It’s around this time each year that we stop and take stock of the events that affected us personally, professionally, politically, financially and spiritually over the past 12 months.
For some folks, retrospectives are a waste of time. For others, they are invaluable tools for gauging events in the weeks and months ahead. Still others see them as a novel way of measuring progress on one issue or another.
In any case, looking back provides all of us with a service, one which allows us to see where we have been so we can at least guess where we are headed.
Literally ripped from the headlines, following are some of the bigger stories that made print last year in the Pasadena Weekly.
After the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game, Pasadenans take time out to celebrate Cheeseburger Week in the birthplaceof the cheeseburger. On a more serious note, academics gear up for a blacklist they believe will be developed against them and their works by members of the new Trump administration. January was a bloody month, with two people shot to death, three people wounded and 10 people arrested in connection with a spate of gang-related shootings. John Lee Hancock, director of “The Founder,” sat down with PW Arts Editor Carl Kozlowski to talk about his Ray Kroc biopic, and local demonstrators were gearing up to protest at Donald Trump’s inauguration, which they and millions of others did.
President Trump signs separate executive orders attacking sanctuary cities and temporarily banning refugees and travelers from seven Muslim countries. Here at home, six novices throw their respective hats into the political ring to run for open seats on the City Council, and Pasadena City College receives word that it is now fully accredited. At the end of the month, PW Deputy Editor André Coleman learns that Pasadena Police Lt. Vasken Gourdikian is placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation after agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) raid his home.
Voters re-elect incumbents to City Council seats and vote for one newcomer for the school board as locals take to the streets to protest against Trump’s immigration policies. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff assumes a leading role in probing the president’s Russian connections, the century-old PCC Courier publishes its last print edition, Rose Bowl officials announce Tom Petty is among the stars to perform at the first-ever Arroyo Seco Weekend, and activists learn that a Sanctuary City designation could cost the city millions in federal funds that the Trump administration threatens to withhold.
Urbanist David Wolfe unveils plans to harness the city’s architectural past to help create a better future, local groups rally for yet another anti-Trump march, this one over the climate, Cheech Marin visits Pasadena to push his new book at The Rose, 20 votes is all that puts incumbent Councilman Andy Wilson on top of political newcomer Phil Hosp in the race for the council’s District 7 seat, and the Huntington Library opens a new exhibit on the works of the late sci-fi author Octavia Butler, a Pasadena native.
ATF agents report finding a total of 57 weapons in the home of Lt. Gourdikian, Democratic state Sen. Anthony Portantino introduces legislation to name part of the 134 Freeway after President Barack Obama, Ozomatli headlines at South Pasadena’s Eclectic Music Festival, the Amgen Tour of California returns to Pasadena, disgraced former Sheriff Lee Baca is sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the county jail scandal, and the city settles out of court with a lady who claims her civil rights were violated by her brother — a veteran Pasadena police officer.
The Pasadena Weekly learns Lt. Gourdikian has been selling “off roster” weapons online, Trump’s budget plans do not include funds for an earthquake early warning system, Pasadena celebrates its 131st anniversary with a tribute to trains and transportation, protesters try in vain to keep hardcore Republican and Trump supporter Ted Nugent from taking the stage at The Rose, cops arrest eight men in connection with January’s deadly shooting spree, the La Loma Bridge, the smaller sister of the Colorado Street Bridge, is renamed in honor of recently deceased former state Attorney General John Van de Kamp, and the Weekly learns that the cop under investigation by the ATF was investigated once before on a gun-related complaint. At the end of the month, Aramazd Andrsessian is arrested for murdering his 5-year-old son Aramazd “Pique” Andressian Jr., a crime to which he later confesses, a new minimum wage standard goes into effect, and Gary Tyler moves to Pasadena after his release from an Alabama prison after being wrongly convicted of murder and spending more than four decades behind bars.
Terry Cannon captures the magic of America’s game with his Baseball Reliquary, the People’s Hall of Fame, Mayor Terry Tornek supports the goals of a group of mayors formed to battle climate change but won’t join it, former PUSD volunteer and accused murderer John Lawrence Whitaker marks his 12th year in Orange County Jail awaiting trial, Politicon and its playbill of big-name political operatives comes to the Civic Auditorium, and new fencing fails its first test in stopping people from jumping off the Colorado Street Bridge.
Glendale’s Wellness Works nonprofit program offers hope to war veterans suffering with PTSD, the dean of the USC School of Medicine, a Pasadena resident who allegedly lived a drug-filled double life, faces dismissal, a retired judge in Hawaii rebuffs protesters and gives the greenlight to Caltech and its partners to build Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, the Pasadena Museum of California Art exhibits poster art promoting US films as Cuban art, Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski shares his lighter side with Norman Lear at an eclectic film screening series the federal judge occasionally hosts, local folks condemn President Trump for his reluctance to denounce Nazis and the KKK after a rally in Virginia turns violent, and thousands of people in Pasadena join millions around the country in witnessing the historic solar eclipse.
A Superior Court judge sides with a former Rose Queen who was victimized by a charming con man-turned-rapist, labor leader Dolores Huerta speaks with PW’s Bliss Bowen about a recent documentary on her life, the Cassini spacecraft ends its historic mission to Saturn in a blaze of glory by recording while burning up in the planet’s atmosphere, local DREAMERs, protest against Vice President Mike Pence at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills, and Jane Kaczmarek stars in a version of “Our Town” for the deaf at the Pasadena Playhouse,
The annual Eagle Rock Music Festival celebrates its 18th year, longtime journalist, author and ghost author Digby Diehl is fondly remembered by many, including friend Harlan Ellison, who calls Diehl “A Gentle Gentleman,” increased security becomes the new normal after a mass shooting in Las Vegas leaves 58 people dead and hundreds wounded, PW writer Shirley Hawkins learns Dominic Cangleosi helps make the Moonlight Rollerway Skating Rink a magical place, Deputy Editor André Coleman finds police body cameras do not help decrease use-of-force incidents, rent control movements in Glendale and Pasadena slowly start to organize, Tom Petty dies of cardiac arrest at age 66, a local activist files a state Public Records Act request to find out how many times police secretly photographed and stored his license plate number, and Armand Anderson Bell, aka Amani Phoenix, is chosen Queen of the 40th Occasional Doo Dah Parade.
Former Vice President Joe Biden visits town to say he hasn’t ruled out a run for the presidency, an audit shows a lack of funds and staff led to problems putting people into affordable units the previous year, Alhambra residents start taking steps to protect the city’s trees from developers and the city, One Arroyo Day seeks out public opinion on what should be done with the Arroyo Seco, Los Angeles magazine editor and Pasadena resident Chris Nichols takes a tour with PW Arts Editor Carl Kozlowski, the Pasadena Tenants Union takes the first steps toward a rent control ballot measure, and local residents and others call on the city to purchase property where Jackie Robinson’s childhood home stood.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visits Pasadena to hawk her new book, “What Happened,” at Vroman’s Bookstore, Congressman Schiff says evidence of collusion in the Russian probe is mounting, UCLA fires football coach Jim Mora and replaces him with Chip Kelly, a video of a man being beaten by police following a traffic stop enflames local residents and civil rights leaders alike, the LA Weekly’s new Orange County ownership group fires all but one staff writer then makes him the editor in chief, and federal appellate court Judge Kozinski, an appointment of President Reagan in 1985, comes under fire from six women who claim he sexually harassed them by saying inappropriate things and showing at least one of the women porn on his computer at work. Kozinski resigns after several more women come forward accusing him of harassment. And police release body-camera footage of a violent encounter between two officers and motorist Christopher Ballew of Altadena.
Hopefully all of the above will help take at least some of the guesswork out of figuring out what might happen next.
Will President Trump survive congressional and special counsel investigations into Russia? How many more mass shootings will we face? More important to Pasadena, will a new voting system make the city more or less democratic? Will the next phase of minimum wage increases drive restaurants out of business? Will more papers go the way of the PCC Courier and just stop printing? Will voters force rent control on greedy landlords? Will John Whitaker ever stand trial for murder? Will the city come up with plan for the Arroyo Seco that everyone can agree on?
For answers to these and many other pressing questions, pick up your Pasadena Weekly every Thursday at a news rack near you.
Happy Holidays, everyone!