Though a few centuries separate our respective municipal histories, and one city towers above the other in population and size, Havana and Pasadena share some things in common, particularly when it comes to our mutual affections for architecture, music, the arts and dining.

Both beautiful cities have multiple districts, just as the two communities have their own Old Towns, only Cuba’s capital city is a really old town, some still-standing portions of its 21st-century iteration dating back to the 1500s.

In fact, Havana possesses a wide diversity in styles of architecture — from castles built in the late 16th century to modernist present-day high-rises, according to the BBC. Much as our own infrastructure and buildings are decaying due to time and neglect, the present-day condition of many once awe-inspiring structures in Havana is one of ongoing deterioration since the 1959 revolution. Numerous collapses, reports the Habana Times, have resulted in injuries and deaths due to a lack of maintenance.

In the world of politics, Cuba is one of the world’s few remaining communist countries, joining Laos, North Korea, Vietnam and China. We mention this because more than one person has referred to the Crown City as the People’s Republic of Pasadena, as they once did of the city of Santa Monica for their sometimes liberal approach to tackling social and political issues.

One Pasadena official, former Mayor Bill Paparian, a lawyer, a former Marine and onetime Republican who once ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate, opposed the then more than 30-year-long US economic embargo of Cuba and came under fire in the late 1990s for his travels there to help efforts in delivering humanitarian aid. In an interesting twist, Paparian also opposed the inclusion of a China-backed Olympic-themed float in the 2008 Rose Parade because of that country’s human rights abuses, urging people to turn their backs on the float as it passed them along the parade route.

But there’s one thing that we have here that appears to set Pasadena somewhat apart from modern-day Havana, Santa Monica and really anywhere else, something that Paparian actually exemplifies, and that is the Pasadena Way.

For Pasadena police, the Pasadena Way consists of five ostensibly self-evident axioms. They are: We are fair but firm; we are proactive; we exist to serve the community; how we get the job done is as important as getting the job done; and we believe in the personal touch. In other words, they care about what they do, and they care about you.

For a cynical few perhaps, the notion of a Pasadena Way is really just another tool used by sophisticated and cultured Pasadenans to maintain a belief that they are somehow better than people living in other San Gabriel Valley cities. While that suspicion may be true to some degree, that phrase has come to mean much more than that to many others.

To those people, the Pasadena Way signifies a tradition of excellence through an ability to achieve great things that benefit us all at places like Caltech, PCC, JPL, ArtCenter College of Design, Huntington Library and Huntington Hospital. It means getting things done correctly, with fairness and care for others being major concerns in those processes. It means welcoming artists and others to express themselves in any number of fashions, or it’s putting on a spectacular parade so grand that the whole world delights in watching it on New Year’s Day.

To still others it’s taking pride in maintaining strong community bonds and urging those who have much to help those with little. It’s getting involved in the lives of the down and out and helping them get back on their feet, and it is supporting educators who refuse to give up on their students.

In short, the Pasadena Way is doing the best thing one can do every time, even when the opportunity presents itself to do less, or look the other way.

It is in this section of our annual Best of Pasadena Edition that we take time out to applaud our elected and appointed city officials, the private citizens who volunteer their time, the teachers who instruct our children, as well as the merchants, police officers, firefighters, religious leaders, and leaders of charities, schools and cultural and artistic institutions who have made significant positive differences in the lives of people by following this city’s own not always simple Golden Rule, the Pasadena Way.

Congratulations to one and all.

 

BEST ANNUAL EVENT

Rose Parade

tournamentofroses.com

Reader recommended

Art Night

artnightpasadena.org

Chalk Festival

pasadenachalkfestival.com

BEST ART GALLERY/COLLECTIONS

Norton Simon Museum

411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449-6840

nortonsimon.org

Reader Recommended

Huntington Library

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

(626) 405-2100

huntington.org

Armory Center for the Arts

145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 792-5101

armoryarts.org

BEST BUSINESS
PERSON

Hyo Kwon

Dots Cupcakes

21 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena

(626) 744-7719

dotscupcakes.com

Reader Recommended

Meredith Miller

Webster’s Community Pharmacy

Meredith M

2450 N. Lake Ave., Altadena

(626) 797-1163

altadenarx.com

Todd Robinson

Crown City Loan and Jewelry

65 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 793-5404

crowncityloan.com

BEST CITIZEN

Felita Kealing

Marketing Coordinator

Marshall Fundamental Secondary School

Reader Recommended

Darrell McKenzie

Pasadena Police Reserve Officer

Becky Rakisits

Board Member

Pasadena Casting Club

BEST PUBLIC
EMPLOYEE

Steve Mermell

Pasadena City Manager

Reader Recommended

Bill Huang

Pasadena Housing Director

Diane Walker

Senior Librarian

Pasadena Public Library

BEST PUBLIC
OFFICIAL

Steve Madison

Pasadena City Council Member

Reader Recommended

Terry Tornek

Pasadena Mayor

Tyron Hampton

Pasadena City Council Member

BEST CULTURAL
FESTIVAL

Rose Parade

tournamentofroses.com

Reader Recommended

Art Night

artnightpasadena.org

Chalk Festival

pasadenachalkfestival.com

BEST HISTORIC
LANDMARK

Pasadena City Hall

100 N. Garfield Ave., Pasadena

(626) 744-7311 | cityofpasadena.net

Reader Recommended

Gamble House

4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena

(626) 449-4178

gamblehouse.org

Rose Bowl

1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena

(626) 577-3100

rosebowlstadium.com

BEST INSTITUTE OF HIGHER LEARNING

Caltech

1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 395-6811 | caltech.edu

Reader Recommended

Pasadena City College

1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 585-7123 | pasadena.edu

Pacific Oaks College

45 W. Eureka St., Pasadena

(626) 529-8061 | pacificoaks.edu

BEST KIDS/FAMILY FUN SPOT

Kidspace Children’s Museum

480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449-9144

kidspacemuseum.org

Reader Recommended

Playlab Indoor Playspace

1021 E. Walnut St., No. 100, Pasadena

(626) 376-0840 | goplaylab.com

Eaton Canyon

ecnca.org

BEST LOCAL CHARITY

Pacific Clinics

1020 S. Arroyo Parkway, No. 200, Pasadena

(626) 403-2794 | pacificclinics.org

Reader Recommended

Union Station Homeless Services

825 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 240-4550

unionstations.org

Bloom Again Foundation

221 E. Walnut St., No. 245,
Pasadena

(626) 405-7310

bloomagain.org

BEST LOCAL CHARITY EVENT

Masters of Taste

mastersoftastela.com

Reader Recommended

Wiggle Waggle Walk

pasadenahumane.org

Bloom Again Foundation

221 E. Walnut St., No. 245,
Pasadena

(626) 405-7310

bloomagain.org

BEST LOCAL
NONPROFIT

Pacific Clinics

1020 S. Arroyo Parkway, No. 200, Pasadena

(626) 403-2794

pacificclinics.org

Reader Recommended

Bloom Again Foundation

221 E. Walnut St., No. 245, Pasadena

(626) 405-7310

bloomagain.org

Pasadena Casting Club

415 S. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 356-7406

pasadenacastingclub.org

BEST LOCAL
PERSONALITY

Mr. Pasadena

Michael Calderon

Reader recommended

Ellen Snortland

Author/Filmmaker/Playwright/PW Columnist

Larry Mantle

Radio Host

KPCC 89.3 FM

BEST MUSEUM

Norton Simon Museum

411 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449.6840

nortonsimon.org

Reader Recommended

Huntington Library

1151 Oxford Road, San Marino

(626) 405-2100

huntington.org

Pasadena Museum of History

470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena

(626) 577-1660

pasadenahistory.org

BEST NEW BUSINESS

Granville

270 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena

(626)  360-7633

granvillecafe.com

Reader recommended

Ananya Aesthetics

1055 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 500 Pasadena

(213) 290-1380

ananyaaesthetics.com

Debatetable Productions

Debadebatableproductions.com

BEST PARK/OUTDOOR RECREATION SPOT

Victory Park

2575 Paloma St., Pasadena

(626) 744-7500

ci.pasadena.ca.us

Reader Recommended

Brookside Park

360 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 744-7311

ci.pasadena.ca.us

Rose Bowl

1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena

(626) 577-3100

rosebowlstadium.com

BEST PLACE OF
WORSHIP

All Saints Episcopal Church

132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena

(626) 796-1172

allsaints-pas.org

Reader Recommended

Lake Avenue Church

393 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena

(626) 844-4700

lakeave.org

San Gabriel Community Church

117 N. Pine St.,

San Gabriel

(626) 656-1000

sangabrielcommunity.org

BEST PLACE TO WORK

Pacific Clinics

1020 S. Arroyo Parkway, No. 200, Pasadena

(626) 403-2794

pacificclinics.org

Reader recommended

Union Station Homeless Services

825 E. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 240-4550

unionstationhs.org

Marshall Fundamental

Secondary School

990 Allen Ave.,

Pasadena

(626) 396-5810

pusd.us

BEST PRESCHOOL

Goodman Family

Daycare & Preschool

1090 El Campo Drive,

Pasadena

(626) 578-1815

goodmandaycare.com

Reader recommended

Pasadena Christian

1485 N. Los Robles Ave.,

Pasadena

(626) 791-1214

pasadenachristian.org

Pacific Oaks Children’s School

14 W, California Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 529-8011

pacificoakschildrensschool.org

BEST PRIVATE SCHOOL

Judson International School

1610 E. Elizabeth St.,

Pasadena

(626) 398-2476

judsonschool.org

Reader recommended

La Salle High School

3880 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 626.351.8951

lasallehs.org

Alverno Heights Academy

200 N. Michillinda Ave.,

Sierra Madre

(626) 355-3463

alvernoheightsacademy.org

BEST CHARTER SCHOOL

Aveson Charter School

1919 Pinecrest Drive, Altadena

(626) 797-1440

aveson.org.

Reader recommended

Odyssey Charter School

725 W. Altadena Drive, Altadena

(626) 229-0993

odysseycharterschool.org

BEST PUBLIC SCHOOL

Marshall Fundamental Secondary School

990 Allen Ave., Pasadena

(626) 396-5810

pusd.us

Reader recommended

Pasadena High School

2925 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 396-5880

pusd.us

Blair High School

1201 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena

(626) 396-5820

pusd.org

BEST ART SCHOOL

Art Center College of Design

1700 Lida St., Pasadena

870 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

950 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

1111 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena

(626) 396-2200

artcenter.edu

Reader recommended

Armory Center for the Arts

145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena

(626) 792-5101

armoryarts.org

BEST MUSIC SCHOOL

Pasadena Conservatory of Music

100 N. Hill Ave., Pasadena

(626) 683-3355

pasadenaconservatory.org

Reader recommended

Modern Music School

2982 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 578-9242

modernmusicpasadena.com

Bloom School of

Music and Dance

2116 Colorado Blvd.,

Eagle Rock

(323) 982-1655

bloomschoolofmusicanddance.com

BEST TEACHER

Cynthia Cales

Alverno Heights Academy

200 N. Michillinda Ave.,

Sierra Madre

(626) 355-3463 

alvernoheightsacademy.org

Reader Recommended

Arlene Santos

Lumina Academy

1052 Allen Ave., Pasadena

Jacqueline Goodman

Goodman Family Daycare & Preschool

1090 El Campo Drive,

Pasadena

(626) 578-1815

goodmandaycare.com

BEST ENRICHMENT

Elements Dance Space

1222 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena,

Suite 110

(626) 817-9988

elementsdancespace.com

Reader recommended

Two Dragons Martial Arts

2490 Lake Ave.,

Altadena

(626) 398-8853

twodragonsma.com

Parson’s Nose Theater

95 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena

(626) 403-7667

parsonsnose.org

BEST TUTORING

Mathnasium

900 Valley View Ave., Pasadena

(626) 510-6284

mathnasium.com/pasadena

Reader Recommended

Marshall Fundamental

Secondary School Tutoring

990 Allen Ave., Pasadena

(626) 396-5810 | pusd.us

Meri Education

845 Cordova St., Pasadena

(626) 639-8810

merieducation.com

BEST PLACE TO
HAVE FUN

Old Pasadena

oldpasadena.org

Reader recommended

Rose Bowl

1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena

(626) 577-3100

rosebowlstadium.com

Kidspace Children’s Museum

480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena

(626) 449-9144 | kidspacemuseum.org