In a 5 ½ hour process almost as grueling as a campaign itself, the Pasadena City Council selected Justin Jones as the Pasadena District 3 replacement for the deceased John J. Kennedy.
By Garrett Rowlan
The three candidates were Pastor Lucious Smith, Brandon Lamar, and Jones. They were questioned in that order by the Councilmembers, including via Zoom Tyron Hampton, who was home with a case of COVID.
The session began with thirteen speaker cards, all of whom vouched for Lamar based on his civic involvement (pavement walking, doorbell ringing) when he opposed Kennedy in June’s elections.
By random selection Pastor Lucious Smith was the first to present himself as Kennedy’s replacement. His relative lack of experience was evident. His assertion of “a Biblical view” might have been morally reassuring but civically problematic, despite his professed mandate to love his neighbor.
Next up was Brandon Lamar, who ran unsuccessfully against Kennedy in June; he was the only candidate to use a PowerPoint presentation. Lamar cited an impressive history of community involvement, as supported by the 13 speaker cards and 89 letters of support sent to the Council, more than double Jones’s numbers and 88 more than Smith received. Less impressive was his record of voting in recent local and national elections.
Justin Jones, the third candidate, projected the can-do attitude of a civil engineer, His knowledge of large-scale projects—in particular, his concern with water conservation—struck an impressive note in relation to California’s drought. His Q and A displayed engagement and enthusiasm and eventually won over the Council by a 5 to 2 vote. Supporting Jones were Hampton, Gene Masuda, Andy Wilson, Felicia Williams, and Mayor Victor Gordo. Supporting Lamar were Jessica Rivas and Steve Madison, who bristled vocally at the decision. They considered the vote a rejection of the will of the people of District 3.
As Andy Wilson noted, a “really unique circumstance” forced the Council members to replace the deceased District 3 member. Justin Jones was sworn in at the end of the session.
[This article has been updated to clarify the stance of Councilmembers Rivas and Madison. Sept. 30, 1:40 pm]
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