Weekend Block Party Mixed Fun with Information

Assemblymember Chris Holden [back row, center] seen with staff aidesRobin Salzer, Georgia Holloway and Police Chief Phillip SanchezPasadena Humane Society - Allison and RoxieMusician in Ancient Grooves group, provided by MUSE IQUEElizabeth Bowman, asst. manager and Joseph Shuldiner, manager of Altadena Farmers MarketPasadena firefighters grilled their famous hot dogsAmanda, Scotty and Marlin MillerArmory Center for the Arts\' Robert Hilton helped kids make clay bugsClassic Cars on displayDeborah Sanchez with Pasadena firefighters


5:30 pm | August 3, 2013

More than 40 organizations and civic agencies turned out for Chris Holden’s 14th annual block party on Jackson Street on Saturday.

For Holden, this event marked a transition between the localized block party he hosted as a the councilmember for Pasadena’s 3rd District, and an opportunity to bring county and state organizations on board in his new role as state assemblymember representing the 41st District.

With so many cities in the 41st District, which stretches from the Arroyo to Rancho Cucamonga, Holden said, “I wanted to create an opportunity to bring communities of all those cities together.”

He commented that organizations from San Dimas, Altadena and Monrovia were present, and more cities to the east will be added in upcoming years.

“At the end of the day, my desire is to provide information to link the state agencies to the community,” he said. In contrast to town hall meetings to pass information, he said, “I thought, let’s try this in the context of family, food and entertainment.”

Free food—hot dogs grilled by Pasadena firefighters and free lemonade provided by Robin’s Wood Fire BBQ—was an attraction, along children’s activities, classic cars, and plenty of booths with information and swag. As Holden’s colleague, 49th District Assemblymember Ed Chao observed, “You know how to throw a party, Chris, and this is a real party.”

The diversity of the greater Pasadena area was represented, from JPL’s close-to-scale inflatable of the Mars Science Lab Curiosity to an inflatable dragon slide for the kids. The Pasadena Humane Society walked a few adoptable dogs along the street, and another booth touted the fun to be had at the San Dimas Rodeo.

Altadena Farmers Market promoted locally grown produce and the Market Match program, which doubles the value of CalFresh, WIC, SSI and SSDI cards up to $10. At nearby table, Linda Hess, president and founder of Urban Harvester, explained how her organization acts “like a food dating service” to match restaurants, groceries, caterers and other food providers with non-profits that feed the hungry. Both organizations work with Hunger Action Los Angeles.

Holden talked to us about moving from local to state government. “It’s been a smooth transition, because of what I learned in local government,” he said, which helped him to hit the ground running in Sacramento. The freshman assemblymember has already attained the position of majority whip.

The difference is the distance from his constituency. As a councilmember, he would speak directly with the people he governed. In Sacramento, he speaks to people who represent their interests. “I have a good team of people on staff,” he said of his field representatives. He spends time in the district and attends events, and he plans to hold town hall meetings in various communities “to let people know I’m listening.”