I would never expect the mayor of Pasadena to say, “The state of the city is weak and struggling” any more than I’d expect that from a US President at the State of the Union. The picture Mayor Gordo painted in his State of the City speech on February 23, 2023, is not realistic. It would have been nice to hear him acknowledge, for example, the important role of the community since his theme was unity and togetherness.
By Ryan Bell
There were at least two glaring omissions in the Mayor’s speech. The most significant improvement in affordable housing and housing security was the passage of Measure H in November 2022 by a 54% margin, with a victory in almost every City Council district. Measure H already is helping hundreds of ordinary Pasadenans fight back against price gouging and the massive power of the real estate industry.
Pasadena 100 leaders successfully lobbied the City Council to pass a groundbreaking zero carbon by 2030 resolution a few weeks ago. Again, not a word about our new zero carbon commitment from the Mayor in his speech.
Who isn’t thriving
And I’ll tell you who isn’t thriving: our unsheltered neighbors. We currently are in the middle of a strong winter storm that has brought abnormally cold and wet weather. There is no place for our unhoused neighbors to get in out of the cold. As I have done more research on the motel voucher program administered through Union Station Homeless Services, the Pasadena Public Health Department, and Friends in Deed, I have observed huge challenges at the point of service. There are dozens of folks who have not received vouchers due to accessibility issues and other hurdles. The City has no apparent sense of urgency about the plight of nearly 300 human beings whose lives are in serious jeopardy.
Finally, there are some major fiscal dangers ahead, not least of which is the Rose Bowl’s debt, which is growing by the month. The Mayor said the Rose Bowl has a “positive outlook ahead,” but that’s not at all what has been reported in the past few months.
There always have been two Pasadenas. There is the “thriving” version Mayor Gordo spoke about in his annual speech; businesses are coming back online and tax revenue is picking up. But there is another Pasadena where people feel mostly ignored and outright rejected by the Mayor.
The biggest positive developments in the future of Pasadena over the past year have been achieved by volunteer members of the public, over the objections of City staff and most of the City Council, often with needless roadblocks put in their way. And the community is still waiting for justice for people gunned down by our uniformed police officers.
As the Mayor and many City Council members look toward elections in about one year, it would be prudent to think of all Pasadenans and not just the ones who have the ear of those in power. <
[This article has been updated to correct few words, add a speech date and additional links. Feb. 24, 2023. 9:10 pm]
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