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Guest Opinion | Delano Yarbrough: Why are Some Residents in District 3 Meeting?

Published on Friday, November 18, 2022 | 5:46 am

The meetings are not and have not been in support of or against any of the three candidates that applied to fill the once vacant District 3 Council position. 

Residents are concerned about the long-term dangers inherent if the process used in the recent appointment to fill the vacant District 3 vacancy goes unnoticed and is accepted:

  1. It conflicts with the City’s policy of district voting rather than city wide voting for Council positions.  Statements by several Council members regarding considering input from outside of District 3, we must be concerned about the entire city of Pasadena, etc., violates the reason for Pasadena changing from “city wide voting” to district voting. The change was specifically intended to allow residents in each District to elect their own representative, not only City Council, but School Board also.
  1. It demonstrates the use of a “shell like game” in that the residents were asked for their input regarding criteria to be used in the appointment process only to have it ignored by using Section 404(The Council shall “within 75days…appoint a qualified resident voter… A qualified resident voter is not defined and as such raises lots of questions.), as a shield to justify not listening the voices from District 3. No consideration was given to the reason Section 1201 of the Charter was amended in 1993 (Changing from city wide to district voting to enable each district to elect their own representative.)
  1. It disenfranchises residents in District 3 and allows potential violations of “The Voting Rights Act” Using input from residents in a district in decision-making relative to appointing a person to fill vacant council positions does not take away the Council authority to make the appointment. Does comment about “talking to a prominent citizen” indicate “social class” was a factor in the decision? One vote is no more important than another.
  1. It made more visible that in 2022 the City Charter requires vacancies on the City Council to be filled by “Lot” (Putting names of candidates in a hat, box, or some other container and pulling the name of the candidate to fill the vacant position), if no candidate gets five (5) Council Members’ votes. Is that OK with most of the citizens of Pasadena?  Does that meet the expectation level of the citizens in a city that is branded as being internationally visible with JPL, Cal Tech, TOR, Rose Bowl, etc.? 

An updated change in the City Charter will bring the process of appointing a person to fill vacancies on the City Council into the 21st Century.

Delano Yarbrough is a resident and voter in District 3. He was formerly President of the NAACP Pasadena Branch.

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