City Hall Scoop

South Pasadena News and Updates from City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe

Welcome to the City Hall Scoop, a blog from South Pasadena City Hall. Our intention is to provide short daily bursts on hyper-local topics of interest to our residents.  The site has been redesigned both technically and graphically to be easier to find and easier to read. We hope you will find this site particularly useful during these unprecedented times.  Please send suggestions for articles to:


Digital Divide Funding

Earlier this week, LA County’s Board of Supervisors approved funding to address the digital divide in LA County. This, to ensure all students have the tools they need for distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The funding allocation of $12.8 million in federal coronavirus relief funds was requested by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and will make it possible to purchase computer devices and internet connectivity for students in need. To date, LACOE has secured 15,000 computer devices, but needs to secure an additional 27,000 devices and 21,000 hotspots for students to use at home.

Learn more about this decision by reading LACOE’s announcement.


The South Pasadena Library invites the community to participate in One City, Many Stories, a Citywide reading program that will take place from September 14 through November 1. The theme of One City, Many Stories is Exploring Common Ground. The Library’s goal is to give community members an opportunity to expand their horizons through the lens of literature and thoughtful discussion. Readers can engage with the theme Exploring Common Ground through four featured titles, or through titles from the Library’s suggested reading lists or a book of their choice. Readers are also encouraged to learn more about suggested titles and participate in online discussions via the OMCS Goodreads page. The Library will host four virtual book discussion groups and will present a virtual author night on October 27 featuring award winning authors Danzy Senna and Sherri Smith, with South Pasadena Poet Laureate Ron Koertge as moderator. Get started by visiting the Library’s One City, Many Stories webpage.

Author Night

Tuesday, October 27th | 7:00PM

A conversation with Danzy Senna (New People) and Sherri L. Smith (The Blossom and the Firefly), moderated by South Pasadena Poet Laureate Ron Koertge. A computer or mobile device with an Internet connection is required for this virtual event. Viewing link TBA.

Library Led Virtual Book Discussions

Discussions will be held over Zoom; a device connected to the Internet is required. The link to participate will be sent to registered participants. Discussion groups are limited to 15 participants.

Registration required:

Tuesday, October 13th at 7:00 p.m.

March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell

Tuesday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m.

The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith

Thursday, October 22 at 7:00 p.m.

The Butterfly Effect: Insects and the Making of the Modern World by Edward D. Melillo

Saturday, October 24 at 2:00 p.m.

New People by Danzy Senna

Cathy Billings
Library Director


DMH Phone

If you are experiencing sadness, anxiety, or distress due to COVID-19 or the Bobcat Fire, please don’t hesitate to call our 24/7 Help Line at (800) 854-7771 for support. LA County is here for you and ready to assist in the language of your choice.

To learn more about LA County’s Department of Mental Health resources, including disaster-related resources, visit us online at


Air-Quality Closures

Safety concerns from hazardous air quality in the county continue to impact various LA County-operated COVID-19 testing sites. Those with COVID-19 test appointments scheduled at locations impacted by unhealthy air-quality will be notified by email or over a phone call (if an e-mail address is not available).

If you’re unsure about your location, visit for the latest information on testing site closures or to make an appointment for a COVID-19 test. For assistance over the phone in multiple languages, dial 2-1-1.


The longstanding annual event looks to return in 2021 with a live event featuring hundreds of vehicles up and down Mission Street in South Pasadena. Committee pushes for public support. 

A classic car, which has drawn thousands to South Pasadena over the years and looked to go virtual on Sunday, September 20, has been canceled.

In June, organizers prepared to hold the event on computer screens and mobile devices, shelving the 16th annual live event due to the coronavirus. It typically draws about 300 cars up and down Mission Street participating in the Cruz’n For Roses Hot Rod and Classic Car Show.

The South Pasadena Tournament of Roses scheduled the event in an effort to raise funds for the city’s float in Rose Parade on New Year’s Day in January 2022. The cancellation of the 2021 Rose Parade was announced earlier this year due to COVID-19.

“It has been a difficult year for everyone due to the virus and after the live show was cancelled we simply ran out of time to put on a quality virtual show, so we’re gearing up and looking forward to bringing back next year’s car show to Mission Street,” explained Janet Benjamin, the SPTOR committee chair for the event.

Each year, the SPTOR looks to raise between $80,000 to $100,000 to construct South Pasadena’s entry in the Rose Parade. Local committee members hold a series of fundraising events throughout the year, including a golf tournament, raffle for parade and Rose Bowl Game tickets, a year-end Crunch Time Party featuring dinner, silent and live auctions and the car show.

“Because we’re not able to hold large gatherings due to the coronavirus, along with the economic hardships of our sponsors, we’re not able to hold the show on the street this year,” said Benjamin. “Hopefully, the coronavirus situation will improve and we can make the live event bigger and better next year.”

Canceling the event doesn’t mean community members can’t continue to contribute to the city’s float, insists SPTOR President Brant Dunlap. “We know that the city takes a lot of pride in having a float participate in the Rose Parade every year and we encourage everyone to make a donation, large or small,” he said. “Every dollar helps. Thank you for supporting our effort.”

To make a contribution, visit

For assistance and additional information, call (626) 799-7813 or


According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, smoke from wildfires burning in the region has caused unhealthy air quality in the following areas:

  • Central Los Angeles
  • Northwest Coastal LA County
  • Southwest Coastal LA County
  • South Coastal LA
  • Southeast LA County
  • West San Fernando Valley
  • East San Fernando Valley
  • West San Gabriel Valley
  • East San Gabriel Valley
  • Pomona-Walnut Valley
  • South San Gabriel Valley
  • South Central Los Angeles County
  • Santa Clarita Valley
  • San Gabriel Mountains

This advisory remains in effect through Wednesday, September 16.

“It is difficult to tell where smoke, ash or soot from a fire will go, or how winds will affect the level of these particles in the air, so we ask everyone to remember that smoke and ash can be harmful to health, even for people who are healthy,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Health Officer for Los Angeles County. “If you can see smoke, soot, or ash, or you can smell smoke, pay attention to your immediate environment and take precautions to safeguard your health. These precautions are particularly important for children, older adults, and people with heart or lung diseases.”

These precautions include avoiding unnecessary outdoor exposure and limiting physical exertion (whether indoor or outdoor), such as exercise. Children and people who have air quality sensitive conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, and other chronic respiratory diseases, should follow these recommendations and stay indoors as much as possible even in areas where smoke, soot, or ash cannot be seen, or there is no smell of smoke. If your condition worsens, contact your health care provider immediately for medical advice or call 911.

Wildfire smoke is a mixture of small particles, gases, and water vapor. Small particles are the primary health concern. These small particles can cause burning eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, headaches, and illness (i.e., bronchitis). In people with sensitive conditions, they can cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, fatigue, and chest pain.

“We are also advising day camps that are in session in smoke-impacted areas to suspend outside recreational activities, such as hiking or picnics, until conditions improve,” said Dr. Davis.

People can participate in indoor activities in areas with visible smoke, soot, or ash, provided the indoor location has air conditioning that does not draw air from the outside, and it has closed windows and doors to protect the cleanliness of indoor air. If not, it is recommended that everyone follow these guidelines as if they were outside.

  • If you see or smell smoke, or see a lot of particles and ash in the air, avoid unnecessary outdoor activity to limit your exposure to harmful air. This is especially important for those with heart or lung disease (including asthma), the elderly and children.
  • If outdoor air is bad, try to keep indoor air as clean as possible by keeping windows and doors closed. Air conditioners that re-circulate air within the home can help filter out harmful particles.
  • Avoid using air conditioning units that only draw in air from the outside or that do not have a re-circulating option. Residents should check the filters on their air conditioners and replace them regularly. Indoor air filtration devices with HEPA filters can further reduce the level of particles that circulate indoors.
  • If it is too hot during the day to keep the doors or windows closed and you do not have an air conditioning unit that re-circulates indoor air, consider going to an air-conditioned place, such as a cooling center, to stay cool and to protect yourself from harmful air.
  • Do not use fireplaces (either wood burning or gas), candles, and vacuums. Use damp cloths to clean dusty indoor surfaces. Do not smoke.
  • If you have symptoms of lung or heart disease that may be related to smoke exposure, including severe coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness, contact your doctor immediately or go to an urgent care center. If life- threatening, please contact 911.
  • When smoke is heavy for a prolonged period of time, fine particles can build up indoors even though you may not be able to see them. Wearing a mask may prevent exposures to large particles. However, most masks do not prevent exposure to fine particles and toxic gases, which may be more dangerous to your health.
  • Practice safe clean-up following a fire. Follow the ash clean-up and food safety instructions at:

The following is recommended for pets:

  • Avoid leaving your pets outdoors, particularly at night. Pets should be brought into an indoor location, such as an enclosed garage or a house.
  • If dogs or cats appear to be in respiratory distress, they should be taken to an animal hospital immediately. Symptoms of respiratory distress for dogs include panting or an inability to catch their breath. Symptoms for cats are less noticeable, but may include panting or an inability to catch their breath.


City of South Pasadena is pleased to announce that the construction for the Alpha Avenue and Camino Del Sol Street Improvement Project is in its final phases. We greatly appreciate the patience from the community over the last few months and for bearing with the inconveniences during construction, but we are finally almost at the finish line!  The contractor is currently grinding both streets, so please pardon the dust. After the grinding operations were complete, the contractor began paving on Tuesday, September 8, so we hope you all are as excited as we are to having brand new streets as well as new water infrastructure that will last for years to come. 

Once paving is complete, the contractor will be putting in the final touches such as street striping, sign replacement, and other appurtenant work to ensure the project is completed as designed. Thank you for your cooperation and please remember to drive safely and observe all traffic control devices because heavy equipment will be in use.

Shahid Abbas
Public Works Director


The City of South Pasadena will be hosting a FREE Compost & Mulch Giveaway event on Saturday, October 3rd at the South Pasadena Unified School District Parking Lot (1020 El Centro Street) from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm.

To attend the event adhering to COVID-19 public health safety guidelines, you:

  • Must wear a face covering
  • Must bring our own sturdy containers and shovel
  • Must shovel your own mulch/compost
  • Must be a South Pasadena resident (bring ID or utility bill for verification)
  • Must practice social distancing by maintaining 6 feet between yourself and others

Mulch (donated by West Coast Arborist) is chipped tree trimmings or bark groundcover. It works as an insulator to keep the temperature of the soil and roots moderate and reduce evaporation and weeds. Mulch helps create a healthy soil by allowing nutrients to release into the soil slowly over time and is an attractive addition to your landscape.

Compost (donated by Athens Services) consists of organic material, including food waste. It breaks down to a fine, dark matter over time. Compost should be added into the soil to provide essential nutrients to your plants and allow the soil to absorb more water. Athens’ compost is certified organic under the USDA National Organic Program.

Giveaway will be on a first come, first served basis. Enjoy free compost and mulch to add to your yard and garden!