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Pasadena Candidates Face Off at Maranatha High School

The candidates discussed homelessness and affordable housing among other issues. – Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

By Terry Miller

Approximately 300 people attended a Thursday forum, hosted by the West Pasadena Residents’ Association, with the hope they’d lean more of the candidates’ views and vision for Pasadena in 2020.

Councilman Victor Gordo, Jason Hardin, and Republican newcomer Major Williams are all vying for Mayor Terry Tornek’s seat on the dais. Steve Madison faces Tamerlin Godley and Ryan Bell for his District 6 seat.

The big issues: homelessness, housing, minimum wage and Pasadena Unified School District’s (PUSD) declining enrollment are indeed interrelated and each candidate agreed that these are seriously pressing issues.

California is experiencing a housing crisis of epic proportions which contributes to homelessness and causes families to leave Pasadena and PUSD schools, thus resulting in school closures.

Gordo took a gentle jab at the seemingly never-ending building trend in Pasadena over the past few years when he quipped, “We won’t build our way out of this.” Gordo also insisted that Pasadena needs to belong to the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

Keeping a watchful eye during the forum was former longtime Mayor Bill Bogaard and his wife Claire.

Bogaard supports Gordo’s mayoral bid and has enlisted his services as campaign co-chair and treasurer.

Tornek reiterated what he said during his State of the City Address last week but scores of individuals dispute the official tally of homeless on Pasadena streets. “It’s distressing that the City says there’s a decline … just take a drive down Colorado Boulevard on any given night. Homelessness is a major social and health issue in California and Pasadena has seen an uptick, not a downward trend as realtors developers would like you to believe,” local resident John McBride told Pasadena Independent Thursday.

Granny Flats were also a popular discussion point. Hardin and Bell agreed that this will perhaps help the ever-widening gap for affordable housing and not be a problem. Godley didn’t agree, claiming it would be a severe traffic nightmare.

Finally, the issue of the Colorado Street Bridge suicide prevention efforts saw numerous candidates essentially saying the same thing. We need more mental health outreach and no matter what measures the City takes, the aesthetics of the iconic bridge will be forever changed.

January 24, 2020

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