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South Pasadena voters elect 2, reject pay raises

Once again, the City Commission here will not get a raise. But this time around, there will be two new faces.

Joe Catalfamo, 71, and Dottie Wade, 56, emerged as winners in this year's commission election. Incumbent Cliff Donley was seeking a second term, but he placed fourth among the field of five candidates.

The referendum asked voters whether to raise the mayor's monthly salary to $550 from $375 and the commissioners' salaries to $450 from $275. In November also, the raise question was put to voters and 62 percent voted against it.

When asked whether she thinks the raise question will be posed to voters again, Mayor Barbara Gilberg said, "I doubt it. The question has been asked in the last four years about four times, and I think that's probably enough."

The new commissioners will replace Donley and Fred Held. Held did not run for re-election because he has served the maximum three consecutive terms.

Catalfamo, a retired federal government employee, had run for mayor in 1992 but lost. "I feel wonderful. The people have spoken," he said. "I'm going to do everything I can for the people of South Pasadena."

During the campaign, Catalfamo promised to reduce government size and regulation; make commissioners more responsive and put the interests of residents first; and find ways to more effectively meet the needs of older residents.

Wade, a real estate agent for Wade Realty in South Pasadena, had never run for the commission. "We ran a hard race and we won. I'm just flabbergasted," she said. "I want to thank all the voters who voted for me. I will not fail them."

Wade's platform included securing broader involvement of residents for a voice in government; obtaining better communication between businesses and City Hall; and providing better local transportation.

Commissioners serve three-year terms. They can serve three terms consecutively and run again after a break from office.