In a presentation at the 2016 WPRA annual neighborhood meeting, Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek touched on many issues that were on the minds of many Pasadenans.
By Brian Rodriguez
Here are the major highlights from the mayor’s remarks at the Maranatha High School auditorium on Thursday, May 18, 2016.
Music and Arts Festival:
– This is not going to be Coachella
This is not going to be Coachella. I went to Coachella couple of weeks ago to see how those folks ran the festival. They’ve been doing it for 17 years…we’re going to be working very carefully with them starting with a two-day Festival, rather than three. This is something we have to be very much engaged in, and eventually my hope is, it will end the consistent financial problems of the Rose Bowl…
City Manager search:
– I hope we can have it completed early in the summer
The application period has closed (May 13, 2016) and we’re about to get a report from the consultants…I think we will have a high quality field of candidates…the process will be transparent… It’s a balancing act trying to attract the best possible candidates, respecting their privacy, but at the same time involving the members of the community in helping to make the final selection…I hope we can have it completed early in the summer.
– Making tremendous strides
PUSD is really flourishing…I’ve been going to…award ceremonies and listening to stories from both the outstanding students and teachers…We can’t have a great city without a great public school system, and I really think the PUSD is making tremendous strides…
I urge any of you who have any interest to take a look at what’s happening at the schools. I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised. We have two grandchildren in the public school system and they’re flourishing. I assure you the trend curve is entirely positive at PUSD.
– Highly unlikely that will ever happen again
We have collected from insurance in excess of 5 million dollars on that embezzlement, and we have completely changed the whole internal control system at the city…We’ve hired new people at the finance department,…we’ve changed procedures, and I can say with great confidence that it’s highly unlikely anything like that will ever happen again. We need to convince you that we’re good stewards of your money…We have spent enormous amount of time restructuring the way we do business, and I’m feeling very confident we won’t have a repeat of the scandal.
– This year looks pretty good, the five year forecast does not
We are in the middle of our budget process. The city is a big enterprise, with a 600 million dollar plus budget…I urge you to take a peek at KPAS coverage of our budget discussions…We have some very challenging decisions to make. This year looks pretty good, the five year forecast does not…despite the fact that we have new developments, new revenues, the expense line is moving a lot faster, upward, than the revenue line, and it’s not a sustainable business plan…We have to do something about our business model in the city [to] allow us to provide high quality services without going in the red…I expect the results of that…healthy debate will be seen in the coming years…All of us expect very high quality services from the city, but we have to be able to pay for it. And we haven’t figured it out yet, but I assure you we are working at it…
Repealing Measure A:
– I am telling you…as soon as the November vote is over, they’re coming for us
…I’ll be putting on the City Council’s agenda on June 13 a request to have a ballot measure on the November elections to repeal Measure A, the ballot measure approved by the people about 15 years ago, that prevents the city of opposing the completion of the 710 freeway…As I’ve committed to you when I got elected, I’ve been spending a great deal of time trying to kill that project (applause)…It was my expectation that given all the flaws that were revealed in the draft of the environmental impact report,…that it will fall of its own weight. It’s absolutely clear now that nothing can be further from the truth. The reality is the various transportation forces that are controlling the transportation future of our region have decided that they needed to finesse this issue…they don’t want robust discussion, in fact they don’t want any discussion until Measure R2 Passes [in November] …they don’t want any discussion about the 710 because it might polarize people and somehow impact the passage of Measure R2, which requires a two-third vote.
…The reason Metro is not producing answers to the thousands of questions…not because they can’t work fast enough, but because they don’t want to have any discussion about it…I am telling you, with absolute confidence, as soon as the November vote is over, they’re coming for us. And this project is going to be pursued with renewed and even unprecedented vigor…All the work that’s been done, it’s great, we can all pat ourselves on the back…but the only way to be able to kill this project is…with litigation, and absolute confrontation politics. The City of Pasadena cannot do that because of Measure A. So I have scheduled it for the meeting of June 13th, my colleagues should approve, I hope, because we all expressed opposition to the tunnel. And with that, we’ll be adequately able to pursue our own opposition without the handcuffs of Measure A.
…I will be asking all of you…to volunteer and contribute to that effort…Without this opposition, that project, that none of us believe is plausible, is going to be approved. I know some of you are concerned of going to the voters in Pasadena, and we run the risk of losing that election, I’m telling you…we mount the appropriate campaign, and educate our neighbors about the implications…what we already know about this project…they will vote overwhelmingly to support the repeal of Measure A. I think this is going to be the struggle of this decade.
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