Pasadena Now reporter Rachel Young sat down with Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard to ask him his thoughts about being Mayor for one of America’s best-known small cities.
Pasadena Now:Â How would you describe yourself?
Mayor Bill Bogaard: Cautious but committed.
Pasadena Now: What significant events have happened while you have served as Mayor?
Mayor Bill Bogaard: Weâ€™ve done three major infrastructure projects that stand out. One is the seismic restoration and renovation of City Hall. One is the expansion of the Convention Center and one is the renovation of the Rose Bowl. Â I am proud of those and happy that those efforts which are significant will give benefit to the community for decades into the future.
Iâ€™d like to think that in Pasadena, in modern times, weâ€™ve been more successful than many cities in offering an environment of respect and allowance for differences and an acceptance of diversity that other communities donâ€™t have, to the extent that I have been able by the way in which I have dealt with controversies or demographic change in the community, and to the extent that Iâ€™ve been able to contribute to that community perspective that appreciates diversity and tolerates differences. If thatâ€™s true, I would be very proud of that.
To me, itâ€™s very important that Pasadena continue its commitment to diversity and to the acceptance of people from all backgrounds and viewpoints. It makes for a stimulating city and enriching city that many other cities canâ€™t measure out to.
Pasadena Now: Of your 14 years as Â Mayor and your previous term on the City Council in 1984, what has been your favorite year as an elected city official?
Mayor Bill Bogaard: I would say that out of the 14 years that I have served as Pasadenaâ€™s directly elected mayor, perhaps the first year was the most interesting because this position was a new position after the newspapers reported nearly 90 years of a tradition where mayors were selected by the council and serve for a period of two years. Then the system was changed and there was a lot of interest and curiosity in the part of the public as to how this would work. There was a lot of uncertainty on my part as to how to make it work.
Pasadena Now: What has been your biggest impact on city and cityâ€™s biggest impact on you?
Mayor Bill Bogaard: In terms of impact on me, I would say that working as I have as Mayor, Iâ€™ve come to realize what an important [occupation it is to be involved in] activities underway in creating a community, creating a quality of life for tens of thousands of people, supporting a city staff of capable and hard-working individuals who want to provide that service. Iâ€™ve obviously been drawn into a great sense of the importance of urban living and community development. I appreciate all thatâ€™s involved in that process in running and building a city in a way that I certainly never did and probably most people donâ€™t.
This question of what Iâ€™ve contributed to the city as I said, I take pride in the physical improvements, the City Hall and the Convention Center and the Rose Bowl, but I take maybe even more pride with the style with which the city government has conducted its business over the years with my contribution as well as the contribution of others on the council. We have a very strong council with thoughtful people who are willing to listen to others, to respect the views of others, and that has set a tone during the last 14 years that is different from what happened during the 1990â€™s when the city council was in a period with lots of controversy and lots of divisiveness.
It wasnâ€™t my intention to smooth out the operation of city government. When I came to office, I wanted to fill potholes and maybe build some buildings and plan for the future and assure public safety, both on the police side and on the fire side. But, the result of a strong council has been to provide a steady and respective operation of city hall which is different from before, and I think itâ€™s really appreciated. I think many people will think of the last 14 years as a period of thoughtful and respectful governance which has made everybody proud to be a Pasadenanâ€¦