Pasadena, California 2012 StateoftheCity Student Report

pasadena student

High school seniors have a lot on their plates, right? College apps, scholarships, finals, and in my case, working to the last minute to meet a yearbook deadline. Many times, there’s very little else we can allow to fit into our busy schedules. On the evening of January 26, however, I made an exception. I had the privilege of participating in an event that most kids the age of 18 couldn’t say they did. I was able to attend the State of the City Address where Mayor Bill Bogaard discussed current and future plans that community leaders have for Pasadena, my home town for the past 18 years. As I took my seat next to PHS Senior Class President, Ashley Mercado, I glanced around and quickly realized that this event was a pretty big deal. School principals, city council members, and community representatives surrounded us. Handshake after handshake, greeting after greeting, I knew that night would be one to remember.

After being treated to a special performance by the “Noises Off” cast, we all watched an informational video about the city of Pasadena and events that occurred in 2011. From programs sponsoring the arts in schools, to the December 1 windstorms, I learned what city government is all about: being there for the community. Watching that video not only showed me how involved city government is, but also the amount of time and thought put forth before important decision making. I was really happy to see that the mayor is able to communicate with elected city council officials to plan out events that will benefit the community. I read about it in my AP Government class, but watching it all unfold before my eyes in one evening was really special.

I took note of the budgetary plans the mayor has for Pasadena. His plans to cut city services without reducing Pasadena workforce may seem unfortunate, but it’s the responsible thing to do. Knowing how to budget money and redistribute it to places of need is what will keep Pasadena on its feet. The savage wind storms that hit our area was an unexpected emergency that needed immediate action. Damages totaling up to $17 million dollars are obstacles that the city has to face, but with time and planning, they can be overcome. The economy isn’t in it’s best shape, but the extension of the gold line and the renovation of the Rose Bowl will allow Pasadena to continue to thrive and stay the great city that it has been.

As a Pasadena native, being able to attend the State of the City address was a great honor. Attending this type of event is something I never would have thought I could do as a senior in high school. Listening to the mayor address and discuss key issues with everyone became the highlight of the night because I got to see how city politics works. Everyone was extremely polite and I felt comfortable being myself.

pasadena student

As I entered “A Noise Within” a theatre located in Pasadena, I was greeted by Mayor Bill Bogaard, community leaders, city council members, and various community members. We all entered the double doors into the lobby where a community resource fair was being held. We were then guided down the stairs to the beautiful theatre where the 200 seats filled quickly. Being a 17 year old student at Pasadena High School, a Flintridge Center employee and a Day One youth Advocate, I am accustomed to being in a room full of community based adults, but this event was a bit different as it held a great importance for the city of Pasadena: The State of the City address 2012!

The event commenced with the Master of Ceremonies Vice Mayor of Pasadena, Margret McAustin, who showed us a video about our city, which was both interesting and informative. The video included many of Pasadena’s accomplishments in 2011. Mayor Bogaard began his State of the City Address by speaking about financial matters and how important they are now more than ever in the year 2012. The mayor said that this year was the fourth consecutive year that Pasadena had faced revenue shortfalls and that it would be necessary to have expense reductions in order to fill these financial gaps. He went on to say that Pasadena has had a shrinking sales tax base, and explained that a large portion of our sales tax comes from auto dealerships, but in the last decade Pasadena has lost eleven of them. “The City’s fiscal picture suffered additional setbacks in recent weeks,” he said. For example the devastating windstorm that caused extensive damage to Pasadena on November 30th and December 1st, costing Pasadena, $17 million in repairs. The City of Pasadena thought that the damages caused by the windstorm would be recovered from federal and state emergency relief programs, but it appears as though the cost will fall on the City. The mayor reassured us that the City will survive the year’s fiscal setbacks, and that as a city we will reach new heights this year. The Mayor also spoke about the Task Force Economic Development Strategy, City Boards and Commissions, the General Plan, the Rose Bowl Renovation, the Gold Line Foothill Extension, the Pasadena Unified School District and, last but not least, the redistricting process for City Council and the Districting Task Force for the Pasadena Unified School District.

The State of the City Address was a very memorable event; I learned how the City operates City events, the process of budgeting, the necessities and challenges of the City, and the Mayor’s on-going effort and commitment to help Pasadena. I enjoyed learning about City government and I am glad I experienced this wonderful and educational event!

Although it is important to focus on our present, we must also focus on our future. One thing not addressed by the mayor was youth involvement. Youth play a vital role in our community, and I feel that youth were not represented at the State of the City Address. In a crowd of 200 there were only two youth present, I acknowledge the Mayor’s effort to have youth feedback on his address and I want to thank him for contacting Pasadena High School principal Gilbert Barraza to invite Pedro Loeza and me to attend the event. However, more effort needs to be made to reach our youth leaders. In my experience “for youth by youth” has always proven to be best. I would suggest that next year’s event place a greater emphasis on youth participation – reaching out to youth-serving organizations and working with existing youth groups, such as Day One Youth Advocates or Youth Council, could create a more youth-friendly event.

pasadena student

My name is Travis Jarjour, I am the ASB President at Pasadena High School, and this is my Student Review on the Mayor's State of the City speech. Immediately upon entering auditorium I was expecting a political speech that would discuss issues of the the adult world and would only relate to something of financial matters or the environment. At the beginning of the speech, to my surprise, he had actually address the high schools that were in attendance by calling on us each individually to recognize and acknowledge our presence. This was greatly appreciated because it made our attendance feel valued. As his speech began I noticed he began to address the budget crisis, which was not a surprise, but the statistics and facts he had provided were something I had not heard before and helped me receive a better understanding of the issue at hand. He spoke on the committes and boards that are involved in Pasadena and what actions some were taking. Also, I was happy to hear what he had to say about the renovations that the Rose Bowl is undergoin and the extension of the Gold Line. It was nice to know our tax dollars were really going to something that would benefit the city. Although he addressed several topics that did not directly relate to the Pasadena Unified School District, I found what he had to say engaging. Then I was eager to hear what he had to say about PUSD, which I did find interesting, but I would have appreciated if he elaborated more on the bigger issues that PUSD is having. Possibly even addressing major problems that are occuring at each campus. What I liked most about his speech was hearing that he actually had plans for these problems that Pasadena is having. He did not just say everything that is wrong with Pasadena without any ideas that could help fix it. He had a plan, and he sounded rather confident to reach the goal of that plan. Hearing this speech had me realize some of the issues that are going on not only in PUSD but in Pasadena as well. I was glad I could hear the speech and I look forward to being invited and having the honor to attend other political speeches in the future.