Opinion | Letter From District 5 Neighbors

Published : Saturday, March 4, 2017 | 3:47 PM

At a recent candidate forum, Pasadena Council District 5 challenger Krystal Padley said more than she realized while attacking her opponent, Councilman Victor Gordo, over the mood of the immigrant community in the district.

People are afraid when I come to the door, she said, because they think I’m a social worker or caseworker.

Of course they are afraid, Ms. Padley. They don’t know you.

The fact is we’ve not met anybody that really does. Padley is a stranger to Pasadena with no history of service in the district she so desperately wants to represent.

Padley lists her occupation as a writer and editor. But a Google search turns up nothing she’s authored except a 2015 Masters thesis for her creative writing degree from Sarah Lawrence College, in New York.

Which explains why her campaign seems to be an imaginative work of fiction.

Going door to door, she tells people her children are “fourth-generation Pasadena residents.” That’s a creative misdirection, intended to deceive voters into believing she has deep roots in the city.

Well, her children do – through their father, whose grandparents have lived here. But Padley herself grew up in Orange County, probably the reason her campaign literature has a 714 phone number on it.

In fact, records show that Padley moved to Pasadena just 14 months ago and registered to vote two months later. She has never voted in a Pasadena municipal election and, except a selfie-stop during the campaign, we are not aware that she has ever attended a City Council meeting.

Community involvement? As her own website makes clear, it has amounted to taking her kids to the local park and for evening strolls around the Neighborhood.

Then there is Padley’s claim of running a “grassroots campaign.” This, too, is a misnomer. A better word is “underfunded.”

As for whatever roots she has put down since unpacking, they lead to some pretty strange places.

She has received checks from the City of Philadelphia’s Chief Data Officer, a writer in New York City, a landscaper from Brooklyn and a Seattle marketing consultant (apparently is her brother-in-law).

Her biggest backer lives in Sierra Madre: attorney Dale Gronemeier, who has given $5,500 — almost a third of Padley’s total.

Gronemeier is no friend of Pasadena. With offices in Eagle Rock, Gronemeier and his partner have made a cottage industry out of suing the city’s Police Department. And a good business it has been: in one case, Gronemeier stood to reap nearly $130,000 in attorney’s fees, filings showed.

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out why Gronemeier would love to take down Gordo, who is among the department’s staunchest defenders.

Padley’s “grassroots” also include Gronemeier clients Caltech physics professor Sandra M. Troian and her husband, Peter Thompson. Together, they have given $4,000.

You may remember Troian from the big splash she made suing her employer for allegedly permitting an alleged Israeli spy to work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Caltech rejected the allegation as ridiculous, adding that Troian herself once listed her cat as an author of a published abstract.

Another “grassroots” benefactor is Robert Wycoff ($2,000), listed on Padley’s campaign statements as a “retired engineer.”

That’s overly modest. Wycoff is actually the former President and Chief Operating Officer of Arco, the multi-national oil giant. He is also the grandfather of Padley’s husband – hence the “fourth-generation” claim.

Padley’s creative writing continues. Just this month, she tweeted about the “staggering” amount of money Councilman Victor Gordo has raised — “almost $100,000 against our grass roots campaign.”

Fact check: The amount is $78,189. And although it isn’t $100,000, it is impressive.

It’s also what happens when you’ve lived in the district for 43 years and served constituents tirelessly — getting rid of liquor stores, blocking intrusive development, saving historic structures and putting up stop signs.

It’s what happens when, as President of the Rose Bowl Operating Committee, you oversee a multi-million dollar renovation that turns a municipal money-loser into a vibrant money-maker.

It’s what happens when people know you, Krystal.

And if they don’t — especially if you’re asking for their vote — they will be afraid.

Bijan Keyghobad
Melissa Garcia & Jon Breeden
Chiara Tellini
Gretchen Palmer

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