City councils are the place where citizens go to express their concerns and hold their elected city council members and mayors accountable.
By Rena Kurlander
During the pandemic, most city councils in the Pasadena area held virtual meetings, which changed this governance dynamic. Most city councils in our area switched back to in-person public meetings as soon as they could, because they recognized it is more cumbersome for members of the public to express their concerns in a remote setting, and they wanted to make it easier for their constituents to participate in this vital aspect of democracy.
The one city council that has not gone back to in-person public meetings is the Pasadena City Council. Whether because of the mayor and council’s deference to virtue-signaling to the fearful or because they wanted to avoid having the city activists attend in person for as long as possible, Pasadena still hasn’t returned to having the public present in person. The City Council is scheduled to return to in-person meetings Monday, January 9, for the first time since the pandemic began.
Sadly, the local press (except for ColoradoBoulevard.net) has functioned as apologists for this dismal record, helping the emperor who has no clothes and the seven dwarfs. The press has accepted the council’s excuses for the difficulty of doing things that the other cities figured out long ago. Here is a chart that shows just how poorly Pasadena has performed relative to its neighbors in this regard (data from the respective city clerks’ offices and from the cities’ website archives of council meetings):
Here’s hoping that the local press will return to holding the Pasadena City Council accountable in 2023. Our local democracy depends on it.
Rena Kurlander is a resident in the San Gabriel Valley.
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