• Small photos of candidates over City Hall dome

      Meet your Candidates (Photos – Candidates official websites, City Hall by ColoradoBlvd.net)

      ColoradoBoulevard.net presented four fundamental questions to the four Mayoral candidates and the 13 City Council candidates in Pasadena.

      By Editorial Board

      We received responses from three Pasadena Mayoral candidates and six Pasadena City Council candidates. March 3, 2020, is the date of the Primary Nominating Election in Pasadena.

      Candidates are in alphabetical order.

      Question #1:

      What are your thoughts on climate change and how it affects the city?

      decorative Victor Gordo (Mayor): 

      We are in a climate crisis that affects us all, from the shifting of water supplies, to impacts on open spaces and urban forests, to decreased air quality, to myriad public health concerns. I will sign on to the Mayor’s Climate Action Pledge, rejoin regional neighbors, and focus on strengthening and improving our current sustainability and environmental efforts, such as our Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Zero Waste Plan, and Green Building Ordinance.

      decorativeJason Hardin (Mayor): 

      I am a strong supporter of protecting our environment and the implementation of Pasadena’s Climate Action Plan’s “Strategy 1.”  This particular strategy addresses the greatest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions which is on-road transportation.  However, I feel that this strategy could be much more progressive if it incentivized rideshare, addressed the utilization and safety of personal electric vehicles, and considered the application of CoolSeal to our city streets.

      decorativeTerry Tornek (Mayor): 

      Climate change is a serious challenge for all of us, including City government.  It manifests itself in dying street trees, providing adequate water for residents and businesses, and greater peak power load demand.  Pasadena is achieving more efficient power consumption, moving to green power sources, focusing on new means to conserve and recycle water and encouraging the use of electric vehicles.  We must do more.

      decorativeTricia Keane (City Council, Dist. 2): 

      Climate change is real, and it’s a generation-defining issue. Yes, this is a global issue, but local actions matter. We are already feeling the impacts in the City with changing weather patterns. We have a responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to our climate future. We must increase our use of mass-transit, reduce our use of single-use plastics, increase our urban tree canopy, and embrace 100 percent renewable power.

      decorativeKevin Litwin (City Council, Dist. 2):

      It’s a global issue to tackle being good stewards of our lands and while the USA works at become efficient in just that, I think the bigger concerns are with foreign countries like China and India.  I believe this is a top down government issue, the Federal government and its foreign relations will have the most impact on environmental policies. Local government can always look at better ways to be cleaner, when it is economically possible.

      decorativeChar Bland (City Council, Dist. 4):

      Pasadena’s 2006 Green Building Ordinance using LEED as a standard was one of the first municipal ordinances in the nation to require green building standards for new commercial development. Pasadena has taken steps to reduce GHG emissions and promote environmentally sustainable practices. From establishing goals and policies that promote sustainable growth and greener practices to including objectives for water and energy conservation, Pasadena remains committed to becoming a sustainable and green city.

      decorativeKevin Wheeler (City Council, Dist. 4):

      It affects how much more building we can do because of the diminished water supply.  All new construction must be tied to how we’re going to get more water.

       

      decorativeRyan Bell (City Council, Dist. 6):

      Climate change threatens our water supply, increases the risk of devastating fires, affects our air quality.  Climate change is also a regional matter and addressing it requires coordinated efforts.  We need to transition to 100% renewable energy and eliminate carbon emissions by 2030.  We also need a mobility plan that transitions our community from cars to public transit, bikes, and other zero carbon modes.  Greater density around transit is another way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

      decorativeTamerlin Goodley (City Council, Dist. 6):

      Climate change is an existential threat; Pasadena needs to proactively implement sustainable policies.  The immediate impact to the City is increased fire danger.  We need to consider moving all City vehicles to electric and ensure we have the infrastructure necessary for increased use of electric vehicles by residents, stay on track for use of clean and renewable power sources, incentivize use of solar, and think creatively about how to effectively incentivize residents to use mass transit.

      Question #2:

      How do you intend to address the housing and homelessness crisis in the city?

      Victor Gordo (Mayor):

      By stepping up efforts to retain current affordable housing stock and increase the number/type of affordable units available throughout the city. Strengthening prevention efforts by enforcing our policies/programs that assist families in sustaining and improving their household incomes, as well as those that protect them from unscrupulous landlords and employers. Ensuring effective intervention and case management efforts, such as rapid rehousing, HOPE, PORT, and emergency shelters, are appropriately resourced.

      Jason Hardin (Mayor):

      I plan to aggressively address the crisis of homelessness and lack of affordable housing by pushing for a stronger Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, supporting a mixed-use development in our civic center that includes affordable and supportive housing, advocating for the conversion of The Ramada Inn to supportive housing, and amending the City Charter to include an affordable housing commission that can address housing issues and opportunities on a consistent basis.

      Terry Tornek (Mayor):

      Continue to refine our inclusionary housing requirement that requires 20% of any new development to be affordable.  Attempt to develop permanent supportive housing on city-owned land.  Conserve and retain existing affordable housing.  Cooperate with churches and PUSD to develop affordable housing on their sites.  Review our procedures and fees to encourage affordable housing protection.

      Tricia Keane (City Council, Dist. 2):

      We should not be addressing homelessness, we should be solving homelessness. Over half of people experiencing homelessness cite economic reasons – like job loss or an eviction – as the main cause. Any plan to address homelessness must include ways to make housing more affordable and make more supportive housing with services available. But any plan must also include prevention – keeping people housed before they fall into homelessness and providing job training and placement assistance.

      Kevin Litwin (City Council, Dist. 2):

      The 500+ number of homeless in Pasadena has been brought into question.  I signed up for the annual homeless count.  I would like to see how the count is created.   I met with the city housing authority chief, William Huang.  He walked me through the current plan and future development near the Salvation Army Building on Walnut and other permanent supportive housing projects, successes since 1995, and the plan moving forward.  I believe the council needs to provide continued support for this program.

      Char Bland (City Council, Dist. 4):

      Homelessness in Pasadena is a crisis. There are two types of homelessness.  Critical are those who are visible; we see this when exiting the freeway and at our grocery stores. Another is the invisible–people who may live in their cars or in a temporary facility because a lost a job or medical situation depleted their funds. I will first evaluate why people are homeless and what they need. The next step is connecting with City services.

      Kevin Wheeler (City Council, Dist. 4):

      For East Pasadena, I want to focus on first time, homeless seniors. While that will not solve the homeless problem, it is a fast (if not the fastest) growing segment of the homeless population.  Housing for senior will get the least amount of push back in my district, and has the best chance to succeed.  If programs are going to expand, early success is important.

      Ryan Bell (City Council, Dist. 6):

      I would immediately introduce a real rent control measure that includes a program to help tenants stay housing by covering back rent, and a tenant board to assist tenants in resolving disputes with their landlords and enforce the law.  I would work to build consensus around building affordable and permanent supportive housing at the civic center, and I would work closely with service providers and affordable housing developers to build the needed housing.

      Tamerlin Godley (City Council, Dist. 6):

      Currently we let people slide into homelessness and then try to get them back into housing.  We need to avoid homelessness initially.  Programs that help people avoid eviction have shown remarkable success—a year after receiving benefits 75% are still in housing.  For chronic homelessness, we need an honest discussion about how to humanely address mental illness.  In the meantime, we need to work to get people to accept services and off the streets.

      Question #3:

      How do you intend to fund your campaign?  And what is your strategy to win?

      Victor Gordo (Mayor):

      I am running a community-based, people-powered field and mail campaign funded by contributions from hundreds of residents and working families from all walks of life and all corners of Pasadena. I will not accept contributions from developers. The strategy is a straightforward one: talk with voters, listen to voters, and share our message through mail, digital platforms, candidate forums, neighborhood walks, and one-on-one conversations.

      Jason Hardin (Mayor):

      Candidate fundraising and spending should only cover the basics such as filing fees, candidate statements, and an informational website.  Voters should not be influenced by the amount of advertising a candidate pays for but by direct connection to the community.  I do not engage in campaign fundraising nor do I pursue formal endorsements.  My strategy to win is through truth, transparency, and the work I put into improving our city on a day-to-day basis.

      Terry Tornek (Mayor):

      Solicit contributions from individuals and groups that have supported me in the past.  Conduct a grass roots effort featuring walking door to door in every district, which I have been doing since April 2019, and attend neighborhood coffees all over the City.  Also send mail and social media information to share my views and solicit responses from the public.

      Tricia Keane (City Council, Dist. 2):

      I will fund my campaign through donations from friends, family, and colleagues who have seen firsthand my experience making affordable homes happen and preventing people from falling into homelessness. My strategy to win is to be honest with people and explain we are in a crisis that threatens the character of our community, and as an expert on housing and homelessness, I am the best candidate for the job. I find being nice really helps too.

      Kevin Litwin (City Council, Dist. 2):

      As of today, I have raised a little over $10k and I believe for the primary that is enough.  The money has been used for yard signs, mailers and advertising.  Continued attendance at public forums and district walking is the best way to reach the voters.

      Char Bland (City Council, Dist. 4):

      Funding through contributions.  Door to door talking to every constituent in District 4.

      Kevin Wheeler (City Council, Dist. 4):

      I am taking donations.  I am responding to inquiries, meeting my neighbors.  I’ll have a few signs up in yards soon, and might do a mailer or two.

      Ryan Bell (City Council, Dist. 6):

      I am funding my campaign through individual donations.  Because I am a newcomer to electoral politics, I do not have a political machine at my disposal, but I am working hard by talking to voters and engaging in conversations every chance I get.  The only winning strategy that I know of is talking to voters, door-to-door, hearing their concerns, and engaging them in the process of improving our city.  That’s what I intend to do.

      Tamerlin Godley (City Council, Dist. 6):

      I intend to fund my campaign through individual contributions.  I plan to win by working harder than any other candidate.  I have been going door to door since last March.  I plan to personally reach out to every registered voter in my district.

      Question #4:

      In your opinion, do you consider charter schools public schools?

      Victor Gordo (Mayor):

      Charter schools are public schools under the law. While I recognize they have a place in our education setting, I am concerned they are problematic for our traditional public schools because they directly impact funding for our traditional public schools. Charter schools take State general revenue funding for each of their enrolled students that then is not available to PUSD. Additionally, charters operate in a much looser regulatory environment than traditional public school.

      Jason Hardin (Mayor):

      Charter schools are public schools. I can attest to the huge positive difference they make in the lives of their students.  Their unique structure and learning environment can focus on the success of students who may not be properly equipped to thrive in the mainstream educational system.
      Approximately 15% of Learning Works Charter School students are homeless, giving them unique challenges that may be overlooked or unconsidered by traditional schools.

      Terry Tornek (Mayor):

      I am not sure how to define charter schools.  They are technically public schools, but they compete with the PUSD.  They continue to evolve and play varying roles in relation to the PUSD, so I believe that they must be evaluated individually as to their impact on the public educational system.

      Tricia Keane (City Council, Dist. 2):

      Charter schools are public schools defined in the California Education Code. They are subject to the same requirements that traditional public schools are subject to, and cannot turn any child away, but they provide opportunities for additional oversight by their authorizers. Charter schools, magnet schools, dual immersion programs, and other public school programs provide parents with additional approaches to education within the public school system – and it’s critical to support our public school system.

      Kevin Litwin (City Council, Dist. 2):

      No, I do not.

      Char Bland (City Council, Dist. 4):

      Like traditional public schools, charter public schools in California must be non-religious, not-for-profit, and tuition-free. They must serve all students, including those learning English and those with special needs. Different from most traditional public schools, charter schools don’t have attendance boundaries.

      Kevin Wheeler (City Council, Dist. 4):

      No.

      Ryan Bell (City Council, Dist. 6):

      Charter schools do not meet the test of truly public institutions.  They absolutely use public funds but often lack the full accountability of public schools and siphon off resources that should be devoted to making our public schools great.  Charter schools lack equity of access, they increase the financial burden on school districts, and undermine the strength of teachers unions.  I will always support investment in strong, transparent, and democratic institutions that serve the public interest.

      Tamerlin Godley (City Council, Dist. 6):

      This really is not an opinion question. Charter schools are publicly funded and, in California, are required to abide by essentially all of the rules that apply to public school districts.  They are public schools.

      > In addition to the candidates above, Major Williams is running for mayor, Felicia Williams and Bo Patatian for Dist. 2, Gene Masuda and Joe Bagdhalian for Dist. 4, and Steve Madison for Dist. 6.

      Tyron Hampton is running unopposed for Dist. 1. He was not presented with questions.

       

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      Contributor

      Comments

      1. José Luis Rodriguez says:

        Why would I vote and support Victor gordo ? I don’t believe he’s the right candidate for our fine city of Pasadena . The first time I heard of Mr. Gordo was at work amongst co workers , on how he’s unreachable. If he can’t keep open lines of communication with workers of the city of LA belonging to MOU 12 , I want trust him to listen to the residents of Pasadena .

      2. José Luis Rodriguez says:

        Victor Gordo can’t even return a call to the union members of MOU 12 , employees of the City of LA! Why would I vote for him ? I can’t trust him to represent the fine city of Pasadena . My Vote is definitely not for Victor Gordo

      3. Kelly says:

        What happened to Major Williams?? He is also running for mayor? Did you intentionally leave him out because you don’t want people to know who he is? This sounds like a biased article.

        • Staff says:

          Hi Kelly,

          If you read the article, you’ll notice that we mentioned that questions were sent to all candidates. We published all the ones that replied back.

      4. Dolores Estrada says:

        This is why it’s do dangerous to appraise candidates based on their campaign-season rhetoric rather than familiarizing yourself with their record and their donors. Victor Gordo is Pasadena’s biggest enemy of affordable housing and tenant rights — Jill Shook and Anthony Manousos affirmatively hate him. He’s also a [redacted] who opposes banning the Pasadena Police Department from collaborating with ICE.

      5. Julia Bailey says:

        So these people never bothered answering your questions? Are they not interested in letting us know their stance? Major Williams is running for mayor, Felicia Williams and Bo Patatian for Dist. 2, Gene Masuda and Joe Bagdhalian for Dist. 4, and Steve Madison for Dist. 6.

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