The City of South Pasadena was recognized today by the South Coast Air Quality Management District at its 29th annual Clean Air Awards. Hosted at the gorgeous historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown LA, the event honored outstanding achievements in air quality and sustainability over the past year. The City of South Pasadena was honored with the Model Community Achievement Award for its three-year development of the nation’s first AGZA Green Zone® City certification.

“on behalf of all my patients i want to thank everyone at aqmd … who are such responsible stewards of our corner of the planet. the private sector as well, represented by mr. dan mabe, ceo of the american green zone alliance … bringing the education to us, to our public works staff, to our community services department.”

— South Pasadena Councilmember Marina Khubesrian, M.D.


The Model Community Achievement Award is presented to an exceptional single program or comprehensive strategy that improves air quality and sustainability in a community. This award is intended to recognized collaborative / integrated efforts or programs involving the public, business, nonprofits, and government.


In September 2016, the City of South Pasadena capped a three-year effort towards achieving zero-emission operations in municipal landscaping care, earning official certification from the American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA) as the first “AGZA Green Zone®” City in the nation.

The achievement required collaboration among the City’s Community Services and Public Works Department staff, LandCare (the City’s contracted landscape management company), AGZA, and South Coast AQMD staff. Transitioning to all-electric equipment entailed getting buy-in from, and training of, over 25 landscape crew professionals, to successfully address initiate hesitations about potential operational impacts.

The City’s “AGZA Green Zone” certification recognizes 41 total acres of City property — including public parks, medians, and other public green spaces — where only zero-emission, electric-powered, low-noise maintenance equipment is used. AGZA estimates that the use of clean maintenance equipment will cut about 31 tons of pollutants annually.


South Pasadena Council-member Marina Khubesrian, M.D. accepted the City award and thanked South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti, the AQMD, and American Green Zone Alliance.

In addition to the Clean Air Award, South Pasadena received Certificates of Recognition from California State Senate and Assembly offices, and from US Congressman Ted Lieu.

“mayor michael cacciotti is a true champion of public health and clean air. he helped put this together with his leadership, tenacity, and understanding how these things get implemented. ”

— Councilmember Khubesrian


South Pasadena’s Community Services Director Sheila Pautsch (L), explains how the project scaled from a single park to the entire city.

AGZA’s founder and CEO Dan Mabe (C), discusses the critical crew training and ‘boots on the ground’ approach.

And South Pasadena Councilmember Dr. Marina Khubesrian (R ) elaborates on the substantial health benefits to workers, the community, and her patients.

“we started with one seven acre park that we changed over to all-electric. we found that it was an incredible reduction in noise and pollutants, so we moved on to the entire city.”

— South Pasadena Community Services Director Sheila Pautsch

“it all starts with our ‘boots on the ground’ approach. we get in there with the workers. we train them, educate them, and help facilitate the transition from gas to electric. we’re not just changing the equipment — we’re changing hearts, we’re changing minds, and we’re changing mentalities.”

— AGZA Founder and CEO Dan Mabe

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Dan Mabe is the founder and president of AGZA.

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