City releases names of possible temporary replacements for Holden
By André Coleman 01/10/2013
Five people are vying for the Pasadena City Council seat left vacant after former Councilman Chris Holden’s election to the state Assembly.
According to City Clerk Mark Jomsky, the candidates are: real estate developer Joel Bryant; real estate agent Craig Washington, father of 2012 Rose Queen Drew Washington; screenwriter Brian Carmody; attorney Tarek Shawky; and former public school teacher Sharon Graham Higuera. All five have qualified for an interview with the Pasadena City Council later this month.
At that meeting, each candidate will make a presentation to the council and then respond to questions. Based on the presentation and the interview, candidates will be rated by council members on a scale of 1 to 3. In case of a tie, council members will vote separately on the tied applicants.
The winner will sit on the council until May 7, when the winner of the March 5 election, in which John J. Kennedy, Ishmael Trone and the Rev. Nicholas Benson are running to complete the remaining two years in Holden’s council term, is sworn in.
Until then, whoever is appointed by the council could be part of making some important decisions. Among them could be the possible resolution of federal lawsuits filed against the city, its police chief and two officers who shot and killed unarmed 19-year-old Kendrec McDade last March. Another could be deliberations with the NFL to allow a pro team to play in the Rose Bowl.
“It’s hard to say what may or may not come up,” said Carmody. “I think it’s a good opportunity to be involved in the community.”
The District 3 seat has been vacant since Holden was sworn into the Assembly last month after defeating Republican Donna Lowe for the 41st Assembly District seat in the November election.
“I have always been told that leadership is about serving the district,” said Bryant, owner of Landmark Construction. “It’s only for a few months, and we definitely have some big issues coming up in the city and we need good representation.”
Bryant — who has built affordable housing projects on Allen Avenue, Washington Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue — has served on the Rose Bowl Operating Co. Board of Directors and as a board member with Community Development Committee and Neighborhood Housing Services.
“It’s a good opportunity to be involved, and we need more folks in city politics,” said Shawky, who formerly served on the city’s Northwest Commission.
“I taught school at Madison [Elementary School], which is right in the middle of the district, for 24 years,” said Higuera. “I feel like I owe it to the families that I have taught. It’s a diverse district. I think the big issues are personal safety and education, which is key to keeping kids off the streets.”
Washington, a real estate agent who owns Craig Washington and Associates, said he grew up in Pasadena at a time “when Old Pasadena was a haven for the homeless and prostitutes.
“Look at it now,” he said. “The community is now multicultural and vibrant. I have been a 13-year member of the Tournament of Roses, and I have been on their executive committee. I thought this was the time and opportunity to bring my background to the council. I believe we can lower the unemployment rate through job training, I want to advocate for the city to use our assets better for the entire community, and encourage science and technology institutions to get involved. We should leverage that knowledge to our youth.”