On Tuesday choose Gordo and Hosp for council; Pomeroy, Richardson-Bailey and Kenne for school board
If not for the emergence of Donald Trump as president and the onslaught of potential personal, civil and environmental abuses that this Electoral College catastrophe has wrought, Tuesday’s municipal election might otherwise go largely unnoticed by most people who usually think voting — the core institution of our very democracy — is something for others to do.
After just 30 days in office, millions of people have taken to the streets of cities around the world to protest Trump’s ascension; a known white supremacist has been selected to run the Department of Justice; nationwide sweeps of undocumented immigrants are being conducted; draconian travel bans have been imposed; affordable health care and social security are being threatened with extinction; a slashing of regulations is being proposed to increase the probability of corporate environmental poisoning; and public education is now being dismantled.
And that’s the short list, saying nothing of Trump’s propensity to reduce major policy announcements to childish tweets; his cavalier pronouncements about nuclear war; his personal war on the media; and his alleged ties with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, or “V.” to people like Trump.
If nothing else, Trump’s short but explosive time in office has been a wakeup call for Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters alike. And that’s because these aforementioned threats to our very way of life strike all of us directly where we live, work and play — right here at home, in Pasadena.
When you stop and think about it, the proverbial “buck” to be passed, or not, on policy decisions such as some of these really begin — and potentially end — with local elected officials.
For example, when US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents started hunting down undocumented immigrants, who did concerned Pasadena residents call first? The same was true of schools, where 61 percent of the student population is Latino. Worried parents called on the school board to “do something,” which the board did by establishing “safe spaces” for kids. Other issues are matters of vigilance, like when there is a questionable shooting, or toxic dumping, or the illegal razing of trees, or the disruption caused by building tunnels to help connect roads. It’s our local officials who say yay or nay to such ideas.
Tuesday’s election features candidates with nowhere near Trump’s temerity and mendacity. In fact, all of the candidates are of the highest character, just as they all believe they will make a positive difference in their community if elected.
In the City Council races, District 3 is currently represented by Councilman John Kennedy who is running unopposed. District 5 features Councilman Victor Gordo, running for a fifth four-year term against two newcomers, one of them, Krystal Lopez Padley, something of a firebrand. And in District 7, four candidates are trying to unseat Councilman Andy Wilson, who was appointed to the position two years ago after former district representative Terry Tornek was elected mayor.
Working backwards on the Board of Education, District 7 Board member Scott Phelps is running unopposed. In District 5, incumbent Elizabeth Pomeroy faces Muir instructor Matthew Baron. In District 3, Board member Adrienne Mullen, who was picked by the board to take over for Tyron Hampton after Hampton won a seat on the City Council two years ago, will face Michelle Richardson-Bailey, a PUSD administrator. And in Altadena’s District 1, Board President Kim Kenne is facing longtime teacher Rita Miller.
Following are our picks in Tuesday’s elections:
Pasadena City Council
District 5 — Victor Gordo
With most proposals, Gordo brings knowledge, empathy and calm to the discussion. What we think he needs to do is appoint his two opponents, Padley and Aida Morales, to public positions and feed the pipeline to public service, as his former boss, former Councilman Bill Crowfoot, spoke passionately about.
District 7 — Phil Hosp
A lawyer, Iraq veteran and Pasadena native, Hosp has pledged to make development projects open to the public and has rejected campaign contributions and endorsements from developers and architects with projects before the city. We also like his stance against the 710 tunnel, which he calls “a disaster disguised as a solution that will make traffic worse.”
Pasadena Board of Education
District 1 — Kim Kenne
Kenne was first elected in 2011 and then re-elected two years later after the district switched from at-large to district-only elections. A systems integration expert, the Altadena resident has always been active in the education of her own children and considers herself a fiscally responsible official who will comply with the law when it comes to spending.
District 3 — Michelle Richardson-Bailey
After going from at-large to district-only elections in 2012 as a way to increase Latino representation, then losing Hampton to the council and former Board member Renatta Cooper, who chose not to run again, the school board currently has no African-American members and only one Latino member who represents mostly white Sierra Madre. We agree with Richardson-Bailey that “If you are truly concerned about the board you want as many diverse voices as possible,” as she told Deputy Editor André Coleman.
District 5 — Elizabeth Pomeroy
First coming to the board of Education in 2008, Pomeroy was once an English teacher at PCC and over the years has become a celebrated writer, publisher and grandmother. Perhaps better than her fellow board members, she understands the need for more diverse voices and has worked hard toward achieving that end.