Be heard Tuesday

Be heard Tuesday

Vote for Trone, Kenne, Hampton, Murga and Phelps

By Kevin Uhrich 02/28/2013

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Much has been written over the past few weeks about Tuesday’s election, in which three City Council seats will be decided, as well as four Board of Education positions in newly created voting districts in the Pasadena Unified School District.

Some of what we’ve seen has been encouraging, with the PUSD’s four of seven new districts doing what they were meant to do when they were drawn by a special task force last year: Attract new people to the political process. In addition to all the fresh faces, three incumbents will be trying to retain their seats as well.

However, much of what’s been reported about the election has not been good news. In the three contests for the council’s District 3, District 5 and District 7 seats, for example, stories have ranged from boring to disappointing to downright shocking, especially in District 3, where longtime Councilman Chris Holden was forced to give up his seat after being elected to the state Assembly in November.

Councilman Terry Tornek is running unopposed for a second four-year term in District 7, and Israel Estrada dropped his challenge of longtime District 5 incumbent Councilman Victor Gordo, so the results of those two contests are virtually foregone certainties.

But then there’s District 3. All three candidates in that race — John J. Kennedy, Ishmael Trone and the Rev. Nicholas Benson — have provided new answers to the question of how low candidates can go to get themselves elected, all while raising new questions about why a person with a checkered past would run for public office.
Such is the case with Benson, who uses a doctor’s title before his name. Deputy Editor André Coleman soon learned that the good reverend did not possess a doctorate. André also found that Benson has a number of aliases, and a few birth dates. But, along with that, André found out that the place where Benson, who owns a home in Altadena, claims he lives in the district is actually home to two convicted sex offenders.

Benson wasn’t the only one in the race to have their residency challenged. Trone, who claims to reside on the second floor of the offices of his bail bonds business on East Orange Grove Boulevard, has been accused by his critics of actually living in a home in Altadena that he owns with his estranged wife, a claim that he emphatically denies. The LA County DA is currently investigating the matter.

Of course, Benson and Trone are certainly not alone in creating controversy. Kennedy, the former head of the NAACP Pasadena Branch back in the late 1980s, was acquitted of attempted murder after accidentally shooting a 20-year-old man he had once mentored while playing around with a gun that neither man realized was loaded.
Not to be outdone, Trone was actually convicted of misdemeanor gun charges after being caught at Bob Hope Airport in 1997 with a loaded handgun that he forgot was in his bag.

The pièce de résistance came last week, when someone tried to smear Kennedy by sending out around the district copies of a newspaper story about the man he shot 20 years ago.

For news people, these three candidates have produced some pretty exciting copy. For voters, however, none of them present much hope for anything getting done if elected.

In the final analysis, Trone appears to make the most sense, especially on the need to hire locals for major projects in order to spread the wealth that’s escaped this district for too long.

Kennedy, too, has some good ideas, but more than anything, what he really represents, mostly by virtue of great bureaucratic polish, is a smooth transition of power in Holden’s former district. In other words, the status quo — perhaps the very last thing people need or want. As for his plans of buying “stealth” helicopters to increase police flyovers while reducing noise, and putting more cops on local campuses, these are ideas that we could not oppose more strenuously.

For these reasons, and the fact that he’s been deeply engaged in community affairs over the past several years, we endorse Trone to take over for Holden. Let’s now hope he makes it through the DA’s investigation without getting arrested.

Following are our picks for the Pasadena Board of Education:

District 1 — Kim Kenne
Kenne wants to further fulfill promises made last election regarding transparency and accountability. She’s also working to increase parental involvement. We like that and think she deserves another term.

District 3 — Tyron Hampton
People say anyone like Tyron Hampton, who actually attended local schools, graduated from a Pasadena public high school, and then went onto a successful life, should have a shot at serving on the school board. We agree.

District 5 — Stella Murga
Over the years, we have seen Stella Murga devote her life to the betterment of local children through the Pasadena Youth Center and a number of other civic organizations. We believe she will continue this tradition of dedication as a board member.

District 7 — Scott Phelps
Scott Phelps taught in the district, served two terms on the school board and sends his children to PUSD schools, unlike his opponent, who has enrolled his kids in private school. ‘Nuff said. n

Deputy Editor André Coleman contributed to this editorial.


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(From Conspiracy-central `)

In this modern world of drive-by politics (at least in Pasadena), it seems to me that a primary source of information dissemination (that is ostensibly "free") would -- especially right before an election -- do everything it can to get a variety of opinions "out there."

In the 02/21/13 edition of the PW, a heartfelt plea is submitted at the tail end of the "Letters" section:

Have something on your mind that you’d like to share with the rest of the community? You’re in the right place: Our Letters to the Editor page, one of the most widely read sections of the paper.
Send your letters to Just remember, it usually takes two to three weeks for a letter to appear in print.
To all those who have contributed letters over the years, and added valuable information to the ongoing community dialogue, thank you so much. And thanks for picking up the Weekly, the Pasadena paper people have to read.
~ Kevin Uhrich"

Tell me Kevin, regarding anyone submitting a letter to the PW, their easiest way of discovering whether or not that submission was ever printed is to check it out ONLINE, right? Then tell me, why is the online version of the Weekly's "Letters" section so haphazardly posted? In this week's PW (02/28), the dead-tree version of the Weekly has a "Letters" section in it where people's opinions about election matters have been posted.

I mean, REALLY! In spite of such a heartfelt plea by you ... why isn't it being felt too much by whomever's duty it is to faithfully post the weekly online? After all, right on the eve of a very important city election, those who might submit a letter to the Weekly AND THEN HAVE IT POSTED in the dead-tree version have had their readership at least cut in half because the Weekly's online editor is sleeping at the keyboard ... who is the online editor anyway?

All us conspiracy-theorists want to know, what's the reason for this particular practice of censorship anyway, Kevin? Is it just incompetence, or is there a subversively deeper agenda?


posted by DanD on 3/04/13 @ 06:25 a.m.

Are you asking why arent letters from readers being posted in a timely manner?
If so, that's a good question and warrants an answer. I'd like to read the letters regarding the election as well. I do not find them in the letters section.

posted by pasadena resident on 3/07/13 @ 10:58 a.m.

Well pr, I'm asking something close to that, but the problem is not (in my reprobate opinion) quite as casual as you seem to suggest. Almost invariably, if you see a week missing in the Weekly's online listing of the "Letters" section, chances are that there were letters printed in the PW's pulp version, but were never posted online.

Why is the Pasadena Weekly committing this electronic error of omission? I'm sure that anybody can come up with a conspiracy theory, but the fact remains that it also makes the editorial staff of the Weekly appear quite unprofessional.

How can I (or anyone else) gloat (in these modern times) beyond its initial debut about any letter appearing in a newspaper if that ostensible news source yet fails to also post that letter in the online edition? Apparently, only REAL IMPORTANT people always get posted online (where the letter-reading audience really is) as well.



posted by DanD on 3/07/13 @ 01:18 p.m.
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