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Politics Pasadena Style

Politics Pasadena Style

Whichever city you choose, or can afford, to live in, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your local politicians and what’s going down in local politics.  Even if you don’t regularly vote.  For instance, they may have something planned for your neighborhood which you wished you had known!

Here in Pasadena, while  some of us may still be wishing each other a “Happy New Year!”, did you know we’ve already had an election. No, make that electionS! For city council, PUSD school board, and a NEW Mayor. It will be our first new Mayor, to replace the retiring Bill Bogaard, since last century – 1999 to be exact.

What elections?? True, it’s become The American Way to not vote, and, we are Americans.   Just one example: the most recent city of Los Angeles election brought in a big turnout of about 10% of the electorate. 

Here in civilized, cultured Pasadena we doubled that turnout with 20%.  Perhaps it helped to have plenty of candidate forums (NOT debates for sure) in the short span of about 2 months.  And, in case you missed them we’ll have more for the April elections!

And if that were the case – you blinked & missed the election forums – to whet your appetite for the next elections what follows will be a few scenes from some of the Mayoral candidate forums.  I attended about half the forums – Believe It or Not! – and came away with some unique observations beyond the simple Q & A you read in black N white in your newspaper.  The Pasadena Mayoral race had 6 candidates: Jason Hardin, Don Morgan, Vice-Mayor/Councilwoman Jacque Robinson, Allen Shay, Bill Thomson, and Councilman Terry Tornek. 


The Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association (DPNA) candidates forum (CF)

One of the early forums, held at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, so you can see it was a crowded field at the start of campaign season. Heck, I even see newly minted DPNA President Greg Gunther in this shot!




Much like with The Bachelor & The Bachelorette on ABC, voters longed for one on one face time with the candidates, such as these voters with Morgan &  Tornek

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These forums are for discovering & comparing where the candidates stand on some of the issues & questions affecting the paradise of Pasadena.  Still, with politicians we the people must often resort to more practical means to find where they truly stand.  In this case, in their infinite wisdom it looks like the DPNA was ready with plenty of Truth Serum    




Jacque Robinson appreciated the work of the DPNA & showed her support by posing with a piece of their professional produced marketing material. (I envy people with great, easy smiles Sad smile )

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The Pasadena Latino Coalition CF (PLC)

Held at the Pasadena Senior Center in Old Town Pasadena, the PLC was the largest, most comprehensive of the candidates forums.  A complete buffet of elections and candidates (even for uncontested 1 candidate races) was offered for your pleasure.


KNBC news journalist John Cadiz Klemack was the moderator. Here he gives his skeptical journalist look to candidates of the district 2,4,6 PUSD school board races. Btw, I spoke with each of these candidates & they won, of course



Pixie Boyden, ran for city council district 1.  She has 2 children in their 20s – Believe It or Not!  How that can be when she looks to be in the 20s herself is beyond my vivid imagination.   Maybe the voters thought she looked too young too since she failed to get enough votes

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Recently retired Pasadena Chief of Fire, Calvin Wells.  He’ll be in a run-off with PUSD board member Tyron Hampton in council district 1.  I first met him at a Tournament of Roses event a couple of years back. Look at him now

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Vice-Mayor Robinson showing her appreciation & support for forum organizer, Pasadena Latino Coalition

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The best dressed Mayoral candidate, DENA magazine publisher Jason Hardin




This forum offered cookies & coffee and, not surprisingly, attracted a full house




The Oak Knoll & Madison Heights Neighborhood Associations CF

The hoods of Oak Knoll & Madison Heights came together for one night to hold this Mayoral forum at Polytechnic School across from Cal Tech. 


Blair High School provided the food & drink.  The auditorium was packed.  Here’s Mayoral candidate Allen Shay showing his appreciation with the culinary teacher & her pupil




As I was munching on the culinary delights, the President of the OKNA sees me and says, “Oh, I’m glad you’re here with your camera! I forgot mine. Could you take some shots and send me a couple for our Oak Knoll NA newsletter?”  So, if you get the newsletter and see these event photos and if they look good – they’re mine!


The Mayoral candidates were lined up against the purple curtain




Mayoral candidate Bill Thomson, with his wonderfully supportive wife (a Realtor!), has a resume full of service to Pasadena.  I especially appreciate the time he’s donated to organizing the Veterans Day ceremony at City Hall





The Pasadena Faith Community CF

Some of the religious congregations in Pasadena came together to sponsor this Mayoral forum at Lake Avenue Congregational Church.


Moderated by a Pastor & Rabbi, this forum was also unique in the questions were asked by several persons covering topics from affordable housing, immigration, living wages, and safety. 




My view from the back pew

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The Pasadena Star News CF (PSN)

PSN, the long running local newspaper, led by their crime-fighting Chief – author/editor Frank Girardot – sponsored this Mayoral forum at McKinley public school. No refreshments , however, for those who answered the call to come out this weeknight.  The school hall was filled to about 3/4 capacity. 


Frankly, I think some of this crowd came mainly to see/meet Frank who in this somber scene plays doorman to insure none of the candidates leave before all his PSN questions are answered! 

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USC Professor Don Morgan offering the USC Victory & Fight-On! sign to probably a UCLA supporter




I don’t have many photos of councilman Tornek.  Mostly because I’m a disorganized photographer and it seems he’s one of the first candidates to exit after a forum is done.  Here a few lucky Pasadenan’s surround & pepper him with questions





The West Pasadena Residents Association CF (WPRA)

Held at the historic Vista del Arroyo Hotel aka Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals courthouse, this drew a packed house, ahem, courthouse.  It was standing & sitting room only




I don’t know what councilman Tornek was saying at this moment, but it looks like a tough crowd, tough crowd!

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On the left, Morgan was left behind at the polls, although I hope he runs for office again.  Meanwhile the voters thought Robinson, on the right, had the right stuff to get into next months run-off election.  The Vice-Mayor, the only female running in the otherwise all-male  candidate field, seemed to attract the ears of the women voters for some reason.  She’ll need most of their votes if she’s going to cross the promised land into the Pasadena Mayors chair




The outcome of these forums & elections?   You can find all the results at the Pasadena City website.  In council district 1 PUSD board member Tyron Hampton & retired Chief of Fire Calvin Wells will wrestle in a run-off next month.  In the Mayors race Robinson & Tornek will duel it out in the other run-off.  Links to information on the candidates direct from their horses mouth:


Facebook Tornek          Website Tornek

Robinson Facebook         Robinson Website

Hampton Facebook         Hampton Website

Facebook Wells        



There you have a slice of what you missed.   Much of what you read here you probably didn’t hear from other news sources!  If you’re a Pasadena voter the next opportunity to check out the candidates yourself is March 31 when the Pasadena Star News hosts the first forum between run-off Mayoral candidates, Vice-Mayor Jacque Robinson & councilman Terry Tornek.


PS: If you want to keep updated on Pasadena politics, here’s some smoky, backroom info: check out a Facebook page & group called,…ready? Pasadena Politics!  They’re co-moderated/administered by my wonderful Pasadena friend Jill, who I first met nearly 10 years back, and your humble scribe.  All the Mayoral candidates are members as well as some of the council & PUSD school board candidates.  We even have some characters on there who aren’t Pasadenan’s – and from out of state or out of the country, for who knows why.  We must be an attractive world class city.  Ok, I think that’s enough. Certainly it’s more than what I wanted to say!




Until the next round, Stay Thirsty My Friends!

Red rose

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