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Candidate Lamar Says It’s Time For a Tenant Voice on City Council

Published on Monday, April 25, 2022 | 5:00 am
Brandon Lamar

Pasadena Now sent local City Council candidates vying for seats in the June election several questions. The responses will be run as they come in.

In District Brandon Lamar is running to unseat incumbent John Kennedy.

Along with his position with the Human Relations Commission, Lamar is also a board member with the nonprofit Pasadenans Organizing for Progress, an executive board member with the Pasadena NAACP, and a member of Leadership Pasadena and Black Los Angeles Young Democrats.

Since his youth, Lamar has been involved in such programs as Pasadena Youth Ambassadors, the Pasadena Youth Council, the Pasadena Alpha Phi Alpha Mentoring Program, the Pasadena Vision 20/20 Initiative, and Day One Pasadena. He also assisted in starting the La Pintoresca Teen Center Program and the Pasadena Parks After Dark Program.

Pasadena Now:  What are the top issues facing your district?

Brandon Lamar:  Affordable housing, violence/crime,  public safety accountability

What do you bring to the City Council?

If elected to City Council, I will be the only one on the City Council that is a renter. No one on the City Council is a current renter but somehow makes decisions that affect the majority of Pasadena residents which is 62% renters. As an organizer, I am privileged to be able to engage with community members who typically wouldn’t attend commission or city council meetings. I plan to magnify the voices and concerns of the entire district to the city council. It’s important to meet people where they are and not wait for them to come where their officials are. Next, I will fight for accountability within our Police Department. As we have all seen the only one on our current city council that speaks for accountability every week is Tyron Hampton. Tyron cannot be the only one on every week seeking justice and accountability. Lastly, I’ll say that I would be the only one on City Council who has experience with Violence Intervention, Prevention, and interruption which I currently tackle every day as I do with child welfare in my career.

What is the most valuable quality the next City Manager must possess?

I think the most valuable quality that the next City Manager should have is transparency and community engagement. I believe that the City Manager that has the power to oversee every department should also have the ability to connect and engage with the community who utilize the services of these departments.

 The City Council will not choose the police chief, but how can the next chief reassure critics in light of the McClain shooting? 

I think ultimately the next chief should find ways to engage and build relationships with the community and especially in areas that have experienced trauma with our police department. When it comes to the Anthony McClain shooting, the community just wants the truth. I think that the next police chief should also look at the current policies and procedures and work with the City Manager and community on what that will look like.

Rents are at an all time high, how do we keep people in their homes?

First, I think that Pasadena needs rent control. Rent control will only allow landlords to be able to raise the rent at a lower percentage. We also must assure that the multifamily units are safe and up to code for families to live in. Next, I believe that we have to have more Long-Term Affordable Housing units in Pasadena for Low – Low Income, Low Income, and Medium income households. Most units that have been built or are being built now have short term limits and when the term is up, the unit goes back to market rate which means we are going to be in the same position. I would also like to see affordable housing to be built on unused churches and organizations’ land which we should make sure remain affordable.

If you could change anything in the City Charter what would it be?

I would allow affordable housing to be built in unused church and organization lands. Next, I would want to have a change in policies and procedures when it comes to our City Council holding our police officers accountable. I would also like to see a land trust initiative to be added to help individuals (renters) in Pasadena to become homeowners.

Why should local residents in your district give you their vote? 

I have a history of advocating and uplifting the voices of my community. I advocate for police reform, affordable housing, immigration rights, workers’ rights, and youth services. I will continue to magnify these voices in the district. I will be the only one on the City Council who is a renter, and I will continue to fight for the needs and rights of renters. I endeavor to knock on every door to connect with neighbors and hear all concerns and solutions. Lastly, I will fight for our officers to be held accountable while also building engagement with the community. I think it is important to add that no one on City Council can say that we have the Community Police Oversight Commission because of them. It was because of the voices and work of the community that voiced the needs and developed a plan for the Community Police Oversight Commission. I will continue to advocate for community-based solutions in City Council. I hope to earn your support and vote in this election.

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