Pasadena Chamber Board Votes to Support Measure A (PUSD Elections by Subdistrict)

Chamber Board also votes to support Proposition 28 (term limits) and took no position on Proposition 29 (cigarette tax)

Pasadena, CA – At its May, 2012, meeting, the Board of Directors of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce overwhelmingly voted to formally take a position in support of Measure A, which would impose election by sub-districts for trustees of the Pasadena Unified School District. Measure A would provide that elections for the PUSD Board of Education would be conducted by geographic subdistricts where trustees would represent a distinct geographic area, rather than be elected at large, similar to the current system for electing Pasadena City College trustees, the Pasadena City Council and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Under Measure A, the PUSD territory would be divided into seven districts. Each Board of Education member would be elected from one of the subdistricts. “The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors supports excellent educational opportunities in Pasadena,” said Chamber Board Chair George Falardeau. “The Chamber Board feels very strongly that a sub-district election system for our Pasadena Unified School District will create a more accountable policy-making Board and facilitate more diverse representation on the Board.”

Election by subdistricts will provide for representation for populations and geographic areas that have become disenfranchised through the current voting system. Only one PUSD trustee lives in Altadena, while none lives in Sierra Madre or the area below or west of the 210 Freeway.

Subdistricts have been defined as part of the Measure A conceptualization process and map. That map envision one district that includes Sierra Madre, parts of east Pasadena and the Chapman Woods area of unincorporated LA County. One district would consist of the western half of Altadena. Another is made up of primarily of east Altadena with portions of north central Pasadena. Western Pasadena, northwest Pasadena, central Pasadena and downtown and southern Pasadena would each have representation, as well.

“The subdistrict system would save the PUSD money by making the election process less costly, but more importantly, it would make the option of running for school board more available to a much wider range of people given the much less expensive proposition of running for election in a subdistrict,” said Chamber CEO Paul Little. “Subdistricts also mean elected officials are less aloof and much more responsive to their constituents, and much more accountable since the people they represent are more likely to be neighbors. Right now, for example, three members of the Board of Education reside within two miles of each other in Pasadena council District 2, which is primarily single family, middle and upper middle class homeowners. Clearly the existing system does not encourage diversity of representation.”

The Pasadena Chamber Board of Directors felt very strongly that subdistrict elections would lead to a more accountable, more representative and more responsive Board of Trustees of the Pasadena Unified School District.

The Pasadena Chamber Board also voted to support Proposition 28 which would adjust term limits for state offices so that legislators could serve a total of 12 years in either the State Senate of State Assembly. Giving an elected official the opportunity to develop expertise on issues while serving in one house was felt to be advantageous for our state legislative process. The Chamber Board took no position on Proposition 29 which would impose additional taxes on sale of cigarettes.

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce does not endorse individual candidates for office.

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association is a professional business organization. Since the earliest days of Pasadena, the Chamber has played a major role in the development of this internationally renowned city. Since 1888, when the organization was founded as the Board of Trade, the Chamber’s primary purpose has been the enhancement of both the business climate and the quality of life in Pasadena. The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce serves 1500 members.

May 31, 2012

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