Greener pastures

Greener pastures

Holden heads north as council begins process to pick his replacement

By André Coleman 12/05/2012

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No sooner was former Pasadena City Councilman Chris Holden sworn into his recently won 41st Assembly District seat in Sacramento Monday than he was introducing legislation.


The 52-year-old Holden, who served on the City Council since 1987, submitted Assembly Bill 9 at 1 p.m. Monday — about one hour after he was sworn in and named the Assembly’s Democratic Majority Whip. 


Although details about AB 9 remain sketchy, it seeks to “provide a platform to develop, evaluate and negotiate economic development policy,” according to the bill’s text. 


Holden, who beat tea party-backed candidate Donna Lowe with 59 percent of the vote in the general election, spoke to the Weekly on Monday by phone as he was standing on the state Capitol steps waiting to be sworn in.


“I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time in the district and growing relationships,” Holden said.


Meanwhile, Pasadena officials will soon start the process of finding Holden’s replacement for the District 3 council seat he’s left behind.


According to the City Charter, the seat will remain empty until the council chooses his replacement, which must be done within 75 days. Pasadena City Clerk Mark Jomsky suggested the city use a model adopted by the city of Santa Ana.  


Under that process, the city would publish a notice of intention to fill the vacancy, and residents living in District 3 would have two weeks to apply for the position. Applicants would be interviewed by the council at a special meeting in January, with each applicant giving a three-minute presentation to the council and then responding to questions. The order of the presentations would be determined by a random draw of the applicants’ names.


Council members would then evaluate the candidates on a point system, with three points going to the top candidate, two points to the second choice and one point for the third choice. Jomsky would tabulate the ballots and announce the votes of each council member and the total scores. In the case of a tie, the council would vote again and each council member would make one choice between the tied candidates. 


Holden would not say if he is backing any potential candidates for his old job.


“It’s really up to the council to figure that out,” he said. “There are so many issues that spring up. They need someone who is effective, even if is just on an interim basis. I hope they get a good person who knows the district and can hit the ground running. I am hopeful it will be done in a facilitative way.”


The 44th Assembly District, represented by Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, was renumbered as the 41st District after being redrawn by a special commission to include communities east of Pasadena, such as Upland, Rancho Cucamonga and Claremont, and exclude Portantino’s hometown of La Cañada Flintridge, meaning Portantino could not run for the renumbered seat.


Holden said his first priority was to visit cities to the east that he did not know very well and meet with elected officials in those areas. 


“I want to learn the specific challenges, come up with ideas and help fix the problems,” Holden said. “I see myself as a local official who happens to be serving in Sacramento.”


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