On January 22nd two days after Obama gave his inauguration speech as our first bi-racial President, I found myself listening to our local Pasadena Prez, Mayor Bogaard, giving his annual State of The City speech. He called it, “The Momentum to Succeed!”, and was held in the upstairs Gold Room of the Pasadena Civic.
The mayor listened to Obama’s gift of speech delivery at the inauguration, which he attended. Probably with the hope & prayer the gift would somehow magically fall upon himself. No doubt this must’ve been the real reason he rushed back from DC – to try it out on his own speech this nite!
I met the coordinator of the Rose Bowl monthly walk with a mayor event in the conference building. We walked to the foyer of the Civic thinking we might be late. Hah!, no, everyone was still yakking away downstairs! Good for us. As we’re walking in I saw the Mayor also entering, but looking at me as he did. Ok.
In the foyer were the city departments offering their freebie info at their tables. I took much of it, whether I wanted to or not. I chatted with most of these city evangelists, i.e., employees, and I met a beautiful lady who is with the budget division. A few people I recognized but said nothing, such as OJ Simpson’s Judge Lance Ito with wife Margaret York. I notice the Mayor is chatting with a small group and he’s again looking my way! I’m thinking, “Did we meet before?, Do I look like one of his political adversaries. What??”
It’s probably just this habit some people have to think they recognize me from whatever! I don’t know anyone who looks like me but I’ve had plenty of people claim I look everything from an actor to a former superintendent of the PUSD! So, I chalk it up to the mayor thinking he knows me from somewhere distant or vague.
Someone who does know me screams out my name a couple of times!!” Hearing my name makes me wanna become the invisible man. Gee, I pray it’s not someone from the parking tix department!! I can’t ignore my name put out in public so I turn to find the yeller, and it’s the P I O: The Pasadena Intelligence Officer! What a relief! If my own intelligence/memory serves me correctly that’s what PIO Ann is: the keeper of The Intelligentsia in this city. Someone not to be messed with. So I greet her with a friendly smile & TOR wave. I test her intelligence with one of my two vital question: Where’s the free food table?? After the event is over, she says. Ok, good!
By now, I’m about to take my seat up in the Gold Room with my female friends from the city budget division and the mayor’s Rose Bowl Walk. But, first, my second important question: where do i get my free validated parking?? Right here, at the entrance to the Gold Room!
The room is packed tonite, SRO, with around 400. Here I am, of all people, with these mostly politicians, bureaucrats, school board members, political reps, spinners, and other dignitaries in the midst. I recognize several people including Paul Little the Chamber of Commerce President two rows in front. Another is right in front of me but the name escapes me. This room is the only part of the Civic where I’ve never been. And I think I’ve visited every other part of this auditorium including the rest rooms.
Is everybody in? Is everyone in? The show is about to begin!
Vice Mayor Steve Haderlein is the MC. The colors are presented & the Pledge of Allegiance is recited. The Furious Theatre Company of the Pasadena Playhouse stages a preview of their new play “No Good Deed”, which the audience appears to love more than me.
A report on the status of the expansion of Pasadena Convention Center. All I can recall from this is it’s getting done at or below budget. Applause!
Next, a film I’ve never recognized on the big screen, or any screen: The 2008 Highlights of Pasadena. Basically, a PR tool to further convince us why this city is the best.
- Funniest Moment: the video cam was focusing on reaction of audience members whose image was then transmitted to a large screen in the auditorium. When Little found himself under the microcam & thus up on the big screen, his reaction was to be taken aback but it was so much funnier to be there & see his reaction!
- Tried to be Funniest Moment: The Furious Theatre troupe.
From the Mayor’s Speech
- The Pasadena Police Dept, and maybe other city departments, will soon begin an internship for school students. A new high school is in the works on the campus of PCC.
- “The national economic condition has reverberated around the world, and the situation is not expected to end this calendar year.”
- Construction activity in the last quarter compared to the rest of 2008 was down almost in half!
- Employees are being encouraged to submit their creative ideas for reducing expenses and increases revenues, for balancing the budget. (Good Idea!)
- “This (water) is another case in which Californians, all of us, have been living beyond our means, and we are now at the point of being forced to change our ways.”
- Water usage for outdoor residential activities (lawns, gardens, pools) make up the great majority of residential water bills..
- “Pasadena’s General Plan…is a framework for translating broad community values & expectations into specific strategies for managing growth & enhancing the quality of life. The General Plan is reviewed regularly…”
- “At City Hall, we are committed to meeting the expectations of citizens who want to live in safety, go to jobs every day, breathe clean air & have utilities available at the turn of a faucet or the flip of a switch. As we face unprecedented challenges, we are even more dedicated to helping to meet these expectations.”
Enuf from me. Much more detailed information can be found over at the city’s web site, where you can theoretically see gavel to gavel coverage. Finally, it’s over and the dutiful applause takes place. And, now the first vital question for me is about to be answered: where’s the free food, PIO Ann was talking about?! Downstairs!
Oh yeah, the food is there alright, worth every dollar spent on it: cookies, coffee, apple cider and, and water…
So, I call it a nite & take my State of The City Food, warm cider & cookie, and run off to my car with a city commissioner at my side asking me what I thought of the Mayor’s speech. One thing I tell her is that while I really like the mayor, he’s no Barack in speech delivering. So, I didn’t see any bestowing of gifts here. After another less than enthusiastic reply, this commissioner responds with: “sounds like you work for the city! Are you a city employee?”
No, but, oh really…