Full Text of Mayor
Thank you Senator
Pavley for that wonderful introduction. As many of you know, Senator
Pavley has served our area for many years as our former Assemblymember
and now as our Senator. For those of you who aren’t aware, Senator
Pavley has moved her District Headquarters right here in Calabasas-- so
let me be among the first to say “welcome to the neighborhood!” and
thank you for all you do for our city.
Before I begin, I’d like to thank the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce for
co-hosting this event. I am so proud of the partnership the city has
with its business community. Now I’d like to welcome my fellow
Councilmembers: Mayor pro Tem Fred Gaines, Councilmembers James Bozajian,
Lucy Martin, David Shapiro and our City Manager Tony Coroalles.
There are also several other special guests in attendance tonight and I
would very much like to recognize them and their efforts on behalf of
our community. Please hold your applause until I’ve made all the
introductions. I have members of my family with me including my sons,
their father, mom, and sisters.
And now welcome to the 15th annual Calabasas State of the City address.
Calabasas is a remarkable City. This is our home and recently something
wonderful has been taking place here. We have evolved into a
multi-generational community. Our children who grew up here are moving
back to Calabasas as adults to raise their families. We see grandparents
picking up their grandchildren at school and scurrying them off to swim
class at the Tennis and Swim Center. More and more people choose to
live, raise their families, and also enjoy their retirement in
Calabasas, and I think that says a lot about how special our community
is. We offer not just a little for everyone, but a lot of attractive
benefits for all of our residents.
One of the great perks of giving this address is finding a way to share
the excitement we all feel about our community. I happen to be a fan of
David Letterman and that’s when it hit me: so now it’s my pleasure to
introduce-- the “Top 10 Reasons Calabasas is a Great Place to Live and
All of these reasons are equally important and let’s start with one of
# 10 – We are proud of our volunteers
The spirit of volunteerism and public service can begin at any age. I am
proud to introduce a group of young people who have already begun down
this path—please join me in welcoming members of Calabasas Cub Scout
Pack 333, who will lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
I was so pleased to be named an Honorary Cub Scout Master a short while
ago by Calabasas Cub Scout Pack 333. Thank you so much, scouts.
Continuing with Volunteerism, our city government is a great example of
people from all parts of our community coming together to achieve great
Our eight standing city commissions play a vital role in our local
government. These commissions, who advise the Council on a wide variety
of matters, are made up of resident volunteers appointed by
Councilmembers. These commissions are:
Communications & Technology
Parks, Recreation & Education
And the Traffic & Transportation Commission.
I would like to also acknowledge the volunteers who make up our newest
advisory group, the City’s Senior Task Force.
At this time I’d like to invite our commissioners and members of the
Senior Task Force to please stand and be recognized.
Our city boasts many others serving as coaches for our youth leagues or
volunteering at our schools or for their HOAs, and contributing in many
other capacities. Thank you to all of you.
And now, reason #9 that Calabasas is a Great Place to Live and Work:
We are fiscally responsible
Calabasas wouldn’t be the City it is without its financial resources.
While many cities have been forced to reduce or eliminate services,
Calabasas has weathered the economic downturn due to the City’s
transparency, wisdom, and forward-thinking leadership.
Because we set aside funds during the boom years, we did not have to
endure mass layoffs or cut valuable services or programs. I am proud to
share that the City has maintained the highest credit rating for a city
our size with both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The City also has a
We also received the prestigious Award of Financial Reporting
Achievement from the Government Finance Officers Association—the highest
recognition of financial reporting for a municipality-- for the seventh
year in a row.
The City is also experiencing a “retail renaissance.” A number of new
restaurants and retailers opened throughout Calabasas—and you’re also
going to see exciting new changes in several of the car dealerships that
call our city home.
Much of this activity is thanks to the hard work of the Calabasas
Chamber of Commerce.
Now, let’s look at the #8 reason Calabasas is a Great Place to Live
Calabasas actively promotes public safety and emergency preparedness.
First and foremost, we owe a great deal of thanks to the hard-working
men and women of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the Los
Angeles County Fire Department. Thank you.
Working hard for the safety of our residents and preparing for
emergencies continues to be central to our efforts, including:
Our annual walk-in flu clinics, the Great Shakeout earthquake drill,
three “Emergency Preparedness Nights” at Calabasas public schools, and
our registration of mobility impaired residents so they can quickly be
evacuated in case of an emergency.
I was proud to spearhead the effort for a “Comfort Room” at the
Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff Station, which converted a former interview
area into a hospitable room for victims of crime and for children in
We are proud to have completed work on our “Safe Routes to School”
project, installing improvements to help ensure student safety while
walking or biking to and from school.
Our efforts to repair our sidewalks have resulted in the removal of 792
hazards from our neighborhoods. Nobody fills potholes or fixes sidewalk
cracks like we do!
CTV, along with the City website, our Report a Problem form, Connect
with Calabasas web page, the Public Works Online Citizen Request,
monthly eNews, and quarterly Calabasas Recreation Brochure & Newsletter
continue to be important links for public information and emergency
Reason #7 that Calabasas is a great place to live and work?
We have outstanding youth, adult and family programs
One of the reasons that so many people want to live in Calabasas is
because of all the fun activities we have. Our events happen throughout
the year and encompass every area of our city.
This year’s Calabasas Pumpkin Festival had over 12,000 attendees.
We also held our annual Eggstravaganza free egg hunt, Movies Under the
Stars at De Anza Park, Dive-In Movies at the Tennis and Swim Center, The
Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular, the annual Relay for Life, our
First Annual Family Camp Out at De Anza Park, and the 9th Annual
Calabasas Classic 5&10 K Run.
Our nine city parks offered a number of classes and programs and the
Tennis & Swim Center has continued to expand, offering over 75 different
fitness classes every week.
De Anza Park’s t-ball, coach pitch, youth basketball, roller hockey, and
adult basketball leagues all thrived.
In addition, we offered a wide variety of day camps, tennis leagues and
clinics, our Summer Beach Bus, Camp Calabasas and numerous afterschool
We helped keep our teens keep active and involved through Volunteens,
the Teen Activities Council, the Teen Library Council, and the Calabasas
Which brings me to Reason #6 that Calabasas is a great place to live
We offer residents a wide array of cultural and educational enrichment
The Calabasas Fine Arts Festival, which we organized with the Arts
Council, hosted 5,000 attendees.
The California International Theater Festival offered an exciting
program of theatrical productions from around the world right in our own
Our four Sunset Summer Concerts for the public held at Calabasas Lake
and sponsored by the Calabasas Park Homeowners Association were fun and
Calabasas High School’s new Performing Arts Educational Complex features
a 650-seat main theater that is not only an incredible performing space
for school productions, but will be a major draw for professional
theater groups, particularly during times of the year when school is out
The Calabasas Library’s unique programming from ongoing art exhibits to
bingo to yoga attracts residents of all ages. This year, the library
also added a self-checkout machine, making access to library resources
even more convenient.
The Calabasas Historical Society Collection is now accessible to the
public in the library and includes fascinating artifacts and photos from
In addition, our Art in Public Places committee fosters the creation and
placement of enduring original artworks throughout the City.
Reason #5 Calabasas is a Great Place to Live and Work:
We are a model of municipal leadership
Our City prides itself on being innovative and problem-solving. I would
like to take this moment to acknowledge our City Staff present here
tonight who work so hard on the entire community’s behalf.
We are proud to lead the way in local government. Our Second Hand Smoke
Ordinance, Plastic Bag Carryout Ordinance, Polystyrene Ban, and the
Coyote Management Plan have not only been successful in our community,
but have been used as models by other municipalities across the country.
Our Historic Preservation Ordinance seeks to preserve and protect the
City’s numerous historic resources.
Responding to community concerns, last year Calabasas adopted the
Wireless Telecommunications Ordinance. Thoroughly vetted through over 35
public hearings, this cutting edge ordinance protects the City’s vistas
and open spaces from unnecessary intrusion by unsightly antennas. We are
now working to fill the gaps in cell service in an aesthetically
pleasing, non-intrusive way.
In 2012, Calabasas was awarded the HEAL Cities Campaign Certificate,
acknowledging us as a city that encourages nutrition and physical
activity to make our community a healthier place to live and work. HEAL
also has data showing that our childhood obesity rate is very, very low
which is also great news for our community.
Sadly, there were tragic reminders of the violence that can be
perpetrated with military-style guns. To that end, Mayor pro Tem Fred
Gaines and I introduced two resolutions to the City Council in support
of common sense federal gun control laws including strengthening
background checks for purchasing guns and reinstating the Assault
The #4 reason that Calabasas is a great place to live and work is:
We are committed to promoting beneficial co-existence between residents
As a City, we strive to help families and individuals live safely and
comfortably in a natural setting while maintaining the beauty and
wildlife that first attracted them to the area.
The City’s innovative Coyote Management Plan supports coexistence with
urban coyotes using such techniques as keeping small pets indoors at
night, properly sealing trash containers and effective hazing methods to
keep coyotes from wandering into our neighborhoods. But we need to all
work together to in order to keep them in their natural habitat, the
In collaboration with the City’s Media Department, Environmental
Services staff produced two documentaries: one to provide further
information on co-existing with coyotes in an urban environment and
another focusing on education and prevention of the West Nile Virus—both
of which are available to HOAs to show to their residents.
We provided a grant to the National Park Service for local mountain lion
research, and when one of our mountain lions was found brutally killed,
the City offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and
conviction of those responsible. We look forward to further
collaboration with our friends at the National Park Service, California
State Parks, and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy on ways we can
be the best urban city adjacent to the wild.
The #3 reason Calabasas is a Great Place to Live and Work is:
We vigorously protect the environment and open space
We’ve always been proud of our active environmental stewardship and this
year has been no exception.
In June, we celebrated the grand opening of the Anthony C. Beilenson
Interagency Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch in partnership with
the National Park Service, the California State Parks and the Santa
Monica Mountains Conservancy. This LEED certified gateway to the Santa
Monica Mountains is right in our backyard. It offers exhibits and
interactive displays, the work of local artists, tours of sustainable
features, a native plant garden and a tremendous comprehensive exhibit
covering things to see and do within the Santa Monica Mountains. If you
haven’t had the chance to visit yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.
We held several successful environmental events this year, including two
creek clean-ups, our annual Earth Day Celebration & Green Expo, and our
annual Arbor Day Celebration where families came together to plant
trees. My children and I planted trees at Chaparral in 2002 with Senator
Pavley and they stand so tall today.
We took many steps to protect the environment throughout the city,
including installing catch screens to prevent trash from entering the
storm drain system and heading to the beaches and ocean, placing new
recycling containers at our bus stops, and collecting enormous amounts
of e-waste like broken computers and TVs and hazardous materials at
special recycling events.
Our 2012 Recycling Drawing Contest set a new record, with over 500
entries from students from Calabasas schools—of which twelve drawings
were selected for our annual recycling calendar, copies of which are
available here tonight; our Landscape Division continued its annual Weed
Abatement for Fire Safety; and the City’s urban forestry program has
continued to preserve old growth trees as well as plant new trees along
our City streets.
We resurfaced roadways in our community with rubberized asphalt made in
part from waste tires, and helped create more efficient traffic flow
with off-ramp and road improvements.
You’ve probably driven down Mulholland Highway and seen the great
changes in the area fronting Calabasas Village Mobile Home Estates. This
newly developed site replaced a barren frontage with trees and a
meandering pathway surrounded by shrubs.
The City also received a grant to develop the open space parkland behind
City Hall. Home to numerous deer, coyotes, native plants and centuries
old oaks, the funds will be used to develop a trail system to allow
public access to the undisturbed parkland.
In June, we began working on a combined pedestrian/bicycle master plan
that will promote alternative transportation throughout the city.
Another reason Calabasas is a great place to live and work is:
# 2- We have outstanding schools, which means we have outstanding
Our award-winning Calabasas schools are known for providing the very
best in education as evidenced by their consistently high test scores.
The City of Calabasas has strong partnerships with the Las Virgenes
Unified School District and our schools’ PFCs & PFA leaders, and we
continue to fund our local schools with grants to insure adequate
Last June, the Calabasas Klubhouse Preschool graduated 42 students and,
in addition to providing an outstanding academic curriculum, continues
to offer programs such as yoga, dance, piano, soccer and computer
classes for our young students.
We know how vital our schools are to our community, and we are always
working to find creative ways to maintain their excellence.
And now, one of the best reasons that Calabasas is a Great Place to Live
#1 – Calabasas recognizes that a vital core of our City is our
This city would not have been founded a short 22 years ago if it wasn’t
for the original spirited home buyers many of who still live here. We
are proud that we are a multi-generational community, and one of our
most important statistics is that our seniors make up nearly 40% of our
This year we made great progress in making their lives even better.
Calabasas Savvy Seniors is an ongoing program consisting of classes,
excursions, special events, lectures and luncheons for women and men 50
years and older. This new program continues to grow and this year we
offered over 70 classes.
As I mentioned earlier, this year the City Council created a Senior Task
Force and one of our first priorities will be the construction of a
senior center located right behind the library. This important addition
to our Civic Center will increase the well-being of aging baby boomers
by providing a sense of purpose and belonging, along with improved
nutrition, education, and activities. This is certainly one of the most
exciting endeavors in the city’s history.
We will also consider an entire host of senior issues ranging from
health to transportation services and everything in between. We want our
older residents to age in place and will work to help them with this
And we have already taken several steps to support our seniors. A great
example of this care is the Ruth Willer Rental Assistance Program, which
provides rental subsidies to qualifying Calabasas residents.
In 2012, we also established a Fund to assist low- and moderate-income
homeowners, many of them seniors, with costly repairs to distressed and
code-deficient properties. The program specifically tries to fill the
gap when banks and other lending institutions refuse loans to property
owners and they have no other means to remedy health and safety issues
on their properties.
The City received a merit award from the Los Angeles American Planning
Association for the Canyon Creek project-- home to 86 low income
seniors. Construction has also begun on the 60 unit “Horizons” senior
housing complex on Malibu Hills Road, which is due to open later this
And there it is: the Top 10 reasons that Calabasas is a great place to
live and work.
And now --
Every year, the Mayor of Calabasas has the privilege of spotlighting one
or more of our City’s residents to be honored for making outstanding
contributions to the community. It is now my pleasure and distinct honor
to announce the 2013 Calabasas Citizens of the Year.
You’ve heard, one of the best things about living in Calabasas is our
engaged, hard-working, motivated citizenship. These are people who don’t
wait for the future to happen, they take an active role in creating it.
Our Citizens of the Year are two shining examples of this standard.
Together, they wanted to create a program to encourage social
interaction among residents over the age of 50, and Savvy Seniors was
born. These committed citizens made recommendations to the city to
develop and promote new senior programs, and recruited qualified
instructors. In short, they came, they saw, and they created and now
thanks to their efforts, our Savvy Seniors program is thriving. Please
join me in honoring our 2013 Calabasas Citizens of the Year, Savvy
Seniors co-founders Carol Davis and Sue Somberg.
I have one more award to give this evening, but first, I would very much
like to thank the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce for helping out with
this event; Cub Scout Pack 333; the Teen Activities Council for its
assistance; the wonderful staff at the City of Calabasas—especially the
Media Operations Department—for all of their hard work in producing
I would also like to thank you, the people, for allowing me the
tremendous honor of serving as your Mayor and a member of the City
Council. These past eight years have been incredibly fulfilling, and an
exciting time for Calabasas.
Tonight I’ve given this speech as Mayor of Calabasas—but I would like to
take this time to name an honorary Mayor for 2013. Many of you are aware
of Kevin Cordasco—the remarkable young man who has shown such strength
and courage facing cancer. In so many ways Kevin and his family
symbolize the spirit of our community and represent the very best of
what Calabasas stands for. His determination and optimism serve as
models for us all. With that in mind, it is my pleasure to recognize our
honorary 2013 Mayor, Kevin Cordasco. Please join me in front of the
And now Kevin, would you like officially adjourn us?
Thank you so much, now please join me in the library for refreshments.