2022. We made it! And frankly, I’m counting that as a victory.
If you’re anything like me, the last two years have left much to be desired to say the least. Like many readers, we collectively continue to live in the shadows of the coronavirus pandemic. Whether working from home or not working at all, testing positive or negative, losing family members and businesses, all of us are more than ready to greet 2022 with renewed energy and hope for the year and future. In 2004 and then 2006 and beyond, future President Barack Obama reintroduced us to the Audacity of Hope. The numerology meaning of 2022 is said to mean “hope is ahead.” I’m going to take that and run with it! My Belizean grandmother, Maria Rivera, who sadly passed away in January 2021 (rest in peace) from complications of the coronavirus always reminded us that “Time waits for no man.” So while we continue to live, here are a few things I’m looking forward to in 2022 from our Pasadena/Altadena community:
Eradication of the Coronavirus Pandemic: While it looks like the virus itself is not going anywhere, infection and death rates have gone down with various treatment options. Yet, we all must do our part. The recent increase in Omicron variant cases proves this point. The creation of the vaccine for adults and children has saved lives. Is it perfect? No, but scientific evidence demonstrates that it is the best tool we have to eradicate its impact on our health and economy. We may never go back to pre-2020 “normal” but we can help to create our best possible future by following CDC guidelines of masking and social distancing, especially if you make the decision to remain unvaccinated. I encourage everyone to use all the credible information out there at your disposal to make an informed decision and get vaccinated. Thank you to Pasadena and LA County Public Health Department staff, doctors, nurses, essential workers, teachers and educators, and everyone who is doing their best to keep us all healthy and alive! I have been working with my employer, the California Black Women’s Collective, and others to educate and locate resources for those impacted most, especially my Black sisters and brothers who continue to be impacted with higher rates of infection and hospitalizations. To find a testing or vaccination site, go to https://www.cityofpasadena.net/public-health/covid-19-vaccine/ or https://myturn.ca.gov/.
Continued Work of the Community Police Oversight Committee: Like all of us as humans, the creation of this important citizen led body has been less than perfect. However, it is a start. The City Council has selected knowledgeable and experienced members of our community to forge forward in this work. The Commission recently adopted its work plan through June 2022 and is expected to meet next in late January. I appreciate their efforts to increase transparency for their work and look forward to seeing how it will positively impact community-police relations. I also hope they are consulted for input as the city embarks on its search (we don’t have to look far) for our next Police Chief. You can follow the work of the Commision with current and past agendas as well as approved minutes at https://www.cityofpasadena.net/commissions/community-police-oversight-commission/.
Assemblymember Chris Holden Appointed as Chair of Appropriations Committee: Earlier this week, our friend, colleague, and leader Chris Holden was appointed by Speaker Anthony Rendon as Chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee. His appointment comes after a vacancy left by the departure of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. His appointment will elevate Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley as a clear leader in state politics and paves the way for him and the entire committee to make key prioritized funding decisions for legislation statewide. Congratulations Chris!
Leadership at Pasadena City Hall: 2021 brought the retirements of several key administrators I had the pleasure of working with while elected. Notably former City Manager Steve Mermell, Police Chief John Perez, Assistant City Manager Julie Gutierrez, and Water and Power General Manager Gurchawan Bawa. While it appears “something must be happening,” in actuality, many of them have served close to 30 years. Essentially, it was their time. That leaves us with an opportunity for major changes in leadership and possibly, policies. Change is good and while it has the potential to shake us, in the spirit of hope and active faith, let’s pray that community voices are heard and respected, and the best qualified candidates are selected for those who will serve in those roles. The community is watching.
Jacque Robinson-Baisley is a former Pasadena City Councilmember. This article originally appeared in the Pasadena/San Gabriel Valley Journal and has been reprinted with permission from the author.