For some relevant background I turned to our good friend the Pasadena Insider. This voice from "Under the Dome" has given us some enlightening insights before. Mostly on the rose colored reality that shines from the local government agency ruling from a building that looks a little like the capitol of Bolivia. And I mean that in the good sense.
So I turned to that generous source once again. Here is the Insider's take:
Following a life threatening illness, Ann Erdman left the City of Pasadena in 2012 after serving as Public Information Officer for many years. She represented the interests of the Mayor and City Council, as well as the City of Pasadena, in the very best light.
Ann's prime directive while serving as PIO was to rule with an iron hand - no one spoke to the press or opined on an incident without first being briefed by her. Frequently she sat by their side while they were interviewed or chatted on the phone. Welcome in almost every salon or newsroom, and privy to the secrets of the Rose City intelligentsia as well as the hoi poloi, she is genuine, lively, and sanguine.
For her tenure under the dome she could and did demur in a folksy, non-threatening manner with which few could find fault. She has emerged to follow where her literary, journalistic and blogging talents lead, and we are all the richer for her effervescence.
That certainly is a most positive take, and does set us up nicely for the following exchange of opinion. This is taken from the Pasadena Politics page (link), located on the oftentimes annoying Facebook.
Alas, this is where X-PIO Ann Erdman vanished from our impromptu Facebook interview on the slipperier aspects of responsibility avoidance by Pasadena's elected officials in the Embezzlegate Scandal. Maybe she finally figured out that I am the guy from The Tattler, or something. I did try to resuscitate our conversation, but it did not work.
So exactly what is there to excite people about the Pasadena Mayoral election? Will more than 20% of eligible voters even bother to show up this time? Apparently the big message from the Embezzlegate Scandal is it's all the fault of the help. This while at the exact same time letting City Manager Michael Beck, that most ultimate in Pasadena City Staff uber-rule, off the hook completely.
Go back to Ann's explanation for why this wasn't the fault of Pasadena's elected officials:
"… the mayor and council do not oversee departments and are not responsible for managing or overseeing most administrative staff. The only three staff positions that report to the city council are the city manager, city clerk and city attorney."
This has been the standard PeeDee City Hall explanation throughout the scandal. If it actually is the case, and City Staff does have a near complete run of the asylum, then why should anyone vote for or against the powerless and responsibility-free stuffed shirts in Pasadena's election next month? If what Ann says is true, then this really does become nothing more than a beauty contest election.
If you think about it, this makes Pasadena's Mayor and City Council a figurehead government. Kind of like the Royal Family of England. There to give the appearance of governmental order and demonstrable rule, but without the real juice to even call incompetent officials onto the carpet and fire their useless selves.
Even when over $6.4 million dollars was embezzled right from under their upward turned noses.
You do have to admit one thing about the voters of Pasadena though, they are civil. Kind of like the way the Eloi are civil in the movie Time Machine.
Just before they get eaten.