LocationAlhambra , CA United States
Alhambra Mayor Adele Andrade-Stadler gave the State of the City address to an audience of around 20 people during Monday’s City Council meeting, the first time such a speech has been given free-of-charge at a public meeting.
The State of the City address has traditionally been given at a paid luncheon sponsored by the Alhambra Chamber of Commerce and the Alhambra Rotary Club. Andrade-Stadler delivered the address at such a luncheon on April 9 at Almansor Court.
The mayor’s City Hall speech was similar in tone and content to that address, with PowerPoint slides detailing the accomplishments of every city department, including the Alhambra Police Department and the Alhambra Fire Department, the Department of Community Development and the Alhambra Civic Center Library. She also highlighted the police and fire department’s partnerships with other cities in serving the public. One partnership allowed Alhambra police officers to attend the funeral in Upland, Calif. of recently deceased police officer Emmanuel Araneta, while other departments helped with patrols in Alhambra. Another allowed other cities to assist in an incident on Saturday afternoon where police and fire personnel rescued a woman who was threatening to jump from the Marguerita Avenue pedestrian bridge over the I-10 Freeway in Alhambra.
“We have partnerships with our cities next to us, so that in the event we have a large PD presence [out of town], our cities help cover anything that’s major,” she said.
Andrade-Stadler also praised the city’s new park amenities and operations, including the Department of Park and Recreation’s Eggstravaganza event on Saturday, and the well-maintained walking paths, playgrounds and grass at Almansor Park. She also highlighted upcoming Community Development projects, including the expansion of the West San Gabriel Valley YMCA, the construction of the Toyota dealership’s new showroom and similar projects.
The mayor closed by reaffirming the City Council’s commitment to Alhambra. “I want you to know that the Council is committed to working with staff to make things better for our residents in the city, so thank you very much.”
A few in the audience thanked the mayor for delivering the State of the City address in this free forum, including Alhambra resident and Planning Commissioner Ron Sahu, who said that Andrade-Stadler delivered a “nice presentation.” Other residents, including Arts and Cultural Events Committee member Michael Lawrence, thanked the city clerk’s office for their help in fulfilling their document requests, a service that the mayor highlighted at the beginning of her address.
Lola Armendariz was the only resident to make a critical comment after Andrade-Stadler’s speech, asking whether the city had enough resources, such as fire equipment and personnel, to serve all Alhambra residents with all the new large developments coming in, as discussed in the presentation.
“What happens if we have the earthquake that we’re all talking about is coming?” she asked. “We little guys in our single-story family residences are going to be on our own, because our first responders are going to be in these large buildings.”
In other city business conducted during the meeting, the Council voted unanimously to approve a $105,000 contract with Phoenix Decorating Company to design and build Alhambra’s 2020 Tournament of Roses parade float.
The vote came after some public comment questioning the spending. Arts committee member Lawrence asked the city to stop devoting much of the Arts in Public Places fund to the float.
Most developers are required to pay into the Arts in Public Places fund, which was created in 2001 to fund various public art projects, including murals and statues. After a 2011 budget crisis, the city no longer had money to fund a Rose Parade float out the general fund and passed an ordinance in 2012 to fund it through the Arts in Public Places fund, Lawrence said. He added that since then, almost $1 million of Arts in Public Places money has been spent on the float, a sum that he said leaves little money left over for other projects, including art that Alhambra residents can enjoy for a long time.
Lawrence suggested that the city set up a foundation to fund the float instead, saying that with hundreds of Alhambra residents volunteering to help build the float, there would be interest in donating to it as well. Part of the money could come from the general fund as well. This would free up Arts in Public Places money. “We’re not really able to do any significant projects until this money is being reserved for its original purpose,” he said.
Alhambra Preservation Group President Oscar Amaro said that Arts in Public Places money could be used to fix the vintage neon signs placed at Alhambra’s city limits, if the majority of the fund’s money didn’t have to go towards the float.
While the City Council voted to approve the float contract, Andrade-Stadler said that she was open to exploring a foundation or alternative sources of funding for the float and other public art projects.
Arts and Cultural Events Committee President Brian Canseco-Chan said that while everything is in motion this year for Arts in Public Places money to be used for the float, a foundation would be a good idea in the future.
“There should be enough people in the community that can take over the reins,” he said.
The city’s Arts and Cultural Events Committee chose a design for the float centered around the parade’s 2020 theme “The Power of Hope” featuring a train called “Hope Keeps Us Going.” This was part of a contest conducted in Alhambra’s elementary schools to get local children engaged in the city’s float design. 2020 will be the City of Alhambra’s 92nd year participating in the Rose Parade.
The City Council also voted unanimously to continue an appeal of a Planning Commission decision to deny a permit for a four-unit condominium complex at 510 N. 3rd Street to May 13. The city said that the continuance was requested by the applicant, Eric Tsang. The Council also voted to pass the first reading of an ordinance clarifying that the city cannot require property owners to pay for repairs to adjacent public property when building an accessory dwelling unit, unless damage is caused during construction. The ordinance will also come back for final approval on May 13.
Councilmembers Jeff Maloney and David Mejia were not present at Monday night’s meeting.
View the State of the City PowerPoint presentation below: