In the weeks following George Floyd’s killing, I have attended peaceful protests, read your emails and talked directly to many of you, and have felt the outpouring of concern and the calling for reform and accountability from every part of our city.
I hear you.
As a community, we must take concrete action so that the death of George Floyd is not in vain, but results in real and lasting change. We need change that not only improves law enforcement in Pasadena, but also addresses the larger racial, social, and economic inequalities in our Nation and in our community.
Policing is one of the most important and sensitive subjects in all municipalities as it involves public safety and the potential use of force, even deadly, against the very residents sought to be protected.
I hear your calls for more effective oversight of our Police Department, and I am calling for a citywide dialogue with our City Council so we can, as a community, discuss, deliberate, and decide on what effective oversight will be in our community.
In this watershed moment, while we critically review our approach to policing in Pasadena and work to improve oversight and accountability, we must not forget the many ways the women and men of our Police Department get things right and where our practices have improved.
We all watched in horror George Floyd’s struggle to breathe the day he was killed. I recall that it took more than two months for the video of the abhorrent killing of Ahmaud Arbery to surface. There are many other examples that demonstrate that our collective outrage must address not only the individual actions directly causing Mr. Floyd’s death, but also the bureaucratic layers that all too frequently keep from public scrutiny these individual improper acts.
I am also renewing my calls for a review of our budget priorities as a whole so that we can invest in community resources that build up our socio-economically marginalized neighborhoods. It is my firm belief that the best approach to “public safety” is a community that invests in the health, wellbeing and opportunities for its residents. As we look to better allocate limited City resources, we also should have thoughtful and open discussions about the need for improved transparency and accountability at every level of our local government. This will ensure that questionable or improper acts by anyone in city government will never be hidden from view.
I continue to believe that oversight is the responsibility of elected officials who are directly accountable to the people of Pasadena. While I remain open to the ideas and models brought forth by others, I strongly believe that we need an Independent Auditor/Inspector General office with oversight review powers not only over the Police Department, but also over our City Departments, city staff, and even the City Council. All should be subject to the same ethical standards and scrutiny. I know that we all have significant opinions, and I’m committed to listening to all of us across our city.
I know that with our community voices coming together, Pasadena can serve as a model for reform that holds its elected representatives accountable for improving, overseeing and ensuring there is accountability in Policing and all levels of City governance.
I am committed to working with every part of Pasadena to bring us together to achieve real and permanent trust and accountability in our city.