Earlier this week, Pasadena Now asked incumbent Mayor Terry Tornek and challengers Victor Gordo, Jason Hardin and Major Williams to submit candidate statements to the voters two weeks before local voters make their voices heard on March 3 at the ballot box.
Perhaps the biggest issue the city faces comes in the form of an affordable housing crisis. Skyrocketing rents across the region, and state, have impacted homelessness local schools and zoning laws.
Steadily increasing rents have forced some families to move east where housing is more affordable. Housing costs have also contributed to declining enrollment in the school district and forced the local school board to close multiple schools and led to calls from some for rent control, a discussion that only reached the City Council after local residents called for a stop-gap ordinance when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law limiting rent increases.
As the city struggles through affordable housing, elected officials in Sacramento continue to attempt to pass more housing laws that could override zoning laws and lessen public input on developments.
Other local challenges could include immigration, oversight of local policing, local hiring and diversity.
In order to win the election, a candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote. If no candidate reaches that threshold, the candidates will face off in a November runoff.
I believe the job of the mayor of Pasadena is to have his or her finger on the pulse of every part of this city and then work with members of the City Council and city staff to solve neighborhood issues and complex city-wide issues. I don’t see that happening from the mayor’s office today.
We need to get back to working together, to address issues of homelessness, overdevelopment, traffic and public safety. I’m very concerned about the overdevelopment in the traffic in our city and I have been for quite some time. It feels like developers have the upper hand over regular, everyday Pasadena residents and that’s wrong.
I commit to the people of Pasadena and to my colleagues on the City Council that we will get back to working together as a city to address important issues in our neighborhoods. I believe I’m best positioned to do that. I’ve worked with people in East Pasadena, West Pasadena, Southwest Pasadena, Northwest Pasadena, and I’m humbled by the expression of trust and support that I received in this campaign. And I submit to all residents that I will work hard to have my finger on the pulse of their neighborhood and work to address — to work to ensure the city listens and is responsive to the needs of every resident and every neighborhood in history.
I’m running for the people of Pasadena. I’m not running to represent the city of Pasadena. I believe that is the City Attorney’s job and the City Manager represents the city as an entity and as a corporation, but it’s our job to represent the best interest of the people of Pasadena. I think there is a disconnect between leadership and the common folks here in our city. So I come to represent the people of Pasadena.
Over the past five years, I think that I’ve lived up to making progress on all the elements I campaigned on last time in terms of making the city financially strong, supporting the PUSD, preserving the neighborhoods while accommodating appropriate growth, protecting the environment and developing new parks and the Arroyo.
But there’s a lot that remains to be done. I’ve been walking for nine months. I’ve been listening to what people have to say, some of the concerns are the same in terms of wanting to support the public schools and in terms of dealing with the homelessness and building affordable housing while still protecting the neighborhood.
So I have a vision that’s based on what I’ve heard from the people that says that Pasadena can maintain itself as a diverse community. Diverse in terms of housing, diverse in terms of lifestyle, diverse in terms of population, but at the same time can accommodate the kind of growth that we need to support while still preserving the essence of what makes Pasadena a terrific place. I’m asking for people’s support, to give me a chance to continue to work on all of these issues.
As I have campaigned for over a year listening to my community, I am more driven to deliver real value and economic empowerment to our citizens. Running against an incumbent and a 19-year councilmember who claim to be knowledgeable on the issues versus providing practical solutions for them continues to affirm why I am running for mayor.
During my first 100 days, I will introduce financial literacy, wealth creation, and credit repair programs at the Robinson Recreation Center to show support for our economically underserved community. I will present an amendment to Measure I & J, which would repurpose $21M generated annually and allocate $1M dollars from those funds per year for the next four years. Those funds will be used for specific economic hardships within our communities and our families in need.
I will present a real-time digital dashboard that will display the city budget and the allocation of funds. So, for the first time in history, Pasadena officials can champion real transparency or continue to kick the can down the road, so to speak, as if what I am proposing isn’t possible. Lastly, I will introduce a transportation plan that would consist of an innovative way of traveling around our city. I plan to develop motorized walkway paths throughout Pasadena. It will get people out of their cars, reduce pedestrian and bike accidents and fatalities, all while decreasing the toxic emissions in our environment.
Accountability will be the theme of my Mayoral administration. My legacy as Mayor will be that my administration focused heavily on affordable housing versus luxury apartments and for the first time in Pasadena’s history, there will be a leader in the Mayor’s office who relates to Districts 1 through 7.
I am the only candidate that has a track record of empowering people from a socioeconomic perspective, and moving forward, that’s the brand of leadership our city deserves versus holding onto the status quo officials who seemingly will never pass the torch in support of the next generation. “It is time to think major about our future.”