Desiderio Neighborhood Park’s controversial proposed restroom will undergo public review
By Gus Herrera
With less than a month left until the final stage of Pasadena’s minimum wage ordinance goes into effect, the city council adopted a resolution that will raise the pay rates of various city employees to $13.25 per hour.
Approved on March 14, 2016, the ordinance set out to raise the city-wide minimum wage in three increments – $10.50 per hour beginning on July 1, 2016, $12 per hour on July 1, 2017, and $13.25 per hour on July 1, 2018.
Although the move was “intended to ensure that employees who work in the City of Pasadena receive a minimum wage sufficient to provide a proper quality of life for themselves and their families,” per city staff’s report, the ordinance technically did not apply to municipal employees, despite council’s “intent that the city also be subject” to the changes.
Therefore, in order to bring the 14 city classifications with pay rates below the set minimum of $13.25 into compliance, council had to amend the existing agreements with two bargaining groups: the non-represented, non-management employees and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
The classifications set to receive a pay raise include ambulance operators, service workers, temporary workers, recreation leaders, aides, instructors, and more.
The move is also set to have a significant local impact – according to a May 2018 employee demographics report, “it is estimated that 72 percent of city employees who currently earn less than $13.25 per hour also reside in Pasadena or Altadena.”
Needless to say, the AFSCME is “supportive of these changes,” according to staff’s report.
The wage adjustments will go into effect concurrent with the final stage of the minimum wage ordinance on July 1.
Neighboring residents are concerned with the location of the proposed structure, specifically its close proximity to Arroyo Boulevard.
Speakers during the public comment portion feared that the restroom would only add to the controlled chaos which consumes the Arroyo during major events.
“It’s going to be a nightmare,” warned a speaker.
One resident simply suggested that the city consider another location within the park’s 3.8-acre lot – a location further away from the street and neighboring homes.
Another speaker questioned why there’s a need to construct a restroom in the proposed location, when there’s already another public bathroom within walking distance.
Council Member Steve Madison, who represents the district in question, brought the matter before the council on behalf of the residents who had already filed a timely appeal.
“There’s a big concern about … the added impacts of the restroom on days where there are events in the central Arroyo,” said Madison, “no doubt it will become the locus of a lot of stopping and usage, unless we incur a bunch of costs in terms of trying to manage that. So, we think it’s not a frivolous issue.”
Madison’s call for review was swiftly approved by his colleagues and the item is tentatively set to return before the council on July 23, according to City Manager Steve Mermell. As a result of the approval, the city will refund the fees incurred by the residents who filed for appeal.
In more Arroyo-related news, the city council also approved a 10-year exclusivity agreement with AEG/LA Galaxy to host international soccer matches at the Rose Bowl.
The move, which is anticipated to generate “in excess of $300,000 from each event during the 10-year term” for the Rose Bowl Operating Company (RBOC), according to staff’s report, will preemptively lock up the Rose Bowl’s soccer programming for the near future, as Pasadena’s stadium faces impending competition from the newly-constructed Banc of California Stadium, the LA Coliseum’s upcoming renovation, and the NFL’s world-class stadium in Inglewood.
Council Member Victor Gordo lauded the agreement and thanked Darryl Dunn, CEO/general manager of the RBOC, for positioning the Rose Bowl to have a “fighting chance” at rivaling the incoming competition – competition, which in the case of Inglewood Stadium, has seemingly unlimited resources and will be hungry for programming opportunities.