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Lena Kennedy Addresses City Council on Monday

Published on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 | 6:20 am

Flowers and a portrait of the late Pasadena Councilmember John J. Kennedy took his place at the dais Monday as remembrances about him by were delivered his sister, Lena Kennedy. In the background, City Attorney Michele Bagneris listens. [Enhanced screenshot / KPAS]
Fallen City Councilmember John Kennedy’s sister Lena Kennedy addressed the Pasadena City Council on Monday.

John Kennedy died on July 21. 

A public celebration of Kennedy’s life is scheduled for Sept. 30 in front of City Hall.

“As we continue to reel with the loss of our friend and colleague John Kennedy, we wanted to offer Lena, John’s beloved sister, an opportunity to join us and speak to the community,” Mayor Victor Gordo said.

Lena Kennedy focused on John’s relationship with his colleagues and city staff. 

“I greet you with a heavy heart,” Lena Kennedy said.

“Somedays it feels broken.”  

Lena Kennedy said her brother respected the Mayor despite occasional differences between the two and thanked him for being at the hospital with her family. 

Lena Kennedy addressed each Councilmember and shared the things about them that impacted her brother, including Steve Madison’s intellect, Gene Masuda’s shared understanding of suffering among minorities, Jess Rivas’ community work and her ability to balance council and family responsibilities.

According to Lena Kennedy, John worked with Felicia Williams as a peer and respected her for her support and friendship. He also enjoyed getting to know Andy Wilson and the Vice-Mayor’s tech background.

Lena said that her brother viewed Tyron Hampton as family. 

“John viewed you as a younger brother, Councilman Hampton and John wanted you to thrive and succeed,” Lena Kennedy said.

Hampton said Kennedy’s work would not stop.

“I think about your brother all the time,” Hampton said.

Last week, Kennedy’s nephews Chris Morey and Jonathan Kennedy opened the meeting by leading the council in the pledge of allegiance at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Councilmembers honored Kennedy for his dedication to the city and his unyielding fight for equality for all residents of Pasadena. 

“One of the greatest honors in his life was serving in his hometown as a councilmember,” Lena Kennedy said on Monday. “He dedicated himself to constituent service.”  

Kennedy’s photo along with flowers were placed at his seat at the dias. The City Council adjourned in his honor at the end of the meeting.

Kennedy was re-elected to another four year term in June. 

The City Council has already begun the process to appoint a new representative in District 3. According to the City’s Charter, the City Council has 75 days to appoint a new District 3 Councilmember, which means the appointee must be in place by early October. 

That appointed Councilmember will serve out the remainder of Kennedy’s term which ends in December.

It is not known if the City Council will have to vote a second time cover Kennedy’s reelection. 

According to the City Charter, the appointee will serve until the next General Municipal Election in 2024.

First elected in 2013, Councilmember Kennedy proudly and tirelessly served Pasadena’s District 3. During his tenure on City Council, he chaired the Public Safety Committee, served on the Finance Committee, and was one of three City representatives to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. He served on a variety of local boards — including the Community Health Alliance of Pasadena, the Pasadena Police Foundation, and the Toni Bradley Legacy Foundation at UCLA. He served on the University of Notre Dame, School of Architecture’s Commission on Equity. Diversity & Inclusion. He was an ardent supporter of affordable housing, livable wages, and local hiring. 

In 2014, Pasadena’s Mayor asked Councilmember Kennedy to lead a Sister Cities delegation to China and Taiwan on his behalf. Such an assignment was familiar and welcomed as Council member Kennedy had been a People-to-People Student Ambassador to several cities in Europe and participated in goodwill missions to a number of countries in Africa. Several years ago, he led a delegation from Pasadena to Dakar-Plateau. Senegal, which is now Pasadena’s newest Sister City.

“As you know John would always say ‘One Pasadena,’” Lena Kennedy said.

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