Candidates in hotly contested District 2 will meet at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Pasadena Public Library in a candidates forum.
Deputy planning director Tricia Keane, businessman Kevin Litwin, education administrator Bo Patatian and government finance consultant Felicia Williams are hoping to capture the seat being vacated by Councilmember Margaret McAustin.
District 2 includes central and eastern portions of the city, including East Colorado Boulevard between Wilson and Oak avenues, an area buzzing with residential development that has a strong Latino community and a burgeoning Armenian-American population. Over the past few years, the district has become a prime target for developers.
“I think we’re actually pretty lucky in Pasadena,” Keane said. “The City does a good job of delivering services and meeting basic needs. We do have an overall pretty good quality of life, but there is room to do more. I think while District 2 residents would agree that the issues facing the district aren’t necessarily different from the issues that face the city as a whole. People are very concerned about housing affordability and homelessness.”
McAustin announced in November that she was endorsing Keane. The endorsement raised some questions after McAustin announced she was supporting tonight’s forum. The City Attorney reviewed the forum and saw no issues.
“There’s absolutely no conflict of interest and I have expressed support for another candidate, but I’m certainly capable of holding an impartial forum and the forum will be moderated by the League of Women Voters,” McAustin said.
Litwin said he believes the city can continue to improve, especially in public safety. Litwin said the City is only spending 10 percent of its budget on public safety
“It’s about people wanting to feel safer,” Litwin said. “The City might be saying the town is getting safer, but the perception is not there,” Litwin said.
According to Patatian, city government has long been out of touch with community needs and local residents often find a wall between themselves and services and resources.
In 2004, Patatian was the victim of a drive-by shooting. Doctors were skeptical about his odds of survival. After he recovered he dedicated him to public service, according to his website.
Papatian is running on a S.A.F.E.R platform that calls for safe streets, accessible government, financial stability, education equity and revitalized neighborhoods.
“I understand the value of life itself, but also the importance of neighborhood safety,” Patatian told Pasadena Now. “That’s why the Council works hand in hand with our law enforcement and public safety agencies to tackle crime and they get the residents prepared for and ready for emergencies. It’s very important to me that we give law enforcement authorities and our safety services, all of the resources they need so that they can administer services in the 21st century with 21st century resources.”
Williams has been campaigning since April and announced her candidacy before McAustin announced her plans to step down to take care of her husband John, who is battling cancer.
“I look forward to seeing the District 2 constituents again,” Williams said. “After walking the district last year, I heard a lot of concerns about the big things, like homelessness, housing, and the environment. I also heard about the little things like potholes, trees, and coyotes that a Councilmember deals with on a daily basis. I am focused on collaborating with San Gabriel [Valley] cities on homelessness, which is a regional problem, and looking at ways to preserve our existing below-market housing along with adaptive reuse of buildings, like the YWCA. I have already started working to address our neighborhood issues and remain committed to being responsive and available to the constituents to address these issues.”