Two of three District 3 candidates faced gun charges in the 1990s
Two of four candidates hoping to fill the Pasadena City Council seat left vacant by recently elected Assemblyman Chris Holden were charged in the 1990s in separate gun-related incidents, the Weekly has learned.
John Kennedy, currently a Los Angeles Urban League executive, and Ishmael Trone, a member of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce board of directors, faced separate charges in two incidents in 1993 and 1997, respectively.
Along with Trone and Kennedy, the Rev. Nicholas Benson of Summit Evangelical Free Church of Pasadena has qualified for the March 5 municipal election ballot.
In other council races, incumbent District 5 Councilman Victor Gordo will be seeking a fourth four-year term against former US Marine and Pasadena Marathon organizer Israel Estrada, and District 7 Councilman Terry Tornek will seek a second term, running unopposed, according to City Clerk Mark Jomsky.
Kennedy refused to go into detail about his felony acquittal when contacted by the Weekly. “It happened almost 20 years ago. It was an unfortunate incident, and I was found not guilty of all the charges,” Kennedy said of the incident in which he stood trial after seriously wounding a man in what he described as an “accident.”
“What is important is I was exonerated and it happened 20 years ago and I have chosen to move on and do other positive things,” said Kennedy, brother of Lena Kennedy, a top fundraiser for the Obama campaign and a confidante of First Lady Michelle Obama.
Trone, meanwhile, told the Weekly he had been working for a bail bond company owned by his parents in 1997 when he tried to board a plane with a loaded 22-calibre pistol in his bag.
Trone said his Pasadena neighborhood was so dangerous he did not feel safe coming to work late at night without a gun. Running late for a conference, Trone said he forgot his gun was in his briefcase while trying to board a plane. He was later charged with misdemeanor possession of a concealed weapon, resulting in a fine.
“That’s what led to my civic involvement, dealing with crime around our business,” Trone said. “I didn’t feel safe for me or my family. My parents … had multiple confrontations and were held up several times. It was a dangerous situation coming to the office in this neighborhood in 1997.”
In 1987, Kennedy was the youngest person elected to head the Pasadena NAACP Branch. Trone, who has lived in Pasadena for 30 years, is a former chair of the Fair Oaks Project Area Committee (PAC). He’s also served as vice chair of the Community Development Committee. Benson is the former vice chair of the Northwest Commission and current president of the Ministerial Association.
There will be a runoff election on April 16 between the two top vote-getters for Holden’s former seat if none of the three candidates take 50 percent plus one vote of the ballots cast.
The council has voted to fill Holden’s position by appointing someone not running for his seat. The council will be taking applications until Dec. 27 and is expected to pick a temporary replacement for Holden in February.