City considers memorials to honor late Councilman Dave Spence

City considers memorials to honor late Councilman Dave Spence
Former Mayor Dave Spence conducts city business in an April 2016 file photo, taken about a year before his death. City Council members discussed in a meeting Tuesday how to best memorialize Spence's long service to the community. (Tim Berger / La Cañada Valley Sun)

La Cañada Flintridge City Council members — busy with plans for a future move to a new city hall — took a moment Tuesday to honor their civic past, discussing plans to memorialize the life and contributions of late Councilman Dave Spence.

Spence died May 16, 2017, from an apparent heart attack. Residents have since reached out to the city with donations for some kind of tribute, said City Manager Mark Alexander. About $7,000 has been collected, and commitments for an additional $5,000 have been made.


Staff presented the council with a list of memorials for consideration. Ideas included renaming a street or city park for the six-time mayor, building a memorial bench, statue or water feature in his honor and dedicating a room or council chamber in the new city hall. Council members favored the latter idea, a room where a portrait and items of memorabilia might provide a glimpse of his impact on the community. Another resonant idea was building a gazebo in Olberz Park, in the city’s Town Center.

Glendale resident Jerry Valenzuela, a friend of Spence’s, told council he was happy to hear council’s plans.


“I know friends, colleagues and family would highly appreciate this,” he said. “He was a great man. He was a good friend. Thank you for your consideration.”

Sound wall rally

Even as Californians voted in Tuesday’s election on a proposal to repeal the SB-1 gas tax imposed on residents last year — through which La Cañada Flintridge has been granted $12 million to build sound walls — a handful of residents rallied for a wall to be built in their neighborhood.

Resident Brent Whitfield and neighbors of the city’s Rancho area have been collecting signatures in a petition for a sound wall to be built on the Hampton Road Foothill (210) Freeway overpass. They urged the city to prioritize that location.

“Debris has flown off that, including tires, rims and ladders. We see that as an important place to put walls for the sound and for the safety issues for the kids,” said Whitfield, presenting another 200 signatures to the city clerk.

Regulating parking problems

Council members addressed two separate ordinances to address parking-related issues in the public right-of-way — one on non-commercial over-sized vehicles and RVs parking in residential areas and another on mobile billboards parked for the purpose of advertising.

The first matter was brought to the city’s attention in June by residents on Alminar Avenue who claim an RV-owning neighbor skirts 72-hour parking limits by rotating his vehicle among three separate locations. When the RV is on the street, they say, it’s a safety hazard to pedestrians and motorists.

The city Public Works and Traffic Commission recommended legislation that would require all oversized vehicle owners to apply in person for permits to park on streets. Additionally, they could only park on streets wider than 38 feet.

Mayor Terry Walker said she is concerned the ordinance would unfairly apply to people who temporarily parked boats and vehicles on the street in advance of a trip. Councilman Greg Brown said a citywide permit program would be cumbersome and unenforceable.

After some discussion, the council agreed to refine the ordinance language further and return with a solution that would take a more comprehensive look at parking restrictions.

Council members also approved a first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit vehicles that pull or convey advertisements from parking in the public right of way for more than 30 minutes in one place or 60 minutes daily.

In an earlier discussion, council members asked whether vehicles with adhesive wrapping might be included in the ordinance, but City Atty. Mark Steres said California vehicle code prohibits their inclusion.

Plan to save Cornishon Avenue tennis courts

Also Tuesday, the City Council agreed to dedicate $70,000 toward the resurfacing of the tennis courts at the former site of Foothill Intermediate School on Cornishon Avenue, as part of a joint agreement with La Cañada Unified School District.

Used by the school district, the Community Center and members of the public, the courts were last resurfaced 25 years ago. Recently, cracks and a general state of disrepair have presented a liability risk and, if left unaddressed, would have led to closure of the courts by summer 2019.

Alexander said the city and school district agreed to each pay half of the estimated $140,000 resurfacing cost. He said the expenditure will be considered during the City Council’s midyear budget review.