Election time is here and we are looking at a changing of the guard in Pasadena. We will have a new Mayor and a new representative for District 1. With numerous forums candidateâ€™s constant response was: when will I have time for another forum?
The Pasadena Community Coalition took note of this fact and on February 13, 2015 posed the following questions to the candidates for Mayor and City Council District 1. Four responded (Mayor): Jason Hardin, William (â€œBillâ€) Thompson, Don Morgan and Allen Shay. Two responded (District 1): German Acevedo and Pixie Boyden.
We did not get a response from Terry Tornek and Jacque Robinson did not respond to phone calls or emails.
We had not received the response from Brian Biery at the time of this article, we did not receive a response from Tyrone Hampton Jr. and Calvin Wells did not respond to phone calls or emails.
The Pasadena Community Coalition does not endorse individual candidates for office at any level. The information is provided to assist our community in identifying those individuals who have our best interest at heart!!!
The unedited responses are detailed below and can also be viewed on the Pasadena Community Coalition website: Google search Pasadena Community Coalition.
Martin A. Gordon, President – Pasadena Community Coalition
1. The unemployment rate among African Americans and other minorities is high in spite of the Pasadena First Hiring initiative and other local hiring initiatives both public and private. What would be you plan for jobs/increased employment of Pasadena residents in both the public and privates sector?
First, I would initiate a campaign to better educate local businesses and entrepreneurs on how to compete for city contracts as well as contracts involved with any new development in Pasadena. I will make certain that we improve and expand the outreach of our â€œPasadena First Buy Localâ€ initiative, to include greater participation from African American businesses and individuals. In addition, I will help Pasadena focus more on the creation and sustainability of locally-owned businesses. I am a firm believer in the vast personal and community benefits of entrepreneurship. I will establish and strengthen relationships with our many learning institutions and non-profit organizations, so that we can work together effectively to inspire and apply the imagination and innovative spirit of our city towards creating many new employment and career opportunities. I will also advocate for the expansion of Pasadena;s wonderful â€œSummer Roseâ€ program, so they can offer year-round employment opportunities to local students in addition to summer jobs.
There are two key actions that must be taken to address this issue. Pasadena must become a business friendly city. We have to work together â€“ citizens, City Hall, developers â€“ to retain existing businesses and go after businesses we want and need in our city. Iâ€™ve done this before â€“ e.g., the One Colorado project in Old Pasadena. I eyeballed citizens and developers to make this happen. Pasadena needs an Economic Development team to help businesses work through permitting and other requirements to stay and/or locate here.
The other key action is education. Iâ€™m working to improve public education. I serve as an elected Trustee at Pasadena City College and as President of the Pasadena Educational Foundation. This background gives me the current experience with public education and relationships to work with PUSD to give every child in Pasadena a great education.
With improved education and job opportunities in Pasadena, we will be positioned to address the needs of our community and to promote local hiring more effectively and decrease unemployment of African Americans and other minorities and of all our citizens.
As mayor I would implement my small business initiative which would increase local hires and create livable wages.
I believe that the mayor plays an important role as the chief promoter of Pasadena. I intend to use that bully pulpit to bring new ideas and new businesses to our city â€“ with a particular emphasis on areas that suffer from higher rates of joblessness. We succeed as a city when all our residents succeed and we cannot afford to let any part â€“ whether geographic or demographic â€“ fall behind.
We know there is much City Hall can do to incentivize and facilitate more small businesses in all parts of Pasadena. The current climate makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to work in partnership with the city to get the doors open and hire locally. We need greater transparency of permitting requirements and fees, and streamlining of processes to make it easier for businesses to start.
The same need for more transparency and support for new small businesses should be applied to existing businesses who feel unsupported by city officials and policies. We must steward our relationships with existing businesses to ensure that they feel deeply connected to the community and are rewarded for helping to build a thriving community.
Lastly, Pasadena should be at the forefront of the innovation economy. With CALTECH, JPL, and Arts Center in our region, there is no reason for us not to be bringing to market many of the innovations originating in our city. These highly-skilled, high-paying jobs will offer bright Pasadena residents from all parts of our city the opportunity to live comfortably in our community.
At the same time, we need to be sure our workers are ready for the new jobs that come to Pasadena. That starts with education. Iâ€™ve already worked with non-profit groups and local schools to better align existing resources to meet the needs of every child in our city. Weâ€™re just getting started but Iâ€™m optimistic when I see examples like great local non-profit groups that provide college guidance counseling with schools that can no longer offer such services due to 30 years of budget cuts. We can do more to bring these outside resources into schools throughout our city. Strengthening our schools will strengthen the ability of local workers to obtain good-paying jobs.
2. Affordable Housing is a pressing issue in Pasadena. Many feel that the in lieu fee allowing developers to opt out of affordable housing on their projects is a thorn in the side of developing affordable housing. Would you be in favor of elimination of the in lieu fee? Either way what would be your plan to increase the much needed affordable housing in Pasadena?
First, I would eliminate in lieu fee and make the inclusion of affordable units mandatory in all new residential developments. Next, I would push for an additional surcharge of $2-$3 on every hotel stay and Rose Bowl Stadium ticket. The new revenue this will create can then be allocated towards preserving/creating affordable housing as well as towards the improvement of our public schools. I would also pursue the creation of a Housing Endowment And Regional Trust (HEART) of San Gabriel Valley, which will be a partnership comprised of city & county officials, business owners, and community members, dedicated towards attaining funds from the public and private sector to create loans for first-time buyers as well as for developers creating affordable homes for local employees.
The limited affordable housing available in Pasadena has an impact on many who work here. It would be extremely beneficial to have our public safety officers and other public employees live in Pasadena, and I am very much in favor of addressing this issue as a high priority and making more affordable housing available. Before determining whether the in lieu fee alternative should be eliminated, I will work with developers and our citizens to determine the best approach to enable more affordable housing to be created in Pasadena. I feel strongly that the role of government is to work with our citizens and all who will be effected by its action and reach agreement upon the approach to take, and then proceed to implement that approach.
The affordable housing crisis could be resolved by recovering funds from the insurance claim from the $6.4 million embezzlement that the city did not miss. This could provide a funding source for first time buyers, while committing to developers that will commit to affordable development projects.
I agree that we need to do much more to expand our supply of affordable housing. We have a population of 140,000 that balloons to 200,000 during the day â€“ meaning that about 60,000 Pasadena workers are coming to our city (largely by car) to work here. In addition to the negative environmental consequences of that many cars on the road, it speaks to the problem in our housing market that so many who work in Pasadena cannot afford to live here, including many public servants.
I was similarly dismayed to learn that only 8% of our police officers actually live in Pasadena; itâ€™s simply too expensive. Thatâ€™s wrong for many reasons, not least of which is because it weakens the ties between our officers and the neighborhoods they patrol. Iâ€™ll work to create workforce housing opportunities so police, nurses, firefighters and teachers can live in the city they serve. And we should look specifically at how we can help seniors who have lived in Pasadena for decades stay in the community they love. Iâ€™ve already worked with the city on shared housing to help seniors cut costs and I will continue to work on this issue in office.
On the larger issue of affordable housing â€“ I am not convinced repealing the in lieu of fee is a good idea in the absence of another method to help us expand affordable housing. I think that we need to look at a wide array of solutions but one step we should take immediately is to create a City Hall culture that embraces innovative partnership and a â€œcustomer serviceâ€ oriented approach. There are affordable housing developers in LA County who do not want to push forward on projects in Pasadena because of the problems theyâ€™ve faced working with City Hall in the past. We need to change that immediately and go get the best minds to work on solutions for our city.
When we are able to make progress structuring a more service-oriented city supporting development of mixed-income housing, then we can work more strategically with private builders like Heritage Housing Partners to use inclusionary fund to build great developments throughout Pasadena.
3. Gentrification is running rampant in communities across Pasadena and Altadena (both part of the PUSD). Some feel it is tearing apart the fabric of our close knit communities. Give us your thoughts on gentrification and specifically how we can use this phenomenon to better our communities and our schools.
I believe gentrification should be seen as a highly useful tool, if applied moderately and strategically. The fact is that some areas of our city are in desperate need of a massive overhaul that many current residents and businesses in the area are financially unable to implement. This is when outside influence and resources can become helpful and even welcomed in improving the appearance, safety, and economic development of an area. What we must try to do is help these outside entities integrate properly with existing communities through neighborhood hiring and other forms of community involvement. Itâ€™s important to ensure that these new businesses and residents aim to enhance life in a given community, not replace it.
Gentrification is an issue in Pasadena and this region. It can have a very positive effect of improving homes, housing values, and the stability and overall nature of the surrounding neighborhoods. It can also have a very positive effect on local schools as parents tend to enroll their children in the local school and become involved in its activities and are very supportive of the school. One excellent example of this in Pasadena is the historically significant Bungalow Heaven area. As I mentioned above (question # 1), I am actively involved with our public schools and will continue to work with PUSD to keep local schools open and make them attractive for parents to enroll their children. The downside of gentrification, of course, is that with increasing home values and prices, some citizens will be displaced, and this also is an issue that the City must address. I will have City staff work with the Council and all citizens to address this.
Through community pride initiative which is inclusive in my campaign.
I support two ideas that are often seen as at odds when it comes to the debate over gentrification â€“ but that I believe donâ€™t have to be at odds at all. First, neighborhoods benefit with the arrival of new retail opportunities and amenities. Most people I speak to like the idea of having better and more groceries, restaurants and shops in their area.
At the same time, however, I also understand that a family that has lived in a home for many years shouldnâ€™t be priced out. We can work to prevent that by enforcing protections for renters and at the same time, encouraging development that includes mixed income housing. A vibrant community should have space for high-, middle- and low-income residents and that mix should be part of the planning from the outset.
I also believe families may choose to stay rather than sell their homes and leave Pasadena when they believe there is a vibrant job market that will allow them to find meaningful work while living in the community they love.
4. Community oversight of the Pasadena Police Dept. has been an issue in Pasadena for many years. A coalition of community agencies has proposed a Police Auditor and/or other forms of oversight that will allow community accountability for police performance. Do you support the Police Auditor model? Do you support community oversight? Explain your position.
I support civilian oversight with periodic assistance provided by an Independent Police Auditor. I believe to ease racial tension, restore public trust in local law enforcement, and increase the accountability of our police officers, these extra set of eyes are highly needed. This creates a way for concerned community members to be directly involved in he assessment of our local law enforcement, thus both empowering and educating the community. This represents the good government, transparency, and progress that we as Pasadena, should be known for.
There have been incidents recently involving our police officers that must be addressed. I am fully supportive of complete transparency for our police department and for all City departments and agencies. I am in favor of an oversight committee that includes community representatives as well as our Police Department and City councilmembers.
Obviously community oversight is much better. The problem is twofold: (1) the politics that surround the community in charge of the oversight committee, and (2) the community not having the power to create change in the community itself and what impact it will actually have?
As someone who studies how to make governments more responsive for a living, and runs a business helping government and non-profit institutions implement best practices, I know that accountability, transparency and community involvement are key to improving services.
This is particularly true when it comes to policing. We have consistently seen that one of the most effective methods of both improving safety and improving trust between police and residents is community policing. True community policing is based on involving the community at a meaningful level.
Oversight from elected council members is very important and I donâ€™t want to downplay that role in providing accountability. But having members of the community be part of the process is essential. These residents have the firsthand knowledge that can improve oversight while giving police valuable insights about both the strengths and problems that face a neighborhood. Better information and improved personal relationships are absolutely critical to keeping all our residents safe.
There are many reasonable options to provide better civilian oversight and involvement. I would work with all the stakeholders, from police to community, to help build the system best for Pasadena. I would certainly include the options mentioned above but I would look at every best practice, along with the community, as we help craft the system most appropriate for our city. Whatever decision is made, should prioritize the importance of building connections between community and police to ensure productive conversations may occur.
5. 6.4 million dollars has slipped through the fingers of the City of Pasadena. Some city officials have been assigned culpability regarding the lack of oversight. But, the buck stops at the top. This happened under the current City Manager and Assistant City Managers leadership. As a new city councilperson/Mayor how will you handle the evaluation of this issue as it pertains to our top city paid leadership?
As a business owner, I have to say this is simply a matter of evaluating the performance record of those holding these positions. Then, as citizens and as a Council, we must ask ourselves if those that hold these positions have proven themselves qualified to keep them. Personally, within any organization, I believe it is the role of a new manager to identify and fix old problems. Though the span of the embezzlement began before our current City Manager was hired, it was his responsibility to discover and address the misappropriation. It also turns out that the majority of the amount misappropriated occurred after our current City Manager was hired, and that alone would be grounds for termination in virtually any industry. Personally, I believe that if Michael Beck could ask for the resignation of former Health Department Director, Eric Walsh, for what he said years ago in church, we should be more-than-willing to ask that Mr. Beck resign due to millions in taxpayer dollars lost as a direct result of his lack of quality performance.
The embezzlement is a tragedy that must be resolved publicly and steps taken to insure that nothing like this ever happens again. The City Council has Finance and Municipal Services Committee that are responsible for oversight of the Underground Utility Fund. Obviously, these Committees failed to do their job. While the City Manager and City staff have responsibilities for this failure, so do the Councilmembers on these Committees.
We need a complete public review of the $6.4 million embezzlement (A Lot of Taxpayersâ€™ Money!). I will have the State Controller audit all City operations (the City has 131 funds) to insure that there are no other unlawful or risky funds or procedures. The Public must know: (1) What happened? (2) How it happened? (3) Who was responsible? The public must have the certainty that this will NEVER happen again!
As to our top paid leadership, the 6.4 million dollars embezzlement was the result of the chair of the finance committee (Terry Tornek) who is charged with being the oversight for the financial stability of the city and the last defense for the protection of the residents of Pasadena. As mayor, I would insist that the chair of the finance committee have a sound understanding of oversight procedures and implement fundamental accounting practices that would safeguard and serve as an appropriate model to ensure the cityâ€™s financial stability.
Like many Pasadena residents, I was angry when I heard about this alleged fraud. It is absolutely appalling that this happened at all â€“ and that it happened for so long without being noticed is even more upsetting. Residents trust their public officials and public workers with their taxpayer dollars and the very least we can do is expect that those funds will be rigorously monitored and spent wisely.
First, we must hold the individuals involved responsible. But at the same time, we cannot ignore the systems or supervision that allowed this theft to occur and continue for a decade. We must have a thorough investigation into both how the fraud occurred and why it was not caught sooner. And those who had oversight responsibility â€“ from elected officials down, they must answer for that.
I also believe we need to use this opportunity to take a close look at how we both budget and spend taxpayer funds. The idea that someone could take millions of dollars essentially using Wite-Out is upsetting â€“ our systems have clearly not been kept up to date and Pasadena is a city where we should be a model for responsible, responsive government. Iâ€™ve written about my ideas for how we can improve city government in more detail here. www.Morgan2015.com/issues
I strongly believe that we need fresh perspective at City Hall to help bring the best ideas to Pasadena government â€“ and not get stalled in the old way of serving our residents.
6. Violence/gangs are a major problem and the proliferation of shootings. What is your plan to reduce violence in Pasadena?
First, I would heavily promote public participation in the programs provided by the Pasadena Vision 20/20 Initiative. As a graduate of two of its components, I can attest to the amazing improvements it has made in my life and our community. I also plan to strengthen the connection between resources and the many â€œat-riskâ€ gang-impacted individuals in our community that need them. We have to understand that we must address the real issues head on, and not just suppress the symptoms. As you can see, increased patrols and police presence has done very little to deter the ongoing shootings and other acts of violence in Pasadena. Next, I would create a campaign to encourage and inspire more young people from our most troubled neighborhoods to become more involved in business, education, and community. I will increase my motivational speaking to groups, classes, and schools to spread the message of what it takes to overcome extreme challenges and become happy, healthy, and productive members of society. As mayor, I will continue to be a strong advocate for mentor programs, youth internships, early entrepreneurship, student employment, volunteerism, and other extra-curricular activities that keep young people busy constructive, and out of trouble.
I have discussed this with the Police Chief, and this is an issue of great concern to him and our Police Department. There are a significant number of police officer vacancies due to budget restrains imposed by the City. The firefighters also have a significant number of vacancies, also due to budget constraints. This must be fixed immediately. The City must find the money in its budget to fill these vacancies. The vacancies and increased violence are causing serious morale issues within the department that are causing officers to consider leaving Pasadena. Public Safety is a key reason for the existence of local government, and we MUST insure that our police and firefighters have the people and all resources they need to do their jobs and protect our citizens.
Based on my initiative I would implement an entrepreneurial and vocational training for Pasadena youth, for summer employment and/or summer training for youth that are enrolled into the program and graduates. This would be achieved by incorporating small businesses and non-profit organizations.
I have worked for many years with the LAPD on their community policing model through my involvement with Urban Compass (a non-profit I Co-Founded). We work in partnership with Verbum Dei High School and 112th Street Elementary School to combat poverty and violence and make a difference in the lives of children in Watts.
That experience has taught me how important it is for police to have strong personal relationships with community groups and neighborhood residents. And Iâ€™ve also seen first hand how engagement with our young people can help give them a brighter future â€“ and keep them out of trouble. Summer jobs and after school programs can help us reduce violence today and years in the future.
7. The School/City Partnership has been in place for quite some time now. Its only clear program has been a million plus dollars for police in the schools, some say to create a pipeline to prison for our predominantly minority majority in the PUSD. What concrete goals would you propose for the Partnership that would allow us to evaluate its actual success?
The first goal that I would suggest, would be increasing the attendance of minority students. This ensures that the goal of the partnership is to keep kids in school and not in jails. On that same note, my next goal for the partnership, would be to lower the drop-out rate among minorities. The next goal I would use to evaluate the effectiveness of the Partnership, is to increase the number of graduates among minority students. Another concrete goal would be to increase the number of minority students that go on to college and/or pursue meaningful careers. These are some very fundamental and concrete goals that will undeniably represent the value of the current Partnership while identifying where improvements are needed.
The School/City Partnership has been helpful in certain respects, but it has not come up with an actual plan to address in a meaningful way the education challenges we face. As I mentioned previously, I serve as an elected Trustee at Pasadena City College (PCC) and President of the Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF). In these capacities, I am working with the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) to develop and improve educational opportunities for our children. Examples are the Pathways and Dual Enrollment programs that PCC has implemented with PUSD. The Pathways program enables PUSD students to enroll at PCC and in the classes need to graduate and/or transfer in two or three years, and Cal State Los Angeles guarantees these students admission as juniors. The Dual Enrollment programs enables PUSD student to receive credit at PUSD and PCC for classes taken while at PUSD, thus facilitating admission to PCC and graduation and/or transfer.
There is one additional step I will take as Mayor of Pasadena. I will work with our community to raise the necessary money privately to enable all children from underprivileged households to attend a pre-kindergarten program. The evidence clearly shows that the earlier children start learning, they are far more likely to be successful in school and in life.
As mayor, my focus would be on youth age 12-18 to enroll into the program that would introduce them to entrepreneurial, vocational training, civic engagement and create a pathway to college. This is based on partnerships with small businesses and non-profit organizations under the small business stabilization initiative.
I have worked with Collaborate PASadena to strengthen its efforts to put the resources of the city and area non-profits to work in city schools. By better coordinating our resources we can begin to make up for decades of cuts.
There are tangible areas where we can measure success â€“ graduation rates, truancy rates, number of students going on to some form of higher education. However, we have to be aware that there are other steps that should be looked throughout a childâ€™s education to help them start off on the best possible foot. Iâ€™m please Collaborate PASadena is currently doing outreach on how we can encourage families to be more involved in their childâ€™s education and how we can help students be socially, physically and emotionally healthy. These are harder goals to measure â€“ but just as necessary in achieving success.
8. Economic development in the Northwest is an important element to economic growth and prosperity in the Northwest. What would you do to move us forward on Lincoln Ave and Fair Oaks economic Development?
To improve economic development in the Northwest, we as a city must first show that we value our Fair Oaks and Lincoln corridors , just as we value our Playhouse District and Old Pasadena. The discussions of â€œComplete Streetsâ€, beautification, â€œwalkabilityâ€œ, population density, smart growth, and major developments, should extend far beyond Downtown Pasadena and into the Northwest neighborhoods. If we improve the look and feel of the Fair Oaks and Lincoln corridors, it would be much easier to create and sustain the new and existing businesses required for the economic growth of these areas. We also have to take advantage of the close proximity to our Rose Bowl Stadium, by promoting tourism in these areas. In order to accomplish this, we need to eliminate vacant lots and empty or unattractive storefronts. We have to increase the number of businesses that provide essential products and services, such as dry cleaners, clothing stores, and establishments that encourage fun safe social gatherings. The zoning of these areas have also created challenges and should be reassessed. Due to the hodgepodge of properties particularly along Lincoln, the neighborhood lacks an attractive identity that resonates in the minds of residents, let alone tourists. Working together, we can make these neighborhoods better.
Economic development in Pasadena is a critically important issue. There are far too many vacancies in NW Pasadena, South Lake Avenue, and East Colorado Blvd. As I stated above in response to Question # 1, we must work together and keep the businesses we have and go after businesses we want and need. I will work with the City Manager, staff and community to develop the necessary plans and approach to go after businesses and enable them to locate and stay in Pasadena.
Once again my focus will be the small business stabilization initiative that is a part of my mayoral initiative.
Economic development in these areas must begin with the recent success of a few businesses, and then build momentum to support opening additional new businesses in the area. I have worked with the Cities of Inglewood, Torrance, and Downey on similar efforts to drive a renaissance in the community. Some of adopted a Business Improvement District model, while others have not. Regardless of structure, progress in these areas can be enhanced by active partnership with a mayor who will be a visible advocate for business development throughout all of Pasadena.
9. We have often heard the term Pasadena’s tale of two cities! What would electing you do to help make the two ONE?
As mayor, I will be highly effective in bridging the economic and cultural gaps that tear our city apart. Even as a candidate, I have created valuable relationships amongst people in Pasadena, that may have never been established otherwise. I know what itâ€™s like to be homeless and live in poverty, and I also know what itâ€™s like to be a respected business owner that plays golf all day and gets invited to the most exclusive events. I am fortunate that the extremities of my experiences have given me the ability to relate and empathize with all people, regardless of background, ethnicity, age, or financial/social status, and this is the single most important characteristic required to successfully unify this great city of Pasadena. I truly believe that I have what it takes to help simultaneously uplift those in despair while evoking compassion among those who are privileged.
I will work to address the income differences and issues that exist in Pasadena. My work to improve public education and job opportunities discussed above will be key to my approach to this. If this question is intended to address the issue advocated for by the other candidates for Mayor of extending Pasadenaâ€™s present minimum ordinance, which applies only to employers contracting with
the City, to all employers in Pasadena, I do not support that. I strongly support all of our citizens receiving fair compensation for the work they do and increasing opportunities for earning higher incomes, but I do not support government expanding our existing ordinance to all employers. That will have extreme negative consequences for employers such as restaurant owners, forcing them to close down and leave for Glendale, Arcadia, or elsewhere. We cannot afford to have this happen.
By electing me, I am the only candidate that lived in 6 of the 7 districts with my business in the 7th district for over 30 years. With my 50 plus years of Pasadenaâ€™s life time experience, my 35 years as a business owner and my commitment and passion for the city, I will carry out the representation for all Pasadenaâ€™s residents to bridge the divide of the tale two cities.
Throughout this campaign, I have worked to reach out to every part of our city through community forums and events, teletownhalls, door-to-door canvassing, social media and any avenue at my disposal. As the mayor, I will continue this approach to make sure I can be a voice for the entire city.
I have also spent decades forming partnerships to help non-profits and local governments be more effective. I have worked extensively with the brightest minds in non-profits in LA County and I will work to bring those individuals to Pasadena to partner with City Hall and our own great community groups. Being able to bring people together allowed me to create a successful non-profit mentoring program in Nickerson Gardens/Watts and it will allow me to create new opportunities for neighborhoods in Pasadena.
The mayor must begin with a clear understanding that he/she represents all of Pasadena. The message must be delivered to all residents that we all succeed or fail together. Improvements in economic development, housing, and education will benefit all of our city.
10. What else would you like to tell us about you?
I am a local publisher and entrepreneur that knows how to overcome challenges and create opportunities for myself as well as for others. I created â€œThe DENA Magazineâ€, to showcase, promote, and recognize local talents, businesses, and achievements, in an effort to encourage the economic and social development of our community, particularly our underserved neighborhoods. I am part of Neighborhood Connectionsâ€™ Pasadena Neighborhood Leadership Institute and a recent graduate of the Vision 20/20 Community Violence Intervention/Prevention program. We were instrumental in bringing a volunteer-based early literacy program to Madison Elementary, in hopes of lowering the high percentage of children in our neighborhoods who arenâ€™t reading at grade level. Iâ€™m a mentor of Pasadena City Collegeâ€™s Ujima program and a frequent motivational speaker for local schools and organizations involving our cityâ€™s youth social development of our community, particularly our underserved neighborhoods. I am part of Neighborhood Connectionsâ€™ Pasadena Neighborhood Leadership Institute and a recent graduate of the Vision 20/20 Community Violence Intervention/Prevention program. We were instrumental in bringing a volunteer-based early literacy program to Madison Elementary, in hopes of lowering the high percentage of children in our neighborhoods who arenâ€™t reading at grade level. Iâ€™m a mentor of Pasadena City Collegeâ€™s Ujima program and a frequent motivational speaker for local schools and organizations involving our cityâ€™s youth. I volunteer everywhere from Reading Partners to Brookside Golf Club, and I love every moment of it. Iâ€™ve taught free entrepreneurship classes and showed people how to turn their interests into income. Iâ€™m also a sponsor of the City of Pasadenaâ€™s â€œPasadena Idolâ€ Teen Talent program and I instruct a Music Business class for the participants. When Iâ€™m not volunteering or managing my publication, you can find me donating management and branding services to local small businesses and worthy organizations.
Iâ€™ve had the honor of serving as the Mayor of Pasadena and representing District 7 on the City Council for sixteen years. In addition to serving as an elected Trustee at PCC and President of the Pasadena Educational Foundation, I am a member of the Board of the Pasadena Museum of History, member and past President of the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, and former member and President of the Rose Bowl Operating Company, among many civic activities in Pasadena. My website, www.electbillthomson.com provide more information about my background and civic involvement in Pasadena.
Professionally, I am an Intellectual Property attorney, specializing in litigation of Patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret matters. I litigate these cases in Court and jury trials and before the International Trade Commission.
My leadership style and temperament are quite similar to Bill Bogaard, The responsibilities of the Mayor are not like that of a Councilmember or any other position. The Mayor is the leader of the entire community, and must be able and willing to work with our citizens, including the City Manager, staff, and Councilmembers, to agree on what to do, how to do it, and work together to get it done. My record of civic involvement in Pasadena shows that I have the experience, trust, integrity, and leadership style and ability to work effectively with our citizens and get results.
Of the 6 mayoral candidates I am the only one who has a plan for the next era of Pasadena. I am the only candidate that has had the full Pasadena experience growing up here, living here and having my business here. Being a product of PUSD, being a part of the Pasadena business community, proving a pathway for numerous youth in their pursuit of higher education and I exemplify what Pasadena stands for, full transparency, respect and commitment.
I have 20 years of experience that no other candidate has that has prepared me to be the chief promoter of great policy and vision for Pasadena. I truly believe the mayor’s greatest opportunity to impact our community positively is to use the platform to shine a light on the best efforts in our city and attract attention and investment in our greatest opportunities. Thatâ€™s exactly the type of work Iâ€™ve done with nonprofits and as a professor of public policy at USC. My focus and work has always been directed at bringing residents, public and private organizations together so that collectively they may have a bigger impact than working alone. This is the only way we are going to make any progress in Pasadena on some of our more intractable issues like education, housing, or economic development.
Finally, my wife Whitney and I are raising four kids in Pasadena â€“ I feel lucky every day to be part of this community and I want to be mayor so I can help make Pasadena even better for my kids and all our kids.