Seniors prepare for disaster

The Senior Advocacy Council of Pasadena is hosting a free public forum on emergency preparedness

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/3/2005

With national focus trained on the devastation wrought by recent killer hurricanes, the Senior Advocacy Council of Pasadena is hosting a free public forum on emergency preparedness at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Pasadena Senior Center, 85 E. Holly St.

"We're going to talk about the roughly 18,000 seniors in Pasadena, thousands more with disabilities, and those who can't move without help who live independently and don't drive," said activist Marvin Schachter, an organizer of the event.

The forum will be hosted by James Graunke, executive director at the Scripps Home in Altadena, and Lisa Derderian, emergency management coordinator for the city of Pasadena. For more information, call (626) 791-7313.

Four for three

PCC board candidates stress the need for better construction planning, improved community outreach and more transparency

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 11/3/2005

Along with the eight initiatives on Arnie’s special election ballot, voters also get to decide Tuesday on whether Pasadena Area Community College District incumbents should be replaced over the next four years.

Only Area 1, represented by Trustee Geoffrey Baum, is uncontested, with one candidate each squaring off with incumbents in three other races.

In the Area 5 election, longtime incumbent Trustee Warren Weber is facing off against newcomer Hilary Bradbury Huang, a local businesswoman. While Weber is focusing on spending within the district’s means in completing on-campus building projects, Huang believes “We should focus more on designing rather than retrofitting. I’d like to see a greener campus. We can make a big dent with solar power. There’s also a big parking problem on campus. We should try to make this a more walkable city as opposed to building more parking structures.”

Area 7 incumbent Trustee Beth Wells-Miller is running against Brandon Powers, another local businessman. Powers declined to be interviewed for this story.

Wells-Miller said she looked into having the meetings televised, and “I was told it was cost prohibitive. … It’s very important that the public has an opportunity to see the public’s business being carried on and see how their tax dollars are being used.”

Meetings can be viewed on the Internet via Web cast.

“The issue I’m most concerned with is adding more core transfer classes to make it easier for students to move on to four-year universities,” said Area 3 incumbent Trustee Connie Rey Castro. “I will also continue to work to expand academic outreach in the community, particularly Northwest Pasadena. [The trustees] recently built a partnership with PUSD that targets at-risk students in local high schools. The aim is to offer academic support such as tutoring to help these students make the transition to PCC.”

Castro’s opponent, Jennifer Simmons Bekkedal, said she also wants more community outreach in Northwest Pasadena. “Student success and retention rates haven’t been a priority,” she said.