Five vie for interim Pasadena City Council seat
Candidates aim to fill vacancy left by newly elected Assemblyman Chris Holden.
Four men and one woman are seeking appointment to fill the Pasadena City Council seat left vacant by Chris Holden after his November election to the state Assembly. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / July 5, 2011)
The four men and one woman are seeking appointment to fill the seat left vacant by Chris Holden after his November election to the state Assembly.
Holden held the reins in City Council District 3 for 24 years. The area includes much of Northwest Pasadena as well as portions of Old Pasadena, the civic center and Playhouse District north of Colorado Boulevard.
Community activist Ishmael Trone, Los Angeles Urban League executive John J. Kennedy and Summit Evangelical Church Pastor Nicholas Benson are running for a four-year council term in the March 5 city election. After a possible April 16 runoff, the winner will take Holden's old seat on May 6.
Meanwhile, Pasadena's city charter requires that the City Council appoint someone to serve the last months of Holden's current term. The appointment has to come 75 days after Holden's Nov. 30 resignation, or Feb. 13.
Craig Washington, a senior project manager for Jacobs Engineering Group in Pasadena, would focus on increasing employment and educational opportunities for District 3 residents, he wrote in an application filed with the Pasadena city clerk's office.
Washington is a lifelong Pasadena resident and 13-year Tournament of Roses Assn. volunteer who has served on the organization's executive committee and fundraising foundation board.
Attorney Tarek Shawky, a member of the city's Northwest Commission and a volunteer with the nonprofit Flintridge Center, said he became more involved in local politics after the March 24 officer-involved shooting of 19-year-old Kendrec McDade on Sunset Avenue. Shawky heard the gunshots that killed McDade from inside his home.
“It was a wake-up call,” Shawky said. “If something like this happens on your street and you don't do something about it, when will you?”
Sharon Graham Higuera, who lives in the Playhouse District, retired in 2010 after 29 years as an elementary teacher in the Pasadena public schools, 24 of them at Madison Elementary School.
A volunteer for Union Station Homeless Services and El Centro de Acción Social, Higuera said that most of her students lived in Northwest Pasadena, and that appointment to the council provides an opportunity to serve those families again.
Script reader Brian Carmody, 25 and a resident of Old Pasadena, said he hopes to bring new perspectives to the council through frequent public interaction with residents of District 3's suburban neighborhoods as well as its urban zones.
Carmody's prior work as a political canvasser hammered home the importance of community organizing, and reliance on public transportation has opened his eyes to the city's diversity, he said.
Joel Bryant, a member of the Rose Bowl Operating Co. and Pasadena Chamber of Commerce boards, focused his application on development and quality-of-life issues.
Earlier this year Bryant completed construction of the Classics at Washington Park, a complex of eight townhomes built on the site of a liquor store deemed a nuisance by city officials. The city contributed funding to help Bryant acquire and shut down the store in exchange for Bryant designating much of the project as affordable housing.
Council members are expected to interview the five interim candidates later this month and choose one in early February.