Kennedy bests Trone in District 3 council race
By André Coleman 03/07/2013
Chris Holden, who served as the Pasadena City Council’s District 3 representative for nearly a quarter-century before being elected to the Assembly in November, came back to town last weekend to help Ishmael Trone, the candidate Holden had chosen to succeed him.
The visit, which involved Holden taking Trone, a local businessman, to the Pasadena Senior Center and having potential voters there fill out absentee ballots, came a few days prior to Tuesday’s election.
But the last-minute campaign push didn’t work.
In Tuesday’s balloting, John Kennedy, a former president of the NAACP Pasadena Branch and currently an executive with the Los Angeles Urban League, came out on top, avoiding an April runoff by taking 586, or 55.5 percent of the votes cast, according to election results compiled by the Pasadena City Clerk’s office.
In the other council races, District 7 incumbent Councilman Terry Tornek, who ran opposed, was re-elected to another four year term.
And in District 5, incumbent Councilman Victor Gordo was easily re-elected to a fourth term, defeating Pasadena Marathon director Israel Estrada, who had stopped campaigning in January. Gordo captured 816 votes, or 89.1 percent of the ballots cast Tuesday.
Even without campaigning, Estrada still won 99 votes, according to city ballot tallies.
But it was the District 3 race that most people were watching.
Along with Kennedy and Trone, a third candidate, the Rev. Nicholas Benson, was also in the running. However, Benson also dropped out of the campaign soon after the Pasadena Weekly reported that Benson did not possess doctoral degrees, as he claimed, uses a number of aliases and birthdates, and that the home he lists as a residence is where two convicted sex offenders reside.
Kennedy and Trone also faced some uncomfortable questions during the campaign.
In Trone’s case, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office launched an investigation into his residence. Trone said he lived in an apartment above his bail bonds business on East Orange Grove Boulevard, a claim challenged by critics, who said Trone really lived in a home in Altadena that he owns with his estranged wife, Juanita.
Kennedy, too, came into question over an accidental shooting incident in 1993 in which Kennedy was acquitted of attempted murder charges.
In the end, Benson, whose name remained on the ballot, still captured 64 votes, or 6 percent of the ballots cast.
Trone took 405 votes for a second-place finish.
“I think the people in District 3 are speaking volumes, and it is my intent to represent all of the residents in District 3 and provide the best service possible,” Kennedy told the Weekly Tuesday night.
Among the three candidates, Kennedy raised the most money, taking in nearly $77,000 in contributions, compared to Trone’s $18,600.
“Right now, my focus is on collaboration,” Kennedy told the Weekly by phone. “I think the voters have resonated and my message has resonated.”