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Most Mayoral Candidates See Benefits to Forums

Published on Friday, February 14, 2020 | 5:53 am

Incumbent Terry Tornek, District 5 City Councilman Victor Gordo, Jason Hardin and Major Williams will get one last bite at the apple at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the city’s oldest African American Baptist church when the Pasadena Community Coalition hosts the final mayoral forum at the Friendship Baptist Church, 80 W. Daytona St., Pasadena.

So far, there have been at least 10 candidate forums discussing everything from housing to police issues.

Despite the weekly candidate forums this election season most mayoral candidates said they did not think there were too many.

But Candidate Williams said he has appreciated speaking in front of the voters, but did not think forums best conveyed his leadership abilities.

“It is a disservice and not a platform that produces a real opportunity to earn votes,” Williams said. “It limits my full potential on expressing why I am the best candidate for Pasadena Mayor. In my opinion, it is an old traditional game, a part of an old traditional selection process that does not determine leadership or what one’s success in office would be.”

In the 2016 election season local organizations began holding forums to help voters decide who they should elect as the city’s second mayor in modern history.

“Frankly, I think there’ve been fewer candidate forums this time than there were when I ran last time,” said Mayor Terry Tornek, looking back. “I think anytime you expose the candidates to the public in person … people can make their own judgments. I think that’s a positive thing.”

“They’re very different because some of them are subject-related, some of them are neighborhood-related, and the sponsorship organizations obviously have an impact on the attendees. I don’t think there are too many.”

Other than Tornek, Hardin is the only other current candidate that ran in the 2016 election, too.

“They’re actually very useful,” Hardin said. “They’re useful for the candidates and they’re useful for the public itself. We get to understand what public concerns are, what people are really willing to rally against and rally for, but they also get understand the people that they’re voting for. So I think it works both ways.”

Along with the mayor’s race, candidates in district 2, 4 and 6 have addressed the candidates at forums similar to the ones mentioned by Tornek.

Tornek and Gordo did say they would like to see organizations coordinate better, but acknowledged the lack of a “clearinghouse.”

“The challenge is always to share information with the electorate and not keep the electorate away from their family and other interests,” Gordo told Pasadena Now. “That’s tough to do when there are three city council races and the mayoral race. I believe that every opportunity for the public to hear from candidates for local office is important that includes forums, but for both the benefit of the candidates and the benefit of the public, it would be helpful to have a bit more coordination between the various groups.”

The forums will conclude at 6 p.m. on Feb. 29 at Mission Gathering Church, 789 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena. Incumbent Gene Masuda is facing challenges from Char Bland, Kevin Wheeler and Joe Baghdadlian.

So far the mayoral candidates are not scheduled to attend that event.

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