Candidates stood in a 1907 Quaker Meeting house, as they shared where they stood on Affordable/Homeless Housing

21 Jan

candidates forum crowdStarting around 5:45 pm on Tuesday, January 21, people started pouring into the Quaker Orange Grove Friends Meetinghouse until every bench and every chair was filled. People filled the social hall as well as the worship space! Between 120-150 people attended, as you can see from this  picture. The Pasadena Now has an article about it:

http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/candidates-discuss-housing/#.XiiFe2hKg2w

You can also see it livestreamed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1tYtSpfV8k&feature=youtu.be

To find out where the candidates stand on crucial issues regarding housing in our city, click here:  Candidates Booklet 

Jill Shook made everyone laugh when she told them that she would consider voting for District Tyron Hampton for District 1, where she lives, but she first asked him to support a list of a 10 items. He agreed to 8. That was good enough, so she supported him. “But what’s most important,” Jill added, “is that he actually did what he promised to do. Now that candidates have written down and expressed their views, we can hold them accountable.”

This was a lesson that everyone heard and we hope took to heart.

Thirteen of the 15 candidates took part. (One candidate is running unopposed and another just spaced out.)

candidates forum participants

From left, Ryan Bell, Steve Madison, Tamerlin Godley, Gene Masuda, Char Bland, Felicia Williams (hidden from view), the moderator, Tricia Keane, Kevin Litwin, Major Williams, Victor Gordo, and Terry Tornek. Photo courtesy Ryan Bell via Twitter and published in Pasadena Now.

Many of the candidates thanked and spoke appreciatively of  our 20 year’s of housing justice efforts.

Anthony Manousos with over 35 years of being a Quaker, welcomed everyone at the beginning of the event. He said,

“As you can see, it’s very simple: no religious trappings. We don’t have a pastor or set order of worship. We come together here to worship in silence, guided by the Spirit, and speak only when we feel led by the Spirit. Our meetinghouse was built in 1907 and is one of the oldest church buildings in our city. Quakers have been committed to peace and justice work for 350 years, and our Meeting has a special concern for housing justice and immigration. l  want to thank all of you for showing up and showing your concern for homeless and affordable housing. ”

Jill spoke about the history of the Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group (GPAHG) and mentioned how it was birthed in the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) office in the early 1990s.  You can read more the history here: History of GPAHG

We were pleased that several of the candidates support rent control (Rob Bell and Char Bland) and Gene Masuda who is presently on the council also expressed support. Almost almost all  of the candidates expressed support for permanent supportive housing and commercial development at the Civic Center. And Mayor Tornek said in his comments that he is not longer supporting a lawsuit against the state on the new ADU–Accessory Dwelling Unit policy, see:  New State Granny Flat Bills compared to Pasadena

Our work is faith-rooted and honors everyone, including elected officials we sometimes disagree with. An important element of this kind of activity is building relationships. People had a chance to meet and greet candidates at the end for around 45 minutes. People were excitedly discussing housing issues in a way that brought joy to our hearts as housing justice advocates.

Our faith-rooted approach has the  goal of not just persuading our elected officials, but also of listening and being open to hearing their viewpoint. Our ultimate goal is to create what Dr. King calls “The Beloved Community.” We felt we had a glimpse of the Beloved Community during this Forum.

We give God thanks to all those on our GPAHG team that worked so hard to make this a successful event: June William and Sonja Berndt who ran the sign-in table, Antonio who was the greeter, Morgan who did the live stream and also brought food along with Jennifer Lim and others.  Tom Petersmeyer and all who setup and cleaned up afterwords…. But a very special shout out to Miriam Tellez who was the key planner of the event. She spent hours detailing out every aspect of the evening and was an excellent time keeper with red stop and green go signs she painted. All had essential roles for which we are thankful. We give praise for what God is accomplishing through us. We want to thank Orange Grove Meeting for its support and encouragement.

Candidates who took part:

  • Victor Gordo, Jason Hardin, Terry Tornek, Major Williams (Mayor)
  • Felicia Williams, Kevin Litwin and Patricia Keane (District 2);
  • Charlotte Bland and Gene Masuda (District 4);
  • Ryan Bell, Steve Madison, Tamerlin Godley (District 6);

Martin Yuson was our excellent moderator, who asked the Candidates questions about how they will address the city’s housing and homelessness crisis, how they stand on issues such as Accessory Dwelling Units, gentrification, use of the Civic Center for affordable/homeless housing,  up-zoning, etc. Here is a list of questions that candidates responded to:

Questions for Candidates for GPAHG’s Candidates Forum

Opening question: Please discuss your vision for addressing the affordable/homeless housing crisis.

  1. Please share your thoughts about the new state laws that give homeowners the option to build a junior ADU inside the residence as well as an external ADU on the lot with fewer restrictions. Do you feel that the City should sue to prevent the state from preempting local control over zoning policies such as the building of ADUs?
  2. Many churches in this city have expressed interest in building affordable/homeless housing on their excess land, This might require changes in zoning and parking requirement. How do you feel about this?
  3. There is currently a debate about whether the Civic Center  should be used only for commercial use or for affordable/homeless housing as well as for commercial use. What do you feel is the best use of the Civic Center?
  4. There is a debate about whether new affordable/homeless housing  should be built in every district, including Northwest Pasadena where low-income people are being displaced due to gentrification. What is your opinion on this issue?
  5. Rising rents are a major cause of homelessness and displacement. Some say that rent stabilization will alleviate this problem, while others disagree. What is your view?

Closing Question: Sum up your hopes for what you can accomplish during your term in office to address housing crisis, or one of question that you care deeply about and didn’t get a chance to answer

 

One Response to “Candidates stood in a 1907 Quaker Meeting house, as they shared where they stood on Affordable/Homeless Housing”

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  1. Candidates Attend Greater Pasadena Affordable Housing Group Forum - January 23, 2020

    […] Many local residents attended to listen in on what 2020 election candidates had to say about how they will address many of the current issues affe…. […]

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