MAYOR DEFENDS ABSENCE FROM CORONAVIRUS MEETING

There has been recent critical commentary about my trip to Dakar, Senegal. It has been suggested that I should not have made the trip and that my absence somehow damaged the city’s ability to respond to the emerging COVID-19 crisis. That is not correct.

During my time away, I was constantly communicating by email and phone with city staff and others in Pasadena just as if I was in my office.

In fact, the March 17 special City Council meeting was scheduled by the city manager and me during this ongoing communication, as were the agenda and the list of items to be covered in his declaration. I was not able to participate in the meeting because I was getting the entire delegation home as quickly as possible. I felt that it was more important to continue with the special meeting rather than wait for me to return. It is the first City Council meeting that I have missed in my five-plus years as mayor.

My decision to make the trip with the delegation to our new sister city was made after careful consultation with city staff and the best available information from public health authorities. This trip was the culmination of a 20-year-long effort to forge a relationship with an African sister city and after complicated and detailed planning by the host committee. This was a self-funded trip, not paid for by the city, as has been the case for all the sister city trips.

Circumstances surrounding the virus emergency developed far more rapidly than any of us could have anticipated, but I consistently and thoroughly met my responsibilities as mayor. I continue to serve the city of Pasadena during the course of this emergency on a full time basis. While not required by the City Charter, I have committed all my time and energy to the job and I will continue to do so.

During this critical time, we must focus on the welfare of our residents and the survival of our businesses. These are not political issues; they are challenges that will affect our city for years to come.

Since we made the Safer at Home declaration, I have taped daily briefings to keep residents informed, communicated frequently with dedicated city staff and community leaders, supported local businesses and worked to coordinate health services and deal with food security challenges. Let’s work together to preserve our city and our people.

~TERRY TORNEK

MAYOR OF PASADENA

IN HIS OWN WORDS

Text of Fire Chief Bertral Washington’s email announcing his retirement:

Good Morning, PFD. After 25 years in the fire service and over five at PFD, I want you to know I will be retiring from the city next month.

I am very grateful to have served as your fire chief, on the shoulders of many great men and women ahead of us. PFD is one of the best fire departments in the world and this will continue as you remain focused on continuous improvement and holding true to your core values.

Working together, we accomplished many great things for the benefit of our department and the community we serve. Recently, the passage of Measure I, giving Pasadena funding to renovate and rebuild multiple fire stations, and the Pasadena Outreach Response Team (PORT) are two of the achievements I deeply admire. Seeing those capital improvement projects through, as well as growing PORT, will have a huge impact on your well-being and will impact the state of Pasadena homelessness significantly.

I wish each and every one of you well in your career and at home. The people of Pasadena support you tremendously and they deserve only the best that any fire department can deliver. In order to deliver the best service possible, you must support one another, encourage each other to be their best and hold one another accountable when anything less materializes.

Our career field is noble. Your actions and decisions will reflect on the fire service near and far, so always strive to do the right thing. As I mentioned to all I had the opportunity to hire or promote, I am invested in your success and I will always be available to help you in any way I can.

Please do not hesitate to contact me. …

Best wishes to you and your loved ones.

Sincerely.

~BERTRAL WASHINGTON

CHEIF, PASADENA FIRE

DEPARTMENT

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CLARIFICATION:

Last week’s cover photo of musician Goh Kurosawa was taken by Kai Kurosawa. The inside photo was shot by Goryo Kuwano, and the photo of Goh appearing on our website was taken by Jun Hiraoka.