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Temple City | Fall/Winter 2021



City Briefs

Pawsitive Connections

Relief and new beginnings

The Humane Society on working through a pandemic

Let's Dance by Gabriela Macias

Every drop counts! Visit for tips and tricks to save money, conserve water and maintain a better yard.

More info: (626) 579-0461

Hello From the City Manager

From the City Manager

Temple City is Back!

The past nearly two years have shown us that Temple Citians are nothing if not adaptable. It seems hard to believe now, but our last full-length issue of Temple City Connect was released at the dawn of 2020. Then came the onset of a pandemic; a slew of new safety measures to master; and major paradigm shifts in how we live, work and connect with each other. It would be disingenuous to say that we’re out of the woods when it comes to COVID-19. As new variants of the virus emerge, we must remain vigilant about the roles we play in preventing spread and protecting the most vulnerable in our communities. At the same time, many of us are contending with grief—for loved ones, potential memories of what might have been and ways of life lost to the pandemic. Still, even crises bring with them silver linings, and in Temple City, we’re exceedingly proud to announce a high vaccination rate of more than 80%. Thank you for choosing to protect not only yourselves but your neighbors, too.. As activity in Temple City cautiously ramps up, the following pages offer updates on local projects, initiatives and other newsworthy happenings. For a breakdown of how the City used federal funding to provide relief to individuals, families and business owners during the pandemic, turn to page TK. In the same section, get caught up on Temple City’s Housing Element, a forthcoming new City website and progress at Primrose Park on pages TK and TK. A glimpse of Temple City-related online buzz awaits on pages TK-TK (hint: the Class of 2021, celebrity sightings and irresistible plush toys all are among what’s trending). Meanwhile, on pages TK-TK, social media resurfaces as an outreach strategy smartly utilized by the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society amid the pandemic to connect rescued animals with forever homes.

While we admittedly remain in a state of ambiguity as far as the future of the virus and its impacts, the City does have plans to host some of its most beloved holiday events this year. Over the summer, our annual Concerts in the Park series returned to Temple City Park, restoring a much-needed sense of normalcy to our community. On the horizon this season, we look forward to celebrating together as we usher in fall with a festival and classic car show (Oct. 23), toast Halloween with an all-ages carnival (Oct. 31), honor our veterans (Nov. 11) and light the tree at Temple City Park (Dec. 3). Adding to the fun, we’re bringing back our Holiday Decorating Contest, with judging for all residences and businesses slated for the evenings of Dec. 8-9. All events will be held in accordance with the county regional health officer’s orders and guidelines. With that in mind, these events are subject to modification or cancellation due to the pandemic and its fluctuations. Throughout the ongoing uncertainty, we deeply appreciate your patience, understanding and flexibility, as well as your willingness to make the safety of our community a priority. We hope to see you soon, and we wish you a peaceful holiday season.


Bryan Cook City Manager

Temple City Connect Fall/Winter 2021


From the City Manager Temple City is Back!


Calendar Out and About in Temple City


City Buzz News and Updates from City Hall


#templecity Locally Trending Social Media Posts

Temple City Connect is the City of Temple City's biannual magazine that connects the community to City Hall.

EDITOR Bryan Cook MANAGING EDITOR Tinny Chan ASSOCIATE EDITOR Iliana Flores COPY EDITOR Christine Ziemba PHOTO EDITOR Iliana Flores CONTRIBUTORS Tess Eyrich Christine N. Ziemba DESIGN Kilter

CITY COUNCIL Vincent Yu Mayor Cynthia Sternquist Mayor Pro Tem Tom Chavez Councilmember William Man Councilmember Fernando Vizcarra Councilmember

In This Issue 14

Making ‘Pawsitive’ Pet Connections The San Gabriel Humane Society didn't let a pandemic stop their mission.

The seniors of Temple City High School and their families traveled to nearby Santa Anita Race Track for an in-person graduation. Read more on page 10

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Out & About in Temple City by

Nov. 6

Relay for Life 12:00-8:00 P.M. Temple City Park Celebrate, remember, and fight back. Join us in celebrating cancer survivors, remembering those we lost, and raising awareness and funds for cancer research and services in our community. The event will feature a survivor/caregiver walk and a luminaria ceremony. For more information, please visit:

Christine N. Ziemba

Dec. 3

Dec. 8–9 (Judging Dates)

Lights on Temple City

Holiday Decorating Contest

5:00–9:00 P.M. Temple City Park Santa is coming to Temple City this winter and bringing the snow with him! Lights on Temple City triumphantly returns with a parade along Las Tunas Drive followed by holiday festivities at Temple City Park. Activities include photos with Santa, a sledding and snow play area, live musical performances, holiday-themed arts and crafts, and a beloved tradition: the annual tree lighting. For more information, please visit:

All events are subject to change or cancellation.

6:00–9:00 P.M. Temple City Park Dust off those holiday ornaments and untangle your strings of lights! Temple City’s Holiday Decorating Contest is back, with standout businesses and residences alike poised to earn bragging rights and recognition for their deckedout designs at an upcoming City Council meeting. Additionally, a photograph showcasing each winning address will be posted on the City’s website, No registration is necessary to participate in the contest; judges will tour the entire city on Dec. 8 and 9 in consideration of all homes and businesses. For more information, please visit:

Events Out & About

Nov. 11

Veterans Day Celebration 9:00–10:00 A.M. Temple City Park Join us in honoring our veterans at Temple City Park with a formal ceremony led by local elected officials and a veteran guest speaker. All veterans are invited to attend and be recognized for their service to our country. In addition, the event will feature a vintage aircraft flyover to commemorate the ceremony. For more information, please visit:

Need to meet in person? City Hall is open to the public by appointment only. To schedule an in-person appointment, call (626) 285-2171 or visit our online appointment portal:

Feb. 5

Feb. 9

Lunar New Year Celebration

Dim Sum and Tea

TBD P.M. Temple City Park

TBD P.M. Live Oak Park Picnic Shelter

Ring in the Year of the Tiger with a festive community-wide celebration at Temple City Park. In partnership with the Temple City Chinese American Association, the celebration will feature performances, raffles, food trucks, information booths, and silent auctions! For more information, please visit:

Drop by the Live Oak Park picnic shelters for a free sampling of traditional Chinese cuisine typically eaten to commemorate the Lunar New Year, including barbecue pork buns, dumplings, egg rolls and more (samples will be available free of charge while supplies last). For more information, please visit:

Watch where you park! Overnight parking enforcement returns.

Starting October 15

Parking permits will be required to park on a public street between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.

2 A.M.–5 A.M.

More info: (626) 285-2171 |

IN THIS SECTION COVID-19 Relief | Housing Plans Website Revamp | A New Park

City Buzz

The City Hall News You Need to Know


Tess Eyrich

$ 372K in small business relief Special Economic Development Program Twenty-one recipients were provided with up-to-$10,000 relief grants totaling $202,000 through this program, one of two City initiatives geared toward providing relief for small businesses affected negatively by the pandemic. To qualify, recipients were required have an employee living in low- or moderate-income households. Micro-Enterprise Program Nineteen recipients were provided with up-to-$10,000 relief grants totaling $170,151.24 through this program, the second City initiative developed to assist members of Temple City’s small-business community. To qualify, recipients were required to identify as local business owners living in low- or moderate-income households.

Relief Comes Home In June 2020, Temple City’s City Council allocated more than a half-million dollars in federal funding toward economic relief grants for renters and local businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the program has now ended and it’s associated funds disbursed, its impacts will be felt for years to come. Funding for the relief programs came from two sources: the Community

Development Block Grant Program and the CARES Act.

$ 213K in rent relief Rental Assistance Program Seventy-one income-eligible households received temporary rent relief grants worth up to $3,000 each. A total of $213,000 in rent relief was disbursed by the City through this program.

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A Housing Plan to Last the Next Eight Years Temple City’s Housing Element, which gets an update every eight years, is in the process of being refined as the City prepares to seek state approval of the plan through 2029. In California, local governments are required to dedicate one section of their general plans to planning for the housing needs of everyone in the community; this section constitutes the Housing Element. It all starts with the regional housing needs assessment, a process undertaken to evaluate existing and projected housing needs. In addition to the assessment, Temple City’s draft Housing Element includes several core segments: a summary of resources to support the development, preservation, and rehabilitation of housing; a sketched-out plan for accomplishing those goals; and an inventory of sites in Temple City that may be used to fulfill the City’s share of the region’s housing needs. Constraints on housing production and a review of the previous Housing Element, approved by the state in 2014, also are incorporated into the document. The Housing Element found that about half of the City’s households are considered lower income; seven percent are experiencing poverty, and almost one-third of elderly households are extremely low-income. To help address these populations, this cycle’s draft Housing Element features 11 new programs. They include measures to speed up the permit process and bring the City’s code into alignment with State law. The Planning Commission and City Council are scheduled to review the Draft Housing Element in the Fall of 2021. Visit housingplan to review the Plan, sign up for notifications, and provide comment.

News City Buzz


City Website to Undergo Revamp The City of Temple City’s official website,, will soon receive a well-earned makeover. Currently, the website serves as a one-stop-shop for information related to living in Temple City, housing everything from the COVID-19 pandemic and response updates to information on community programs and even city council meeting minutes. Its forthcoming overhaul—the first since 2012—will include both a new look and new features, all geared toward ensuring the platform is as up to date and user-friendly as possible. Once the redesign is complete, the site will boast a larger search bar, enabling visitors to find the information they’re looking for quickly and efficiently; homepage icons directing users to a selection of the site’s most-visited subpages; and a specialized home for the City’s Parks & Recreation Department. Additionally, the site will incorporate a translation widget allowing for the translation of its content into more than 100 languages.

Primrose Park Nearing Completion Construction on Temple City’s first new park in over 60 years, Primrose Park, is on the eve of completion. Once it opens to the public, the half-acre space at 5928 Primrose Ave. will round out a green-space trio with Temple City and Live Oak parks. Further, the space will bring with it a range of amenities created in response to community input solicited by the City, an overture that marked a milestone in Temple City history. Among the new park’s features are a custom playground, outdoor exercise equipment, a looped walking path, shade structures, picnic areas, an open lawn area, electric-vehicle charging stations, restrooms and plenty of on-site parking. Construction on the space, which was developed using state funding, is slated for completion this fall. To learn more about Primrose Park, visit




A recap of what’s been trending locally in social media by

Tinny Chan

Hail to the Graduates The strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” could be heard once again as in-person graduation ceremonies returned to Temple City after a long COVID-caused hiatus. Students and their families of Oak Avenue Intermediate School, Cloverly Elementary, Emperor Elementary and Longden Elementary held their promotion ceremonies at Temple City High School so that the attendees could maintain a safe, social distance. v(for the first time ever) for the graduation ceremony to accommodate the number of people who wanted to celebrate the grads in person. / Jerry Jambazian


Congratulations to the TCHS Class of 2021!

Trending #templecity


406 likes vanscustomculture Congratulations 2021 #VansCustomCulture finalist: Temple City High School from Temple City, CA

TCHS’ Award-Winning Wearable Art Temple City students crafted and customized Vans — the popular shoe brand that started in Anaheim — for the company’s 2021 High School Custom Culture competition. Students were asked to design two pairs of shoes with the themes “Hometown Pride” and “Head in the Clouds.” For their efforts, the TCHS students earned a Top 5 finalist spot — and $15,000 award for the school. Vans’ initiative inspired students to embrace their creativity while calling attention to diminishing arts education budgets. Fontainebleau High School in Louisiana took home the top prize of $50,000.

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A Zendaya Sighting in Temple City Temple City is the new Tinseltown — at least it was for a few days this spring — when HBO’s Euphoria returned to TC to film scenes for its second season. The gritty drama stars the Emmy Award-winning actress Zendaya as a troubled 17-year-old Rue, who faces substance abuse and body image issues. Celebrity sightings of Zendaya and cast members (including Eric Dane and Angus Cloud) were posted to social media with other fans trekking to the filming locations for a glimpse of the stars.

Cloverleaf Cafe Covered by @foodandpooch Earlier this spring, a popular content creator, foodie and Yelper best known by his Instagram handle @foodandpooch, uncovered one of Temple City’s hidden gems: the Cloverleaf Cafe. @foodandpooch gave a shout out to the bakery and coffee spot’s assortment of savory and sweet treats, especially the ube (purple yam) cheesecake. Cloverleaf is always experimenting with ingredients to create new items including Vietnamese coffee crinkle cookies as well as ube tres leches and nastar, an Indonesian speciality that’s filled with spiced pineapple jam.

foodandpooch City of Temple City

876 likes foodandpooch Q: Why are cookies that are high in fiber more expensive? A: You're paying for the bran.⁣

Trending #templecity

Sanrio’s Squishmallows Fly Off Shelves


Soft as can be! #sanriotc #plushies #sanriosquiahmallows

Rosemead Boulevard Grows Up They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the local nonprofit Active SGV posted a great drone shot of a more mature Rosemead Boulevard in Temple City. The street is now lined with native California plants and trees, including sycamores that are no longer saplings. The taller trees provide much needed shade in the summer and beautify the San Gabriel Valley’s first protected on-street bikeway, which was completed in 2014.

Squishmallows are following in the footsteps of Beanie Babies, Cabbage Patch Dolls and pet rocks as the must-have toy that kids love and parents don’t understand. The line of soft, huggable plushies have boomed in popularity during the pandemic and have also taken off as a TikTok trend (just search the hashtag #squishtok). Sanrio recently collaborated with Squishmallows for a line of cute Hello Kitty and My Melody plush toys, which are now completely sold out online. In June, the Temple City Sanrio location had the Squishmallows x Sanrio items in stock, but because of unexpectedly high demand, they limited the sales to two of the 8” and two of 12” plushies per customer per day (so the toys would get to kids and not Ebay.)


Rosemead Blvd in #TempleCity was transformed into a greener street with CA natives trees...

The San Gabriel Valley Humane Society pivoted to virtual sessions and social media during the pandemic to bolster community ties.



Christine N. Ziemba

‘Pawsitive’ Pet Connections

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he San Gabriel Valley Humane Society (SGVHS), a local nonprofit that focuses on the care and placement of family pets and serves as Animal Control Services for the cities of Temple City and San Gabriel. Like most organizations, the shelter was forced to limit the number of volunteers and visitors drastically in March 2020. Many of its essential services, including adoptions, license issues and renewals and vaccines, were accessible by appointment only. Nonessential services, from shelter tours for schools and organizations to events and volunteer orientations, were placed on hold.

through their Facebook and Instagram pages to see any number of adorable, adoptable pets). “The connection with kids and groups was missed,” said volunteer Rachel Conger, who created the Pawsitive Pet Connections program with fellow volunteer Cindy Talavera. “We were hoping to reach out not only to find people to support the shelter, but also become animal advocates,” Conger said.

Conger talked about one of the animals rescued by the Humane Society during the pandemic, thanks to a concerned citizen. Because the person reported an animal in distress, SGVHS staff were able SGVHS Board President Cynthia Rigney to locate Darby, a 16-year-old Dachshund. noted that in a “typical” year, the shelter takes in approximately 1,800 live animals. He was a severely abused dog with duct tape around his muzzle and damaged But during the pandemic, the Human eyes caused by untreated eye conditions. Society took in 806 animals in 2020. Although Darby eventually had to have Despite numbers being significantly both eyes enucleated, his other senses impacted by COVID, the adoption/ flourished. And nothing deterred his return-to-owner rates for dogs remained love of people, other dogs, treats and steady at 94%, and the adoptions for cats cuddles. His recovery took months, but even increased, from about 55% to 63%. Darby eventually found a forever home While some of the adoptions can anecdotally be chalked up to “pandemic pets,” to live out his senior years — in a much better place than how he was found. SGVHS took real steps to bolster their ties to the community, even when While dogs and cats make up the biggest in-person outreach wasn’t possible. animal intake populations, SGVHS also cares for rabbits, tortoises, turtles, Without that influx of visitors and foot guinea pigs, chickens, ducks and even an traffic through the shelter, the staff and occasional iguana, pig or goat. volunteers of SGVHS pivoted online to devise a way that the shelter could come The variety of animals cared for by the to schools and community groups. The “Pawsitive Pet Connections” program was organization can be traced to the origins of the Humane Society. Mrs. Fannie launched in March 2020 to provide a full Thompson Kessler, a preacher’s daughter tour of the shelter via PowerPoint, from Elkhart, Indiana, established the including living spaces, the yards and Alhambra-San Gabriel Humane Society grooming areas, as well as provide in 1924 at the age of 65. Her shelter information to students and community members on the role that SGVHS plays in provided services for both farm and domestic animals, and even circus the community. They’ve also relied on rescues, Conger noted. It then later social media to showcase animals (scroll



Tonillo Blanco



doubled in size when the neighboring property was donated to Kessler’s cause. Nearly 100 years later, staff and volunteers continue to pick up Kessler’s mantle. They work tirelessly to help facilitate the adoption of all healthy and adoptable animals into permanent, loving homes.

Cat adoptions increased in 2020, from about

55% to 63% Of the dogs that come into the shelter, Conger said their resident population is mostly composed of Chihuahuas, German shepherds, Huskies and American Stafford Terriers (pit bulls). “Little dogs get adopted very fast,” Conger said, but others might take a little longer. The cat population varies, but expands during warmer months of kitten season. Conger, who volunteered with the Humane Society anywhere between 10 and 30 hours weekly before the pandemic, discussed working with a number of memorable animals. But she remembered two that made big impressions on her. “Max [a Shepherd mix] was with our shelter for a long time. He had some really big trust issues so the shelter spent a very long time to get him to trust,” Conger said. His progression was going really well, but he took a “step back” during the pandemic when volunteers could no longer participate in in-person activities. The staff kept working with Max, albeit slowly, and eventually a couple expressed interest and started to visit. Eventually the couple agreed to foster to adopt Max three months later.


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Conger also remembered Harley, a little terrier mix who was “terrified of men.” Conger said. “We’d sit in the kennel and be still and be quiet.” Harley eventually evolved into a model shelter citizen, and a few months later, he was adopted— by a man. “I’ve always been an animal lover,” Conger said. They’re great teachers who show us resilience, how to live each day and not dwell in the past, she said. “I get way more from animals than what they get from me.”

The San Gabriel Valley Humane Society is now working its way back to regular operations, but Board President Rigney said that they are considering the continuation of COVID protocols and online tools, even if on a somewhat modified basis: “SGVHS is constantly evaluating the most effective ways to serve our community and enhance the human-animal bond.”

The San Gabriel Valley Humane Society Most services are by appointment only.

Visit 851 E. Grand Ave., San Gabriel, CA 91776

#alumniupdate from Scout from @sgvhumanesociety

“We adopted this fun guy last year around May and he has now been with us over a year! We cannot imagine our lives without him and want to thank you for the work you all do. He was soo anxious when we met him and it took about 6 months before he started feeling at home. Now he knows his home is with us and wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks again!”

Call (626) 286-1159


History Weather Crisis


Tempest in Temple City The holiday season may be synonymous with glittering lights and flashing displays, but 10 years ago, a ferocious version of the Santa Ana winds on steroids turned Temple City dark for nearly a week.

Photo by Jerry Jambazian

In early December 2011, the untamed, unprecedented storm memorably pummeled the city—and much of the San Gabriel Valley’s power grid—with 80-mile-per-hour, hurricaneforce winds. In its wake, the catastrophe left hundreds of felled trees, dangerously downed electric lines and a once-lively community now turned ghost town, as tens of thousands of residents went without power for up to five days. Miraculously, no deaths were reported, and there were very few injuries. Still, the city was far from unharmed; in fact, overall damages were estimated at $10 million, including $4 million to

roughly 4,000 housing units, $2 million to local businesses and $4 million to government facilities such as the Civic Center, City Hall, Live Oak Park and the city yard. The devastation extended to Temple City’s trees, about 500 of which were unsalvageable—a number constituting one-tenth of the city’s total trees. To recoup some of the cost, the city declared a state of emergency in the hopes of securing cleanup funding from the state. Later, a community meeting held by the California Public Utilities Commission at Temple City High School criticized Southern California Edison not only for its lack of reliable information, but also its slow response in restoring power to the city and the surrounding area. A preliminary investigation found that as many as one-third of the Edison poles that went down during the windstorm were overloaded with cables and equipment, which stalled the restoration.

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COVID-19 Resources & Hotlines 2-1-1 (County of Los Angeles) Countywide social services referrals and assistance (800) 339-6993 Free COVID-19 Testing (County of Los Angeles) Determine eligibility and schedule an appointment online COVID-19 Vaccines (County of Los Angeles) Get the latest facts about the vaccines and book your free vaccine appointment. (833) 540-0473 Business and Worker Disaster Help Center (County of Los Angeles) Counseling for businesses struggling to keep open and to workers who are uncertain of their next paycheck (833) 238-4450 Domestic Violence (LA County Department of Public Services) Domestic violence counseling and sheltering referrals (800) 978-3600

Mental Health (LA County Department of Mental Health) Mental health support, resources and referrals (800) 854-7771 Senior Assistance (State of California) Helps older Californians access grocery and medication delivery while staying at home (833) 544-2374 Temporary Delivery Program (County of Los Angeles) Free delivery service for seniors and adult dependents (888) 863-7411 Tenant Protections (County of Los Angeles) Learn about tenant rights and receive free legal services Welfare Checks (Temple Sheriff’s Station) Checks on the well-being of homebound seniors, the disabled and other vulnerable individuals (626) 285-7171

Friendship Line California (State of California) Emotional support for older Californians facing loneliness, isolation and anxiety (888) 670-1360

Visit for the latest updates.

City Hall Resource Sheet Animal Control (626) 286-1159 Business Banner Program Business Licenses (626) 656-7316 City Manager’s Update (626) 285-2171, ext. 4111 City Operator Available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for general inquiries (626) 285-2171 (dial "0" for operator)

Permits Building inquiries (626) 285-0488 Planning inquiries (626) 656-7316 Public Records (626) 285-2171 Public Works (626) 285-2171 (626) 285-7171 (after hours) Recreation & Senior Services (626) 579-0461 Street Sweeping & Trash Pickup (888) 336-6100

Graffiti Removal Hotline (800) 794-7384

For more information, please visit

City of Temple City 9701 Las Tunas Dr. Temple City, CA 91780

Presorted Standard U.S. Postage PAID San Gabriel, CA Permit No. 10016


Temple City

Farmers Market

Fresh and regionally sourced produce.

More info: (626) 422-1419 |

Sundays 8:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. Temple City Park

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