New Mayor Talt Outlines Plans

The newly composed City Council, with members Susan Jakubowski (from left), Dr. Steven Huang, Steve Talt, Gretchen Shepherd Romey and Ken Ude, was seated at last week’s meeting. Talt and Huang were selected as mayor and vice mayor, respectively.
The newly composed City Council, with members Susan Jakubowski (from left), Dr. Steven Huang, Steve Talt, Gretchen Shepherd Romey and Ken Ude, was seated at last week’s meeting. Talt and Huang were selected as mayor and vice mayor, respectively.

After two years of waiting, Steve Talt was ready last Wednesday to be chosen by his fellow City Council members to be San Marino’s mayor for 2018.
With Dr. Steven Huang selected as vice mayor, the 2015 electoral class is set to mold their vision for San Marino alongside their three newly elected colleagues who were officially sworn in at this same meeting.
“I view the mayor’s job as making sure this council’s visions and the residents’ visions for our future become a reality,” Talt said, beginning his speech announcing his agenda for the year. “It’s the mayor’s job to form these policies and ideas into action by our staff. The agenda is not my vision, but it is our vision.”
Talt’s opening speech detailed a thorough to-do list for the City Council, which is now composed entirely of first-term members. He specifically called for the creation of a permanent public safety commission, the implementation of a strong historic preservation ordinance, a thorough evaluation of planning- and zoning-related ordinances, the development of a plan to address the city’s public pension liability, a stronger relationship with the San Marino Unified School District Board of Education, the creation of a City Hall-sourced list of volunteer opportunities for residents and a stronger overall focus on the city’s general plan.
With a public safety commission, Talt said he hopes to better serve San Marino’s police and fire departments in terms of financial and policy support, while also helping to educate residents on ways they can protect themselves and work with those agencies.
In the development realm, Talt said he hopes to strike a balance between protecting individual property rights while also protecting the look and feel of the city that residents specifically wanted when they moved here.
“Too many projects are taking too long for too little reason,” he said. “They’re taking too long to be built and that negatively impacts our neighborhoods. We need to determine whether our ordinances are being enforced or need to be amended or created to protect the fabric of our neighborhood. We need to review these ordinances to make sure they’re having their desired effect.”
Talt added at the end that he also hoped to address several specific issues, including the Stoneman Building, Rose Arbor, Lacy Park restrooms and cellphone towers, before the year was up.
“When the time comes, we need to stop kicking these issues down the road and solve them this year,” he said. “It is my desire as mayor to provide the atmosphere to create a sense of community, but not just any community. I want to create the atmosphere that fulfills the reason we all decided to live or work in San Marino.”
Outgoing CouncilMembers
Before Talt’s opening remarks as mayor, the three outgoing city councilmen — Dr. Richard Sun, Richard Ward and Dr. Allan Yung — were recognized for their eight years of service and gave brief reflections on their terms.
“During all those meetings [I’ve attended], I’ve certainly learned a lot from each of you, which helped me grow and become a better public servant,” Sun said, speaking to his colleagues on the dais and also to City Hall staff.
Sun, who spent his last year in office as mayor, said the city emerged from a year of record personnel turnover with its largest fund balance in history and with an illustrious quality of life index rating. In departing, he extolled San Marino’s uniqueness as being about more than its historic homes, lushly landscaped properties and state-leading schools.
“It is because the volunteerism of all its residents is shown, as is the willingness of all residents to help each other,” he said. “I’m confident that under the leadership of these five outstanding council members, San Marino will not only be the No. 1 city to live in in all of California, but the No. 1 city to live in in all the United States.”
Ward, who ended his time on the City Council as vice mayor, said everyone he’s worked with as a city councilman has “really been on the ball” as they’ve helped each other run the city and especially thanked his outgoing colleagues.
“I’ve enjoyed my association with them immensely, and I’ve likewise enjoyed my association with our two incumbent councilmen as well,” he said, before also thanking the voters. “It has been a challenging and a most educational experience. I hope that you feel your confidence in me was justified.”
Yung said the city remains as great, if not greater, than it was when he took office eight years ago.
“It is still one of the most desirable places to live in Southern California,” he said. “The character of our community is still the same. Our trees are trimmed. Our streets are paved and striped. Our infrastructure is well maintained. In the middle of Los Angeles, it is still a very safe city. Our finances are sound. Our reserves are up significantly.”

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