These are challenging times for civic leaders.
By Ryan Bell
I appreciate Mayor Terry Tornek’s commitment to the scientific evidence with regard to the pandemic and his determination to keep us safe by closing, and keeping closed, popular public recreational areas of the city. There are, as he said in his editorial yesterday, loud voices, often laced with incredible privilege, claiming that we need to open the Rose Bowl loop, the Lower Arroyo, and other places. This would be a huge mistake. We’ve done incredibly well under great pressure. Why risk ruining it all by being impatient now?
Some are hurting more than others
We are all hurting, it is true, but some are hurting more than others. Some aren’t able to take their favorite walk. Others cannot feed their families and afford their rent. These are very different things and understanding that difference should guide our policy making.
Now is the time for our government—federal, state, and local—to step up and provide for our residents in this crisis. Pasadena can and should do more for tenants, workers, and the undocumented. Advocates have spoken at length on a wide range of measures that would help us weather this crisis, including stronger eviction protections, rent and mortgage cancelation.
Put personal friendships and endorsements to work
During the recent election, there was a lot of bragging from incumbents about their personal friendships with and endorsements from people like Adam Schiff, Judy Chu, Chris Holden, and Anthony Portantino. Many of our city’s urgent needs are better addressed at the state and federal level, like rent and mortgages forgiveness for the months during and immediately after the Covid-19 pandemic (there is such bill currently before the US House of Representatives) and universal, single payer healthcare.
So, to my Councilmember Steve Madison, my opponent in the recent election, and other city leaders with political connections, please pick up the phone and use those relationships to push California and Federal legislators to do more for low income residents of our City and State. After all, what good are those relationships if you don’t use them for the good of the people you represent?
Ryan Bell is a Pasadena resident, non-profit leader, and former candidate for Pasadena City Council.
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