Mayoral Candidate Jason Hardin may have summed things up best at Tuesdays’ affordable housing candidate forum.
“People ask me why I’m running all the time,” Hardin said. “I tell them, if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu.”
Hardin is squaring off against Major Williams, Victor Gordo and incumbent Mayor Terry Tornek.
The event was held by the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group.
The event was also attended by District 2 candidates Felicia Williams, Tricia Keane and Kevin Litwin, District 4 candidates Charlotte Bland and incumbent Gene Masuda, and District 6 candidates Ryan Bell, Tamerlin Godley and incumbent Steve Madison.
Officials in Pasadena are combatting an affordable housing crisis, which has driven many residents east to the Inland Empire where housing is more affordable.
Topics included homelessness, accessory dwelling units, placing more affordable housing in Northwest Pasadena, gentrification and a project for the YWCA building.
Mayor Tornek and sitting Councilmembers Masuda, Madison and Gordo, who is running for Mayor, appealed to voters based on their record.
“I was there when we passed the inclusionary housing ordinance in 2001,” said Madison. “It was controversial and we thought we might face litigation.”
Each candidate was given a two-minute opening statement, a question and a closing statement.
Candidates were sent a set of questions before the forum.
“Pasadena created a strong ADU ordinance in 2017 that respected landmark districts and encouraged the use of ADUs as affordable housing through fee waivers in exchange for income restrictions. This ordinance was developed through a robust public process,” Felicia Williams said. “The State’s new ADU bills are an over-reach into our local planning process driven by our residents, and Pasadena should stand up for its residents and our thoughtful planning policies.”
Litwin expressed frustration with the current political situation.
“It’s like only one side has a voice,” he said.
In the mayoral race, Gordo pointed to several times that he has fought to save housing in the city.
“High-quality affordable housing should be available and accessible throughout the city in every district,” Gordo said. “five of the last seven new affordable housing projects have been built in District 5.”
Tornek said the City needs to do more to combat homelessness.
Tornek has been canvassing voters for the past nine months asking residents about the issues that are important to them.
“Affordable housing and associated homelessness is one of the greatest problems facing Pasadena. We have made a real effort to address these issues, but we need to do more,” Tornek said in his written statement.