The La Cañada Flintridge City Council discussed items on Tuesday that anticipate a return to pre-pandemic days, approving the revival of Music in the Park beginning July 5 after the popular summer concert series was canceled in 2020 due to restrictions set by the Los Angeles County health department.
Coinciding with L.A. County’s recent arrival in the yellow tier, the least restrictive level in the state’s four-tier Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the city staff told council members it is planning to conform with the protocols currently in place for outdoor live events and performances. Under current requirements, the city is securing bands and vendors to provide 10 live concerts (instead of the traditional 16), starting Monday, July 5, and every Sunday thereafter through Sept. 5.
The kickoff concert the day after Independence Day is set for 2:30 p.m., following the LCF Chamber of Commerce Hometown Parade scheduled for earlier that morning, said City Manager Mark Alexander.
Slight modifications will be required to hold the events and comply with current health protocols, including the limiting of audience groups to no more than six people made up of a maximum of three household units; assigned seating to permit physical distancing of at least 6 feet between groups; purchase of tickets in advance; and limited attendance allowing for a maximum occupancy of 67%.
If county health guidelines change, the city will adjust protocols and likely discard the ticket reservation system, Alexander said, adding, “We will put out more information on how to attend as we get closer; we’ll have to adjust as the situation evolves.”
In light of the new yellow tier guidelines, council members also unanimously agreed enthusiastically to push forward with a full, in-person return to City Hall for future council meetings, perhaps as soon as June 1.
Councilman Rick Gunter led the discussion, noting how neither he (nor Councilman Keith Eich) have had a chance to serve from council chambers since they were elected in March 2020.
“I’d like the council to get back into the chambers as soon as possible, to get back to some semblance of normal as quickly as we can,” Gunter said. “Partially it’s because I think we’ll have to make adaptations along the way, and the sooner we can get going the sooner we can adjust. But also, I can’t wait to sit in the chair after 14 months of being elected.”
Other council members agreed, discarding discussion of other options such as keeping meetings fully virtual or choosing a hybrid City Council meeting format.
“I can’t wait to get back in the chamber,” Councilwoman Terry Walker said, later quipping, “I guess the sweat pants and slipper days are over.”
Under the return to an in-person meeting format, council members will meet in person, masked and with plastic barriers separating them. Staff would be limited, rotating in and out as needed. The public would be limited to 17 people in person and others wanting to address the council would have to trundle in and out. Face coverings and social distancing protocols would be required. Emailed public comments could still continue to be accepted. Those who wish to continue watching the meeting from afar may continue to stream it via the Spectrum city channel or through a link on the city’s website.
City Hall is also opening more to the public, with walk-in visitors welcome Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m-2 p.m. The city will close on Memorial Day, May 31.
COMMISSION, COMMITTEE MEMBERS CHOSEN
In balloting held during the meeting, council members elected their preferred candidates applying for vacancies on city commissions and committees.
Prior to the vote, Mayor Mike Davitt commended all of the volunteers who applied and emphasized the council’s difficulty in choosing: “We are very appreciative to everyone who did apply, very excited about all the energy and the commitment to the community.”
He added: “I know there are a lot of candidates out there that probably will not make it just because there are so many limited spots available, but I’d just like to encourage everyone to keep [being] involved … we would encourage that continued effort. Everyone had so much to offer it was a very difficult decision.”
The new or incumbent members include:
- Design Commission — Tom Fuelling and Andrew Svitek
- Investment & Financing Advisory Committee — Jeremiah Arnold and Michael Gross
- Parks and Recreation Commission — Kim Bowman and Marija Kristich Decker
- Planning Commission — Mike Hazen and Jeffrey McConnell
- Public Safety Commission — Wes Seastrom and Maureen Sprowles
- Public Works and Traffic Commission — Eldon Horst and Edward Yu
- Youth Council — Sienna Arrobio, Brendan Ehrhart and Enzo Fong