Friday, November 2, 2012
Besides, claiming you're a man of the people as Chris has doesn't actually mean you'd ever really want to hang around with too many regular folks. Better to mainly invite those with business interests relevant to the erstwhile Assemblyman's own. And for this long-time Pasadena City Councilman, Michillinda is probably as good a location as any for him to make a reluctant foray into our little town. Should the experience here amongst the unwashed become too unpleasant for him, all he has to do is walk back across the street.
That Pasadena City Council pay raise Holden voted himself really is problematic, you know. When sitting elected officeholders cast a vote to give themselves more of the taxpayer's hard earned dough, people can take it as an indication of how they might behave themselves if they should ever move up the ladder to higher office. And with Holden hoping to go to Sacramento, this does become a situation. Our State Legislature, perhaps the most profligate squanderer of the peoples' money anywhere, is hardly a place where featherbedding is an unrecognized art. Perhaps Chris just wanted to show the folks he hopes to be working with soon that he is a team player.
Few people see this as being a small matter, of course. And in today's Pasadena Star News (click here) Larry Wilson lowers the boom on this act of personal aggrandizement at the taxpayer's expense:
But serving on our local city councils is really designed to be an honor, as well as a part-time job. When I was covering the council as a reporter, its members were paid $50 a week. Scam was they also got $50 if a Community Development Commission - council wearing different hats - meeting was held, but still. Not a fortune. And the pay remained that essentially from 1968 to 1997. (Essentially, I say, because of a brief 1991 mutiny in which pay was raised to almost $3,000 a month before citizens howled it down. Mayor Jess Hughston, a liberal Republican - yes, children, they existed - reported "obscene and threatening calls" to his home and changed his vote to create a new council majority to rescind the raise.)
Slow-creeping compromises were made down the decades, and Pasadena City Council members are now paid $1,367 a month - the mayor gets $2,051. And the council just voted 6-2 to give itself a raise.
That's just crazy. It's unethical to vote on one's own raise. That aside, none of the arguments about the wisdom of the 3 percent hike hold any water for me. I fully agree the pay means that some of the harder-working members, especially the mayor, are making a couple bucks an hour. It's not supposed to be a living wage. It's supposed to be civic volunteerism.
Just as with the Legislature, the more you pay, the more you encourage the rascals. I hate it when an Assembly member brags about how many laws he's authored - another law is not the way to a better California, or our pursuit of happiness. The reverse is probably true.
I'm embarrassed as a Pasadenan that the council decided the city - beset by fiscal problems, cost overruns, staff layoffs - is in such good shape its members deserve a raise. Sure, it's just $41 a month each. But it's the symbolism of it while so many other citizens are out of work or underemployed.
Probably the only thing Chris Holden could have done that is even worse than funneling more taxpayer dough into his own pocket would be to support the 710 Tunnel. But wait, he does!
There is a wonderful little article that showed up this week in the other newspaper from Our Nation's Capitol, The Washington Times. Now you might wonder why a local yokel of a Pasadena politician would be receiving some (albeit negative) ink in a daily paper from Washington DC, but please remember something. Chris Holden is an heir to the Hahn-Holden political machine, a recognized power center here in one of America's greatest population centers. This is bigger than you may think.
The Washington Times levels Holden on his evasive and slick 710 Tunnel position. Check it out (click here):
Chris Holden plays 'possum' as he ignores constituents questions on the 710 freeway expansion: City Councilman Chris Holden is playing "the possum game" on the residents of Pasadena, San Rafael and in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. As we all know, possums have limited defenses against their predators. Their best and most prominent type of defense mechanism is to act as if they are dead., hoping that whatever is attacking them will simply go away and leave them alone.
Pasadena City Council Chris Holden, a Democrat candidate who is running for the new 41st district Assembly race, is indeed playing possum in regards to his neglected constituents, especially regarding the matter of the expansion of the 710 Freeway.
Those most affected by the potential expansion of the freeway—the residents of Pasadena, San Rafael, and in the San Gabriel valley—are both frustrated at the soaring potential costs of construction and over the safety measures taken to both create and to operate said expansion. The frustrations have gone unheard. As the questions have come forth, questions that include concerns about the cost to the cities and the costs to the state to build and operate the freeway, councilman Holden has adopted the possum defense, refusing to give clear answers or to take a stance one way or the other—until after the upcoming election.
This is a poor strategy to take in these disenchanted times. Many loyal Democrats and decline-to-state voters in Southern California are beginning to cross party lines on matters that impact their lives, including this issue regarding a potential freeway—or in some scenarios, a long extended tunnel—through their neighborhoods. Holden’s actions have led many to form the NO 710 Action Committee, with growing membership from the afore-mentioned areas. His actions are also causing him to lose ground to his rival for the new 41st District, Republican candidate Donna Lowe.
I hope they have a nice party at Enid's place tonight. And who knows, maybe somebody there will ask Chris Holden all about giving himself a raise. Or why he is supporting a tunnel that would turn our valley into the kind of ecological miasma that is the 710 Cancer Corridor. Which is precisely what this tunnel would hook us into, along with its countless thousands of diesel burning trucks daily.
But I rather doubt that will happen. Special people usually don't know a whole lot about this kind of stuff. They'll probably be much more interested in the wine and salty snacks.
Posted by The Moderator at 5:00 AM