City Hall Scoop

South Pasadena News and Updates from City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe

The City of South Pasadena will lower City flags beginning today through Monday to honor those who lost their lives to COVID-19 and to observe Memorial Day on Monday to honor those who gave their lives for the country. As of today the pandemic death toll in the United States stands at 98,254. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer urged President Donald Trump to lower flags at all public buildings when the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 reaches 100,000.  President Trump issued an order on Thursday lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans lost to the CoronaVirus.  “The City of South Pasadena shares the grief and pain of our community and our nation as we reach 100,000 lives lost. Our hearts are with these families at this time of terrible sorrow. And let us always remember our military heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice to our nation.”



From in person to virtual, celebrations from Mother’s Day to proms to birthdays have continued during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, despite the virtual celebrations, so have the power outages and electrical safety hazards caused by adrift metallic balloons, though fewer in number but still troubling.

Graduations, however, are upon us and the May and June festivities always drive a peak in the release of the helium-filled balloons that can drift for miles and weeks before destructively ending up in power lines and electrical equipment.

Southern California Edison — which experiences on average nearly three balloon-caused outages daily, including 1,022 last year — has seen that number rise to nearly four outages a day in May and nearly five a day in June over the last five years.

Metallic balloon can endanger public safety and potentially cause a power outage. When metallic balloons make contact with electrical equipment, the balloons’ metallic coating is the conductor that leads to short-circuits, outages and sometimes downed power lines — as they did 98 times last year — potentially leading to wildfires, serious injuries and property damage. Metallic balloons should never be released outdoors, they should always be kept tied to a weight as state law requires to prevent them from even unintentionally floating away.

SCE reminds customers to stay away and call 911 if they ever see downed lines, continues its safety ad campaign to educate customers about the hazards of released metallic balloons and supports the state’s secure-is-safe laws against their release.

Metallic Balloon Safety Tips

  • Metallic balloons should never be released outdoors.
  • Metallic balloons should always be tied to a weight.
  • Stores and vendors should only sell properly weighted balloons.
  • Keep the balloons indoors when possible.
  • Cut the knot or puncture balloons before disposing of them.
  • Never try to retrieve balloons tangled in power lines or electrical equipment. Call 911 instead.

More on metallic balloon safety can be found at

The triangular median located at Fair Oaks Avenue and Huntington Drive is being updated. The city was able to work with Metropolitan Water District (MWD) and secure funding to address this median. The median will have tuff removed and replaced with aesthetically pleasing drought-tolerant landscaping with drip irrigation to ensure each plant receives water directly, and there is minimal wasted water. South Pasadena received a $25,000 contribution from MWD and the remaining funding is provided by the City’s water conservation funds which do not affect the General Fund. Upon completion of this project, the city will look to collaborate with MWD and update additional medians throughout the City.

Shahid Abbas
Public Works Director

The Public Works Department is excited to announce that construction has begun for the Alpha Avenue and Camino Del Sol Street Improvement Project. Gentry Brothers, Inc. (GBI), who was awarded the contract, will replace aging water infrastructure and repave dilapidated roads to better serve our community.

While GBI has already began water utility works for the project, the City has been diligently working with GBI to devise work plans to minimize any construction impacts due to the “Safer at home” Public Health Order.

Shahid Abbas
Public Works Director


Since the Library closed to the public on March 20th, staff have been tracking use of digital resources. We are happy to report that usage has increased dramatically, with library cardholders taking advantage of tutoring and homework help, film streaming, language learning, ebooks and eaudiobooks and more. The Library’s digital collections can be explored on our website. We are also pleased to announce that we received a grant of $3,000 for “crisis collection funding” from the California State Library, which will allow us to purchase additional ebooks and eaudiobooks that will be available through the Overdrive platform. Many of these resources are funded by the non-profit Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, and we thank them for their support.

Cathy Billings
Library Director


Residents receiving Home Delivered Meals may now request an extra packed meal in preparation of City Services closure for Memorial Day. Residents may contact the Senior Center by noon Thursday May 21st to request an extra packed meal by calling the Senior Center at (626) 403-7360.


Still stuck at home? How about showing your backyard some love? And your wallet, too! The City of South Pasadena offers several rebates to promote water conservation practices. You can receive a rebate for installing rotating sprinkler nozzles, converting your sprinkler system to drip irrigation, and for planting water efficient plants. Applications can be submitted online – no need to come in to City Hall! City staff are standing by to answer any and all of your rebate questions and to ensure that your rebates continue to be processed in a timely manner. Rebate applications and requirements can be found on the Environmental Programs webpage: If you have any questions regarding water conservation rebates, email or give us a call during business hours at (626) 403-7253 (Monday – Thursday, 7:30am – 6pm).