Pasadena's 2020 City Council Election Takes Shape

Published : Wednesday, August 21, 2019 | 5:03 AM

[Updated] Three incumbents, including Mayor Terry Tornek, and four newcomers have said they intend to enter races for the City Council and the Mayor’s chair in the March election, while one incumbent announced she won’t rerun.

Per the Pasadena Charter seats in District 1, 2, 4 and 6 will be contested in the election, which now has been changed to coincide with local state elections to increase turnout.

But no matter who wins, the next Council will have to deal with some difficult issues, including skyrocketing housing costs that have led to calls for rent control and potential decisions out of Sacramento that could force the City to build more housing close to light rail stations.

In the Mayor’s race, Terry Tornek will square off against political newcomer Major Williams. Williams recently made headlines when he posted campaign materials disguised as parking tickets on cars.

“I will work to address our city’s challenges by focusing on people’s needs rather than a particular interest of outside entities,” Williams said on his website. “I am running for Mayor because I believe in our community and it’s potential if we all work together.”

Tornek can offer up no shortage of accomplishments since succeeding Bill Bogaard to become the city’s second elected mayor in modern times. Tornek led the city in establishing a miminum wage ordinance and a three-quarter cent sales tax increase that will benefit the fiscally struggling Pasadena Unified School District and raise $21 million annually.

In his announcement for reelection, Tornek also cited the defeat of the 710 freeway extension proposal and the revitalization of the Arroyo Seco.

“We have finally, decisively defeated the 710 freeway extension proposal, begun to revitalize the Arroyo Seco and continued to preserve and protect the quality of life in our
neighborhoods.”

In the only contested Council race so far, District 4 Councilman Gene Masuda will square off against Charlotte Bland.

Bland, a Commissioner representing District Four on the Commission on the Status of Women, she said she led efforts to produce and distribute a free public report that examined the quality of life of women living and working in the City of Pasadena.

Bland said she will “create a front porch community among District 4 residents where neighbors can share their concerns about growing development, environmental issues, public health and public safety and education. I want a safe place for neighbors to join forces to address these issues and find common ground and workable solutions.”

If Bland could pull off the upset, it would be the first upset of an incumbent since the city changed names, from the Board of City Directors to the City Council, in 1997 when former Mayor Bill Paparian defeated 12-year incumbent Jo Heckman.

Masuda, a strong supporter of public education, served as a board member of the Pasadena Educational Foundation, which raises money for the Pasadena Unified School District.

Masuda won a seat for the council in 2011 after then-incumbent Steve Haderlein stepped down. Recently he has led his district in opposition to the 550-unit Space Bank project which is being built on a former Navy torpedo testing site.

Masuda has also successfully advocated for pension reforms and halting mansionization.

In a statement announcing his intentions to run again, Masuda pointed to his record of “working to fight overdevelopment and traffic in order to maintain the character and beauty of residential neighborhoods.”

Besides Masuda, District 1 Councilman Tyron Hampton is the only other Council incumbent to declare his intentions to seek another term.

The Northwest district is home to the Rose Bowl, Brookside Park La Pintoresca Park and the district’s portion on Colorado Boulevard includes the Norton Simon Museum.

Hampton frequently walks his district and meets with residents. Hampton was instrumental in increasing cooperation between the city and the school district during his time as a school board member.

A lifelong resident of Pasadena, who graduated from John Muir High School in his district, Hampton currently sits on the council’s Public Safety Committee and the Economic Development and Technology (EDTECH) Committee.

He also sat on an ad hoc committee formed by Mayor Tornek to shore up plans to implement sales tax funds earmarked for the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD).

In District 2, the Council’s lone woman Councilmember has announced she will not seek a fourth term in order to spend more time with her husband John who is battling cancer.

McAustin served as a city planning commissioner from 1993 to 1997. In 1998, she was chosen to sit on the city’s Charter Reform Task Force, which recommended changes to the city charter that resulted in an elected mayor and an expanded school board.

Felicia Williams, who serves on the city’s Planning Commission has announced plans to run for the seat. Williams has already raised $35,000.

She serves on the Pasadena Educational Foundation and Pasadena Police Foundation Boards, and is also the Neighborhood Watch Block Captain for her street. In 2007 she was appointed to Pasadena’s Transportation Commission, and since then has served on the Environmental Commission, Pasadena Center Operating Company Board (convention center and visitor’s bureau), and Rose Bowl Operating Company Board.

In District 6, Councilman Steve Madison has not announced his intentions to run for reelection.

During his 19 years on the Council, Madison has championed neighborhood protection and the preservation of Pasadena’s high quality of life.

Madison was the first Councilmember to advocate for a General Plan Guiding Principle in support of public education. During his time on the Council, Madison has hosted district town hall meetings and community-wide forums on climate change, El Niño, growth and development in Pasadena, homelessness, the 710 freeway, alternatives to the 710 tunnel and public safety.

But although Madison that hasn’t stopped another resident from the affluent West Pasadena district to toss her hat in the ring.

Tamerlin Godley has officially filed a Statement of Organization with the California Secretary of State to begin her campaign for Pasadena City Council District 6.

Godley is a past President of the Armory Center for the Arts and a leader within the Pasadena Educational Foundation. She is also a partner in the Los Angeles based law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.

She has been recognized by California Lawyer as an Attorney of the Year, advising major studios, networks, recording companies and music publishers.

Born and raised in the Napa Valley, Tamerlin is a graduate of UCLA (English and Political Science), Cal State Northridge (Master’s in English) and USC (Law) and clerked for Federal Judge Harry L. Hupp. She is a former public school teacher and as an attorney she has been a leader in protecting public school funding.

“The role of government at every level is to make your life better,” Godley says on her website. “You should not have to notice it or worry about it. Day in and day out, government should take care of the tasks entrusted to its care with high competency, fiscal responsibility, and no drama.”

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