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05/30/2013

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 ‘A man short’
I would like to correct a point that appeared in your article on the recent Board of Education elections (“Political paralysis,” May 16, 2013). The board bylaws do not contain any provision mentioning seniority in the election of a board president. The board protocols do state: “It is desirable that the presidency rotate among all board members who wish to serve in that capacity” (Section 8c).  
Two weeks ago, two experienced board members who “wished to serve in that capacity” were nominated, Mr. (Scott) Phelps and me. If we had had the usual number of seven board members, there could have been an election decision then. However, the six-member situation led to a deadlock. The next week, Ms. (Renatta) Cooper was nominated and elected by four votes.
None of this was contrary to any board policy or bylaw. As for any “pledge” of mine, I never pledged that I would not run for president if encouraged to do so, which I was. And I never pledged to support any other specific person.
The board can certainly visit the topic of whether the presidency should automatically rotate through all its members. That could be a useful discussion. Such rotation is used by many but not all school boards in our area. As you know, the Pasadena City Council several years ago went the other way, when the voters decided to have an elected mayor rather than one automatically rotating in from the council membership.
I just think it’s important for your readers to know that, “playing a man short” to use a sports metaphor, the board followed its own rules and made a choice; and we are now back at work on the important task of educating our students!
 
 ~ ELIZABETH POMEROY
MEMBER , PASADENA BOARD OF EDUCATION

A nuanced issue
André Colman’s comments in the Pasadena Weekly’s April 17 issue regarding the moratorium on recycling centers (“Bad environments”) doesn’t accurately portray the entire story.

It is easy to paint this as a “for” or “against” recycling issue. This is anything but. Residents and business owners who live and work near and around the recycling centers have been concerned with their activities for some time. I am one of those residents. However, I do not want to see any of the centers shut down, because I personally feel that getting people to recycle is hard enough; we need to make it as easy as possible for anyone to recycle any item they want to, whether it is used clothing, or batteries, or bottles. 

The local residents’ concerns with the recycling center are pretty straightforward. There is a lot of litter generated by items refused by the recycling center. This pollutes our streets. There is a health concern created due to the dumping of many types of rotting and stale bottle contents in the area around the centers, not to mention the public urination.

Last is the very real issue of loitering around the centers. In other cities, there are very strict guidelines around keeping recycling centers clean and safe for everyone involved. Recycling centers don’t usually take bottles with liquids or food still in them. Containers must be clean and dry prior to recycling them. Dumping is not allowed, and trash cans are both provided and regularly emptied. Loitering is prohibited. Frankly, in my estimation, more than one or two calls a year to a recycling center denotes a problem. Presently our Police Department is being burdened with these types of calls at a time when the number of officers on the force is already dangerously low — they are operating at 2008 budgetary levels.

The moratorium was sought because our city can do better — and we, its citizens, should expect it to. Other cities have established well managed recycling programs. The city of Pasadena has passed the moratorium in order to research best practices and apply them fairly here. It is unfortunate that the moratorium is in place for so long. No resident or business owner I spoke with was happy with that, and we have requested regular progress reports. We are told to expect the first one in June.

As to the assertion that this is the beginning of the end of the recycling centers so that the city may reap the benefits in its curbside recycling, that line of thinking doesn’t make sense. Even if the centers were all closed (which benefits no one), would that prevent someone from rummaging in our curbside recycling? No. It doesn’t stop them from taking their bounty to a nearby city. While I personally don’t have a problem with someone going through my recycling to get what they can, I know other residents do. My suggestion to ameliorate this situation is to establish a pilot program that gives incentives to individual recyclers to go elsewhere to find recycling materials. This kind of program would also propel us toward the excellent goal of Zero Waste. I hope to propose such a program to the city in the near future.

Pasadena residents deserve clean, safe streets. The recycling centers, as they are currently managed, are not contributing to that. When the residents of Districts 3 and 5 brought their concerns to Councilmember Gordo, he sat up and listened. We want to thank him for that. This is a nuanced issue which deserves nuanced reporting. And in the end, we hope that the best solutions are achieved for the good of the entire community.
  
~ CYBELE GARCIA KOHEL,
NORTHWEST NEIGHBORHOOD
ADVOCACY GROUP, PASADENA

FROM THE WEB:
Re: “A tribute long overdue,” April 11
A fitting museum and historic homage to Jackie Robinson is well overdue. I am surprised that no one has seconded this idea. 
~ TB2

Re: “Not for sale,” April 18
The candidate with less money and fewer endorsements won this district race. He could never have won citywide. District elections work. 
~ VIVAVILLA

Re: “What’s in your backpack?” April 18
One other thing I think ... a container of pepper spray. Especially if you are spending the night say, up the Arroyo beyond JPL or Brown Mountain or even farther, there are coyotes (great cowards unless there are many), cougars, and even very rare but still occasional bears. So as not to put your own self down, you probably should also go online and find out how to effectively and safely use your pepper spray.
~ DAND

LETTERS WANTED
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