association Annual Pancake Breakfast Set To Take Place On May 11, 7:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M., At Fire Station 101 – Activities For The Kids And Live Demonstrations Make This An Event You Do Not Want To Miss!

We wanted to let everyone know that the Monrovia Firefighters’ Association is set to host their annual pancake breakfast on May 11, 2019, 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m., at Fire Station 101 (141 East Lemon Avenue)!  This annual event is terrific, and for $5 (the proceeds of which will be donated towards local Monrovia charities), you’ll be able to eat as many pancakes as you want!  Also, kids under 3 eat for free!  At the event, there will be lots of fun activities for the kids, such as the Junior Firefighter Challenge, live demonstrations, and a bouncy house!  For more information, call (626) 256-8181!

Pancake Flyer 2019



Monrovia Days Community Festival Is Coming Up On May 17- 19! Make Plans To Participate And Sign-Up For The Parade Festivities On Saturday, May 18!

Be a part of the 2019 Monrovia Days Community Festival! The entire weekend, Friday, May 17- Sunday, May 19, will be filled with music and family friendly fun!  The City, Monrovia Unified School District, Centre Stage, and the Volunteer Center of the San Gabriel Valley have coordinated an amazing weekend filled with activities, live music, carnival rides and games, delicious tastings, and of course the annual Pie Eating Contest!

You will not want to miss the Parade on Saturday, May 18 at 10:00 a.m. as we will be featuring our local youth, “Scholars and Champions.”  If you or someone you know is interested in being a part of the Parade, please complete the applications! All are welcomed!

The full schedule of events can be found on the flyer, and wristbands can be purchased online or at the Community Center.

2019 Monrovia Days Schedule 2019 Monrovia Days Parade


Don't Forget to Register For The 9th Annual Fountain To The Falls Run/Walk And Health Fair On Saturday, May 11!

Take advantage of early-bird pricing by registering for the 2019 Fountain to the Falls Run/Walk & Health Fair!  This event is a 6.38 mile out-and-back race from the Library Park Fountain to the Canyon Park Waterfall.  The ninth annual race will be held on Saturday, May 11, at 7:00 a.m.  Medals will be awarded to the best finishing times for male and female participants!

The entry fees for early registration is $35 and event day registration is $45. Race-day registration is accepted, as long as the event hasn’t reached its maximum of 325 participants.  No late starts or unregistered participants will be permitted.

Visit us online to register for the race, and for additional information on this terrific event, please contact the Monrovia Community Center at (626) 256-8246.

2019 Fountain to the Falls Flyer  


Save The Date: Monrovia Area Partnership To Unveil New Neighborhood Treasure On Saturday, June 8, At 11 A.M.

MAP will be installing its fourth Neighborhood Treasure honoring the Japanese Monrovians! Many Japanese families came to Monrovia to build the strawberry farms and grocery stores that lined the streets. To celebrate their achievements and history, please join us on June 8, at 11:00 a.m., at 300 W. Cypress, as we stamp their place in the City’s history! Please see the flyer above for more information.

Japanese Monrovians Treasure


Save The Date: Monrovia Area Partnership’s 13th Anniversary Block Party Is Scheduled For June 22, 2019, At 11 A.M., At Julian Fisher Park!

Join the Monrovia Area Partnership (MAP) on Saturday, June 22, as we celebrate the 13th year of this amazing community based program! Since 2006, MAP has brought you great block parties as a way to get people out of their homes and into a common area and enjoy each other’s company. Join us as we keep the party going with family friendly games, free food and ICE CREAM! For more information, please see the invitation above!

June 22 Block Party


Monrovia Renewal South Section – City Is Working To Finalize A Plan To Complete All Of The Identified Street Repaving Work In The Area… Which Totals 1.35 Million Square Feet Of Street Repairs!

If you’ve been thinking that the City isn’t quite done yet with the South Section of Monrovia Renewal… you’d be right!

As you may recall, the South Section of our overall Citywide infrastructure improvement plan includes the entire portion of the City located south of the I-210 Freeway.  And during the past few months, the City has been working to develop an alternative plan to complete the street repair work for that particular section of town.

To date, we have been working with one contractor (Sequel Construction), however, for a variety of coordination and scheduling issues, here at the City, we have had to develop an alternative plan in order to finish the identified work.

To date, Sequel Construction has completed over 500,000 square feet of street improvements in the South Section.  However, there is still around 1.35 million square feet of street improvements that have not yet been started.  Given that factor, our Public Works Department is working to finalize a recommendation for City Council consideration in May that will allow us to effectively complete all of the remaining street work.  Based on our current review of existing street conditions, the streets located in the South Section that still require work include:

 5th Avenue  8th Avenue  9th Avenue Alta Street 
 Alta Vista Avenue  Anita Street  Beneath 210 Freeway  Bonita Street
 Diamond Street  Duarte Road  El Norte Street  Encino Avenue
 Encino Way  Encino Place  Enterprise Way  Evergreen Avenue
 Genoa Street  Hurtsview Avenue  Ivy Avenue  Monrovista Avenue
 Montana Street  Alamitas Avenue  Mountain Avenue  Myrtle Avenue
 Naples Street  Peck Road  Pomona Avenue  Shamrock Avenue
   Spanner Street  Venice Avenue  

A map highlighting the streets that still require additional work is included above. In addition, all of us here at the City appreciate the patience that the community has had with us as we’ve worked through executing our signature capital improvement initiative.  Monrovia Renewal has certainly been messy, but the end result is upgraded infrastructure throughout our community.  Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact a member of our project team (626) 932-5575 or at monroviarenewal@ci.monrovia.ca.us.

Monrova Renewal Street Repairs - South Section


Monrovia Renewal North Area Improvements - Updates For The Week Of April 30

Monrovia Renewal construction activities in the North section will continue this week.  Monrovia Renewal construction activities in the North section will continue this week.  Sully Miller Contracting will:

  • Continue water main repairs on:
    • Canyon Boulevard
    • Greystone Avenue
    • Norumbega Drive
  • Concrete work will continue on:
    • Magnolia Avenue
    • Patterson Drive
    • Hillcrest & Stedman beginning 5/6

We will do our best to minimize the impacts on residents.  Sully Miller will deliver notices to all residents in the impacted area(s) prior to work taking place. The notices will outline the work taking place, a schedule overview, and information on associated impacts, such as parking restrictions and driveway access:

  1. Initial Notice - This notice will be distributed approximately one week prior to work commencing.
  2. Two Day Notice - A final notice will be provided two days before the activity begins to serve as a reminder of the upcoming work and associated impacts.

In addition, parking notices will be posted in the areas where parking will be impacted. During these activities, there will be intermittent road closures and parking restrictions. Streets and driveways may be inaccessible for intermittent periods during the day but will be accessible every night.

We recognize that construction can be messy and inconvenient, and thank you for your cooperation and patience as we work through these improvements!  For more information on what work will be happening on your street and general inquiries about the Monrovia Renewal project, please contact the Public Works Division at (626) 932-5575 or email the Monrovia Renewal Project Team.  In addition, you can visit the Monrovia Renewal webpage for all the latest project news and updates. View the map below to see what road work improvements are coming to your street!

Monrovia Renewal North Section Map


Smaller Vehicles Coming To Monrovia Transit!

Exciting changes are coming to Monrovia Transit!  Staff has evaluated our current operations and will be testing out smaller, more efficient vehicles in order to enhance our response times, improve accessibility into vehicles, and provide premier service.  Staff will be starting a trial period over the next 30 days to determine if the smaller vehicles are right for Monrovia Transit.

Operation hours and service will remain the same with the only change being the type of vehicle.  Each vehicle will be an Ameri-Van, equipped with a wheel chair ramp and space for two standard seats.  The vehicles will have the familiar Monrovia Transit logo and phone number for passengers to easily identify the vehicles when they arrive.  Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Public Works at (626) 932-5575.

Monrovia Transit Van Monrovia Transit Logo


Given An Increase In Complaints Received Regarding Old Town Business Activities, An Educational Notice Has Been Developed And Will Be Distributed This Week

In response to the recent focus on illicit activity in Old Town, the City has seen an uptick in complaints.  Given that factor, staff has been working to develop a proactive measure to assist business operators with compliance with our development and permitting codes in Old Town.  To that end, the City will be sending an education letter to all downtown businesses, and a sample letter can be found online!

Business Permitting Letter


Additional GoMonrovia Pricing Shift May Be Needed To Stabilize Program

On Tuesday, April 16, the City Council held a Study Session to review the progress being made with the GoMonrovia Lyft Stabilization Plan that the Council authorized in December 2018.  Multiple levers were included in the plan to adjust to help make the GoMonrovia program financially sustainable in the long term.  These levers have included implementing new prices as of February 2019, as well as new registration requirements for Monrovia Transit for ADA riders and Lyft Concierge for call-in dispatch services in February / March 2019.  Additionally, LA County opted out of participating in the on-demand Lyft portion of the GoMonrovia program, so the unincorporated LA County areas adjacent to Monrovia were removed from the service area starting April 1.

To learn more details about the changes highlighted above, please visit the website.

Together, these changes have certainly made a difference in improving the ongoing expenses of running the GoMonrovia program.  However, as staff shared with the City Council in the Study Session, the program still faces a program budget deficit.  Due to this deficit, additional program adjustments will be needed to bring GoMonrovia costs in-line with available revenues.  To that end, staff will be proceeding with the following activities:

  • Continue to monitor GoMonrovia usage closely throughout the month of April
  • Conduct additional analysis and develop plans to potentially institute a price shift of $1.00 - $2.00 for shared and regular rides.  If instituted, that would impact the pricing options as follows:
    • $0.50 Shared ride for any ride to / from Old Town and the Gold Line Station.  Of note, the pricing for this trip would not be impacted.
    • $2.00 - $3.00 / Shared ride anywhere else in the service area
    • $4.50 - $5.50 / Classic ride anywhere in the service area

Staff will continue to monitor the program and its usage closely, and any necessary Lyft per-ride pricing changes will be brought forward for City Council review in May / June.


Apply To Be Part Of Monrovia's First Community Garden!

The Monrovia Community Garden Pilot Program is set to launch this summer!  In partnership with Mountainside Communion, the garden will take shape at the North-West corner of Colorado Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue (303 West Colorado Boulevard), incorporating private raised beds for rent, educational workshops, community engagement, and public demonstration gardens for all of the community to enjoy.

We anticipate that the new Monrovia Community Garden facility will be ready for use in May / June, and we’re now taking applications from those interested in reserving private raised beds.  To date, the City has received 20 reservations from individuals interested in the program.  The application form, along with additional information, can be downloaded from the Monrovia Community Garden website.  In addition, you can also follow the building progress and updates on Facebook and Instagram!

Monrovia Community Garden Monrovia Community Garden Colorado Address


Join Second Baptist Church For Bishop Dillard's Retirement Celebrations On May 18-19

We wanted to share with the community that Bishop Dr. Wm. La Rue Dillard – who has served as the head pastor of the parish for the past 45 years – is set to retire this May! His leadership at Second Baptist and in Monrovia will be missed, but after his many years of service, he certainly deserves to relax and enjoy some extra time with his wife, Betty, and all of their children and grandchildren!  Please see the retirement gala flyer, if you’re able to join the retirement festivities on May 18-19!   If you have any questions or need additional information please contact Geneva Douglas at (626) 358-2136.

Bishop Dillon Retirement Gala


Attention 7-9th Graders: Sign Up For Junior Researcher Academy Now For Hands-On Science Fun!

As part of the City’s focus on educational programming for our youth, we are pleased to announce the Junior Researcher Academy, hosted by the City and the Oak Crest Institute of Science!  Now, teens in Grades 7-9 can participate in one of three summer sessions for $100 per session (scholarships are available):

  • Session 1: July 1 – 12 (*no session on July 4)
  • Session 2: July 15 – 26
  • Session 3: July 29 – August 9

Participants have so much to look forward to, including getting introduced to a variety of scientific fields through hands-on experiments with real research scientists!  To register or if you have any questions, contact the Monrovia Community Center at (626) 256-8246 or visit us online.

Junior Research Academy 2019


Mark Your Calendar! The 6th Annual Monrovia Music Fest Is Scheduled For Sunday, June 2, 12pm – 7pm, At Library Park!

The 6th annual Monrovia Music Fest is back!  The event features a vast array of regional and national music throughout the day. The Fest features a craft beer garden, food trucks, artisans, vendors, art, free kids’ activity booths hosted by nonprofits, and the Bark Park where leashed, friendly dogs are welcome.  So plan to bring the family and friends for a nice afternoon listening to music in Monrovia!  For more information, please visit Monrovia Music Fest!

2019 Monrovia Music Fest


City Launches New One-Stop Shop Website For All Of Your Development Questions – Visit Www.Buildingmonrovia.Com Today!

To provide more information on the unprecedented development interest taking place in Monrovia, the City has spent the last few months creating a new website focused on helping residents and businesses not only learn more about each project that is being considered, but also answer frequently asked questions about the impacts these development may have on the community.  The website includes pages on all the major areas of concern, such as: 

  • Parking
  • Traffic
  • Affordable Housing
  • Water
  • Public Safety
  • And more! 

The City held a joint City Council / Planning Commission to review the upcoming major development projects that will be considered for entitlements starting later this year.  The Commission, Council, and community members provided valuable feedback at the meeting that will help guide next steps as these projects move through review.  The major projects that are likely going to be considered by the City this year include: 

  1. Trammel Crow Residential - "The Alexan Specific Plan"
    • A 436-unit project proposed to be built at 1625 South Magnolia Avenue
  2. Fifield Realty Corporation - "West Pomona Transit District"
    • A 310-unit project proposed to be built at 123 West Pomona Avenue
  3. MW Investment Group - "Arroyo at Monrovia Station"
    • A 284-unit project proposed to be built on the City block bound by South Magnolia to the west, South Primrose to the east, West Evergreen to the north, and West Pomona to the south
  4. City Park-and-Ride Lot
    • A proposed ~130 key Cambria hotel project located on the City's park-and-ride lot at the southwest corner of Myrtle Avenue / Pomona Avenue.

We do hope that you take the opportunity to look through www.buildingmonrovia.com and learn more about all of the exciting developments that are taking place in Monrovia! For in-depth details on each project and to track each project as it moves through the development process over the next several months, you can also visit the Development Spotlight page on the main City website.

Building Monrovia Homepage


New State Regulations Have Further Eroded Local Control Over Housing Decisions

As the City prepares to consider several large-scale development projects, one housing note that we wanted to share with everyone relates to the impact that recent State legislation has had on our local land use controls as it relates to housing development.  As you may recall, in 2017 and in 2018, the State approved a series of legislative amendments to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA), which combined has reduced local government authority to deny or reduce the density of proposed housing development projects.

To highlight how those pieces of legislation impact a municipality’s ability to regulate development, a full memo on the matter can be found online. In particular, I wanted to highlight some of the key changes that staff is currently grappling with:

  • The new regulations adopted by the State stipulate that if a project conforms to a City’s applicable development standards (i.e., no variances or exceptions are sought), it will be extremely difficult for the City to legally deny any housing project.
  • Furthermore, while a City can still institute a design and neighborhood compatibility review process, the City essentially now cannot deny a housing development project, or impose conditions that the project be developed at a lower density, unless strict findings can be identified which indicate that a project would have a specific, adverse impact on public health or safety.

Again, a memo outlining all of the new State mandated housing development regulations that we are contending with can be found online.


City Council Informs Congresswoman Napolitano That Monrovia Opposes The Inclusion Of Any Privately Held Property In The National Recreation Area

Recently, representatives from Congresswoman Grace Napolitano’s Office joined the Monrovia City Council and staff for a tour of Monrovia that included the Library, Old Town Monrovia, and Station Square.  On this tour, the City Council and staff took the opportunity to discuss the pending National Recreation Area with Napolitano’s staff members to drive home the point of home Monrovians would be impacted by the legislation.

The City Council recently voted unanimously to continue Monrovia’s historical opposition to California Senator Kamala Harris’ Federal legislation known as the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act.

As you recall, based on an analysis conducted by staff, we can confirm that Senator Harris’ legislation is a companion bill to the NRA legislation previously introduced by Congressmember Judy Chu.  Our preliminary findings regarding the legislation are summarized as follows:

  • A map of the proposed NRA boundaries associated with Senator Harris’ legislation does exist.  In reading through the legislation, it refers to several different studies in identifying the boundaries of the proposed NRA.  Our team went back to those source documents, and found the actual map that is being referred to in the current NRA measure being considered.  A higher resolution of that map is included as an attachment to this email for your reference, and a couple of screen shots to highlight that information are included below.
  • A full copy of Senator Harris’ proposed NRA legislation can be found online.
  • A press release issued by Senator Harris highlighted that her NRA bill (known as the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act) seeks to “restore, enhance, and preserve California’s wilderness and public lands, as well as expand economic and recreational opportunities for the surrounding communities.”  Furthermore, the press release highlights that the measure introduced by Senator Harris is a companion to the “House legislation introduced by Rep. Chu (D-CA).”  A copy of that press release can be found online.
  • Of note, the proposed measure does not seem to impact non-Federally owned land, however, it does create an additional overlay of Federal bureaucracy over the entire NRA area (including portions of Monrovia), and it mandates that within 3-years after the passage of the law, the Secretary of the Interior prepare a comprehensive Management Plan to further the goals of legislation.  Those goals include:
    • To conserve, protect, and enhance for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations the ecological, scenic, wildlife, recreational, cultural, historical, natural, educational, and scientific resources of the recreation area.
    • To provide environmentally responsible, well managed recreational opportunities within the recreation area, and improve access to and from the recreation area.
    • To provide expanded educational and interpretive services that will increase public understanding of and appreciation for the natural and cultural resources of the recreation area.
    • To facilitate the cooperative management of the lands and resources within the recreation area, in collaboration with the State and political subdivisions of the State, historical, business, cultural, civic, recreational, tourism and other nongovernmental organizations, and the public.
    • To allow the continued use of the recreation area by all persons, entities, and local government agencies in activities relating to integrated water management, flood protection, water conservation, water quality, water rights, water supply, groundwater recharge and monitoring, wastewater treatment, public roads and bridges, and utilities within or adjacent to the recreation area.

Staff will continue monitoring this particular matter, and we will certainly let everyone know about any relevant developments that occur regarding this issue. In the meantime, the maps discussed above are outlined below.

NRA Boundary Map

NRA Proposed Map

NRA Boundary Overlaid on Monrovia

NRA Proposed Overlaid Monrovia


Staff Planning City Council Study Session Regarding Potential Local Sales Tax Measure in 2019

The City has held several community meetings to discuss issues and answer questions related to a potential sales tax measure in 2019.  We want to hear from the community to see if a local tax measure could be a viable solution for Monrovia as we search for ways to protect our local sales tax capacity from other governmental jurisdictions, including LA County.

The City is contemplating the possibility of placing a sales tax measure on the ballot in 2019 for voter consideration because of current taxation trends in LA County.  Because did you know that LA County has the highest base sales tax rate in California?  At 9.5%, we have the highest sales tax rate in the State – higher than even Silicon Valley or San Francisco!

And given the high sales tax level we’re currently paying here in LA County, we are in fact pushing up close to the local sales tax limit!  Because with LA County’s current base sales tax rate at 9.5%, the vagaries of State law means there is only 0.75% of available sales tax capacity remaining.

You may be asking how we got to a point where LA County has the highest sales tax rate in the State.  Since 2004, LA County has been able to eventually pass EVERY single tax measure that they’ve put forth to county voters, even when 2/3 voter approval was needed!

And when LA County passes a sales tax measure, the funding doesn’t come to us here in Monrovia.  Instead, we end up paying WAY more than we get back.  On average, we get only 10 cents back of every sales tax dollar we contribute to the County, and there are several instances when we get back even less than that.

Take for example 2017’s Measure H quarter-cent sales tax to fund services and help prevent homelessness.  The tax will raise about $355 million per year across the County, and Monrovia contributes around $2.6 million per year towards the measure.  Despite contributing millions, Monrovia has only received $30,000 from the County – or about 1% of what we’ve paid into the overall program.  And to add salt to the wound, cities that have received tens of millions of dollars from Measure H for homeless services – cities like Santa Monica and Long Beach – have not paid a single penny into the Measure H fund.

Now the reason that cities like Santa Monica and Long Beach don’t pay the Measure H sales tax is because those communities approved measures to keep their funds local and away from LA County.  There’s a cap to how much sales tax rates can be raised in any city, and once you reach that cap, LA County can’t impose any additional sales tax increases, even if the increase is approved across the county.

In fact, across LA County, 20 of the 88 cities have reached the maximum sales tax rate of 10.25%, and another 9 cities have increased their sales tax rate to 10%.  Those cities that have reached the 10.25% cap do not pay for additional LA County taxes, but are still able to receive the funds collected.  Like in the Measure H homeless tax example noted above, cities like Santa Monica and Long Beach, who had previously reached 10.25%, have access to the new taxes generated, despite not paying a single cent into the fund.

Given all this information, the City is seriously considering a sales tax measure in 2019 because LA County is looking to go back out to the voters to ask for additional sales tax increases in 2020 and 2022.  We know that LA County is laying the groundwork for an AQMD sales tax measure, and we’ve also heard that the County is looking at an additional sales tax increase for more money for homeless support services.  And based on the County’s track record, it is more than likely that they’ll get both sales tax measures approved.

And if history is any guide, what that means is Monrovia will end up paying a lot, and we’ll only get back around 10% of the amount we contribute.

Unless, that is, we do something in Monrovia to protect our resources and keep our money local by approving a local sales tax measure.  Since we know that LA County is planning these tax increase proposals soon, the opportunity to keep those funds here in the City under our own local control will not remain an option for too much longer.

The City will be synthesizing the feedback we received over the past two months of outreach, and are planning on scheduling a Study Session with the City Council in April/May 2019.  We will, of course, keep everyone informed as we get additional details firmed up in the next few weeks.


Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District Spring 2019 Workshop – Garden Design Applications!

Just in time for Spring, the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District has hosted a variety of workshops, including turf removal, leak detection, and drought tolerant landscaping and design concepts! These workshops were free and open to the public with advanced registration. The next and final workshop is Garden Designs Applications on Thursday, May 2, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., at the Duarte Community Center. Please see the flyer below for more information.

 

Garden Designs Applications

The City of Monrovia is a partner agency with the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District. For more information on these workshops, and other water conservation programs and events, please visit the City’s Water Conservation webpage or the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District. And if you redesign your garden to be water-wise, don't forget to apply for the City's Sustainable Landscape Recognition Award program!


Are You In Need Of Accessible Transportation? Register For Monrovia's Dial-A-Ride Program!

As of March, Monrovia Transit serves passengers with ADA needs only. This change is being made to ensure the ADA accessible vehicles are reserved for those who need special accommodations.  All passengers with ADA-related needs wishing to take advantage of this service should complete this short, one-time application, including providing back-up documentation showing disability eligibility, sign the waiver, and return both to the Community Center (119 W. Palm Avenue).

Monrovia Transit Changes Effective February 1 2019Monrovia Transit Changes Effective February 2019 Flyer in Spanish


This Week’s Happenings At The Monrovia Public Library!

The Monrovia Public Library is a special community gathering place that makes a difference in the lives of children, teens, adults, and families of all kinds.  Experience all that the Library has to offer by visiting us in person at 321 S. Myrtle Avenue, and if you have any questions, contact the Library at (626) 256-8274!

Homework Help
Pro-active tutoring provides pre-screened tutors at no cost to library patrons. Tutors assist students from grades K to 8 in subjects such as math, language arts and reading. No registration required.

  • Every Monday and Tuesday, during the school year, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m., Library Story Room

Conversation Groups @ Monrovia Public Library
Culture and Conversation: Practice speaking English by discussing and reading the ‘News for You’ weekly newspaper in a friendly and relaxed setting. Build confidence in your work, school, family and social life. For more information, call (626) 256-8273 or email vcastellanos@ci.monrovia.ca.us

  • Every Wednesday, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., Library Heritage Room

Speak Easy: Join us for round-table talking and practice speaking English in a friendly and relaxed setting. New topics weekly, including: popular culture, work and jobs, health, and more. Build confidence in your work, school, family, and social life.

Teen Mystery Night
The Teen Advisory Board presents Teen Mystery Night! Test your sleuthing skills, gather clues, and try to solve the mystery after hours at the library. For 6th - 12th graders.

  • Friday, May 3, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m., Library Community Room

The Art of Lei-Making
Join us in learning some of the traditions and skills behind the Hawaiian lei. We will cover how to make three unique ribbon lei. These can vary based on personality or colors and are a great alternative to a traditional flower lei. This workshop is free and open to all, no registration required.

  • Saturday, May 4, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m., Library Community Room

Ebooks & Digital Magazines are Available 24/7
Check out an ebook or listen to an audiobook on your commute using Overdrive’s Libby app. If you have little ones, visit TumbleBooks, where you’ll find digital copies of popular picture books and chapter books for kids. We also have digital magazines from RBdigital, including some of your favorite titles like Rolling Stone, Popular Mechanics, Martha Stewart Living, Highlights, National Geographic, Newsweek, and so much more! All free with your Monrovia Library Card. Just follow the link to learn more. 


Southern California Edison Engaged In Ongoing Repair Work Here In Town For The Remainder Of 2019

In response to the devastating wild fires in Southern California recently, Southern California Edison has been coordinating with City staff on scheduling high priority repairs related to fire safety which will take place over the next 9 months.  SCE staff has identified a number of needed repairs to their infrastructure citywide, ranging from replacing conductors, cross-arms, cabling, anchoring poles, pole replacement, or simple miscellaneous repairs.  Each of these needed repairs has been given a priority level designation (1-3) with 3 being the highest priority repair.

To date, SCE staff has identified approximately 200 Tier 3 repairs that need to be completed by May 31 in their designated high fire zone.  In addition to the Tier 3 repairs, SCE staff has identified an additional 350 Tier 2 and Tier 1 repairs that need to be completed by the end of the year (December 31).  In total, that means SCE will be repairing approximately 550 various pieces of equipment throughout town over the next 9 months.  Public Works staff is coordinating with SCE staff on permitting, scheduling of work, and ultimately coordination that helps SCE complete their interim and final completion dates.  Because of the volume of work, this will likely mean that SCE will be working seven days a week between now and the end of May to meet the first interim completion date for Tier 3 repairs.

SCE will be sending out mailers, door knockers, and other notification letters to the residents in the impacted areas in advance of the work.  Additional notification will be required when SCE needs access to private property as well as additional notification that results in any temporary power outages.  If there are any questions regarding SCE’s activity, please visit SCE’s website. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call Public Works at (626) 932-5575.


Key Links & Help Keep Monrovia Beautiful:


Interesting Story Of The Week – Yes... You Can Eat A Whole Rattlesnake And Live To Tell About It.

Our interesting story of the week comes to us form the publication, Atlas Obscura, which reports on a truly obscure story.  It appears that around 1,500 years ago, a hunter-gatherer from the area we know today to be Texas ate an entire venomous snake.

And how, exactly do we know this happened?

Well… from fossilized poop, of course!

According to the article, we know this happened because of “the individual’s fossilized poop, replete with one of the snake’s preserved, poison-pumping fangs.”

Rattlesnake Fang

It appears that researchers recently found and analyzed some fossilized human poop (which, incidentally, is known scientifically as coprolite) when they discovered that the poop contained “the snake’s bones, scales, and fang.”  Further testing showed that the fang likely came from a rattlesnake, and of note, this find makes it the “first known fecal record of a human eating an entire venomous snake.”

Now why in the world would anyone – even 1,500 years ago – eat a whole venomous snake?  Well… if you really want to know, you’ll just have to click here to read more about this really interesting story!


Police Department's Weekly Neighborhood Watch Report

The Police Department’s weekly neighborhood watch report for the period April 18 - 24, 2019, has been included for your review and reference.  During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 391 service events, resulting in 72 investigations. 

A copy of the report can be found at the following link: Weekly Neighborhood Watch Report

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